Women In Journalism
Interviewees
Vivian Castleberry
Vivian Castleberry
Recorded by Anne Kasper
THE WASHINGTON PRESS CLUB FOUNDATION as part of its oral history project WOMEN IN JOURNALISM
  • Introduction

    Vivian Castleberry was the women's editor of the Dallas Times Herald for twenty-eight years. Vivian is a native Texan and a distinguished and much loved member of the Dallas community to which she has contributed enormously as a journalist and a citizen activist. Vivian insisted on meeting me at the Dallas Ft. Worth airport when I arrived in June 1989 to work with her on this oral history. We sensed an instant rapport and the beginnings of a strong friendship from that first meeting at the airport.

    Vivian and I held our three days of interviewing at my hotel room at the Hilton Inn and at her home on Buchanan which she had recently given over to her newly-married fourth daughter Kimberley. I returned in October 1989 to do a videotaped interview with Vivian at the retirement home her husband Curtis is building singlehandedly on the shores of a beautiful lake in East Texas, several hours from Dallas. Before traveling to East Texas, Vivian arranged a gathering of friends to meet me at the Dallas Press Club. Working with Vivian was a pleasure for many reasons, including her delightful and open personality, her remarkable memory, her exciting career as a journalist, her imaginative storytelling and her deep and abiding values as a woman dedicated to righting wrongs, improving the lot of those ignored by society and working towards global peace.

    Before going to Dallas I spoke with journalists Dorothy Jurney, Molly Ivins, Bert Holmes and Charlie Dameron of the Dallas Times Herald and Caroline Barta of the Dallas Morning News, all of whom had enormous praise for Vivian Castleberry. Caroline Barta stated that Vivian Castleberry is "the grandmother of women in journalism in Dallas." Molly Ivins told me that Vivian had a remarkable sensitivity to news that women wanted to know and how that news should be covered by women, for women. Bert Holmes called Vivian a "journalistic pioneer" whose influence continues to be felt in newspapers across the country. I also spoke with Gail Smith, Mary Vogelson and Liz Carpenter, women active in the Dallas or larger Texas communities. Later, in Dallas, I spoke with activists Ginny Whitehill, Maura McNiel and Barbara Middleton. Liz Carpenter best summarized their collective praise for Vivian when she said that Vivian is "beloved" in Dallas because "she made all the difference" as the "godmother of the women's movement in Dallas."

    Even with all this advance praise for Vivian Castleberry I could not have been fully prepared for the account she would give in her oral history. Vivian has been a journalist since editing her high school newspaper. As women's editor of the Dallas Times Herald she was also the first woman appointed to the newspaper's editorial board. Vivian won three awards given by the Press Club of Dallas, two state UPI awards and two J.C. Penney/University of Missouri awards. Vivian was elected to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 1984. She is a founder of the Women's Center of Dallas, Women's Issues Network, the Dallas Women's Foundation and is currently writing a book on the history of women in Dallas. Vivian was the chair of Global Peace, an international women's conference which drew 2,000 participants from 37 states and 57 countries in 1988.

    Vivian Castleberry was interviewed for this oral history project because she was one of the pioneering women journalists who transformed women's pages from what Molly Ivins calls "fluff and drivel" to substantive news about women, their lives and the communities in which they live. Vivian's coverage of news was deeply influenced by her commitment to the Dallas women's community and her sense of responsibility as a journalist to not only report the news but to expose the injustices of society to the scrutiny of her readers. Vivian recounted that her intention was never to be objective as a journalist. Rather, Vivian was a journalist who sought to be a force for good, believing that her obligation was not to management but to her readership and the world at large.

    Anne Kasper
    1990

     


    BIOGRAPHY

    VIVIAN ANDERSON CASTLEBERRY is a native Texan, born in Lindale and reared in Athens where she graduated as valedictorian from her high school in 1940. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and a Distinguished Alumnae. A lifelong journalist, she edited her high school newspaper, edited The Campus, the SMU newspaper, and was the first women's editor of the Texas A&M Battalion, a job she created and held while her husband, Curtis was a student at A&M following World War II.

    Vivian was women's editor of the Dallas Times Herald for 28 years, from 1956-1984. She headed the Living section of the paper and was the first woman named to the paper's editorial board. She won numerous journalistic awards including three "Katie" awards given by the Press Club of Dallas, two stated United Press International awards, a state Headliners award, two University of Missouri awards for overall excellence of women's pages, a Southwestern Journalism Forum award and the Buck Marryat Award given by the Press Club of Dallas for "outstanding contributions to communications."

    In 1959 Vivian was a participant in the first conference held for women's editors by the American Press Institute at Columbia University, a bench mark gathering of American women journalists.

    She was inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 1984 and has been honored with the Laurel Award given by the American Association of University Women; a Women Helping Women Award given by the Women's Center of Dallas; a Women Helping Women Award given by the Soroptimist Club, and the Extra Mile Award given by the Business and Professional Women's Club.

    Vivian is a founder of the Women's Center of Dallas, a founder of Women's Issues Network (WIN) and a founder of the Dallas Women's Foundation. She served on the advisory panel for the founding of the Family Place, Dallas' haven for battered women and their children, and has been an adviser for SMU's Symposium on the Education of Women for Social and Political Leadership since its beginning in 1966. She has served on the advisory boards of the Women's Center and the Incest Recovery Center, the long-range planning committee of the Dallas Women's Foundation and the leadership development committee for the Greater Dallas Community of Churches. She has served on the general board, and as chairperson of the board of her church, First Community/United Church of Christ.

    Since she took early retirement in May of 1984, Vivian is writing a book on the contributions of women to the City of Dallas. She serves as a consultant to other writers and has tailored and teaches a course called "The Age of Choice" through the GDCC and the Community Colleges. She makes numerous speeches.

    Devoted to peaceful resolution of conflicts, she has made two trips to the Soviet Union as a "grassroots Citizen Diplomat." She co-led the second of these trips, a Women in Leadership Conference in Leningrad and Moscow in April-May of 1986. In June of 1987, she again co-led a conference in the USSR taking American grandmothers, mothers and teenagers for intergenerational dialogue.

    Vivian is married to Curtis W. Castleberry, a retired high school teacher. Together they raised five daughters. She has seven grandchildren.

  • Interviewee Conducted

  • Interviewee Transcript

    [Begin Tape 1, Side A]

    Kasper: I'd like to start with a sort of chronological order and I know you were born in Lindale, Texas, in 1922. Why don't we start with that? Why don't you tell me about your family and your early years.

    Castleberry: I don't remember a great deal about the very early years. I've been trying recently as I have run through family history to reconstruct some of my earliest memories. I know that very critical to my early rearing was an extended family. It was only years later that I began to review and to discover that my brother, who is eighteen months younger than I am, was born a sick baby and was in and out of the hospitals in Dallas for a long period of time, and my mother told me that she was with him most of that time. It's interesting that I never missed her. And I think that's because I have this wonderful extended family—grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins by the score—who adored me. I have to say, I've always felt like when I interviewed Margaret Mead, that I had that in common with her, but I was a first child, a very wanted child, and a very adored child. And my mother was and continues to be an extremely important influence in my life. Because I was born in '22 and because I just recently celebrated my sixty-seventh birthday, I wasn't of that generation where I was told in words that you were special. But I was told in behavior that I was special and I grew up with a mother who made life wonderful.

    We never had any money. My father was from a farm family and in reviewing I get amused because my mother was the world's eternal optimist and my father was the world's eternal pessimist. And yet they were married for many, many years, until they both died, or he died first and then she did. They adored each other. And I grew up in a house where my parents never passed each other without touching. And the closeness, I didn't realize then how much this was structuring me for my later life, but it was a loving kind of family situation. The arms around kind of thing. And as I was the oldest, and then I have two younger brothers, and as each of us was brought into that, it was a family of a very close, loving situation. There were no journalists in my family at all as far back as any of us could remember. And as I grew up, there was a great deal of rebellion between me and my father. And Mother always said that you're just like him. And it took me years and years and years to understand that indeed I have a lot of those characteristics, that is the stubbornness, the will to succeed in spite of, and yet I got my mother's optimism. My mother always—

    Kasper: Lucky you, what a wonderful combination.

    Castleberry: Yes. If you gave my mother lemons way back there, she would make lemonade every time. And she constantly was on the go. She was so afraid that she would miss something. Mother was in nurses' training when she quit to marry my father right after World War I. And she had also been a musician. She had ridden horseback for many, many years into the small town of Lindale—five miles into Lindale to take music lessons on Saturday. And also she grew up—she had one characteristic that I never had—she grew up playing with her brothers, so she was a tomboy. She grew up riding horses and hunting and fishing with her brothers. She was the oldest of five, but her family reared—her mother and dad reared six other sets of children along the way. My grandmother's story was incredible. At age 19, she had Mother and before she was 21 she had seven children. My grandfather's four half brothers and sisters came to live with them. His own brother came to live with them. And a couple of her relatives came to live with them. So Mother grew up in this big house where just an incredible amount of things were going on all of the time.

    Kasper: Now was this a farm family? Lindale was farming country?

    Castleberry: Yes. It was a farm family. It's a farming community and my maternal family went there, I have just recently learned, in 1879 from Alabama. They came to Texas in five wagons in 1879 and founded this little community.

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    It's called Bethesda and it's a Presbyterian community five miles northeast of Lindale and they all bought property there and all of it surrounded each other, and you know it was just a kind of, I guess, womb almost for the family. And yet, from that there was a lot of reaching out. There were always things to read. There was always music in the house.

    My grandfather was the superintendent of the black schools. In those days in Texas the black people could not run their own schools. And one of the things that I cherish is that in 1930, when he died, he was brought home from south Texas where he had gone to live and the black people all came and surrounded the church on a snowy, horrible winter day, and my grandmother got up and went outside and invited them all in, and it was the first time black people were ever in the church. So the history of our progression in inclusiveness is rather interesting for East Texas. Grandmother did that, then, you know, we began to make kind of quantum leaps for inclusiveness in the entire family that I have always treasured. So anyway, from that, the first really—I remember going to Sunday school in the church when I was a small child. I remember my mother teaching. I remember her playing the piano in the church. I remember her setting the stage for me to—that there is more out there, that the world—I remember that she always managed to have books, and this is the days when libraries were not—

    Kasper: There were not public libraries.

    Castleberry: —not public libraries. But there were always things to read and she used to say that if I didn't have a book to read, I read the labels on cans. I read anything that came to mind. And taught myself to read, with her help, before I started to school with newspapers down on the floor. In fact, I recall vividly that I gave myself what the doctor at that time said was ink poisoning because I would lie on the floor on my elbows with my elbows down on the paper copying the letters and finally got an infection in my elbows and had to stop that nonsense.

    Kasper: They called it ink poisoning.

    Castleberry: I don't know what it was, but that's what they called it at the time. But I did teach myself to read and to write before I went to school with Mother's help, because it was always with my mother's encouragement. Although, my mother almost always had a sideline job in the home. One of my very earliest memories was of her "making cuttings." And that meant that she had a part-time job with a big nursery and the nursery would root rosebushes from the cuttings that she made. And I remember her working with gloves to protect her hands. But she always had some kind of an extra job.

    Kasper: This was to make extra money for the household?

    Castleberry: This was to make extra money for the household and what I have learned in the years that have followed is that women have almost always provided that little extra. I can recall that in the young days when there was absolutely no money in the house, and you will remember that I very much was a child of the Depression, so there was no money.

    Kasper: And your father was farming this property.

    Castleberry: My father was farming, and as a result of that, the income was—sometimes you made it and sometimes you didn't.

    Kasper: Depending on the economy and the weather.

    Castleberry: The economy. One of the years, as I grew a little older, when I was about eight, I guess, we had five acres of commercial tomatoes. And if you have never farmed commercial tomatoes, you get through processing them through one side and go directly to the other side of the field and start over. And Curt and I now say today, God, we can't believe that we came out of a period of time where we were really kind of dirt farmers to—that's the reason we appreciate so much what we have been able to acquire, which isn't a lot of things, but it's certainly a lot of other things.

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    And then, chronologically, as I recall, I celebrated my sixth birthday in Lindale. It came on Easter Sunday and my mother gave me a birthday party. It was the first birthday party I had ever had where I had other children there, and of course, there was an Easter egg hunt, and I still recall it as vividly as if it were yesterday how much fun it was. And I think, too, that was my opening to the social milieu. That there were people out there who had fun doing things. Mother always had people in the house. She had lots of friends, but my own set of friends, I really catalog from that particular little party that she did for me. And shortly after that, my father and most of Mother's family moved to the panhandle of West Texas, having caught onto the dream and vision at that moment of "go west young man to make your fortune."

    Kasper: So this was what, just about 1930?

    Castleberry: This was 1928-29 that we moved. See I celebrated my sixth birthday and then we moved. So it was in '28.

    Kasper: So, again, it was the effects of the Depression presumably?

    Castleberry: Well, the Depression had really stopped almost dead in its tracks already, the produce, being able to sell farm stuff in East Texas. So we went to West Texas because cotton was king out there. And my dad bought a small place out there, I don't remember how much it was, I remember people by those terms saying it was a small place. It seemed to me that it was terribly big, but I'm remembering from—

    Kasper: Did the whole family—this was a whole community in Lindale that was your family?

    Castleberry: This was a community. Now, not everybody went. My grandparents went, my maternal grandparents. My aunt, my uncle, who were still at home, were not yet married, went. Mother and Dad and one of the other married brothers, Mother's married brother and his family went. So it was not the whole group that picked up and went, it was just this small group of us that, as I remember, wanted to seek our fortune elsewhere. And I think, as I look back, we were there only two years, it was an interesting two years because I started to school in Memphis, Texas, and it's in the Texas panhandle and I can recall as vividly as if it were yesterday, the sandstorms and how they impacted, I mean, there were days you could not see in front of your face. I hated it. I hated it from the word go. But, I got a lot out of it, and I still, one of these days, want to write the difference between an East Texas woman and a West Texas woman. The East Texas, the heritage is from Louisiana and Alabama and the old south and this kind of protected, crinoline skirts, the "Gone With the Wind" framework of reference, and the mental framework is a lot the same too for many East Texas women. West Texas, they have to be survivors.

    Kasper: So you're saying the East Texas women are protected, lady of the house, southern belle.

    Castleberry: They're protected. Lady of the house. Southern belle type. The West Texas woman is a raw pioneer. So I got, without realizing it, a little of both. I got, in fact, a great deal of both because the ruggedness of West Texas was—I embraced the freedom to roam, the freedom to go. We moved into the most—to me it was an adventure, I know now it was one of the most awful houses in the world because it was the only house on the property and the lower part of the house was dug into a canyon, and then upstairs there were two bedrooms and you had to climb a ladder to get upstairs. And downstairs, in this old canyon where the walls had been cemented in, the scorpions would come out. So we had scorpions and we had snakes.

    Kasper: It must have been a horror for parents and an adventure for children.

    Castleberry: It was an adventure for children. And my father made two crops there, that is cotton crops. The first cotton crop that he made, he made "a killing." I guess that was in the fall of '29 and everything worked well. The weather was right, the cotton came in, everything was fine. He bought a brand new automobile and we were going into town to visit my grandparents and for a big church event on a Sunday. It had been raining terribly, we had to cross a creek called Indian Creek. The water was too high for us to go the front way, so we went the back way.

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    Afterwards, people said, didn't we tell you there was quicksand in that creek? Nobody told us there was moving quicksand in the creek, and the car sank. We were halfway across this, what seemed to me an interminably wide creek, that normally was a dry bed, but in this rolling water was certainly not. The wheels on one side of the car sank just instantly. And my father walked us all back to the bank, putting each foot down and finding firm ground, back to the house. The car went completely under. So, Dad had invested a large part of his cotton crop in this car and he sold it for parts for $25.00 when we dug it out. So those are very vivid memories that I remember.

    I remember very vividly hearing about the crash of '29 and recently, just shortly before I left the paper, on the 50th anniversary of the crash of 1929, I did a story for the paper on that because we didn't have radio out there, but the news came to the school. Incidentally, my mother would not let me go to school in the small community where we lived. She drove me five miles to school into Memphis, Texas, because, as she said, whatever else I do, I educate my children.

    Kasper: And she felt those were better schools.

    Castleberry: Oh, they were far better schools. The little school that I would have gone to was a two-room school with two teachers. And all of the grades were stacked together. So she drove me into town for school and that was a hard year because the snows came and sometimes we were iced in and sometimes she had to teach me at home and we had no telephone. But she got me to school, one way or the other, she got me to school. And there was one period of time after the car sank into the creek where she had no automobile and so she let me stay with friends for, I think it was six weeks, to get to school.

    Kasper: In town, Memphis, so that you could get to school.

    Castleberry: In town, to get to school, so I could go to school. So, her influence was, at that time, and continues to be a—as I grew up, Mother played word games with me when we would work in the kitchen. I was an only daughter. And as we would work in the kitchen together, she would play word games with me, and to this day I sometimes reach for her and say, "My words, my words, where are my words?" You know, I want to say this right, and it's not coming.

    Kasper: Well, you are very articulate and I would say that at this point, you probably attribute some of that to your mother's influence.

    Castleberry: I attribute a lot of it because the framework that is set, you grow from there. And that framework was set very early for the words that she wanted me to use and for looking for the exact right word. She would paint a word picture for me, and then she would say, "How do you see that?" And to use words—and I've done that with my grandchildren. I didn't do it so much with my daughters, I wish I had, but at that time I was so busy. But I have certainly done it with my grandchildren, playing word games.

    Kasper: It's a nice gift. One of the women that I interviewed for my dissertation work, which we talked about yesterday, told me she was raised, I believe it was in Kansas, and her mother was a social worker and she didn't have any child care for her children, the two girls, so she would take them whenever she had to, you know, when they weren't in school, she'd take them around with her as she made her rounds as a social worker. And this woman would recount to me how her mother would tell her stories in the car because, like Texas, there were these vast tracks of areas that she had to cover to go from one client to another. And so she would make up what she used to call the car stories. And she said her mother had this avid imagination and she would start these car stories and they would continue for days, months, even years where they'd get into the car and it's sort of like they picked up from the last chapter. And this woman said she had one of the most wonderful memories of what otherwise would have been incredibly boring car trips over the empty Kansas plains where her mother just created pictures and stories in her mind that were just wonderful. She said, she's been forever grateful to her mother for that.

    Castleberry: Yeah. I can relate to that so well. And the influence that a mother has, I don't know about a son because I've never been a son, but the influence that

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    a mother has on her daughter's life is incredible. I have continued to interview, as I've interviewed, I did quite a series of study stories not too long ago on the mother-daughter relationship and the influence of mothers on daughters.

    Kasper: One of my favorite subjects, Vivian.

    Castleberry: I started a book and then I got busy doing these other things and I haven't pursued that, but it's something that needs to be done because we have come through a period of time where daughters have denigrated their mothers, torn them to shreds.

    Kasper: Oh, Vivian, you are hitting on one of my most favorite subjects. We have got to talk about this.

    Castleberry: I've got quite a lot of information on it and I have some stuff that I published at the paper, but I never really followed through and pursued it.

    Kasper: And I have all the academic literature on that subject. We ought to exchange—

    Castleberry: We've got to get together on it. One of my daughters and I, one of the most fun things that we did about five years ago, we did a program for one of the caring centers here, one of the service centers, on the mother-daughter relationship. I did not know how she would do, that's—it's been six years, because she's the one who's been married now for six years and it was just before she married, my youngest daughter. And I chose her for two reasons. One, she had just finished her undergraduate work in sociology and had specialized in early childhood counseling. And I knew she had the academic beginnings for this. The second reason that I chose her was that she was available. It's something I could put my finger on. But I didn't know how she would do because she'd never done anything like this. And the first time they applauded, this kid was on and she never stopped. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: She did well.

    Castleberry: She did well and she really tore the skin off in places. They asked her, "Well how did you feel when you were a kid about your mother going out to work everyday?" And Cathy said, "I hated it. Hated every minute of it because I would get sick at school and the nurse would call to get my mother to come pick me up, and Mother would be out in the boonies covering a story somewhere and somebody else would come and get me, and I hated that." And she said, "But just look at me, I turned out all right." [Laughter.] I mean, she was just marvelous. Anyway, I want to keep this flow going.

    Kasper: Well we'll get back to that subject another time, if not on tape, you and I will do that at lunch or something, because that is absolutely one of my favorite subjects.

    Castleberry: I want to look up some of my material too, because I did do quite a lot of studies on it.

    Kasper: I would like to see some of that. Do you still have some of the articles, too, that were published in the paper?

    Castleberry: Um hum. Yeah. I did a few. I did some, not near as much as I wanted to, because there is so much there. There is so much there that hasn't been explored. And you have the academic credentials to do it and I have the—

    Kasper: Well I have a lot of the scholarly—I have to admit, it was one of my efforts during my eight years in graduate school, not only to read, but then to collect scholarly literature and the not-so-scholarly literature on the mother-daughter bond and I have—we will just have to exchange information, that's all we'll have to do.

    Castleberry: Yeah, we do, because through the years as I began to learn the kind of influence that mothers had on daughters, both good and bad, but far more good than bad, and that was what was not being told. That was being buried.

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    So I kept looking for it. And then as I would interview prominent women, I would say to them, "What impact did your mother have on your life?" For instance, I'll give you a specific. Sarah Hughes, Judge Sarah Hughes, I asked her that question, and she said, "Oh, my father was far more influential on my life than my mother." And then she started exploring that and after a while there was a dead stop and she said, "You know, I never appreciated what my mother did. My mother was there. She was the one that sent me out." It made me cry because the opening of her understanding that it was father that was out in the world, but it was mother that made it all possible. It's marvelous.

    Kasper: And what you're addressing, just to bring us back to where we were before, is exactly that in your own childhood. You're saying that while your father was certainly a presence and a strong influence and many of your own qualities you can identify as coming from him—

    Castleberry: Yeah, and he also was more, I would say, most of it came through my mother. And it was Mother that was there. The fortunate thing was that he was there for her. And probably formed a lot of the foundation that I didn't appreciate so much at the time.

    Kasper: But then you're saying she also transmitted his qualities and your understanding of his role to you.

    Castleberry: That's right. Exactly. And because she was the extrovert, she was the one who said the things, she was the one who made the home nurturing and comfortable and loving, and although, as I now know, he was a very good scholar. He enjoyed that and also she was a fabulous cook. And I am a good cook and that also was nurtured into me as I grew up. And because of her background in health, her early training in health—

    Kasper: Did she ever practice as a nurse?

    Castleberry: Never did. She dropped out of training to marry my father and never did practice except in the neighborhood. She birthed all the babies, she was the midwife in our small country town. She did all of the things that are done in small country towns in the way of medical care. And we were, as I grew up, many miles from a doctor, and she nursed us through a lot of things that otherwise we may not—well I know I probably wouldn't have been here at all because she nursed me through diphtheria in the epidemic of—1933?

    Kasper: Yeah. '32, '33.

    Castleberry: '32-33. She nursed me through that. But she formed the shell of nurturing and caring and loving, together with an extended family that intruded constantly upon her.

    To get back on target, when we came back from West Texas, we came back because my father's father became ill in East Texas.

    Kasper: Did you come back to Lindale?

    Castleberry: We came back to LaRue, Texas. And that is a little town that my paternal grandparents founded. It also is in East Texas, and these two little towns are about fifty miles apart, but it's where my father had grown up. And my grandfather on my father's side, my grandfather Anderson, we know nothing about at all except for him. He did not know his father. We know that he has a Swedish background and that came down by word of mouth through the family. The story is, and I have no way of checking this, I haven't gotten into that yet, so I have no way of checking this, but the story is that my paternal great grandmother married this young man who was kind of going through the community and her brothers didn't like him and ran him off right after the baby was born. Now that's the story. I don't know whether she was pregnant out of wedlock, I have no idea what it was. But that's the story and he never knew his father at all. His mother died when he was a very young child and he was reared by old bachelor brothers. And so by the time I knew him, I remember him as kind of god's gift to humanity. He really was a very loving, wonderful man, far more than my paternal grandmother was. My paternal grandmother never liked me.

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    Kasper: Really? How odd.

    Castleberry: And she didn't like me because—well, she didn't like me because I was not an obedient child. To stay in chronological order, when we went back to LaRue, my grandfather had become ill and out of eight living children, my father was the only one who felt the compulsion to go home and take care of Dad in his old age. So we moved back. The grandparents had built a small house on the farm place for the newlyweds, which was the custom in those days. When one of the children would marry, well they usually started out in the small house that was on the family place until they could make enough money to move out. And although my parents had never lived in that house—my parents had moved to Lindale when they married with her folks and had started that way—other children had lived in the house. But by that time all the children were grown and married and when we came back to LaRue, we moved into this little house. It was a little four-room house on the place and my dad farmed the farm. And one of the things that my grandfather had inherited somehow in the genes was—I can't remember the name for it now. My words, my words. But he didn't raise just cotton and corn, he did everything. He had an apple orchard. He had a grape orchard. He had pear trees. It was a very productive kind of farming which was extremely unusual for that part of the country and extremely unusual for those days.

    Kasper: Why is that? Is that not fertile farm country in East Texas?

    Castleberry: It's sandy. It's sandy loam and you have to fertilize to raise other things. And you also have to be careful of where you plant things. You have to—what I'm trying to say is rotating farming. And my grandfather did that. You know, he would farm cotton on the land this year, and next year he would raise tomatoes on that piece of property, so that it didn't take all the chemicals out of the soil.

    Kasper: And he'd had no formal training in this, but he figured it out.

    Castleberry: He had no formal training. He figured it out. And of course, then my father inherited that technique and my brothers both inherited the technique of not depleting the soil of the nutrients that were in it, and that way you let the land lie what we call fallow. I haven't used that word in years! But they would do that and they would farm only a certain amount of the land and the next year let that lie idle and farm somewhere else. So, anyway, from that experience, when my grandfather became then really ill, we moved into the big house with them. And that's where my mother inherited things that I don't know how she inherited because she not only ran the house and looked after my father and us, the three children, but she inherited the first cousins who came in from all over the country. They had always come to granddad's and grandmother's in the summertime, so Mother inherited that. And my grandmother was a southern lady. My grandmother didn't do anything.

    Kasper: She was one of those East Texas women you were describing.

    Castleberry: She was one of those East Texas women. And she mostly sat in the parlor and knitted. And I remember her with a white lace handkerchief, or a white linen handkerchief, lace trimmed. And I remember her walking the halls in the springtime when the storms would come, she would be extremely frightened. We had this huge house with a hallway all the way down the center. On the right hand side was the parlor, a bedroom, the dining room, the kitchen and the screened-in back porch. On the other side of the house was the living room, the bedroom, the bedroom, the bedroom, the bedroom, and at the very back, the bath, that opened on to the back porch. So walking down that hall to the bathroom, and we didn't have indoor plumbing when I was a very small child, that came later. So, my grandmother would walk to the front door and open the door and look out at the storm and cry and wring her handkerchief, and then she would turn and walk to the back door and do the same. And my father wondered why he had a child that was afraid of storms! [Laughter.] But mostly grandmother sat in the living room or in the parlor. And the living room was one of those old-fashioned living rooms. It had a player organ in it and it had the wash stand, the old-fashioned wash stand, and it had all of the things that you read about and hear about in an old—and it was never used. It was a musky, dusty room that was used only when company came.

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    Kasper: That was meant to be reserved just for guests. Not a living room in the sense of nobody lived in it.

    Castleberry: That's right. Nobody ever lived in it. And I had a bad habit of going in there and playing on the player piano and doing other things that children are not supposed to do.

    Kasper: Which your grandmother did not like.

    Castleberry: My grandmother did not like that. And I also pulled her magnolia blossoms. She had two huge, gorgeous magnolia trees in the front yard. One of them is still there. I was by there recently to see it. It's gorgeous. And I would pull the magnolia blossoms and children just—well, and my grandmother was reared in an era where children were to be seen and not heard.

    And on Sunday, the Baptist preacher came to dinner. We were not Baptists, but my grandmother had gotten mad at the Methodist minister somewhere along in rearing her children, and she reared half of her children in the Methodist church, and I was real fortunate, my father was one of those. And then she got mad at the Methodist minister and so she went to the Baptist church and took the rest of them—reared the rest of them in the Baptist Church. And the town was so small that we couldn't afford a minister full-time, so the Baptists had a preacher on the first and third Sundays, and the Methodists on the fourth and second Sundays, and the kids were always glad when the fifth Sunday came 'cause we didn't have to go to church. [Laughter.] But we would walk, the Methodist and Baptist churches were about a city block apart and we would have Sunday school in our church and then walk across the school yard to the Baptist church for church. And my grandfather, then, when grandmother yanked up the kids and took them into the Baptist church, which was before my time, it's just a story I heard, my grandfather became as active in the Baptist church as he had been in the Methodist church and was superintendent of the Baptist Sunday school for twenty-five years. So I remember my grandfather on his knees at the front of the church. But I also remember that he loved children and that he looked, in spite of the fact that I have inherited all of the dark complexion and dark tendencies, my grandfather looked like a Swede, the blonde, wavy hair, the blue eyes—he did. And even when he died, very young. It turned out he had cancer. But in those days, we didn't know. And he was critical before we really had it diagnosed what was wrong with him.

    Kasper: And during this time when he was ill and you all were living there and grandmother was sitting in the parlor, you say you're mother really ran the ship.

    Castleberry: My mother took care of everything.

    Kasper: Was there no farm help in the house?

    Castleberry: No.

    Kasper: So she did everything.

    Castleberry: She did everything. All the cooking, the cleaning. From time to time, as I grew up, there was a wonderful black woman who became very important in my life and in my mother's life, but at that period of time—but interestingly enough, it was also pretty much of an extended family. People did things for each other. Neighbors came in. When my grandfather was very ill, people brought in food. But there also were a lot of people in the house, always. And every Sunday that the Baptist preacher was there we had him to lunch. Another thing that Mother did that grandmother didn't approve of, she fed the children first. She fed them in the kitchen while the adults ate. And in those days, the kids all waited, you know, until the preacher had had his fill and the adults had eaten. But Mother, again, was of that generation or somehow she felt very keenly that children must be taken care of. So she would set up a table on the back porch or in the kitchen and feed us at the time that everybody else was having their meal.

    Kasper: So that you didn't have to wait until the preacher had his fill.

    Castleberry: We didn't have to wait. And they sit around the table and talk. In some houses that I was in where children were still made to wait, it would be two o'clock

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    in the afternoon before the children would be fed. And that's a disgrace. It's a sin. So Mother never had us do that, but grandmother didn't approve of that because, again, she was of the old school where children were just to be seen and not heard. And so she really never liked me very much. And also she didn't like me because I would slip off. This house, the old farmhouse, had an attic, and she had thrown magazines and newspapers up there for years, and that was the best hideaway in the world. And I would get lost in that attic and I would read by the—there was in the front of the house this tiny little window and that's the only way the window got cleaned [Laughter.] because I would go up and clean the window so I could read by the light that came through it. [Laughter.] So I would disappear for hours at a time. My mother knew where I was, but my grandmother did not approve of my just disappearing. My brothers didn't approve either, by the way, because they were always out helping on the farm.

    Kasper: And they didn't get a chance to go up there and read.

    Castleberry: And they didn't get a chance to read. And we raised peanuts. We raised peanuts by the score. And a lot of my very early storytelling happened in that peanut loft because I would tell stories to my brothers, make them listen, they were a captive audience, while we picked off peanuts for the commercial sales.

    Kasper: And you would make up stories?

    Castleberry: And I'd make up stories and tell them.

    Kasper: Just fantasy.

    Castleberry: Fantasy, uh huh. Never-never land and all of the wonderful things. They didn't care for that too much either.

    Kasper: Were these from some of the books you had read as a child too?

    Castleberry: Probably. I think I embroidered an awful lot. And that's one reason even today when I start to tell something, I think, is that exactly the way it happened, or am I embroidering this story for fun and games.

    Kasper: I'll have to give you some of my theories on those kinds of memories.

    Castleberry: Real good.

    Kasper: Yeah. Well, we'll have to talk about that. It's my feeling, I've felt this way for quite awhile, not just in sociology, but from what I've learned about oral history too, that it's not the facts that you remember that are so important, although as we've said, they are hooks. It's the framework, it's the interpretation that you give to events, it's your life as you have, if you will, embroidered it that is what counts, not the reality itself.

    Castleberry: Right. Well, good. Now I won't feel so bad now if I'm not—because I really as a journalist I have tried to teach myself to be exactly accurate with the facts, so I'm struggling now in my own life of how much do I really remember and how much was a part of my fabulous imagination.

    Kasper: But that's the wonderful fabric of your life, Vivian, is the fact that you have embroidered the facts and you remember a lot of facts, you may have said to me earlier that you don't, but you certainly do. And you have just painted for me the most wonderfully vivid picture of this early childhood. Now, I dare say, if you had just given me the facts, the colors in this vivid picture would be a lot dimmer than they are. So if there's some embroidery in there, it's not only beautiful and wonderful, but it has enriched your account.

    Castleberry: It's enriched me, but I don't want to tell my children, now this is a fact and it isn't a fact.

    Kasper: I don't think you need to distinguish between the two. I think what's important is the material of your life and how you remember it.

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    Castleberry: And I've collected along the way. I've tried to collect family stories along the way that get lost otherwise, too, and I'm now at the age and stage where along with the book that I'm writing, I'm also doing the family history because—and I have discovered one of the things that I've done for myself just recently, I said my maternal family went to Bethesda community and founded it in 1879, and I just went on the 15th of June to a memorial service there, the 107th memorial service there. And I took my grandson, who was a seventh generation, direct descendent of the family that founded the community and had him standing in the pulpit with me. So there's a lot of—these things are—they're extremely important to me, and I try to tell my grandchildren—

    I have to tell you one funny story. I took my granddaughter who's just ten, who was nine last year, I took her last year with me and I was trying to explain to her before we went the significance of the day and I said to her that these are people that have been in our family for years and they're all buried in the little cemetery back of the church. The church is a picture postcard pretty little Presbyterian church way out in the country. And the cemetery behind it is so well kept and I said, we go in celebration. We go to remember the good things that we knew about these people and we go to reconnect with our roots, who we are and what we're doing. Nothing out of this kid, I mean, we'd drive along and just nothing. So we then go and we have the service; and we have the visiting and the cemetery and the conversations; and we have the picture taking and we have the big dinner that's all spread all over the ground out front. And what Ryann remembers about it is that she sampled six different kinds of blackberry cobbler. So that's what she remembers about it. But we were on our way back and I was still trying to get her to focus on what she had just experienced. So I said, "Now, you see what the day is. You've experienced it. You know what the day is," and I said, "When I'm not with you anymore, you can go to a memorial service and you can remember the good times that we had together. How would that be?" Nothing. We drive along for about ten more miles and suddenly Ryann says to me, "Grandmommy, I want to ask you an important question." Boy, here it comes. I said, "Okay, what is it?" She said, "When you die, can I have all your makeup?" [Laughter.]

    Kasper: That's great. Of course, what you wanted was the response you couldn't get, right?

    Castleberry: Important, significant things you want and you get what's real. So anyway, when we moved back to LaRue, to get back on the chronology—

    Kasper: I was going to begin to ask you about schooling.

    Castleberry: When we moved back to LaRue, I went to—I still was, I guess in second grade. And I had been to, at that time, I had had several different teachers because when I went to school in Memphis, it turned out that the school had seventy-five first graders and they had planned for forty. So they kept switching us around until they found the kind of fit. But my first teacher was a woman whose name was Miss Starr in Memphis, and I didn't have her very long, but she was extremely important because she was a maiden schoolteacher, silver hair, and loved kids. And she filled in a lot of the adventure that I had not been able to have at home of the learning to relate to other people, the social skills that went with learning, the opening up of team study. She would put us in little groups of four and five and. Then we moved to La Rue.

    [End Tape 1, Side A; Begin Tape 1, Side B]

    Castleberry: There I had a teacher who was one of my dad's cousins and who recognized that although I had had good learning skills, that I probably needed some supportive help as I went into the third grade. So the summer before I entered third grade, she brought me practically every book in the LaRue setting and I read all those books that summer. And so when I started the third grade, I was way ahead of everybody else and bored stiff. And if it hadn't been for her guidance and her help, I probably would have been cut off at that period in my life. But she kept reaching for the next book and prodding me to, you know, she kept saying, there's more out there that you haven't mastered yet. And then with Mother's help with this, it began to accumulate that there's more out there that I haven't seen yet or done yet.

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    Kasper: Your mother created a larger vision for you in lots of ways, didn't she?

    Castleberry: Yes, she did. Not only that, but Mother also, every year when we were in LaRue from the time I was in the second grade, at the end of the second grade, until I was in the seventh grade when we moved to Athens, Mother gave a party every year at the first of the school for the new teachers and had them in our home to introduce them to the community. And that, I didn't realize at the time, how rich that was for me because it gave me not only a first person knowledge of who all of the teachers were, but it also, they knew who we were. And being in our setting, and in our framework, it made a tremendous difference on how they related to our family. You don't have that anymore. Children don't have that anymore.

    Kasper: And it breaks down the barriers between teacher and student.

    Castleberry: Between home and school. And when we were—if there were any kind of trouble, we were on top of it before, Mother was on top of it, before it happened. So this connectedness between home and school was extremely significant. And Mother continued to enlarge my horizons. Even before I ever said I am going—nobody from that community went to college in those days. Nobody went to college. And even in those days Mother was saying to me, "Now, when you go away to school, when you go away to school—"

    Kasper: So it was just a presumption that you would.

    Castleberry: It was a given. When my grandfather died, my grandfather had willed the property to us. He had called the whole family together and had told them that, he said, "William Clarence is the only one who has come home to look after me, so I want you all to know that the other property will be divided equally among you and anything that I have will be divided equally among you, but the property itself, the farm, is his." And everybody was just happy and agreeable and on the way home from his funeral, they decided to break the will; they said that father was not of a sound mind. And so anyway my mother put up with that for six weeks or so, with the bickering and the whatever, and I remember so vividly, I was still, you know, a youngster. I was, I guess, in the sixth grade. Well Mother said to my father, "I will not rear my children in a house where there is bickering. I will not do it." So they signed the property, all of it, back over to the heirs and picked us up without leave, without a bye your leave or anything, and moved us out without knowing how we were going to make a living or where we were going or what we were going to do. Mother said, "We will not tolerate this nonsense." So we moved then to a country place not far from the farm that was owned by one of dad's cousins and dad farmed one more year there until—

    Kasper: Was this in Athens?

    Castleberry: No, this was in LaRue, still. And then at the middle of my seventh grade year, what happened was that my dad led the fight to keep the school in LaRue. All the schools were consolidating at that period of time in Texas, and he lost the fight. We lost the school. And then—I can remember so vividly—but that's one place where I really do credit my father. He said, "I will not rear my children in a town without a school." So he picked us up overnight and moved us to Athens. And he took with him the Jersey cows that he had accumulated and they opened a small dairy and began to dairy farm on rented property and it was—

    Kasper: Was Athens in East Texas too?

    Castleberry: Athens is in East Texas. It's only twelve miles from LaRue. But it was the county seat. And it was and still remains a very open community, which is an enigma in East Texas. East Texas is a very closed community. If you weren't born there, you don't belong there. I do not like Tyler to this day. I was reared thirty-five miles from Tyler. My grandmother lived there. Went to the First Presbyterian Church. I did not have a friend in Tyler until I got to SMU. They just do not reach out.

    Kasper: Well, it's not your personality, that's for sure.

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    Castleberry: That's right. And so then I went through high school in Athens. Mother and Dad bought a place, my brother still lives on that place, and that became home.

    Kasper: Is he still a dairy farmer too, your brother?

    Castleberry: No. He has worked all over this country. He's recently retired, but he did, mostly, supervised heavy construction work. And he's worked all over this country.

    Kasper: So he's come back to retire on the property.

    Castleberry: Well, yeah, but he floated out of there all those years when he was going on jobs hither and yon. He's always lived there.

    Kasper: It was home.

    Castleberry: It was home. And he brought his family back there to rear—and married a young woman from Oklahoma and brought her there and while he was out working all over the world, she put the kids through school. But he's been home more often than he hasn't been. They're both retired now, but it's still—and I have laughed since then. I used to go home, of course, to Athens and tear up my mother's cabinets and put them back together. Well, I discovered that my sister-in-law was not too open about my going home. It's a different world when your brother and his wife live in the house than when it's your mother's house.

    Kasper: Right. So you can't just go in there and start looking through family diaries and picture albums and so forth.

    Castleberry: No. Although my sister-in-law and I have become closer and closer and closer through the years. My brother and I—there were two brothers. The older of the two died several years ago.

    Kasper: The older of your two brothers died?

    Castleberry: The older of my two brothers died several years ago with a heart attack at Christmas time. The younger brother and I have always been able to complete each other's sentences. We are extremely close. We live in the same world. We understand each other without words. And the sister-in-law—my brother was married previously, she was married previously, and they put their two families together and then had a daughter. He adopted her son; she adopted his two children; and then they had a child who is now grown. So it's been a long period of time. But the sister-in-law was much younger, so it took us years to get close. And now, my brother has been going through some critical illness. He's had open heart surgery and he's had several different illnesses and that has made us extremely close. And I feel like now I could walk into her house and go into that attic and pull out all the stuff that's still up there perfectly freely. But for a period of time that wasn't that way.

    Kasper: So they're living on the family place in Athens that your father and mother had taken over and dairy farmed.

    Castleberry: Bought. And dairy farmed.

    Kasper: And so you went to high school in Athens.

    Castleberry: I went to high school in Athens—

    Kasper: What kind of a high school was that?

    Castleberry: It was an excellent high school and it still is. It didn't have all of the academic stuff that it should have had. I didn't have any background much in science. I wasn't encouraged to take science or math. But those were different days, too, and now the girls are encouraged to study those things. I had an excellent history teacher. I had an excellent math teacher, really, he was exceptional in his giving me a background for what I could learn later. I never thought that I cared for math until I joined the paper and I had to learn how to

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    size pictures and do all those things that you have to do. And I learned it, with the background I had, instantly.

    Kasper: What do you think some of your interests were in high school? Did you lean more towards history and writing or English?

    Castleberry: No, I leaned more towards writing. I knew from the time I was seven years old I was going to be a journalist.

    Kasper: How did you know that?

    Castleberry: I do not know. I wrote my first story on the porch swing in LaRue, Texas—

    Kasper: When you were seven.

    Castleberry: —when I was seven.

    Kasper: What kind of story was that?

    Castleberry: Oh, I don't remember, but I still have the book somewhere.

    Kasper: And what did you do with it? Did you just stash it away somewhere?

    Castleberry: I stashed it away. I've got more stuff I stashed away. I still have most of the stuff that I've written like that through the years. I oddly enough do not have a clip of any of the stories that I did for the Times Herald. All those years, it's pretty much wasted, I guess.

    Kasper: You don't have any of them?

    Castleberry: I don't have any of them. Well, I have a few things that were significant to me at the time that I can show you, but mostly it was stuff that was, you know, tomorrow's newspapers for the birdcage. Yesterday's paper, you just don't keep it.

    Kasper: Does the Times Herald have a clipping file on you?

    Castleberry: They don't have a clipping file. The Dallas Public Library does.

    Kasper: And would some of your articles that have—?

    Castleberry: Oh, yeah, they have everything that has ever been published. But I don't have it. But the high school itself, I must say, was excellent. And also, because of my bent and my interest, I always knew I was going to write. And in high school I edited my high school newspaper, which was published by the Athens Review, the daily newspaper once a week.

    Kasper: It was called the Athens Review?

    Castleberry: Athens Review, Athens Daily Review, and once a week they published the school newspaper. At the time I didn't know what a gift they were giving us, but every Thursday for years they published it.

    Kasper: Was it an insert in the Athens Daily Review?

    Castleberry: It was an insert. In the Athens Review.

    Kasper: So you were the editor of that newspaper that went into the adult newspaper once a week. As editor, did you write articles for it as well as putting it together?

    Castleberry: I wrote articles and did the assigning and put it together and ran the ship. And oddly enough, recently I did the speech for the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the National Honor Society at Athens High School because I was one of the founding members. And in order to do that well, I went back and scanned all of those papers, those Athenians, the Athens High School paper was called the

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    Athenian, from 1939 and 1940. All of them, I looked at all of them. And I found out that I was extremely naive. That was the onset of World War II and I told the kids that night, it was their initiation program, and there were twelve of us who were charter members of that group and ten of us made it back for that. One of them came from Atlanta; one of them came from South Carolina. Fascinating, fascinating experience. Because, as I told the kids that night, we were the last of the innocent generation. We had our heads in the sand. We didn't know it. But it was such a gorgeous period of time to live in because my high school was sandwiched between the Texas Centennial and World War II. And so that period from '36 to '40 was a critical time in American history as well as in my own history.

    Kasper: Why is that? Can you describe why?

    Castleberry: Yeah, I can describe why. Because we were just pulling out of the Depression, just pulling out of the Great Depression. It's the first time we had had anything and we had had a great many gifts of experience by being a part of the Depression where there was no money at all to float around, and to suddenly be able to go to a movie without having to wonder whether or not when Saturday came you could go to a movie. I can remember so vividly what it was like to walk a mile and a half to town on Saturday afternoon just to go to the movie. And also I could go in and buy a pair of shoes without wondering whether or not I was going to have shoes for the next event that came along. And in those days if a young woman had two pairs of shoes, she was rich, because you had one pair you wore to school and you had one pair that you wore on Sunday and for dress up. And the things that I've said about my father—that he was the pessimist—he also adored me. He bought me my first high heels. Mother let him take me to town when I was in the seventh grade and she had in mind some nice little black patent leather flats. And we came home with a pair of high-heeled blue shoes. [Laughter.] And I never knew why she let me keep them, but she did. I thought at the time, and I still think, those were probably the prettiest shoes I ever owned. I loved them.

    Kasper: Do you think your mother and father had, despite their differences, one an optimist and one a pessimist, do you think they both had high expectations for you?

    Castleberry: For their children. They had high expectations for their children. Now let me explain that. There were only three careers that were okay for a woman, in my father's eye: nursing, teaching and getting married and having children. And he never understood my yen, in those days, never understood my compulsion to study journalism and to write. People wrote if they didn't have anything else to do. They wrote letters, and you were supposed to write letters and keep up with your family, and he encouraged that, and he saw that I had writing paper to write letters on, or postcards to mail to friends. But to write for a living? That was unheard of! And especially when it began to dawn on him that I intended to get out in the cruel world and lock horns with—but he also saw that there was a newspaper in our house all the time. That was a fascinating thing, as I recall, that even in the days when there was no money, we subscribed to a Dallas newspaper; it came the next day by rural mail. So the first story that I ever remember following all the way through from beginning to end was the Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker story—Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, the outlaws. And I read that day after day. I would go to the mailbox and be there when the postman came so that I could read the latest episode. And I cried when they were killed, and, you know, the whole bit.

    Kasper: Now do you think your father intended for the children to read the paper too?

    Castleberry: Oh yeah. He intended for the children to read the paper.

    Kasper: So it wasn't just for his own edification.

    Castleberry: He really intended for us to have a newspaper. Good people had newspapers in their house. And so we had a newspaper when nobody else in the community had a newspaper delivered daily to the house. And I didn't, you know, kids accept those things and you don't know that you're different. But in reviewing I know that we were very different. To have had music in the house, and to have had a newspaper in the house, books in the house. It was different. And I didn't appreciate it, but I certainly do now.

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    Kasper: And what you've done is, you've cited them as early, deep influences on you.

    Castleberry: They were deep influences on me that shaped me into what I could—the possibility.

    Kasper: Do you think he had different expectations for your brothers as opposed to you?

    Castleberry: Yes, oh yeah. My father was a typical male in that he wanted people to be able to make some money. He wanted them to be able to take care of themselves. But also there's another influence that's threaded through there. My father was also a pacifist. I grew up in a pacifist home. Because my father was in World War I and then was with the Army of Occupation after the war ended and stationed in Germany for a period of time, fell in love with the German people, couldn't stand the French. And I grew up in a house where I can hear my father to this day say, "There are always better ways to solve problems than by killing each other. Always. If you just want to find it." So I grew up in that pacifist home and came of age right at the beginning of World War II where overnight both of my brothers who had been reared in that atmosphere were in the service. And my older brother collapsed in Italy with a mental collapse from the training that he had, you know, he could not—

    Kasper: He couldn't handle it, couldn't cope.

    Castleberry: The older of my two brothers was a "90-day wonder." Are you familiar with that term?

    Kasper: No. What's a 90-day wonder?

    Castleberry: Well, in World War II, they took boys from the farm or boys from the classroom and overnight turned them into officers who led troops into battle. With 90 days training, my brother was leading troops up the boot of Italy during the worst of the fighting in World War II. And what happened to him was that he had taken a group, a small group, I think there were five of them, to reconnoiter the enemy lines and a bomb fell and cut them off from their troops. And he came to in the hospital and thought he'd been captured by the enemy—mentally, just wasn't there at the time. And wouldn't give them anything but his name and serial number for about a week. And during this period of time, we at home were going crazy. We didn't hear from him for, it seemed like an interminable period of time, it really was a very short period. But we didn't know where he was. We could tell by the headlines that were coming out of Europe about where he was from some of the things he'd said in his letters, but we didn't know. Anyway, that's a later story which I'll get back to later. But it was interesting how my father's pacifist attitudes, condoned by my mother's nurturing and nurturance, and the loving kind of surrounding in which I was reared and the protection that she gave me from people that didn't like me. That it—you know, it all kind of came together. So, in Athens High School, I'll get back to the—

    Kasper: Let me just follow that with one additional question. Do you think there was a difference in expectations between what your mother hoped for you and what you father hoped for you?

    Castleberry: Um hum. Definitely. Absolutely!

    Kasper: So that even though they both set up what was a very powerful, wonderful, nurturing, influenced background, a loving background, there was a difference—

    Castleberry: In the expectation. Oh yeah. My father would have been happy if I had married the farm boy next door and had children.

    Kasper: Whereas, he would have wanted for your brothers much more than that.

    Castleberry: Brothers to go out into the world.

    Kasper: And your mother? How did she feel about you as opposed to the boys?

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    Castleberry: My mother always, has always said, "Go for it, honey." My mother always said, "When you go to college," "when you do this," "when you leave home." And she always held out the carrot—what the possibilities were in the wider world. And she did that even though—when I got ready for college, I won a scholarship, and I knew I had to because I couldn't go to school otherwise. There wasn't any money in the family.

    Kasper: You were valedictorian in your high school, too.

    Castleberry: I was valedictorian. And the only way that I could get to school was to win a scholarship and I shall never forget some of the fun things that were happening along there. I had to do it. I had to be first in that class because—and interestingly enough, recently at the National Honor Society, the young man who was the high scoring boy in the class said to me, "I hated you all those years ago. You kept making me—you know, you kept topping me in everything." And I said, "John, I had to. I had to go to school. And that's the only way I could do it."

    So I got a scholarship and I also had an extremely wonderful influence in my life at that time. A Methodist minister who had come to town and was light years ahead of his time. He had studied and trained all over the world. He had lived in Europe. I do not know what kind of conditions brought him to—yes, I do. It took me years to find out and I've only recently known. His wife was ill and he needed an atmosphere, a small, nurturing atmosphere, where he would have an opportunity to look after her, too. So he came to Athens and took that church on, and his study was my stopping off ground. It was between the high school and downtown and I very often would drop in there and look at his books and read things. And he prodded and pushed.

    Kasper: This was during your high school years? Do you remember his name?

    Castleberry: Yeah. William G. Fletcher. Later, he was a professor at Florida Southern College and there's a building named for him there. But he was light years ahead of his time in that the Protestant ethic that is so critical to East Texas, he sought a broader world and he always brought in for lectures the small number of Jewish families that were in town, the small number of Hispanic families that were in town. He made a world that didn't exist for me.

    In the meantime, also, this black woman, who had become so influential in my life, when we first moved to Athens and opened the dairy, Mother literally had to have help. She couldn't do it all. And it was the milking, the bookkeeping. She ran the business of the family. She kept all the books. She did all of the—not only helped to deliver the milk, but she kept all of the books, she collected all of the bills, kept all the accounts. All of it was her business. My father could, but he didn't. And also, at the time, he was doing a lot of the hard work, the milking, taking care of the—the hard labor.

    And so Mary Jane Baxter, lived not too far from us, I don't know how my mother met her, but she was a bride who had just come to that community and she was black and she would come up and help my mother. And she's the one who taught me to iron. And she'd say to me, "Now, Vivian, do that shirt over. That shirt will not pass." [Laughter.] So, I grew up doing all of the things that are done in a house, including ironing my brothers' shirts when they first started to date because I had one brother who had to have a fresh shirt every time he went out of the house. And I did that. I took care of that.

    Kasper: How did you feel about that?

    Castleberry: Well, at the time, I accepted it as a given. It was only later that I rebelled and didn't do it at all anymore. But by the time I was in college he was doing his own shirts if they got done. But at the time, it was more or less—and Mother, I think, was so busy doing the things that she had to do that she wasn't even aware of that division of labor so much. My mother also, as I look back over it, was a manipulator. And I say that in the kindest terminology there is because I became one too in my work life. I had to to survive. And that's the world that I am looking forward to for my granddaughters where women do not have to manipulate in order to have the good life.

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    Kasper: Well, and manipulating, I understand exactly what you're saying, because of my own mother, and I see that in myself. Let's stop for a second. [Tape interruption.]

    Let's pick up on high school in Athens. And we're talking about Mary Jane Baxter and the minister.

    Castleberry: Yeah. Those two people were influential in that period of my life and a couple of teachers were influential. Sometimes you learn by negatives. Sometimes you learn what you don't want to do. And one of the teachers in high school, who was an excellent teacher and a very good friend, turned out to be a very good friend of mine, but she was very elitist. And I learned from her that I didn't—

    Kasper: What was her name?

    Castleberry: Her name was Willouise Barron. She's dead now. I adored her. She was an excellent teacher and she was also the sponsor of the student government. And in my senior year in high school, I was president of the student body and editor-in-chief of the paper the same year.

    Kasper: And valedictorian. My goodness, you ran away with the place.

    Castleberry: But the interesting thing about that was that it couldn't be done, but these teachers, fortunately for me, were in enough of a friendly, competitive spirit that both of them said, "I think she can do both. You know, I think—well, she has to do my thing." So I was kind of caught in getting to do both because neither one of the teachers who were sponsors of the student government or sponsors of the paper would turn me loose.

    Kasper: So there was Willouise Barron, and who was the other one?

    Castleberry: Waymon Blythe Hood was the newspaper sponsor. And she was there simply because she was on leave from a Dallas school. In those days, in Dallas, pregnant women could not teach. And Waymon made the mistake of getting pregnant, so Athens got her. And she was a fabulously excellent English teacher. Just wonderful! Mrs. Barron taught science—biology, math, mostly biology, beginning science, and Mrs. Hood taught English, and both of them were extremely important in my life. Then, also, at the same time, this darling little woman whose name was Opal Lewis became the debate sponsor and she asked me if I would come out for debate. And I said I didn't have time. And she said, well, just give it a try. So my colleague and I won third place in state in debate in our senior year. And do you know what we were debating? Socialized medicine. We were debating—that was the topic that year. Of course, we didn't call it socialized medicine—until a year ago I could quote the topic, probably could again if I thought about it, but "Resolved that all people deserve adequate medical care regardless of—"

    Kasper: Well, I was just going to say that the statement we always used back when I was with the Committee for National Health Insurance was that health care is a right, not a privilege.

    Castleberry: Health care is a right. And that was what we debated. And I still think the only reason that we did not win, that we got third place instead of first place, was that we drew the black bean and we had to debate against instead of for socialized medicine there, that third time down. And I wasn't near as good agin' as I was for. But it was so interesting the kinds of things that—anyway, these people—and Mrs. Barron was very—she was hometown, she was Athens, she had married into a prominent Athens family and she was very elitist in that the goodies of life very often were reserved for the daughters of the well-to-do. And I don't know how I was able to break down that barrier, but somehow I was, and we became very close and she was an extremely strong influence. But in the meantime, see, we lived, I was a bus student, so we lived out from town on the dairy farm, and this meant that very often a teacher would have to take me home after a debate session or after a student council meeting, or I would have to stay in town with a friend, or I would have to find a way home.

    Kasper: So you often rode with her, did you? And so she would talk?

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    Castleberry: I often did, yes. And we'd talk.

    Kasper: And what were the kinds of influences you think that came out of these conversations?

    Castleberry: I think, really, when I said I learned from Mrs. Barron, when I say I learned in negatives, I learned that I did not want to be elitist. I learned that I wanted the world to have everybody to have equal opportunity for their rights. I learned that we should not be handicapped because we don't have the money to buy the dress.

    Kasper: We should be fair minded.

    Castleberry: One vivid experience that I remember, one of my very early experiences with her and I had to overcome that, was when I was in the eighth grade and I came out for extemporaneous speech and won for the school, and it was unheard of for an eighth grader to represent the school at the county meet, but I did. And Mrs. Barron was the sponsor of that. And she told me how to dress. She said, you know, half of whether or not you win will be dependent on how you look, on the way you present yourself.

    Kasper: And you didn't like that.

    Castleberry: Well, I couldn't afford that. She wanted me to dress in white with a, at the time the style for—she wanted a—and I remember it so vividly, she said, the dress should have a cape and, you know, when you stand, you throw your cape back and whatever and whatever and whatever. All of the things that you do to get from here to there. Well, I couldn't afford the dress she wanted me to have. So my dress was made over from one of my aunt's dresses and I think she decided right early on that I didn't win that contest because I wasn't appropriately dressed. But, what I learned from that was that although it is accurate that our first appearance makes an impact on other people, that should not be the lasting impact, and I made up my mind that I would overcome that. That I probably would never be interested in fashion to the extent that I would be appropriately right for every occasion. And that to be neat and clean was the appropriate—I think that's what I learned from that. I don't know, but I think that's one of the things I learned.

    Opal Lewis was significant as my debate coach in another way. She was a fireball. And she taught me that you don't stand back and let other people do it. She taught me to take up for myself. We traveled extensively in the state on debate teams. Every weekend we were gone—to Waco or to Austin or to Houston or to Dallas—every weekend for that entire year that we were debating that topic. And, of course, learned to stay in hotels, learned to cope, learned to fend for myself, learned to handle what little money I had in making it stretch for the food I had to eat and this sort of thing. And also another experience that was just remarkable for me that I appreciate so much. The boys' debate team was exceptional too. They were exceptional. And one of those two was the Jewish boy in our high school. And I began to really experience other cultures. I began to experience—up until that time I don't think it had ever dawned on me why people go to different churches or different synagogues.

    Kasper: Except maybe for the minister that you talked about who brought in some of that diversity.

    Castleberry: Oh yeah. He brought in that. He brought in the diversity, too.

    Kasper: But this was all still new in high school for you.

    Castleberry: But this was new to me. This was new to me. And even then, I graduated from high school still having almost a fear of Roman Catholicism. And I don't know how that got put into me because it wasn't anything that was said, but I was almost afraid of the nuns, the first ones that I met, in their black habits.

    Kasper: I think that's true of a lot of us. And I'm not quite sure either how it's instilled. But I think there was some influence in probably my life as well as

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    yours where the differences between different religions were stressed rather than the similarities being promulgated.

    Castleberry: Exactly. You are so right. The differences were stressed.

    Kasper: And if you came from a strongly Protestant community—

    Castleberry: And I did.

    Kasper: —one of the ways they strengthened Protestantism was to set off against Catholics or Jews or—

    Castleberry: Um hum. But I do consider that and I saw Rubin recently in Athens. He was back for the National Honor Banquet and we had just a brief conversation. We're going to have lunch. He's a Dallas lawyer. We're going to have lunch right away because I haven't seen anything of him much in these intervening years. But what it did for me was to open my life to the positive influences of the Jewish framework and so that when I got to SMU, my best friends were Jewish girls. And I became, and I have said to this day, I could be more Jewish than I could most Protestant religions because of my deep respect for what the women do, although I have fussed at some of my good women friends here for their handling of women's issues. Up until very recent times, it's been a hard row to hoe with them.

    Kasper: What about Mrs. Hood? Now she was your English teacher. Did she encourage you?

    Castleberry: She never taught me English. She was the sponsor of the high school newspaper and so I was with her one afternoon a week after school and until we got that paper out, editing copy, making assignments for the next week, putting together the—and the typing. Again, because of the smallness of the town and the smallness of the community, it was a cooperative effort. The typing classes typed the copy. The kids would turn it in under all kinds of conditions, and with her help, I coordinated all that. So it was a good learning experience for me to make assignments, to know where the gifts and talents were for each one, to interview teachers, to draw out community leaders. Dr. Fletcher also was extremely influential because we would have him to school at least once a month to talk to us in assembly. And he had been a chaplain in World War I and he had a lot of experiences that came out of Europe, and he also wrote a weekly column, which I must frankly admit I didn't read at that time as well as I should have. And recently when I went back and went through those papers and read some of his columns, I said, "Oh, wow. That's where he was coming from. That's what he was giving me that I didn't know or appreciate at the time."

    Kasper: Well, you probably learned a great deal. You just didn't know you were learning it.

    Castleberry: Yeah. I absorbed. It was by osmosis. And when I got ready to go to school—well, one of the fun stories. The day that they were going to average grades for valedictorian, I knew they were going to do it, the teachers were having a meeting after school, and I knew they were going to do it. I knew that they were going to announce that afternoon who the honor students were and so I made it a point to stay at school after school to be there for this. And I told my mother before I left home that morning, I said, "They're going to average grades today, so you say a prayer all day long." So it just happened that Dr. Fletcher dropped by the house that day to visit with her or my parents and she told him what I had said. And he said, "When she gets home, you tell her that if she hasn't been working like hell this whole four years, my prayers for her right now are not going to do any good." [Laughter.]

    Kasper: This was from the minister!

    Castleberry: This is from the minister. That's the kind of person he was. So it was a wonderful, you know, again. So anyway, that day when they averaged grades and I knew that I was going to get the scholarship and go to school, then Dr. Fletcher started pushing me not to go to a state university. He wanted me to go to a place—even though SMU at the time did not have the reputation of being a scholarly place and still doesn't, he wanted me to have the experience of a

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    university that had more of a nurturing experience at the same time that it offered me opening to my life.

    Kasper: Nurturing in what sense?

    Castleberry: Nurturing in that it was small enough that you wouldn't get lost in the shuffle completely.

    Kasper: And where socially you would be with people who were like-minded and comforting and so forth so that maybe your transition from a small town—

    Castleberry: So the transition would be better. So what he did for me that was so mind boggling, I had no idea where I was going to school. I had a scholarship to Baylor University, a scholarship to Texas University.

    Kasper: Were these all full scholarships?

    Castleberry: There were all full scholarships in those days. A scholarship to SMU and then several lesser schools—North Texas University, East Texas State University—you know, the lesser ones in our community. And nobody from our class had come to SMU. I mean nobody from Athens had come to SMU. I think that's another reason I did it. I wanted the pioneering spirit of doing it on my own. So he brought me to Dallas with him.

    Kasper: To see SMU?

    Castleberry: He brought me to Dallas with him, gave me streetcar fare from downtown Dallas, and turned me loose to find my way to the university and to interview with the dean. And I did not know that he had plowed the ground ahead of me. I did not know that he had talked to everybody; that it was all really prepared because, you know, he let me do everything—that independence of going and doing it for yourself.

    Kasper: Had he talked to the dean at SMU and so forth?

    Castleberry: I hadn't until then, until that day.

    Kasper: No, but had he talked to the dean for you?

    Castleberry: Oh yeah. He talked to the dean, he talked to the dean of women, he had plowed everything ahead of me, but I didn't know.

    Kasper: He was not a graduate of SMU, was he?

    Castleberry: No.

    Kasper: But he knew he had some admiration for the school.

    Castleberry: You know, I cannot remember, and I need to go back and check that out, where his degrees were from, but he had finished a Ph.D., which was unheard of in those days for a minister to take a Ph.D., so his title was an earned degree, it wasn't honorary.

    Kasper: He was quite an interesting fellow.

    Castleberry: He was light years ahead of his time. To the extent that when one of the things that was required at SMU was freshman religion. Everybody in those days had to take—they no longer do, but you had to take freshman religion. And I walked into that class, see an East Texas kid, with most of the students, my classmates at that time were Dallas, a great many of them were insulated Highland Park kids, who had almost grown up on the campus.

    Kasper: Highland Park is an upper class community in Dallas.

    Castleberry: You bet. It really is. It's your pocket of wealth and really insulated from the rest of the community. I'll show you. We'll drive around it before you leave.

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    But it's two and a half square miles of upper middle class, I mean, really upper, upper.

    Kasper: Not even middle.

    Castleberry: Not even middle. And at the time it was, but I didn't know it, and I was fortunate that I didn't know.

    Kasper: It might have frightened you off, don't you think?

    Castleberry: Yeah. Oh, it would have. I got a job tutoring for my room and board because my scholarship did not cover—it covered tuition and fees. It did not cover room and board. So I got a job in an oil home tutoring for my room and—

    Kasper: In a what home?

    Castleberry: An oil home.

    Kasper: A family that was into oil.

    Castleberry: That was the Jake L. Hamon family. And in my sophomore—well, I lived there for two years, and I tutored their second daughter, Lucretia, who was a student at Hockaday, which is an exclusive girls' school, and she, at the time I went there, I did not know the structure of the family at all. It turned out that the mother was an alcoholic. I did not know that because I didn't know why the servants were taking crackers and tomato juice and coffee to her room. But they had three children when I went there. The children were twelve, thirteen and fourteen. Two girls, the fourteen year old and the thirteen year old that I was tutoring, and a twelve-year-old son. And he was gone most of the time, the father. He traveled extensively with his oil business. And I became by default kind of the caretaker of those children. There were two servants, a man and woman, husband and wife, black, and I wish I had kept notes, because that would make the world's best book, because I came from this East Texas very loving, arms-around family, to this family that was exceedingly rich, excessively rich, whose values were totally, completely different to my own.

    When I went there, Lucretia weighed 180 pounds and ate all of the time, and one of my jobs was to keep her on a diet. And the unfortunate thing was that the room from her bedroom led down to the kitchen. And it was nothing unusual at all for me to find a roast beef between her mattresses. I mean food would come up to that room like you wouldn't believe. She would eat her diet food at the table and then bring this food up to her room. Lucretia and I would—

    [End Tape 1, Side B; Begin Tape 2, Side A]

    Kasper: So you were at the Hamons right from when you left home. They arranged for you to move in with the Hamons from when you left East Texas.

    Castleberry: Yes, from when I left home. He had hired me. I did not know that she did not want me there and the kids did not want me there. But he wanted me there as a stabilizing influence for his children. Apparently, he had checked very carefully with the dean of women to get somebody that was—I was eighteen years old, and had the care, really, the—not the physical care, but had the emotional care of this twelve, thirteen and fourteen year old.

    Kasper: Because he knew his wife couldn't do it and he was gone.

    Castleberry: And his wife was not there some and she was in her room a great deal of the time when she was there. So I came on a Friday, my mother, my grandmother and my aunt brought me up and left me and I guess the loneliest I have ever been in my life was when they left me in this fabulous house over on Turtle Creek Boulevard and nobody there to greet me but the servants. And it turned out later at the first meal we had that Mrs. Hamon asked a few questions, but nobody was really interested in who I was or where I came from and nobody communicated in that house. They communicated by screaming at each other, or by throwing things at each other, and it was a totally different lifestyle in that our meals were all served on white linen in the dining room or on the sun porch by a butler in a white uniform, but we didn't

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    communicate with each other. We talked around each other. And on Sunday, this was on Friday—on Saturday I got through the day all right. I remember that at one stage the kids, Diana, at the time, was fourteen and driving already, and so she took us out for a root beer to a drive-in place, but she picked up a lot of her friends on the way, and nobody talked to me, nobody was interested in what I was doing there or who I was or anything. It was an extremely lonely experience. And then on Sunday, because I needed something that would be a continuum in my life, I took the streetcar and came to Highland Park Methodist Church and I came to Highland Park Methodist because it was on the SMU campus and I thought I might meet some people who would be in my class, classmates, because Monday was to be registration day. And so on Sunday, then, when I got home from church, Lucretia was sitting cross-legged in the middle of her bed, and her first words to me that I remember, she may have said something to me before that, but the first words I remember was, "Prove to me that there's a God. You've been to church, now prove to me that there's a God." [Laughter.] So it was a very lonely beginning and I was extremely homesick and I was starting a totally new life in a totally new community, a totally new world. On Monday morning, Cleo, the black, all-purpose servant, drove me to school in a limousine. And here was this East Texas kid getting out of a long, black Packard at SMU on the first day of school. I wish I had a picture of that.

    Kasper: What a series of contrasts, right?

    Castleberry: I wish I had a picture of that because I don't believe it myself but it happened to be true. And he drove me to school for the first week until I insisted on taking the streetcar to school. I certainly did not want to make the wrong impression on my classmates.

    Kasper: Well, and the degree of contrasts for you, personally, must have been so overwhelming.

    Castleberry: It was horrible. It was just overwhelming, it really was. And then because things were so unpleasant in the dining room, very shortly I started picking up sandwiches in the kitchen or doing whatever I could not to eat with the family. And then I got the word from her through the servants that I was to eat with the family, that that was part of the package, that I would be present at meals.

    Kasper: And living at the Hamons too, I should imagine, after a while, kind of cut you off from what was going on at the campus.

    Castleberry: Oh, it did. Of course it did.

    Kasper: Had you been on campus and hanging around the student union—

    Castleberry: Had I been on campus and been a part of it, it would have been different, but I was—the work was such that—the interesting thing was, again, you learn in negatives, and the interesting thing was that that's where I learned Shakespeare. I had never really learned it in high school. I'd had some of it, but I'd never really had a teacher that focused on it, but I had to teach Lucretia Shakespeare. And that's when I got an appreciation for some of the giants in literature that I had missed along the way. So, again, certainly nothing is ever all bad if you want to utilize those experiences for learning tools. But, the thing was, by, I would say, three months into that year, I was carrying more of a load than anybody could carry. I was a country kid, alienated from the background that I had, working in hours that didn't allow me time to go home for a weekend visit because I was on duty most weekends, and carrying a heavy freshman load and I just about cracked up over it.

    Kasper: Well, and embroiled in this emotional thing.

    Castleberry: The emotional thing. And I remember one day I was in the lounge and I dissolved into tears in the lounge and an older student, a senior woman came in and found me in this condition, and took me to the school doctor whose name was Minnie Maffett, who is considered a giant in this town. I hated that woman. It took me years to get over it. She took me in, perfunctorily examined me, announced that I was not a fit student for college, that I had nothing going for me that was of the caliber or quality that I would get through school, and that my best bet was

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    to go home and marry the farm boy next door and try to get a little enjoyment out of life because I certainly wasn't fit for college.

    Kasper: Oh, my god, to add to your troubles, then this was piled on you.

    Castleberry: Un huh. To look back over that. At the time, it probably was the best thing that ever happened to me. I walked out of her office—and I walked out of her office in the women's dorm with—I shall never forget it as long as I live—I walked out of there with the attitude, by damn, I will show her. And I picked up the pieces and went to class and I never cried anymore over—one of the things that I've done for myself through the years is taught myself not to cry. I wish I hadn't done that. But the kind of life I have lived has been it's been imperative that I learn. Minnie Maffett was hard-nosed, she had a hard time getting through medical school herself, it took me years to appreciate where she was coming from. I did live to get to introduce her one time at a women's club meeting and to tell her the story of what she had done to me. And she looked at me and said, "I couldn't have done that, Vivian." And I said, "But you did. You did that." And I said, "I'm here today to thank you for it. But at the time, it was the worst day of my life." And I wish my mother had kept my letters to home.

    Kasper: It's wonderful that you put some resolution on that.

    Castleberry: Yeah. Yeah, I did. I put resolution on a lot of things. I've come full circle with a lot of those things. I also, at the time, had a dean of women who was a traditionalist and who never understood—she was the kind of woman who believed in patting you on the back and saying, "There, there child, it's going to be all right." And no matter what came across, it was out of that old southern framework of "There, there, honey, this is going to be fine."

    Kasper: Always look on the bright side. Everything will be better.

    Castleberry: She thought she had placed me in the best situation that she could probably place me in in the home and I would have never told her how horrible it was for me to exist there. In the first place, the way the house was divided, it was a gorgeous house, I've always wanted to buy it and make a happy house out of it. It's still there. It's right across the street from Dallas Theatre Center and it's—

    Kasper: We should drive by.

    Castleberry: We will. It's a gorgeous house and the downstairs has the kitchen, the huge dining room, the sun porch, the entryway, the library and the den. The upstairs is divided into two suites. You go up a wide, circular staircase that divides at the top, and on the right hand side was my room, Lucretia's room, Diana's room, and the waiting room, or the little living room, for that unit of rooms. On the other end was Mr. Hamon's room, Mrs. Hamon's room, Jake Junior's room and their living room. And there was no way between these two suites of rooms that they connected. So that the girls never knew what it was to have a mother. They told me later in words that when they were children the servants always did for them, I mean, the nannies, and when they grew up, the servants did for them. But their mother, they never remembered their mother packing a thing for them, or buying a thing for them, or going anywhere with them, or giving them any kind of mothering. And one of my vivid stories—I lived there when World War II was declared, during those years I was living in that house, and that's when nylons first came in. We had no nylon stockings.

    Kasper: So this was 1941-42 when you were living there.

    Castleberry: 1941-42. And the girls, Lucretia and Diana, would order two dozen pairs of nylon hose from Neimans and they would wear them until they got dirty and they would put them in the wastebasket. So I never bought a pair of hose while I lived there. I rescued them from the wastebasket and laundered them.

    Kasper: Oh, of course. I remember my mother telling me stories about not only there were no silk stockings, no nylon stockings, but when you went out, you pretended you had a pair by drawing the lines up the back of your legs. Oh, my god, they threw them out.

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    Castleberry: Right, you did. But I always, I mean, nylons I had, because they would wear them and then throw them in the wastebasket. And clothes, they bought—and Lucretia never did lose weight while I was there. She did later. But this child ate everything, and the thing was, there was unlimited money. They could always order, and they ordered, at night they would order hamburgers and pizza, well, pizzas weren't so much in then, but the food would come to that house in cartons and buckets and whatever.

    Kasper: It must have been so astonishing for you, a poor farm child.

    Castleberry: And I was supposed to see that she didn't overeat. [Laughter.] It was something. She later lost weight and made her debut at Idlewild and then walked off of her Idlewild Ball and married the foreman of their ranch—on horseback yet. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: She finally went like this [motion] to her parents.

    Castleberry: Glorious stories, just glorious stories.

    Kasper: Really. It would make a wonderful book.

    Castleberry: Yeah, it would make a wonderful book. But anyway, through the years, then after that second year, well I had earned enough credentials with the school and with the dean of women that I went to work in the dormitory and earned my room and board in the dormitory. In my junior year, I was the monitor on the freshman floor at SMU and I had never—SMU is quite a social school, but I didn't know when I came from East Texas that one went through rush and that one pledged to sorority. Fortunately, I didn't know that. And so it never made any difference to me whatsoever. And by the time I had earned enough credentials on my own to be "rushed," I didn't need it anymore. I couldn't have afforded it anyway, but I didn't need it. And, in the meantime, as I have said earlier, some of the Jewish girls were dear friends of mine—Annie Eisenstein, who rode the same streetcar with me, and she and I became very good friends; and Josephine Israel and I became friends and still are. She's Josephine Goldman now. And Bea Lichtenstein and—so I didn't really run around in that crowd so much because they were pretty much of a closed sorority unto themselves, too. But the intellectual climate that they had experienced in their own families was an opening for me.

    Kasper: These Jewish girls.

    Castleberry: These Jewish girls. And I appreciated them far more. Annie and I rode the streetcar together and her home was not too far from where the Hamons lived so that sometimes in the early mornings, especially if it was cold, I would stop by her house before we'd take the streetcar together on to school. And so I shall never forget being in her house when her brother was preparing for his bar mitzvah, and that was new to me. I'd never known anything about this. Somehow, I had missed it in my reading. Knew nothing about it. And I was so impressed with this young boy who was preparing for a bar mitzvah. And, also, we were friendly enough that I could ask any kind of questions and get answers. And I felt really good about that so that the Jewish community became then almost my extended family in my freshman year at SMU.

    Kasper: And these were girls like yourself who did not live in the dorms. They lived in homes.

    Castleberry: That's right. They were town girls. Their parents lived here. They were not boarding or rooming as I was. They were town girls.

    Kasper: But they provided a transition for you between the Hamons and SMU, which you desperately needed.

    Castleberry: That's right. I had to have. But by the time I moved into the dorm, I had caught the vision. I knew that I could hack it. I knew I could make it.

    Kasper: You won the bet against Dr. Maffett.

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    Castleberry: That's right. In my freshman year, my grades were not too good. They were probably B-C's, my first year, but I was handling so much. So by the time I was a junior at SMU, my grades had come up, my grade point average was high, and I still retained this imperative interest in journalism. And the wonderful thing was that in my freshman year, I had a freshman English teacher whose name was Jim Bond and he had been an editor for True Confessions. But, he was creative to the core. And my writing in that freshman class impressed him sufficiently that by the beginning of my sophomore year, he asked for permission for me to get enrolled in his creative writing class. He was going away on a sabbatical after that year so that I would not be—this was a class that was open only to juniors and seniors, but he allowed me in it because he was going to be away in my junior and senior years working on his doctorate and he wanted this experience for me. And it was the best journalism class I ever had in that there were only twelve of us, we met in the library, we met once a week. We wrote, that's what we did. And we would meet at night in his home, or we would meet at night and read our stuff to each other and critique it.

    Kasper: What kind of things did you all write?

    Castleberry: Well, some of them wrote fantasy. Some of them wrote children's stories. I just wrote about life as it was. I wrote glorified journalism. I took life as it was and wrote—but we also were required to write short stories and our final examination was a short story, and I still think the short story—I got an "A" on it—and I still think it's a good story. Never sent it to a publisher.

    Kasper: What was it about?

    Castleberry: It was more or less my story, except it was a glorified—

    Kasper: An autobiographical piece?

    Castleberry: Autobiographical piece, except that it was fiction. You know, I could embroider along the way, and make it this girl who had succeeded through a traumatic college experience.

    Kasper: What did you call it? Do you remember the title of it?

    Castleberry: I don't remember the title of it. But it was a really terrific experience in that it—and then our journalism classes, we didn't have a journalism department at the time, and the best training that I got was that Lester Jordan, who was the journalism teacher, let us fall flat on our faces and pick ourselves up.

    Kasper: Now, were you a journalism major?

    Castleberry: Yes. I was a journalism major.

    Kasper: And did you start that straight away your freshman year majoring in journalism?

    Castleberry: Yes.

    Kasper: You knew it when you came there and they were able to—

    Castleberry: I knew it when I came there and that's what I was headed for and I've never deviated a jot or a tittle. I enjoyed my other experiences and I came, you know, I would fiddle around, for instance, when I took religion as a freshman, a required course, I walked into that class and I couldn't believe that here was a kid from East Texas who was so far ahead in religious thinking because most of my classmates were Dallas kids and I assumed that they had had a wider experience. And I'll never forget when my freshman religion teacher talked about Moses leading the Hebrews across the sea and how the waves parted. And I said, "Well, sure they parted, the tide went out." And my religion teacher went, "Huh." You know, I couldn't—it was incredible to me that people didn't know that. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: I remember reading that in the Bible myself and saying, "Well, of course the Red Sea parted, it was a sea, it had tides."

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    Castleberry: Of course. Exactly. And these kids didn't know that. And the miracle that Christ had performed. I mean, I couldn't believe they didn't know these things. So I had had that good background of experience and brought it with me, but my freshman religion course—a man whose name was Ward Redus, and they're still good friends of mine, they're still living—Ward and Amo Redus. He's a religion professor emeritus, very learned. And they provided a home for me off campus. They lived a block from SMU and he would have us on Sunday night down to his house for rap sessions. We didn't call them rap sessions in those days, but that's what it amounted to. And he would invite the kids from his class who had "shown promise" and I didn't know that that's what they were doing. And they would invite us down. And also at the same time, I volunteered, went to Highland Park Methodist Church, and I volunteered as a Sunday school teacher in the black community. And I stayed with that, I taught black kids until one of the little boys ate all the crayolas and it scared me to death and I left that job because I was afraid he would die. I didn't know crayolas wouldn't hurt him. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: Another lesson in life.

    Castleberry: Another lesson that I learned the hard way. But all of those people made such an impact in my life. And the religion course that Dr. Redus taught became so significant of how religion shapes people that I then took a minor in religion and studied comparative religion in my sophomore year and could have very easily gone in that direction, and may have gone in that direction, had it been okay in those days for women to get involved in religion as a life tool.

    Kasper: Yes. With the prospect of being a minister or something.

    Castleberry: Yeah. What really turned me on was how religion shapes us and where—how we—because I was so appalled at some of these kids who had come out of conservative churches in the Dallas community where they were in their life and how they had been shaped and cut off by some of the things that they had been told. I thought all of us had had the experience of being with people who opened our minds rather than closed them down. And also my experience also with the Methodist church was that it was light years ahead of its time in that the Methodist church in those days was one of the leaders in women's issues.

    Kasper: It still is.

    Castleberry: And I was just amazed at what it allowed me to do. And I would go to Sunday school occasionally with my Baptist friends and find that they were sinners and that they weren't supposed to be doing these things, and I was astonished. So, anyhow, all those things shaped me so that by the time I was a junior in college, I was working all the hours that I possibly could for the Campus, which was a weekly. The Campus was the name of the paper.

    Kasper: It was called the Campus and that's the weekly newspaper?

    Castleberry: It was the weekly newspaper and at the time we didn't have a publishing company on campus so we had to go downtown to publish. We had to take our copy downtown. So I was doing that from the time I was a junior and working in all these hours I could. I was working in the dorm as a monitor on the freshman floor. That's when I watched girls go through rush and some of them leave because they didn't make the sorority they wanted. And to see what the Greek system did to kids and became very adamantly opposed to the Greek system. It was a quiet "agin'" but I was really "agin'" all the things that cut people off from community. And I had thirty-two freshmen on my floor. And I was nursemaid, mother, monitor, caretaker, nurturer. And in those days, it was against the rules for girls to smoke in the dorm. And most of my girls were smoking. So I simply called a meeting. Again, this is one of those places where you manipulate behind your housemother's back. I adored my housemother and I told her, "I will not lie to you. I will not tell you an untruth." But what I did was call my girls together and say to them, "If I catch you smoking, I'm going to report you. So you better be sure that I don't catch you smoking." So I'd walk into girls' room when the smoke was coming out from under the bed, but I didn't see it. The girls were allowed to smoke in their own homes by their own families, and it just seemed to me to be an obnoxious college rule that they couldn't do in their dormitories what they did in their own homes.

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    So I guess that's again where I say I was a manipulator because I tried to—

    Kasper: You tried to meet everybody's needs.

    Castleberry: I kept the letter of the law, but I didn't keep the spirit of the law very well, I'm afraid. And also that year we had our first experience with homosexuality. One of the girls was accused of being a lesbian. And my housemother couldn't say the word. She called me into her room and wanted to know if I smelled anything unusual coming from that room. And to this very day, I don't know what it was I was supposed to smell.

    Kasper: Smell? Do lesbians smell different?

    Castleberry: So, I went through that experience. While we call things by names that they were not and tried to live through that. Then, let's see, on December the 7th 1941, I sat on the floor of the women's gym and heard President Roosevelt ask Congress for a war, on Sunday afternoon, the day the war broke out. I had made an extremely good friend by that time, another small town girl who also was working her way through school.

    Kasper: What's her name?

    Castleberry: Her name was Edith Hanby. And she was as cynical as I was positive, so we were good for each other. She had been reared in a "broken home" by parents who fought over the custody of her and her two sisters and she had been reared by a grandmother and uncles and aunts mostly. Her dad's twin sister mostly, Aunt Gaye. And she was from a small town near here so I could go out with her sometimes to her house on weekends. Her father had a nursery and we were at his nursery on December 7, 1941, picking chrysanthemums, and had got back to the house and heard on the radio that there had been this disaster in Hawaii and didn't know what it was. It was just so dramatic that you didn't know what was taking place. And then the next day, they called us all together from different parts of classes and there were probably—the women's gym was full—boys and girls, men and women, listening to a radio that they had set up to hear Roosevelt talk to Congress.

    And I remember it vividly for another reason. I had kind of had my eye on a young man along about that time, and he had never even said hello to me. And during that session of that, while this was happening, he turned to me and said, "Why don't we go outside and listen to this on my car radio?" And I was just, you know, "Wow!" So we did, and we listened to the rest of it, and it was dramatic and he held my hand because it was a dramatic moment, you know, it was really a dramatic moment. I don't know, I don't even remember his name, I do not know what happened to him, but at the time it was dramatic. And then almost overnight, all of our classmates were in uniform. But SMU had a Navy V-12 unit, so what they did—

    Kasper: A Navy V-12?

    Castleberry: V-12, was what they called it. And what happened is that our classmates went into uniform and stayed on campus to finish school and lots of other men were brought in. So we were not bereft of having dates at all. It's just that they were all in the service. And by that time I also was doing a lot of other things, and I will always know that I became editor of the SMU paper simply because the war was on. If there had been men here to do it, I wouldn't have been allowed this privilege.

    Kasper: Explain that if you can a little bit more in detail.

    Castleberry: Well, see, the thing is all the men were in service. And even though they were still on campus, their extracurricular hours were taken care of with the service commitments, and somebody had to run the paper.

    Kasper: Now, are you talking about the Campus?

    Castleberry: The Campus, un huh. So at the end of my junior year, or toward the end of my junior year, I decided I would run for editor of the Campus. It was an elective office. And I announced my candidacy, and I did not go and tell my housemother,

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    and I did not go and tell my dean of women because I knew they would tell me not to.

    Kasper: There had never been a woman editor of the Campus had there?

    Castleberry: There had been, way back in the early days when the school first started, but not in the recent years at all. And it was a man's bailiwick. So I announced for it and it turned out that my opponent, my chief opponent, was another woman who was a sorority girl and a very rich girl in the community. And I won over her hands down, although it was a very organized political campaign and it got nasty. She did not have the credentials that I did and I, for some way or other, was a good politician. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed politicking. I enjoyed going to the dorms. I enjoyed talking to the people. I was credentialed. I had done my homework. I had done the background stuff.

    Kasper: How were you credentialed?

    Castleberry: I had worked for the paper ever since I'd been there. I had been features editor for it. I had been an assistant editor for it.

    Kasper: Straight from your freshman year.

    Castleberry: Well, as I progressed. And I had taken all the journalism courses that were offered. I had to have this course in creative writing. And not only that, but I had a wide following in the Independent Students Association by that time and had held an office in ISA. So I had a lot going for me. And when I won—well, one of the funny stories. I met my dean of women face-to-face the day after I announced and, it came out in the paper that I was running for editor of the paper for the next year, I met my dean of women right at the water fountain at SMU and she pulled herself up right in front of me, I was going to speak and pass on, and she said to me, "My dear, have you forgotten that you are a woman student." [Laughter.] And I still don't know what that means. I still don't know what that means.

    Kasper: And you didn't care to investigate any further because you'd won the position and that's what mattered, presumably.

    Castleberry: Well, see, I had just announced, I didn't know I was going to win. I didn't know I was going to win yet. And she felt very confident that I wouldn't.

    Kasper: Yes. Well then that's what the remark meant, sure. You've forgotten your place. Your place is not to run.

    Castleberry: Not to be a top person on the campus. But, of course, it happened, and, again, I say the timing was right. I've had a lot of goodies because the timing was right.

    Kasper: And as you said earlier, you say the timing was right because the boys were so committed to their service duties that it was an opportunity for a woman to come in and take charge.

    Castleberry: And then, too, I had two roommates also for that period of time, and then I will get me through school quickly. I had two roommates. In addition to Edith Hanby, who was my best friend and dearest friend, she became my dearest friend in my freshman year and when the Hamon's would go out of town on weekends, they would allow me to have someone in so I wouldn't be by myself in that big house. And Edith would come and stay with me some weekends. And that was really, really rich because it—and as I say, she was cynical as I was positive, and it gave a good balance. In later years, she never could understand why I followed a career. Because of her background experience, she was an at-home mother. And she was one of those people who promised me that I would rear juvenile delinquents because I insisted on working. She was absolutely positive that that would happen. And I think—she died—she had cancer, she had a spinal cancer, malignancy on the spine and died a number of years back. But we remained good friends. She was maid of honor in my wedding. She was my oldest child's godmother. We were really close friends. But my two college roommates also created an extremely good influence on my life.

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    Kasper: Who was the other one?

    Castleberry: My first college roommate—Neither. Edith was not ever a roommate. The first roommate that I had in my junior year was a woman whose name was Sue Paul and she was an exquisite beauty—brown-eyed, blonde, tall, model, good looking, had signed a Hollywood contract in her senior year in high school. Her parents wouldn't let her go to Hollywood and so she was under contract, and I can't remember to whom, but she quit school at the end of her sophomore year and got married and the talent scouts came back to SMU campus and found me and blamed me for it. How could you let her get married, you know, she was headed for all these great things. She was a natural beauty. She handled her body like an athlete. And she was a very wealthy girl, well-to-do girl, from a small town and was extremely good for me in that she made me do things I wouldn't have other—she dressed me up, she put makeup on me, she made me date, she—

    Kasper: She exposed you to a whole wealth of things you hadn't—

    Castleberry: She exposed me to a different kind of world. And also, when she married, I was maid of honor in her wedding. We were close friends. And she was a year younger than I. I looked after her. She had the most exquisite wardrobe in the world, and I was very unhappy that I couldn't wear her clothes because she was so tall that I—the only thing I could wear was her sweaters, but she would dress me up in those. And she also had a car at school and in those days nobody had a car. And so we could tool around a lot and have a good time. And she did expose me to a totally different world and I adored her and she did me. She made me date and I made her study. So I pulled her through that year. And then she quit and married on me. I was so mad at her. And the marriage did not last. She married, had one baby the next year, another baby the next year, and then divorced.

    And so then, my senior year, my college roommate was a young woman whose name was Cordelia Marshall. And she was a town girl whose family moved her into the dorm because they wanted her to have the dorm experience. And Cordelia was a brain. She was Phi Beta Kappa, but she also had the most delicious, delightful sense of humor. She was born to older parents. Her parents at that time were older and mature and they were not from Dallas, they were from Missouri or somewhere. Anyway, they had given her a different—her brother was grown by the time she was born. And she lived over in Oak Cliff, which is another part of Dallas, and we could go to her house on the streetcar and did often. And she brought a different kind of lifestyle into my life. Her sense of humor was delicious. And our housemother kept saying, "What am I going to do with her? What am I going to do with her?" Because, although she was Phi Beta Kappa, she'd walk right on the borderline of being in trouble all of the time. And I shall never forget, at that time the army had sent a specialized group of high army officers here for some specialized training in engineering. And they ate in our dorm. And one night I got home from putting out the paper, we still went downtown to put out the paper, and I got home about midnight from putting out the paper, I had a key to the dorm by that time because I had to let myself in, and the housemother was waiting up for me and I knew something had happened when she was waiting up for me. And she said, "What are we going to do with your roommate?" And I said, "What has she done now?" She had taken, when the officers went in that night to the dining hall to eat—we had been in a huge scrap metal drive for the war effort, she had taken a box and wrote "Put your scrap metal here" on this big old cardboard box and gathered up all their hats and put them in this box and when they came in to dinner and they hung them where they're supposed to hang them. Of course, they were heavy with metal, high army officers. They did not think it was funny. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: So she was a devil.

    Castleberry: She was a devil. One night in the middle of the night—the women had moved into the men's dormitory and we were living in little hovels and let the Navy have our dorms, and let the army effort and everybody have our nice plush dorm, and we were all on bunk beds in the little bitty bit of space, and no carpeting, no nothing. And one night, in the middle of the night, Cordelia said, in the middle of the night, we'd been studying, she'd just been poring over her books, in the middle of the night she said, "There's not enough going on in this life, we're not having any fun." And I said, "What do you mean have fun?" And she said, "Watch me." So she took a handful of marbles and took them outside and rolled them down the hall so

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    that they went clompity, clompity, clomp all the way down. We were on the third floor. All the way to the first floor, got everybody up. Well, finally, I can't remember what she got campused for, but she got campused—

    Kasper: What does that mean, campused?

    Castleberry: It means that you can't go out for an entire weekend. And by that time we had so many friends and when I got home on Thursday night, she was campused from Friday morning to Monday class time. And when I got home on Friday night, or Thursday night, from putting out the paper, her boyfriends had sent a black wreath to our room. It was hanging on our door in memorial for Cordelia for the weekend. And she just made a ball of it. I mean, the people on the desk had to take messages, and the boys had made up that weekend that they would call her every hour on the hour and leave a long message that the girl at the desk had to take down on the book. And it happened for—and Miss B, Miss Brazelton said, "I don't know what I'm going to do with her. I campus her and she makes a party of it." And we just had a picnic. By that time she had two boyfriends in medical school. One of them sent a big old package that weekend with a sign on it that said, "Beware, this is a cadaver." Things of this kind that went on the whole time. So, anyway, that was a good year, and by the time I graduated, I graduated in June of '44 and the war, of course, was still in full swing and interestingly enough, all of the time that I was doing other things, I was corresponding with Curt Castleberry.

    Kasper: Now, how had you met Curt Castleberry?

    Castleberry: I met him in the seventh grade.

    Kasper: You met Curt in the seventh grade?

    Castleberry: In the seventh grade and went all through high school with him.

    Kasper: In Athens?

    Castleberry: In Athens. Never dated him. When we would get home, after we graduated from high school, if we happened to be home the same weekend, which was rare because I was in college and busy, and he was in business school at that time and busy, we went to a movie together or we did something together. But the background was that the one time he asked me for a date, I had told my mother, I said, "There is this boy in my class who is going to come out and ask me to go somewhere." At the time, we did not have a telephone. And I said, "He's going to come out here and ask me to go somewhere with him and I want you to say I can't go." It wasn't Curtis.

    Kasper: It wasn't?

    Castleberry: No. That wasn't who I was talking about. It was Curtis that came. I had no inkling that he was going to come out. He came out and asked me to go to a movie with him, and I said, "But Mother I want to go," and she said, "But you can't go." You know. And after he left, I said, "But Mother, I wanted to go." And she said, "You told me when that boy came out here to tell you that you couldn't go." So I had a hard time living that down. I think to this day, after forty-three years of marriage, he still doesn't believe that story. [Laughter.] But it was so funny because when he left the house that day—

    Kasper: Was that seventh grade?

    Castleberry: Oh, no. That was high school. There was a little bridge that you—in our house in Athens, if I had time I'd take you there too, just to show you, you circle to the driveway. You know, you came in, you circled out. It was out in the country, but it was a big lawn and you circled out. He ran off the bridge when he left. And my father came in and said, "I'm so glad that you said you didn't want to go out with that boy. You will never go anywhere with that boy. He doesn't know how to drive." So I married him. [Laughter.] But we never dated. And then, after we graduated from high school, we were in the same class, graduated in the same class, after we were out of high school, we were in Athens two or three different times and went to a movie or you know, stopped and talked. But I corresponded with

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    him throughout the war years. All the time I was doing other things, I was dating excessively, you know, having a good time at college. I learned to play in my junior year of college, Sue taught me to play, I'd never learned to play.

    Kasper: To play what?

    Castleberry: To play. To have fun. To go to parties. To enjoy. Not to be such a drip or a bore.

    Kasper: Or somebody who is just working so hard that you didn't have time for playing.

    Castleberry: Working so hard that I didn't have time to get my nose out of a book to do anything else.

    Kasper: So what you're saying is, even during that time that you had learned to play and have fun with other people, you were still corresponding with Curt.

    Castleberry: I was corresponding with him and I kept up that correspondence throughout. I told a group recently, I guess it was the National Honor speech, that things the people laugh about that you think were funny, I said, I thought it was my patriotic duty. [Laughter.] I was writing to a good dozen people from home. My two brothers, you know, Curtis, a lot of other people, boys that were my brothers' friends because my brothers kept the house full of boys, although most of them were my age and younger.

    Well, I knew how to relate to boys because I'd had brothers. I knew how to deal with boys because I'd had brothers, but so far as dating is concerned—when I was in high school, my father was strict about that. He would not let me go out without my brother and he wouldn't let my brother have the car without me. So the two of us were inextricably tied together and we'd go out and then he'd pick up his date and pick up—usually it was a group, we went mostly in groups, but we knew how to get around that real quickly. And Mother knew we were doing it, and she condoned it, it was just one of those things that you did. So, anyway, I graduated in 1944.

    Kasper: Let me stop you for just a second. When you say that you were a journalism major right from the beginning, did SMU provide you with a good journalism background? Did you feel that it prepared you well?

    Castleberry: The only way that it provided me with a good background was that, as I said, they let us fall flat on our faces and pick ourselves up. They let us be responsible for our own mistakes. And it was because you had to do everything, I had to make the assignments, I had to see that the assignments were in on time, I had to credential the people, I had to—everything was up to me.

    Kasper: But that's the paper? How about the coursework that you took? How much did that add up to in terms of your training?

    Castleberry: As a journalism trainer, Lester Jordan was a good sports writer.

    Kasper: That's about the extent of it.

    Castleberry: And I adored him. I adored him because he, if he is still living, he will tell you to this day, because I've heard him tell this story several times, he said, "One day I looked up and there was this brown-eyed kid from East Texas in my class and I knew she was headed for something special." He has said that so many times that I think he really did. And he provided the—

    [End Tape 2, Side A; Begin Tape 2, Side B]

    Castleberry: Navy V-12 unit. I was editing the SMU Campus. The Navy V-12 unit was on our campus. Nobody told me I could not publish what the boys were saying about their commanding officers.

    Kasper: So you did?

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    Castleberry: So I did. Then Lester Jordan came in one day and he said to me, "Vivian, I think maybe you better go home for the weekend [Laughter.] until things clear up a little bit." And they almost pulled the V-12 unit off the campus because the—

    Kasper: What did you publish?

    Castleberry: I just published what the boys were singing and saying about their commanding officer behind his back.

    Kasper: Which was not so nice.

    Castleberry: I don't remember what it was, but it certainly wasn't nice. And the Navy didn't like that much. That's the way Lester Jordan taught me. And he called me in Athens while I was down there, by that time we did have a phone. He called me in Athens while I was down there and he said, "Well you can come home now. [Laughter.] We've had a publishing board meeting and the university president and whatever has been called in and everything's calmed down and I think you can come back to the campus." [Laughter.] So I started it early, I started early walking just almost crossing the line that was not allowed. I wouldn't have done that had I known, I really wouldn't have, but I—

    Kasper: You wouldn't have done what?

    Castleberry: I wouldn't have published it. It was sheer innocence that I did that.

    Kasper: So it wasn't guts journalism so much as you just thought—

    Castleberry: It wasn't guts journalism so much as I was naive. Even though—

    Kasper: But it set a pattern that you then—

    Castleberry: It set a pattern that I could push, I could always push beyond. I could always push. And I always knew I could. And I always knew—

    Kasper: And you had some encouragement. It wasn't just that you were—

    Castleberry: Sure. And I also knew that—I learned pretty early on that the sun was going to come up tomorrow anyway and what I did or didn't do was not in the long run going to make a great deal of difference so I better live life to the fullest. Just live it to the fullest. And I did crazy things, like at the end of my sophomore year, instead of going home, Edith Hanby and I went out and got a room in town with kitchen privileges and then I called my folks and told them I wasn't coming home that summer, I was going to stay in town and work. But when I graduated from college, Dr. Fletcher was severely disappointed that I did not go on for my masters. At that time he had, and I didn't know what he was doing, but he had—I don't know whether he talked them into it, but anyway, at Boston College I was offered a fellowship at Boston College to do my masters in religion.

    Kasper: It's a Jesuit school. Right.

    Castleberry: And I turned it down. Turned it down flat because I was so tired at that stage of living from hand to mouth, I really had gone to school on a shoestring and there were times that I could not buy a book that I needed. There were times that—because when I came to SMU my father said to me, the total of his advice was, "Honey, we have done all we can for you. If you want to go to school, we will love you and support you to the limit of our ability, but it's not going to be very much financially."

    Kasper: So you were on your own?

    Castleberry: So, there was no money. People can't work themselves through college now, but I could and I did. And I had—

    Kasper: But you're saying, too, it took its toll on you, is what you're saying.

    Castleberry: Oh, it took its toll. Oh yes.

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    Kasper: And you were not about to go off and do this all over again at Boston College.

    Castleberry: I didn't want to do that all over again. I wanted some income. At that stage—well, at the time too, by the time I was out of SMU, I had fallen in love twice, and there wasn't time for this. And the young man that I was dating when I graduated from SMU I still would love to know where he is because he became a physician and—

    Kasper: What was his name?

    Castleberry: Alan Hertell. I had to reach for that one. I couldn't remember all of a sudden. He gave me a Cocker spaniel for graduation. I mean, I needed a Cocker spaniel like I needed a hole in the head because here I was going to work in Dallas. But he was a delightful, very beautiful human being. He was in the Navy, Navy V-12 unit. Our dates were something really special. We did things like ride the streetcar to the movies or take public transportation over to Fort Worth to go to the museum. Things that kids don't do on dates. And that also was a good experience for me.

    Kasper: He sounds like he was a very calming, soothing influence on you.

    Castleberry: Very calming influence. In the meantime I had also dated another young man who was Catholic and had my first real exposure to the Catholic Church. His name was Jimmie Beggs. And he was the photographer for the paper and a little younger than I and I started dating him because I was more or less thrown with him as the editor-to-be and he was the photographer. We were together a lot. And so he took me to Catholic mass with him downtown and he told me on the way down, he said, "I promised myself one thing for sure, I would never take a girl to mass with me who wasn't Catholic." And he didn't know. Well, you know. But that was another wonderful learning experience. He too was a gentle soul and after his, I guess, junior year at SMU he won an appointment to the Naval Academy, and went to the Naval Academy and I've never heard from him since. But all of these experiences, my life was opening up because it had, people from outside were coming into it all of the time. And I was so ready for these things, I was so hungry to learn what else is out there. So religion is shaping you and your background is shaping you and all these other things are shaping you, but what else is out there.

    Kasper: And people. I mean, I have to tell you that what comes through in what we've been talking about this morning is the importance of yes, ideas, yes, new experiences, yes, what is out there.

    Castleberry: People, people, people.

    Kasper: But people form a kind of center core to your experiences, Vivian, that is very telling.

    Castleberry: Yeah. It's because they are so extremely important.

    Kasper: Well, they're the transmitters. They are the vehicles through which experience, knowledge comes.

    Castleberry: As my mother used to say—I'll never forget my mother saying, I thought it was so strange that she should say this. She said to me one time, "Honey, you don't have to tell me everything." But I would always go home and tell her these things because, you know, my first kiss, my first whatever, I wanted to share this experience. I wanted to know if that was real for her too, if it had validity for her.

    Kasper: I have said the same thing to my daughter. And my mother has said the same thing to me.

    Castleberry: But it's so wonderful that you have that kind of—and I had that then with my own daughters. I don't think there's anything that we can't say to each other. I just don't think there's anything that we can't talk about to each other.

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    Kasper: Well, my daughter is one of my best friends, if not my best friend.

    Castleberry: Oh, they are. They are my best friends. And I was so angry when my mother died, and that was something I had to come to grips with because when I went to work, this is a later story, but when I went to work for the Times Herald, and my hours were going to be god awful long and I didn't know when deadlines were going to be and I didn't know what planes I would have to meet, my mother said to me, "Honey, I will not come live with you because I don't think that's smart." This is after my father died. She said, "I will be available anytime you have to go anywhere or do anything, I will be available to you with—

    Kasper: Within the home and take care of the kids.

    Castleberry: "Just call me, that's all you have to do." And she died when my youngest child was four years old. And that removed that—

    Kasper: That stability, that source of support.

    Castleberry: That source of support that I had really counted on so it was a whole different thing.

    Kasper: And besides which, I mean, I have not lost my mother yet, but I know I've heard her say this, and I know that I can even sense it beforehand, is kind of a sense—not only the terrible loss of your mother, which is obvious, but a kind of being orphaned, being left and bereft.

    Castleberry: Yes, the thing that I came to grips with on the way home from Mother's funeral, the one thing that hit me right between the eyes is that I am now the older generation. It is now up to me. And that was just like—awful. Wow! And so on the way home from her funeral I made up my mind that I will not try to fill her shoes. Well, Mother had always made popcorn for the grandchildren. I mean, it was just a ritual, that was a given. That night, after her funeral, one of the granddaughters said, "When are we going to have our popcorn?" And I caught myself going into the kitchen and making popcorn. Although I do not eat popcorn. Never have. It was just the continuing of that thing.

    So, anyway, I got through school, graduated from SMU, declined a fellowship, went to work in Dallas for the Petroleum Engineer Publishing Company, as an editorial assistant which meant that I did everything from run errands for my female boss. Her name was Ernestine Adams. She recently died. She was a hard-nosed, queen-bee type woman who became a very good friend of mine, but it took years. And because she had been reared in small town newspapers and she had had to fight and claw and work her way every step of the way, she taught me by negatives and I learned—

    Kasper: Just like Doctor Maffett.

    Castleberry: I learned almost too well. I don't want to be the kind of boss she is, so I almost ingested that to the point that I was too soft. It took me years to find a balance because all of it was a do-it-yourself project. I had no training at all for handling a staff. And Ernestine was, in the first place she was a tiny woman, she was little, unlike Minnie Maffett who was huge. But Ernestine was little, she never married, her work was her whole life. She was given any number of different kinds of awards in petroleum publishing in this country for her pioneering work.

    Kasper: So was she the editor of their publication?

    Castleberry: She was one. They had four publications, and she was the editor of one of them. Her specialty was in deep wells and offshore drilling. And she made that her bailiwick and it was so dear to her that if anybody touched it it was like touching one of her children. And I did more research for her than anything else on what was going on in drilling in the country. I also went back to SMU and took a special course in mapping, making oil maps, and I hated every minute of that. That was not my thing.

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    And when the atom bomb fell, I was working for her on the—I can't remember what floor of the downtown thing called the Allen Building. It's changed, it's caddy corner—it's in the southeast quadrant of Commerce. Gosh, what street is that, I can't recall it. Anyway, we were way up on the floor, no air conditioning, and I had everything, it was June, I had everything spread out on my desk, these little tiny pieces of paper, and I was running downstairs, usually, caught the elevator, but sometimes literally took the stairway to pick up extras on the street when the extras would come out at the end of the war. That's such a vivid memory. And one day, I remember it so well, because one day there was a gust of wind that blew a lot of our papers out the window and down into Commerce Street. But I celebrated VJ-Day and VE-Day both in downtown Dallas, with the crowds at night.

    In the meantime, I had corresponded with Curt. All this time Curtis was overseas. He was in the South Pacific for three and a half years in the Marine Corps. He worked his way up to staff sergeant through the hard, worst of the fighting, Tinian, Saipan. Was on the first troop ship that landed on the Japanese mainland after the atom bomb fell. And the interesting thing was that literally we fell in love by letter. In the meantime, through the years I'd managed to get myself engaged twice, but I knew, you know, something kept telling me, this is not working, it's not right. One of the relationships was a young man that one of Edith's friends brought home with him, and he was a Georgia boy. And he was tall, handsome, blonde, good-looking, sweet as he could be, but had absolutely no backbone, ability to go for it, you know. I never met his family, I heard from them because he was lovesick. He was so in love with me—

    Kasper: What was his name?

    Castleberry: His name was Joe King. He gave me a ring.

    Kasper: So you actually got engaged.

    Castleberry: Oh, I got engaged and I planned the wedding and I heard from his mother and the whole six yards.

    Kasper: And this was still while you were at SMU?

    Castleberry: No, it was after I graduated. It was right after I graduated. And all the girls at that time were getting married, and if you weren't married, well you were just nothing.

    Kasper: If you didn't get your "Mrs." when you graduated—

    Castleberry: That's right. But something just kept me from doing it. And although we planned a wedding and talked about it and talked about moving to Georgia after the war and whatever, I just couldn't quite do it. And so I finally called him and told him that I had to give the ring back, that I couldn't go through with the wedding. And, of course, he came immediately to see me. But, having written the letter, or called him and then written the letter to follow it up, I thought that was the end of it, so I had gone home to Athens for the weekend. He followed me down there. So I had to give the ring back down there. I had to make him take it. And I'll never forget as he left how he looked and how tough it was. It was hard. It really was hard on me, you know, because he had been really important in my life. He had been that bridge after I graduated from college and until I got really settled in my work, he had been there for me. He was stationed over at Mineral Wells, so any weekend that he couldn't come, well he either sent flowers or he sent—I mean, he was just in my life.

    Kasper: Adoring of you too.

    Castleberry: I mean he was just in my life constantly. And I think that's one of the things that scared me. It was too saccharin sweet. And because I knew that he was spending beyond his ability to spend on me, I knew that, because I didn't have any money and he certainly didn't and my ring was certainly more than anybody could afford. So, anyway, I gave the ring back. And then the next weekend, I was in Dallas, and my brother, who had just been sent overseas, the one who had the collapse in Italy, sent his boyfriend to meet me. And this guy's name was Anderson too, and they had been bunk mates in officer's training because their names were

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    alike and similar so they got thrown together. So Dick, Richard Anderson then, who was from Iowa, came to Dallas and he said, my buddy said to look up his sister when he came to Dallas, so he called me. And, at the time, it was a Saturday morning that he called and I was on my way downtown. I was all dressed to go downtown. I was going to do some work that morning, and so I said, "I will meet you at the Baker Hotel." Well, I got to the hotel and this tall, good-looking, blonde farm boy from Iowa in his officer's uniform was just, "Oh, wow!" So we fell just madly in love immediately. And then he went overseas. And the letters were hot and heavy and whatever, but I was still writing to Curtis all the time.

    Kasper: All through this.

    Castleberry: All the time, I was still writing to him. Dick and I never became engaged. We talked about it, but we never became engaged. He said, "When I get back from overseas, we'll see how things are," because he needed to finish college. He was working on his masters when he went in the service. And he needed to finish that. And he said, "I really don't know what I want to do with my life, so we'll talk about it when I get home." So, Curtis got home first. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: Oh, that's it. That's the key.

    Castleberry: But what happened was that Curtis got home and the next week after Curtis got home I got a letter from Dick. And the letters had waned in the meantime. And I didn't know whether the romance was paling. I couldn't figure out whether he might have had a girl back home or what it was that was going on in his life but the ardor had gone out, I thought, from my interpretation. And at that time, that was probably the most lovesick I ever was. I was so lovesick that I would go home at noon to see if I had a letter from him. But, it was interesting in that the week after Curt got home, I got a letter from him and apparently nothing had happened except that he was really giving it, you know, cautious, giving it the time, and that he was coming home and he was coming to Dallas to see me. And I had to write and say, "Don't."

    And then, Curt's and my romance, the way that started, we had really fallen in love by letter. I could tell by what he was reading and thinking that his way of exploring life and mine were running in the same pattern. And when he went to Japan from wherever he was stationed, I've forgotten at the time, he went to Japan, I thought he was coming home, he thought he was coming home, the next letter was from the mainland of Japan. And I'll never forget he said, "Since I am here I will not waste this time. I'm going to make it count for something."

    Kasper: And that really struck a cord in you.

    Castleberry: That struck a cord in me. And so he did, he spent the time that he was in Japan, every leave he could get, going as far as they would let him go and doing everything that he could do in order to learn as much as he could. I know now that he did the worst thing that he possibly could do, but I think maybe we got by with it, he walked in the site where the atom bomb fell, you know, in the ashes where the atom bomb fell. I know, you know, we would know now not to do that, but he didn't know then not to do that. And his experiences are phenomenal. They, too, would make a book because in the first troop ship that went in, the Japanese were so scared of what the Americans were going to do. And when that big troop ship went in, they couldn't see a Jap anywhere. It was like there was just nobody. It was like a beach that was combed clean. And they could, you know, see smoke rising in the distance, but there was just nothing. And then, he said, slowly one or two began to peep out and then finally they came down and helped them unload the ship and made them, you know, they were a conquered people.

    And so, the letters that I have from him at that time, and I have some of those letters which are very wonderful and very good to have, and they're not long letters because for the most part he was in situations that were so isolated from the main life that there was not a lot to write. But he wrote me what he could and I kept the letters and I think that says something, that along about that time I started keeping his letters.

    Kasper: And he came back after three and a half years overseas—

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    Castleberry: He came back after three and a half years to California. In the meantime, he had gone to California and gone to work out there in a strategic military operation and could have gotten a deferment indefinitely because of what he did, but chose to go into the Marine Corps to find out if he could hack it, as he said. And again it was the same kind of a situation that I had of wanting to be independent and wanting to be free of all of the connections. So he did it for himself. At the time I didn't know how important that was to me. But that made an impact, that he too was growing in his own way.

    So he came back to California and his job was waiting for him there, but the Marine Corps wouldn't let him out because he was the only person in his whole outfit who knew how to average points to let other people go home, so he was stuck there. And he called, the minute he got there, he called me and he wanted me to come out there, and I said, "Curt, I can't, because this is 1945" Remember—maybe you don't remember, but women just didn't go in those days. And I said, our families, nobody would understand why I came out to see you in California.

    Kasper: And where would you stay, and how would you explain that to everybody?

    Castleberry: Where would I stay? How would I explain to everybody, so I wouldn't go. I wish now I'd gone. But I didn't. I didn't go.

    Kasper: As you said, in those days, women didn't do that.

    Castleberry: Women didn't do that. So he came home and I knew he was coming home at Christmas time. And I went to Athens for the holidays and he was to be in Athens for the holidays with his family and so we were so looking forward to Christmas Day, it just drug on and on and on and no call. And finally, in the late afternoon of Christmas Day, I had to come back to Dallas because I had to work tomorrow. And my brothers brought me back to Dallas and I walked into my apartment and the phone is ringing. And Curt said, "Where are you?" He had gotten to Athens. So, I said, "Okay, you're there." We talked for quite a long while. And I said, "You're there, you haven't seen your family," (some of them in four years) "not any of your family in three and a half years, you owe it to them." They had all come to Dallas to meet the train. And I said, "You owe it to them. Don't come until you've had a visit with your family."

    So he didn't come for a week. And when he came he brought his best friend, who then started dating Edith. Edith and I at that time were living together. We had an apartment together. And I want you to know, I opened that door to this Marine Corps uniform and it really all came together. It just all came together. Everything came together. Within a week we knew we were going to get married, within a week. But we had all of the background. All of the, you know, all of the background, all of the letters, and he—his job was waiting for him in California. I wanted to go to California. He had been away from home so long, he wanted to come home. I was working here so he could transfer to Dallas and that's what we did. He didn't work for three months. And it nearly killed him because—

    Kasper: Why didn't he work for three months?

    Castleberry: Because he was playing. He had just gotten out of the Marine Corps.

    Kasper: He was tired of working.

    Castleberry: He was tired of working and he was dating me and he would leave at night and he would say—and he would drive back to Athens—it's a hundred miles down there—and he would say, "I won't be here tonight. I'll stay home tonight and sleep and you can get some rest." I'd walk out of my office that afternoon, he'd be waiting in the lobby of my building every afternoon. "I told you, I married you to get some sleep." I was so tired. [Laughter.] Physically, I could not keep up this pace at all. But it was, it was a glorious romance and a wonderful marriage because we had all of the background together and then when he did go to work in Dallas, we could do anything we wanted to. We could afford it. He had saved all of his money while he was overseas. And we had a year's honeymoon. We decided that we would wait until Christmas to get married.

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    Kasper: What year was this that you were getting married?

    Castleberry: This was 1945. He got home Christmas night of 1945 and we started dating on January 1, 1946. And we were married on May the 4th, 1946. Now, I'll tell you how that happened. We decided—when we first decided we'd get married, we would get married at Christmas time. And then, he went to work, it wasn't three months, it was about six weeks, because he went to work and the first thing the company did was to send him down to Waco to do some special work. And this seemed awfully foolish. We'd been apart all this time and here he was in Waco and I was here and we couldn't see each other. So I went down for a weekend to Waco. That, too, was unheard of in those days. But I went down and I stayed in a hotel room and, believe it or not, we stayed in separate rooms and we stayed in separate rooms. I mean, those were funny days. But we did.

    And I shall never forget, because at the time, we were walking back to the hotel on Sunday afternoon and I saw this gorgeous suit in the window in one of those department stores, and I said, "If it were, you know, a weekday and the stores were open, I'd go in and try that suit on and buy it." And so, of course, he bought it and sent it to me with a note that said, "This is your going away outfit." So, I mean, even my training wouldn't let me send that suit back. So that weekend we decided it was foolish for us to stay apart anymore. We were both old enough to get married, we wanted to get married; it was time we did it. And so we were married on the 4th of May at home, in Athens, in the Methodist Church. By that time Dr. Fletcher had left. And we had a big church wedding and most of my college friends, from SMU days, came down and all of his family came. And we had magnolias to decorate the church.

    Now I brought in all I could of the ties of my past history into that ceremony. It was perfectly, absolutely "us" all the way through. And Sue, my first college roommate came down and was my matron of honor. Edith was my maid of honor. Bridesmaids were the girls I'd lived with in Dallas. So it was pure—but, the interesting thing was that both Curtis and I in talking in those days knew that we would have two careers each—one at work, one in the workplace, and one in the home place. We didn't know we were unusual.

    Kasper: You didn't know you were unusual?

    Castleberry: We didn't know we were unusual, we thought everybody did this. I mean—

    Kasper: But you know they didn't. I mean, you know that everybody's mother stayed home.

    Castleberry: Well, I guess intellectually I did, except my mother had always worked with my father. His mother had always worked. The examples were there. I knew that most of my friends quit work and got married and had kids. But I knew I wasn't going to.

    Kasper: And you knew you'd been different all along anyway so it probably didn't surprise you that you wanted to continue to be different.

    Castleberry: I had been different all along. And so, Curt and I were incredibly lucky. We couldn't find an apartment in this town for blood nor money at that stage. And so we rented a room with kitchen privileges and we consciously looked for and rented a room in an older neighborhood in an older house with an old couple where there was just the couple in the house. It would have worked fine except the day we got back from our Colorado honeymoon, their daughter left her husband with her two children and moved home. And so we had six weeks of being nowhere to go really. We could go to our room and lock ourselves in our room, but there were just people there all the time.

    So we started looking for a place to live and I took the Yellow Pages of the Dallas phone book and wrote to all the apartment owners and the second week this man called me and said, "Come talk to me, I like what I read about you." And we moved into an apartment in the Avon Apartments on Lemmon Avenue, in Apartment 201, in a one-bedroom apartment but with kitchen, little dinette, maid service. Can you believe it? I mean, we were incredibly lucky.

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    So that, as I said, we had a one-year honeymoon. We changed every showbill in town. Went to all the summer musicals. We went out to eat when we wanted to, we had friends in all the time. And from the very word go, Curt liked my friends because this had been my milieu. I knew people. He not only liked my friends, he embraced them. He and Edith became closer than she and I were almost. They understood each other. In fact, when I started dating Curt [Laughter.]—I'll never forget about the third time I went out with him, I came home one night and Edith said to me,"Are you going to do him like you did the last two?"

    Kasper: She was waiting in line.

    Castleberry: And I said, "No, I'm not." And she said, "Well I was just sitting up to give you a lecture. That this person is not to be toyed with." She was crazy about him. And she wasn't waiting in line, she just didn't want me to fool around anymore because she recognized the qualities in Curt that have stayed true all of these years, that have just been sterling all of these years. So, anyway, we had that year's honeymoon.

    Kasper: That must have been wonderful.

    Castleberry: It was wonderful. We went up—he used most of his Marine Corps savings and bought a car so that we were free and this was at a time when no young couples had a car because they weren't making cars. Hadn't during the war years. No cars were being made. Very few were available. And he had an uncle who was a car dealer who sold him a car and we'd go up to Arkansas on weekends or we went to Oklahoma or down to the coast. And we were both working so we were making the kind of—

    Kasper: Where was he working?

    Castleberry: He was working for the Veterans Administration at that time because when he transferred in his job from California back to Dallas, that was the only thing in government that was open that had, you know, they hire you by—you're a number one, two, three, I mean, a seven, or whatever. I never have understood how the government rates its employees, but he had worked himself up to a seven or an eight and the only job that was open in that category was with the VA. So he went to work for the VA. And then, the second time that he was offered a promotion and had no college degree, we had always had in the back of our mind that we were going to school. Well the second time he was offered a promotion without a college—and couldn't have it because he had no college degree, he said, "Now is the time." So we threw up what we were doing in Dallas and traded our honeymoon cottage and the whole bit for a guaranteed income of $65.00 a month and went to college. And he graduated three years from the day he went down there.

    Kasper: He went to Texas A&M.

    Castleberry: With honors. Having had two children and buried one during the time he was doing this. And, you know, incredible. Another thing he did, I will never—he was taking calculus in the summertime and failing it. And I kept trying to get him to drop it. Drop it, drop it, and concentrate on your other courses. He said, "I will conquer this if it kills me." Turned in his final examination paper and said to the teacher, "I'll settle for a 90." And the teacher looked at him like you're crazy and graded the paper and gave him a hundred on the final exam. So, I mean, it's that kind of thing that stayed with him—

    Kasper: Just sheer determination.

    Castleberry: And also he supported us because I was pregnant and sick. I had a kidney infection throughout my first pregnancy and my second pregnancy that nearly killed me. Carol Castleberry Tate was born in the wake of a 104 temperature and chills and fever. I went into the hospital to get rid of a kidney infection, and she was born seven and a half weeks early, weighed four and a half pounds, in a tiny little hospital in East Texas where you, you know—

    Kasper: There was nothing. Where were you living?

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    Castleberry: Bryan. Curtis was at Texas A&M and I was in Bryan. It's five miles from College Station, the little town nearest College Station where Texas A&M is and where the doctors were. And that's when I learned to love the Catholics. The Catholic sister in that hospital—my baby was in the hospital a month after I went home. And I couldn't drive at the time. And I couldn't go see her. And Curt was working two jobs and going to school full time. And the head nurse said to me, "Honey, don't worry, I will love your baby." And she used to put that baby on her shoulder and make her rounds at night when there wouldn't be anybody in the hospital. She'd cuddle and love that baby. But they wouldn't let me touch her. That, too, was a part of the whole thing. You couldn't go into the nursery and love your own baby. So I cried all the time. I had a baby and I didn't have her. And I got pregnant again right away by accident. Birth control failed. I was using a diaphragm. I would have been a fool to have had another child so quickly because—

    Kasper: —because of the kidney infection. And your lives, too, were so busy.

    Castleberry: Uh huh. Our lives. Curt's life. But I got pregnant right away and Curt was absolutely divine, just absolutely marvelous. You would have thought he'd planned it. And, you know, not all husbands do that well. And he, you know, he said, "Honey, don't worry. We've gotten through rougher things, we'll make this." So we had the second baby the 25th of June. Carol was one year old on the 23rd of June. And we had this second baby on the 25th of June, on a Sunday afternoon. I came out of anesthesia—

    Kasper: And you'd had a kidney infection during the second pregnancy too, the same way.

    Castleberry: Just terrible. Just terrible. That baby was born at eight months. I carried—I mean, my skin was so puffy, if you saw pictures of me at that time, you wouldn't even know it was me. I looked awful, and I felt worse. And this was in the days before antibiotics.

    Kasper: And you had an infant, too, that you were caring for.

    Castleberry: I had an infant that I was trying to take care of. And I was also trying to work part time to help him all I could.

    Kasper: You were editor of the A&M Battalion. Was that at that point too?

    Castleberry: Un huh. I talked myself into that job. Yeah.

    Kasper: Is that all during this time you also edited their newspaper.

    Castleberry: Un huh. All during that time. Right.

    Kasper: And you were the first women's editor, I gather, of the Texas A&M Battalion.

    Castleberry: Yeah. Un huh. Well I was women's editor. They had a male editor, but I did everything because I was there all the time. The other kids were students and they kind of turned it over to me. But the pregnancy was so difficult and the little boy was born on Sunday afternoon and it was June the 25th, 1950. I came out from under anesthesia and I did not hear them say, you have a son. I heard them say, "We're at war again." Korea. That was my first memory—of hearing the nurse and the doctors talking—we're at war again. And that baby lived three days. He died with a congenital heart deformity. And, of course, I've always been so grateful that I didn't misbehave during that pregnancy, even though it was tough and rough and hard—

    Kasper: No, that you can't attribute to yourself anything that happened.

    Castleberry: You know, I can't. I can't because Curt took care of me and I took care of myself. I did everything I could. And the baby was born at eight months and Carol had been born at seven, and he was born at eight. And he weighed seven pounds. So there was nothing, I mean it wasn't that—

    Kasper: It was an accident of nature.

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    Castleberry: The flap did not cover and in later years, knowing what we know now, surgery could be done and it would have been okay.

    Kasper: He had patent ductus is that what he had?

    Castleberry: Un huh.

    Kasper: Which is a common, as you now know, a common—

    Castleberry: Common as it can be. Un huh. And of course they didn't discover it for the first six hours of his life. He was a perfectly formed, beautiful little boy. And, I will always wish that I had held him. You know, I don't carry around a giant guilt complex about that, but what it taught me is to tell young mothers, if you lose your child, hold them. You know, be there with them even though it's hard and tough, you still want to do that because—Curtis, to this day, carries a male burden that he hasn't let go because I sobbed and cried and got it all out. And he was quote "being strong for me." And he was carrying a full summer load. And it was he who had to make all the funeral arrangements. It was he who had to take the baby home and bury him. It was he that had to do all those things because I was physically not able to do it. I was fighting an infection that still—they were, by that time, did have sulfa. They were giving me sulfa to get rid of the infection. It was a pretty horrific experience. But then, after that, I went back to the paper, back to the Battalion. And what is so wonderful is that the Battalion, I don't know whether it still is or not, but at the time it was unique among college newspapers in that it also was the official voice of the city of College Station. So I got to cover the—

    Kasper: What went on in town, not just on campus.

    Castleberry: I got to cover what went on in town. And my beat was city hall and any important speaker who came to the campus I got to cover, and I got to cover the chancellor's office. So it was a good experience in that I could put things together.

    And one of my experiences there was that I covered Lillian Gilbreath. Do you remember who she is? Of "Cheaper by the Dozen" fame. She was one of the first women engineers. Well, she came to lecture and she had twelve children and I got to cover her and listen to her. And I knew, even then, I had to tell her, even then, I'm not going be like you. She said she cried the last time she took a diaper off the line and she knew she wasn't going to hang any more diapers on the line. She cried. Not me. I was so glad to get rid of those diapers. I didn't share that with her at all.

    I covered the chancellor's office and that again was one of those times—serendipity pieces where you were in the right place at the right time.

    Kasper: Now, wait, is this a weekly paper?

    Castleberry: No. It's a daily.

    Kasper: It was a daily, so you really worked a lot.

    Castleberry: Yeah, I worked a lot. I also became the official caretaker of all the boys' girlfriends. And Curt and I, we never knew, he never knew when he came home on weekends, we had Carol at the time, and her crib was in one of the bedrooms, but we would move it into our bedroom because we never knew when we were going to have extra people coming in. He never knew—

    Kasper: You were like a grand house mother and editor.

    Castleberry: Un huh. Friday night, how many evening dresses he would come in and find hanging from the ceiling because there was no place else to hang these frilly, frou-frou things that all the girls were wearing. And also, of course, the boys, the students, loved Carol and I would take her up with me from time to time so she became kind of a toy of their young—and taught them some things because they wouldn't have had a baby at all on the premises if we hadn't had her.

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    They were exceedingly good to me. I was good to them, but they were good to me. They gave me a certificate when I graduated declaring me editor in chief for life of the Texas A&M Battalion, for life.

    Kasper: When Curt graduated?

    Castleberry: When Curt graduated, they gave me a certificate saying—

    Kasper: Now is Texas A&M an all boys school?

    Castleberry: It was at that time. It isn't anymore.

    Kasper: Okay. But so that's why you were sort of the grand house mother—

    Castleberry: Grand dame, I was.

    Kasper: —and mother and sister and every female form—

    Castleberry: —friend, and protector and what everyone—

    Kasper: —as well as the editor.

    Castleberry: And the chancellor said to me, "Women will never be admitted to this university. Never." And I said, "I will give it five years." [Laughter.] In Curt's senior year, because he had been a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps, boys, young men who went back to college who had been in service did not have to go into the Corps. Everybody else had to go into the Corps, but he did not have to go in, and people who were coming out of service didn't have to go into the Corps. Well, he didn't, of course. He'd had his service years and he didn't go into the Corps. But when Korea broke out, on the day our son was born, he went into the Corps because he said to me, it is very simple, we're all going to have to be back in service. It's a matter of graduating with a commission so that I can support my family. And so he went into the Corps as soon as the Korean War was declared which meant that when he got out he would be in service. But he was going to be called back anyway.

    Kasper: This way if he went in as a commissioned officer he'd be better off.

    Castleberry: Yeah. If he went in as a commissioned officer he'd be better off. So he then was doing all the marching and all the stuff that Corps people do. And one day, early on in that senior year of his, they were marching, marching, you know, in the hot September afternoon, he fell out. I mean, literally fell out. It turned out that he had acute appendicitis, was operated on in the college hospital, nearly died. If I hadn't had connections with the chancellor's office where I could move heaven and earth to get medical help for him, he wouldn't be here. Believe me, it had gone into—I mean, salty old country doctor who yanked him in there and did surgery without his permission or my permission or anything. I mean, our medical tales are something. So he really—he was lying there just—he literally, I think, was dying.

    Kasper: He must have had a burst appendix.

    Castleberry: He did. And they just went in and operated and didn't know how to take care of it. And this salty old country doctor—

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    [Begin Tape 1, Side A]

    Kasper: Well, this is Day 2 and I'd like to pick up and run with your career in journalism and really for most of today, if you will, see how much of that we can cover. And, of course, we have covered most of your life in a life historical—

    Castleberry: School and marriage and—

    Kasper: Sure. And all of that does intervene. It's not to say that as we cover your journalism career there aren't going to be lots of other things, family and personal and so forth that aren't going to intervene, but this is the day that I'd like to capture the material on your career. Where we left off on that score, is yesterday we talked a bit about your first job. You were an editorial assistant at the Petroleum Engineers Publishing Company. And then when you all moved and Curt went back to school, to Texas A&M, you were the first women's editor of the Texas A&M Battalion. So I'd like you to talk a little bit about that, but then let's get heavy into your—

    Castleberry: Well, really, there's not a great deal to say about that. That went on for a little better than a year and it was something that I worked myself into because at the time, as I said yesterday, the A&M Daily Battalion was also the official voice of the city of College Station, so that made it interesting. And there were just a lot of things to be covered that were not being covered because the newspaper, of course, was being run by the boys who were students, and they were students first and didn't have time to cover all that material.

    So, I really can't remember my first trip there, but I do remember that I pretty much shadowed—I would go by the Battalion office and then I started writing a column for them on the—the school was just running over with student wives and they had no voice whatsoever. So the first thing I did was talk them into letting me do a column on student wives and student wife activities. And from that it grew and finally they just hired me. They put me on the payroll, gave me a title, and also it was wonderful for them because I was there all of the time. I could keep regular office hours and nobody else could because they would run off to class. And that meant that I became the caretaker of all of the telephone calls that came in, the communication, that sort of thing and did almost all of the communicating.

    Kasper: So you knew what was happening not only on campus but in town and everywhere.

    Castleberry: Everywhere. Everywhere. And including, of course, the chancellor's office, and the board of directors, and everything that was going on. It was just a fun job. And during the time then that Curtis was in the Corps and getting ready when he graduated to go for advanced training for the military, we didn't know where we would be living because the Korean War was still going on. And the interesting thing was that we did not for one moment think that we would be doing anything except going back into the military. It was just a given because when you graduate with a second lieutenant's degree and you—

    Kasper: You become almost a career officer.

    Castleberry: You are a career officer until you choose otherwise. And although that was not Curt's first choice, as I said yesterday, he said, with him, at that point in his life, it was a matter of whether or not he would be able to support his family and that a foot soldier or a marine sergeant certainly didn't have this good an opportunity.

    But when we graduated—also at that time, after we lost the baby, I was agitating to have another child. I was older than most women at my stage in life

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    when I had my first one. I was twenty-seven when Carol was born and had had a difficult time getting pregnant. And so she was a rare and wonderful gift. And then after we lost Kenneth, I wanted to have another baby right away and my husband convinced me that I was totally out of my mind. But he promised me that as soon as he got out of school and got settled, we would do this. And we did.

    So we graduated and then he went to El Paso for advanced training in the military. I stayed on at A&M, kept my job, continued to work for the Battalion, had Carol, kept our apartment there. And suddenly overnight we found out we were not going to be in the military. The Korean War was winding down and they didn't need him. And here we were rudderless without a—but what we did, another thing that we did for ourselves that was so glorious, when Curt graduated we did take two weeks and we took what we called a pilgrimage through the Old South. We went back to Alabama where his ancestors and mine both originated, and we also went to Florida and we went on down to Miami, as far down, and then zipped back up and Curt's mother, his family kept Carol, so we were just a couple. And I got pregnant. And it was certainly planned. As it turned out, Curt wound up teaching school in a little tiny town in deep East Texas called Burkeville.

    Kasper: And where in Texas?

    Castleberry: Deep East Texas. It's five or ten miles from the Louisiana line. And it was a little town that had not come into the twentieth century. It had a large and wonderful consolidated school so he enjoyed his teaching, but my experience there was less than tremendous. I had a baby. I also had a very small house to keep and I was pregnant. And by nine o'clock in the morning, I would have had my day all ready to go and nowhere to go. And so that was the year that I really learned to adore my husband's mother. She lived twenty miles from us and almost every day I would tool over to her house and get her and we'd go and get into something, you know, do something. Also, I started writing again and I must admit—my husband will tell you that a great lot of my writing was sad letters to him that you've got to get me out of here or I'm going to die, especially when he went on a convention, an agricultural convention to Houston, and I think I tucked about four letters into his suitcase, love letters saying, "Get me out of here before I collapse 'cause I can't stand it."

    The postmistress there, whose name I can't remember, but she was out of the last century. Literally, a little maiden lady who wore horn-rimmed glasses and piled her hair on top of her head and wore long skirts. And she knew everything that was going on in town and she knew that I was a writer and when I would send off a story, I'd walk in the post office and she'd hold up an envelope and say, "Well, something else came back." [Laughter.] So she was not terribly good for my morale. And then at the end of that year with a baby, Chanda, who was born in Jasper, Texas—I don't think she will ever forgive me for that.

    Kasper: Why? She just doesn't like the name?

    Castleberry: Well, she doesn't like the name. And she doesn't really like the town. But that's where she was born. And that also was a different century kind of hospitalization. She was the only baby in the nursery. Tiny little hospital, tiny little town. And the day that I discovered—the second day of her life and a woman came into my room and said, "Well, I've been in the nursery loving your baby." I just went out into orbit and I insisted on rooming in. I had the baby brought to my room. They'd never heard of a thing like that, but they didn't know what to do with this woman who was insisting on changing their hospital rules. So Curt brought the bassinet and we brought her into my room. And then when Chanda was about ten days old, I had a very bad case of bronchitis that went almost into pneumonia and I was sick for probably about three or four weeks. Curt finally took us to my mother's, both of the babies and me, because he was working.

    I've teased Curt. I told him he had to have a fourth child before he had a baby because the infancy of the first three—of course, the infancy of Carol with her in the hospital and us at home, we didn't have at all; and then we lost the second one; and then Chanda I took to my mother's when she was ten days old and kept her until she was almost a month old. So Curt really didn't get into babies until our fourth daughter. Anyway, that's too much of that. He did bring me back to Dallas at the end of the school year in—

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    Kasper: So this was 1952-53?

    Castleberry: It was—let's see, no it was '52. Chanda was born in March of '52 and we came back when school was out. So we came back in June of '52, moved back to Dallas. We didn't know what we were going to do. We had no immediate means of livelihood, no nothin'. But it was a matter of my sanity and I think the survival of the family relationship to get somewhere where I could speak—find somebody to speak a language that I spoke. So he spent a year then—well, he spent several years, working as a businessman. He opened a picture framing and gift business. But he always wanted to go back to teaching.

    In the meantime, my life went back to Petroleum Engineer. I had not been back in town probably three weeks until they called me and asked me if I would come and relieve the woman who had taken my place while she went on vacation. And I said, "I don't want to work at this. This is not what I want to do." But I went back for that interim period of time. We needed the money, I needed something to do, and it was an easy way out. I went back for two weeks and stayed two years. And I was on leave of absence from the Petroleum Engineer Publishing Company for Keeta's birth when I was on pregnancy leave. At that time, they didn't—no companies here gave you paid pregnancy leave or offered you your job back after pregnancy, I mean, you were just terminated because you were with child. But my boss at that time, the woman I mentioned yesterday, Ernestine Adams, had assured me in confidence that anytime I wanted to work and she had a job, it would be my job. So in the meantime, for a brief period of time in there, after Curt and I were married, I had worked for Cosmetics Magazine, which was a new magazine that had started in town. I worked for them for one year. And that job was terminated because Cosmetics Magazine just did not make it. It was a glorious dream of a man who really didn't have the finances to make it go. And I really was so grateful because that certainly wasn't my thing to do either.

    Kasper: What did you do for them? Write articles?

    Castleberry: I wrote. I wrote. I did everything for them. I wrote, I edited, I did layout pages, I learned to bleed pages. You know, everything.

    Kasper: What's bleeding pages?

    Castleberry: Bleed it means to take your picture to the entire outer cover of the magazine. And anytime you see an ad that bleeds to the cover, the entire rim, including the rim, that costs more money to get that.

    Kasper: So it covers the whole page is what bleeding means.

    Castleberry: It covers the whole page, there's no margin. And so I learned a great lot, again, about magazines and how you put them out in sixteen-page sections, print in sixteen-page sections. A lot of it I have forgotten, but I could pick it up again in no time at all.

    Kasper: So the material wasn't interesting to you, but you learned a lot of mechanics.

    Castleberry: The material was not interesting at all because it was superficial. Cosmetics are superficial. And one of the things that I learned, interestingly enough, about cosmetics is that almost all cosmetics come out of the same vat. They're perfumed differently and colored differently and packaged differently and that's how you get your different prices. But that's where I learned to go to the dimestore and buy my lipstick because it's just as good—

    Kasper: The same as the ten dollar lipstick.

    Castleberry: Exactly. The M.E Moses [dime store] is exactly the same product, very often, as the Neiman Marcus product except that it looks prettier when you get it in a package. But that's one of the things I learned, a very practical thing. So, anyway, I again was working for Petroleum Engineer and at that time then I had three babies. Well, no, I was on leave from Petroleum Engineer for Keeta when the Times Herald called me.

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    Kasper: When was Keeta born?

    Castleberry: Keeta was born in November of 1955.

    Kasper: And in '55 the Times Herald called you.

    Castleberry: The Times Herald called me.

    Kasper: How did they know to call you?

    Castleberry: Because one of the woman that had been on my staff, Doris Allen Dowell, who had been on my staff at the Campus at SMU was their society editor. And she had no idea that I was interested in going to work for a newspaper, she just knew that my background was newspapering and they needed a home furnishings editor. The home furnishings market was just opening in Dallas. The home interiors were going great guns here. Trammell Crow had just built the Apparel Mart and the Dallas Trade Mart. And Dallas became, I don't know where it stands now, but it was the second furniture sales city in the nation. But I knew nothing about this particular subject. I was a journalist. And the first thing that I did when I went in there to the Times Herald—I took the job, of course, immediately. I called Ernestine Adams and told her what had happened, and that's where, I guess, we really became friends because she said to me, "That's where you need to be. Take the job," although I was on leave of absence from her company, "take the job, it's your kind of job. You need to get your hand into newspapering." And I went to work for them the first time the 12th day of March 1956. I waited until I got my baby launched and I went to work for them for $75.00 a week. And it looked like good money at the time. And I can't say that I loved the job, but I can say again that I learned a great deal. On the way home from interviewing for that job, I went by the library and picked up about twenty home furnishings books, furniture books, and did a crash course in home furnishings, learned the difference in Heppelwhite and Adam and Sheraton and—

    Kasper: Louis XIV, XV and XVI. I can never tell the difference.

    Castleberry: Un huh. Right. And I still can't a lot of times. But what I learned there immediately was that people are so willing to help you. So I found a couple of excellent interior decorators in town that I could trust and I called them on everything. I credited them when I could, but I didn't even have to credit them to use their expertise in doing the writing. And then the first thing that I also did was try to humanize the story.

    Kasper: What do you mean by humanize?

    Castleberry: I cannot stand to write a story that doesn't have people in it. So I learned right off that the way that people generally write home furnishings is just not readable. People don't care.

    Kasper: Because they're writing about chairs and—

    Castleberry: They're writing about things. And so, I would go out with the idea when I did a house to find out what kind of background made this particular woman want to furnish this house in this fashion. What did she bring to her home life that made her want to choose pictures of a certain kind or pillows of a certain kind. I also learned in that job a great deal about photographing because, although I did not use a camera, it was my responsibility to tell the photographer what I wanted. And home furnishings, if you will check magazines, you will find that home furnishings are the hardest thing in the world to photograph. Because, as you say, it's just a chair.

    Kasper: It's not lively. It has no animation.

    Castleberry: It has no vitality of its own at all and you have to enliven it to bring it into your work life. And you have to work real hard at that like putting a vase of flowers on a carpet and setting a bee, or whatever, or a butterfly, even an artificial butterfly that looks like the real thing, to give it liveliness to give it vitality, and to make people interested in it. I worked in that job—the hours were not bad.

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    I had a woman boss at the time. Her name was Gail Pitts. She was a career journalist and a single woman who had no home responsibilities. I liked her. I still like her. She and I are still friends. She went from Dallas to the Denver Post and we still see each other occasionally. I found that I loved working for women. I much prefer working for women to men and this, at the time, was not a popular notion because men hired me. It was the men that hired me. And I still to this day would like to know the difference in the pay scales of the men that went to work for the paper at the same time that I did and my pay scale, because at that time there was no way of knowing that. It wasn't common knowledge.

    Kasper: They didn't publish it.

    Castleberry: No. Not back in those days. It was a deep dark secret what you made.

    Kasper: Who were the men who hired you in management?

    Castleberry: Felix McKnight and Bert Holmes.

    Kasper: And Bert Holmes is still there.

    Castleberry: Bert Holmes is still there and I will tell you a little more about Bert as I go along. If they had not passed Bert up as the top manager of that paper, it would today be one of the top papers in the country. He is a gentle man—

    Kasper: I spoke to him. He's a charmer.

    Castleberry: But knows his business from the inside out and is tuned into this community as nobody else I have ever worked for in my life. And the other thing that Bert had going for him was that his entire staff would have walked through hell, fire and brimstone to please him. As I have said a number of times, the Times Herald lost its soul when they passed Bert up for a promotion and when they started selling the paper instead of putting him in charge of things.

    Kasper: Why did they pass him up?

    Castleberry: He was on his way up and nobody tells you, so I only know what I think. And what I think was that we had a guild vote—

    Kasper: The guild? You mean the union?

    Castleberry: The union. And that management, the management of the paper at that time blamed Bert for the fact that the news room voted—we voted it down.

    Kasper: Voted his promotion down?

    Castleberry: No, no. No we voted union down. But the management at that time was such that I feel sure that they blamed him for that vote.

    Kasper: For bringing the union in at all?

    Castleberry: For bringing the union in at all. And, as a result of that, passed him by, did a lateral promotion and then just moved him out of management entirely, slowly. Interestingly enough, everybody that did that is now gone from the paper and Bert is still there. And he is still doing good things for this community and has continued to all these years.

    Kasper: Now, he writes editorials for the paper.

    Castleberry: He's in the editorial department, un huh. And really has maintained the integrity and the quality of the editorial department all of these years. And I was not the only one that felt that way. I think that I probably was a little closer to him than some of his other staff heads for a number of different reasons, principally because he valued women. And he always valued women. I don't know that I would call Bert a feminist, I would just call him someone who is a very kind and tuned-in human being who treats everybody with respect and dignity.

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    Kasper: Well, he certainly thinks the world of you. He said you are the pioneer woman journalist in Dallas. That's quote/unquote.

    Castleberry: That's nice to hear, but it is a mutual admiration society so you will take that into account. I had known Bert briefly. He was at SMU ahead of me and I had known him briefly there and knew his first wife who died with cancer. In fact, as I recall, and I'm not real sure about this, but she—I know she had a melanoma, and I think she was having a physical examination for a trip abroad that they were going to take and they discovered the melanoma and she died just very, very fast and left two little boys. And then Bert and Helen were married probably about a year later. It was the best thing that ever happened to both of them. Helen is a gorgeous woman who has her own public relations outfit. She recently sold it to a big outfit. But she has handled some of the outstanding events in this community including, she did all of the planning for the Kennedy visit here and was in charge during the assassination. And then she did the public relations for the Republican Convention when it was in town. And she's low key—she's not low key when you look at her, she's a dynamo, she's a human dynamo. But, she had two little boys and he had the two little bigger boys, and they blended these two families in such a way that is probably the best blended family that I've ever known anything about. But Bert worked side by side with us and he was extremely interested in anything that went on.

    Kasper: Now when you were still in home furnishings here, you were working with Bert.

    Castleberry: I was still in home furnishings at that time. Right. Gail was my boss. But Bert was her boss. And so he kept his hand in very much what our—at the time it was called the women's section, what the women's section was doing. And it was pretty much a women's section. We did fashions, home furnishings, food. We had a huge food section once a week that sometimes ran as many as forty-eight pages.

    Kasper: What?

    Castleberry: That's right.

    Kasper: Each week?

    Castleberry: Each week. Every week it ran as many as forty-eight pages. All the grocery ads were in there at that time and it just, you know, was volume. It was one of the biggest food sections in the country. And we did brides—endlessly we did brides. I mean, morning, noon and night, we did brides. And one of the things that I did right away, I not only did my job, but offered to help out in other fields and this surprised my boss to death because she had never had, say a fashion editor, who would also write brides or do other things. But I could never stand idleness. And so I moved right in to—when my stories were written, I would do anything in the department that was there to be done.

    Kasper: So Gail was actually the editor of the women's section. And while you were assigned to home furnishings, you began to do this.

    Castleberry: And I began to volunteer. And I'd tell her, anything that you have that you want me to do that you think I can do for you, I'm here to do it. I want the experience of learning the other departments. And one of the things that I did right away was do a series of ten stories called—they were feature stories called "The Good Home." No, wait, I take that back. The first one was "Homemaking Under Handicap." And I chose people in the community who had real handicaps of one kind or another and continued to run their homes. For instance, I did a woman who operated her home from her wheelchair. I did a woman who had three children, one of them completely mentally and physically retarded. Oh, let's see, there were ten of them. And that series of articles won me quite early recognition because it was the human touch that the section had not had much of. When you write brides and that's just a rote matter and you turn it out, just grind it out, or you write home furnishings, or you write fashions, there's not a great deal of flavor and personality to that. So this series of feature stories made me recognized in the community and people began to call me and want me to do other things. So, immediately, almost immediately, I was handling the home job and covering—the first business trip I went on for the Times Herald was to the Chicago Furniture Market

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    in January. I nearly died. My clothes were not adequate for that. It was one of the worst cold spells that Chicago had ever had. I took my Dallas wardrobe to Chicago and I thought I would freeze to death before I got back. My hotel room was right across the lake.

    Kasper: I've had the same experience. Even with a heavy wool coat in Chicago one winter, I nearly died.

    Castleberry: It was horrible. It was so cold.

    Kasper: It was awful. And I'm a Connecticut Yankee.

    Castleberry: But that also told me how to wire stories home and I learned that end of it. At that time all of the stories were sent by Western Union. We did not have computers and so I had to find a Western Union office and wire my story home and that sort of thing. And then the next thing that happened to me, the job was interesting, exciting, I liked it, and I probably—I think at that time, I was simply so busy that I didn't think of it as a career, per se, because I had a huge load at home at that time. I had three children.

    And I'll never forget one funny story that happened. At that time Curt really had learned to father. And he was wonderful at it. And he could do things with the babies because of his calm nature that I never could. He could walk in and take a crying child and just have that child soothed in no time at all. And so, one night I came home from work—and far be it from me to let one thing go because I'm doing something else, so what I was doing was rearing three children, working full time, and making Easter dresses for my three little girls. Now, I not only was making Easter dresses, but I was handpainting the organdy collars with textile paints.

    And Curt came in one night about ten o'clock at night, he worked late, and he came in and he found the baby screaming. He found the two other little girls crying. He found a wife in tears, and he sat down with me and he said—after he calmed the baby and got her to bed, and after he got the other two little girls to bed, he came and sat down with me and he said, "Now, honey, it seems to me that something around here may have to go." He said, "You can either give up your job, or you can give up the sewing that you do, or you can give up the children. Now, you have a choice." [Laughter.]

    And it was that wonderful, calm nature that at times I was ready to spit when he would come in and be so calm when I was climbing the ceiling. But it was the foundation and the bedrock that kept us focused. And so I gave up the sewing and I did an enumeration of what I was doing with my life, and some of the other things that I could let go and it was simply a matter of enumerating what was significant to me, what I could turn loose and what I couldn't.

    Kasper: Who took care of the baby or the children while you were gone all day and Curt was working?

    Castleberry: At that time, we always had someone who was with us most of the time. I had a woman who was coming in at that time by the day. And she was good, she was extremely good with the children, and we kept her until we found out she was alcoholic. And the way we found out she was alcoholic was really interesting. At that time, we just didn't keep liquor in our house at all. We just didn't have any there. So one night she babysat for friends of ours and she drank up all their liquor. And so it was extremely embarrassing. But I knew at that stage—then it began to dawn on me that sometimes when I would come in she would seem a bit happy. And it turned out that she was lacing her coffee with rum. She was having lots of coffee during the day, but she was lacing it with rum. She was, and I still say, she was marvelous to the children. I never found one thing wrong with the kids except that she didn't change the baby's diapers as often as I would have liked. But, otherwise, she was lovely to them and I don't think she ever did anything that harmed them in any way.

    But it was at that stage that I knew that we had to do something else, and we started looking for a full-time, live-in housekeeper. At the time we lived in a fairly small house and we knew that it was going to take some real adjustment to make it work for us. So the first thing we did was enclose the garage of our house.

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    And also, at the same time, we gutted the kitchen and Curt put a new kitchen in designed to my needs. And what it turned out was, for those days, we had a $10,000 kitchen in a $15,000 house. [Laughter.] Really. But it was a marvelous kitchen. It had an island. It was glorious. It was a wonderful place to work. And we hired a woman whose name was Vallie Bush and the children called her Granny. And she was with us seven years in full charge of all of us. She was with us longer than that, but she was with us for seven years, and she loved my children. She took Kim—to back up a little bit on my career, I found myself pregnant again.

    Kasper: This was unexpected.

    Castleberry: Well, it was and it wasn't. Curt and I had planned to have four children. But we had not planned to have the fourth one right at that time. I was just getting started in my job and we did not intend—so it was really a failed birth control. I'm good at that. I'd had it happen once before and I mean, literally, because I was using a diaphragm and it literally was a failed birth control. I guess I was very productive because I managed to get pregnant in spite of. So I was pregnant and when I went in and I told Bert Holmes that I was pregnant and I would like—I said, "I am going to resign." I had got bought into the conditioning of those days that a woman cannot rear four children and work full time. It just cannot be done.

    Kasper: You believed it at the time.

    Castleberry: I believed it. Society had so indoctrinated me that I really believed it and I wanted to be a good mother and I wanted to have good kids. And I was not getting that pressure from my husband. I was not getting that pressure from my mother. But I was getting that pressure from my own inner being.

    Kasper: And society at large.

    Castleberry: And society. So I resigned my job and I worked until—

    Kasper: This was 19—?

    Castleberry: 1956. It was early '57 that I resigned because Kim was born in August of '57. And I was not unhappy that I was pregnant because I had planned the four children and it seemed like something that we needed to do. And Curt could support us, albeit he had to work two jobs to do it, but it was still easy enough in those days to do and we had bought our house and we were in it and it was okay. And so I went home then, I guess it must have been in probably the late spring of '57 because I worked pregnant for a good long while. But I went home determined to be a happy homemaker. I was going to do the best job with home and family that you have ever seen in your life. Kim was born August 19, 1957, and I brought her home from the hospital. It was a wonderful experience because by that time everybody at Baylor Hospital knew me and my room was a party. All the nurses knew me and all of the staff that I had worked with brought presents and we had parties. And so I had a four-day vacation in the hospital with my new child.

    Kasper: I've always felt that being in the hospital with childbirth is wonderful. All your responsibilities are gone and everybody's taking care of you.

    Castleberry: And I loved it, I loved every minute of it and I loved the attention I was getting. I loved the big boxes of gifts that I was getting. And then I brought Kim home and it still, it was working. Granny was still there. She didn't really have at that point in her life anywhere to go, so she was still living with us, and that made it so nice. And I had told her, she wanted to go on vacation, she said, "I will stay with you until the baby is old enough for you, about six weeks, and then I'm going to go on vacation for a little while, travel a little while, and then we'll see what happens. I may come back." And at that time we were really an extended family. Even if I hadn't gone back to work I would have welcomed her back. I would have found some way to have made her life easy enough for her to come back. It was an ideal situation.

    Kasper: She was living in the converted garage?

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    Castleberry: Well, no. No, no. We had enclosed the garage and turned it into a kind of dormitory for the girls. And she had the other little bedroom. And then, when we brought the baby home, she insisted that I put the baby in her room. Wow! I mean, like, WOW! So it was just glorious. And also at that time, as I said to you yesterday, she was taking care of Curt and me. She adored my husband and she pointed out to me every hour on the hour, "Honey, you don't know what a jewel you have." I did, but it was nice to have it affirmed. And also, at the hospital when Kim was born, the young nurse who attended me in the delivery room came in and said, "Your husband is the first man I have ever seen who acted like he had hung the moon when we told him he had a fourth daughter." So, you know, we planned for girls and it was just—so, anyway, Granny was there. I had been home from the hospital five days when Bert Holmes called me and said, "The top job has opened up at the Times Herald or is going to open up. Gail is going to the Denver Post. Would you like the job?" And I said, "No, Bert. I can't do all this and heaven, too. There is no way I can do this. And I just can't do it. I just mustn't try."

    Kasper: Now this is the offer of being women's page editor?

    Castleberry: Women's page editor. So he waited a week and called me back, and he said, "Have you reconsidered?" I said, "No, I haven't. There is no way that any human being can do all of this. It's just not possible." So I can't remember what the chain of events was, but in about six weeks he called a third time and said, "The job is still open, come talk to me." And I went down to the Times Herald and I will never forget it because I drove our new red and white Ford and put a dent in it that day. [Laughter.] But I came back to the house and I said, "Curt, that is a glorious job. I want that job so badly. I know I would be real good at it. I don't see how on earth I can do it. What do you think?" And my husband said, "If you think you have talents that somebody will pay you for, I wish you would go out and do it because we don't intend to fit into your neat little cubbyholes." Which was the first inkling that I had that I was running them crazy. With all of the energy that I had, I was running that family, as my husband put it, "You're more of a top sergeant than I am in the way you're running this family."

    Kasper: I know exactly what you're saying.

    Castleberry: Yeah. It was I had so much energy—

    Kasper: You had so much energy and it was directed all at the family.

    Castleberry: It was directed wherever there was to direct it. I mean, I had to have something to do and I was so busy doing it that I was driving them nuts of having them fit my schedule, and he recognized that.

    Kasper: Curt recognized this. And he probably also even envisioned that as the children grew older that you would be terribly involved in their lives, they probably wouldn't have quite the independence and freedom that as parents you probably wanted them to have.

    Castleberry: Probably so. I don't know whether he recognized that or not, but he also recalled to me that we had made ourselves a promise that we would have two careers each, one at home and one in the workplace. And he said, you know, I'm still committed to that.

    Kasper: Wasn't that pretty revolutionary for that time?

    Castleberry: It was extremely revolutionary and he also said, "You take the job and we will do whatever is necessary to make it work."

    Kasper: Let's stop for a moment on that revolutionary concept. This is not something Curt dreamed up or you dreamed up, you did this together.

    Castleberry: We did this together.

    Kasper: Where do you think that came from and how is that you vocalized it.

    Castleberry: Well, I think where it probably came from was that, as I said, my mother had always been involved in the workplace, and his mother had always been

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    involved in the workplace, and that was our basic role modeling and I feel like that even though society was telling us differently both in ways and in words and modeling a difference, I feel like that, again, we were evaluating by the most basic role model that we had and that we were calling our own destiny in the direction that—had almost been put in with the pablum and the milk that we were fed from infancy up.

    Kasper: I've always called that kind of a personal manifest destiny.

    Castleberry: I think that you're exactly right.

    Kasper: And I think that's what we're talking about.

    Castleberry: Exactly. And I've never put it in those words but that's a wonderful wording. A personal manifesto of what you want to do with your life.

    Kasper: It's almost as if there's a kind of unconscious drive based on how you were socialized or what you learned as a child, the values you acquired from home, that sets a direction and a tone to your life that you almost are powerless to change. And it's a focus and a drive that just kind of sets the direction in which you will go, and you will go.

    Castleberry: That's right. Also, at the same time, what I did, I told Bert that day, Bert and Felix McKnight interviewed me, and I knew when I came away that I had the job if I wanted it. I also knew that I needed to talk to Curt and I needed to work through my own hang-ups.

    Kasper: What do you mean by hang-ups?

    Castleberry: I mean I had to get rid of this conditioning that society was handing me that you can't do it. There's no way you can do it. So what I had to say—I had to re-psych myself out. I had to get to the point to where I knew that I could do anything I wanted badly enough to do.

    Kasper: How did you do that?

    Castleberry: First, it was talking with Curt and having his feedback. Then the next thing I knew that I had to have my children well taken care of. So that's where Granny came in. Will you come back? Will you do this for me? Will you be my balance wheel? And to work out so that we are an extended family and although we cannot pay you the amount of money that you require and deserve for doing this tremendous job, you will be a part of this family, we will pay you what we can, and we will—it was an agreeing on all of these things. Then the next hurdle was going back to the paper and getting them to agree to some of the things I had to get them to agree to.

    Kasper: Which were?

    Castleberry: And here is what I said to them. When I walked in, I said, "I want the job. I can do the job. I will do you a fantastic job. I cannot afford to foul up at home and you cannot afford to have a women's editor who does. So I have to do both jobs." And I said, "I will do the job for you. I promise you unlimited time. But I will have to do it on my own hours. There are going to be times when I'm going to be required to do things for my family and my children. And, as a result of that, you're going to get more out of me than you would otherwise get—

    [End Tape 1, Side A; Begin Tape 1, Side B]

    Castleberry: —out of the average employee because I'm going to do the job for you. And I'm going to do a better job for you than anybody else would do. And the way I'm going to do it is sometimes I'm going to be working nights when my husband's home with the children and after I get them to bed and there's something to do, I'll be down here doing it. I will work on week-ends if I need to. I will not watch a time clock. I will do the job." Now, they bought this wholesale, but I had to recondition bosses along the way. Every time I would get a new head of department, I would have to restructure this kind of thinking. And what it amounted to was a

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    retraining of male employees endlessly because I kept getting new bosses who didn't understand my concept.

    Kasper: And you never had this in writing in a written contract, this was all a verbal agreement.

    Castleberry: No. If I had it to do over, it would be a written contract. But, in those days, we didn't know to do that. And I worked endless hours. I loved what I did. From the very word go, I went in with the idea that women are whole people who are interested in everything in the world that there is out there to be interested in if it is presented in the right fashion. So I was not going to do a women's news, I was going to do a people news. And we were going to be strong and heavy on features. We were going to eliminate as much as we could the social end of things. At the time we had a society editor, we had a home furnishings editor, a food editor, a fashion editor, a features editor, which had been a new thing that had been brought in fairly recently, and I think that came in after I wrote the series of stories that were such good features they decided that would be a good thing to put in. And then we had three or four general reporters. What I inherited was a staff of ten people, to begin with. That increased only to twelve in the years that I was there. I never headed a staff of more than twelve. And for the most part it was mostly women.

    Kasper: Now when you inherited this staff, were you happy with this staff? Because you had high ambitions for this paper. Were you going to change staff too?

    Castleberry: I was very happy with most of the staff. The first thing I did, and the hardest thing I ever did, was fire one. It is not any fun to fire someone. Well, from the minute I had taken the job of home furnishings editor, I read and evaluated everything that went into that paper. So I knew where the strength was and I knew where the weakness was; and I knew what needed to be shored up and I knew where the deadweight was. I knew precisely what I could work with and make better and what I was going to have to eliminate. So the first thing I did after I took over was fire the person who was just deadweight. It was the greatest thing I ever did for her because she went out and got another job and became quite good at the other job that she did. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: Better than what she had been.

    Castleberry: She was lazy and she had been allowed to be lazy. And also, Gail had gone by that time. Gail had been gone about three months by the time I went in and took over. So people were already volleying for position at that time.

    Kasper: And this is 1958 that you became—

    Castleberry: This is 1958. Un huh. I went back to work for the paper on 1/20/58. And I can't even remember what I made at that time, but it wasn't a lot of money. I did get a raise, but it wasn't a lot of money. Probably $125 a week. And I was, you know, paying a housekeeper and rearing children and the whole bit. And also it was interesting in that the paper in those days was so different. They encouraged us to take gratuities, and by that I mean that there were a lot—they said, in words, there are a lot of sideline gifts that come to reporters, you know, such as tickets to Six Flags Over Texas and free dinners and whatever.

    Kasper: Trips?

    Castleberry: Trips. And those things were just accepted and acceptable. And I lived through the changing of all of that and that's one of the ways that Watergate changed a newspaper. But I totally and absolutely agree that reporters should not take anything for free, ever. But in those days, it was built into the conditioning and I did, I very honestly did enjoy it. I took my children to Six Flags every time it opened every year on press day. And I got to take them to a lot of things. I took my children with me when it was okay to do so. I took them with me at night to Miss America Pageant. I took them at night with me when I was covering the circus. I took them with me for a lot of lectures that I thought they might be interested in. And that was understood. That, too, was a part of the agreement that I made with the paper, that there were going to be times that my children will accompany me to places.

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    Kasper: There shouldn't be these rigid divisions between work and home.

    Castleberry: Right. And I also did other wonderful things. I learned to do things that nobody else could do. For instance, one Saturday I was going to cover some VIP coming in, I can't remember who it was, but it was somebody very important, came in at eleven o'clock on Saturday morning. I had arranged for a babysitter. At the last minute the babysitter fell through. Somebody was sick, I couldn't get a babysitter, I had a plane to meet. What I did was pack a car picnic and take it in my station wagon to the airport. And I put Carol in charge of the car picnic for the children and they had a car picnic while mother went and met the VIP and did the interview. And I came back, they were having a glorious time at the car picnic, and they wanted to know from then on why we didn't have more car picnics! I mean, that was so much fun. "We should drive to the airport for a car picnic. You forgot to do that mother." But we did all sorts of things of that kind.

    I took them with me on Sunday afternoon endlessly to work. I would go down on Sunday afternoon and plan my week ahead for the staff. And what I would do would be to take my two older children with me who were schoolchildren and their books, their homework. I would give them a desk and let them work on their homework. That way, they always knew where mother was and they had a direct line to me. Our understanding was that any time they had a real problem, they were free to call me. They were never free to call to chit-chat on the phone or to settle arguments or this sort of thing. They learned responsibility very early on.

    And one day they called me at work and Chanda was on the phone. Chanda was usually the one they put on the phone if I was to be conned into anything. And I said, "Chanda, what is it?" Well, it had to be some kind of semi-emergency. "Well, Mother," she said, "it's about this little dog." And I said, "Unh unh. No way. No dog." [Laughter.] She said, "But Mother you don't understand. We went to the library—" (The kids had walked to the library. That's another thing we did. When we bought our house, we situated to where they could walk to Girl Scouts, walk to school, walk to the library, walk to the shopping center. And in those days, it was safe for kids to do that. So they did a lot of walking. To walk to the swimming pool. And I gave them swimming lessons and knew who was in charge of this sort of thing and knew they were safe.) And so they had gone to the library and this little dog, quote, "had followed them home." Well when I got home, the little black Cocker spaniel had been bathed and had a red ribbon in it's hair. So we became the proud possessors of a little dog.

    But my job, I always combined the two. And I was always critically aware that I was combining them. And I did things like weekly planning at home and weekly planning at work. And fairly early on—recently I found some of the schedules that we worked with.

    Kasper: Now what you're saying is weekly planning for home life as well as your weekly planning for your work life.

    Castleberry: Right. We had a family council meeting every Saturday morning around the breakfast table. And as the children grew up, we let them chair the family council meeting because we wanted them to learn how to do this. And one morning that there was a note on our bedroom door that said, "The family council meeting has been called off this morning due to general lack of interest." It was signed "Chanda, Chair." [Laughter.] We decided that we would take the veto power from then on. We had a family council meeting and we outlined what the responsibilities were for the week.

    Kasper: Who had to be where when. Whose chores were what.

    Castleberry: And we went around and each person chose a chore and every week this changed. Like this week Carol had first choice, next week Chanda had first choice, next week Keeta had first choice, and on. And then the responsibilities for the babies as they began to move into this, and they almost moved into it by the time they were at high chair age, because it was a kind of a given that we would do this. And I shall never forget one wonderful story. Cathy literally was still in her high chair

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    and she was just barely talking good. The family had been in upheaval that week. Things never work the way you plan for them to work. There are always pieces that fall out. So things had been in pretty much of a shambles and Curt started the family council meeting by saying that things had not worked well this week, and we're all aware of that. So he said, "I'm going to start out today asking each one of you, in turn, what you personally can do to improve this situation. I don't want to know what she can do. I don't want to know what I can do or what mother can do, but what can each of us do." And we got to the baby, and he gave her a turn, and she said, "I don't know. I could pway about it I guess." [Laughter.]

    Kasper: And did she mean play or pray?

    Castleberry: Pray. She'd been to Sunday school and she learned to pray. [Laughter.] So it was a very charming little happening. Another thing that happened to me along that way that was so fun, just a sideline. She, still in her high chair, and I had a crˆche set and I bought them at the dimestore so the children could handle them and play with them. I didn't want anything that they couldn't handle and play with. And Cathy dropped one of the camels one morning and broke its leg. And when I came in with the scrambled eggs, she said, "Mommy, him walked too fast to Bethlehem." [Laughter.] So, you know, there are always charming stories in every family that children have a hand in.

    Kasper: Now, you said you also organized your work life.

    Castleberry: I organized my work life on Sunday afternoon.

    Kasper: On Sunday afternoon you'd go to the office?

    Castleberry: I would go to the office. Or sometimes I would bring it home and do it. But I knew exactly what the assignments—I mean, you can never project in a newspaper what the assignments are going to be, but you know what the routine is going to be.

    Kasper: And some of the features you could plan.

    Castleberry: And I could plan those. And I also knew what club meetings or beats had to be covered. Starting right away, several things, I hardly know where to begin to tell you how we covered news. But I knew right away that there were about eight or ten. We kept records on two thousand organized clubs in Dallas County that admitted women to full membership. That was our criteria. PTA's, for instance, had both men and women. But we kept records on those. And every September we had a Times Herald forum where we began the club year literally by having an open forum at the Times Herald where we had a keynote speaker and where we gave cash awards. It was silver trays until I took over, and I decided that silver trays were to be polished and that these women who were doing community service needed money to go into their projects so we started doing cash awards in three categories. And the reason there were three categories was that some clubs were bigger than others and can do more than others. So we divided by size, by quantity, in that way. And then we had five community leaders who would vote on—each forum presented their own entry, whoever wanted to enter entered. And then we gave the cash awards.

    It generally fell the second Monday of September, the club forum, and it was at a hotel, grand ballroom, and I ran and managed everything. I did not start this, Gail started this. It was something that I inherited, but we made it big. And we invited the president, public relations director and secretary of every organized women's clubs in Dallas County. And individual, engraved invitations went out to these people. I handled and coordinated all of that, very often—in later years, I made them let me hire extra help, but in those early years, we addressed those things and stamped them and mailed them. And this was up to as many as five thousand 'cause you couldn't find everybody, but generally we sent out around five thousand invitations to these things. And they were beautiful invitations, well done, and the Times Herald traditionally began the club year for women in the community. That was the kick-off, and after that they were free to do whatever they wanted to, but they came to this big—it was a big morning coffee and we served all kinds of goodies in the foyer of the hotel and coffee and juice.

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    Kasper: Now at the same time that you're managing this, you're managing the women's pages, you're also reporting. Now, tell me some of the things that you were covering as a reporter for the women's pages as well.

    Castleberry: I was covering those things that I considered to be cutting edge of change, stories that I didn't have anybody yet to assign to, such as wife battering, child abuse. When people would call me, as happened, the first story that was ever done on child abuse done in this community, I did it. And the reason that I did it was that a woman at the medical school that I trusted called me and told me that child abuse was going on in Dallas. And in those days it was very difficult to get my male editors eager to publish stories of that kind. So the way I managed was to warm them up a bit. I would pull stories off the wire.

    Kasper: How did you warm them up a little bit?

    Castleberry: That's the way I did it. I'd pull stories off the wire that came out of New York or Chicago or some other city and run three or four of those on a subject, and then suddenly we'd find that it was happening in Dallas, Texas, too.

    Kasper: So they couldn't say no because other papers had been reporting it.

    Castleberry: They couldn't say it's not happening in the world because other papers had been reporting it already. And so, then, another thing that happened along the way that I consider a real breakthrough for us was that our women's pages pioneered, opened up, practically every human interest story that was done in this community for as long as ten years. And as soon as that subject would become credible, city side would take it over.

    Kasper: Oh, the city side of the paper. And when you say human interest stories, what do you mean?

    Castleberry: Child battering, child abuse, is a human interest story. Wife battering is a human interest story. Rape. Rape is a human interest story. Child care is a human interest story. We reported on all of them first. Those things were not covered by any newspaper in town. Anything. And they were not covered much in the nation. What I was doing was watching what was going on in New York, in Washington, in Los Angeles, in Florida, which had some really good women's pages at the time.

    Kasper: Were you reading the Miami Herald and what Marie Anderson was doing at that time?

    Castleberry: Sure. Oh, yeah. Oh, sure. Every day. They came to our library and every day I found a few minutes to scan it. I can't say I read it, but I sure knew what was going on. And I also knew that whatever was going on in other parts of the world was going on right here, and all I had to do was look for it. And so I had this call from—I wish I could remember her name. I cannot remember her name because she isn't here anymore, but she called me from the medical school and she and a male physician had been aware that there was child abuse coming through their department. And it wasn't being reported on. I don't know who she had called first, maybe she called me first. But anyway, I went out and that was a very careful story that we did on that very first one—that there is child abuse in Dallas, Texas.

    Kasper: How did management of the paper react to that story?

    Castleberry: Ahh, they didn't quite know what to do with me. I would meet one of the top male editors in the hallway and he would look at me like, "Where did I get you?" And then one day Felix literally said to me, he blurted out, he said, "What happened to that little girl that we hired who believes, that really believed in all the—" Well, as he put it—I can't remember exactly what he said, but my words later were "really believed in God, country, motherhood and apple pie."

    Kasper: And what he was referring to were the fashion pages, and the club notices.

    Castleberry: He was referring to the things that traditionally women enjoy that in his framework of reference that are women's news. And I said to him, "Felix,

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    you hired me and you sent me out to see what the real world was like. And I found out that the stories do not happen at the Petroleum Club and the Dallas Country Club. That's what happened."

    Kasper: They also happen in the homes where children are being abused and wives are being battered.

    Castleberry: Un huh. And also another thing that I did was I pioneered going into parts of town that had never been covered before.

    Kasper: For instance?

    Castleberry: I went to South Dallas where the black people live. And I went to children's centers there. And also, I have to tell you that I learned very early on which clubs to watch, what they were doing. I used to say that what the Dallas section National Council of Jewish Women is doing will be acceptable in this city ten years from now.

    Kasper: So, in other words, there were some clubs that were on the cutting edge and others that were dull.

    Castleberry: Some clubs on the cutting edge. And there were individuals in those clubs that were doing it.

    Kasper: And what were they doing? What was, for instance, the Jewish Women's Council doing?

    Castleberry: Well, for instance, one of the first things that I became aware of that they were doing, they were sending groups of people into the poverty pockets of South Dallas and other parts of Dallas to shop in grocery stores to see what kinds of foods were available in those grocery stores as opposed to what they could buy in their North Dallas and doing a study on that. They were also exploring health care at the Dallas City County Hospital to find out what kinds of services were available to the mother who brought her child in, and how long she had to sit and wait. They were doing in-depth research studies. And these women, for the most part, were credentialed to do that.

    Kasper: Credentialed in what sense?

    Castleberry: Many of them were graduates of the Seven Sisters schools. Many of them had degrees in sociology. Many of them knew exactly what they were doing and how to do it and how to evaluate it. And I learned real early who I could trust.

    Kasper: Who were some of these groups?

    Castleberry: I used to could tick them off. There were ten of them and I could tick them off on my fingers, but I can still do most of them. First and foremost, was the Dallas section National Council of Jewish Women, they were ahead of everybody. League of Women Voters. If you wanted to find somebody that knew what was happening in politics, very early on, Ann Richards was a president of the Dallas League of Women Voters. At that time, the Women's Council of Dallas County, which was a fairly new organization in town. The Women's Council of Dallas County came out of the Dallas Women's Club, which is a venerable, very elite club.

    But one day, Willie Lewis and three other women were sitting in their club—this is according to Willie's story—playing bridge. And she doesn't remember who slapped their cards down first, but one of these women slapped her cards down and said, "This is ridiculous. We have to pay the price for the citizenship we are enjoying. We have got, if we can't get this club off first base, dead center, to do something for the community, then we have to organize something else." So they organized the Women's Council of Dallas County and it is a still going, gung-ho group. Every year they study the issues that are the most pressing for women and children in this community and they do something about it.

    I found that the Junior League was something that I should watch because it was something more than social. The kind of service that they did for the community, the in-depth service that they did for the community was second to none.

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    Because what they did when they took their initiates, the young women, into the group for one year, these young women have to do in-depth service in the community. It was a requirement. So I watched what they were doing. I watched what they chose to do. And I watched where they put their money.

    I went to the Children's Medical Center and I watched what was going on out there in medicine. I went to the Hispanic community where only Spanish was spoken in West Dallas. I went to their recreation center and learned that both in Black Dallas and in Hispanic-speaking Dallas, the churches were the center of their existence. So I watched what their church groups were doing. That's where I found them and that's how I found them.

    Kasper: And what you did, which is quite extraordinary, is that you forged a link between your newspaper and what was happening in the community.

    Castleberry: I did.

    Kasper: So that it wasn't just that you were seeking out news, you were also working in conjunction with these groups to identify what the issues were of the time that then needed to be reported in the paper.

    Castleberry: I was. And I cared deeply about all these things. I have taken tears into many meetings. And, you know, a reporter is supposed to be objective. I was never objective. For instance, again, back to the National Council of Jewish Women started the first preschool in South Dallas and it was a cooperative venture. They went down and provided the money and the expertise, but they worked with the mothers to set up the school and Hortense Sanger and Gerry Beer were extremely important in getting that job done. That was a link between Temple Emmanuel which is in North Dallas and the South Dallas housing projects.

    Kasper: So that The Children's Center was set up in South Dallas—

    Castleberry: It was set up in South Dallas, it was set up in the housing center.

    Kasper: This was not for upper middle class Jewish families, this was for poor black children.

    Castleberry: Oh, no. This was for poor black children. And they also took their women in and taught people how to mother and how to parent. And it was a hard job. And there were many days that I'm sure they wanted to throw up their hands and walk out because you can't begin at grassroots to teach people something and have it happen overnight. So they went in with the idea of staying there until it worked. And did it ever work. Now this center that they started is a part of the Greater Dallas Child Care Program. And what they did, and what a great many other women's groups have done, is initiate change that needs to take place and get it on its feet and then they turn it over, and then they go do something else, such as, paired housing.

    Kasper: What is paired housing?

    Castleberry: Well, when you go into a community where their houses are in a shambles and need painting and you go down and you offer a cooperative, a hand-up to, you know, we'll help you paint this and we will help you clean up the rubbish and we'll help you. Teaching women in the poverty areas how to cook, how to manage on a low income. And as the social issues have reared their ugly heads, there have been women's groups who have been there to do it. For instance, now, a great many of the women's clubs are working in teenage pregnancy. And every issue that comes along, women are there first to answer the needs. And those things were not being reported.

    Kasper: What you're saying is that back in the 1950's not only was this not being reported on the news pages, it was not even being reported in the women's pages. Anywhere in the paper.

    Castleberry: It wasn't being reported anywhere. And I also had to bite my tongue in two different areas because the women's pages had a stigma attached to them and a women's editor had a stigma attached to her.

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    Kasper: What was that?

    Castleberry: That was that if you're any good at all, you don't stay in women's news. If you're any good at all, you want to cover politics or you want to get out and cover the—

    Kasper: Foreign affairs.

    Castleberry: Or you want to chase the cops and robbers.

    Kasper: To really prove yourself as a journalist.

    Castleberry: Yeah. To prove your mettle as a journalist. You cannot stay in the "soft side" of the news, you've got to get into hard news to be a reporter. And I kept refuting that and I kept saying I'm where I want to be. I don't want to be doing anything else. This is where the heart and soul of humanity is. These are the kinds of stories that must be reported and that must be held up as pictures to the community so that something can be done about them. So, anyway, we did it, and we did it over and over and over and over, and some of the things that we did, did not get done. For instance, I have one page which I will show you here if I can find it that we covered on teenage sexuality. We did that in a Sunday paper and we were right ready to go to press when our male bosses looked at that and said, "Whoa! Wait a minute, you can't print this story." And so, we didn't.

    Kasper: Because they were afraid that it would raise hackles in the community and so forth.

    Castleberry: They were afraid. Oh, yeah. It would raise hackles.

    Kasper: You mentioned to me yesterday that there was also an article on wife abuse that you wrote at one point that went unpublished.

    Castleberry: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that was fairly late in my career that I went out to this hotel room and interviewed this woman who was black and blue and bruised and wearing colored glasses when I saw her and whose husband's former wife had died under very unusual circumstances. She fell from a moving car on one of the main streets in this community. And my paper still would not let me print that article because I did not get his side of the story. They wanted me to call him up and interview him, find out what he had to say about all this. As if I didn't know.

    Kasper: And did you refuse?

    Castleberry: Well, no, I didn't exactly refuse. I very honestly just never got around to doing it. I wasn't about to talk to that man. I had talked to other people in the community, I knew what he was like. I knew who he was. I had also talked—at that time, at one stage, he had allowed her to enroll in one of the junior colleges, and he would follow her to class and check her out through binoculars. So I checked that out for myself. I followed him one day and saw that he was doing it. When you see things with your own eyes and you still have call up somebody to get the—

    Let me go back and just fill you in on a couple of other things. Before I get just totally inundated with loving my job and loving to tell you about the kinds of things we did and the fun. Another thing that happened along the way is that I got pregnant again. And that was an unplanned pregnancy and I told Cathy from the first day of her life that she was unplanned but most wanted, because I knew in fact the kids are going to tell 'em. And I'll never forget the day I came home and Cathy was in tears because she was not a wanted child. Her older sisters had told her so. But I had already told her, but like most bonuses she was the best thing that ever happened to us. It was again, a failed birth control, and I was in tears that time. I had just got started on my new job.

    Kasper: What year is this?

    Castleberry: It was January of '60 that she was born. I was just going good with this new job. I had things moving. I had my staff in hand. They were working for me.

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    They were not any longer working against me. I had put together a staff. I had fired one and one had resigned. My society editor, who was responsible for my going to the Times Herald had resigned to get married and to follow the tradition of—

    Kasper: Who was this?

    Castleberry: Doris Allen Dowell. And she had resigned to follow the traditional patterns of women and has continued to do so all of these years. She found her niche in that way. But she loved covering society and she was born into Dallas society and she loved covering it and she was a beautiful, wonderful person that I just adored. But I never again hired a society editor that covered society like she did. I wanted someone that, to me, I looked at society with a small "s" instead of capital "S" which didn't always please my bosses.

    Kasper: So what you meant by the small "s" is sort of anything in the culture out there that was of human interest.

    Castleberry: Anything that people do that was of human interest is a part of the social milieu that makes up the whole of society. So I covered things and I got my hand slapped a few times. They really didn't enjoy my going to the—in those days, going to a campground and covering what the black people were doing at a picnic, you know, that wasn't our cup of tea. But it was what the community was doing. Also along about that time, constantly and consistently from the word go, from the day I walked in, I said, we must publish black brides. We were not publishing black brides, the black women who were marrying, we were not putting those in our paper.

    Kasper: So at this juncture, around 1960, the transformation of women's pages from what Molly Ivins called its old incarnation of fluff and drivel to its new incarnation of substantive news is taking place. So at the same time that you're reporting on news of the community, and I'm talking about child abuse and rape and the abortion issue and so forth, you're still—you've got your food editor. You've still got your so-called society editor. You've still got people who are reporting on the brides, although this time you're including black brides—

    Castleberry: Not yet.

    Kasper: Not yet. You're just beginning to.

    Castleberry: No, I'm trying.

    Kasper: You're trying to. What happened when you tried that?

    Castleberry: From the word go, I kept telling management we had to do this. We have to do this. We have to do this. I don't know how long it took.

    Kasper: And what is management saying?

    Castleberry: Management is saying, "No." I mean, in a word, "no." The word that comes back to me is "no."

    Kasper: Well, as Bert Holmes said to me, if you remember that this—or maybe it was Charlie Dameron, it was one of the two men that I spoke to, who said, you have to remember that Dallas is an old southern town and we had a lot of no-no's and shibboleths and one of them was that no black person's picture appeared in the paper. So was that part of the problem?

    Castleberry: Oh, it was the problem. It was the problem.

    Kasper: They didn't want news of black people, they didn't want black peoples' pictures in the paper in the 1950's.

    Castleberry: That's right.

    Kasper: So what happened with that issue?

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    Castleberry: So, what happened was that I just kept on and kept on and kept on dribbling away, and I don't know why they didn't fire me, because I probably asked at least once a month—at least. And finally, when I did it, when it finally happened, I was at SMU covering a conference and there was one of the black women, I can't remember who she was, I wish I could, she was a fine, outstanding person in this community, came up to me and said, "I want you to explain something to me. How do you explain that you published one white debutante's picture in the paper twelve different times in her debut season, a period of three months, and would not publish my daughter's picture when she got married." And I said to her, "I cannot explain that to you. If I could, I would. I am not going to stand here and try to tell you that, that it is justified in any way."

    Kasper: So, for your newspaper, it was all right that you reported on, let's say, the Council of Jewish Women going into South Dallas and working with poor mothers and helping them and maybe setting up a child care center and doing something for poor black families, but the fact that black families might be making good on their own in Dallas was not reportable news in this newspaper.

    Castleberry: Right. Exactly. It was not reported yet. In anything in this country, or in Texas, for that matter. So anyway, I came back that day and I sat down and I wrote a five-page letter to my top boss. It was Jim Chambers when he still owned the paper, owned the chief stock in it. And I started out by saying, "This is a love letter to you and before it is over you're not going to think it is a love letter." And I pointed out a number of different things. One of them was—the first I started with was the black bride issue and I just told him the story. I said, I would tell you this in person except that getting an appointment with you is very difficult because you're very busy. I worded it differently. I always went at all of this with the idea that I do not have a problem I have a challenge, now let's work together to see if we can work it out. What we're going to do about this. And that was the vein in which I wrote this letter. And I said, because you're a very busy person, I want to set this down on paper for you to think about. And I also asked in that for more emphasis on people news and for—I said, we strongly need support in our department from management. We feel like stepchildren, and it's very difficult for me to come in every day and get my staff all enthusiastic about what they are going to do when I do not feel the enthusiasm from the top. And we need your support. We need to know that we are a part of this family and that we are cared about. And we need to be paid for what we're doing, which we are not. And we know that our salary levels are lesser than they are in almost every other department. We need to know that we matter. I reread that letter the other day when I went in, and it was so funny because he had scribbled at the bottom of the letter to my boss, "Do you think we need to talk to her about this?" And no talk ever came of it, I mean—

    Kasper: Nothing ever came of that letter.

    Castleberry: What came of it was that I did get a little note from him saying it's okay to publish black brides.

    Kasper: That's all that came of that letter.

    Castleberry: That's all that came from that letter.

    Kasper: But, it was a challenge, and you got a little piece of it.

    Castleberry: That's it. And so I was driving home that afternoon and I thought about the note and I thought, why don't I feel better because I have really won a major breakthrough. And my answer to that was, we shouldn't be publishing brides at all. Here I have just gotten a whole, you know, another thing to do, and we shouldn't be doing this at all. So, anyway, I was handling at that time up to two hundred brides a week and to keep each one of these people straight, and their names straight, and the spelling of everything straight—

    Kasper: Yes. Marie Anderson talked about that. She said it's just a huge nuisance and it takes up staff time and money and photography time.

    Castleberry: But, let me also tell you, I've rethought this a little bit. That is the one time in life that a woman remembers how the paper treated her.

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    She will clip it and keep it for the rest of her life. And I think there should be a place in our world for that. I have rethought it. Now, in my own daughters, I never tried to get any of them—there was only one of them that we published in the paper. I mean, it wasn't a personal thing with me. I wasn't interested in that, but believe me, people are interested in that.

    Kasper: It is community news, there's no question about it.

    Castleberry: It's community news and as I say, it builds goodwill for the paper that nothing else builds.

    Kasper: But it should not be at the expense of more substantive news.

    Castleberry: Never. Never.

    Kasper: That was your problem right there.

    Castleberry: There are two times in life that if you are good to people they never forget you. And one of them is when they get married and the other one is when they die. And as I stayed with the paper, I began to get obituaries, too, because people knew me and they would call me and say, you know, my aunt died or my mother died. Well, I had one time, one night, one of the most poignant things that I ever had was a woman that I had worked with, she was German-Jewish, and she had come here escaping from the Holocaust, and she had started in our community the literacy program, teaching people to read and write. So I had worked with her very closely. And I just adored her. She never learned to speak English very well, but I would spend hours listening to her because—and she was so good with people who couldn't read and write. And every Christmas she would make me marzipan and bring it to me. But I adored her.

    And one night—I hadn't heard from her in some time and I knew she wasn't very well—and one night about nine o'clock I got a call, at home, from her husband. And he said to me, (what was her name? Not Rosie), but he called her name, they had no children, he said, "She is dying, and she asked me to give you a call and tell you good-bye and to tell you that she had enjoyed working with you and to tell you that she had given her body to medical science and that there will not be a memorial or that there will not be anything, but there are a few people that she wanted me to call and thank them for being alive." You know, once you're committed like that, you get all these different kinds of calls. Margaret was her name. Margaret was her name. Margaret Hirsch. She was absolutely one more gorgeous individual. And those are the kinds of things that happen to you when you get into peoples' lives. And I got into a lot of peoples' lives in all parts of this community.

    Back to, turning back a little bit, with my pregnancy and leave, that time they gave me a leave, but it was unpaid.

    Kasper: This was 1960.

    Castleberry: It was late in '59 because Cathy was born January the 20th of '60. They gave me a leave to come back to work, but it was unpaid. My boss, Felix McKnight and I, had worked out that I would work part time at home, keep my hand in, write feature stories from home and go down maybe once a week. I had to take care of myself because again I was having a kidney infection, even though by that time we had antibiotics to help and I didn't go crazy with it, it still was not fun. You know, any woman that has six children with a kidney infection is crazy. I categorically will say that. And I was nuts. So, of course, I did have a tubal ligation immediately after Cathy was born. My doctor wasn't sure. He said I was still, quote, "a young woman." He wanted to be sure that I wanted to do this and he wasn't real sure that this was what I wanted. I guess, in a sense, I was fortunate. Cathy was born from a split placenta and if she had not been born really fast, she wouldn't have made it. But she came really fast and so the doctor didn't quibble with me and they went on and did the tubal ligation and so I haven't been pregnant again and that's wonderful. [Laughter.]

    But, the period of time that I took off, from probably it was November before I really left the paper, suddenly they were not going to let me work at home, and I

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    never knew why until the other day when I went through my employee files. And the men that I was working for, Bert and Felix, both wanted me to have a leave and work at home, and Jim Chambers wrote "no" at the bottom of their request. And so Felix wrote back and asked for special compensation. He wanted me to keep my hand in. He wanted me to keep my byline in the paper. He thought it was good for the paper. Jim Chambers wrote back, "Don't push me on this. The answer is no."

    Kasper: What do you think his reasoning was?

    Castleberry: I have no idea. I have no idea. None.

    Kasper: You still, to this day, do not know. Do you think he was trying to get rid of you?

    Castleberry: Probably. My feeling is that the kinds of things that I was doing for the paper—I do know that along the way I had several male bosses come in and one of them finally admitted to me that his whole job was to handle me.

    Kasper: Who was this?

    Castleberry: His name was Lou Harris. He was ineffective, and he was put into this position and one day I was pushing him on something and he just thrashed out, he couldn't hold it any longer, he lashed out and said, "I was given this job to handle you."

    Kasper: Oh my goodness. Apparently you were unhandleable.

    Castleberry: And I said to him, "Well, good luck. Better people than you have tried it." [Laughter.]

    Kasper: Did you?

    Castleberry: I did.

    Kasper: Good for you. That's wonderful.

    Castleberry: And I also did some other things along the way. I had one boss—when the paper would come out every day, one of the things that I loved about the paper at that time was that we were handling it just like it was a news section—it had turned into a news section, which meant that we replated it for second edition and third edition.

    Kasper: Your section had turned into a news section or what are you saying?

    Castleberry: Well, it was really—it was more than—we had named it "Living." We had gone down—

    Kasper: Okay, it had already gone through the transformation.

    Castleberry: It had gone through the transition and we were behaving like newspaper people. When the paper came out everyday, we stopped everything, read our section out, replated it, made our corrections, put in new stories as they were breaking, breaking news stories. I've had reporters call me from all over town with breaking stories.

    Kasper: What year was this that that transition came from women's pages to "Living"?

    Castleberry: Oh, '60, '61, '62. It was shortly after I went back after Cathy was born. I don't remember exactly. I could be wrong on that. We had, at that time, made the transition and with the blessings of Bert and other people who were running things—

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    [End Tape 1, Side B; Begin Tape 2, Side A]

    Kasper: —going on in the American Press Institute, it was a conference on women's pages, women's editors, or editors of women's pages, I should say.

    Castleberry: Now that was an extremely significant conference for me because I was just beginning to take over and to begin to try to get a new direction for the women's news department which I was already pressing to change the name to something else so that it would really reflect what it was that we were trying to do, and that was that we were not going to be a traditional women's page in the sense of doing just the surface, frivolous things, but getting to some kind of depth reporting.

    Kasper: Which you had already started.

    Castleberry: Yeah, I'd already started it.

    Kasper: But now you wanted to institutionalize it.

    Castleberry: I wanted to institutionalize it. In addition, I needed some direction and some clout. I needed to feel that I wasn't all by myself out there in never, never land. So I credit Felix McKnight for doing that for me. He really was wonderful to push that through and at the very first conference that was ever held for women's editors at Columbia University by the American Press Institute was in June of '59 and I attended that. I was one of twenty-four or twenty-six participants and out of that group came some of the really outstanding journalists who later developed into nationally and internationally known journalists such as Dorothy Jurney was there, Gloria Biggs, Marie Anderson, Maggie Savoy, who is now deceased. She was the, I believe, features editor of the Los Angeles Times. She held a prominent post at the LA Times following that. Jean Otto, who later went on to edit the op ed page, I believe with the Milwaukee Journal, some of this will bear checking out. Marge Paxson, who then went on to edit her own newspaper, and be publisher of a newspaper. So it was really a remarkably fine group of people that I got to be with and try to check out my ideas against theirs and listen to some of the women who at that time were older than I and had been in it a lot longer than I and to find out that the needs were—and, what we wanted to do was kind of universal, that we were all journalists who were eager to move our particular sections of the paper into the real world and to report on what was going on in the real world.

    Kasper: So you were like-minded. You came with the same kind of focus of purpose in mind, which is wonderful.

    Castleberry: And there were very few people in that session that didn't feel that way. There were a few. There were a few who couldn't catch the vision, didn't get the dream and probably went home and did the same old thing, including the two men who were there. That was funny, because there were two men, and I have to tell you a funny story here because one of the two men who was there gave me a terrible time all the time that I was there.

    Kasper: Would you like to name a name here?

    Castleberry: I wish I could remember it. I would tell you if I could remember. But I think—I have a real tendency to forget those people that bug me the worst. And I mean I honestly do. And I think that is probably a gift that I have been given by something higher than I am because people tell me sometimes I should remember my enemies better, but I don't. I remember my friends, but I forget my enemies. And also, I think for the most part, at this stage of my life, I have learned to love the person and forgive what they do. It's a very hard leap to make. But this man was just—he was just tacky. That's the best word I know to put it in. He wanted to know repeatedly, bugged me repeatedly throughout the whole week about what my husband and poor little children were doing at home without me. At that stage I had four little children that I had left at home and it didn't matter that their father was here and that he was very capable of running things and quite a grown-up person and could handle this situation and that the full-time housekeeper was there handling all of the mechanical needs. But anyway, it was just out of his framework of thinking that a woman could have a career and also be a mother. And you will remember that I also was newly pregnant at that stage. I didn't ever tell him that I was pregnant too. [Laughter.]

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    Kasper: That would have really swung him for a loop.

    Castleberry: But, it was so funny. I put up with this all week. And we would be in an informal session, we would be at a lunch, maybe, and he would think of a way to jive. And so finally on the last day that we were there, he had pushed for so long and I had taken about all I wanted to take. And when he came up then at the last day and said, "Well one thing you have never told me is how does your husband feel about the way you're living your life?" And I looked him straight, and I said, "Well, I want you to know that my husband is so grown-up and so mature and so capable of handling life that he doesn't think anything about this, and I so wish that your wife had the same kind of gift." [Laughter.] And I never heard from him again.

    So, anyway, that was a tremendous experience, the API, the American Press Institute gathering. And then, of course, we corresponded later.

    Kasper: How many days did this conference go on?

    Castleberry: It was a week.

    Kasper: And you had workshops?

    Castleberry: We had workshops every day.

    Kasper: And what were they on?

    Castleberry: They were on news reporting, headline writing, page layout, topics for women's pages, what kinds of things are being covered, what is not being covered in this country. Also there were outstanding critiques that were given on the way your section looked. We all sent our sections ahead of time and they critiqued those and had experts in the different fields to critique them. And you came away not only with a global view of what should be happening, but you came away with specific help on how you were doing things right and what you might be able to help with.

    And some of the things I didn't agree with, and that was the fascinating experience for me. For instance, I had written an article and I had the district attorney here, Henry Wade, to write the other article on Mother's Day. We had come out with a page called "What I Most Hope for My Child." And I had written the article from a mother's point of view and I had asked Henry Wade to write it from a father's point of view on what we wanted our children to grow up to become. And the page was laid out with photographs all the way around the border so that the type, then, I put in the center like it was a framed picture. And it was a conglomerate of photographs around the outside edge and it was the oval type in the center of this thing made it look like the framed picture. And we got extremely positive comment, not only on the content of that story, but also on the way it looked. It just kind of slapped you in the face. This was really before color so it was all black and white. But at Columbia, they thought that this looked really a little bit juvenile and that it was much too packed and that the eye could not really capture what was going on. I disagreed with that, and I didn't say so, but I just came back and continued to do the things that I knew were right for me, my paper, and my community. So it wasn't that I absorbed wholly everything they were saying. Critique, to me, is to help you to improve the best you can do rather than to change the direction and shape and what it is your trying to do. So I got just a tremendous amount out of that experience.

    Kasper: Did you come away feeling that you got the support that you were looking for? That what you were doing was right, covering women's news in a whole new way?

    Castleberry: Oh, I knew it. I knew the direction. I came away affirmed completely that where I was headed was exactly right and that that was the direction that we inevitably would go in.

    Kasper: Did you find that these other women editors were doing the same kinds of things that you were doing?

    Castleberry: Yeah. For the most part, yes.

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    Kasper: They were covering substantive news.

    Castleberry: Oh, yes, yes. Some of them ahead of me because they were working for newspapers that were ahead of us.

    Kasper: What papers were those?

    Castleberry: Oh, those were the—mostly the Los Angeles papers and the Florida papers. The Florida papers were interestingly enough at that time probably the most advanced in women's news.

    Kasper: What did you attribute that to?

    Castleberry: There being a new area of the country that had a lot of tradition that they had to live down first. New things can be innovative. Things that are set in tradition always have trouble changing.

    Kasper: And Dallas is a very traditional place.

    Castleberry: And Dallas is a very traditional, very conservative, old south city. And any area of the country that you're in where—such as California, be the first by whom the new are tried, boy, they were going to do it, and some things are not right, but at least they're trying it out. And we couldn't do that. Sometimes it was extremely hard for me to patient and wait. I would push—I used to say that I had this technique. I would take my little canoe out into the waters to see how far I could get it from shore. And if the waves got too high and heavy I would take it back into the shoreline and I would sit there with it in a safe place until the waves subsided, then I'd take it out again to see if those waves are still out there. And sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. But that took its toll on me and I very honestly—

    Kasper: How was that?

    Castleberry: I very honestly think that one of the reasons that I succumbed to cancer was that I had ingested too much stress and pressure. It really took its toll on me and if I hadn't had a husband who was a marvelous balance wheel, I wouldn't have made it. And I've said to you, I don't think I've said it on tape, I would walk the streets with Curt and he would say to me, "Honey, how can I help? What can I do?" He also would say to me, "Well, it's their paper, why don't you just do it the way they want to do it and don't push so hard." He, I guess, typical of most people that you love, he would have loved to have protected me more. And then I would say to him, "You can't help me because you've never been a woman, you've never lived through this. It's nice that you're there. I'm glad that I feel the support, you're a good foundation. But this is something that I have to do." And I also began then to work out my own women's support system. And I pulled around me twelve women—well there wound up being fourteen of us, but we started out with just twelve, twelve women that I personally chose who were about my age from different walks of life who had been the only criteria in my selecting these people for our support system for each other was that they had been outstandingly successful in what they had chosen to do with their lives.

    Kasper: Well now, you're talking about the women's network that was your and their private network.

    Castleberry: Private network. Right.

    Kasper: And about what time did you start putting this together? The late '60's was it?

    Castleberry: Probably the late 60's. Probably the late '60's. I had done it informally with different friends before that time, but it just, it suddenly dawned on me one day that I was doing all of these things for other people. I was planning programs for other people. I was trying to run a staff. I was trying to keep their personal ego and also keep them moving together as a unit, totally, you know, working with newspaper people is hard because each of them is a total individual, has to be, and I respected that.

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    Kasper: Let me just back up a little bit. About this time, when you had met Dorothy Jurney at the API Conference, didn't you also travel to Florida to see what she was doing down there at the Miami Herald? You spent a week with her or something?

    Castleberry: Yes, I did. I spent several days, I think it really was about three or four days that I went down.

    Kasper: What did you go down there for? What did you want to see?

    Castleberry: Let me see if I can remember exactly what I went for. I can't remember what invitation it was or what gimmick I used to get permission to go.

    Kasper: She said you came down because you wanted to see what they were up to.

    Castleberry: That's right.

    Kasper: And you got permission from management to go on some excuse.

    Castleberry: I did. I did. But it was a job of some kind and I can't at the moment recall exactly what excuse allowed me to make the trip, but the purpose of the trip was to find out what she was doing with that paper and how she did it.

    Kasper: It was kind of like going to this conference. You wanted the support from other areas of the country to know that what you were doing was being done.

    Castleberry: In order to see how they were doing it. I wanted to see how I could do it better. I wanted to find out if there were things and avenues that they were using that I could borrow.

    Kasper: That you just hadn't hit upon.

    Castleberry: And we had to do a lot of that because there was not—it was a totally do-it-yourself project. When I took the job at the Times Herald, even my beloved Bert Holmes, he said to me—oh, it was Felix McKnight who said to me, "Honey, if you have any problems, you just come to me and we will work them out." Now that was my total management training to take over a staff. And my big hang-up was that I didn't know I was going to have problems. I didn't know what questions to ask. So it was a learn-the-hard-way and of course at the same time that I was doing all this, I was working in the back shop which meant that I—

    Kasper: What's the back shop?

    Castleberry: The back shop is where they print the newspaper. In those days it was all hand printed. You literally picked the type up and set it into place and you used linotype machines and whatever. And that group of people, they were all men at that time, and it was a totally different group of people from what your reporters are. They were blue collar workers. Some of them absolutely marvelous. And I learned that I had to work with those people, they could make or break you. Because they could follow the exact letter of the law which meant that they had a union contract and we didn't. It meant that when their break times came, they could drop everything they were doing and walk out for a thirty-minute break while you, who had small children at home, who needed you to come home and do dinner, sat there and cooled your heels. And so I had to learn how to work with these men, most of them were old enough to be my father, and none of whom had ever worked with women. And that was an experience.

    And there were two or three of them who turned out to be absolutely divine. There's one man, whose name I can't remember, that I still see in this town, that I would like to give a gold star to because he would do things for me that the union didn't allow behind their backs. He would stay with me through his break time because he knew I needed to get home.

    And then there was also the sexual harassment that went on. There was one man in particular who was terribly, terribly—saw himself as a real ladies' man and who made all of the nasty innuendos and cutting remarks that he could make.

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    And I wanted to handle it without slapping his face or otherwise making a scene. I did not want to get down on his level. But it was a hard row to hoe. And I finally handled him—I don't know if I want this to be a part of this or not—but, I finally handled him one night when he had been particularly obnoxious. It was a Friday night and I was trying to get the Sunday pages out and he was dawdling and ogling and making suggestive remarks and putting his hands on me every time he could—if he could get close enough. And I kept avoiding and dodging and moving and not listening and bantering and whatever. And finally, he said to me, "I bet if I could just get you alone you would be just one hunk o' woman." And I dropped what I was doing and I looked at him and I said, "Listen, I want something clearly understood. My husband thinks so and he is the only one who is allowed to think that. And if I hear another remark from you top management is going to hear about it." And I never heard anymore from him. And he was gone soon after. I don't know whether somebody else reported him or what happened. But there was also that angle that we were constantly confronted with.

    Kasper: Now, how was your staff at this time which was about the late '60's? Had you made some more changes?

    Castleberry: I want to go back just briefly to shortly after I went back to work after Cathy was born. When I went back to work after Cathy was born, I left there in the fall and didn't go back until—well, she was born on the 20th of January and I can't recall exactly when I went back, but it was probably in March. I didn't stay off long that time at all. And I went back and my staff was in a shambles because there were people on the staff who had determined that I was not coming back. They were taking bets on whether or not I would come back. There was one woman that I had hired and trained who had decided that she would like to be women's editor.

    Kasper: Who was this?

    Castleberry: I can't remember her name. I have a hard time. Her first name was Sarah, and I can't remember who it was. But I do remember, I couldn't get my hand on what was going on. All this was going on behind my back and I was back trying my best to get the job done that needed to be done and not really realizing that I was being sabotaged behind my back. So one afternoon after everybody had gone home I wandered into Bert's office and I said to him, "Listen, I'm having some problems and I don't clearly understand what they are." And he looked at me real straight and he said, "If you want to put your staff back together, fire Sarah." And I didn't have to do it. And I didn't have to do it because I walked in the next morning and I called a staff meeting and I said, "Listen, gang, I clearly understand there were bets being taken about whether or not I was coming back, but I am back and I am taking over."

    Also, at the same time, before I called my staff together, I went to the top boss, who at that time was Felix McKnight, and I said to him, "Mr. McKnight, I'm going to do something today and want you to know what it is. I'm going to call my staff together and I'm going to lower the boom." I said, "I understand that people have been running in here one after the other reporting to you about just the different things that are going on and it's been one person doing one thing and somebody—and then," I said, "you're having to listen to all of these sad sob stories of what people are coming in telling you is going on. And I just want you to know that I'm taking over today and you don't have to do that for me anymore." And I said, "From now on, I would appreciate it if they come to you," I said, "I'm going to tell them, and I would appreciate it if they come to you that you tell them to come back and work it out with me so that together we can come to you." And I said, "I'm not trying to usurp any authority that belongs to you or anybody else at this paper, but I know that you have more to do that you don't have time to listen to all these sob stories that are coming to you time after time after time."

    Kasper: And he agreed with that. He was pleased.

    Castleberry: He was relieved. He was incredibly relieved. So, anyway, that got me back. Another thing that I would like to mention here that I did that I found to be one of the best things I ever did and I still think so. In 1957, way back then, I started what I called at first a Homemaker Panel because that's what would go over at the time. And every year for twenty-five years we changed it;

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    we changed its form and its shape. We did it every year in July. And I started it very honestly because there was nothing going on in July. The clubs were all dead. Nobody was doing anything. Everybody was on vacation. There was nothing to read. Finding a good story was hard. And I started it with the idea of really having a group of kind of in-house women who would help to give me direction from the community on what it was that they really needed to see in their paper. So I got all of those programs that we did for all of those years.

    Kasper: Now these were programs you held on behalf of the paper and you invited women from the community—

    Castleberry: Um hum. What I did was to invite twelve women from throughout this community. We chose them cutting across every socio, economic and ethnic line we could. Now, at first we were not allowed to have black people. The first black woman that I ever invited was the wife of one of the Dallas Cowboys. [Laughter.] You use whatever techniques you have to use to get where you want to go. And so we invited the women in and they were all ages from grandmothers down to new brides. At first I didn't have a single woman head of household because that was not a significant thing at the time. But pretty soon we began to look at that too. What we would do, the whole staff got involved in this. After the first one, it was so successful, the whole staff got involved in it and I had a little folder in my desk drawer that said, "I think this woman would be a good panelist," and gave her name and address and a little bit about her. And they would come in from whatever assignments they were on and drop these things in the barrel. And just about six weeks before panel every summer we would lay a city map out on the desk and take out all these pieces of paper and cut across every line we could cut across and invite the women to come participate.

    Kasper: And when they came, what did they talk about?

    Castleberry: And the letter would say something like this. It would say: "The Dallas Times Herald and its women's news staff considers you an outstanding woman in the community." That was about the first paragraph. "And because of this, we invite you to participate for a full day in a program where we can learn how you manage your life, and maybe help you learn from other women who are equally involved, some of the things that you want to do with your life." So what we would do is start out in the morning. We would talk about—I learned more things from that group of women. We would start out with simple things like how—we would gentle them to begin with. We started out with coffee in the early morning, greeted each other and had them sitting around the board room table and we talked about how you actually manage your day. What do you do when you first get up in the morning? Who gets up first? Who puts the coffee on? How do you get your kids started? What are some of the techniques that you use to make your home a positive place? And then we would go from that, we would spend maybe thirty minutes talking about how you arrange the house for the convenience of the family members.

    Two of the things that I learned in those sessions I still do. One of them is that when you do your laundry, you fold all of the sheets that go on a single bed together and put them on your laundry shelf folded together, pillowcases and both sheets folded together so you don't have to search. Another thing that I learned that I used with my children that people thought they were poor little kids because they'd have them, but it was wonderful. I could never keep up with socks. So we bought all white socks and we put them all in a basket. I never mated a sock after they told me at homemaker panel not to. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: It sounds like Judith Viorst, you know the writer? Judith Viorst has raised three sons and the way she had her sock strategy in her house was one son wore only blue socks; one wore only brown; and one wore only yellow.

    Castleberry: Well, we all wore only white. And if they wanted something else, then they had to buy them out of their own allowance and take care of them themselves. But, you know, I handled the laundry, but I did not mate socks. That was one of the things mother didn't do. And some of my friends thought that my children were poor little kids because I didn't mate their socks for them.

    But you asked what else we talked about. As the years went on, we began to talk about—oh, another thing that was so neat about that panel, after that first one, every—

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    and we made it important for them. We took them to lunch at either a fine hotel or when the Dallas Press Club was exceptional, I took them to the Press Club for lunch. And we would have community leaders meet us there for lunch so that they would get to know who they were. Building bridges, building bridges.

    Kasper: Now, the point of this was that women you identified in the community, you wanted them not only to feel that they were important to the community, but you wanted to stimulate their interest in doing more for the community. Was that part of it too?

    Castleberry: Yeah. Well, that's part of it, but mostly it was simply a process of learning from each other. There are so many facets to this, and one of them, well, two of them that I want to mention. Shortly after the first one, my management said to me, now this is okay—

    Kasper: Why did management underwrite this in the first place? They thought it was good publicity for the paper or something?

    Castleberry: Well, I guess so. I did do a pretty good selling job, I think.

    Kasper: You got away with murder, basically, at the Dallas Times Herald. That's what Molly Ivins told me.

    Castleberry: That's right. But it was so good for them. You see, I had to do something that was good for them. But we royally entertained the women, made them feel good about themselves, and then after that first one, in the afternoon, I would invite back everybody that had ever participated in the one before, so it was cumulative. And it was so wonderful because I had women calling each other for support.

    Kasper: So you began the network of women in Dallas with these panels, is what you're saying.

    Castleberry: Well, it was one of the things that happened. And one of the fascinating things was how good it was for the paper. I'll give you a specific. One day a plane fell in a schoolyard out in near North Dallas and I remembered instantly that one of my panelists lived right next door to that school. And I was on the telephone to her and she was feeding information to me at the paper about what was going on on that schoolyard before we could get a reporter out there, or before the police could even report on it. And it happened often, not anything else that dramatic, but there were all—I could pick up the phone and call a woman in any section of this community and find out what was going on in that community because I already had built this trust level. And this was particularly significant then as the civil rights movement moved in because I was there the first day the people sat in at H.L Greens when they were trying to integrate the lunch counter.

    Kasper: So how did this network work during the civil rights movement?

    Castleberry: Well we had already built a kind of trust system in different parts of the community where—

    Kasper: With black women as well as white.

    Castleberry: Oh, yeah.

    Kasper: So black women knew white women and vice versa so that you were instrumental—

    Castleberry: And see, I don't want to be—I want to be very clear about this. I wasn't the only one that was doing it because the National Council of Jewish Women had been doing that for years, had been trying to build these bridges, different ones. And the first time that the Jewish women and the black women got together for dialogue sessions years ago, like some thirty years ago, in this community. And I tried to get them to let me come and they said I couldn't come because my face wasn't black and I—

    Kasper: And my religion wasn't Jewish.

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    Castleberry: —wasn't Jewish and they wouldn't let me come. So one day they were having a meeting at a friend's house and I called her up and I said, "I'm going to come to your house. If I need to paint my face black and change my name to Castleberrystein, I will do it. But I'm going to be there because I want to know what's going on." And so she said, "Sure." She laughed and said sure. And also, along about that time, I became kind of a token white in some meetings I covered. I was the only white at an all black conference at Bishop College, and that's a learning experience that every human being needs.

    Kasper: So how do you feel this network impacted on the civil rights movement here in Dallas. Explain when you talk about building bridges and networking and black women knowing white women, what difference did it make?

    Castleberry: I will have to say to you, I don't know. I mean, I have to be honest. I don't know what difference it made. I know what I feel and what I think. I know, for instance, that when the first black man, George Allen, who should have been named mayor pro tem and wasn't, that our black community was most unhappy as well they should have been.

    Kasper: He was a black man.

    Castleberry: He's a black man and he should have been named mayor pro tem and they passed him over for another white male. And a lot of us were on the telephone that night into the wee hours of the next morning talking. And I really think that at that particular moment there could have easily been a civil rights uprising in the community that would have triggered some things that we have seen in other parts of the country, some violence, if we hadn't been on the phone talking to each other and sincerely, because we'd already built the trust level, sincerely making our friends who happened to be black know that they were not alone in their frustration.

    Kasper: Not only not alone, but that they had the support—

    Castleberry: They had the support of a lot of us.

    Kasper: —of white people who believed in them and believed in their rights, their progress.

    Castleberry: Believed that this was not the proper and right or appropriate thing to have happen. And I never made apologies for those things we didn't do. As I dealt with the mother of the black bride, I dealt with everything that way. This is not right, it is not just, I never try to qualify or justify, I just said, there are some things out of my control. I'm working on it. And I'll keep on working on it.

    And then, also, I did one of the things that was a lot of fun, and that was I learned to bide my time about some things, that I wasn't going to get it all done tomorrow, and I could be patient. And most of the time that meant that you were patient until the big boss went out of town.

    Kasper: What did you do when the big boss went out of town?

    Castleberry: Well, one thing I did when the big boss went out of town, I covered the first integrated neighborhood in the community. And it was a glorious neighborhood, and I went out and they had worked very hard to make this work. And it was a small pocket of a neighborhood that was bounded on the north by Lovers Lane and on the east by Inwood, and on the south, I believe, by Mockingbird Lane and on the west, by Harry Hines, probably. I'll have to look back in my notes to be sure. But I called it a small postage stamp of Dallas with one corner torn off. And that's exactly what it looked like when you looked on the city map. And the neighborhood in there integrated very quietly. And the white people who were in there they called community, you know, neighborhood meetings and welcomed the black people who moved in.

    The people who called me about it were—well, Jody Furnish called me about it. Her husband, Victor, was on the staff at the school of theology at SMU and they had just bought a house in the neighborhood and had learned that some black people were looking at the house next door and started right away making it safe for people

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    to get together. So they would have meetings in their home with different people and talk about all of the neat things that could come of having their children grow up in blended neighborhoods. So they invited me out to one of their meetings and I went and I just sort of started biding my time to see how long it was going to take before I could do a story on this. Finally came the day that I went out and the children, I shall never forget it—

    Kasper: Who had to leave town? Jim Chambers had to leave town? Or Felix McKnight? Or everybody?

    Castleberry: Practically the whole crowd left town.

    Kasper: Bert Holmes. Everybody left.

    Castleberry: No, Bert was there. He wasn't—

    Kasper: You haven't mentioned Charlie Dameron. Did he have to leave town too?

    Castleberry: No. Well, Charlie would have had to leave town. I don't want to say this on tape.

    Kasper: You don't want to say this on tape? I'll turn it off. [Tape interruption.]

    Castleberry: So, anyway, I wrote the story called "Neighborhood Power" and it came out on a Sunday with a black hand and a white hand reaching across the top of the page, clasped.

    Kasper: Do you remember what year this was approximately?

    Castleberry: No, but I've got a copy of it in my file.

    Kasper: I'd love to see it.

    Castleberry: And the interesting thing was that it won a state writing award later for me. And what was so interesting was that when my management came back to town, they just weren't real sure about that. They didn't know what had hit 'em. And so it was always kind of fun to have someone present me an award for something they hadn't approved of when it was done.

    Kasper: That wasn't the only time that happened either was it?

    Castleberry: Oh, no, unh unh.

    Kasper: Can you think of a few more examples before I move along here?

    Castleberry: Yeah, there was one other dramatic example that I don't know why I didn't get fired for. The Dallas County Juvenile Home was on Knight Street and it was overcrowded. I can't remember how many children were in it. It was probably approved for—it was a big old rambling house, and it had been approved for probably, let's say twelve and there was something like twenty in it, I'm not real sure of those numbers at all, but terribly overcrowded. One tired, middle-aged couple as house parents and two lethargic women helping with these children. And all of them were wards of Dallas County and some of them had been through terrible physical abuse and their condition was extremely bad and I did not write that story. I assigned the story and I followed it all the way through and went with the reporter to the house and checked everything out for myself to be sure that we were very—I was very confident that we had all of our facts straight and checked with everybody. We went out to that house on an August afternoon when it was 107. There was no air conditioning. The children's shoes were in a bushel basket in an open closet where they all had to come and fend for them. Their clothing was in a terrible state. The tired, worn-out housemother was in the kitchen rocking a child and sweating all over and just—I mean, the conditions just under—in civilized, affluent Dallas just couldn't be any worse for that particular type of thing.

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    I started to leave that day and a little boy about four or five followed me out and sat on the end of the porch while I was saying good-bye to the house mother and thanking her for letting us come. He went sat on the end of the porch and I could tell that he was really troubled and I went down and sat by him and he threw his arms around me and clung tight and said, "Don't leave me. Take me with you." He just begged and cried for me to take him with me. And so I talked and I talked and I humored him and did my best to get him to calm down and kept telling him I could not take him, as much as I would like to, I could not take him. And he finally started sobbing, he said, "I want my mother. I want my mommy." And that child had been burned with cigarettes by his mother. So it was that kind of thing that we had walked into. So we came out one Sunday morning with the first of a series of stories which meant that we were committed. And the stories began, "The children are crying on Knight Street, crying for parents who are not there, crying for things that Dallas could give them but hasn't."

    Kasper: What a bombshell.

    Castleberry: And we went on from there and the commissioners on the Dallas County Commissioners Court that had not been to that place probably ever were there Monday morning before we could get our papers open. And that was another one that almost blew the top off this community. But we got a new juvenile home out of it soon—very soon. It did not take long for them to move those children out of that anguished place.

    Kasper: What did management say on Monday morning when this article first appeared? Were you called into anybody's office?

    Castleberry: No, I wasn't called into anybody's office at all. They just looked at me like, well, you did it again. What am I going to do with you now? And see, I knew this. I knew it was going on, but I couldn't stop it.

    Kasper: You couldn't stop yourself.

    Castleberry: I couldn't stop myself. I couldn't stand it. So, anyway, that's two of them.

    Kasper: Well, let me move back to where we were a little bit earlier when we talked about staff. I'm kind of interested in your management style and the fact that you had inherited the staff and you kept most of it. Now, what changes did you institute as time went on? Did you change personnel and hire like-minded women like yourself?

    Castleberry: I tried not to. I tried constantly to hire people who were gifted and who could take the talents that they had and develop them to their own best. And I tried constantly to hire people who were interested in different things. I didn't want like-minded people. I wanted people who were willing to grow and I hired one young woman one time who now is one of the best medical reporters in the city, works for the medical school.

    Kasper: What's her name?

    Castleberry: Her name at the time was Susan Michero, she's now Susan Rutherford. And she had graduated from college in art and I very badly needed somebody who could do page layouts because I won some awards for page layout, but I'm not a page layout person. I learned by trial and error and doing, and what type would fit where and which pictures look good here, and whatever. So I don't consider myself an expert and I wanted somebody who had a real inclination for that. Her writing was very lean at the time. She wasn't a writer and didn't even pretend to be, but she was really good in the other area and had the potential of learning to be a writer. And so I hired her with the understanding that she would be a beginning reporter and that she would have to report on all the routine things that came along, start her out just as a neophyte learning how to do things. But then her strong suit would be helping me to really shape the pages into artistic creations. Well Susan hadn't been working for me very long and she came in one day and in utter exasperation she said, "Why do you hire bright, sharp people and then try to immediately turn them into something that's different." And I looked at her and I said, "Susan, every profession has it's vocabulary. Every profession has basic things that one must learn,

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    and that's what I'm trying to teach you, and I hope that you are going to be willing to learn because you are too bright to give up on." And so now she is one of the best medical reporters that the medical school has and she, I think, did it and she's also had breast cancer. She may be one that would be fascinating for you to talk with because of her medical background.

    Kasper: She's at Southwestern?

    Castleberry: She's at Southwestern. And she went from there—she married. When Susan left me, she married and she and young husband were going to Europe to bum around—

    [End Tape 2, Side A; Begin Tape 2, Side B]

    Castleberry: She wanted me to promise her that when she got back if there was a job open, that she could have it. And I said, "Susan, I'm not going to promise you that." I said, "I think it is time that you grew. I think it is time that you took your talents and did something else. I will promise you this, I will give you the best recommendation that you can possibly imagine. And I will bless you on your way." And, I said, "Also, there may be a situation where I would just love to have you back, but I want you to consider that this is your way to greater growth." And sure enough, she never asked for her job back. She went to Europe, bummed around for a year, had a wonderful time, came back, had a child and then went to work for the medical school and she's been there a long, long time.

    Kasper: So you had, in terms of management, you had hiring and firing privileges. Did you have any control over the budget and other kinds of things?

    Castleberry: Not a lot. The only control that I had over budget was that I could ask for what I thought it was going to take to run the ship for a year. And usually didn't get it.

    Kasper: How much less did you get?

    Castleberry: Oh, I would say half of what I had asked for and I learned that pretty soon, so I knew how to—I deplore games. I deplore playing games and I despise having to manipulate and I despise padded budgets. But you have to live in the real world so I learned really quickly how to do things that were okay. I also eventually, after a while, I learned to have a great deal of respect for my company's bottom line. At first, I didn't have a lot of that because I was a visionary and a dreamer and I know, and I still know, that anything you want to do is possible and it doesn't require money to do it. I know that because I've done that. But, I realize that I'm not living in other peoples' real world when I say that, so I respect the way they feel about money and I'm very cautious with spending money. I'm too cautious with spending money. I know that my expense accounts were never what, say, the sports editors were, or any other editor for that matter, and I know that my travel expenses were always less than. And I also know several times I was told by people, "Don't make us look bad, you know, turn in more expenses. Don't make us look bad."

    Kasper: Did you ever bring your staff salary up to par with the other departments of the paper?

    Castleberry: I didn't. It was done probably after I was out. When Tom Johnson came from the Los Angeles Times and bought the paper—

    Kasper: What year was that, do you remember?

    Castleberry: Gosh, I don't remember. I sure don't.

    Kasper: Sixties or seventies?

    Castleberry: Seventies. But I don't remember when. When the Los Angeles Times bought the paper, that was the first thing Tom Johnson did was to work on salaries. And you would have to ask him, but I have a suspicion that he found a disgraceful discrepancy in men's salaries and women's.

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    Kasper: You don't know what they were, but you know they were—

    Castleberry: I don't know what they were, but I know that we were all working for less money than we should have. I know that it was a disgrace what we were paid.

    Kasper: What the women were paid.

    Castleberry: Un huh, what the women were paid. And that was because what we were doing—we were not valued and what we did was not valued, but it was valued by the community, so, you know, I can live with that.

    Kasper: As we move on, one of the things I wanted to ask you, too, was so much of all of this that you pioneered—did you feel that you had any mentors, people you could look to? I realize that's probably not an accurate—?

    Castleberry: Yeah, it's an accurate thing. But, yes and no. And when I say that, my mentors were not in my field. There were no journalists that I really could look to. I admired and respected the Marie Andersons and those people, but they were too far removed from me physically to be much of mentors. Most of my mentors were from books. First, my mother, who had made it all possible. And then I grew up on Amelia Earhart, and although I never wanted to fly, never desired to fly, what she did just blew me away. And I read everything I could get my hands on on her from the time I was a child and she first started making a mark in the world. Eleanor Roosevelt. I read everything. I used to think when I would read "My Day" in the paper that came to the country where we lived, I would read that and I would think, nothing is going on here, but I could not wait to get my hands on it to read it.

    Kasper: "My Day" was her column.

    Castleberry: It was her little column and it was just a little nothing, I mean, it was like, "I welcomed the press today," you know, it was so short and brief.

    Kasper: But she was symbolic to you.

    Castleberry: But she was symbolic. And I thought she was exquisite. I thought she was absolutely beautiful at a time when other people were talking about how ugly that woman is. And to me she personified everything that I thought women ought to become.

    Kasper: And what was that?

    Castleberry: To do anything in the world that you wanted to do.

    Kasper: To be independent, free-minded.

    Castleberry: Independent. Free-minded. To combine career and family, to have it all. To have it all.

    Kasper: And to be clear on knowing that you want that.

    Castleberry: That's right. And then, later on, Margaret Mead. I read her autobiography and cried because—

    Kasper: Blackberry Winter?

    Castleberry: Blackberry Winter. The things that she said in there, you know, it just struck so home with me. I was a very much wanted first child and that has shaped me for all of my life. And I did have some wonderful experiences with Margaret Mead. She came to speak at one of our Times Herald women's forums in the September club meeting as a keynote speaker back many years ago, came at our invitation to speak. And I got to know her and she was every bit as marvelous as I had anticipated she would be.

    And another thing, along the way, of all the wonderful, wonderful, wonderful women that I have met, I have met very few light-weights, very few. There are, and I think all of us know who they are, but most of the women who have made it to where they are today are so generous with their time, generous with themselves.

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    You mentioned a few minutes ago about seeing the picture of Lily Tomlin in there, and I wanted to tell you that funny story because Lily Tomlin did not want to see me because, again, it's one of those situations where a women's editor, you know, you come over to the great public out there as a little gray-haired busy body. And so she had said, no, that she wouldn't—

    Kasper: This was when she was in town performing?

    Castleberry: She was in town performing and she wasn't going to see me, but she was going to make a public appearance for one of our women's events in town. And I had asked for an interview with her ahead of time so that I could kind of get a feeling of who she was, what she was going to say. I always went to the person, in the person's setting, if I possibly could because you just don't get the story otherwise. So, I had asked for and it had been declined. It had been declined two or three times and I kept pressing. And finally she said, "Well, tell her," I guess, this is the message that came back to me, "Tell her I'll give her fifteen minutes before I have to leave for the meeting." And I said, "Okay, that's enough. That's just fine. I'll be glad to." So I walked into the room and waited for her and she sailed in like the star that she could be. And I extended both hands and I said, "Thank you so much for coming to Dallas, the women here need you." And she utterly and completely melted. And an hour later, I had to make her leave to go to her assignment, to make her public appearance. She told me everything I ever wanted to know and then some. She was gorgeous. And I have found that is true of most women. I can point out, I had mentioned previously that I never felt that I got the story of Pat Nixon. I think I came close once, and this was in a press conference, just a regular press conference, and I said to her, "Mrs. Nixon, if you could do anything in the world that you wanted to do right now, what would you be doing?" And for just a second the barrier came down and she said, "Oh, if I could be doing anything in the world I wanted to do, I would be home with Julie and Trish." And then that facade came down again and she—

    Kasper: Probably only to be raised immediately a few minutes later. No private persona, all public.

    Castleberry: And it was like chiseling away at someone who is set in plastic.

    Kasper: Sure.

    Castleberry: And the strange thing is, I don't think she really is. I think there's a woman under there. And it is frustrating—

    Kasper: But buried so deeply.

    Castleberry: —to the nth degree that you can't find the person who is under there.

    Kasper: Tell me, who are, in turn, we talked about some of the women who you feel were mentors or important in one way or another, who do you feel that in turn you as a journalist nurtured, the women who came or who were coming after you in this process? Maybe some that you hired or some that you influenced in other ways?

    Castleberry: Gosh, I don't know. I don't think we ever—let me answer that as honestly as I possibly can, and that is, I don't think we ever know where the ripples end. And I have never been concerned with that. What I know because people have told me, I could give you names of some of the people that have said, "You meant a lot to me at a certain time in my life."

    Kasper: Well, you can mention those. I think you're just being modest.

    Castleberry: No, but it's not—no, it's not modesty. I would be really honest if I could think of it. But what it is is dropping ripples and watching them go out and never knowing where they're going to end. It's like being a journalist. Because when you're sitting there in the quiet silence in front of that computer and you're sending out these words, you don't know where it's going. You don't know what kind of impact it's going to make. But what I have consistently reminded myself of is that it is a self-integrity that I've got to be true to the kernel of who I am. This is something I've got to do. And it's really very selfish.

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    When you get down to it, it's something I've got to do. And where it ends up I don't know.

    I know that along the way such people as Julia Sweeney and Maggie Kennedy and Susan Rutherford and Dorothy Fagg. [Note added by V. Castleberry: Mary Ann Lane was assistant women's editor for much of the time I was there and absolutely perfect as a team. Where I was a visionary, Mary Ann was practical. I dreamed in panavision and technicolor and on the wide-wide screen. And Mary Ann made it all fit onto the page. Or tried to. Sometimes our immortal words hit the cutting room floor.]

    Let me think, Graydon Heartsell, who died a couple of weeks ago, was very special to me. Yvonne Saliba Pendleton. All of those people that I hired. Yvonne was fashion editor after Graydon and she had large shoes to fill and just did it magnificently, was a totally different kind of person than what Graydon was, and so professional. And now runs her own public relations outfit in town. I know those people, I've nurtured personally in staff meetings and tried to open the options for them, and I think that they know that. I think they all felt that. And Ann Zimmerman, who I didn't hire, she was hired by someone else, but she has become very, very special to me. Marcia Smith, I didn't hire, but she was on the staff and I respect and admire her writing so much and her ability and I think she knows this and I think it matters. And then there's all that crowd of people who are my wider family, not only my own children, but their friends, and then the Dallas community that has been extremely supportive.

    Kasper: I see that kind of as a another section that we'll cover either later today or tomorrow, your outreach and community work. How was the women's panel that you mentioned just a few minutes ago, was that the same thing as Women Newsmakers?

    Castleberry: These are different.

    Kasper: Can you describe each one of those for me.

    Castleberry: I came on to Women Newsmakers later. It suddenly, it had become increasingly clear to me that the women new shapers in the community were—their pictures never got in the paper. There was no way to—except when we put them in, there was no way to really cite these people as being outstanding community people. So we instigated a number of years ago to start the new year by choosing the outstanding women in the community and holding them up to applause.

    Kasper: Gail Smith told me that when she was cited by you as a Woman Newsmaker that year that she was cited it was probably the most important confidence builder that she ever had in her life. She said she was a young mother at the time. She was, yes, interested in getting more involved in the community but she had very little self-confidence. And she was at home with a baby. And she always knew that she had more ability, but having been cited that year, she said, was probably the most important propulsion and confidence builder she'd ever had in her life to do more with herself as a person than she could have ever had.

    Castleberry: Gee, that's wonderful to know because that was the purpose of the whole thing. What we looked for were people not only who were doing it, but who had the potential for just blossoming out into the community. And it was a hard thing to do because—and that's where I took my men into confidence too.

    Kasper: Was it the management?

    Castleberry: The management.

    Kasper: They supported this, didn't they.

    Castleberry: They supported it. And what we would do, we would find them, the women's news staff would find them and give them thumb nail sketches and then we let the men have equal final vote. I don't mean superior final vote, but equal final vote so that—and they kind of enjoyed themselves. They kind of enjoyed this.

    Kasper: You're a scream. I mean you're just a scream. You realize you didn't give them veto power and you didn't run it past them either. But you made them look like

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    they were in cahoots with you so that you probably fooled them into believing that they had some real hand in this when all of you did the selecting, you had an equal vote with them, it was already in place. I mean, Vivian Castleberry, you're something else all together. I love it. You probably just pulled it right past them and they didn't even know what was happening.

    Castleberry: Well, what was so funny was that it, you know, as time went on, I have to tell you that, as time went on, all of these programs that I built were torn down, just before I left there.

    Kasper: Torn down by whom?

    Castleberry: By management. The new management that came in. The Times Herald Newshapers that we did for a long time, several years—

    Kasper: The Women's Newshapers?

    Castleberry: Women's Newshapers, we called them. And the reason for that was that management decided that the newspaper should not be in a role of picking one person over another, or that's the excuse they gave me.

    Kasper: Now, were these the same as the Women Newsmakers or was the Women's Newshapers something else?

    Castleberry: I changed them to Newshapers from Newsmakers because there was that shady—

    Kasper: But it was basically the same thing.

    Castleberry: It's the same thing exactly. And then the Times Herald panel was stopped because new management said that a newspaper should be in the role of reporting the news and not making it. And we were making news by calling the women together and creating a climate in which things took place.

    Kasper: What happened in these panels and who were the women that were called together to serve on it? What was the Dallas Times news panel?

    Castleberry: The panel was the twelve women that we chose every year to talk about who they are, where they want to go, who they are and how they want to get there, and whatever. And that was the one that I re-invited the last ones who had been there before.

    Kasper: So those were the same as the homemaker panel and you just shortened it.

    Castleberry: Exactly.

    Kasper: I just want to make sure I'm not missing any institutions here that you've managed to build.

    Castleberry: No, you're not missing anything. And I think, too, to be very honest with you, I think, too, I had grown tired in pushing. I think I may have won new management over if I had had the energy to go to bat for some of these things. But it seemed to me so obviously clear that it was a good thing, that it should be kept up, that I was really tired. It took enough time and energy to do it.

    Kasper: And what you had said to me earlier, too, was that there was with consistency so much inconsistency in management, that it changed hands so often, and with each new influx of management you had to convince all over again that what you were doing was important.

    Castleberry: That's right. We started back at the starting gate and we proved our mettle. We started back at the beginning. And also there was this kind of framework of reference in this town, Anne, that was not comfortable to live with, and that was the framework of reference for anybody who came in here, was simply that if it happened in Dallas, Texas, it couldn't be any damn good.

    Kasper: Now where did that framework come from?

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    Castleberry: It came from the Kennedy assassination. And it entrenched everything that went on here.

    Kasper: So that when management came in, they believed it too.

    Castleberry: When management came in, they believed it and they also believed, there was another facet to that, and they also believed that if you were any good as a reporter you wouldn't still be here. So you had to live that down. And I may be overstating it, but that's my truth as I saw it at the time and it was very difficult to live with that. I not only was running a staff that I had to buoy up and bolster their morale every day of the week to keep them going and enthusiastic about what they were doing, but I was having to reinvent it for myself every day that what I was doing was valuable and valid.

    Kasper: About what time period did you begin to feel that this was wearing on you?

    Castleberry: When I had cancer, ten years ago, nine years ago.

    Kasper: In the late seventies.

    Castleberry: As I explored my way through cancer and cancer treatment, it dawned on me—it didn't dawn on me, I had known it all along—but it became clear that it was taking its toll on my physical and emotional health.

    Kasper: To keep this battle up at the paper.

    Castleberry: To keep the battle up and to—and that at that stage there were more things that were more important for me to do and that on the one hand I was giving up a vehicle where I thought I could do some good for people. And see I also had to remember all of the time—as my husband kept pointing out to me, "Who do you think you are to disturb their comfort?" He kept pointing this out to me and it was a real—

    Kasper: Their comfort, meaning management's comfort?

    Castleberry: Meaning management, meaning this community. Who do you think you are to disturb their comfort? And that was a hard question for me to answer. The first time he asked that question it had to do with the homemaker panel which later became the women's panel. As my feminism grew, well I stopped calling it a homemaker panel and started calling it a women's panel because it was by women themselves. Also, I want to say one other thing about the women's panel. My management would tell me every year that they would bless and condone what we were doing and some part of management team would come up and make the introductory welcoming address every year, when the women first got there, and this sort of thing, and blessed them on their way. But every year, my management would say to me, "Now, be sure and find—include in this some woman who really is a traditional homemaker who enjoys being at home, who really enjoys the process of just rearing children and whatever. Every year I would very carefully pick her. At least one. Sometimes more than one. Every year we would just her mind. [Laughter.] And she would go away wondering what hit her.

    Kasper: And you probably created a new convert every year.

    Castleberry: Every year. And everybody came into the women's movement through the Times Herald panel. If they ever participated, they were never the same again because we talked about what our potential is in this world. We talked about where we need to hold power. Where we need to take the power that we have, how we use it, how we increase it, how we include other women. We were always, I always struggled for inclusiveness. And in variety, the great variety—we did things like a mother-daughter panel one year. We changed the format every year to try to keep up with the times. We did not deal with social issues per se because they were being dealt with elsewhere.

    Kasper: What do you mean social issues per se?

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    Castleberry: Well, we didn't have a panel, say, on wife abuse. Or we didn't have a panel on rape.

    Kasper: No, you focused on the women themselves and those subjects came up.

    Castleberry: We focused on the women themselves and then we allowed them to discuss the issues. And sometimes it really, there were a few occasions where I wished that I had a trained counselor in the session because somebody would say something that would blow a woman's mind and she would wind up in tears. And so I did have an incredible amount of training in how to mother and nurture people where you'd hit a vulnerable spot. And one woman in particular that I remember went away from panel—at the panel, she didn't say much. She didn't say much. She didn't say a lot that day. She was kind of quiet. She was a traditional homemaker. She was at home with four little children. She left the panel and wrote me a long letter saying, "You think you did me a service. You ruined my life." And she went on to outline the kinds of things that had happened to her and so I felt real bad about this until the next year when she showed up again and said, "You started me to thinking like I have never thought before." She wound up divorcing the so and so.

    Kasper: That she was married to.

    Castleberry: That she was married to who didn't ever, I mean, who was keeping her virtually under emotional lock and key, and declaring her independence and going on to be a very self-supporting, supportive woman.

    Kasper: Wonderful.

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    Kasper: Tell me, about the time of the late sixties and early seventies when the women's movement started going, where was the women's section or the "Living" section at that point, and in its transformation. Did you still have a fashion editor and a food editor and so forth?

    Castleberry: Yes, we did.

    Kasper: You did. You still had them.

    Castleberry: But we were focusing on what women were doing in the world. We were focusing on women's issues. We were covering everything.

    Kasper: What were the issues you were covering?

    Castleberry: We were covering well—

    Kasper: Abortion to "Z", "A" to "Z."

    Castleberry: Oh, yeah. "A" to "Z."

    Kasper: What were some of those in the alphabet there that you remember?

    Castleberry: Let's go look.

    Kasper: Let's go look. Okay. [Tape interruption.]

    Okay. With bad foot and all we have moved into this other room and we've brought the tape recorder because we're going to read off some of the topics.

    Castleberry: Some of the topics that we covered. Okay. Beginning with abandoned mother and child; abortion; adoption; agoraphobia; Alzheimer's; the Anesa method of education; anorexia nervosa; autism; burnout; the blended family; two-career couples; cancer—I've got so much on cancer it fills a whole drawer; child abuse; child care—and there are probably ten folders on child care; and then child custody; health and wellness; joint custody; child guidance; children's rights; corporate care—there's a great light. I became the child care reporter by attrition, nobody else was doing it; the Commission on the Status of Women, 1984; CUB—Concerned United Birth Parents.

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    Kasper: And some of these issues go back to as early as the fifties when you began covering these.

    Castleberry: Oh, yeah, sure they do. Some of these folders are so old that they're almost falling apart. Depression—that was mental depression in women; diabetes; a personal memoir that was my own story of suffering depression; diabetes; displaced homemakers; divorce and its impact; Downs syndrome; dreams and their meaning.

    Kasper: And we've only gotten to the "D's."

    Castleberry: Drugs and alcohol. I know we're only to the "D's."

    Kasper: In that first file drawer.

    Castleberry: But we kept this up for years. Epidermis—I can't even pronounce it now.

    Kasper: What is that?

    Castleberry: I could pronounce it fine at the time.

    Kasper: But that should be something I should know if it's a medical—

    Castleberry: It is. It's something you should know. It's medical. It's very medical. Okay. I'll read some more while you do that, okay?

    Kasper: This has to do with blister babies?

    Castleberry: Un huh. Blister babies.

    Kasper: Now this is an article you wrote in 1982. It's called "Blister Baby. Mother keeps seeking the unknown cure." "Linda first remembers her gnawing uneasiness when nobody brought her newborn baby to her room at Parkland Hospital when all the other mothers were seeing theirs. It was January 21, 1979. She was eighteen, had just given birth to a son and was eager to meet him. 'I was very young,' Linda says, 'but toward the end of the pregnancy I got very excited about having the baby. People would ask if I wanted a boy or a girl and I would just say I wanted a healthy baby. Brandon was three hours old when I finally got a nurse to tell me that something was wrong. She said when they were cleaning him up in the delivery room his skin broke out in blisters.' Brandon Furst has a rare genetic disease. A form of epidermolysis belosa. It is characterized by cysts, blisters and lesions that erupt from the skin wherever it is irritated and almost everything irritates it." Good heavens. I have never even heard of that.

    Castleberry: Really, well, it was not a fun story to cover.

    Kasper: No, it sounds like that was very painful.

    Castleberry: But the medical school called me and asked me if I would do this and open up the options and I was glad to. Epilepsy; the ERA-Pro and Con—several folders on that. Here's a very thin folder, it's entitled "Men seeking equality relationships"—and that's because a man called me and said that all this stuff that I was doing, that there were men in this world who really wanted equality relationships with women and I said, "Well, if you would just get me some of those men together, I'll come out and talk with them." So, he did, and I did and this is the result, and as you can see, the folder's very thin. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: Did you write the article that's in here?

    Castleberry: Un huh.

    Kasper: Let's see this. Okay. I see there's an article here by Vivian Castleberry, Women's Editor, and the title of it is "Equality—How Far Do Men Want to Go." And it was written 10/4/1980 and there are several pictures here of some young men and some not so young men. And she starts out by saying, "Many men say they desire relationships of equality with women, but the past often dies hard for both men and women. For many men equality stops with the dirty dishes and the dirty diapers.

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    For many women, it stops when the car stalls on the freeway and when the kitchen sink stops up. 'Men want to date modern women,' wrote Nickey Scott in a newspaper column "Working Woman," 'but they want old-fashioned wives.' 'But times are changing,' says Pat Pearson a Dallas counselor whose private practice deals largely with singles. Men have been sacrificed on the altar of machismo as much as women have been sacrificed on the altar of dependence. Strong men and women see in each other the ultimate liberation for both sexes. Nobody wants to be liberated and alone. 'The growing edge for men,' she said, 'is recognition that they lose nothing by choosing a strong woman. All they give up is manipulation.'" Nice.

    Castleberry: Well, it was a fun thing to do because what came out of it was that most of these men who sat for this interview then went on to doing their own machismo thing after that. We were doing articles on exchange students—we did quite a lot of that; executive women of Dallas; family court counselors; family law; families that work; the founding of the Family Place—which is our home for abused wives; male batterers; feminism; fight against the far right; fathers with custody; foster care; foster grandparents; freedom from religion; Free People's Foundation; freedom to choose the medical treatment that you want; medical treatment and health care; goals for Dallas; grandparents' rights—which is fairly a new thing; handicapped; heart-to-heart; hepatitis; herpes—I'll never forget the first time I got into this, one of my friends called me and said, "Why haven't you ever written on herpes. My daughter was just diagnosed with it and it's breaking our hearts." So I went out to the medical school and we started to work and this is the result.

    Kasper: There it is. This is an article by Vivian Castleberry, and again, the Women's Editor, and the title is "Herpes—the venereal disease which has no cure." And it's in the Sunday, April 22, 1979 issue, "Living Section," Section F of the Dallas Times Herald.

    Castleberry: Home health service; homemaking—the value of housework; Hope Cottage—adoption agency; emergency hospice; housing; incest; Jewish women; League of Women Voters; LIFT—this is what I was telling you about Margaret Hirsch a little while ago, my Jewish friend who taught Literacy Instruction for Texas, it's named—LIFT; Links—the premiere black women's organization; liver diseases; lupus; marriage counseling; marriage epidemic—that was an interesting story to do.

    Kasper: What was the marriage epidemic?

    Castleberry: The marriage epidemic was when the first, after couples living together first started trying, beginning really in great numbers to get married throughout this country, that the living together had not worked as well as it was supposed to. So a real epidemic of people getting married; staying married; the Martha movement; men changing roles.

    Kasper: Men who moved here from their—?

    Castleberry: Men who moved here for their wives' careers; menopause; mercy killings; ministers; the Mondale bill—way back from '75; Montessori—

    Kasper: What was the Mondale bill?

    Castleberry: The Mondale bill was the child care bill that was killed; mothers without custody; mothers and others against murder—that was mothers of murdered children; Mount St. Michael; moving—what moving does to the family; networking for women; NOW—

    Kasper: NOW meaning the National Organization for Women.

    Castleberry: Outsider program; parent abuse; parenting; parents of murdered children; pastoral care; Parkinson's disease; pilot home; population; PMS—premenstrual syndrome; there's SANCI—the Society for Abandoned and Neglected Children, Inc.—SANCI; Searchline of Texas—that's a group that helps adopted children find their parents; self-help groups of all kinds; sexual harassment; Southwest Family Institute; suicide; suicide prevention; taking baby home; the tenants' association; Texas Women's University—and then a whole plethora of

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    information on women—different things that have to do with women and women's centers.

    Kasper: Health and women's centers and women's honors.

    Castleberry: And those were some of the things we were covering. Okay. [Tape interruption.]

    Kasper: We're looking at articles on the homemaker panels.

    Castleberry: We're looking at articles on the homemaker panel that later became the Dallas Times Herald Women's Panel and the kinds of things that we covered during—the kinds of topics that we covered, you could almost catalog the changing times by looking at them. Because I was just looking at this one. In 1963 we were talking about old-fashioned remedies for new-fangled problems and we were talking about the impact of the church in community life and the fact that women still went to a lot of ladies luncheons and wore hats and so we had a little fashion show for them and we showed how to do makeup that day and the kinds of things that at that stage in time they were interested in. And then on the second day, on the second day we got around to chores and we listed some of the things that have come down that are still, today, good. What we did was thirty minutes of uninterrupted, just calling out the kinds of things that you do in your house that save time. And these were some of the things: Buy separate colors of towels and washrags for every family member when you replenish your linens—members usually then will be more careful to hang the towel if they know its theirs; keep paper cups in the bathroom for toothbrush rinsing; practice cafeteria open or closed with your children and their friends—open cafeteria means snacks are permissible—closed cafeteria means food is off limits—Kids understand this; use white distilled vinegar to take stains and odors, including perspiration from clothing, carpets and linens; keep a picnic jug of cold water in a handy place for the children to cut down refrigerator door openings and save money; pour ammonia into your pot that has been burned with food on it, it will clean in a jiffy. So it's just a lot of little things that—

    Kasper: That's 1963.

    Castleberry: 1963, that we were doing. But then, on day 3 we talked about marriage and how to keep a good marriage going, and what to do if one was not going well; recipe for a happy marriage—re-woo and re-win your mate daily. And on the next day we talked about beauty, concentrated on that. And then, the final day, we talked about a more in-depth subject—deeper concerns of Dallas women. "`The emancipation of women has created an upheaval in many American homes. The art of women hating is second to no art in the world today,' one panelist said. `Many of the things women worked for simply aren't worth it,' another noted. `The world tells you, just be yourself, but it never tells you what that means.'" So the kinds of things that they said under these guided questions and answers. One of them was, what does the world demand of women today? And one of the panelists answered, "Be not in the slightest concerned about what the world demands. Be undismayed by what other people think. Put yourself in focus, find out who you are, make it right with your God and your husband and your children in that order, and don't worry about anybody else."

    Kasper: Now this is also in 1963. You're beginning to see a change in that last—

    Castleberry: Yeah. Well, the whole day you covered a lot of topics in one day's time, and some of them were fluffy and superfluous but some of them were really in-depth and really where it mattered. And then we come up to 1976 and you see a dramatic change. Not only in the program, in the way it looks, in the quality of the program itself.

    Kasper: This is the 16th Annual Dallas Times Herald Women's Panel that was held July 1976. And it starts with the ten o'clock program, "The sharing hours—who are you and what makes you unique; how do you spend your time; what do you do that might be beneficial to other women; how do you manage yourself, your money, your housework, your recreation; who are you in relation to others, your family, your career, your community, your world?" And then they move on to an afternoon program and there's a break into six discussion groups with co-leaders and a reporter.

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    "The session allows all individuals to consider the choices they have made with their lives and options open to them for the future. It's designed to be open-ended so that leaders may bring out the ideas of each participant and so that new thinking may be aired and discussed." And then on this program, which is quite lovely, it has a picture of seven women on the front, underneath the title, which is "Freedom to Choose: The Career Woman versus the Career Homemaker. What have we got against each other?" And then it opens up inside where this program, part of which I have just read, is centered, and then the resource people are listed on the next piece of this centered program. The Times Herald women's news staff: Vivian Castleberry, Dorothy Fagg, Maggie Kennedy, Mary Ann Lane, Wanda McDaniel, Edith McRoberts, Vicky Morgan, Nancy Nielson, Barbara Richardson, Yvonne Saliba and Julia Sweeney. And then I presume as leaders for the afternoon session—

    Castleberry: Leaders for the afternoon were the ones that you have just read down here where you're breaking into six discussion groups. Well, each one of those discussion groups had two very carefully chosen leaders and every one of them had participated in a prior panel. So that they not only were professionally qualified to lead these groups, but they knew what the program was all about and what it was we were working toward pulling out. And everyone of these people if you will look, Cherry Carapatyan is now in Austin where she is running a large organization. Ann Chud is in Washington, D.C., where she is with the government approving housing. Lee Douthit is a psychologist. Vicky Downing is a business woman who opened her own business and does business with Third World countries. And Celeste Guerrero is not Hispanic. She was married to a Hispanic and has been a leader in the Hispanic community. Elisabeth Holloway is foreign born, she is from Austria and is an outstanding teacher in the Dallas school system. Paula Jeffers, recently married and moved away from Dallas and I haven't heard from her. Marie Malouf, recently retired from a job where she was pretty much of a trouble shooter for a large department store going all over the southwest solving problems. Bette Moncrief is a fascinating woman. She is now a realtor, but she came up first as a fashion model, and then became a businesswoman, then got into real estate and has made a killing at it. I don't know where Betty is—Betty Schneider.

    [End Tape 2, Side B; Begin Tape 3, Side A]

    Castleberry: —psychologist in town, she's a Jungian psychologist, also a feminist psychologist in that she is very much—has written a marvelous book on women.

    Kasper: And on the back of this program are all the panelists that participated in these panels from 1959 to 1975, and the dates and the year in which they first participated. That's really interesting. You've got extras of these, are you willing to give one away?

    Castleberry: Yes. You may have that. I do have extras of these. I don't have extras of all of them.

    Kasper: Well, whenever you've got something you're willing to give away, we'd love to take it and put it in with your file in your archives.

    Castleberry: Well, I can look through a lot of this stuff and give it to you. And interestingly, I think you might be interested in seeing how they reported, each group had a reporter and—as well as having leaders and participants, they also had very good reporters who were trying to give us back what was going on there. And then from that, I could take and synthesize and come up with the stories.

    Kasper: So you would read through these reports and then you would write your stories.

    Castleberry: Oh, carefully. Yes. Very carefully. And also in collaboration with my staff members who were there who would help me. Here's the beginning for the '76 panel: "Women must, if they are to remain happy and productive, anticipate the turning points of their lives and be prepared to make reasonably accurate veers in the right direction before they arrive at those critical points. Very young women don't know this and some older women have still not learned it. The 1976 Times Herald Women's Panel participants spoke of these turning points and the preparation for them. Here are their voices."

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    And this is what they said. "The young woman leaving home should make every effort to weigh pros and cons for what she wants to do with her life and move purposefully in that direction. The woman about to marry should know that she cannot live as an appendage to her husband. If she tries to, she will sap him of his energy and lose her own right to herself. The woman with children must realize that she has only a few short years to shape them and that they must eventually become their own people. She should, as one young woman phrased it, 'be so busy living her own life that she has no time to live the lives of her children.'"

    Kasper: Now this is a report from a 1976 panel reported back to the group as a whole.

    Castleberry: Yes. Right. "As the nest empties every mother should be consumed with new interests, a job that gives her satisfaction, volunteer work that adds meaning to her life, going back to school for credit or for life enrichment. Before her husband retires, she should have encouraged him to develop interests that will give him new zest for living. If he refuses to do this, then she should structure her own life so that they won't bug the heck out of each other." So those are the kinds of things that we did and it gives you a little bit of a sample of why those things were so significant and I still have women today stop me in shopping centers and say, "Why don't you do another Times Herald panel?" They got just a tremendous amount out of it.

    Kasper: And it was after you retired that these came to an end or was it before you retired?

    Castleberry: Well they came to an end shortly before I retired because—

    Kasper: In the early '80s.

    Castleberry: Yes, in the early 80's. New management wasn't really carried away with our continuing to do these things.

    Here is another program just for you to look at for a second. I thought that one was an extremely interesting one.

    Kasper: This is the Thirteenth Annual Homemaker Panel with a quote from e.e. cummings on the front and a picture of a woman—

    Castleberry: Fragmented.

    Kasper: —fragmented picture, yeah, and inside the title, "Women in Search of the Significant." And the morning program is "What makes you different? What makes you important? How do you get things done? What do you leave undone and why? How do you manage your time, your money, your housework or your recreation? Who are you in relation to others? Husband or family, community and world. Vivian Castleberry, Dorothy Fagg, Maggie Kennedy, Barbara Richardson and Ann Worley will help you explore and share." And so forth.

    Castleberry: I was telling you that not all women found it—and, I mentioned a few yards back about this woman who said I had ruined her life and I want to read you a little bit from that letter. I have found it. She said, "This is not a thank you letter. I am sorry that I have no vehicle for expressing myself. Something as simple as speaking fails me at this time and I am left thinking and unable to express what I believe and so it went as a member of your panel. I said I felt phoney. It was a bad way of putting it. I knew it then but it wouldn't come out at that time, but now I've had time to think about it, and I don't care to see the group picture for I won't pretend for one moment that I belonged in it. And if I saw my name in print, I would know that I would bow my head in shame because I simply don't belong." And it went on in that vein and ends up by saying, "I will remember and bring back part of what was said to my children, I am sure, but most of it I will want to forget." That was in August 25, 1970—

    Kasper: What do you think she meant by all of that?

    Castleberry: I don't know.

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    Kasper: She attended a panel, a homemaker panel—

    Castleberry: She attended the panel as a member and it blew her away of her safe little world.

    Kasper: And what this letter reflects is her total confusion after having had her world torn down by participating in your homemaker panel and she hadn't yet put it back together again.

    Castleberry: Right. That's right. And this letter then came the following year, in June of 1972. She said, "Dear Vivian. You have a capacity for making people you meet feel important. Thank you for everything. It is unfortunate that whole cities of women cannot be a part of a panel like the one you do. It was invaluable to me as I now have a much clearer vision of who I am as my female self. Admitting that it covered me up the first day when I wrote to you, I have since had a very positive reaction to all of this. Because of the many panels you have put together or have been involved in, you must find that there are repetitions or women that are changing rapidly. Even without hearing your answer, I know that that is true. And that describes somewhat of how the panel affected me. At first, I could not believe it, and then as I thought, it began to make sense. Love, Pat." And of course I wrote to her right away after I got that first one and said that I was really sorry that she had been so confused by it all and trusted that things would get better. And it did.

    Kasper: And how about some of these other folders we've pulled, Vivian? These are issue folders and some of those issues have articles—most of them have articles—that were written about the issues that you were covering at the time.

    Castleberry: Let's see what this one is up here. This one looks like an old, old folder. It must go way, way back.

    Kasper: Is that the custody folder?

    Castleberry: This is the correspondence folder, so let's see what's in here. Just real fast.

    Kasper: Bombeck? You used to—

    Castleberry: Before Erma Bombeck, I wrote an article for years called "Family Style." Mine were certainly not as amusing or funny as hers were, but I had many letters from readers who said, in effect, "Have you been looking through my window?" because it really hit a remarkable nerve in this community of how the kinds of things that happen to people who live in houses with children. And I quit it only when one of my children came home one day and had felt singled out at school. Her teacher had said to her, "Are you the daughter of the woman who writes about you all the time?" And I thought, "Uh oh, I will not put that onus on my children." And so I stopped doing the column. I didn't want people to feel—I wanted my children to grow up as their own people and not to be imposed upon by a mother who used them in print for what might be her—

    Kasper: You know, one of the things that occurred to me when we were looking through your files just a few minutes ago is a lot of people would look through those issues and say, oh, those are family issues. Those are just—in fact, they would say, a lot of people would say, those were just family issues. How do you feel about that?

    Castleberry: My feeling about this is that they're exactly right. And the family is at the heart of this world and without it, nothing is going to function very long. And what has been so hard for me to understand is that the very things of life that are essential to living, such as the birth of children, the nurturing of children, the care of each other, the food we eat, the gardening we do to make ourselves more comfortable, the environment that we look after—

    Kasper: The marriages that we stay in, hold together.

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    Castleberry: —marriages that we hold together. That these are considered women's issues and that they are denigrated as second class because these are the crux of what our civilization is all about and if we don't have these things, we have nothing. Everything goes down the drain when that glue falls apart. And it is absolutely how we came to a period of time where war and making war is more important than birthing and nurturing children as a part of our civilization or how we came to the time where loving and comforting your mate or someone in trouble or an old person who is dying is not as important as finding the felon on the street or arresting the guy or shooting each other. I can't believe it.

    Kasper: So don't you feel that the kind of journalism that you spent twenty-eight years involved with and stayed involved with even after retirement in '84 is the kind of journalism that is the change agent for a better world? Isn't that what your saying? You're not just reporting on so-called "just family issues" and that women's issues aren't just women's issues, but the crux of many of our problems can be changed by the kind of journalism that you were devoted to?

    Castleberry: I hope so. I hope so. I hope that we are—and I am convinced that if enough of us saw this vision, if enough women in this country could understand how critical these issues are to the survival of civilization, then we would turn it around. And this is what we have trouble getting across because it has been such a man's world and has been so weighted toward giving value to the things that men think are important that we have totally left out the human element. If we can't quantify it, it doesn't count.

    Kasper: Well, and don't you think that your journalism has been in the business of empowering women, and that once women are more thoroughly empowered, they can make those changes to match their vision. Isn't that part of what you're—

    Castleberry: That was my intent.

    Kasper: Part of your intent. Yes.

    Castleberry: Certainly, my intent that women become sufficiently empowered that they not only know they can do it, but they value it. They value what it is they're doing. The world has not valued what women do.

    Kasper: And even women haven't valued what they do.

    Castleberry: Well, women haven't valued what they do simply because of society's evaluation techniques. And as soon as women begin to understand that what they do is—and the way they feel and the way they think is one-half of the human dimension, then they will begin to value it. But as long as we weigh and measure everything by the standards that are prevailing in our country, then we are just stuck. And breaking that is hard, it's extremely hard.

    Kasper: Now, we've got some files here that are what I call issue files—what you call issue files as well. And which one have you just opened now?

    Castleberry: This is one that at the University of Missouri they said was really scattered.

    Kasper: Oh, the one you were describing with the pictures as a frame.

    Castleberry: Un huh. The one I was describing earlier with the pictures around. And with the pictures as a frame. And I still think that was a terrific—

    Kasper: And these are pictures of young teenagers and you've written an open letter to every teen queen in the center of this and then it continues on the inside page. And this is November—I can't quite make out the date.

    Castleberry: Look on the back.

    Kasper: Yes. 1964.

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    Castleberry: And then this was one that we did that also created quite a hubbub. We explored the Greek sorority system—the Greek system and what it does to young people and the pros and cons. And of course, people who are rich and people who need to be validated by others do not understand that the sorority/fraternity system or the Greek system as it prevails can be very bad for some people.

    Kasper: Well, the title of this is "Sorority: Sister or Sinister." And it's in the Living section and the issue is Sunday, September 7, 1969, in the Dallas Times Herald.

    Castleberry: This is one that I won a page layout award on, a Press Club award, for this article on "Who Cares for Your Children."

    Kasper: This is the Dallas Times Herald, Sunday morning, February 11, 1968, and the title of the article by Maggie Kennedy, who was a staff writer, is "Who Cares for Your Child—The Need for Good Care in Dallas Outreaches the Facilities." Talk about timely. And this is 1968 and we are first, in 1989, addressing the very same issue in the same terms.

    Castleberry: Yes, and we've gone backward in so many areas. This one goes way back to 1966 and we did a front page layout on the kinds of difference a church makes. And at the time the church was doing—the church women were doing extremely significant things. They had this topic—their topic was "This Half of the Apple is Mine." And I had two sort of outstanding people in the community to try to take a bite out of each half of their apple. I couldn't get the man to do it, but the woman took a bite out of hers. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: He's standing there—he's a cold fish. The title of this article is, "Does the Church Make a Difference?" and it's in the Dallas Times Herald, Sunday, January 16, 1966. And there are some nice pictures of people in the community here.

    Castleberry: And, let's see what else there's going to be.

    Kasper: I'd be interested in some of the—there was a file here on depression and there was a custody story that I wanted you to talk about as well.

    Castleberry: Yes. I don't know whether I'll ever get this put back or not. I may never. This one is not what I thought it was. This particular one is on the Great Depression and that was when my editor asked me on the fiftieth anniversary of the Great Depression to tell what I remembered about it. That's not the one I thought it was.

    Kasper: There was an article, you said, you wrote on your own personal depression?

    Castleberry: I wrote—what I did was do a series of articles on women in depression—why they were depressed. Of course, they were depressed principally because their life didn't have any meaning. As all of us who have done any exploration at all know, some of this depression is physical, some of it is medical, some of it is a health issue, and at that time that I became interested in it, I had just gone through a personal, terrible depression. And because I had done so much work in it, I knew what I had—

    Kasper: You'd done so much what?

    Castleberry: I'd done so much study in the field of depression and suicide, suicide prevention that—

    Kasper: You diagnosed yourself.

    Castleberry: —I knew what was happening to me, but I didn't know why. And I was in a state of just—almost inability to function. I'll never forget—it's funny now, but it wasn't funny then—Erica Jong came to town and I was interviewing her and almost in the middle of the interview I put my pen down and said, "Tell me what I need to know because I can't ask you questions." I was just in a state of not being able to cope.

    Kasper: Is this the mid-seventies?

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    Castleberry: Yes. And, well it was the late seventies. And what happened was that it was exactly one year before I was diagnosed with cancer. I know, I mean, as things evolved, I know that was eating on me at the time, but I had no way of knowing what it was. And my doctor, my general family doctor, Seth Cowan, was so disturbed about me that he gave me his personal phone number and said call me any minute that you think you need some help. And he said to me, "Have you ever considered suicide?" And I said, "Oh, certainly, but I'm not going to do it." Well, that scared the life out of him. But what I was being was extremely practical and realistic because my feeling is that rarely does a human being come to maturity that they haven't at least once thought that they'd like to end it all. And so I was being too honest and it scared him to death. He gave me—and what was so funny—he gave me medication to ease me over until we could diagnose further, you know, to alleviate the symptoms so that we could get at the root of what was going on.

    Kasper: He gave you an anti-depressant?

    Castleberry: Yes. And I couldn't take it. I flushed it down the commode after the third dose. It was just devastating. And I told him I did. I called him up the next day and said, "I flushed your expensive medicine down the commode. I'm not going to take any more of it." [Laughter.]

    Kasper: He probably saw that as a healthy sign which it probably was.

    Castleberry: He did. It was. But then that really got me into working with women and depression and I did an extreme amount of interviewing, in this community, of specialists in all kinds of fields from the medical mode at the medical school to all of the leading psychologists and when I came away I understood why some women are depressed when they go to people for help and they're told what some people tell them and—

    Kasper: No wonder they're depressed.

    Castleberry: No wonder they're depressed. I would be depressed too if I had to put up with it.

    Kasper: And if they weren't depressed beforehand, they sure are to be when they leave.

    Castleberry: I do think there's a lot being done in that field. I think it has been aired now to the point—this is about a decade later, and I think it has been aired now to the—but one of the things that my own doctor did for me, and I thought I had it here and I would read it to you if I did, because I do—it has been helpful to other women, and that was, I have discovered that rarely do people write when they are at the peak of life. And what I mean is, when you're in the height of ecstasy, you're so busy living it that you don't have time to write it. And when you're in your depths of depression you're so down that you can't write it. And so my doctor asked me to write an essay as long as I could or as long as I dared on how I really felt. And he made that a priority and he said it was for his learning. It had been made a part of my medical records, but he's also used it, and I appreciated that. It was an exercise. It was hard to do, it was just a page and a half, but it was—

    Kasper: Well, that's a form of therapy.

    Castleberry: It's a form of therapy. And I feel like that if more people would try that, it is a good way to do it.

    Kasper: Yes. I have counseled friends who have been depressed, not only to seek counseling, professional help when they've been depressed and unhappy, but to start a journal if they don't have one. And I've often said, it doesn't have to be more than a couple of paragraphs and if you can't do it every day, if you do it every other day, or when you—just so you get yourself to do it. And some people are, you know, too unhappy or too depressed to be able to, but very often it's the first step to getting better.

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    Castleberry: That's right. Yeah. If people could see where they are it is so much easier to open the gate to where they need to go than it is if you just sit there and wallow—

    Kasper: And to stay stuck.

    Castleberry: —Yes. Un huh, just wallow in your misery.

    Kasper: Now what was this custody file that we pulled out? There was a story that you followed for some time.

    Castleberry: Yeah, there was a story that I followed for some time on custody. This was the story of a woman who lost her children and her ex-husband filed for—and interestingly enough, I did not ever know how I came about this, but I have a copy of the sealed court records. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: Good for you.

    Castleberry: And it required some doing to get my hands on it. But this was a woman—she was a panelist at one time. She started out on January 22, 1960, with an ideal marriage. They dated a year and a half. And so they got married and—let's see now where I am on this, I have to refresh my own brain before I can talk about it very much.

    Kasper: Do you want to take a couple of minutes and I'll shut the tape off? [Tape interruption.]

    Castleberry: What we were going to talk about is that there were so many cases that I followed—custody cases—that I followed all the way through and that meant that I was talking to attorneys and I was talking to child care advocates and I was talking to experts, as well as to the individuals themselves. And one of the cases that I followed all the way through was Pat's case, and I won't give her last name here, but her husband was a psychologist, he was a counselor, professional counselor. And when they were divorced, he asked for and started battling for custody of the children using all of the techniques that he could get, including getting her to go to a psychiatrist and to have a checkup. And she fell for a lot of this stuff. And then sending her away from home so that she could get a rest and he would be there with the children to take care of them and all of these things were accumulating on his record as—

    Kasper: And he filed for custody while she was gone.

    Castleberry: He filed for custody then, and then he had all of these good things going for him. And the children were small at the time. I don't remember—I think Ellen was only probably about seven or eight. One of the boys was older, one of them was younger. Maybe two of the boys were older and one was younger, but—

    Kasper: There were four children all together?

    Castleberry: Four children all together. And I shall never forget the absolute horror the day the judge decreed that he should have custody of the children and he was trying to get them out of the courtroom. And the little girl was just screaming and holding out her arms and begging for her mother. And then later I got this little girl on tape. She came to Dallas, finally was court ordered to visit her mother, and she came down to see me—

    Kasper: She was much older at this point?

    Castleberry: Yeah. She was a little older, but she still was a child. And I got her on tape and this is some of the things that she said. She said, "My mom and Jeff and I went to the courthouse and I had to go off with my dad. I started crying real, real hard and I didn't quit crying until I got out to the neighbors' house and then I had to cry again. Daddy wouldn't talk to me so I was feeling real, real bad. Just awful, awful. I cried and cried and cried. When daddy tried to put his arm around me, I wouldn't let him. My friends said that dad sometimes would sit down

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    and cry because I wouldn't talk to him. And then we left for South Texas. I kept feeling a lump in my throat real bad. All the time I was wishing I was back with my mother. We spent the night in Rockdale and we got to Knippa.

    I am in the sixth grade. It's real easy now making A's and B's. We have a real, real old house and it's very cold. There are rats in the walls, I can hear them at night. I used to have a dog. He got real, real sick and I tried to get my dad to take him to the vet and he wouldn't take him. He was real, real sick and I felt so bad and I just loved him and that's all I could do. Claudia, Leslie and I went out to Corlinda's a lot. I clean up the kitchen all the time. Dad does a lot of it sometimes. Dad does some of the housework. There are only three rooms in the house. I sleep in one of them. I don't like to sleep in there by myself. I saw mouse droppings on my floor. I wake up all by myself. School is across the street. I love my mom so much. I love my mom more than I do my dad. I told that to the judge. I didn't want to go with him. I cry a lot all the time for my mother. I sometimes give my dad a hard time, I know that. The only way I will be able to get back with my mom is that she will come down there and live with him and she can't do that. He was always fighting with her when they did live together. Once she was trying to call my grandmother on the telephone and he broke the telephone out of the wall. He fusses at Jeff a whole lot, and once he told Jeff not to listen to him, that that was how he would fuss at mom when she was there. I think he was just as happy without us as he was when we didn't live with him, but he just wanted us to come and I don't know why. I think he wanted us to come because he wanted to hurt my mother. My mother's having a real bad time. Sometimes just when I think of my mom, I feel the tears coming and I can't keep from crying."

    I put that on tape. And then, as these children grew up, every one of them came back to her, just as soon as—

    Kasper: Back to their mother just as soon as they were old enough.

    Castleberry: Back to their mother just as soon as they were old enough to make the decision.

    Kasper: Isn't that something. So you followed that story for many years.

    Castleberry: I followed that story for years. I did. I followed that story from the time it broke. I have the sealed court records that gave the kids to him. It's all pretty much in legal terms, there's not an awful lot here.

    Kasper: And did you follow it by staying in touch with Pat herself?

    Castleberry: I stayed in touch with Pat herself. I found out when the court hearings were and I went, and so I watched it all unfold.

    Kasper: And would she tell you later that the children came back to her?

    Castleberry: Oh, yeah. I still follow her.

    Kasper: You still follow her.

    Castleberry: I still follow her. In fact, interestingly enough, last week I got a letter (I don't know whether this should be on tape or not, but I can make it).

    Kasper: Well, it's up to you. Should I shut it off?

    Castleberry: Yeah. [Tape interruption.]

    Another court case that I had mentioned to you that was an interesting case was that—the young man who brought his child to me. He had sneaked off to another state with his son and brought him back to Dallas under court order to bring him back.

    Kasper: To the mother?

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    Castleberry: To the court hearing. And before going to court, he stopped by to tell me his sad story about how awful it was to be without his children. And this particular article that I wrote was not published and I wrote a note on here, this was never published, and I really don't know why, but I wanted to skim part of it if I may, and I think it may refresh my memory.

    Kasper: Do you want me to turn the tape off for a second?

    Castleberry: Yeah. [Tape interruption.]

    Kasper: Now this is a custody case that you followed.

    Castleberry: This is another custody case that I followed all the way through. It was Lankes versus Lankes.

    Kasper: Do you want to put that on?

    Castleberry: Yeah. Lankes versus Lankes. And this father had—the mother had custody of the child, and the father had visitation rights. And he forcefully took the child from her at the day care center and took the child to New York State to visit his parents. And he had been court ordered to bring the child back to Dallas for a hearing. And he did. He brought him. But instead of bringing him first to the courthouse for the hearing, he brought him by the Times Herald to talk to me about why he was a young father who needed custody of his child. As it turned out, the young mother was—the child was four, the young mother was, I believe, twenty-eight, and the father was thirty-four. He had been married three times before, had two other children that he had never supported, and didn't see. And his last marriage had lasted only three months. And he said all of his wives had filed suit for divorce for incompatibility. His current marriage had lasted longer than any of the others. It lasted about five or six years, then Charlotte, too, had filed suit for divorce.

    Kasper: And she had claimed that he had been physically as well as mentally—

    Castleberry: She claimed physically abusive. And he said that he wasn't, but several testimonies indicated that there had probably been some physical abuse in his past marriages. Interestingly enough, it was a jury trial and they had expert witnesses, that is, somebody who had examined the little boy and found him healthy and a delightful child. This was under the custody of the mother that he had turned out to be such a delightful little boy. And the courtroom reunion with his mother was one of extreme enthusiasm and joy. He was so glad to see her.

    But the father kept saying that she was abusive to the child. And somehow he managed to convince the jury, which was, I think if I recall correctly, and I could be wrong, but it seems to me that there were seven men and five women on that jury. And the jury awarded custody of the child to the father and the mother then was—she had visitation rights, but the father immediately took him out of state and the last time I saw her, she had changed jobs and was trying—had taken her maiden name back, and was trying to reshape and readjust her life.

    I ran into her at the Mental Health Association when I went to visit a friend and she gave me the end of the story that I have here. I had not thought I would ever see her after that court case. I wrote the story as a part of a series on custody cases and I tried to be as fair and honorable as I could. I presented as much as I could of the court case. I do have all the court records here so everything that I have is authentic and real. My own interpretation of it is that, very honestly, custody was awarded to the wrong parent. I think the expert witnesses show that as well as the behavior of the mother. She thinks that she lost custody of her little boy because she did not let her real emotions show in the courtroom; that she was too contained and she was trying to behave in the appropriate manner that you behave in a courtroom—

    Kasper: Whatever that is.

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    Castleberry: Whatever that is, and she felt like, too, being in tears and she said, "I think I didn't let the jury know how much my child meant to me." And when I saw her afterward, this was some two years after the case had ended, she looked beautiful but haunted. And she was in a professional support group, of families, parents, who had lost their children, trying to understand what had happened to her and to go on with her life.

    I wrote this story—I wrote the complete story after everything had transpired, going back over all the court cases and I kept very copious records—I wrote the story and I wrote it as a part of a series on custody cases because at that time I was sitting through some that just broke my heart. And I was beginning to see more and more of fathers winning custody of their children, and I'm not saying that fathers should never win custody of their children at all, but I am saying that the courts very often are using the wrong criteria to evaluate. They use the criteria of quantity, how much money, which parent has the most money and can afford the most things for the kid rather than who will give it the most loving, nurturing home.

    So I wrote the story and it was never published as a part of the series on custody. I very honestly cannot remember why. I don't know whether it was one of those things where my management felt, as it sometimes did, that I was being too much of a feminist. They very often thought that. I had one boss tell me one time, I said, "I can't help being a woman!" And he said, "Well, you could try." And he was—

    Kasper: Who said that?

    Castleberry: One of my bosses. He was trying to be funny and it didn't come off as funny to me at all. But you cannot think outside the framework of who you are.

    Kasper: So you think that's your guess that this may have been one of those instances when you were being too much of a feminist.

    Castleberry: That's my guess.

    Kasper: Can you recall other times when you might have had the same accusation mentioned to you, your being too much of a feminist?

    Castleberry: Oh, sure. I can remember one time when my boss had said to me, "You're so predictable," meaning that I usually took the woman's side of the issue.

    Kasper: Do you remember what the issues were when you were accused of being predictable or a feminist?

    Castleberry: No, I don't—that particular one. I remember one funny story. There was a man in our department that was kind of a—he considered himself a wit, nobody else considered him a wit, but he thought he was a wit. And one day, he greeted me—he was always greeting me as the resident feminist and making it in a loud voice and very clear so that everybody in the department would know who I was. And that got awfully tiring, I just—you know, it got so old. And I had to call his hand on it and remind him that I had a name and that I would appreciate being called by it. He was not in a position of management, he was just one of those tagalongs that give you a bad time.

    Kasper: Do you remember what some of those issues were that you got called on the line for? Like this custody case. When you covered the abortion issue, did you often get either articles that went unpublished or called to the floor for being a feminist?

    Castleberry: When I covered the abortion issue, I was very aware that this community—well, I never wrote a story with abortion in it that I didn't have hundreds of telephone calls. I mean, that was the one red flag.

    Kasper: Telephone calls on both sides of the issue?

    Castleberry: Well, no. The people who are for you—only the people that are on your side will say, right on, when they see you, but they don't call you.

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    But the people who think that abortion is murder, and that it shouldn't happen under any conditions whatsoever, are extremely volatile and they fire off all of these sayings immediately and they pick up the phone and call. So I just knew when we covered anything with the word abortion in it, I was just set for at least a week of getting nasty telephone calls and nasty—

    Kasper: How about letters to the editor?

    Castleberry: And letters. And what really is annoying about that is that it saps your energy for going on with your work. If I have to listen to somebody harangue for thirty minutes on the telephone about how awful I am because I printed the story of someone who needed to have an abortion, if I have to listen to that for a period of thirty minutes when I should be editing tomorrow's paper, that is a real wrong use of time. And along about that time, we had one absolutely tremendous individual in this town whose name was Claude Evans and he was the chaplain at Southern Methodist University and who believed in a woman's right to control her own body and of course he was called on the carpet any number of times and I used him really often as an expert because he was just so sane and so intelligent and so reasonable and, of course, people who believe that they should control what other people do with themselves, their lives and their bodies are not reasonable and controlled.

    Kasper: Not reasonable in their—?

    Castleberry: And controlled, they're out of control.

    Kasper: When management would see letters to the editor about some articles you'd written, say, on the abortion issue, what would happen? Would they call you in?

    Castleberry: No. They didn't call me in. They let me read the letters to the editor and I always knew they were going to turn up there—always counted them to see how many management this time put the pro ones and the con ones. We'd see if we were keeping appropriate balance in our thinking. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: Did management ever tell you not to do any more articles on some of these controversial issues?

    Castleberry: No. No. I can't say they—it was a very subtle kind of control that they exercised. I was never told don't cover that subject anymore. What I was told was to be sure you're keeping balance. If you're going to go out and cover the right—the abortion issue, be sure you go and cover what the right-to-life is saying. And they also would be very careful to see that I covered Phyllis Schlafly when she came to town. And I think I said to you yesterday, and I don't know whether it's on tape or not, but I'll say it now for on tape. One of the greatest reasons for my leaving the Times Herald, one of the greatest joys I had, is that I no longer had to call Phyllis Schlafly or go to see her and ask her what she thinks because I know what she thinks. I've interviewed her countless times and I know what she thinks and I know that there is no way that you can impinge or that you can even get beyond that facade that she puts on of—the rhetoric that you hear. One of the things that I was concerned about, many women were, but I was really concerned about how she could go out and preach about how mothers should stay home with their dear sweet little children—

    Kasper: Yes, and she never did.

    Castleberry: —while she was out. And I kept wanting—see, all those years I kept looking for the other angle, I so badly wanted to interview her kids. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to interview her kids.

    Kasper: And you never got to?

    Castleberry: I never got to, no.

    Kasper: Oh, what a shame.

    Castleberry: No, but I did get to interview Marabel Morgan's husband once. She brought him with her to an interview and so I—I can't remember the question

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    I asked her, and she turned to him and asked if she could answer that question. And I said— [Laughter.]

    Kasper: Some total woman, huh?

    Castleberry: I'll tell you how I handled that. It was one of the funniest stories I ever did. I quit interviewing her and started interviewing him. I thought, if she was going to ask him how she should answer it, the answer should at least come from him and after a while she began to look really puzzled. She had come for an interview and here I was talking exclusively to her husband.

    I had another one, if I could only remember her name. Do you remember the book called Fascinating Womanhood?

    Kasper: No.

    Castleberry: Well, it's another one—a right, really extreme right-wing book.

    Kasper: Like Total Woman or—?

    Castleberry: Like Total Woman only not as well written. The danger with Total Woman is that it is well—fairly decently written.

    Kasper: Fascinating Woman, I don't think I've ever heard of.

    Castleberry: Well, Fascinating Woman is very poorly written and I'll tell you a funny story about that. I wish I could remember the date, but I can't. The book came across my desk and I picked it up, I brought it home with me that night, as I did a whole lot of stuff, and started looking at it to see what it was. And I read about a dozen pages of it and I said to myself, "Nobody has to read this kind of mess." And I threw it in the wastebasket. The next day I went to work and then the letter came that this woman was coming to town and my management immediately wanted me to go over and interview her. So I had to go buy the book. I had to spend the paper's good money to buy the book so I could read it and see what it had to say.

    So I got there that morning to the Fairmont Hotel for the interview, and when I knocked on the door, her fifteen-year old son came to the door because this woman could not travel alone. She needed male protection. So her fifteen-year old son answered the door and then she came waltzing in and she was dressed—this was nine o'clock in the morning and she was dressed in a white eyelet skirt and a voile top with ruffles at the top, and a pink ribbon around her neck holding a cameo, and pink ribbons in her hair and pink slippers. [Laughter.] And so I did the interview and I left the hotel and I almost never published what a woman wore but that time—

    Kasper: You couldn't help yourself.

    Castleberry: —it seemed to be a part of the story. But what was so funny was that when I walked into the paper, two of the men were giggling and they almost—this time they thought it was funny—they almost met me at the elevator when I got off the elevator. This woman had already called my management and had said to them not to let that woman publish—

    [End Tape 3, Side A; Begin Tape 3, Side B]

    Castleberry: —at the elevator and that time it was funny to them, this woman had called and—it was Bob Hollingsworth that she had called, he was my boss at the time. I had lots of bosses, I mean, it was a revolving door of bosses. And he met me almost at the elevator and he was giggling and he said she had called up and said that that woman should not publish that story; she didn't know how to give a good interview. And Bob, of all of the characteristics, he could say the most in the fewest lines of anybody I know. And he said to her (calling her name up), "I am sure that Mrs. Castleberry has been doing interviews longer than you have been giving them." That was his answer to her. So, anyway, I couldn't resist. And I did get my hand slightly slapped that time for printing what she wore. They didn't think it was appropriate for me to print what she wore at nine o'clock in the morning.

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    Kasper: Did you ever think about moving to another section of the paper—to city side or—?

    Castleberry: No. No.

    Kasper: Why?

    Castleberry: Because I was where I could do the most good.

    Kasper: In what sense?

    Castleberry: I was doing the kind of thing I wanted to do. I was doing the kinds of things that are critical to our lives, critical to the wholeness of our lives, and people on city side don't get to do that. I watched them day in and day out. They would go to city side and they would be assigned a beat and they would cover education, and at first it would be fascinating and thrilling, and then it was the same old thing and they would get bored and nobody—there wasn't any relief from it. And I think it's wonderful when you have reporters who are specialists in their fields, and I usually made it my business to talk to the specialists—I always made it my business to talk to a specialist in any department that I was working in, or any subject. But I didn't want to get channeled into the trenches of doing one thing.

    Kasper: So it's not that education didn't fascinate you in what you write or—

    Castleberry: On education or crime or—

    Kasper: Politics or whatever.

    Castleberry: All of it fascinated me. That's the reason I wanted to stay. All of it fascinated me and I got to do a little of all of it. I got to interview politicians and politicians' wives; I got to interview elected officials and their wives; and I used to ask the men the same questions I asked the women, and that really undid them, because they weren't used to being asked about their wives, their children and home life and what they did with their extracurricular hours and who they played golf with. And I was interested in that. I mean, they didn't know that that was part of the news story. And I got to interview—sometimes entertainers, if they fascinated me, I would interview them. Most entertainers are so narrow in their scope that I didn't find them intriguing, but people like—Lily Tomlin, for instance, or Cher, or people that have a dimension to them that has never been reported. I loved to find the dimension of individuals that hadn't been held up to the mirror before and to talk about the kinds of things that—and I hated press conferences. I always went to the press conferences when they were held because something might happen that I wouldn't know.

    Kasper: What do you mean you hated press conferences?

    Castleberry: Press conferences, you know, where very important people come to town and their publicist will arrange a press conference for them and all the press comes in.

    Kasper: And it's all staged.

    Castleberry: And it's all staged. And you never—I wouldn't dare ask an important question in a press conference because everybody then has access to the answer. And if I'm going to be competitive in my reporting at all, and I am competitive in, I think, I hope, in a gentle way, but I always said, never give me an exclusive, but give me equal opportunity with the story and I'll beat you every time. [Laughter.]

    For instance, one of the specifics, when Rosalynn Carter came to town, she was going to hold a press conference but not see the individual press. And I kept pushing and pushing and pushing for just, I said, five minutes, when I can see her by herself is all I would ask. Well, they just weren't doing this for anybody and they couldn't do it for me either. But I found out who was picking her up at the airport and I called her and asked if I could ride out with her. [Laughter.]

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    And she said, "Sure." So I rode out with her and back with her and I got more in that thirty minute ride from the airport—

    Kasper: Who were you riding with?

    Castleberry: I can't remember who it was. It was somebody that was a good Democrat in town that had picked her up at the airport. And I got more out of that thirty minute drive back from the airport than the press conference would have divulged in two weeks of a staged thing.

    I think I may have been one of the first reporters—I think I may have been, I don't know because you never know what is yours, that is original with you, and what you could have read somewhere back there and picked up, and I don't ever want to claim words that are not mine—but I think I may have been one of the first persons that called her the steel glove, the steel hand in the velvet glove and—

    Kasper: The steel magnolia.

    Castleberry: Right. The steel magnolia.

    Kasper: So you may have coined that term.

    Castleberry: I could have. I won't certainly take credit for that because I could have read it somewhere, but that was certainly the feeling that I got, although I have great admiration and respect for that woman. Her ability is absolutely phenomenal.

    Kasper: Well I think steel magnolia can be taken either way. I took it positively because I like her too.

    Castleberry: Well, personally she is just such dynamite. I would feel comfortable with her running my country any day as I would feel comfortable with a lot of women I know running my country.

    Kasper: You know, the paper, the women's section, and in particular many of your articles, won a number of awards. Would you like to talk about some of that?

    Castleberry: Yeah. Our awards were very numerous and very appreciated and also I would like to add that I learned real early on that an award is useful only at the time that it's being given, and you can enjoy it, but you must never be caught up there and think that this is that you've reached it.

    Kasper: Why is that?

    Castleberry: Well, because people who—

    Kasper: You can't rest on your laurels?

    Castleberry: Take the bows. You can't rest on your laurels. People who take the bows and accept the applause and then don't do anything else, very quickly get stale and rusty. And also, there's another thing that is very true, and that is that news is only as good as today's headlines. What happened yesterday is of no account and what is going to happen tomorrow is all promise and you can't—you've got to go back every day to the computer and write the story and see that it's headlined appropriately, get it in the page, and get it out there for somebody to share with you the message that you're telling. And you've got to do that tomorrow, and you've got to do it the next day, and you cannot afford to congratulate yourself for too long on any of the awards that you've won.

    Although, I will tell you that they felt good at the time. One of the things that my husband did for me that—he told me, he said to me very early on, "Honey, never sneeze at what people give you when they give you their best." And that happened when I had been nominated by Delta Kappa Gamma, which is a teachers honorary organization. And I had been nominated for an honorary membership in Delta Kappa Gamma, and I, at the time, was so overwhelmed with being so many things and doing so many things and being so involved with so much of life, and I made the mistake of saying to Curt, "I don't need that, you know, that's awfully

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    nice of them to offer, but I don't want membership in anything else for whatever reasons." And that's when Curt said to me, never sneeze at the best that people give you. Always accept it with joy and be grateful that they have done this for you. And it was a wonderful learning lesson for me. From then on, when people gave me an award, I thanked them, and took the bows and enjoyed the applause and enjoyed the smiles and congratulations and then I got up the next morning to prove myself again.

    Kasper: Well, you, in turn, have also given a number of awards and a number of women I have spoken to have said that as a woman the greatest honor in Dallas is to be given an award by Vivian Castleberry. So you are much admired in this city, in turn, in giving awards to women here in this city.

    Castleberry: The thing, I think what you may be referring to is that up until this year I presented every—the first time the Women's Center gave an award, I was given one and after that I presented them every year, until this year. And I told them early on that I wouldn't give them this year because I didn't think it should become an institution. I think somebody else should do it and she did and she did a good job of it—beautifully done. But what I do is probably what nobody else in the world does, and that is that I study each individual in depth. It takes a long time. I take the material that's given me by the Women's Center from the awardees; I call her up; I have a personal interview with her; I talk to her friends; I talk to her significant others, whomever they may be, to her children. And out of this always comes a unique human being.

    Kasper: And a biographical sketch.

    Castleberry: And a biographical sketch that breathes and that has life to it. And what is such a joy about doing it is that each human being is so different. And you can take the same chain of events, the same kinds of schools that a person went to, and the same honors they've won, the same everything—

    Kasper: The historical period that they've lived through.

    Castleberry: —everything, and yet you can find underneath that the unique human being that is totally different from anybody else. And most of the people that I have presented awards to have been grateful that I have tried to find, and probably mostly succeeded in finding, the thing that made her different from everybody else. And I think that's the reason they say that.

    Kasper: That's what Gail Smith said. She said to be introduced by Vivian Castleberry is really a tribute to that woman and the sense of, as you say, the uniqueness that you address in that introduction that you make to that person is a large part of the tribute. It's really something that, she said, year after year women in Dallas would look forward to, and it's in part a shame that you've stopped doing it because I think that probably a lot of women out there in Dallas had their fingers crossed that you'd come along and introduce them.

    Castleberry: Well, you know, there's another part of that too. What was such a pleasure for me was that in every sense, it was rare that somebody won that I didn't know. So it was such a pleasure to get to introduce my friends to my friends. That's what was such a joy that I could have that whole captive audience to tell these wonderful things about this woman. I got, of course, to do—I've done different kinds from Nancy Brinker to Gail Smith to—oh, there have just been so many of them. I was trying to think who was it who said to me after I did her introduction, she had her family here from out of state, her parents from out of state, and she had a table of a husband and children and family and parents and sister, a whole bunch of people. And I can't remember who it was who said to me afterwards, "Will you do my funeral service when I die." [Laughter.] And I said, "Well, I'd be glad to, but I don't think there's any way that I'm going to outlive you." [Note added by V. Castleberry: It was Joy Mankoff.]

    Kasper: Or plan for it now. Well, let's get back to some of the awards that the Living section or the women's pages won. Do you remember the Katies?

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    Castleberry: The Katies were offered by the Dallas Press Club and we won—let's see, we won a number of Katies. They're I think on your list over there, I can't remember when they were or what they were.

    Kasper: Well, there are no dates here. I looked up the J.C. Penney Awards, I have some dates for those. Do you remember what the Katies were awarded for?

    Castleberry: The Katies were awarded of course for—well, one of them was for page makeup and that's when I said that I really am not a page makeup artist, but some things are just so obvious that you—the pictures just speak and the language speaks and the type speaks and it tells you what to do with it if you listen to it. And anybody can do it. With a real good story and real good pictures and a real good type you can put it together. But two or three of them were for writing, for stories that I had done.

    Kasper: Do you remember what those stories were?

    Castleberry: One of them was for the story on the neighborhood power, on the first integrated neighborhood in Dallas. And one of them is for a series of stories that I haven't told you about. No. Yeah, that won a press club award and then it won a state UPI writing award. It was called "The Good Marriage."

    Kasper: Now what was that?

    Castleberry: I did a series of stories on what it takes to make and keep a marriage good. And this was way back like in 1960—the early '60s. And the way I did that, I still think it's wonderful because I'm not a sociologist and I don't know how to quantify or qualify material except that I know how to get it. And what I did was go to ministers and social workers and outstanding individuals in this town and I said to them, "Can you tell me who among your friends or associates, from your perspective, are the most—the best married couple that you know whose marriage is really working." And I did this with my pediatrician, and I did it with Jerry Lewis at the Timberlawn Psychiatric Hospital, and I did it, you know, with top-notch ministers and all over. And then I took these names and I wrote to them and the letter said something like, "You have been recommended by—" Let's see, "From all outward appearances, you have an ideal marriage. If you agree with this, will you please fill out the following questionnaire." And it was a letter that covered all of the things that go—as nearly as I could, I covered all of the—I gave them every out that they could take and I also said, "I am not keeping a record of these letters, so I will not know who has responded. This is a blind thing—if you care to sign your name, I would appreciate it because I would love to call you later and I would love to get some follow-up quotes, but it isn't necessary."

    And I don't remember how many I sent out, but I got one hundred responses. I did. I got one hundred responses and most of those were both husband and wife because I sent the questionnaire to both husband and wife. And the responses were tear jerking. One man wrote, this is the first time I have had a chance to say in public what I have long thought in private about my wonderful wife of thirty-five years. And then, he went on and outlined—they are still happily married having just celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

    And the thing that triggered this, we had had the president, the executive director of the American Marriage Counselors Association here in town, and he had said in a public address, only one marriage out of every ten that reaches the twentieth anniversary is a happy marriage. So I took that as my cue and then I started looking for the happy marriages to see what kinds of characteristics went into those. And it was a wonderful exercise. And then I went out personally and I talked to any number of different experts in the field, and we'd try it out on them.

    One of the funny stories that will interest you—one of the people that I talked to was an Episcopal priest who during the session—during the interview that I was doing with him was interrupted three times with telephone calls from his wife. And it was all this, honey, gooey stuff back and forth, and so I was getting a little bored with all this but, you know, you can't do anything but sit there and listen to it all the way through. So, along the way, he started quoting the Bible to me—the role of a good wife. And I listened to it, and I listened to it. That's hard to do, you know, being a feminist, that's hard to do. So, I went on and

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    completed my interview and got it all finished and then I closed my tablet and I said to him, "Father Norman, I will allow you to take St. Paul as your expert on women if you will allow me to take Jesus Christ as mine." [Laughter.] And from then on several times I saw him in a grocery store and he didn't speak to me. He turned his cart the other way. But I got, of course, the whole thing across the whole board of the people who thought that a wife should be submissive, but for the most part—

    Kasper: So that won a Katie and a state UPI award?

    Castleberry: It won the state UPI award and the little certificate that I got from the state UPI was—it's a hoot, I have laughed and laughed about it, it said, "For her series on marriage, a fresh treatment of a very mundane subject." [Laughter.]

    Kasper: That gave you a good laugh.

    Castleberry: I can tell you that some man thought that up.

    Kasper: That's sort of like one of my pet issues, as you know, is how women do report stories. Do you feel that as a reporter over the years that you added a special dimension to this?

    Castleberry: I think women add special dimensions if they're allowed to speak their own voices. I think so often women have been trained not to be (quote) "emotional" and to be terribly objective that very often their real voices do not come through. But I think that for the most part, you can, as you have pointed out to me, most of the time you can tell whether a man has written a story or a woman has written a story even if it doesn't have a byline. And I think the reason for that is just the kind of conditioning that we get. Women reporters were female before they were reporters and the kinds of training that they get as reporters will get as much of that out of them as it can because they're trained mostly by men, and they're trained to be objective, and they're trained to be investigative, and they're trained to count how many and how much and how long, and you're literally trained to find the who, what, when, where and why.

    And what has always appalled me about that is that the first of the "W's" is the who, and that's where I stop. If I can find out who you are, I can pretty well tell what you are, and why you are, and how you are, and almost all the other things follow who you are. And I think that's what we have forgotten in American journalism is that the who is the almighty important question. And I think women instinctively know that, whether or not it's instinct—my sociologist friends quibble with me over whether or not it's an ingrained condition, but at least it's there and I don't know whether it came with the womb or it came with the territory, but it's still more in women than it is in men and unless you legislate it out, it will come through in the story. And it's a softer touch, it's a more inclusive touch, it's a more human kind of reporting.

    Kasper: Charlie Dameron, when I spoke to him, and we've mentioned him before, said a very interesting thing. He said that he felt that women made much better feature writers than men. He said they were much more sensitive to the human side. That he doesn't understand why, but they have a basic instinct where they understand what it is that people do and why they do what they do, and that they're able to capture that in writing. He said he thinks that women, just straight out of the block, make better feature writers than men reporters do.

    Now, he said some other things you don't want to hear about—that women aren't qualified to be on the city side and they can't capture the flavor of foreign affairs and politics and so forth, and they can't stand the stress because they're too emotional and, of course, that would just defeat their ability to go to the heights or the pinnacles of journalism.

    But he did say something similar to what you are saying, which is that he feels that there's a whole human side of the news that women capture far better than any man he's ever met in journalism. And so there's a point of agreement there that you both share. And I think that is what you're saying, there's a dimension here that women, either because of instinct or socialization, are able to capture when they're capturing this part of the news that's vital. I don't think we should

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    trivialize it as maybe some people do. I think it, in fact, is what you're saying—the essential part of the news.

    Castleberry: Well, see, that's the tragedy. It has been left out. If anything has had to be left out, that's the part of the news that has been left out. And the news hole is only so big and advertising takes up the rest of it so if it comes—when push comes to shove, and throughout history, the human side of the news has been left on the cutting room floor while the international affairs—who blew whose head off—is the important thing that people want to know. And as long as newspapers are controlled exclusively by men and the vote is by males, exclusively, that will continue to prevail.

    Kasper: Do you think that when you were appointed as the first woman member of the editorial board of the Dallas Times Herald that that was one of those opportunities where you could begin to make that kind of a difference in the measure of control?

    Castleberry: It was. And many of my friends have been very unhappy with me because I did not stay on the editorial board. I literally took myself off.

    Kasper: Why?

    Castleberry: Because I could not do everything that was expected of me.

    Kasper: On the board?

    Castleberry: I could not continue to run a staff and to be responsible for the Living section and to—what happened was that Tom Johnson, bless him, came to town and put me on the editorial board and I was—I thought that I had now hit some kind of pinnacle and that was one of those times when I walked the streets with Curtis at night. I'll never forget walking around this block and saying to him, "I don't know whether I can do that or not." I assumed that the editorial department was an erudite place where earth-shaking decisions were made and my husband would say to me, "Of course you can do it, anybody, you know, can do it. You can read the editorials in the paper and you've been writing for, yea, these many years and of course you can do it, and you will probably need to pick the subjects that you're most interested in because you won't be interested in writing an editorial column on everything, but they will give you some leeway. So, don't worry about it." So I came home the next night and Curtis said, "Well, how did it go?" And I said, "You are not going to believe—we spent the first thirty minutes talking about last night's Cowboy football score." [Laughter.] So much for the erudite meetings.

    Kasper: High intellectual caliber of the editorial board.

    Castleberry: And I did, I enjoyed—in the first place, I was lonely there. I was the only woman, there were several men and although the men were not of a single mind, the male attitude prevailed. That was number one.

    Number two, it was a waste of time. Men waste more time in public meetings, I cannot tell you! I have been the token woman in countless meetings that men run. And for the most part—of course, I understand that the way men go about doing a thing and the way a woman goes about doing it, are different. I understand that. But they talk about women being scatter-brained and wasting their time. You get into a meeting with men and they make earth-shaking decisions in five minutes, after they have spent countless time talking about the most trivial kinds of things. And, but about as far as most men can go is sports and sometimes they'll get around to the headline news, but not often. It's usually things that are right in front of their nose like sports, where they're going golfing tomorrow and this sort of thing, and it's a waste of time.

    So, number one, I felt lonely; number two, I felt like it was a waste of my time; and number three, I was still trying to run a staff. And those editorial board meetings were at exactly the same time that I had traditionally had my staff meetings—in the early morning when everybody first came in and they were fresh, and we could have fifteen to twenty minutes of hard-nosed what the day's news is and where we each need to be and whose going to be reporting on what and what time you are to report in, and how long you have to do the story and this sort of thing.

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    So I just gradually took myself off. I would not go to a meeting and then next week I wouldn't go to two meetings. My women friends were upset. But, I was appointed as a token and I withdrew as the token, and I still think it was a good decision. You cannot survive everything and that was one thing that I could not handle at that point in my life.

    I think I did a little bit of good. I think I presented—I know I presented an attitude or an angle that had never been presented before which now is that I looked—I looked at things as a woman looks at things. For instance, one of the editorial commentaries that I did that got a lot of comment and a lot of rebuttal was on the Vietnam War. And if our son had lived, he would have been exactly the right age to have been in Vietnam. And so I wrote the article, it was very personal to me, and I wish I had it here because I would like to make that a part of the tape. But the article had to do with if my son were alive today, he would be drafted or would certainly be subject to draft. And if he chose to go to Canada, he would have his mother's blessings. It was in that vein. And, of course, the hardliners in town, I got a tremendous amount of flack and from many mothers and many wives and a few nice young men, I got an embracing, arms around for being so honest in print and giving the other view, because that was very early in Vietnam, it was largely before people had divided on the different sides and before the real hard-nosed confrontations.

    I also did an article on abortion once that I wish I had for you because it was very even-handed. It simply said that I will not choose what you do with your life and I will not allow you to choose what I do with mine. Just that simple.

    Kasper: You know, one of the other awards that you were given in '65, and I believe again in '67, were the J.C. Penney/University of Missouri Awards.

    Castleberry: The J.C. Penney/University of Missouri Awards and that—well, first going to the University of Missouri to Columbia was an exciting experience because the workshops there, the weekly workshops on women's news were also—

    Kasper: That coincides with the giving of the award, is that what that is?

    Castleberry: Um unh. And then the next year I would win an award. When I'd go to it, I would win an award. The workshops were so well done and the awards, of course, were—they came after the fact. And, speaking of awards, I had one boss one time who didn't want me to enter anything. He didn't think awards did anything for the paper, he said.

    Kasper: Is that right?

    Castleberry: Yeah.

    Kasper: But wasn't the paper pleased when you won these awards, generally speaking?

    Castleberry: I got nice notes from them. I think, for the most part, it made it more difficult to handle. I really do.

    Kasper: In what sense?

    Castleberry: Well, because if I were getting that much applause from the public, what could they do with this woman they couldn't really control?

    Kasper: Did you have that sense as you began to come to the end of your career that you were kind of an entity in your right, an institution in your own right at that paper?

    Castleberry: Sure. I did. I had that feeling and I still have that feeling. It is something that hasn't gone away because when I am in this community, even today, there are so many people, there are so many people who say, "I wish you were there," and there are so many people who say, "I wish you were back"—staff members. And that's a neat feeling, it's a good feeling and I appreciate it. I wouldn't do it again for any amount of money for anybody.

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    Kasper: You wouldn't go back?

    Castleberry: No. And also, let me say this, I would never say never. It's like when I tell my husband, "I will never marry again. I will live in sin if I want to, but I won't marry again." Having done it once, I've done it. But nobody should ever say never because you don't know what the circumstances are going to be, but I've done that. It was a good life and I've done it—

    Kasper: When you look back on your career, and we'll talk a little bit about the circumstances of your retirement before we end this, but when you look back on your career, what is the legacy you think you left as a journalist?

    Castleberry: The legacy—?

    Kasper: Either right here in Dallas or beyond.

    Castleberry: I think I probably left an example for women that if you are sufficiently determined and well prepared that you can open options that have been closed to women in the past. I think that I gave nurturance and appreciation to many younger women who—and I still do that, I still write notes of appreciation when I see an especially good article in—mostly Dallas papers, but I've fired off letters to the New York Times too saying, you know, that was a wonderful article because we don't get much of that. What we get is the rebuttal. What we get are the people who don't agree with it. But very seldom do we get the "well done." And even management, for the most part, tends to tell you what you did wrong rather than what you did right.

    And so I think I have continued a legacy of applauding women for the good things that they do and appreciation for the kinds of human stories that we've been talking about that are finding their way into print. I think I set a pattern. I think I opened doors for some women by pushing hard that got maternity rights. I was one of the pioneers that—I was the first person that the Times Herald ever gave a leave of absence to for a baby, and although they didn't pay me for anything during that period of time, they at least let me come back with a clean record.

    Kasper: You set a precedence for other women.

    Castleberry: And I set a precedent and I don't think now they would dare tell a young woman that you cannot—you have to resign your job because you're pregnant. I probably also proved to some people that women can do what they say they will do and that they not only can do it, but they will do it, they will deliver. I gave dimensions to stories that wouldn't have been there if I hadn't been, such as the Kennedy assassination story which I was on from the morning that the Kennedys got to town until we closed out that weekend—that tragic weekend.

    Kasper: Dimension—the kind of dimension that we were talking about before—the human dimension, the personal and sensitive—

    Castleberry: Right. The personal and sensitive and—I don't say that you see things differently than what a man does, but for the most part you do. Most women see things that—for instance, just one for instance. During the Kennedy assassination story coverage, I was at the Trade Mart covering that story and waiting for the Kennedys to arrive and, of course, they never did. And I saw the Washington press corps burst in the side door and I knew that something awful had happened because he was late, late, late and we were just waiting and nothing had happened. And so I had been told that we could not leave our seats after we were seated—the President comes in after everybody gets seated—you are not to leave your seat. And I could not—when I saw Bob Hollingsworth, who was our Washington Bureau Chief, burst through that side door and head for a telephone, I followed him. I couldn't stay seated any longer. And he and I together kept the lines open from the Trade Mart to the paper, and while he would go out and collect other information, I'd hold the phone for him so he'd have a phone. And we were feeding in information.

    And I certainly was seeing things that he was not seeing, such as, I went into the room that had been set up at the Trade Mart for Kennedy's personal use.

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    Right at the front of the Trade Mart there was a little room that had been set up for his personal use and the red telephone was in it. And I saw that and I also saw the cowboy hat that had been placed there for him. And I saw the gifts that had been placed there for him to take back to the children. And I don't know whether a man would have seen those things or not, but I saw them. The interesting thing was how much information hit the cutting room floor over that weekend because there was so much happening.

    And I still think one of the best stories that I have ever written hit the cutting room floor that weekend and it still makes me sick. I think I've got it somewhere. I have not been able to find it recently. That afternoon, after I had left the Trade Mart and gone out to Parkland Hospital, and then, you know, had made the circuit and had returned to the paper, the paper was beginning to fill up with out-of-town correspondents and our paper was wonderful. They called us together and said, "Help people in whatever way you can; lend them your typewriter, you know, give them anything they need; give them any help that they want. Don't get in their way. If they ask questions, answer them. Don't question anything." It's the hardest thing in the world to sit there and hear somebody on my telephone talking about the Dallas Parkland Hospital being located where the Dallas Courthouse is. Now that was tough, but I did it because that was what I was supposed to do.

    But after I got back, I got a telephone call from my first cousin who was the assistant to Abraham Zapruder who took the photographs of the assassination. And when Peggy got on the phone, she said to me, "Vivian, I saw a president die today." I said, "Peggy, don't say another word until I put a piece of paper in the typewriter." And I got her first-person story through sobs. And it never saw the light of day. And this was a woman who was standing at Zapruder's left elbow while he was handling the camera, and she was holding the extra film, and she was holding, you know, the tape, and she was doing all these things.

    Kasper: And you think it didn't make the paper just because there was so—

    Castleberry: Oh, there was too much. There was too much volume. Just too much. I don't think that was anything that was calculated or it certainly wasn't done to—it was just a good story that never saw the light of day.

    Kasper: Here's another deep question like the legacy question. Do you think that given the legacy you've left that journalism is different today?

    Castleberry: No.

    Kasper: Why?

    Castleberry: I wish it were. I think a lot of things have moved into journalism. In the last few years we have been in a changing time and Watergate has made us even more apprehensive about reporting the human side of things. We are going for the jugular.

    Kasper: The jugular in what sense?

    Castleberry: The jugular in that we are looking for the things that don't work instead of the things that do work. We are trying to find the rotten egg under every laurel leaf, so to speak. And I think that eventually it's going to make a difference. I think we are going through—history never comes to terms with its times that it's going through, you've got to get beyond it and look back to see what you did. And I think right now we are only beginning to realize that journalism, and print journalism especially, has an obligation to the world that no other role can fill. Television can't do it. Television is instant use and it's gone. I do think that eventually the kind of reporting that I did and the kind of reporting that women do and the kind reporting that is occasionally creeping in from some of the men, is going to be the mode of the future. But we're not there yet. And it depends a lot on what happens in international affairs because we are now very definitely an international community. And the way we have reported in the past on events that have come out of other countries is a sin. It is sinful in how limited we are in our understanding of other peoples' cultures and other peoples' religions and other peoples' lifestyles.

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    Kasper: The cultural context.

    Castleberry: In a cultural context. We just assume that we are right because it's us.

    Kasper: And we always apply a Western framework to every—

    Castleberry: We apply a Western framework to everything. And just recently—I think some of the best reporting today is being done by the new Christian Science magazine which looks at all—

    Kasper: Is that the title of it, "The New Christian—"?

    Castleberry: No. What is the name of it? [Note added by V. Castleberry: World Monitor, The Christian Science monthly magazine.] It's a fairly new publication and I try to read too much, but that's one thing that I read and I read it carefully. It had one of the most beautiful articles recently by Brazelton—

    Kasper: The pediatrician, T. Berry Brazelton.

    Castleberry: The pediatrician, who has come light years away from keeping women in the home and tied to the baby. And this was looking at child care as a development for a whole person's future—the future of a whole person. And they also have covered—recently they covered child care as it impacts children in four of the world's leading countries—America, the Soviet Union, Japan and—I can't remember where else, but anyway how we unconsciously inculcate our children to behave in a manner that the culture expects them to. And I do think that kind of reporting is cutting edge of change reporting and I do think that it's going to catch on a lot. And I do see some bylines—I can't remember who—Peter Applebaum, maybe—a few tender notes that are creeping in that tell me that we're beginning to concentrate on the who of journalism rather than so much on the what and the how and the when.

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    [Begin Tape 1, Side A]

    Kasper: Good afternoon, Vivian Castleberry. We're here going to pick up where we left off yesterday on your journalism career. And we both talked a little bit at lunch about the ethics of journalism and you wanted to say a few things on that.

    Castleberry: Yes. I think I lived through a dramatic change in the ethics of journalism. When I first went with the Times Herald back in the late 50's, it was something of a given that newspaper people would have bonuses and that was that there would be a lot of free tickets, there would be a lot of free gifts along the way, and those were not only accepted as a part of what you did, but they were expected. And the interesting thing was, as I look back over it, that Christmas gifts that would come to us every year were numerous. The major companies in town would send candy or liquor or whatever they thought the reporter was most accepting of; the major department stores sent gifts. I still have an umbrella that Stanley Marcus sent me that I'm carrying after about thirty years, and it's oddly enough the only one in my house that I can keep—everybody else borrows all the other umbrellas, but that one seems to stay. There were other things that came to us—small pieces of jewelry that were sent along at that time.

    And the newspaper itself, the management of the newspaper, also accepted gratuities, of much greater value than those that were given to reporters. And they even went so far as to say the job that you are taking with the newspaper, there will be gifts coming to you and that it's something of the bonus that you get for working for a newspaper. So that not only was it accepted, it was condoned. And I lived through the changing of that time when not only were we not allowed to accept gratuities, but we'd be fired on the spot if indeed we took them.

    And after the Los Angeles Times bought the Times Herald, that's when the dramatic change came and I served on the Ethics Committee at the Times Herald after Tom Johnson came that changed the rules. It was a very difficult period of time for many of the old timers because I guess I was fortunate in clearly understanding right off that this was not a correct thing for a newspaper person to accept, but that it had been wrong from the beginning and that we should be paid in dollars and cents for the value that we were giving to the community and should be reimbursed by the newspaper that was hiring us rather than by the community that did its dole, its handout of gifts. It's almost as—I can equate it with the politicos of old, the politicians who accepted—it was sort of accepted that they would be able to make appointments according to their own political persuasion, and this, of course, is still going on in our world, but is no longer—it's done more undercover. It is not accepted today openly as it was back in the old days.

    So the ethics of journalism has changed dramatically and it is a good thing, although it was a very difficult thing for those of us who had been there to walk through. For instance, I mentioned to you yesterday that when Six Flags Over Texas, which is an amusement park in our area, when it opened, it opened with a press day and every year then it would open with a press day and we were encouraged to take our children, and that was with free passes and free rides everywhere and all of those things. And I used to get free tickets to the State Fair of Texas. I used to get free tickets to practically every musical that opened in town and the opera and the symphony and all of those things were a part of the given that was—

    Kasper: Do you think it may not necessarily, or maybe in your department too, but do you think it made a difference at the newspaper that the gratuities let's say that came from certain businesses in town or certain influential people in town made a difference in how the Herald reported the news?

    Castleberry: How we reported? No. It never made a difference in how I reported and I was always so cautious about that. In fact, I would bend over backward to see that the person who had not sent me a gift, would probably get the better end of the

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    deal because I was so careful not to let it be persuasive. I don't know about other people. I don't know how other people dealt with it or how they felt about it. I do know that advertising had a large impact on what we published, although at the time I never knew it. I, you know, never knew that the person who was buying the big ad was the one that I should give consideration to when it came time to fill the news hole. And I don't think most of the people in my—I don't think anybody in my department ever knew that. I think perhaps, in a way, that was a bit naive on our parts, that we—the kind of milieu and the kind of conditions under which we existed in that period of time was not making an impact on how the news was reported. But if it did, I was not aware of it, and even in looking back, I can honestly say to you that it never made one iota of difference in the way I reported it except that I was so cautious not to give newspaper credibility in any way to the person who had been extra nice to me. So I don't think it had that.

    But when Watergate came and we suddenly—newspapers started looking at themselves and saying, "We cannot accept what we do not condone in other people in public places, feeding themselves from the public dole." That's when the ethics committees were set up by newspapers across the country and when things began to change and when it was difficult for the old timers to change. For instance, for years after that rule was changed, there was one company in town that still sent liquor every year to everybody in the newspaper and so I'm sure that there were a lot of public charities that benefited from some of these gifts that were sent. And I personally wrote letters to a number of people that had always sent me gifts and said to them that, "I am now on the Ethics Committee of the Times Herald; that we have a new era here, and I appreciate so much the kindnesses that you have shown to me in the past, and will no longer be able to accept gifts that are given." And it did, for the most part, stop it. It's a very interesting thing, though, because by that time I had accumulated so many wonderful personal friends, that it was hard to know which gift to send back and which gift not to send.

    Kasper: When was this transformation taking place? Do you remember?

    Castleberry: In the early '70s. And then, even today, I still accept, almost every year, a gift from the mayor of Dallas, who is a close personal friend and has been for years and who almost always sends me a turkey at Christmas time.

    Kasper: That's different. If she weren't mayor of Dallas, she'd still send you the turkey and you'd still be happy to have it.

    Castleberry: It's different. Yes, it's true. But it was difficult for me, and I know it was difficult for a few other people, to realize which were the gifts that they were being given because they worked for a paper and the gifts that they were being given because of the kind of influence that they could have with, you know, it was just—

    Kasper: Sure. And which gifts were even just plain old friendship.

    Castleberry: Friendship things. So it's been an interesting period of time to live through, but I think that leads us directly into another thing and that is that you cannot work for a newspaper, you cannot work in any career or any profession, without ingesting, just taking in as a part of you, some of the values that it holds out for you. And I suppose that the greatest personal gift that my years with the newspaper gave me was a learning mode and how I lived my own life. And back from the very early days, I used to cover child care and early childhood education speeches and just about anybody in the country or anybody in the world who was anybody at all, eventually would come to Dallas to do a lecture or to do a series of programs. And I used that as a tool for learning how to rear my own children and used it as a springboard for what would work and what wouldn't work. And I found some of the things worked ideally and some of them didn't work at all.

    In fact, I remember vividly one time one of the women's groups here that specialized—or one of the things that it funded was a study in early childhood education and they were bringing a keynote speaker here and they were so pleased with themselves that they had signed Haim Ginnot to come and make a speech. So they asked me—unfortunately they didn't tell me they had signed him up, and they said to me, "What do you think of Haim Ginnot?" And I said, "He's the most dangerous person in America today!" And she went, "Agghh," you know, "what has happened?!"

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    And what had happened was that I had just been trying out his theories of child rearing in my own house and had found that they were devastatingly negative. [Laughter.]

    Kasper: I remember when he was touted as the next Doctor Spock and I got so excited because his books came out about the time my daughter was born. And I read them and I decided that this guy was a fascist and I was appalled.

    Castleberry: Well, it is amazing how many things you and I have in common because that's what happened to me. And, again, I was just naive enough that I would say to myself, "Where there's so much smoke, there's got to be some fire. And if this person is all this wonderful, then I'm going to try out some of these things and see how they work."

    So at that stage I had a young daughter, and I mean, she was young. My youngest daughter was a new person in our home and in our lives. And Catherine Castleberry would have been a dedicated hypochondriac if I would have let her. She absolutely loved being ill and she loved the attention she got from it. And so I had just read Ginnot's chapter on how you relate to a child and how you condone first what they want to do before you even try to put in anything that you want from them. And he had said if your child says, "I am sick," of course you pat the child on the head and you say, "Oh, I am so sorry you are ill." And you begin to listen to what's underneath all that.

    So we got up one morning and Cathy was not eager to get off to day care, didn't want to go at all, and was lying on the couch and had a stomach ache and had a headache. And so I tried out Ginnot and I said to her, "You poor dear little thing. Isn't it awful that you don't feel well and what can Mother do to help?" And within the next twenty minutes I had this kid lying on the couch begging for a hot water bottle and asking me when I was going to take her to the doctor, at which stage, I swatted her gently on the rear and said, "See how quickly you can get yourself dressed." And she got well quickly.

    And so, anyway, there were those people along the way that I met whose advice would not work in our house. And I recognized that very quickly. This may be well and good for other people, but it will not work in our house and I am not going to entertain fools, gladly.

    Kasper: There's a larger piece to this too. We're going kind of step-wise and I was going to take it to yet another point which is kind of related to ethics and morality and so forth. It seems to me from having talked to you over these couple of days here that one of the things that you've developed along the lines, across the years of this career as a journalist and your career as a mother, was a kind of personal morality of your own. Would you talk about that a little bit?

    Castleberry: Exactly. Exactly. I developed very early on, and it was a growing kind of thing, that a personal morality of what would work in my life that might not work in other peoples' lives and how I had to take these experts that I listened to in my work life and evaluate them in my personal life.

    At the same time I was doing this, I was very involved in my church, First Community Church of Dallas, was rearing the children in that church and working with a program called The Character Research Project, which is a program that is based on Christ's teachings as revealed in the Beatitudes. And from that—the material is written and rewritten for children age two to age eighteen. It was a wonderful learning experience for me because it required not only that we keep reports on what our children did, but that we set goals for them. And then, to guide them to where they could set goals for themselves. So it was a practical lesson in living morally and living ethically in the world—living with our own personal ethics. And I took that into myself as a learning tool. So these things were going on simultaneously. I was having at the paper access to all of the world's experts in these different fields. Then I was having the ability to try these out on a personal level to see if they worked for me and to develop my own personal code of ethics that would guide me through life.

    Kasper: Can you kind of refer to some of what you feel are the tenets of that code that you live by, that you have lived by these years?

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    Castleberry: Yes, I think I can. I guess the one basic, and it comes out in every religion in the world that I've ever had anything to do with in some way or other, it's boiled down to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." And so never as a reporter did I intrude into other peoples' lives. I always took there with me the total of who I was and in trying to elicit from them the story that they had, I did it with the idea that we are co-human beings existing in a world that is as much yours as it is mine and I will not intrude into your space. And I always said that to people. I always found along the way that people were dying to tell you anything in the world you wanted to know, as long as they did not think that you were going to be—what is the word I'm looking for—that you were not going to try to destroy any of who they were in the process. Exploitive. That's the word I'm looking for.

    Kasper: Exploit them or even use it for some other purposes.

    Castleberry: I never wanted to exploit anything or anybody. So that was one of my basic moral codes. That as a reporter I remember that you are as important as I am, which doesn't mean any more important, but we are co-human beings in this world. And this then carries over into all of the work I've done. It carries over, and in a few minutes I will get into the peace movement and the peacemakers movement, and my real concern that we do not impose our Western set of morality and our code of our living and our lifestyles on people who are from other cultures. That we learn to live in this world as sisters and brothers sharing the universe that was given to us without imposing how we ought to.

    In fact, at one stage in my life, I said if I could just completely eliminate from my vocabulary, "you ought to," it would be a whole lot easier to live in this world, because I don't know how anybody else ought to live. I have trouble enough with how I ought to. And that probably is a part of what you were asking me, I don't know that it addresses the entire thing, but it did give me—all of these things that I was doing—gave me a wonderful background for the kinds of things I was going to do with my life after the Times Herald—during the Times Herald, but also after the Times Herald.

    Kasper: Well, your personal code of ethics is an integrated one, and what I mean by that is that it had application not only to your career as a journalist, but to your life as a wife and mother, and to your life as a change agent. So there's a cohesion to your life, Vivian, in which this code of ethics plays a central role. It's not as if you behaved in one fashion while you were at the Times Herald and came home and applied a different set of standards in the home, or yet a different set of standards when you went out to be a community activist. What makes such grand sense about your life is that this code of ethics, this morality, this sense of who you are as a person, has a cohesion to all the parts of your life that's really quite an example for others to hear about and to attempt to live by.

    Castleberry: It's interesting that you should say that because I remember way back there setting down in words on a piece of paper, for my own benefit more than for anybody else's, and it went something like this: I am not a wife, and a mother, and a community volunteer, and women's editor of the Times Herald. I am Vivian Castleberry. All of these other things are roles that I play or investments in the lives of other human beings that I honor and treasure, but they are not me. And I put that down for myself because I wanted to remember it. It is interesting how the world will try to pull you apart.

    And it's also interesting, especially in the framework from which I come where a woman's place is in the home and we were told by all of the media that we would listen to, we were told, "Go home and find your have-all and your be-all within the four walls you call home and you will be a complete woman." Thank God I never bought into that. And I know in the days when I first started my career, we were still being told that you should be—well, just to boil it down, that after the day is done, then you go home and put on your black negligee and you're a sexy sexpot. Well that just never worked for me. I could never splice myself up and be all of these things that I was supposed to be at any given time.

    So I had to remember that I was an integrated whole and operate from that integration rather than from being shredded and pulled apart. And the world will

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    pull you apart if you let it. The world is all full of expectation levels from every person that gets born into it, what you, as I said a moment ago, what you ought to be doing.

    Kasper: Don't you feel, too, and again I don't want to put words into your mouth, but is there also not a place in this personal code of ethics for you that applies to home and career and community that says something along the lines of an obligation to work for change, to not just to report the news—

    Castleberry: Exactly. Exactly.

    Kasper: —Just raise the children, but that you are here also in part to make a difference. Did you feel that that was—

    Castleberry: Always. I have felt that and it is, as the years go on and the birthdays come, I really—I can't say that I feel like I'm running out of time. I think one thing that cancer gave me as a gift is that I now have time to do everything that is significant, that God intended me to do, but that I must do it with care and deliberation and not waste a lot of it. That is a gift that came to me because I do think that every human being born is born with a God-given entity of their own and that most of us do not find it. And I think that I am one of the world's fortunate people and I say this with great humility, I am one of the people who found it and who knew very early on that I must be a change agent for the good, and most of my friends, and especially my male friends that I would dare broach this to, say that I am naive and at age sixty-seven I told them if I want to be naive I very well will be, but I still feel that my destiny is to make as many changes for the good as possible and when I get around to the peace—talking about my peace work in a few minutes, I will then dwell on that a little more, if you will help me remember to do that. But all of these things that I was doing all along the way, you wanted me to talk a little about the community actions that I got involved in—

    Kasper: Before we do that, what I wanted to do was put a little closure on your career at the Herald. Let's back up to say about 1983, '84.

    Castleberry: About 1982.

    Kasper: Can you tell us about the conditions that began to lead to your retirement?

    Castleberry: Yes. The conditions that led to it, it was a very clear path although as I look back it was clear at the time, but it seemed quite garbled and quite muddy, but I knew, I felt in my heart and soul that I had done at the Times Herald all of the (quote) "good things" (unquote) that I was called there to do. That my role as a reporter was coming to a close.

    Kasper: What were those good things that you would point to that were the highlights that you would have completed?

    Castleberry: Well, the highlights of my life, that I had been able to report on almost all of the changing social issues of the time. That I had opened the door—when I went to the Times Herald, we could not publish on the Living page, the front page of the women's section, the words "planned parenthood." And I didn't know that until I did it and I found out I could do that. And so it had already been done and then I could do it. Also, the fact that when the feminist movement first came along, I started using the word "Ms." immediately. And I didn't know I couldn't do that for five years until one day "Editor and Publisher" picked up a speech that I was making and said that we had been using Ms. at the Times Herald for five years and the next day I got a written edict from my management that we would no longer do this, that it was either Mrs. or Miss and that the word Ms. had no significance and we could not use it. And that was news to me because I had been doing it for five years and nobody had noticed.

    So from that then, there was an interesting evolution there that I have to tell you about real quickly, and that was that this went on for about I would say three or four years that I was back to what I thought square one and that the progress that I had made was suddenly just wiped out and erased, and of course, it never is. You always feel like that at the time, but of course it never is. So I had not made a big issue of it and when I was told absolutely to do things, I simply

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    probably licked my wounds and felt real bad about it and then went back and saw what else I could do.

    So, after Tom Johnson came here, the LA Times bought the Times Herald, and that was the first real changing of the guard and will lead up to what you asked me about leading down to my deciding to take early retirement. But when Tom came here, I was most impressed with him as a young tiger and young journalist and his journalistic ability. But more important than that for me was his ability to honor women and what they did, and his inclusiveness, and his going into the community and opening up options with the black people in the community and the Hispanics that had never been done before for a newspaper that I knew anything about. And all of these things that I had pioneered all these years—suddenly I had an editor, a boss, who not only understood, but who probably would have been there ahead of me if he had been available at that time. And although he was younger, probably not quite young enough to be my son, but almost, I felt a keen sense of being able to walk with him through the changing times.

    And so, early on, I believe it was Women in Communication, asked him to come out and make a speech to them and I, who had been a member of Women in Communication forever in this community and had reactivated the SMU chapter for Theta Sigma Phi before it became Women in Communication years before, and had been interested in beginning the chapter of Women in Communication in Dallas as a professional group, all of this—when Tom went out to make the speech, I was asked to introduce him that night, and it was a pleasure.

    Kasper: This was in the early eighties?

    Castleberry: In the early eighties, un huh. Probably the late seventies, I don't remember time exactly when the LA Times bought the Times Herald, but it's been a good ten years. So it had to probably have been in the late seventies. And so at this program, he did a wonderful talk for the women, it was a wonderful inclusive talk, and they were all applauding. And then one of my young friends in the audience, and believe me I didn't plant this although I would have if I had thought about it, asked him why the Times Herald declined to use Ms. as an honorarium for women. And Tom said, "I don't know." And turned to me and said, "Would you like to share that question?" [Laughter.] "Would you like to answer for us?" And so I told them the story that I have just told you and the next day I got the directive from the front office that the term Ms. was from henceforth and forevermore applicable to any woman who so wanted to use it in the community.

    So, anyway, that was one of the little things that happened along the way and made me feel quite good for that brief span of time that this, too, shall pass. It seems like forever when you're going through those changing times, but it's really not all that long and I have seen dramatic changes take place. But throughout all of this, then, I was realizing the Los Angeles Times sold the paper then. Tom left to go to LA after he put me on the editorial board, he left to go to LA as an editor there and eventually as publisher of the Times Herald and the Times Herald started to sell.

    Jim Chambers had sold the Times Herald to the Los Angeles Times. That eliminated the total connectedness with the community—it had always been a community-owned newspaper and it had been the largest newspaper circulation-wise in this area. It blanketed Dallas. And during the days when I was there was the voice that Dallasites listened to—not the elite, it was not the elite newspaper, it was a newspaper of the people. And it was the newspaper that the people could expect to get a balance of the news in, and I was proud to be a part of it, even though it did not ever have the aura of prestige that other morning newspapers in this country have. And it was wonderful in that there were two, large, competitive newspapers in the city. That was rare, even in my time.

    Kasper: The Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News?

    Castleberry: The Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News, which was the morning paper and also family owned as our paper was family owned, and both of them were centered here. That did two things for us. It, one, made us sufficiently independent that we could do just about anything we wanted to, and, on the other hand, made us a bit slow in reporting what was going on in the nation.

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    We had very little national news and almost no international news. And even though those of us who were journalists, even way back when, would read other newspapers to be sure that we knew what was going on in the world. And also, I did have access, as the head of the department, to pull in wire stories off the wire as they came in, so I was constantly being able to keep up with what was going on in Baghdad and what was going on in Cairo and what was going on in New York City as well as what was going on in the confines of Dallas.

    So it was a really rich experience from that point of view and gave me a world view that I couldn't have had if I had worked say for a smaller newspaper that didn't have access to the wire services. Also, our library, even at that time, subscribed to the leading newspapers throughout the country so I did have an opportunity to run through those from time to time.

    But as the paper sold, when Tom left here and another editor came, the editor that was brought in after him, Tom Johnson, who—he was partly responsible, I think, for hiring—was a totally different kind of human being. Not Tom Johnson—Tom Johnson and—I can't remember the name. But we had a revolving door then of management. First one, and then the other. Everybody that came in, we would have a called meeting of the department heads and the top managers of the paper, and we would be told in words that this was God's gift to humanity and we were going to have a wonderful new day under these people, and with every changing management, we lost prestige, we lost readership, we lost our foot in the community. In trying to be all things to all people, we did not know who we were. And at that stage we were neither fish nor fowl nor some days quite human, and the morale was at rock bottom in the paper.

    It was at rock bottom in all departments and those of us who were still trying to hold our heads up and do a credible job were having to reinvent the wheel every morning when we came to work. And it was like walking into a place and being able to cut the atmosphere with a knife. It was so terrible that I think anybody who lived through those days, whether or not it was Charlie Dameron or Bert Holmes, and whoever it may have been that you may have talked to, would tell you that those were not pleasant times.

    And, I guess, all of us in a sense saw ourselves as the saviour of the whole thing and I kept holding onto that and I kept saying to my staff, "I don't care what is being done outside this building, what we do inside—to be able to report on what is going on in this world to our readers—is the imperative. Therefore, we cannot shirk our duties or our responsibility." It was hard. It was really hard.

    So I began to think in terms of what next. All of those years, every story I had ever written, every place I had ever been, every option I had ever picked up, had been a personal journey in what you want to do with the next stage in your life and setting goals—literally setting goals. I used to think everybody set goals. I learned that they don't and all of my life, from the time I started rearing children and learned that goal setting was important, I have not only set goals for myself, but I have set them down on paper.

    And I have what I call my ten-year goal and I have my out-there goal, two years from now, three years from now, four years from now, and I have my immediate goals, which are my self-gratification goals because if you work only for long-range goals, they look so impossible that you can't get there, and especially when you're young. Now that I'm reaching old age, I find that things are entirely different. Out there seems like tomorrow. And I probably could set ten-year goals and not be dissuaded at all that I'm not going to reach those. But when I was thirty and forty, that seemed like an eternity away and I couldn't do that. So I would set what I call my self-gratification goals—such as next week I will allow myself to go shopping for an afternoon; or, you know, in six months I will take a week's vacation with the family or I'll take a weekend trip to thus and so.

    I did that all along the way. And those are set down on paper. And what I learned very early on is that you never set anything in stone, you don't carve it in stone or set it in concrete, because life does things to you that you least expect, and sometimes the goals that you set for yourself are impossible and so you have to be flexible. And a newspaper is a wonderful place to learn that because—

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    Kasper: It's always changing.

    Castleberry: —everyday I walked in I would almost have to tear up what I had planned to do today and do something more important. So it's a good learning experience that nothing is ever, ever set that you can't change or alter or make better. And my optimistic nature is that for the most part we made it better by changing it. And I still feel that way. That change can be for the better. If you hold on to the basic tap root of who you are, that is the morality, the ethics, that are set for you as a human being. That's the tap root. And anything else that happens—and I used to say, I used to say in words to my many bosses at the Times Herald, and I'll never forget what I said this one time to a young male boss way back when. I said, "Listen, you can do things to me. You can bend me to the ground, but I will be just like a tree with a tap root that is extremely deep. I will stand up tomorrow and I will still be there fighting for what I believe." And so, that's kind of where I come from.

    So I began to think in terms of how I am going to retire. I knew that I existed in a world that many men exist in, and that I had lived a public life. My name had been in the newspaper almost every day for years and years and years. I knew that who I was was very critically wrapped up in what I did. And I knew that in order to change that, I was going to have to plan carefully for turning the page. So I started thinking in terms of, what am I going to retire to? Not what am I going to retire from.

    And I knew that it would not be wise at all for me to walk out from the paper overnight. I made a bond with myself that I will never walk out in a huff and that I will leave behind me friends, and that the things that have happened to me along the way are a product of the times and not a product of any individual. That nobody has been out to get me and nobody has been out to stop me. That they, too, are products of who they are and from where they came. And that it wasn't one of those things that was done with vengeance or with venom and that when I leave, I will leave with joy and appreciation for what I had been given.

    And what I had been given, and I don't think I've said this before, but this, to me, is the crux of the matter. What I had been given was a platform from which to do what my life was intended to do, and that was to write for the public. I had to write. And all of those years when I would be at my lowest ebb and I would do a pro/con with myself about where I could be doing more good than I'm doing here, or what I could be doing that would be more important than what I'm doing here, and I would boil it down to—it would always come down to, I have a vehicle to do what I must do with my life. Therefore, I can put up with all kinds of things to make this happen.

    And so when I started to decide that it was time for me to turn the page and go to do something else, and I was coping with all these different things, these givens, and that going to work was not fun anymore because for all of those years that I worked, for the most part, whatever I was dealing with intimately and personally that might be a negative, I was also dealing with that unlimited possibility. That when I walk into my desk this morning, God only knows what gifts are going to come to me during the day. When I pick up the phone, who's going to be on the other end of the line that will change my life? All of those—that was a gift and it was a gift that because of where I was and what I got to do with my life, I treasured. And I didn't want to make a mess of that in any way.

    So, as I began to think in—when it got to the point where it was no fun anymore and where going to work was a drag instead of a pleasure, that's when I knew it's time to turn the page. And the revolving door of management at the Times Herald helped to make that time come sooner. And I said to my husband, I have no doubt that I could win management over again and again and again, because I'm good at what I do and that goes back to liking what I did. Enjoying the life that I was living. I would say to my children, and I would say to my staff members, and then I would say to myself, "Remember, you are making a life, you are not making a living." And that was the basic ethic from which I worked. And when it got to the point that I realized that I was no longer making a life, but it was simply a matter of a weekly paycheck, it was time to do something else.

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    And I didn't know how I was going to do it. Quite honestly we could not economically afford it because my husband had, in the very early years of our lives, been a businessman and I had said to him, "Listen, my dear, I want you to do with your life what I'm going to do with mine, and that is to make your life. So you go do what you want to do with your life and I'm going to help you support this family. And we're going to do this together." And so that's when he got out of business and went back to teaching. And when one is being a newspaper woman and a public school teacher for all the productive years of their lives, and one retires, there's not much money there.

    We had also invested in college education for our five daughters. We had said to them, we owe you one college education, and to the limit of our ability, one wedding, and after that you're on your own. It meant that there was not very much savings and what I think we did was invest in the thing that was imperative to me, and that was education. And although our children did not get the kind of education from the standpoint of scholastic education that I would like to have afforded for them, they did get the best that we could financially and physically and, well—economically, physically and spiritually support, and so I have no regrets.

    Kasper: You mean, you would like to have sent them to better institutions or private schools?

    Castleberry: I would like to have sent them either to better institutions or along the way there were one or two of them that would have thrived in a private school for a period of time. I think you can never go back and do that over so you don't know. I also think we invested in summer camp for the children as they were growing up and I considered that an educational investment that was imperative. And it was something at some periods of time we could not afford and I borrowed money to send them to camp, but it was imperative that they have that as an educational part of their growing up. We also sent two of the children to youth camp, that is connected with the United Church of Christ at Union College for a summer period of time to explore their options in their growing-up years. And those I considered investments in education and have absolutely no regrets that I wish I could have done more, but I couldn't. I did it to the limit of my abilities so I will not chide myself over what has not been.

    For myself, then, it became a need to explore options. At that stage—we'll go back in a few minutes and talk about as the years went on how I led up through some of the learning in these different volunteer activities to what I wanted to do, but let me put closure on this now. In retiring, or in leading up to what the world calls retirement, what I did was take a summer place in Colorado. We had a young friend who owned a summer home, or owned a home in Colorado, and she and her friends mostly liked to use it in the winter time to ski and so I rented it one summer for five weeks. She gave me a wonderful deal, and I rented it for five weeks and it's the only five-week vacation I ever had in my working life. I had then worked myself up to where I deserved and got five weeks of vacation during the year. And so Curt and I took the house for five weeks. Our children came and went. We were in residence for the full five weeks.

    And that period of time, this is in 1982, and I walked the mountains and walked by the clear streams and sat by myself and wore jeans and tennis shoes and didn't put on makeup and didn't wash my hair until I needed to, and didn't do anything that was required. I didn't put on heels or hose, that I had to do everyday in my work life, and I talked to myself and my maker about what I wanted to do, what the next calling of my life would be. And something became very clear to me—that the frustration that had been existing, of needing to make a change, was indeed imminent.

    So I came back and I didn't want to do anything hasty and I first said to my husband, then I said to my daughters, that in two years I'm going to retire from the Times Herald. And nobody believed it. So I waited a full year before I told anybody else, you know, tell a friend, close personal friend, I'm leading up to retirement, I'm going to do something else. I didn't know what I was going to do, I just knew that, very honestly, I knew that I was being called to something, but I didn't know what. And I don't want to be one of those people that sounds like I'm looking for the next chapter of my life that's written out into the clouds

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    somewhere, but I guess when it comes right down to it, that's what I really was looking for—where is my next calling.

    Kasper: Someone to hand you the next chapter.

    Castleberry: Um hum. Right. What is the next thing I do. And as things happened—

    [End Tape 1, Side A; Begin Tape 1, Side B]

    Castleberry: —knowing that I was going to retire and not knowing what I was going to do, I came down with an illness in the winter time. I was out in the boonies reporting a story and one of my beloved black friends, Edwina Cox, and she runs an organization in this community called the Bethlehem Foundation. It is an organization that literally takes care of people that fall through the cracks everywhere else. And when you are in her offices—I was in her office that day, there was a young family there—Edwina is black and I am white, but we've been soul mates for years, and in her office that day was a young white family that had started out from the valley to her family in Illinois for Christmas time with two babies, and their car had broken down in Dallas and there were no resources at all. And Edwina was on the phone trying to get them home for Christmas, it was just before Christmas.

    But I was feeling extremely terrible that day and I looked worse than I felt. I was physically at the bottom of my barrel, but I knew that Edwina—it was Christmas time and I knew that's when the call on her resources were at the greatest, and I wanted to do some kind of story to help her to get funding to handle some of this mess that she was going to be caught up in at Christmas time. And I'll never forget it. Edwina, after she and I had had a few words of conversation, she looked at me and she said, "Vivian Castleberry, you are not well and I want you to get to your doctor and I want you to get there now because," she said, "I had a good friend who looked just like you do, and the next morning she woke up dead." And she said, "So you get to your doctor." [Laughter.]

    So I left Edwina's office and drove across town to Seth Cowan's office without stopping and I walked in there and told him what was going in my life. And he'd been through an awful lot of stuff with me, cancer and a lot of other stuff, and he knew I didn't come when there wasn't a real need, and so he took me seriously. And he did some tests and he said, "I don't see anything really physically wrong, but if you feel like that, well I want to see you tomorrow." I got up the next morning and looked in the mirror, I was as yellow as cheese, I had hepatitis. And the only thing that we can figure out that happened—in fact one of my daughters, who is the world's dedicated wit, called me up and said, "Mother, I have been telling you not to shoot up with those dirty needles." [Laughter.] And my child, who is a nurse, came by and looked at me and said, "Mother, you really are going to survive."

    So it was a terrible period of time, and at the same time one of those negative gifts that comes to you, because what happened was that we had one of the world's worst cold spells shortly after Christmas and literally this town was immobile for a period of one week. Well, I was already sick and I was beginning to recuperate, so all I did was sit in the chair in front of the television and write and think and meditate and ponder—by that time I was feeling better. The hepatitis that I had was a pretty serious kind, but it was not the contagious kind. And so, I didn't have to back track and have all those people get shots to immunize themselves from me. All I had to do was get well.

    And during that period of time, my good friend, Sharon Tennison, came from California and when she is in town—she and I go way back. She's like a younger sister or an older daughter, and we had done a lot of things together. I had met her in church way back and she's always been on the cutting edge of change and probably sang "We Shall Overcome" in her living room before anybody else in Dallas knew the song. Her kids and my kids have been friends for years, and although she is much younger, our children are approximately the same age. We are just close. And when Sharon was in town for any reason—she is by profession a nurse, and by persuasion from way back, a dedicated activist, and she had gotten into peace work.

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    And what had happened was that, as a nurse, she had started flying to Mexico with a medical team—a doctor and another nurse and some other people—flying into Mexico to immunize children in zones of poverty-ridden areas of Mexico. That was her volunteer work. And one weekend, she was scheduled to go and she had a patient who was dying that she felt compelled to stay with so she got someone else to take her place. That weekend, the young doctor who was flying the plane into Mexico crashed the plane and killed all of them. And from that, Sharon felt that God had called her, or the powers that be in the universe had called her, to do something significant with her life. That she had not—

    Kasper: She had not recognized before.

    Castleberry: —she, too, was exploring what the options were. So, as a result of that, she joined the Physicians for Social Responsibility and she began to do programs throughout California and then called into other areas on what we're doing to ourselves and our environment with the nuclear thing. And Sharon said everywhere she went people, when the question and answer session came, they would say, "Okay, that's all right for us, but what about the Russians?" And finally Sharon got to the point to where she said, "I knew I had to go see the enemy for myself." So she organized and put together in the summer of '83 the first citizen diplomat trip to the Soviet Union, took a group of mostly people out of the medical field from California with her, and in doing this, she had—I'm leading up now to some other things, so I'll try to make it brief.

    Kasper: This is '83. But isn't this '85?

    Castleberry: No, this is '83. This is '83 that she's doing this. And, so anyway, she did that and then she was in my house this next year when I was—in eighty—well, wait a minute—yeah, in '83 that she did this because she's in my house then while I'm recovering from hepatitis; she is in my house planning her second trip. And she says to me, "Why don't you go to the Soviet Union with me?" And I said, "Because I don't want to. I've never had any inclination to go to the Soviet Union. That is not what I want to do. I am going to the country for a year with my husband. I am going down there, I'm going to write, and I'm going to give myself time to decide what I want to do with my life next. And the first thing I'm going to do in 1984, I am going to retire from the Times Herald, and then I'm going to spend a year deciding what next."

    She didn't push it. But I just heard her talking to people in my house, she was talking to people all over the country, as she planned this second citizen diplomat trip to the Soviet Union. The day before she left my house, I walked into her bedroom and gave her a check for a hundred dollars and I said to her, "I am going with you. I do not know how I am going." The trip was $2,300. I did not have the money. I said, "I do not know how I'm going to do this at all, but some way, if I am supposed to do this, it will come." And so that was the year that my women friends after I had—

    Kasper: Passed the hat.

    Castleberry: —passed the hat. They gave me the trip to the Soviet Union.

    Kasper: When I heard that, I mean, I was just really amazed.

    Castleberry: It was astonishing.

    Kasper: I mean, you are so beloved in this town—

    Castleberry: I know.

    Kasper: —that your women friends passed the hat and collected the money which sent you to the Soviet Union. That's very impressive.

    Castleberry: I know. And I have a scroll that they all signed that will go around this room three times. I mean, it came in—it came, of course, and I'm sure there were many of them that gave a hundred dollars, but they raised and gave me $2,600 just—and it's signed by endless numbers of people.

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    Kasper: Hundreds and hundreds of people who signed on it.

    Castleberry: Yeah. So I walked out of the Times Herald on April the 30th, 1984, and in the meantime, Gerry Beer and I had put together—

    Kasper: Who's Gerry Beer?

    Castleberry: Gerry Beer. Her community activism came out of the Dallas Section National Council of Jewish Women, but it also came out of my being on her sounding board and planning committee when she opened The Family Place. So I'll get back to that in just a minute. But Gerry had become very dear to me and she had been extremely interested in starting some kind of peace activist movement in Dallas and she pulled together a group of people at the same time I was planning to go to the Soviet Union, we were planning our first major peace move in Dallas, women's peace move. So that the women met—but Gerry and another group of very interested women, mostly in her living room, planned and put together the first women's peace activist program in Dallas and it was held on May the 10th, 1984, and I remember that day exactly because it was held on the day that my plane was flying out of here to the Soviet Union. I said, "I will help you put it together. I will be there for you through all the planning, but I will not be there, because that's when my own personal peace initiative begins to move."

    And the meeting itself was held on the grounds of City Hall and Annette Strauss did the opening program for us. We had several young women ministers in town. One a young doctor, Nina Feinstein, who had a babe in arms and was pregnant, all of whom were on the podium together talking about women and peace. We had women liturgical dancers, women who have done church dancing in this community; we had young people involved in the community; there were hundreds of names that were signed on a petition to send to our congress people about women and their desire for peace. But the thing was, what was so fascinating about it was that this whole big event that I had helped to mobilize was taking place while my plane was beginning to fly out from DFW to the Soviet Union.

    And that was on May the 10th, it was ten days after I had walked out of the Times Herald. And my walking out of the Times Herald, I think, was very interesting because I had said that I don't want a big hullabaloo made. I appreciate who you are, I have no need of the gold watch. I don't need these things said. And I had told everybody that along the way that I could, and again, my husband had said to me, "Listen, you have to let people have closure in your life as well as you have to have it, so don't try to make all the decisions." He said this to me many times. "This is not your thing to decide. Somebody else can do this." And so I had sort of compromised. I had allowed Mamie Harris, who had worked herself up in the Times Herald from being just a secretary to being assistant to the administrator, and now is still at the Times Herald and still doing good things for women. She had had a front office meeting where management all said neat things and which I all took with a grain of salt simply because people say things at that point in time because it sounds good on their lips, but I knew who was real and who wasn't.

    Kasper: Sure. And it makes them feel good about themselves at that moment too.

    Castleberry: So, at the same time, the staff that I had put together and hired had suddenly disintegrated through the years because they had brought a features editor who was in over me, and different bosses that I answered to, and different layers of management and I never knew which day who I really was answering to that day. So what I really did was just answer to myself. The last two years that I was there, well I pretty nearly decided what I would do, and when I would do it, and how I would do it.

    And as I led down to retirement, I started taking afternoons off, which didn't mean that I wasn't still working for the Times Herald, but it meant that I was out really in the community, I guess, saying goodbye and putting closure on some things because by that time I had friends in every segment of this community and still do. I can walk into the Anita Nañes Martinez Recreation Center in West Dallas and my friends are there; and I can walk into the housing projects in South Dallas and my friends are there; and I can walk into some of the estates of North Dallas and my friends are there. And I value all of these things, but I have never felt that I got them connected the way I wanted them to connect. That's, I guess, what I'm

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    still working on. That I'm still trying to build these bridges to connect them because we're all in it together.

    Kasper: And did you think that the peace issue is one of the ways in which you could all be connected too, or is that separate?

    Castleberry: Oh, yeah and besides that—that is not separate. It is an integral part of everything that we're doing. And I'll get to that in a minute. But in walking out, my final day there, my old staff and the people that were still there had got together and planned a small party in the department and they gave me a camera, which I value tremendously, and I told you it was one of those foolproof things because I'm in no way mechanical, and Maggie Kennedy had walked into a place and bought it and said she wanted a camera for a woman that had absolutely no mechanical ability at all. And she's right. And so it winds itself and it unwinds itself and on the days when the battery fails, if it does, well I take it into the camera store and ask him what's wrong because I just—but I had it to take the Soviet Union with me and I have enjoyed it.

    The funny thing is that all those years that I was at the Times Herald I never used a camera, but I learned how to take pictures because I can set up any picture. And I have learned that other people don't appreciate that when I walk in, especially at a family reunion when it's my husband's family, and I say, "You stand here and you stand here" and "no, you're not right here," and "you fill in this hole." They've said, "Oh, God, here she is again trying to run things." But I do know how to set up a picture and I've done quite a lot of that. So because of that I also know what to look for through the camera's eye. I can tell a story very well through the camera's eye—unfortunately my mechanical ability is not such that I always capture what I see. But I did get some wonderful pictures in the Soviet Union of children and just— [Tape interruption.]

    Kasper: The knock on the door is over.

    Castleberry: Well, what I wanted to say just a little bit, is try to put a little closure on my leaving the Times Herald. The afternoon that I left, they had a little party in the middle of the afternoon and presented me with the camera and applauded and whatever. And then I said to Maggie Kennedy, "I'm going to the lounge and I am not coming back." So I picked up my purse and went to the lounge and walked out. On Sunday afternoon I took Curt and a friend back and packed up my things and moved them all out. And I did not go back to the newspaper for a visit for five years. I went back last week. I have been in the building three times since then, all three times to the credit union and that's it. Or I think one time I did go back to give Mamie Harris a hug because she's on the first floor. And I have seen Maggie outside a number of times. She's done some marvelous things for me including a wonderful story on me last year. When I was doing the peace movement, she—

    Kasper: I tried reaching her several times before I came down. She's a busy reporter.

    Castleberry: She is a busy reporter and she is just so solid and she is the very last one of the group that I hired and trained. Nobody else is there that I hired and trained. And she feels like one of my children because when she married, I kind of eased her young husband through his trauma of having a wife who was a reporter, and I can remember so vividly Don used to call the paper in the early days and say, "Where is Maggie? Where is Maggie?" And it would be maybe fifteen minutes after she was supposed to be home in the evening and I would cajole him and love him through it. And so I've done that for a lot of young husbands, including the young husbands of my reporters, as well as the young sons-in-law that I've had along the way that—that men too need loving, and I'm not such a feminist that I can't be equally loving with the young men as they come along.

    So I left the Times Herald and then I, ten days later, as I said, was on a plane to the Soviet Union and now, at this time, with your permission, I want to go back and explore some of the things that I explored along the way that led me to going to the Soviet Union.

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    Kasper: Yes. Indeed. Because there are some threads that tie your work life with your personal life with your activist life and they all run through the story of your life.

    Castleberry: And the very first one is, as we were talking about yesterday, the Times Herald Homemaking Panels that became the Women's Panels. That was the opening thing. That was even before Explore. And the reason that I did that, as I pointed out yesterday, I started it as a way to connect with the community and to get news in the horrible summertime when there was no news going on and to find issues that women were interested in that needed reporting on. And that I set it up as a selfish reason to explore what women in the community were thinking and what they needed and how we, as a newspaper, could best help cover the kinds of things that were important to them. As a result of that, it certainly gave me an opportunity to explore for myself because I've never reported on anything that I didn't learn from and I've always said, even the most mundane story that I did, if I went at it with an open mind, I always came away with something good. Now there were stories that in later years I was assigned to cover that I didn't want to cover and I went with a negative attitude and I didn't learn much. But for the most part, all of it was a learning experience. And if I could remember that here, too, there is something for me to take home with me as a person, then it made doing the story a lot more fun.

    So it began with the Times Herald Women's Panels and with that I not only ensured friendships that have endured through the years and have become dearer to me at each stage of my life and have allowed me to know women in a way that not many people have a chance to know. It has given me story material that I wouldn't have otherwise had, but it has also enriched my life in ways that nothing else would have been able to do.

    So one day I was sitting at the paper, kind of minding my own business, and perhaps, although I can't be specific about this, wondering what next, you know, what option do I pick up next, and the phone rang and it was a young woman whose name was Jean Swenson. And she had come here as the wife of a young physician, I don't remember where from, but one of the large and wonderful medical schools in the country. And I am sure that Jean must have felt that she had come to neanderthal land because a great many young women who came out of Boston and New York and other parts of the country where the women's issues were much more acceptable felt when they came to Dallas that the clock had turned back a hundred years. But Jean and her husband had gotten involved in North Haven Methodist Church, which at that time was one of the most dynamic young groups of people in the community. It was being led by a young minister who was very forward thinking and very open to change. And in their young Sunday school classes—

    Kasper: Was that Jim Holmes? Was that his church? Was that his name?

    Castleberry: Well, at that time, it was McElvaney, Bill McElvaney. It probably was Holmes' church at one time. I can't remember, very honestly, I can't remember. I know who you're talking about. The man who figured so prominently during the Kennedy assassination. But out of that it seems that the young couples' class there, the women in the young couples' class, they were talking about issues that they needed to explore to enrich their lives. And Jean Swenson and Gail Smith and a couple of other young women—Fran McElvaney, the minister's wife, was one of them, and there was one other one whose name I can't remember at the time [Note added by V. Castleberry: It was Jeanette Ivy]—decided that what they most needed was a women's program that would give young mothers especially, who felt for the most part cut off from the real world at that time, credibility and support. And so they founded a course that is called Explore. It is still going on in this community.

    Kasper: It's in it's twenty-fifth year or something like that?

    Castleberry: It's twenty-fifth year. Explore is a course that is designed for women and taught by women. It is a course that helps a woman to evaluate who she is, where she is in her life, where she wants to go, how she is going to get there, and the specific ways in which she will travel to open up those options. It has been taught and re-taught through twenty-five years. At the end of every session, the group of very bright people who teach it, all of whom are graduates of Explore,

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    every year they get together and evaluate what they have done, what they need to change, what kind of course material they need to bring into it.

    And Jean said to me, "We are starting this course. We don't know how it's going to work out in Dallas, and would you come out and talk to me about it?" And I said—it just sounded like my thing. It sounded like something I wish I had done. And it sounded like something that I would do if only I had time. So I went out and spent an afternoon with her in her home, by herself; that was my first opening to it. And I want you to know that I was so impressed at the depth of planning that they were going to and—I can't say that I didn't know other people were feeling just like I did, but what I can say is that I thought, here is somebody who is going to bring in ideas from other parts of the country and other parts of the world that will help us to become where I have had the vision that we need to travel. So, it was exceedingly exciting and they taught it that year.

    I did a little story on what they were trying to do, it was kind of an insignificant story at the time because they still hadn't done anything. You know, what you're going to do and what happens, sometimes they're miles apart. So I did a little story on what this group of young women were planning and it was just kind of an insignificant story as I recall and [I don't know] whether I even saved it or not. But, then they taught it that fall for their own few people at the church. It was a very small class, a very controlled group, that they just wanted to see, they wanted to explore what they were doing.

    The next fall they opened it up to the community and they had twenty-four people in it and I walked into that room. They told me that I could audit the course. And I guess I'm the only one they have ever let audit it. Because, as a reporter, I did not know whether or not I could be free to attend all of the classes. As it turned out, I attended five of the six classes. Would have, I mean, turned heaven and earth to do it and remanaged my schedule in every way possible because it was so significant. Walked into that, it was taught at North Haven Methodist Church, I walked—

    Kasper: On Saturday mornings or something, is that what it was?

    Castleberry: I think it was Saturday morning and I walked into that classroom and I want you to know that it blew my mind. They had boxes extended from the ceiling and pictures of women in every role that you can imagine pasted on these boxes. So the first—before anybody ever opened their mouths, you walked in and you immediately got the idea that women are living in boxed communities. And this was a message that hung from the ceiling, it was pasted and plastered on every place of the wall that you looked. That they had set up this—the setting was just marvelous.

    Kasper: Women were everywhere.

    Castleberry: Women were everywhere, but they all were in defined roles. And they were roles that were defined by others, not by themselves and they were leading boxed-in lives. So that was the message that came through loud and clear. And then we started exploring, and very honestly I still have to say, even in looking back, I didn't learn a lot from that that I hadn't already known. It simply affirmed who I was. But it, again, blew my mind in how many women were involved in the course that didn't know where they were.

    Kasper: Now, didn't you also follow two women who were taking the course and then write an article for the paper about the Explore course?

    Castleberry: Yes. Oh, yeah. From the minute. From the minute—

    Kasper: Because Gail told me they felt that straight from the beginning that you began to participate in the Explore course and wrote this article that the course—she said at one point, the phone just didn't stop ringing. She said after you published the article in the Herald the phone rang off the hook because there were so many women in Dallas who responded.

    Castleberry: Right. It blew the lid off.

    Kasper: She said, "It blew the lid off," that's right.

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    Castleberry: It just blew the lid off and that was what was so fascinating because I didn't write that article until I was far enough into the course that I really knew what it was. And by that time, some very fascinating things had happened. One of them, Maura McNiel, who is now kind of known as the godmother of the women's movement in Dallas, we point to her—

    Kasper: No, no, no. You're the godmother of the women's movement in Dallas, at least according to Liz Carpenter.

    Castleberry: No. She is. And Maura is really—and the reason she is is that Maura has never worked for pay. She's always been a volunteer. And when we have needed things put together, she's always been there to put them together. And she's done this year in and year out. She's Ginny Whitehill's closest friend and together they have been the volunteer women that have been available to keep things moving when it would have fallen apart at the seams. But Maura was in that class. And Maura had come from Minnesota, had graduated from the University of Minnesota, had worked in New York, had a background that certainly was not Dallas, but she had come here, and at that stage I remember hearing her say so many times, "I always thought that women could wait"; "there were so many things in the world that needed to be done that we women were conditioned to waiting our turn so that the success of our husbands was the most important"; "rearing the children was the most important"; and then she had gotten involved in environmental activities, and saving the universe was certainly more important. And so it had never occurred to her that if she didn't take care of herself, she wouldn't be here to take care of the rest of it. So, from Explore, that's when Maura learned that she had to put women first and that's when she became a feminist and like many feminists, it was like, as I say, blowing the lid off. She was a dedicated feminist from that time on.

    And so, as you said, that we mentioned just previously, toward the end of that first session, I wrote this article explaining what Explore really was and what it did. And it did blow the lid off in this community. There were people that were just clamoring to get into classes. They couldn't provide enough trained teachers to teach what needed to be taught. And I couldn't—for several days, I couldn't even communicate with them because the phone was so busy that I couldn't get through to talk to them about follow-up material.

    Kasper: The response to the article.

    Castleberry: The response was just absolutely mind boggling. And as a result, that was the beginning, and I think as a result of that, I've written several stories on Explore since then using different angles to try to tell its story as it has evolved. But there is no way that I could top that one.

    Kasper: Now, Explore and the graduates of Explore became a nucleus of women—

    Castleberry: Formed the Women's Center of Dallas. That, together with the symposium. At exactly the same time that Explore was starting—in fact, it was at a symposium that Gail Smith first approached me and said, "We're trying to do something that will be a continuum for the women's symposium." And it was Ann Chud who said, "Gee, they give us a crash course at SMU in what the possibilities are for women, and then they leave us for a full year without anything to feed on. And we've got to set up something in this community that will be a place to feed on." So out of that, then, Explore got—it was already beginning to start and it got started. And then out of the symposium, which is a program that is held for two days once a year at SMU for women with different themes that evolved through the years as the changes of women, but it is the longest continuing university-sponsored program for women in the country. For twenty-five years it has flourished. For one period of time when it looked like the women's movement was sort of going into the dark ages, it sort of floundered there for a few years, but last year it came back just full force.

    Kasper: How many people attended last year, for instance?

    Castleberry: About five hundred. And they're from all over the country, that is, they bring representative people here who are young women in colleges and universities from throughout the country, but they also bring a lot of Texas women

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    and Dallas women. The backbone of the whole thing is the volunteer community of Dallas.

    Kasper: What is the full name of the seminar? It's the SMU seminar for women or—?

    Castleberry: The SMU Symposium on the Education of Women for Social and Political Leadership. And through the years it has brought three keynote speakers annually: One who opens the conference, one who does a major lecture the first night of the conference, and then one who closes the conference. And through the years we have had such outstanding speakers as John Kenneth Galbraith, Margaret Mead, Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, Carl Degler, Mary—who was the president of Vassar. [Note added by V. Castleberry: It was Mary Bunting, president of Radcliffe.] I have every one of those programs if you'd like to see some of them. And the woman who started it was Emmie Baine, who was dean of women.

    And last year it was turned over to a young woman whose name is Dr. Sandra Tinkham and Sandy is a fascinating person in that she participated in the first conference that was ever held at SMU as a student. Then, later was assistant to the dean of women and worked on the planning of it. And then, later, as a community volunteer was drawn in as a person who knew the community. She has been president of the YWCA Board; she has been president of the Women's Council of Dallas County. And then, lately now, is the executive director of the program. So she's been through every step in every phase of it, is brilliant and is open to all kinds of changes. Not only that, has a daughter of her own who's growing up and needs this kind of opening thing.

    But the symposium and Explore then we—a few of us realized that what we were having was only a bite out of the, let's say, the chocolate cake, and that there was so much more that we needed to do for ourselves that was not done. So we started thinking what we could do to put together the kind of thing that would be ongoing, that would be a support system for the women of Dallas who wanted to be involved in feminism and in options for women. And we recognized that at that time Dallas was not ready to support a NOW chapter. We knew that the reputation that NOW had in the East would not go here. And so we needed to do it ourselves. So we were back to a do-it-yourself project.

    So one evening in the fall of 19—I can't remember. It was in the early seventies, a group of fifteen of us met in Ann Chud's living room—she gave us dinner—to see what we wanted to do to form an organization that would explore options for women, affirm women, and give women a springboard for greater realization of their own potential in the community. And we formed Women for Change Incorporated. It was a name that I didn't like because it sounded too much like menopause to me, but I didn't get my way every time. [Laughter.] So, anyway, that was what we organized and it went through a period of, like everything, a new baby, it's birthing was tough. We would have Saturday morning board meetings in—mostly, the Zale Center that gave us space.

    Kasper: Zale?

    Castleberry: Zale Foundation, which is a nationally, or was, a nationally recognized jewelry outfit at the time. I don't know where Zale is now on a scale of one to ten, but it was an outstanding one in the community. But we were fortunate in that one of founders was a woman whose name was Dr. Caroline (I can't remember what her name was at the time, and the reason that I can't—she's Caroline Galerstein, Dr. Caroline Galerstein). Busch was her name. She was married to a physician who died with a brain tumor, a malignant brain tumor, and then she remarried, and that's the reason it's Dr. Caroline Busch. But Caroline was a Zale and she had an entrée into the space that we took over and she was our first president. No, Maura McNiel was our first president, and then Caroline took over and kind of grew us up. Our board meetings would last all morning. It was an incredible waste of time, but it was simply a process of trying to get our act together so we could be helpful to other people.

    Kasper: Sure. It's an inevitable process. We've all been through it.

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    Castleberry: It's an inevitable process and it's one thing I have to learn over and over and over as I do different things, that you never start where you want to be.

    Kasper: And you can never short circuit that process, even if you go through it a hundred times.

    Castleberry: You cannot. And if you do, you ruin your organization. But we would meet endless hours and some of the women who came from the academic community—Johnny-Marie Grimes comes to mind as a specific—would be so annoyed with the amount of time that it took for some of us younger tigers to work our way through these different things to consensus. And Johnny-Marie would say, every time we'd get together, "We are going to stay here until something happens. We will not leave this room until we have a work agenda."

    And I learned from that, from those experiences. I don't want to sound provincial, and I don't want to sound too chamber of commerce, but I also believe this emphatically—Dallas women do things as well or better than any women in the country. Because I have been to conferences at Columbia; I have been to conferences at major universities all over this world; and when Dallas women decide to do things, they are well done. And I remember one time in an interview Gloria Steinem saying to me, "I am not at all certain that the women's movement in Dallas, Texas, and it's foundation, is not one of the best in the country."

    Kasper: I'm impressed. I've never seen anything like this. From what you have told me, and we're not talking tape, we're talking conversations we've now had over lunch and dinner, and from meeting Ginny and Janie the other day, and just the myriad of details that I have picked up on on the telephone calls that I've made down here, I haven't seen a better one myself, anywhere, and I've done a fair amount of travel.

    Castleberry: It is solid. And I've been to women's conventions in foreign countries. I have been to women's conventions at major universities throughout this country, and believe me, when we decide to do something, we know how to do it. It's because we've done our homework.

    Kasper: Well, the other day, I was thinking how envious I was of the network of women you all have here.

    Castleberry: Well, thank you. But it's marvelous. It really is. And it has been our survival because we have survived in a macho community. And we have excelled in a macho community. So, anyway, from Explore—

    Kasper: Tell me, what did Women for Change Incorporated actually do?

    Castleberry: Women for Change Incorporated—I wish I had our—it took us probably three months to write our—

    Kasper: By-laws or proclamation or whatever.

    Castleberry: Well, not only the by-laws, but exactly who we were. To define in finite words who we are and I will look that up—a statement of purpose—and add that to it. But we started working in several different areas and one of them was child care. First we started in kind of the safe areas for women so that we didn't scare the rest of them off.

    One of the very first things we did, though, and we did this almost by osmosis because it was thrust upon us, was to organize a rape center because one of our women was raped and had no resources and nowhere to go. And it became our assignment to start to work with the police department and the medical school to establish a base where women who were sexually assaulted could be safe in this community. And at that stage, as a reporter, I can tell you, because I called, many times, the police department to try to find out, any kind of rape that was reported or any kind of sexual assault that was reported, was a domestic disturbance. And they didn't keep separate records on it. And it was just awful.

    So I was working both as a reporter, from the end of a reporter, trying to unearth this information and to tell the story to the world, and at the same time,

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    on the other side, being a community activist who was involved in trying to make change for it to happen.

    And let me tell you, I never saw myself as being divided in that role. My management, my men, from time to time, would try to impress upon me the fact that as a reporter I could not be intimately involved with these social changes. And I would point out to them that I was a human being before I was a reporter and that I had to keep it together as a human being and I could not divide myself. It was tough. Because I did want to be honest. I did want to hear all of the voices, and at the same time, I knew that there were things that were being perpetrated against women in this community as well as the world that were unforgivable and I could not sit still as a human being and allow this kind of thing to continue.

    So, in the early days of Women for Change we worked in trying to provide adequate child care; we did a child referral service that was the background for the child referral service that we still have going in the community; we did a rape crisis center that as a spin-off now stands on its own.

    Kasper: Was it actually a physical location that women who were raped could go to and a hotline?

    Castleberry: Yes, it was a physical location and there was a hotline. And we also worked very early on with the medical school so that women who were sexually assaulted could be taken to a safe place at the medical school for examination, and that has continued to improve through the years, that I dare say now is probably as good as any one in the nation. And worked with the police department until we got them to understand that these were crimes that needed to be reported separately.

    I can't remember what the other things were—and oh, education. We worked in the field of education from the very beginning trying to insist that our grade schools and our high schools provide equal opportunity for girls and for boys in the field of athletics, as well as in academic circles. And we did a large task force to check out primary and grade school textbooks to see what kind of sexism pervaded our textbook systems. Worked with and lectured to any group of teachers that would listen to us on how you train boys differently from the way you train girls. Became, through Barbara Reagan, who is a professor at SMU, very interested and involved in higher education, the kind of things that are offered on the university level that separate the boys from the girls and do not give the girls equal opportunity. There are other things that we did. Those are the things that come to my mind immediately.

    Kasper: And Women for Change was just the beginning. It is no longer—

    Castleberry: Women for Change evolved into the Women's Center of Dallas. And we evolved into the Women's Center of Dallas when it became clear to us that it wasn't only that we needed to make change, we needed to have a safe place for women of all persuasions to come. And one of the early things that we did was set up a law referral service for women, a legal referral service, and the Women's Law Center, which was an outgrowth of Women for Change Incorporated, was headed by a woman who put herself in touch with almost every attorney in the community, female attorney in the community, and we did things for women like provide legal service for divorce and child custody. And those things were not offered in this community at the time at all. There was just nowhere—and when the Women's Law Center, which was short-lived because the funding dried up for it, you know, as the Republicans came into power and the—

    [End Tape 1, Side B; Begin Tape 2, Side A]

    Castleberry: —thing that we had to be concerned with, that women who were on the cutting edge of change were troublemakers. And so, as a result of that, the woman who headed the Women's Law Center, was almost indicted, not quite, but almost indicted for illegal use of funds. And very honestly, what happened was that she had a lot of young volunteers working for her, some of whom were black and some of whom would go out into some of the plusher neighborhoods of town and have their picnic lunches and who were not welcome there. There were other things that were going on at the same time, but believe me, I had interviewed this woman enough, and had been there at the Center enough to know that what was going on was wonderful.

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    But she left town under a cloud, just about to be indicted for misuse of federal funding to run the Women's Law Center. So that was a project that lasted at best only about eighteen months.

    But one of the times that I was down there at the Center, I walked into the Center and there was a little child sitting on the steps and I sat down with the little child and started talking to the child, and it turned out that this young woman had escaped from the East with her child, literally had kidnapped her child and had escaped here and was living under an assumed name and living under the cloud of a federal indictment to come home to deliver this child to an abusive father.

    Kasper: Was this the same woman who was heading the Law Center?

    Castleberry: No, no, it wasn't the same woman. The woman who was heading the law center was helping her.

    Kasper: Oh, I see.

    Castleberry: I mean, all of the stuff that we were doing was just—

    Kasper: It was real life.

    Castleberry: It was real life. We were on the cutting edge of being just right on the other side of the law, you know. And so when you're living in that kind of milieu, you're always leaving yourself open for people to find blame and to call you the meddling female, which they were inclined to do anyway, and that they wanted to put a stop to these uppity women who were doing nothing but burning bras, you know—

    Kasper: And making trouble.

    Castleberry: And making trouble. We were trouble makers and we were troublemakers.

    Kasper: Well, you were disrupting the status quo of Dallas.

    Castleberry: We were disrupting the status quo and we were not very welcome. As long as we did things that condoned the power structure that existed, everything was well and good, but the moment we began to ask questions, we were certainly not welcome in those crowds. Another thing that we started to do—we did a lot of things that were—we didn't advertise and we didn't make a part of public issues—such as taking note of how many questions were asked at public meetings of politicians, and we trained women on how to ask questions of people who were running for office so that women's issues would be a part of those things. Then we began, openly, to hold meetings of all candidates. Under our own women's auspices we would hold meetings of candidates that were running for all public offices and publicly ask them questions about how they stood on women and the issues that were critical to our needs.

    And I remember one man who was running for office that we did just adore and still adore. His name is Sid Stahl and he was running for mayor. And he's married to a young woman who is a feminist. And at the meeting that night that we held, Sid came off being less than feminist. And I remember we said to Susan, because we knew he was our best bet—Susan's his wife, and we said to Susan later, "Go home and give Sid a crash course in feminism because in order to represent us in public places, we are going to need him." And then Wes Wise, who was also elected mayor at one time, is an enigma in this community in that he was elected to one term, resigned before the term was out to run for Congress and was defeated. And Wes, well, people will tell you in this community that Wes was a lightweight mayor and a real, you know—he was the one, really, that broke the chain of the old boys network being in control. And he was the one who appointed the first women's commission in Dallas.

    Ken Johnson was the boss' name that I was trying to remember. At the time that I had worked—I had now worked through with Women for Change and with the Women's Center of Dallas, and through the symposium, and I was ready for the next step, and the next step was appointment to the Women's Commission of Dallas. And, at that time, Ken Johnson was my top editor and I knew that he did not really want

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    his reporters involved in community activism. So I went to him ahead of time. I knew that my name was going to be placed for appointment, and I knew that my city council person who had the right to appoint me probably would, and so I—because he didn't know me very well—and so I went to my boss and said, "This is something that I know I'm going to be asked to do, and I want to do, and under what conditions would you allow me to do this." And he said, "If you won't take a really front active part, if you will, you know, just be a part of the commission, you won't take a chairmanship, you won't be a leader, it will be fine." So it was a compromise that I was willing to accept because, of course, what happened was that Idelle Rabin ran our committee and I backed her up, and together we did the first Women and Work Symposium that was ever held in Dallas.

    Kasper: Who was the woman you did it with?

    Castleberry: Idelle Rabin. Owner of Del Anns. She is an entrepreneur. She is very rich in her own right. She is self made. She is a human dynamo. And she would call me, she's one of those people who will call you and state what she wants to say and then hang up. Almost like I am. I don't like to talk on the phone. So we worked real well together. But my kids got tired of answering the phone and they said to me one time, "Mother, can we tell Idelle next time she calls that you died?" [Laughter.] And she would call me at all hours and she just said, you know, "So and so's going on. What do you think we ought to do about it?" I would tell her. And we'd hang up.

    But we rented—the Dallas Commission on the Status of Women held a series of open hearings at City Hall at night to hear the women's issues in the community and what women wanted to tell us about what their needs were. And we set this up for two evenings because we thought we would need two evenings to hear. The reception was so great that it expanded into four evenings. And although we limited the amount of time that they could speak, I was just overwhelmed at the number of issues that came out. That's the first time I heard the term phrased "displaced homemaker." And from that—

    Kasper: Do you remember what year this was vaguely?

    Castleberry: No, I don't.

    Kasper: Early seventies.

    Castleberry: Yeah. But I can't remember. But I will have to—I'll need to look up those dates. But the interesting thing was from it—also, at the same time, that these things were hitting me, they were providing avenues for better reporting because I'd never done a story on displaced homemakers. And the next morning I was on the phone with Charlotte Stewart, and I said, "Tell me about displaced homemakers. What is it? What do I need to do?" It was through this same process that I learned about the very beginning of the Older Women's League and interviewed Tish Sommer, right off, because I learned that the needs for older women were not being met and that this, too, was a part of the need that was not being addressed.

    So here we went from the cradle to the grave. We were talking about child care, and then we were talking about the disenfranchised older woman who was the poorest person in the community, as well as the world. The woman without any resources at all who suddenly finds herself widowed and alone. So I was garnering material for stories at the same time that I was being a community activist—

    Kasper: And you were very much aware of this, weren't you?

    Castleberry: Oh, I was—I began to look forward to it. Listening to a public hearing is not always fun, but my note pad was full of stuff to follow up and names of people to call and contact, and how—

    Kasper: Do you think that your management knew that or that it was serendipitous for them?

    Castleberry: I think it was serendipitous for them. I don't think they had any idea and I think they probably would have discouraged it had they had an idea.

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    Kasper: Even though it was wonderful for the paper in the long run.

    Castleberry: Even though it was wonderful for the paper, I think it was women's feminism and activism that they [would] just as soon not have encroached. I think. You know, who knows. And they may tell you something different.

    Kasper: Well, no, other reporters, like Molly Ivins said to me that the Dallas Times Herald didn't know how wonderful you were for the paper. And the combination of your innate curiosity and your wonderful intelligence and so forth, plus your community activism, created feature stories and news stories that were just wonderful. So that, literally, the bottom line, it sold papers.

    Castleberry: It sold papers, it really did. And I still have people, I still have women out there today, say to me, "Why don't you go back and report on some of those things we're interested in reading because the features sections now has evolved almost entirely into reporting on television shows and movies that are showing, and that's a part of it, and it's a part that I probably left out too much, but it's not the whole of it. And what the people are doing out there is not being covered and it seems—all of the reporting—most of the reporting in the Living section today or what now they call the Style section, almost all of it seems so sterile to me and so without that human touch.

    Kasper: In the Washington Post, one of the other places hidden in the paper where you can get that human touch is—it's kind of all wrong to have papers cut up this way, I think—is in the Metro section. You know, you really get a sense of the community in which you belong. There are articles in there about people who have retired or a woman who lost her husband or someone who's started a business or, you know, a drug problem in a community, and so forth and so on. And it seems to me that instead of being tucked away, next to the classifieds or next to the used cars, this is the stuff that should be up front. I mean, that's kind of what you're saying you were able to do during your tenure.

    Castleberry: It's exactly what I was able to do and I would really get annoyed, and I couldn't keep from getting annoyed at my friends, my good friends, along the way that would say to me, "Well, we don't want this in the Women's section." When the Women's section, very honestly, was pioneering, or the Living section was literally pioneering every human interest story, every human dimension in this community, we were opening the gate for it to become credible. And as I said yesterday, we would watch it. Within six months, within a year, city side would take over that beat. And I used to say to my reporters, "That's okay. If city side has taken over that beat, it gives us the freedom to do something else."

    Kasper: To do some more.

    Castleberry: And so we would go out and explore another option that we could open up too. And at that stage, although I still had a society editor, and I still had a fashion editor, and I still had all these other things, we were meddling a whole lot in each other's playgrounds. And the society editor, for instance, was doing feature stories. It was the society editor that wrote the series of feature stories on the Dallas County Home for Children. It was the society editor that won the top state writing award for that series.

    Kasper: The home for children that was so dilapidated.

    Castleberry: So we were meddling in each other's playgrounds even when we still had, traditionally, these titles.

    Kasper: So that unlike a lot of other women journalists at the time, you were not opposed to the women's pages transforming itself into Living or Style?

    Castleberry: No. No.

    Kasper: A lot of people got kind of upset about that whole transformation.

    Castleberry: Oh, I led it. I led the transformation. I was the one who was trying to get rid of the brides, and as I said yesterday, I've rethought that and I'm not altogether sure that that is true.

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    Kasper: Oh, no. I don't mean not getting rid of the brides, I think what people like Dorothy Jurney hoped to see was that as substantive news took over and became the core of the women's pages, that it should have stayed women's pages with all of this news about women so that women had a rightful place somewhere in the center of the newspaper. What Gloria Steinem and others argued for, and which Dorothy Jurney was opposed to, was that women's news then became disbursed throughout the paper. Yes, some of it was in the new so-called living or style section, some of it was in the news section, some of it was in metro, you know, here, there and around. Dorothy, I think, wanted to see the transformation coalesce into one solid section of news on women called the women's pages and that did not abide.

    Castleberry: Yes. What I really wanted to see was it evolve into a section that would be a section for people. And I think that's what many good feature sections in the country have done. I do know that increasingly I had lots of men reading my section. And even today, I will meet them out in the community and the kinds of dimensions that we were able to report on that now are totally left out of the paper, were where a lot of the men who are on the cutting edge of human issues in town got their meat and potatoes too.

    For instance, there's one young man in town whose name is Anderson who still calls me every Christmas. And he calls me and leaves messages on my machine just to say thank you because he is in early childhood education and he is—they're still struggling with many of the things that we struggled with way back there. And sometimes I know he feels like he's right back at the starting gate, but he also knows that I became, probably just by having it dropped on me, the early childhood education reporter in the community. And I cared about what was happening to kids.

    And also, I learned a long time ago that too often when people in their own lives grow beyond a certain stage, then they leave that stage. I've never left that. I still realize to this very day that the care, nurturing and education of young children is the crux of where humanity is going. And as a grandmother and eventually I hope, if I live long enough to be a great grandmother, I will never leave that because if we do not love our children, and it still appalls me that we are one of the very few so-called forward-thinking nations in the world that does not have a child care policy—

    Kasper: A national child care policy. Absolutely.

    Castleberry: —that we do not have a national child care policy is appalling. And believe me, they do a better job in the Soviet Union with early children than they do here in this country.

    Kasper: They do in most western European countries too, and have for years.

    Castleberry: They do in the Soviet Union what we give lip service to. They love their children and they consider them the landmark of the future. And unless we can get around to doing that—one of these days we're going to lose it.

    Kasper: We're going to lose the race to the countries that love their children better than we love ours.

    Castleberry: That's right. Exactly. So, anyway, let's see, now where are we. We have just—

    Kasper: Well, my next question for you is, now The Family Place grew out of the Center, did it not? Tell me about The Family Place.

    Castleberry: The Family Place grew really out of Gerry Beer. And the way that happened, Gerry Beer had done a lot of work at The Childhood Center in South Dallas and the South Dallas housing projects under the auspices of the National Council of Jewish Women. Gerry is from New York City and she had come here as a bride and her husband was working in retail sales, a young executive in retail sales, worked his way up, is now one of the outstanding realtors in this community. Gerry has had a situation where she could afford financially to give herself as a volunteer to the community. But, in New York, she had been a fashion buyer to begin with.

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    So one day she said to me, "I have now done practically everything I want to do in the way of working in the volunteer community, and so I'm going back and really see if I can make money—like the world is putting emphasis on money." And Annette Strauss said the same thing to me one time. "Since the world evaluates you by your financial worth, I'm going to see if I can hack it in that real world." So when Lord & Taylor came here, Gerry went to work for them and she worked for them for, oh, a limited period of time, maybe a year and a half, maybe two years. One day she called me up at the paper and said, "I want to take you to lunch, I want to talk to you." And she said, "I have come to the conclusion that I am going to resign my job and go back to volunteer work because I think I can do more good in this community as a volunteer than I can for pay." And she said, "What I want to explore with you are the unmet needs in the community—the things that need to be met that are not being met."

    And I'll never forget it because we went to lunch—at the time the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts was at State Fair Park, and we went to lunch at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts and we sat there over lunch and explored options of what it was that Gerry needed to do with her life next. And I pointed out to her, just in the many things that we talked about, I said, "To me the great need that is not being met is that women who are abused, women and children who are abused, have no place to go, at all, there is no resource in this community for women who are victims of physical and/or emotional abuse."

    And I had been called at the paper, I had done a couple of stories on it, and one young woman that I still follow who has been bruised and battered by her husband for years, and she's still with him, which doesn't say a lot for her. But anyway, I had just had a session with her and it was fresh on my mind. She had come down to see me with a black eye and it was fresh on my mind. So I said this to Gerry. And Gerry has told me later, "That wasn't an option I wanted to pick up. It wasn't something I wanted to do it all. I wanted to do something that was a lot more pleasant than that."

    But Gerry, being the kind of person that she is, began to explore the need. She talked to other people. She talked to people at the Women's Center. She talked to people at the Rape Crisis Center. She talked to some social workers. And Carol Madison is one of them, a social worker who is assistant director of the Mental Health Association and a good friend of mine, a good mutual friend. And from this, Gerry decided that was the option she would pick up.

    So she began carefully, as most women in this community who have done a good job do, putting together the coalition that would make this thing a success. And it started very slowly. It seemed to me like it took forever. We were in sessions again, endlessly, talking about—

    Kasper: Meeting after meeting.

    Castleberry: Yes, meeting after meeting after meeting. And talking to the men; and listening to the men tell us it couldn't be done and that there was no need for it; and going to ministers of the different churches and finding out that some of them believed that a woman's place was with the husband no matter what was happening to her. It's just, you know, you know the story, it was just gawd awful. But Gerry persevered and she kept on.

    And I, as a reporter, had pretty much of a peripheral input into that because I was interested, but I also was involved in so many other things and I wanted to see it go, and I knew that Gerry could do it. And so one day she called me up and she said, "We're going to rent this old house down in Oak Lawn and we're going to try a shelter." And so with volunteer help they totally turned that thing around, they refurbished the house, they put in the correct kind of plumbing, they put in the correct kind of lighting. They had a board of directors. I was on the advisory committee, but not the board. And they had a board of directors that included some of the leading ministers in town and some of the leading social workers in town and the community, a real microcosm of the community movers and shakers were on her board. And she opened for business. And we were run over. There were so many calls—

    Kasper: Do you remember what year this was that it opened?

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    Castleberry: Oh, gosh no, I don't.

    Kasper: Mid-seventies was it?

    Castleberry: Mid-seventies. It was a ramshackle old house that was totally inadequate and, of course, we had to keep the address secret. And one of my funny stories, personal stories, was that they kept trying to name the place. And they kept trying to name the place. And I kept listening to them. And they had named—the organization that set it up was DVIA. It was an awful name.

    Kasper: Dallas Volunteer something or other?

    Castleberry: Dallas Intervention Alliance Association. D-I—well, anyway, I would start to print that in the paper and I just couldn't get it out. And of course you're not supposed to say in the—you can't use a headline that doesn't tell what it is you're talking about, and you've got to get the whole idea of what it is in the first sentence. And so I was constantly trying to explain what these people were doing and finding it just revoltingly difficult. So I said to Gerry, "If I had been there, you sure wouldn't have named it that."

    I was back to the Women for Change Incorporated because I always think in terms of headlines and how is it going to look to the public. So I was dismayed by that. So when they got around to naming the house that they had set up, I said, "It has to be something simple. It has to be something that everybody will understand. It has to be something that will not divide the community—it can't be divisive." So I said, "Why don't we call it The Family Place?" Well, they explored that indefinitely and they finally decided to call it The Family Place and the first story I wrote on it, I called it The Home Place throughout. And Gerry called me up and said, "Did I miss something along the way? Did you name our organization The Family Place or did you name it The Home Place?" And I had really blown it that time. But, anyway, it is The Family Place and The Family Place it remains and it has become—

    Kasper: Is it still in Oak Lawn?

    Castleberry: No. They moved it to Oak Cliff which is just across the river and they were instrumental as a group of people, with a lot of financial backing, of community volunteers they were and a credit to Gerry's careful way of putting it together and the cross section she got of board members in this community, they bought an old hospital in Oak Cliff, a fourteen-room hospital, and converted it into a shelter for women and children that is now on a wood-shaded lot in Oak Cliff, has a marvelous playground out back for children, and they do three different kinds of service. They provide in-house shelter for women and children; they provide out-service counseling for women who need help but do not need shelter, where women can get shelter otherwise; and they provide a continuing program for battering men who want to learn how to stop this violent behavior. They also provide a tremendous program for the education of children; to try to intervene at a very young age the pattern of battering that has erupted in the country.

    Kasper: That's wonderful.

    Castleberry: It is a wonderful organization. I just wish you had time to see everything here that we have in the way of these facilities. And what has happened there—The Family Place has become one of the places in the community that is socially acceptable for people to go and work. It is one of the outreaches for Junior League; it's one of the places that Junior League places its volunteers; it's one of places that all of the large church groups in Dallas support; it is one of the places that through this economic down period has not suffered a great deal because the volunteer community has simply not let it drop through the nets.

    Kasper: So does the money that supports The Family Place come from the Dallas community or do they go for grants and money beyond Dallas?

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    Castleberry: They go for grants and for money beyond. But principally, it is supported—the bedrock foundation—is that it is a Dallas-area- supported institution.

    Kasper: And the money comes from a cross-section of Dallas?

    Castleberry: It comes from a cross-section of Dallas including some black churches; including some—

    Kasper: White conservative folks too?

    Castleberry: Yes. And not only do they give money, but there's just a—well, for instance, people who have used clothing, they have a used clothing store that's just wonderful that, you know, can go; and canned goods and any kind of foods and bakeries that will send rolls and dairies that send milk. And it has caught on in this community as an okay place to support. And it has been a godsend to those of us who are community activists because we know where to send people who are desperate.

    The last Christmas that I was at the Times Herald before I retired the first of May, that was Christmas of '83, on the day before Christmas, in the morning on the 24th, I had gone to work and was going to clear up my desk for the day and then be at home with my children and family for Christmas Eve and so on. I had a call from a woman in South Dallas who was calling me from a telephone booth and who had spent the night out on the street because her husband had battered her and thrown her out. And just to listen to her talk, with a small child by the hand, she was just desperate and she didn't know where to go. And I said, "You stay right there. I will send somebody to pick you up in a little while." And I called The Family Place and they went and got her and looked after her and saw her through.

    So, for those of us who know how to work the system, there is this place. And one time, my son-in-law called me. He is a lawyer, and he was working with a case of a woman who had been battered by her husband in Dallas, and she had slipped off and gone to California. He had come to get her and had beat her up again on the way home. And my son-in-law calls me from Central Texas and said, "Where do I tell this woman to look? What is there available?" Send her to The Family Place. And they will look after anybody that's in desperate straits. They will find a way to take care of them. The press a few times had tried to denigrate them. They look for things that haven't been done, that should have been done; things they've missed that they should have seen. And there's one instance, and I can't remember the specifics, but there's one instance in the community where a woman was killed by a battering husband after being refused entry to The Family Place.

    Kasper: They had no room for her?

    Castleberry: They had no room for her. And I don't remember details because I remember at the moment I was irate because the press didn't tell the whole story. They just grabbed the idea that here's somewhere The Family Place is not doing its job. But it is wonderful. So, The Family Place was another one that I felt like I was on the periphery of helping to get started and Gerry, I think, to this day, credits me with saying to her that this is where you need to be. But, very honestly, what I was exploring were the different options for her. And she's the one that did it.

    Kasper: Well, a lot of people in town also feel that you were much more instrumental than that. I mean that your ideas and your consistent—sticking with the meetings and with the folks who were—and staying with the folks who were putting the ideas together and part of that in sharing with them the determination to see this done was real instrumental.

    Castleberry: Well, thank you, but Gerry did it. Really, she did it. And there was another instance in town of the same type that I get credit for that I didn't do. I simply planted the seed. And that was the group called, and I'll make this real brief, but it was called "A Taste of Dallas." And what happened there was that the Restaurant Wives Association was being headed up by Anita Martinez, who later became the first Hispanic council person in Dallas. But Anita Martinez was president of

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    the Restaurant Wives Association and she called me up one day and said, "The Restaurant Wives Association has never done anything for the community and we are—I'm thinking in terms of, I don't want just to have a meeting for the husbands and have a dance, I want to do something for the community. Would you come down and just talk with me and see what kind of needs that are not being met that we can do?"

    So I went down to El Fenix Restaurant, the family owns a chain called the El Fenix chain and there are several of the Martinez people. Irene Martinez Garcia is the president of the corporation and I keep hoping that she will really become a feminist. She's such a neat lady. But she's, you know, of this Hispanic background, kind of defers to her brothers, I think they just named her the president of the corporation. But, anyway, there's a large family and they own a large chain of locally situated restaurants and Anita is the wife of the oldest surviving son and as such has—she's a beautiful woman who would have been allowed just to play at life if she wanted to. But she has four children, three sons and a daughter, and somehow she became a community activist.

    So when she became president of the Restaurant Wives Association, she wanted to do something important for them, so we went to the El Fenix Restaurant that her husband owns and had lunch together. And we talked about, and I don't remember whether she brought it up or I brought it up, but one of us brought it up that one of the great unmet needs in this community was breakfast for hungry children. And it seemed to me that the Restaurant Association would be an ideal place for this to start. So somehow or other it evolved in our talking that what we needed to have was one big blast a year called "A Taste of Dallas" where all the restaurants would bring the best that they had to offer to a major hotel and for one evening there would be music and dancing, but the people of Dallas would get to sample the best from every restaurant in the community, for a price.

    Kasper: There's no wonder that you have been called an enabler by Mary Vogelman, the godmother of the women's movement by Liz Carpenter; a catalyst for change. I mean, you modestly say you didn't do it, but without your ideas I don't think a lot of these things would have gotten started.

    Castleberry: Well, what happened here that was so fun. I still have the picture. I wish I had showed it to you. Anita said, "What can we do that will make a splash in the newspaper?" I said, "Okay." One of the funny things was that as we sat there in this restaurant, her husband, her mother-in-law, her sister, and her sister-in-law and one of the brothers, sat at a nearby table and eyed us as if, "What on earth are these women—?" Now, Anita would tell you that what they were asking is, "How did Anita get this newspaper woman down here to talk to?" But I will tell you what they were saying is, "What is that meddling woman doing with Anita now?"

    So, from that I said to Anita, and I still have the picture and it's glorious, I said, "I'll tell you what you do that will really make a newspaper splash. You go down to West Dallas where the children have no food, you know, where they are really hungry children, and you set up in the street the biggest feast you can imagine, and we will come take a picture. And you have all of these children coming in and sampling all this wonderful food and then we use this as the attention getter for what it is your trying to do." It worked like a charm. It just worked like a charm. I still have that photograph. She set up a banquet in the center of one of these poverty-ridden streets in West Dallas and she had children just coming from everywhere to sample the wares. And it was an absolute photographic image of how badly Dallas needed to feed its hungry children and it gave me the opening right to print the story on how many children were going hungry and the Restaurant Association was doing this big benefit and it was going to support breakfast for hungry children in Dallas.

    And they did that for years. And five years after we started that thing, she and I went together to a "Taste of Dallas" meeting one evening and we sat on the stairway at the Fairmont Hotel and said, "Look what we did!" "It's impossible that this could have happened." There were thousands of people who dropped by that evening and for $5.00 a ticket, they had come to sample, and of course many of them paid $1,000, you know, write you a check for a $1,000 for the benefit.

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    Kasper: You made a fortune. You could support it all year long, breakfast for hungry children.

    Castleberry: And then from that, Anita was elected to the Dallas City Council. The Citizens Charter Association, which was then the old macho ruling male political thing in Dallas, called her and asked her to run for city council. And she came down to the Times Herald to talk to me about it. I was just one of many that she talked to of whether or not I thought she should do that. And I pointed out to her, I said, "Anita, they're asking you to run to take care of two minorities—women and Hispanics—and it's an impossible assignment. It is impossible! If you want to do it, I will back you one hundred percent, but I want you to know that you're getting into something that you cannot handle.

    And so she was on the city council for two years and she was considered, I expect would be considered in this community as a lightweight city council person. But let me tell you, there were several things—I'd feel real guilty if I were to let myself entertain guilt because we elected her and then we didn't give the network of support she needed as women. We kind of let her do her own thing.

    And one of the things that she did that was marvelous was that she expanded the City Park Department into West Dallas and the Anita Nañes Martinez Recreation Center in West Dallas is now one of the prime recreation centers in this community and from it has come an organization that she still supports called the Anita Nañes Martinez Ballet Folklorico that does Mexican dancing that has given children a place for authentication and applause from the Hispanic community that would have never happened without it. And she now is funding that to the extent of just infinite amounts of money.

    And there's just been some funny things that have happened along the way. When she was elected to the City Council, her husband gave her a beautiful new Cadillac as a gift and a huge diamond ring. And I said to her, "Anita, you don't need that. What you need, you know, this is the kind of gimmicks that you get from your heritage that's wonderful for you, but that's not the image you want to portray in the community." But anyway, she is such a loving person and all of this comes from that. So, we did that.

    Kasper: One of the other things that got going a little bit later in this chronology is the Dallas Women's Foundation. Can you talk about that?

    Castleberry: Yes. Yes, I can. The Dallas Women's Foundation is a latecomer. Well, before I do that, let me just briefly mention WIN—Women's Issues Network. It has been really interesting to me to watch the evolvement of women's activities in the community and I've done pretty much of an in-depth study so I can tell you that almost every women's organization that is founded in this community, and so far as I can tell in every community in this country, is organized to meet a specific need and very often the need grows beyond the capacity of the women to handle it, or the needs change. And too often the women who organize it are still there doing the same old thing, so that women's groups reach their peak and very often then, they should dissolve, but don't. And so what happens is that we have a lot of people who are piddling in areas of life that no longer are valid.

    So I have watched that especially happen in this community where a lot of women's groups, the two thousand women's groups that I kept records on when I was at the Times Herald, most of them are still piddling away at doing things that were done, that were credible fifty years ago, but certainly there is no need for them now, and I'll give you a specific. One of them is the Dallas Women's Forum which worked in nine different areas and that was in the area of education, arts, and handcrafts, and sewing and this sort of thing. Well, that organization still exists, they still have a wonderful fine building down on Ross Avenue, but the last time I went to speak to these women about ten years ago, there were very few of them left and most of them slept through my speech. They were old and tired. And so what I'm saying to you is that usually daughters do not join organizations that mothers found. Every generation of women has to do it for themselves.

    So what has evolved in this community is that many of the things that I helped to found are still there, maybe doing the same thing and some of them certainly doing wonderful and valid things, but as time has gone on, other organizations have

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    been founded that are on the cutting edge of change. And the Women's Issues Network is on the cutting edge. It came out of a group meeting that was held by the National Council of Jewish Women in cooperation with the Women's Council of Dallas County that addressed what are the unmet needs for women in the community. And out of that, Joy Mankoff became the founder of—or she is the person around which the founding of Women's Issues Network came about.

    Kasper: So is WIN a coalition or is it a group?

    Castleberry: WIN is a coalition of—it's a group. And it is non-political. It does not ask for tax-exempt status because it wants to meddle in politics. It is on the cutting edge of abortion issues. And it's on the cutting edge of issues for women in the community that no other organization will—

    Kasper: But where does it draw its membership from? Is the membership individuals or is it women from other groups?

    Castleberry: The membership are individuals. The women are individuals, but most of them are involved in other groups and they come from other groups. And actually the board of WIN is very small and most of the work is done by task forces. That where there will be an interest such as several years ago—well, WIN was founded and I was not on its first board, I was a member of the advisory committee that founded it, and then I withdrew from it and then I went back on the board and served on the board for two years. I have now resigned from that because I'm away. But I still think it is one of the cutting edge of change. It brings suit against people for discrimination against women. It isn't an organization that is very large, but it does very important things.

    Kasper: How does it fund itself?

    Castleberry: Mostly by the members who are working in it. But it doesn't take a lot of money. It's small.

    Kasper: It's a small staff. No. Because you've got an executive director and some secretarial help.

    Castleberry: Yes. It's very small and doesn't need a lot of money because we don't—we and I say "we" because I'm still a part of it—we don't need to raise money to publicize ourselves. And some of the lawyers, some of the attorneys have taken cases just because it's the proper thing to do and we don't need to—so, anyway, WIN, as I said, is one of the cutting edge of change organizations.

    And then about maybe three years ago, Helen Hunt Hendrix called a small group of us together and pointed out that women are real good at doing almost everything except raising money both for themselves and other women and that what we really needed here, perhaps, and she was very cautious to say you need this. Helen had grown up in Dallas. She now lives in New York City where she, with two sisters, has founded the Hunt Alternatives Fund that gives money to cutting-edge-of-change issues that involve women and children. And that foundation funding goes to organizations in Dallas, New York, and Denver, Colorado, where the other sister lives. And one of the things that's been neat about that is that some of the Hunt money is being used to fund women's and children's issues. And Helen, herself, is a delightful person. I will tell you about her later.

    But she was, as I see, certainly the instrument and the catalyst around which the Dallas Women's Foundation was founded. She came down here, after calling us, she called Ginny Whitehill and she called Maura and she called me, and I don't know how many other people she called, but there was a group of women activists in the community that she talked to and she came down and we put together a meeting. And when I say "we," it was the group that she had contacted. I believe our first meeting was held in the building that is on—

    [End Tape 2, Side A; Begin Tape 2, Side B]

    Castleberry: —so Helen, the first meeting that we held was at Patricia Meadows, D'Art, down on Swiss Avenue and there was not—I don't remember, probably twenty, twenty-five of us. And Helen was extremely cautious in laying out the possibility

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    of forming a women's foundation. She wasn't sure, she said, that Dallas really needed such a thing or could or would support such a thing, but women in other communities who had founded foundations that would support the grass roots efforts of women, had found that they were—it was a valuable thing to do. And so from her initial, almost reserved, almost saying to us, "Don't do this unless it's really an imperative," it became an imperative right away. There were many of us who recognized right off that the very truth of the matter is that women are good at everything in life except raising and handling money and that we have never recognized that money is power and that until we can get our hands on it and control some of it, we may be left—

    Kasper: Powerless.

    Castleberry: Powerless. So it was that beginning that really spoke a message to some of the young women yuppies and entrepreneurs in town that no other message—every other message had left cold.

    Kasper: The Family Place or the Center and the Explore course didn't turn them on.

    Castleberry: All of these things were nice things for women to do, but they weren't personally turned on by it. Well, believe me, young women were personally turned on by this. And the first, the most brilliant thing that we ever did was to name Pat Sabin to be executive director. Pat had just—she was fairly new in Dallas from the standpoint of long-lived relationships. She had come here with a husband and children; she was newly divorced, or going through a divorce; had been president of the League of Women Voters; her background is in politics in Washington, D.C.; she is the sister of Jack Nicklaus, the golfer. So her family background was fascinating, but she, herself, is an absolutely brilliant, straight-on person. If you interviewed her, you would never find her rambling as I ramble because she's organized, her mind is organized, and she gets from one point to the other with the least amount of effort. And she was exactly the appropriate person to put into the executive leadership of that new project. And it is not very old. Let's see, five years, six years, maybe.

    It has been successful in ways that none of our other women's organizations has been successful. I was on its first board. I, at the end of the first year or two, we went on for three-year terms, but we drew straws to see whether or not we would be a one, two or three year person. And also, then, subject to re-election. And at the end of my first term, I think I was on for two years, if I recall correctly, I drew a two-year term, and at the end of that time, I was retiring from the Times Herald and ready to go on to other things, and probably, I think, if I recall correctly, had already really taken official retirement and I was ready for other things, and also could see in the wings the most dynamic young women who were coming up who could do that probably better than I could because their thinking was fresh and new. And so we formed the Women's Foundation of Dallas and it has grown by leaps and bounds.

    Kasper: What kinds of issues does the foundation work on, in terms of money—raising money and using money?

    Castleberry: Well, the foundation raises its money from other foundations and it raises it from lots of individual contributions. Individual contributions have just been overwhelming. And it funds things that are critical to women and children.

    Kasper: For instance?

    Castleberry: I can't remember specifically for instance at the moment. I will have to look that up and let you know later.

    Kasper: You know I think Pat Sabin may have—Hold on one second. [Tape interruption.]

    Castleberry: —big annual fund raising event is the most phenomenal thing I have ever seen happen in this community. We have had three major yearly fundraising events. We bring a leading person from the world into Dallas to lecture at the Loews Anatole Hotel and it's a luncheon and then the grants are announced at that

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    meeting and the people who have been involved in the results of the grants are introduced. The first year they brought Elizabeth Dole and I chaired that meeting for them and got to sit by Elizabeth and got to introduce her. And I found her a person of wonderful ability and I can't understand exactly what her politics are, but [Laughter.]—

    Kasper: That's because they're not like yours.

    Castleberry: That, of course, is true, but the interesting thing was, of course, she came out of a very liberal, democratic background and she's never totally forgotten that and I think being married to Bob Dole has shaped her and changed her somewhat. But, anyway, she was wonderful and her talk was marvelous. And then the next year they brought Coretta Scott King. Coretta Scott King is a person that I have always loved and admired. She can't speak and her lectures are—but she was just perfect for the time we had her. And then this past year we had Jihan Sadat who outdid everybody, and, of course, that is in my estimation—

    Kasper: She is a wonderful speaker.

    Castleberry: She was a marvelous speaker, but more than that, she was a warm and loving person who let her hair down and who told us what her hang-ups had been, and how she had become involved in the feminist movement in Egypt, and how difficult it had been for her as the wife of Anwar Sadat, who really espoused the emancipation and the equality of women, but would have loved to have had a traditional wife. And she told us the kinds of things that she went through in exploring how she opened up to full liberation in that role. So you felt like that you had had a visit with a sister.

    And it was so interesting, when I left the meeting that day, the luncheon that day, I walked right behind two young men who looked—I have no idea who they were, but they were vice presidents and CEOs of some major organization, I can promise you, and on the way out they were saying to each other, and I was right behind them, and keeping up and listening on purpose. One of them was saying to the other, "Well, all that's well and good, but I just wonder how her kids feel about the kind of role that she lived when they were little and they needed a mother at home." And so, I said to them, "I beg your pardon? But I can tell you how they feel because I just read an article interview with her daughter in the New York Times and they think it is the most magnificent thing and the most magnificent role model that was ever set." And this young man, "Oh, oh. Oh, oh. Well, I'm so glad to know that." And off he went. So anyway, that's a little bit about the Women's Foundation. [Tape interruption.]

    Okay, one of the things that we have been exploring as I have gone through all of my professional career as a journalist is how the activism or community activity both set a pattern for what I did at the Times Herald and at the same time how my Times Herald stories led into my choice of what I would do in the activity area of my life, that is, the extracurricular activity of my life. And the thing that I think that I always was leading toward was that in my so-called retirement years that the option that I would pick up would be in the areas of peace and areas of trying to make the world safe for future generations.

    I think that began in my youth by being reared in a home where my father held out the vision that there were always better ways of settling human differences than by killing each other. I think it was set by my mother who set an example in the home that there did not have to be violence and conflict in order to resolve differences. And I think I was one of those fortunate children who grew up in a home where we did not resort to violence of any sort to correct our differences with each other. And I think it was a training that I personally garnered unto myself as I went along.

    So that when Sharon Tennison had said to me, "Why don't you go to the Soviet Union with us?" it didn't dawn on me at the time that this was the opening book, or the turning of the leaf, the turning of the page, to a new chapter that would lead to peace work in my so-called retirement years.

    Kasper: Hardly retirement years.

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    Castleberry: But I did. I was on a plane to the Soviet Union ten days after I walked out of the Times Herald on the first of three trips that I have made there as a grassroots citizen diplomat, and by that I mean that we are certainly people, just average run of the mill people from all walks of life, who go without any kind of portfolio from our government or without any kind of agenda or any kind of persuasion and who simply try to go with an open mind to see what was there and to relate to people as human beings, separate and apart from anything that is political that's going on between our countries.

    So that first trip that I made was in May of 1984, and it made a tremendous impact on me, although most of the people who went on that trip, there were men and women, and young people and older people, but most of the people who were on that trip went almost in fear and trembling of what they would find in Russia. Most of them—as I explored and examined why my feelings were different from theirs, it occurred to me that I came up during the war years, World War II years, when the Soviet Union was our friend instead of our enemy, and when we were conditioned into a period of time to where we were allies rather than enemies. And that all of the things that went on since then during the Cold War, and during the McCarthy era, and during the other eras of our existence, had never separated me from the innate or ingrained feeling that we're all human under the skin and that most of us, as individuals, have the same kind of dreams and visions and ideas for ourselves and for our families.

    And, of course, I think very often when we travel, we unfortunately garner the expectations that we go with. And that's I think what came of the whole era of the ugly American, when the American traveled and demanded the hot running water and the so-called good life for himself at the expense of what there was to learn there.

    But, to focus and to bring back, it was a nineteen-day experience in other people and, of course, I concentrated on the women, and I looked for, and was very fortunate to get to have conferences with Soviet women who were activists and who were feminists and I did get to interview the women who were the members of the Soviet Women's Committee in Moscow and in Leningrad and came away from—and not so much—

    One of our sideline trips took us to Soviet Georgia where we got to experience Tbilisi, which is the fun part of the Soviet Union and where it occurred to me that in every country I've ever been in, and that's, of course, been a limited exposure, but every experience that I have ever had, the farther one gets away from the seat of government, the more relaxed the people are. And that's certainly what I found in Soviet Georgia. It was a land of fun, a land of excitement—extremely macho, I didn't like that part of it.

    We were invited one night, there was a doctor who came to our hotel to look us up, he had heard that we—from friends in Moscow, that we were going to be in Tbilisi. So he came to the hotel and looked us up and invited a group of us to dinner in his home and when we walked in that night, we knew we were in trouble because there were about seventeen bottles of vodka and assorted other drinks on the table along with all the food that you can imagine. But the men were the ones who were the hosts and the ones who were the party givers and the women who had prepared the food were out in the back room. So I was the one, of course, that looked up the women and got to talk with them. And it's perfectly wonderful how women can communicate even with the language barriers across lines with smiles, with handshakes, with embraces and with gestures.

    And then, as we were getting ready to wind down our trip to the Soviet Union, I was in Moscow and I was interviewing a woman who was a professor at the University of Moscow, and we were almost tearful. In fact, there were some tears as we were saying goodbye to each other. And she suddenly said to me, "Go home and bring us your women." She said, "Men have been trying to bring peace to our world for hundreds of years and they haven't done such a good job and we women are still sending our sons to war and our husbands to war and our fathers to war and our brothers to war and our friends to war, and we don't want war anymore. We don't want to fight anymore. And men have tried but they haven't done such a good job. So go home and bring us your women." And I was tearful in return, had no

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    intention of doing it, absolutely none. I mean, who was I to start a women's movement that would cross the border or span the universe?

    I came back to the United States and I had hardly—I hadn't gotten over jet lag and I was sitting in my den one day and I was trying to come to grips with some of the things that had happened in the Soviet Union. I had probably been home four or five days. Curt was sitting in his easy chair across from me and the telephone rang and it was Sharon Tennison calling from California. And she said, "Vivian, we have been invited by the Soviet Women's Committee to bring a Women In Leadership Conference to the Soviet Union and would you help me and let's put one together and would you co-lead it with me?" And I said, "No. I don't want to go back to the Soviet Union. I'm tired, I just got home." [Laughter.] Oh, so that seemed to be it. And I went back, finally, after we exchanged a few more pleasantries and said, "What a good time we'd had" and I went back sat down in my chair and I said to Curt, "You know what that crazy Sharon Tennison wants to do? She wants me to help her lead a trip to the Soviet Union? I've been there one time. I don't know the language. I can't speak Russian. I don't know any of the ins and outs of traveling abroad. That's the silliest thing I ever heard," I said. So I kept on exploring and after a while he looked at me and grinned and said, "When are you going to call her and tell her you will do it?" [Laughter.] So I got up and went to the phone and called Sharon in California and said, "Of course, I cannot resist. You bet I'll do this."

    And it turned out that I was the one who put it together because Sharon at that time was leading one trip after the other. She led a group of physicians through the Soviet Union and then she would go back to Helsinki and pick up another group and lead them through. And then she'd go back to Helsinki and pick up another group and lead them through because that was just—it was just before Gorbachev came to power but it was at a time when things were beginning already to change. And the first time—I want to put it into focus—the first time I was in the Soviet Union in 1984, just before Gorbachev came to power, it was almost as if there was still a pall kind of hanging over things in that they were playing almost a waiting game. And then, the next time I went, two years later, Gorbachev had come into power in '86 and it was as if the promise were too good. When I went back in '87, it was as if a lid had blown off.

    But back to the Women in Leadership trip, it occurred to me that since the Soviet Women's Committee had said bring us your women leaders, I didn't know what that meant simply because to me any women is a leader in her own right, whoever she is and wherever she is. But I interpreted that to mean that I would take whomever wanted to go, but I would also start with the top. So I invited Nancy Reagan, and Maureen Reagan, Sandra Day O'Connor, all the congresswomen, the one congress senator at that time, and all of the women governors—I think there were three or four at that time out of the fifty states—and some of the secretaries of state and that sort of thing, right down to, I sent out probably, I would say, three hundred letters. And I started getting responses. And I just had a wonderful time, mostly with the responses. Of course, not many of those wonderful women went, but it was so marvelous because I now have in my possession letters from most of these women of support for a Women's Leadership Conference in Moscow and whatever.

    And the fun thing of it all was that my husband got involved again because he would be home, he said he really got a little tired during that period of time serving as my secretary because I didn't have an answering service. And I'll never forget walking in one afternoon late and tired and Curt said to me, "Who is Dianne Feinstein?" And I said, "Oh, you don't know her." "Well," I said—and he said, "Well she sounds like a wonderful person. I just had a long conversation with her." So he got to take a lot of my telephone calls and became very—

    Kasper: He got to meet a lot of interesting women.

    Castleberry: Right. He really did and he enjoyed what I was doing. So the letters, you know, fired back and forth real fast and then the time came almost up for the trip and there were fifty-two of us who signed on to go on the Women in Leadership Conference and we were to have meetings in Moscow and Leningrad and Minsk with the Soviet Women's Committee. And I got to Helsinki and Sharon came in and I met her there—

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    Well, in the first place, I had led the group out of New York. I had met the group in New York. There was, by that time, another co-leader who also had gotten involved who led the group out of California. And we met in Helsinki and Sharon came in within a couple of hours after our group got there and she was dead tired from having led all these groups through. And she and I were rooming together and so we sat down to try to organize where we were and who we were and what the state of the visas were, and all of the complications that go with leading this. It was the first time I had ever led a group, and to lead a group to the Soviet Union to be your very first travel experience, I do not recommend. But, at the same time, let me tell you sometimes it's better not to know what you're going to be doing than it is to know all of the ins and outs.

    But, see, one of the things I think that I'm still caught up in to this very day is that I am still naive to the extent that I expect everybody to be on their best behavior and I expect everybody to do the things that are humanly nice, and they don't always do it. So I'm always shocked and surprised when that group of people doesn't follow through. So we had, for the most part, it was a wonderful group. We had a few reservations, but for the most part it was marvelous.

    And what happened was that we got into Helsinki and one of the group came down. We always prepare our groups pretty well, that is, we prepare them ahead of time about what some of the expectations are, not only the travel expectations of the weariness that you have, the bodily discomfort that is likely to develop, and encourage them to rest along with all of the excursions that they're going to be taking and tell—and point out to them that nothing is—that no group that you are supposed to go to is imperative. If you want to stay in the hotel room and rest, that's okay too. But we stress very strongly that we are going, not to evaluate and not to measure our differences, but to find out what our strengths are and what our—

    Kasper: Commonalities are.

    Castleberry: Commonalities are. And that we are to remember at all times that we are guests in their country and that we are to be good guests and that we are not to take advantage of any kind of host accommodations that could be offered us. So, we do that, and then when we get to Helsinki we have a full evening and some of the next day, if such is allowed, to talk about the psychological—you know, just to psyche ourselves out in preparation for going into this new climate and new country.

    Kasper: Now, how much time were you going to be spending in the Soviet Union?

    Castleberry: Nineteen days. It's a three-week trip, but there's nineteen days in the Soviet Union in three different cities and that's approximately four days, four to five days in every city.

    Kasper: And who were some of these fifty-two women?

    Castleberry: Well the person that was the most—that when I kept trying to get Women in Leadership, we had women on that trip—one woman was owner of her own fleet company out of San Francisco. We had a woman who was the head of the—oh, I've forgotten what organization, but a tobacco and alcohol unit of the U.S. Government; and we had women who were entrepreneurs, owners of their retail clothing business; and women who were—several professors. One of them was head of an art department at a small college in Michigan. And one of them was—there were five women from Dallas who went, including Gail Smith and Fran McElvaney and Margaret Loft who is in the art department here; and there were women economists; and the governor of the state of North Dakota. And she was a marvelous woman who died with lung cancer not too long after we returned from the Soviet Union.

    But in every instance, again, these were women who—oh, and one of them was a young American Indian woman who was an attorney from New Mexico. And then there was this gorgeous woman who was a Navajo Indian, college professor, from Arizona. And one of them was an Episcopal priest from upper New York State. So it was a wonderful conglomerate of women from many walks of life, both in business and in social service and educators. We got to Helsinki and Coralee Micchelucci—and Coralee is a journalist—

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    Kasper: An American?

    Castleberry: An American. And she came down the first day that we were having sessions to get us ready to go in and said to me, "Something awful is going on in the Soviet Union. I don't know what it is because I can't understand on the television. I had the television on in our room, and I can't understand what's going on, but it's terrible. Something terrible has happened." And I said, "Coralee, if you tell the group this before I have a chance to check it out, I will screw your head off personally." And so, of course, she told everybody that something awful was going on in the Soviet Union. Well, it really was. That's when—

    Kasper: Oh, the atomic explosion had taken place at the nuclear plant.

    Castleberry: The atomic explosion had taken place at the nuclear plant.

    Kasper: Why can't we remember that—

    Castleberry: Oh, goodness, it's right on the tip of my tongue. It'll be here in a minute. Anyway, Sharon and I immediately started to reach the American Embassy in Moscow and we spent the entire day checking out what was going on in the Soviet Union. We also spent the entire day, while going on preparing, asking ourselves, "Should we go on in?" And it turned out that night I was in the most dramatic women's session I have ever been in in my life. There were fifty—it turned out that there were fifty-one women and one man on that trip. He is a video cameraman from the state of Washington and he is wonderful. He turned out to be one of the best feminists that we had on the entire trip. And, he went to film us, to film the thing the whole way through.

    And so as we were making preparations for this thing, that evening, Sharon and I were still trying to get specific information, it was very hard to come by and we got the best information of all from the Finnish airlines—FinnAir, that flew us in because they were real honest with us and leveled with us and they were not alarmist and they told us where they were still flying their planes because it was safe and where they weren't because it wasn't safe.

    And so that night, as I said, we were in the most dramatic session I have ever been in in my life and it started out, we were being led through the evening by the Episcopal priest who started the session, but it wound up that our American Indian delegate was the one who kind of took over. And she's elegant, tall, with this long braid down her back, dressed in her Native American Indian attire, and she stood up and she finally said, "Ladies, I'm going through with the trip. I have been called to do this. This is what I am supposed to be doing at this time. There are guests waiting in the Soviet Union for us. We have checked out every degree of safety that we can. Those of you who want to go home are certainly free to go." (Sharon and I had said that repeatedly to then.) "I, for myself, intend to go through with it."

    And at that point, everybody signed on except for two. There was one young woman in her first trimester of pregnancy who came home, and there was one older woman with a heart condition who, the next morning said, I just can't do it, and she turned around and came home. The rest of us, fifty of us, went through with the trip. And in the Soviet Union—Chernobyl is what we've trying to think of, it was the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl—and I have to tell you that as the time went on, that was the only time in my life I was ever embarrassed to introduce myself as a journalist.

    Kasper: Why?

    Castleberry: My hands were held at one place in Leningrad by a woman with tears streaming down her face who said, "Why is the American press doing to us what they're doing?" She said, "When your Challenger fell from the skies, we stopped in the streets to cry and hold each other and to feel sorry for you. And now that a nuclear disaster, that we have no control over has hit our country, you are blaming us. And we get nothing but recrimination for what we have done." And the first time I had been over there, a Soviet had said to me, "Why does your President hate us so?"

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    That was right after Reagan had called the Soviet Union the evil empire. So it wasn't easy to go and visit these people under those conditions.

    But what we did, we cancelled our trip to Minsk, because that was too near to Chernobyl for safety and we were not foolhardy at all. We were checking all the way through with our American Embassy. We were checking with BBC and with Voice of America and every other avenue that we could think of to check with, but we were still going on with our trip. And, as a result of that, in the Soviet Union, we were perceived as brave and we were—we were not brave, we were not cowards, but we certainly were not brave because we were checking very carefully. But the Soviet women welcomed us with even more open arms than they would have because nearly all the Americans had cancelled their trips and gone home. And we were going through with our itinerary.

    Kasper: So you had a very warm reception and a successful trip.

    Castleberry: We had an exceedingly warm—and in Moscow at the Soviet Women's Committee, their program for us was set up around a horseshoe table such as exist at the U.N. and the headphones were simultaneous translations of languages. I wish we could have offered that to them when they came here because it was just marvelous to be able to communicate on that level.

    And one of the fun things that happened to me—there are ways that we in America do things that are not done in the Soviet Union and I had written ahead and asked for conferences, small conferences, so that the educators could be together, and the lawyers could be together, and the journalists could be together, and the businesswomen could be together, so that we could really communicate on intimate levels about some of the subjects that we were interested in. Well, the Soviet women simply didn't know how to do that, because they are much more formal than we are in their presentations. They speak and then they are spoken to, and everybody gets quiet to listen and the conversation doesn't go a-round table like we do in our country.

    So what I did, the day after we were in Moscow, I was privileged to get to do the address of response to the official greeting that we were given and then I gave back our official response for the group. And then, after that, there was some formal question and answer exchange, and then I suggested that maybe we should divide into these small discussion groups.

    Well, so they didn't know what I was talking about. They had a little conference in Russian at the front of the room about how they did this. And finally one of them who was sort of in charge turned to me and said, "Would you like to show us how?" in English. And so I was delighted to do this. So I go to the microphone and I say, "Now, this will be where the educators meet over here. And this is where the attorneys meet over here. And this is where—" And I stayed with them until they got together. And they had a wonderful time. For the next two hours they met in small sessions and what came of that was that most of the women were invited into private homes by the people that they had had these brief intimate conversations with. So they got a really good view of what life in the Soviet Union was all about. It was an extremely successful trip.

    Kasper: You made a third trip after that too, didn't you, in '87?

    Castleberry: Yes. We were there though—yeah, I wanted to say just one other thing about this. We were there during May Day and we got—and one of our group joined the May Day parade and marched two miles in it; she wasn't supposed to, but nobody told her that so she had a great time doing it. And the interesting thing is, the image that Americans have of the May Day parades is of tanks and flags and I've always thought that's what it was. And it isn't it all.

    Kasper: It's their workers day.

    Castleberry: It's their labor day. And so the floats were all just marvelously colored and there were lots of balloons and lots of flowers and we were handed flowers.

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    One of the fun things that happened in the street—there was one little kid, as you will find a little kid in every city in the country, had a pin and he was bursting the balloons. And he'd burst a balloon—a little child had been given a balloon and was on his way back with his parents, probably home, and this little boy came up and stuck the pin in the balloon and burst it. And just about the time he did, there was an officer, an armed—who just reached over and took him by the back of the neck and took the pin away from him and turned around and handed it to one of the group that we were with and I was walking with, and says, "Here, souvenir, Soviet Union."

    So there were lots of little fun things and our women were—some of the officers on the street were the most generous, open people. We were handed flowers everywhere we went. The Soviets love flowers and they were constantly giving us flowers. And, we were also there during Veterans Day. Veterans Day and the people came to the hotel with their medals that they had gotten during World War II and there are so many women who were just loaded down with medals and these were women who actually had earned these medals during the worst part of World War II. The children are taken care of so beautifully. And it was just exquisite.

    So then I came home and then it started really bugging me that I—well, the next thing that happened, some of the Soviets came to Dallas. There were groups of eight that Sharon Tennison and her group were able to get out on official visits, sort of grass roots citizens visits to the United States. And four of them came to Dallas. They divided and went into different cities and four of them came to Dallas. And Curt and I were hosts in our home for these four, two men and two women. And one of them was Ada Kosynkina and Ada is with the Peace Committee in Leningrad and she has really become my Soviet sister. I absolutely adore her. She stayed in our home. They were there for four days.

    And one funny story. Just before they got here, they had been visiting in another state, I can't suddenly remember where it was, but I was just on my way to the airport to pick these people up and I got a telephone call from their host in the town that had just put them on the plane, saying, "Please let them rest some. We have just worn them out. They've been in San Francisco, and they've been here, and they've been on non-stop tours and please give them time to rest a little bit."

    Well, I had an itinerary planned that wouldn't wait. I had put together here a host committee that we had planned every minute of their stay here for the entire five days from the time we met them at the airport until they left. And from breakfast through evening dinners and whatever. And I had garnered a committee to meet them at the airport. There were over a hundred people met them at the airport with banners that were printed in Russian and with balloons and flowers. And by the time Curt and I got them home that night, our living room looked like a funeral parlor because they had been given so many flowers. And one of the fun things was that Curt had even gone out to the back and resurrected an old goldfish bowl and some other things to put flowers in. We had more flowers than we knew what to do with.

    But in the meantime, I had gotten their rooms prepared and I had put the itinerary in their rooms and some of my friends had printed some of the things in Russian for them so there would be—as it turned out, all four of them spoke fluent English, so there was no need of that, but I didn't know it ahead of time. But it dawned on me, I mean after I had this call, "Gosh, I've got them just scheduled right, every minute." And so, I thought, well one thing I can do for them is when I get them home tonight after I meet them at the airport and the press met them there—and one wonderful young woman whose name was Phyllis Watson came from Channel 8 to interview them and she spoke Russian and she really outdid herself in making—

    It was so funny though, when the people got off that plane that night, nobody knew that they were traveling with these four Soviet citizens until they got to Dallas and they were just overwhelmed at the welcome they got when the plane landed and they started filing into the airport, and here was all this Russian and all these cheers and everything. So it was really neat. But, I thought, well, I can let them rest when I get home. So as soon as I got them home, I said to them, "Now I understand you've been on this long period of time and you are very tired and

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    I want you to rest." And so I'm going to—I told them when breakfast was, and I said, "Then I'm going to my room. You're at home here. The living room is yours. We've gotten everything out of it. You can meet here for discussions anytime you want to, and we are going to—I am going to bed and let you rest." So I did. I went upstairs and went to bed and sleep. And two hours later my husband woke me up and said, "Guess what they're doing?" I said, "I don't know." He said, "They're in our den watching dirty movies on the cable channel." [Laughter.]

    Kasper: Oh, God.

    Castleberry: They did that every night they were there. And I told them, I got to know them well enough that on the last night they were there, I said to them, "Listen, you people can go home and say that you watched dirty movies in the Castleberry house, but you must say that the Castleberrys did not watch the dirty movies with you. [Laughter.] That is your thing, it's not ours." But we loved them.

    And then, from that I organized the International Dialogue Group. In talking with the women when they were here and the women that I had correspondence with, it seemed to me that the dimension that was left out was that we were not getting these kids when they were young enough to make an impact on their lives. And I wanted to take mothers and daughters to the Soviet Union. So I organized the Inter-Generational Dialogue Group and, with Ada's help and the help of the Soviet Women's Committee, organized similar kinds of dialogue in Leningrad and Moscow and Kiev.

    Kasper: Isn't that beautiful.

    Castleberry: And in 1987, I led that group and at the last minute I got my husband to go with me. He said, "But I don't want to go with this group. I'll go with you another time." And I said, "I may never go back. Let's go this time."

    So I, fortunately, had some money that had just matured at that time and I took it and bought his ticket and I sent the—so we wound up taking three men with us and one of them was the man who had arranged all these tours for all of us, and his daughter who had just graduated from high school that he wanted to give a gift to, and his wife was physically ill and not able to go. He wanted to send her so he went and took her. And then the husband of one of the women who went with us, went. And there was one young boy, their son, went and the rest of them, there were two college-age girls, two young career women, unmarried; there were five teenagers—teenage girls and their mothers. We, Curt and I, took our grand-daughter who at that time was fourteen; and the rest—there were three babushkas, that is grandmothers, and the rest, you know, it was just a wonderful group.

    Kasper: And you took one of your daughters?

    Castleberry: I took one of my grand-daughters. Not my daughters, just my grand-daughter.

    Kasper: Just Heather.

    Castleberry: Right. Just Heather. And when we got to the Soviet Union I didn't know how it would work out because you never know how anything is going to work out when you're planning cross-cultural and cross-language. I just didn't know how it was going to work out. We got to Leningrad and Ada. I had written ahead and asked for the people at the committee, the people at the Women's Committee and the Peace Committee to please bring their children and grandchildren. They had never done that. They didn't know they could do that. When we got there they were there en masse. Grandfathers and grand-daughters and grandmothers and daughters and just—there probably were fifty people there to greet us and it was every generation you can think of, both sexes. And the first thing that happened was that one of the professors of English at one of the Moscow universities took their teenagers and our teenagers off by themselves for a rap session. And my grand-daughter told me later, she said, "Grandmother, I was so embarrassed. They know so much more about geography and history than we do." She said, "They asked us questions we couldn't answer."

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    But it was such a good—and the next day then, we went to a university and the young people who had been involved in the peace movement at that university came to talk with our kids and their kids. And there was a journalist there who came to cover us, to see what we were up to.

    So everywhere we went throughout the Soviet Union, it is as if doors had been opening ahead of us and the groups that we needed to talk to were there, the groups that we needed to meet were there. So we were not seeing the traditional touristy things that people see. We were in their homes, in their shops, in their restaurants, talking with them over coffee late at night.

    Kasper: In their minds and hearts.

    Castleberry: Our kids were out in their nightclubs—

    [End Tape 2, Side B; Begin Tape 3, Side A]

    Castleberry: —grand-daughter, let's say, just turn her loose at age 14 in any major city in this country? But I turned her loose in Leningrad and Moscow. I wanted to know where she was and who she was with, but I had no fear whatsoever of her safety. I knew she was going to get home all right and I knew—also, the young men there are so protective. In the first place there is no place that they could go for illicit sex. It's all public. It's all out. And the first time I had been there, we had been in Leningrad during the white nights, so it never got dark and I walked all night. I walked one night three miles by myself between twelve and one o'clock in the morning because I was at a party and I felt like I needed to go home and rest and the rest of them weren't ready to go, so I walked back by myself—three miles. And I would never do that in an American city.

    Kasper: Oh my goodness. No.

    Castleberry: So, I don't know, to put a closure to my Soviet experience, it was wonderful to have had and I probably will go back one more time. I feel like I have some unfinished business there.

    But at the same time, Ada just recently sent me the most beautiful letter and the photograph—I cannot tell you how she has changed. What the example of perestroika and what the example of glasnost and what the example of Raisa Gorbachev herself has been to the Russian women, because Ada, who, when I first met her, she's probably thirty-five, she's single. She was a glowingly beautiful woman, but it came from an inner radiance of intelligence, of that quiet serenity of being in control of her life.

    Recently, Louise Raggio, a friend of mine, went to the Soviet Union and by accident met Ada and found out that she was—it wasn't so unusual because Ada moves in those circles, but at the same time it was really unusual that those two should have connected and Ada should have said to her, "Take my love back to Vivian in Dallas." Louise brought me a photograph of her. Ada has slimmed down probably ten or fifteen pounds. Her hair she has colored with a just a little bit more light so that now she is really blonde. She was wearing fashionable long earrings and a neat-looking outfit and she looks—you could not tell her from a very fashionable American woman. So, the examples that are there—

    The example also that I had the last time we were there. One night Curt and I and a couple of our kids went and spent the evening with a writer in Moscow and his wife and he was a typical male, macho writer who wanted to talk about the role of women and talk about how—in disparaging terms. But his wife turned out to be an absolutely marvelous person. All I had to do was to get her by herself and she said, "Don't pay any attention to him. You know, he talks a good line. He knows who runs things in this house. I run things in this house. I run things in this house so that he can write," she said. So it's all over and it's universal.

    And one woman at the Soviet Women's Committee was telling us about her twin sons, and they're twenty-three years old, and she considers herself the world's outstanding feminist, but she will be glad when these boys marry, she said, so that their wives then will have to look after them and she can go on about her business. And we said, "Hey, wait up. What is this teaching your sons about feminism?"

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    And well, she said, she was pretty much caught up and she hadn't ever thought about that. She guessed she'd have to think about that. So we gave her something to think about.

    Kasper: Now how did your Soviet trips influence the founding of the Peacemakers and the Peace Conference.

    Castleberry: Okay. When I came back, and I hope I can make this real brief, but when I came back from that second trip, having been lured there because the woman had insisted that I bring the women, I had the dream then that was real deeply buried in me that if women are going to do something for peace, it must be organized in a better fashion. Just these little trips here and there, as good as they are and as good as they make me feel, are not going to do anything for the lasting peace. And because of my involvement in women's issues—networks from a long period of time—I knew that such an endeavor takes a lot of time and thinking.

    So I came back from this second trip with the idea that I really needed to do something more for women to get them organized into peace efforts, but I didn't know what it was. I hadn't been back here any time, before I had a call from a friend of mine in East Texas who said, "I want to come to see you," and after my telling you two or three times that I didn't want to do anything else, well—I said to her, "Listen, I have made up my mind, if it doesn't have something to do with peace in our world, I'm really not interested. That's where I'm going to devote my time." She said, "I'll be there tomorrow." So she came and she had the vision for a peace conference.

    Kasper: Who was this?

    Castleberry: Her name is Dolores Pevehouse. And she is a lawyer, not practicing, but a lawyer who lives in East Texas and I have known her for quite a long while. So she came to Dallas and she started talking about getting women together and she said, "Now, you're the only person I know that can do it in Dallas, and it ought to be done in Dallas," and I said, "Unh unh, I don't want to do that." So we talked and I ran away from it and I ran away from it. And one night—one night—I don't believe in dreams and visions, but I had one and that had really been bugging me. I went to sleep with it. I woke up with it. I thought about it and I—really, coming from the Christian heritage that I come from, my whole prayer was "let this cup pass from me." I do not want to do this.

    And one night, in the night, I had a dream that the women were coming from all parts of the world and I still get goose pimples when I think about it. Women were, in my dream, they were coming from all sections of the world to a central spot and I could see the women in their saris and the women in their turban dress, and the women in all kinds of clothing from all—the women with their faces covered—

    Kasper: The chador.

    Castleberry: The Arabian—the women from Iran. All of these women, the black women, the white women, the brown women, the yellow women, they were all coming to a central spot. In my dream it faded as they reached this central spot, the women faded, but I could see them as they came just from all different directions. And then, behind them, came the young men to this central spot laying down their arms. It was one after the other after the other of the men, young men, coming and laying down whatever arms they had. It was soldiers from all parts of the world. And when I awoke, I know it had to be a dream, although it seemed like just a vision, I could see it on my bedroom wall. I awoke and I said, "Whatever I need to do, I will do. From this day forward, I will do whatever it is."

    The next thing I did that morning was sit down and write a letter to my women friends, the fourteen that are in my support group, and say, "I want to talk to you about something." Got them together for breakfast at my church and I told them what had happened to me, and I said, "I don't expect you to believe this, and I don't expect you to do this because you are all very busy people, but this is something that I feel called to do and I want to feel your support. And if I could feel your support, I will do it." And as a person, I remember Annette Strauss walking out of that meeting saying, "Call me for whatever you need." And Louise Raggio, who is an attorney and was the most skeptical of all of them because

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    the role of an attorney is to be skeptical, said, "Well, if you want to do it, you have my blessing." So it was that kind of thing right down the line. Not a single negative vote did I get.

    And so the next thing I did was invite fifty women to my home for dinner. Dolores came down. She was willing to help me. We prepared spaghetti for fifty, and I had prepared an outline by that time for the conference, what I wanted to see happen. And it was a lengthy outline. And so, after dinner, I divided the women into six different groups and sent them to different bedrooms, or the living room, or the dining room, or different parts of my house, set them around tables with pencil and paper and said, "Take this thing and tear it up and tell me I can't do it." And every one of them came back, some of them were skeptical, but they all came back. They asked the same questions I had already asked and had already worked through. And so from that evening's meeting came the first steering committee of Peacemakers, Incorporated. We could feel, or I could feel, out of that group who was critically interested, who had reservations.

    Kasper: And then you chose those who were the most enthusiastic ones.

    Castleberry: We chose the most enthusiastic—and able—because I knew we were going to need money. We put on that Peace Conference, it was a phenomenal overwhelming success. And we did it totally out of the way that other people would do things. We were told all the way through, you've got to have this much money, you've got to have that much money—

    Kasper: So Peacemakers was formed in order to hold the conference.

    Castleberry: Right. And what I wanted to do from the very beginning, I had no intention of organizing a new organization. I didn't want to do that. What I wanted to do was for an organization in town or someone in the country to take us over. So I talked to a number of different groups. We talked to the Women's International Peace Group—

    Kasper: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

    Castleberry: League for Peace and Freedom, I just knew that they would do it. But it turned out with all of their overt enthusiasm—I had met the president of that in Moscow, oddly enough, I had met her in Moscow and had gotten to know her there and it seemed just ideal for them to do it. But it turned out that—what I learned and what I should have known but didn't, is that every organization has its own bureaucracy that builds up and that you can't start something new within that organization without innumerable meetings and lots of votes and a lot of promises.

    Kasper: Unless their priority item is the same as yours, you have to start from scratch.

    Castleberry: Right. Exactly. So that's what we tried—I floundered for about three months of trying to decide how to go about doing this. The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, as enthusiastic as it was, their enthusiasm soon paled and waned and they wanted me to fly to Geneva and I didn't have the money to fly to Geneva to talk with them. They wanted me to spend so long outlining what it was I wanted to do and why I thought we could do it. And then they started saying, "Well, we've tried to do this for years and we haven't been able to do it and who do you think you are to be able to do it." Not in those words, but that was certainly the message that I was getting. And it was a legitimate message. I clearly understand that. I had read the history of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, had been tremendously impressed by what they were trying to do and who they were.

    And so then I turned to some other organizations—the National League for Peace and Arbitration, and they were enthusiastic, but it was going to take too long. So then I turned to the Dallas Peace Center and they were extremely interested and the first time I went and presented it to them, they not only took us on, voted quickly to take us on—

    Kasper: The Dallas Peace Center?

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    Castleberry: Dallas Peace Center. But they voted unanimously to take us on and then they also put me on the board as the liaison between them and us. And then it turned out, we met with their lawyer, and what they wanted was a hundred thousand dollars in escrow, funding in the bank, before they could take on the financial responsibilities for doing such a conference. At that stage, Dolores, who was still working with me at that time and who later withdrew because she became frustrated.

    Kasper: Dolores?

    Castleberry: Pevehouse, who later—she withdrew because she could not stand the day-to-day process that you had to go through to make something happen and I knew my Dallas women well enough and I knew the process well enough that I knew you had to let everybody have their negativism and you had to let things fall apart and you had to put it together again. I knew that. It wasn't comfortable living it, I didn't like it, but you have to do it.

    So, she was still with me, and she is the one who named us. She got up one morning, she was staying at my house, and she got up one morning and she said, "How does Peacemakers Incorporated strike you?" And I said, "It certainly does ring a bell. Where d'you get that?" And she said, "Well, that's what our name ought to be. And we ought to organize under that name and we ought to do it. Just do it!" So she called our state department in Austin that morning to find out if the name "Peacemakers Incorporated" had been taken and it hadn't. So we grabbed it. She and I went, ourselves, downtown to see how you get tax-exempt status. We had a meeting with Internal Revenue. We walked in that day, just two little Dallas women, minding our own business, and we were turned over to a man whose name was Mr. Hawk.

    Kasper: Hawk? Oh no. Oh no. Peacemakers Incorporated?

    Castleberry: Mr. Hawk, who was a retired military man.

    Kasper: Oh God.

    Castleberry: And we didn't want to tell him what we were doing, we just wanted to find out how you go about getting a tax-exempt status. So he told us. He was very generous to share the information with us. It turned out he was just two weeks from retirement. And so, at the end of the conference, he couldn't stand it any longer, and he reached over and patted me on the hand and said, "Now, I've got to know what you little ladies are up to." And I knew there was no use in mincing words, so I said to him, "We're going to try to bring peace to our world." And he looked at me baffled and kind of shook his head and said, "Well don't you think that's going to take a long time?" And I said, "Yes, sir. And don't you think it's time somebody got started." And we got our tax-exempt status in record time. We had it in less than six weeks.

    Kasper: You're kidding.

    Castleberry: It was incredible. It went right through. I don't know what he did. I don't know what we did. But we had it almost—

    Kasper: He probably thought you were so crazy it would never work so he gave it to you.

    Castleberry: Everybody thought we were so crazy. Our husbands thought we were so crazy it wouldn't work. Nobody thought it would work. And the people that were already organized, especially didn't think it would work. And so, anyway, we just started doing it. And one of the things, again, I started trying to find fundraisers and I didn't know how to raise money, I'd never raised money in my life. I didn't know how to raise money and I didn't enjoy raising money. Annette Strauss had told me years ago—she's the mayor of Dallas and I've worked with her for years—and she had told me years ago that once you raise money, it's addictive, and then you really know that you can raise money and you will do it. Well I am here to tell you that I raised money for that conference almost singlehandedly. I did have some help, I can't take all the credit, but I don't want to raise money, and I don't want to do that again. That is not my thing to do, but it can be done. And we raised money by quarters and dimes and dollars and twenty-five dollars. The largest grant we got was from the Hunt Alternative Fund—

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    Kasper: The three Hunt sisters run.

    Castleberry: Two Hunt sisters—for five thousand dollars. That's the biggest grant.

    Kasper: How much money did you raise nickel and diming it?

    Castleberry: Hmmm. Probably—I don't know exactly. I should know exactly, but I imagine around three hundred thousand.

    Kasper: Oh my lord. Over how much time?

    Castleberry: One year. By the time we got to the point to where I knew nobody else was going to take us on and we had to do it ourselves, it was a do-it-yourself project. We had run out of—so what I did, when I realized this wasn't going to work, I wrote a letter.

    Kasper: When what wasn't going to work?

    Castleberry: That getting a fundraiser wasn't going to work. Having somebody else fund us wasn't going to work.

    Kasper: Oh. Knowing you had to do it yourself. Another do-it-yourself project.

    Castleberry: By the time I knew that, I had to move on. So what I did was write letters to a hundred of my women friends in Dallas that I knew could afford it. And I told them what we were doing and I said, "I want you to support us, a thousand dollars each. I want a thousand dollars from you." Well, of course, I didn't get a hundred thousand dollars, but I got about thirty thousand dollars out of that, that got us started. And also in the meantime, I had written a letter to Carolyn Lupton, who is the administrative assistant to Caroline Rose Hunt and her good friend who owns the Crescent Hotel and the Rosewood Enterprises—Carolyn had been in my first planning session, had been not enthusiastic, but she's just a very quiet-natured and very laid back woman and she was absorbing far more than I knew she was absorbing.

    Kasper: This was Carolyn Lupton?

    Castleberry: Carolyn Lupton, un huh. First I had thought it would be ideal if we could locate our offices at the YWCA because, again, it's one of those things that women should be doing and the YWCA is a perfect place for it, and our central YWCA is close to downtown and they had just built a new auditorium in their building and had opened new office space, and it just seemed ideal. So I wrote to them a letter and the women who were heading it at that time, Sandra Tinkham, and others were sympathetic with what we were doing and empathetic and Dr. Mary Sias, who is the Executive Director of the Y, I knew could be counted on to be supportive. What I hadn't counted on, again, was that you run into bureaucracy. So, while it looked like there for a few days that the YWCA was going to gift us with free space, it turned out that some of their more business-minded board members were asking hard questions about who is this little group of women and who do they think they are and how are they going to be able to pull this off and we don't want to be—see, nobody wanted to be involved with a failure. That's what it really amounted to. We went to SMU, talked to them about space, and they said, no, they didn't have space for such a thing. It wouldn't work.

    So I was getting, at that period of time, a lot of negatives, but I was just moving on, I mean, it had to be done and I seem to have been appointed the person to do it and I had an incredible amount of support from friends in this community. Liz Devillet, who had been president of the Women's Council of Dallas County and who had never been involved in anything else, had come on board as a board member. And Margaret Estes, who is on the National Board of the YWCA, had come on board and was enthusiastic. About that time we were fortunate to get a young woman whose name is Carole Trout and whose background is business and who knew a lot about how to raise money and who is with the Bahai faith, which has a plank on peace, had come into our lives and was interested. Dr. Ruth Barnhouse is a psychiatrist and an Episcopal priest and a professor at Perkins School of Theology at SMU had come on board.

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    I mean the wealth in this community was incredible. I still had the backing of the mayor of Dallas and of a lot of the women's groups and I know that a lot of the organized women's groups were still looking on us askance and saying, "I know they can't do that, but if Vivian Castleberry wants us to try, I guess we'll try." And so it just kept happening. It just kept going. We just kept moving in the direction of the vision.

    We were also fortunate enough at that time to bring on board Roseann Naim. She is the executive director of Peacemakers Incorporated and she was born an international child. She's a Dallas girl. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke, has a master's degree from Columbia University, and has taught on three different continents and is formerly married to a Lebanese. Her daughter is half Lebanese. She is a single mother, with a young daughter and she'd gone to the Soviet Union with me. But I had known Roseann a long time and knew her family so I knew what she was and I knew her background. I had nothing to do with the hiring of the executive director. Our personnel committee handled that. I wanted them to, I didn't want anything to do with it. I knew I could work with anybody that they chose, but I also knew there were probably ten people that applied for the job and Roseann had every credential we needed. She had formerly been a top administrator at one of the churches in town. She knew how to work with volunteers and all that kind of stuff. And also had this feeling of an international family.

    Kasper: How did you decide—now there were about two thousand people that came to this conference, isn't that right?

    Castleberry: That's right. Yeah.

    Kasper: From how many, thirty-seven different countries?

    Castleberry: There were thirty-seven. Wait a minute, there were fifty-three countries.

    Kasper: Fifty-three countries represented?

    Castleberry: I believe when we got through with our book, there were fifty-six countries represented and thirty-seven of the fifty states.

    Kasper: Now, how did you reach out to these people?

    Castleberry: Very carefully. We started with all the organized groups that there are. We started with the YWCA and its list, and Church Women United and its list, and people that we knew had been involved in peace issues and their list. We started immediately writing letters and reaching out to these people and saying we're going to have this conference in Dallas. And people kept saying to us, "How are you going to get the delegates?" Well, very honestly, we didn't know either. But the delegates just happened to us. People who were interested signed up and came. Some of them were sponsored by their countries and some of them came on their own. And we were able, with the money we raised, to co-sponsor about fifteen different delegates who couldn't have gotten here otherwise. We paid their way.

    Kasper: Is that right? From different states and countries.

    Castleberry: Different countries. We sponsored only the international delegates because we wanted them represented and especially countries that were not well—such as Bangladesh that we wanted them represented. We wanted them here.

    Kasper: Let me just say for the record. This conference was held last August.

    Castleberry: It was held August the—it was 8/8/88. That was the vision that we had that that was the day to have it and I want you to know that my steering committee scared the living daylights out of me when they said, we'll do it 8/8/88 to 8/12/88 because that gave us only a year and a half from the real start- up to do it. And I said, "It can't be done in that length of time. I need two or three years." And they said, "No. 8/8/88." And I said, "If you say it can be done, we will do it. I don't know how, but we will do it." So they scared me to death when

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    they said 8/8/88. But it was the appropriate date to do it and it rang a bell with international women. Somehow that date was significant.

    Kasper: Why do you think so?

    Castleberry: I don't know. I think people who go in for soothsayers and look at the stars and numerologists just think that that was the ideal time. And it turned out to be.

    So, anyway, along about that time, we had talked to hotels about hosting the conference. It was going to be terribly costly. We had it set at a hotel and it was going to be costly. So Roseann and I went back to SMU and we walked in and the young woman who had told us no the first time turned out to be a marvelous person to work with. She's just practical, she didn't think it was going to work. It turned out that she was on vacation and her assistant said, "Sure, we'll hold it here." It turned out later she shouldn't have said that. But by that time we were committed and they gave us the best possible price on everything. Literally, all we paid for was just about enough for the electricity, and this sort of thing. We were given so much free space and so much help in doing this. And we had going there—

    I cannot begin to tell you what all we had going there. We had an art show throughout the conference. We had women who sent art—women's peace art, from all over the world that was on display there. We had quilts, and we had wallhangings, and we had posters, and we had children's art, and we had one long banner along the wall that was leading to the press room for kids and adults and anybody else who wanted to write peace graffiti, which we still have. And we started every day with what we called a moment of meditation, a quiet moment. We met in McFarlin Auditorium. We had music that led us into the day. We had an ongoing—oh, and some of the glorious things that happened along the way. Can I tell you two or three of them?

    Kasper: Sure.

    Castleberry: One of the things that happened along the way, I had had an early conference with Robert Muller, who is an outstanding peace activist—formerly with the U.N. and just—he's German by nationality and American by choice and has worked for peace efforts all over the world and takes the peace message everywhere that he goes. And I had had an early conference with him and I don't think he had been too terribly impressed but, he again thought, "Well, if these little women want to do that, we will help them do it in whatever way we can." So he started telling everybody that he saw what we were doing in Dallas. See, and that's another way we spread, we told everybody and asked them to tell everybody. And so although there were a lot people who knew—

    So, anyway, one day we did—one of the outstanding companies in town called me and offered to do our public service announcement.

    Kasper: Oh wonderful.

    Castleberry: And so our head musician, Rachel Ford, and her group, the choir that she was putting together and the children's voices got together and did the public service announcement and they used "Let There Be Peace on Earth" as the background music. Perfectly natural. And so then we got this PSA out to all of the television stations and anybody that would take it all over this part of the state and anybody else that would listen to it. And then Rachel walked in on Friday morning and said to me, "Who gave us permission to use that music?" And I said, "Oh."

    And so in the meantime, my good friend, Eileen Hall, had volunteered to be our attorney because we knew we were going to run into some legal snags along the way and we had to have some help on those things. So I called Eileen up and told her what had happened and I said, "What do I do now?" And she said, "Well, I don't think you're in trouble because that song is so universally sung and universally known that I don't think you will have any legal hangups at all, but what you should do is find out who owns the copyright to it and write them a letter right away telling them who you are and what you've done and asking for permission."

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    So it took the weekend for me to find out who owned the copyright to that song. I found out that it was written by a couple in California whose name was Miller. So one thing led to another and I don't remember how I finally found out to write to Jill Jackson Miller and got her address. But I did. And on Monday morning I whipped into the office.

    In the meantime, we'd been given this office space by Caroline Rose Hunt, fabulous office space in an elite setting for the entire conference at the Crescent Complex in downtown Dallas. Our office space was just gorgeous. You looked out a picture window onto the skyline of Dallas. And the people who came in there—and we had volunteers by the score, as time went on, endless volunteers. I mean, women in this town who could buy and sell me in dollars and cents a thousand times were there stuffing envelopes. But people caught the vision. And they came and they came and they came and they came and it was black women and white women and women of all colors and Indian women, our American Indian population in Dallas got involved, and our Hispanic population in Dallas got involved. And we knew from the very first that we had to mirror what we were trying to do, and so we made a pact with ourselves that we would resolve our conflicts peacefully and that we would live the message we were trying to teach. And that wasn't always easy. But it was always worthwhile.

    So, anyway, I whipped into these gorgeous offices that morning and I whipped a piece of stationery into my typewriter and I wrote Jill Jackson Miller and her address, and I said, "Dear Mrs. Miller," and the phone rang. And this voice said, "This is Jill Jackson Miller calling you from Los Angeles, and I had lunch with Robert Muller yesterday and he told me I ought to get in touch with you and offer you the words and the music to my song for whatever use you wanted to use it for."

    Kasper: Isn't that lovely.

    Castleberry: It was—you know, blood tingling. It still is when I think about it. It was the most gorgeous conversation I've ever had in my life and I was in tears and she was in tears and not only that, but there is a line—I can't remember exactly how the line goes in her song, but it's a—she suggested as she talked to me that we change the line to read, "women on earth," instead of "men on earth," "and peace on—," you know, "peace to all god's children" or "all humanity" or whatever. So there were two words—two lines in the song that she suggested to make it a feminist kind of song.

    And things happened. The conference happened. What we did, we worked, we had a central steering committee, and then we had, under each one of the steering committee, we had groups of volunteers that put it on. It was all done by volunteers and I became real concerned because we had hired Roseann for two thousand dollars a month and we, at the time, I mean the money didn't come in, lots of it, until the last, and I didn't know whether we could pay her or not. And it was looking so bleak and I would lie awake nights and worry. And I walked in one morning about the time Roseann did and I said, "I've been so worried about your salary because I know you're a single mother, head of household, and I know that you have to have an income and I just don't know what we're going do." And she said, "Listen, I want to tell you something. This is my year to do peace. And whether you pay me a cent or not is beside the point. This is my year that I'm going to give to peace. Do not worry about my salary another moment." So, anyway, that really—

    Kasper: Another godsend.

    Castleberry: Another godsend. And they were just constant, people just constantly—Eileen devoted all of her time as an attorney without a fee. Carole Trout took over the business of fundraising without fee.

    Kasper: Did you plan the program for the four days?

    Castleberry: I planned the program for the four days and I planned it with the steering committee, but we set it up and I very honestly can't tell you how much input each one of us had because it became a synthesis. It became, toward the last, such an agreement that this is what needs to happen and we set up—we had a theme for each day. The overriding theme for the conference was an International Women's Conference

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    and then we subdivided each day into a theme. And day one was reclaiming our feminine voice because we were so sure, and we still are so sure, that women have the voices of peace on earth but they haven't been allowed to speak them. So I took care—it was my particular role to take care of inviting the plenary speakers, the ones who would keynote each day. I assumed that obligation and kept that obligation. And Ruth Barnhouse. I invited Ruth Barnhouse, and Dr. Leah Golden from University of Moscow because I wanted voices from two parts of the world to keynote that first day.

    Kasper: Dr. Leah Golden?

    Castleberry: Leah, un huh. We call her Lily Golden. And I want you to have a copy of Ruth Barnhouse's speech. She said everything I had ever thought. It capsulated absolutely—it didn't cut off anybody, but it added women to the mix. It was a powerful speech. And the morning that we opened the conference, I had been so busy I had not had time to go into the auditorium to see what was going on. I literally—it's one time in my life that I learned to delegate and walk off from it. And if things didn't work, they just didn't work, but everything worked so well that I can't believe how well it worked. But you had to delegate, you had to turn that piece loose and let it go. You had to let the art show go, let the kids run it, do what they would with it. You had to turn loose the music and let that go. You had to turn loose the informal meetings, you had to turn loose the host committee. We hosted every international delegate that was here in our homes. Made them welcome. Donna Shellhorn took care of that piece of it. She did a fabulous job. She found hosts for everybody, corresponded with them if there was time enough ahead of time. They met them at the airport, they took them to their homes, they brought them to the sessions at SMU, they planned sideline activities for them, they toured them over the city. They were just with them for the whole five days of the conference.

    And the morning I walked in, the opening day of the meeting, I walked into that auditorium and it blew me away. It took my breath. The Women's Art Committee of Dallas, the Women's Art Caucus, had made a great white dove. They had turned that whole auditorium into—they had put a blue background over the whole back of the stage of the auditorium, suspended the white dove from the ceiling, and it was flying above the blue background. And on the stage, we had gotten permission from the Dallas area schoolchildren had cut out paperdolls about three feet high representing children of all nations of the world, and they were on stage. And it just was absolutely perfect. So then we did that session.

    The next day we did—let's see what was the second day. The second day was Peace Education and Dr. Scott Peck came, volunteered his services, and came to us at the invitation of Ruth Barnhouse, who is a cohort of his, in psychiatry, and did the keynote speech on community and how you put community together. Wait a minute, that was the third day, because the second day was Peace Education and we had a panel of people—Dr. Anima Bose, who is a Ghandian peace professor from India, and Alison Carpenter, who is a youth peace activist from Canada, and Margareta Ingelstam, who is a women's feminist educator from Sweden, and Dr. Nona Cannon from the Peace University in Costa Rica who is a family peace educator. So the four of them did the program on peace education.

    Then the next day Scott Peck spoke on Peace and Community Building, which is the theme of his latest book. And what was so neat about that was that he capsuled for us what we had been doing and he talked about every organization—

    Kasper: You'd been building peace in your community.

    Castleberry: Yes, but he also talked about every organization gets to the point of chaos and that's where we had been that day. And it was so neat to have somebody say, "It's okay for you to be in chaos, and if you stay with it, you will get to community." And that's what we did, we stayed with it and we got to community.

    The fourth day was my favorite day, probably because I had worked so hard on the presentations of that day's events. And what I had that day was voices of peace from throughout the world's tension spots. And what I was aiming for, and what we mostly got, were the pockets of peace that exist in the worst areas of the world. And for that period of time, for that panel we had speaking— [Tape interruption.]

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    —Ruhiyyih Jahanapour from Iran; and Lenor Huper from Nicaragua; and Michael Fanous from Israel, who has worked with children and youth of Arab and Israeli backgrounds in peace efforts in that country; and Sara Kamenshikova from the Soviet Union, from Moscow; and Edith Loane from Ireland and Ann Banks from South Africa. These people spoke about the kinds of peace activities they are continuing in parts of the world where they're shooting each other and where the violence is just erupting everywhere.

    And then every session that we had ended with a question and answer, so that people from the audience were able to communicate, not only with the speakers, but with each other. We had microphones set up in the aisles so that people in the audience could come and ask their questions and we had people who were handling the microphones so that nobody could hog a microphone or stay with it for too long. And the turnover was wonderful.

    And then, on the last day of the conference, all week we had had going on as a real basic theme of the conference, we had had women from these different countries separated into work sessions that we put together to represent a microcosm of the world. In other words, we were not going to let any one country dominate any one of these sessions so that women anywhere from thirteen to twenty countries were represented in each one of these different ten work sessions. And their charge was to work through to peace planks that each of them could affirm and could bring back on the last day as definite things that women can do in their own countries to create a more peaceful world. When they walked in to the stage on Friday morning to make their reports, Roseann and I were in tears. It was a personification of what we had dreamed. There were, of the ten on stage that had been selected by their own report groups to report, there were nine different countries represented, and that, you know, couldn't have been that way, but it was. And they were every color of the rainbow from the dark, dark, black from Africa, to the American Indian, to the Indian Indian in her sari, Maya Michael from New Delhi, all of these women who had been chosen by their groups to present their peace platforms.

    And another thing that was exceedingly moving was that when one of the speakers would stand up on the platform to speak, every person who had been in her group from the audience would stand to be recognized as a part of the plank. And we understand from talking with the leaders of these different groups—there was another thing that was going on all this time. Barbara Middleton, who is on our planning committee, had organized the support groups for all of these different work sessions. She had created, one, workshop leaders who were trained in how to run international workshops and different cultural backgrounds, and at the same time, she had created a place for them to rest and be at peace. She had two rooms with a trained counselor all the time that we called our Peace Center and that was a place just for bringing problems that couldn't be resolved otherwise, for talking through one by one by one.

    [End Tape 3, Side A; Begin Tape 3, Side B]

    Castleberry: —were for these work stations and the workshops. We also had at the same time going on thirty-three different work groups, and that is, programs that were planned by outstanding leaders throughout the country that had organized all different kinds of sessions that women are involved in. I guess I'm too tired now to speak much to that. But these were workshops that people signed up and went to and they interrelated with each other and also with the international delegates. They did not conflict with the meetings that the international work sessions were having so that we had this constant flow between the organized—the delegates who were here from other parts.

    And there were so many wonderful funny things that happened. For instance, one of the young women, got here a full week in advance. She had mixed up her schedule and she—on Sunday morning before the conference was to open the following weekend, I had said to Curtis, "I know I'm going to be busy all this next week and I'm, you know, flowing into this thing, and I'm not going to have time for anything. And today, I'm going to stay home and clean my house." And he said, "Okay, I'll help you." So he was vacuuming the living room floor and I was cleaning

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    up the kitchen and the phone rang and it was this child at DFW who said, "There's nobody here to meet me." I can't remember where she was from, somewhere in South America. And so, anyway, it was a matter of picking her up and finding a home for her for a week ahead of time and taking care of her. And also, it turned out, she was the last one to leave. Donna Shellhorn decided she wasn't going to leave us at all because she stayed a week after the conference was over. She simply wasn't ready to go home.

    Kasper: Donna Shellhorn?

    Castleberry: Donna Shellhorn who handled our Dallas's Host Committee who was responsible not only for getting people in and taking care of them, but getting them out again. And Donna decided this child wasn't going to go home at all. She was our youngest delegate and her father had sent her here because he wanted her to be involved in a women's peace conference. We probably could have kept her to this day if we had wanted to badly enough.

    Kasper: Is Peacemakers Incorporated still going?

    Castleberry: Yes ma'am, it is still going.

    Kasper: And what is it doing now?

    Castleberry: I have literally turned it over, completely. My vision was the peace conference and we did that. And after the peace conference I stayed with it until October, until all the follow-up letters were written and the offices were closed and I felt comfortable about turning it over. And then I hung on because they asked me to until January, until we had two very in-depth sessions of struggling with new identity and what we wanted to do from here on. And then, we elected new officers and Ruth Barnhouse is president; Roseann remains the administrator of it; Barb Middleton is vice president; Carole Trout has remained as treasurer. Let's see, the secretary is Leslie Lanes. Yes, it is still going on and I am now chairing the advisory committee. That's all I'm doing and right at the moment—Ruth and I were invited by Margareta Ingelstam to come to Sweden to a women's peace conference recently. Ruth got to go. I simply didn't have the money to go and probably, if that had been a priority of mine, I could have found it some way because I generally do for things that I especially want to do. But I have turned a new leaf of my life and I'm now in the country. One of the things—

    Kasper: By way of an example here, this is the final chapter.

    Castleberry: This is the final chapter. And one of the fun things is that my husband, who had never clearly understood what I was doing—

    Kasper: With Peacemakers?

    Castleberry: —with Peacemakers, had been lovingly supportive but was puzzled by it all. And about six weeks before the conference took place, he decided to go down to work with me one day and see what was going on down there. I'll never know why he went. I think it was another one of those serendipitous things where he was just led. And he walked into that office and realized that we didn't have anybody on full time to put names of international delegates into the computer. And he started using the computer and doing that and he became so enamored with it that he was the one who would get up in the morning and say to me, "When are we going to work? Hurry up and get up. Let's go because I've got lots to do today." He stayed with us the entire last six weeks, including weekends, Sundays and nights, that we needed to work and put names of international delegates into the computer. And he did fun things, too, like he would make the computer pull out for us how many American Indians were enrolled and how many Hispanics were enrolled. And one day he decided to pull out how many men were enrolled and he found six names. And he thought that was real interesting, so he signed up too that day so there would be seven. And then he decided that he would pull out how many Baptists were enrolled and he found two. [Laughter.] So he did lots of fun things.

    And I told him at that stage, my black Baptist friends had not really enrolled yet because they were a whole different ilk. And sure enough they were. They were all—the ones that were involved were marvelous, but they had not yet signed up,

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    which they did. And one black sorority was just indispensable. They came in and helped us, under the direction of Dr. Barbara Cambridge, who is a geneticist and with the medical school. They came in just en masse. It turned out that most of the members of that organization were educators and as soon as school was out in the first part of June, they turned up nearly every day, some of them, to work. Did anything that came along. I mean, a Ph.D. educator was stuffing envelopes and stamping mail and anything that came along.

    We were also fortunate in another sense in that we did have a lot of people who spoke several different languages who were coming into the office. And one day I got a call from Argentina, and fortunately one of my Hispanic friends was there and could talk with her. And Roseann handles French fluently and handles the Arabic language well because she was married to a Lebanese.

    Kasper: Well, what does Peacemakers intend to do now?

    Castleberry: I don't know. I have turned that over totally. It has been a full year since the conference and they are just now around to prioritizing what they are supposed to be doing next. Whether or not they will do a new conference and when and whether or not—one of the things that we had hoped to do, one of our dreams and visions, was that we would hold other conferences in other countries. And we have been invited, we were invited before the year was out, to come to Chile. And we were invited to go to Canada. And we were invited to go to Sweden. And we were invited to go to the Soviet Union. So I don't know. It is interesting in that I am well aware that one cannot do conferences, across international boundaries and handle everything. So what we would have to have is a strong Peacemakers group—

    Kasper: In that country.

    Castleberry: In that country, in whatever country was hosting it, to do the work, the hard work that is involved and then we would have to serve—

    One of the things I know we were doing that we commissioned ourselves to do before I got out of being intimately involved in the day-to-day procedure, we decided that we would write a book on what we had done. We not only are doing a report on the Peacemakers Conference, but we are also writing a handbook on how you go about doing a peace conference. And Barb Middleton is handling that. She is amazingly qualified. She's a counselor by profession and did a prize-winning video for one of the women's organizations recently, so it will be well done.

    Kasper: That's a wonderful idea.

    Castleberry: And she's going to be the chair of that particular group. And we are still invited constantly, all of us, to do—we have a wonderful slide show that we show to anybody by invitation. We have a wonderful video that was filmed throughout the conference that we are now going to make available. So there's a lot that's come out of it.

    I think the chief thing—well, back to one or two other things, and then I want to tell you the chief thing that has come out of it, and then I'll close this on to my next chapter briefly. For me, the best thing that's come out of it is a personal friend in almost every country of the world. And I never now pick up a newspaper and see a byline out of Sri Lanka or Bangladesh or Argentina or Nicaragua that it doesn't have a first person singular name. And I begin immediately to wonder how this is impacting her. And I know that when the group was here they were rewriting at that time the constitution in Argentina and our young delegate from Brazil was a wonderful young woman who's a Brazilian journalist who had done her high school work in Dallas, Texas, as an American Exchange Student.

    And that was a marvelous story because I had gone down to Canton, Texas, which is a small town.

    Kasper: Canton?

    Castleberry: Canton, Texas, in East Texas. I had gone down to make a speech to their leading women's group in town to tell them what we were doing at Peacemakers and to tell them about the conference. Well, these women, most of whom are

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    the wives of retired executives from Dallas and other places, immediately caught the vision of what we were trying to do and said, "We want to sponsor a delegate. And whatever it requires, we will sponsor a delegate." So it turned out that one of the women who had invited me down that day had been the "mother" of Arcelina Publio Dias when she was a student in Dallas in a Dallas high school. And she is now an outstanding journalist in Brazil and so they determined that they would get her here. [Note added by V. Castleberry: One day the president of their club, the Mathea Club, walked in and handed me $2,647.17. They not only paid Arcelina's way here, but also sponsored another delegate.] And Arcelina had a terrible time making up her mind to come because she'd gotten really involved in politics and was very involved in writing the women's planks for the new constitution in Brazil. So it was terribly difficult for her to decide to come. But, she was also fortunate in that the hearings happened just a week before she left to come here. So she had done that and she could now come here. But every time I read about something that's going awry with the new Brazilian constitution, I worry about her. Because one of the planks that they wrote in was equality of pay in the workplace. And what has happened, I just recently read an article, that what has happened to that is that now employers are not hiring young women for fear that they will get pregnant and leave and so they've got to work through how they're going to handle the spirit of the law along with the new legal implications for this law in their country. And I know that where—

    Arcelina turned out to be an absolute dynamo and a young spitfire and I know she's not going to go easily. But she renewed acquaintances in Dallas that she would have never seen again. It was a marvelous, marvelous occasion. She saw all of her family while she was here, her Dallas family, and her friends, and friends that she hadn't seen. And she's in her thirties and had graduated from high school here and then had gone to a university in France for study. It was that kind of thing that kept happening all the way through. I could just tell you endless stories, human interest stories, that took place.

    But, you asked what Peacemakers is doing now, and what Peacemakers is doing now is preparing for its next assignment, under new leadership. Most of the old steering committee remained and one or two of them have resigned since then because they're going on to new things. And my vision was to do the conference and I did it.

    Kasper: And so you've moved on to something new too. Why don't you briefly tell us about it.

    Castleberry: Yes, I've moved on to something else and that's where I was saying that Curt came down and helped us do the conference, the final part of the conference, and was with me every day through the conference. It was really funny because he had been so concerned. His role in life has been to build a house with his own two hands and he has been in the country for five years now doing that, most of the time, since we've been retired. He would come home only when I'd call him and say, "I need you." And then he'd come home and we'd do a few things and he'd go back to the country and sometimes I'd go down for weekends. Well, that last year that I was doing the peace conference, those weekends were few and far between because I was busy hours upon endless hours, and couldn't leave here without something falling apart. And so he had gotten involved. And it was so funny, right there toward the last, we were driving to work one morning and he said to me, "Honey, you can't leave this. You say you're going to go to the country for a year and you can't leave this. You have got to travel extensively and tell other people what you've done here." And I said, "I'm not believing you. Here you have been preaching to me, for five years, to come to the country and stay with you for a year, and now you're trying to tell me that I owe it to the world to go out and tell the world this." But I said, "No, I knew when it was time for me to walk out of the Times Herald and I know when it's time for me to walk out of Peacemakers and let other people do it."

    So after I had, as I said, done the correspondence and turned it over, I went to the country on the 30th of October of 1988. I moved to the lake house in the country where I am ensconced in a two-story, four bedroom, three bath, modified Victorian house that is about two-thirds of the way finished. We're now finishing the interior. And where? The address is Chandler, Texas. It is a small, sleepy town in East Texas. It is also the home of Senator Ralph Yarborough.

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    And the first political campaign I ever worked in in my life when I was a teenager was his running for office the first time. So I find it very interesting that I am in his hometown.

    Kasper: That's wonderful. And a wonderful man.

    Castleberry: And a wonderful man. And so that is my address at the moment. Curtis, the first thing he did was finish my office for me. And I am now confirming my prejudices. I am writing a book on what Dallas women have contributed to the greater Dallas community. I am telling the Dallas story through the voices of women.

    Kasper: The historical story.

    Castleberry: The historical story. And it, like other things that I've written, will not be pure history. There's a lot more than names and dates and places. I'm not focusing on things, I am focusing on what people did.

    Kasper: But you're attempting to correct the historical record, are you not?

    Castleberry: I am attempting to add to the historical record. Again, it's one of those things where the contributions of women in practically all of history have been totally left out. And that's leaving out the contributions of one-half of the human race. And what I'm trying to do is to tell this story exactly the way it happened, with the same historical background, the same dates and the same places, but look at it the way women looked at it. And I am overwhelmed by the number of small graves in all of the cemeteries in early Dallas.

    Kasper: Small graves?

    Castleberry: Graves. The graves of babies. And I struggle with those women as they came here from other parts of the world and other parts of the country, in wagon trains, across unexplored territory, into an area—and some of these women were fabulously well educated for their times. Some of them were graduates of the seven sisters schools. Some of them were artists and musicians. One of the earliest women here came with her piano lashed to the side of her wagon so that it would not be injured in the trek from Kentucky.

    Kasper: This is in the late 19th century, is it not?

    Castleberry: It was in the late 19th—the first woman came to Dallas in 1842. So it really is a century and a half that this city has been building and I realize that this is a book that will have a limited readership from the standpoint of how many people are interested in what Dallas women did, but it's really much broader than that because it's going to bring in the flavor of the times. For instance, what women in Dallas were doing during the Civil War will ring true for what women throughout the country were involved in during the Civil War as they gave up their husbands and sons and brothers to—

    Kasper: To a terrible battle.

    Castleberry: —a terrible battle that was totally unnecessary. And all war has been totally unnecessary. It's amazing, after the war is over, how we can go back and review the times that led up to it and see where we did things incorrectly. And so I see this as a part of the peace movement that I've been in. And I see it as women's contribution to a wider opportunity for total involvement in her world.

    Kasper: I love one of the phrases that you've used in conversations we've had off the record here about your—the imperative to see that peace become more profitable than war.

    Castleberry: Oh yes. There is no doubt that one of the reasons that we throw ourselves a good war is to increase our economic capabilities. And what we really do is postpone our war debts to future generations and we've done that to the degree and the extent that our kids, probably, and grandchildren and great grandchildren probably will not be able to pay off the folly of our times. But I am absolutely convinced that peace is more profitable than war, and that living together in human

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    harmony will create a better world that will allow all of us to sample the goodies of life rather than—

    I'm not sure how it's going to be done. I am grateful that there are groups in California, in other parts of the country that are working diligently on economic conversion to show how you take your war plants that are now making bombs and turn them into plants that are making pacifiers, as it were. But whatever it is that they can make, they can always increase the quality of life rather than destroy it. And all of us are well aware that the war toys and the war tools that we make do nothing. They're good for only one thing, and that's destruction. And once they destruct, then it has wiped out everything. And we are so confident that these same plants can be used to increase—for profitable enterprises that will enhance rather than destroy life for our entire world population.

    We know, for instance, that we—one of the pieces that we sent out during Peacemakers, we got the price of one missile and for the price of one missile, we could have done forty peace conferences on the level that we were doing it. But we said, we are also practical, we know we're not going to get the price of one missile to do this conference, so you have to help us —give your dimes and dollars and quarters.

    So I'm at the country working on my book and it's a wonderful experience. I am still probably accepting too many speaking engagements and trying to do too many things where I feel called to do. And trying to remember that I am not in this all by myself and that the sun will come up tomorrow whether I get up or not. And trying to remember that—as when, my husband said to me one time, he said, "When you get the message, 'Here am I Lord, send me,' it doesn't mean you personally every time."

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    [Begin Tape 1, Side A]

    Kasper: Good morning, Vivian.

    Castleberry: Good morning. Nice to have you back.

    Kasper: Well, it's lovely to be back. We have talked about the many parts of your life—your deep commitment to your career as a journalist, your devotion to your marriage and the rearing of five daughters. And we've talked about your deep roots in the Dallas community, particularly in the Dallas women's community. This morning I'd like you to start with, if you will, a narrative description of those three major sections in a very busy and devoted life. Would you pick up with the business of how your career as a journalist started and go from there?

    Castleberry: My career as a journalist probably started when I was a child and I will just give you a really quick run through. I always knew I wanted to be a journalist, I have no idea why, but I started writing as a very small child and continued to write throughout my growing up years. My first professional job was with the Petroleum Engineer Publishing Company. I followed that with Cosmetics Magazine, and then became the first women's editor of the Texas A&M Battalion when my husband was a student there. And then went back to the Petroleum Engineer and was on leave of absence from that magazine when the Times Herald called and asked if I were interested in a career as a newspaper journalist.

    So I went with the Times Herald about 1955 and I went as home editor and served in that position for a year. Then, because I was buying into the societal structuring of the time that a woman couldn't combine a home and a career and a family and do it all, I resigned, and then went back after some persuasion and it was a nice persuasion and a real love affair and intent on my part. I went back then the next year as full-time women's editor of the Times Herald.

    Prior to that, and you may be interested, I said I started my journalism career as a child, I also edited my high school newspaper and my college newspaper—all of those by way of preparing for my lifetime career as a professional journalist.

    Kasper: I remember your saying to me in one of our earlier interviews that you even knew as a young child, before you were in high school, that you knew that you would always write.

    Castleberry: Yes.

    Kasper: And that part of the antecedents to knowing that you would always be a writer was the work that you did with your mother on words. Could you tell a little bit about your mother's influence?

    Castleberry: Oh, yes. My mother was a very strong influence in preparing the way. I was a child who was brought up in the country without a great many privileges from the standpoint of there were no libraries in my neighborhood. And my mother, from the time I was a very small child, played word games with me. And I remember even when we would cook together or wash dishes together, we would play word games and she would emphasize or ask for a specific word to describe a specific situation. And as a young child, always helped me with my words. And even after her death, I've said, "Oh, my words, my words," and I still miss my mother because I can't find the words sometimes to express what I really want to say.

    She continued to be a strong influence. I remember as a child growing up, mother never said to me, "Now, when you leave home." She always said, "When you go to college." I did not realize it at the time, what kind of a

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    pattern it was setting for me, but in retrospect I know that her preparation for sending me out into the world—as I have reviewed it, I think my mother did two things for me. She held me very close, she was a very loving person. But at the same time, she never let me get too comfortable there until she threw me out into the world again to see how far I could go and how many waves I could make.

    Kasper: And when you were in high school, when you edited your high school newspaper, tell me a little bit more about that because there was an unusual piece to that. It wasn't just a high school newspaper in the conventional sense.

    Castleberry: No, it wasn't because the—the high school was small so the paper itself was published by the city newspaper. The Athens Weekly Review, every Thursday, published our newspaper. So my responsibility as the editor of that not only was to make the assignments and to bring all of the material in, and under the direction of Weyman Blythe Hood, who was an extremely important influence at that time in my life, to see that all of the material was edited to size, that it was delivered to the weekly newspaper that then published it, and that was their gift to us. And our gift to the city was seeing that a weekly newspaper went out.

    Kasper: It was good training grounds.

    Castleberry: It was extremely good training ground.

    Kasper: It wasn't just the kind of usual off-the-cuff high school paper.

    Castleberry: No. No, we did it. We did the work. We did the writing. We did the editing. We did the whole format. And then when I got to college, when I edited my college newspaper, we actually put the paper to press. It, too, was an unusual situation because at the time I was in SMU, we had no publishing company on campus. And we would take our material downtown to a publishing company and stay with it until it was put into form and printed. And I remember one time one of the very unusual printers said to me, "If you don't know what you're doing, pretend that you do, and then try to find out because nobody comes fully qualified to know what he or she is going to do with a certain part of their career. And it's all learning and any of us can learn it."

    That was my college career. And then when I went to work for the Times Herald, it was a totally different framework of reference because it was, of course, extremely professional. You had to go out with a newspaper every day and no matter what else was going on, you had to meet that daily deadline.

    Kasper: Did you feel that you were reasonably well trained to take on that? How did you actually start?

    Castleberry: Well, I didn't know what I didn't know, which I think is a place that we probably all begin in our careers. When I was hired at the Times Herald to do this job, I was hired with the understanding that if I had any problems, I simply would ask somebody who knew and they would help me do it. And because I was so unprepared for that kind of professional role, I didn't know what kind of questions to ask. And I probably, at that stage of my life, pioneered a lot of material and a lot of information that I wouldn't have done if I had known better. It's a matter of just doing and then finding out later. And I used to say that they have no idea what I don't know. And that's just as well because I then can go on and make that breakthrough.

    Kasper: Now what year did you come to the Times Herald and what state did you find the women's pages in? What were they doing at that time?

    Castleberry: It was a traditional women's pages in every sense of the word. It was called "Women's News." They covered food, fashions, and what I like to say, "the four F's"—foods, fashion and frivolity. And they covered those well. I have no quibble with the way that things were covered at that time. Society was covered with a capital "S." It was what the Four Hundred in town were doing and how they were responding to life. It was the debutante balls and that sort of thing that was covered. And very early on I started trying to cover society as I perceived it, with a little "s," which means all of humanity—the social structure of the community from the very first.

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    I inherited a staff that was fairly traditional in its framework although there were, as I recall, some great, wonderful people there who helped me learn. The fashion editor, for instance, was nationally known and had been in the past, she'd been there quite a long time, Graydon Heartsell. She had been the women's editor at one time briefly when they were trying to make some kind of changes, innovations in the paper. She could have been a thorn for me and instead she was one of the greatest helps that ever was because she took this young, brash person, who had somewhat come in off the street, seriously. And we took our work seriously. And I learned a great many things from her professionally and otherwise.

    Kasper: What year was this that you came to the Herald?

    Castleberry: That was '57. That was 1957. I had gone there in '55 and had stayed a year and a half, had gotten pregnant, left, resigned, and had gone back in '57 as the women's editor. And from that time on, began to do things that were not expected or accepted from that time.

    Kasper: Tell us a little about that.

    Castleberry: Well, for instance, when I first went to work for the Times Herald, the very word "planned parenthood" was not printed in the women's section. And I did not know that until I did it. And I learned—that's one of the things that you learn by doing, that you can't—but what I did in doing that, not knowing, was to make a breakthrough and from then on we covered Planned Parenthood and it was an accepted thing for us to do. So I did a great lot of that kind of breakthroughs because I didn't know what not to do, I did it, and I learned that—I did it. I always felt like that it was better to do and then to be told that was wrong, than it was not to be sufficiently challenged to make the—to try to do it.

    And the thing was that so much of this material was, I thought, just things that everybody should be knowing and things that everybody should be doing, that I really was innocent in not knowing what not to cover and what not to reach for. So I covered abortion from the very first of going there. And I always knew when I covered anything that had anything to do with freedom of choice that my telephones were going to ring off the wall then for the next two weeks and I probably wouldn't be able to do much of anything else because all of the people who were anti-choice would be calling.

    But we covered the breakthrough. One of the things that I've always considered not sufficiently covered in any metropolitan newspaper in this country is religion—because the background of religion impinges on all of our lives, whether or not it is organized or disorganized, it is still a strong given. So I covered the changing church women and how the church impacts society and how it moves into our individual lives. We were one of the first people in the community to cover child abuse. The very first story on child abuse in Dallas that was ever written, we wrote. And we did it, and when I say "we," I am using the editorial we because, of course, I didn't do all of this. But I was in a position as the women's editor to assign the stories to a staff that then went out and prepared and covered these issues. I personally wrote the story on child abuse because I had been called from a friend of mine at the medical school who had uncovered a lot of things that were going on in the community and the child abuse was one of them. [Tape interruption.]

    Kasper: Yeah, I was just going to say, let's cover that—

    Castleberry: Let's keep going.

    Kasper: You're doing perfectly. You're covering, almost to A to Z actually, issues. Then the last question I have on this—actually, the last two questions

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    on this section, and then we'll move on to family—are what are some of the problems you've encountered, although you've already mentioned some of those, and then your legacy—briefly—I mean, because that's not so much the narrative. And then we'll go onto marriage and family.

    Castleberry: Okay. [Tape interruption.]

    Kasper: Vivian, tell me a little bit about some of the problems you encountered with management and beyond when you would cover some of these unconventional stories.

    Castleberry: Anne, see, you must remember that this was in 1957, and at that point in time, and still really a lot of times, most men, and remember that my entire management was comprised of men, I was the only woman in any kind of position of responsibility or authority. And so the whole framework was male. And at that time, every man judged—or evaluated—what was going on for women by what happened in his own home. And all of them had traditional wives. So the kinds of problems that I encountered were simply that the men did not think women thought of these things. My entire management was—they were puzzled for the most part. And a great many of the things that we did as breakthrough stories for human interest stories, we were doing against the grain of not only public opinion, and I always said to my staff, you must be far enough ahead that you make breakthroughs in journalism, but you must not be so far ahead that you lose your public. So some of the problems that I encountered were, they were puzzled by the fact that we were interested in these subjects, couldn't understand, and gave us a bad time because they didn't think anybody else was interested.

    Some of the specifics were sex education in the public schools. Why would anybody be interested in that? That was something that you talked about behind closed doors. And I think one of the things—one of the fascinating stories that I can tell you is that very often, as time went on, and I knew I was going to make waves, what I would do would be to prepare these stories and wait until my management went out of town and then we would publish. Then I would get my hand slapped on Monday morning.

    And one of the specific things that I recall that we did was—at the time the Dallas County Juvenile Home was in a very sad state. It was out on Knight Street and it was a house, a big old rambling two-story house, that was not really equipped for children, and there were a lot of children in a facility that had been set up for not more than seven. And there was no air conditioning and it was over 100 degrees, and it was in the hot summertime, and I went out there—the reporter who really wrote the story and I went together. And so on Sunday morning, we came out with the story that the children are crying on Knight Street. And on Monday morning, every Dallas County Commissioner was in that place and it's the first time they'd probably been in there since they'd been in office. But very shortly after that, we had a new facility for children. And I don't think that we did all of it, I certainly don't take credit for doing that sort of thing, but it was simply another bridge into the community of what was going on there and what needed rectifying in the community—the changes that were made.

    I always felt—it was interesting to me as I think about it—I always felt more comfortable in the hovels of South Dallas and in West Dallas where there was only Spanish being spoken, and I am not a linguist and I do not understand Spanish, but I felt more comfortable in that setting than I did in the glitzy Four Hundred kind of country club, Petroleum Club milieu. And I remember one time my society editor conned me into going to a very important event with her in Dallas, and I always made it a point to go with my reporters from time to time into everything

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    that they were covering so that I would be there and know what was going on myself. So this time I went with Val Imm to the Petroleum Club to a big party and in the very middle of the party she came over and whispered over my shoulder, "Please wipe that expression off your face." So it was very interesting. I'm not really answering your question, I think, specifically, but giving you more of the flavor of what was going on in my life at the time.

    Kasper: You did report to me earlier, I remember, that management kind of—well, let me characterize a little bit. I think they just never quite knew what was coming down the pike from the women's department.

    Castleberry: No, they really didn't, and I think they were very uncomfortable with us. And I remember that from time to time I would get a new boss, I got lots of new bosses that I had to train. And I remember one time they hired this man and he came in and I had to report to him. And finally, in utter frustration with me, he said to me one time, "But Vivian Castleberry, I was hired to handle you." And I said to him, "Good luck. Better people than you have tried." [Laughter.]

    Kasper: And failed.

    Castleberry: And failed. And it was just that, again, I can't take credit for doing these things. What I think happened was that I always felt this inner need that I was working for the public and I was a public servant and this was more important than any of the impediments that were put in the way. And along the way, Curt would say to me, "Why are you trying so hard? Why don't you just do what they want you to and don't try to do anything else and just be happy doing what you're supposed to do?" "And after all," he would remind me, "they are paying your salary. They deserve to have what they want." And I kept saying to him, "But it's not that simple. There is a reading public out there that we are supposed to be serving and I am compelled to do that." So I kept making the breakthroughs although it was extremely uncomfortable for me at times and there were a lot of times that the atmosphere walking in was not altogether conducive to my best mental and emotional health. But it worked.

    Kasper: That's a good summary. Right there. We can stop right there and move on to family issues. That's very good. And that public servant thing is terrific. You did not bring that up before. And that is perfect because that is, if I had to choose a one liner, which I don't ever do, but if I had to, to kind of encapsulate the way you feel about your journalism career.

    Castleberry: Do we have a second? Can I see who's here?

    Kasper: Curiosity is driving you crazy, right? [Tape interruption.]

    Kasper: Vivian, you mentioned earlier that you began your career as a journalist at a time when most women were traditional mothers and wives—

    Castleberry: Oh, did I ever! That's right.

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    Kasper: —wives and mothers and stayed home. Tell me, how did you do otherwise?

    Castleberry: Well, the interesting thing was that when Curt and I married in 1946 we started out with the idea that we would have two careers each—one in the workplace and one at the home place. And I think at that time I didn't know how different I was because I had been a career woman and I had not read a lot of the stuff and this was right after World War II and if you, for those of us who are old enough, we will remember that right after World War II every publication, every story that came out, admonished women to go home again. If you have anything wrong in utopia, go home and have another baby and that's going to correct everything. This was all the message that we got. So when Curt and I decided that we were going to have two careers each, one at home and one at work, we didn't understand how different we were because I hadn't read all that stuff at that time.

    Then when I began to have children and started reading it, I was already committed to a career. And what I did all the way through was try to realize that I couldn't fail at anything. What I had to do was do this as a whole. So my commitment to my family was whole and total, but at the same time, I had to carry on a career. And Curt was exceedingly helpful. I remember the time he said to me, "Honey, if you think somebody will pay you for your talents, please go out and work for them and earn a paycheck because we do not intend to fit into your neat little cubbyholes." And that was a very freeing experience for me because it turned me loose to let me be. And I knew then, at that stage, that I did not have to be committed to what the great society expected me to be, but that I could make the breakthrough.

    And very early on, I did three things for myself with evaluation that were incredibly helpful. One of them, the very first one, was that I would carry no guilt. I would do the best that I could with what I had to do with while going through it, but that I would not carry around a burden of guilt for the things that had not turned out right. And the second thing was that I would make things right with my God, my mother and my husband. Or, my God, my husband and my mother, in that order, and let the rest of the world do whatever it wanted to. So, anyway, briefly, that's a philosophical way of answering a very in-depth question, but that's briefly how I did it.

    Kasper: In terms of sort of the daily reality—

    Castleberry: Well, now, the daily reality—Curt and I ran our family like I ran my staff, and that is, we ran it with purpose, we ran it with a permissible outline. And that is that every Saturday morning we had a family counsel meeting around the breakfast table and we decided who we were, what we needed to do. And one of the things I kind of wanted to show you enroute, just last week I unearthed one of the things that stayed on my kitchen bulletin board for a full year. And this was in 1966-67 where, in a family counsel meeting just before school started, we put together what the rules and expectations were for each family member and that was our outline guide for the year. Now, I don't mean that things worked perfectly—they didn't. There were pieces always falling out as pieces always fall out in life. But what it did was to give each of us what the expectation level was for the others.

    Another thing that I did, just a little thing—I always had a rule and an understanding with my children that if they had a need, they let me know, to put it on my calendar, if at all possible. For instance, we would not go after work back to the store to pick up school supplies. If they needed a pencil or a tablet for tomorrow's schoolwork, they let me know before I left the office so that I could stop on the way home and pick that up. Otherwise, they would do without. And it's very interesting how quickly people learn to take responsibility for themselves if you do not bend too much. We were flexible. Flexibility is a part of it, and we always said we're going to set these rules and regulations, but we never set them in concrete because what happens daily—a sick child—can screw everything up. But at the same time, if you're working within a framework of family expectations of each other and the responsibilities to each other, then it works.

    And that's what I see so often happening in today's world, that parents are taking so much responsibility. They're not asking their children what their needs are. They are not helping them to understand what their needs and wishes are.

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    And I know that I imposed a lot of responsibility, Curt and I did, on our children, but it worked. And somehow, when I was going along there, I knew that it was working. I don't know how I knew that, except that they seemed to be healthy kids and doing all right emotionally.

    Kasper: You also had an understanding with the paper, too, about your hours and your home responsibilities.

    Castleberry: Yes. When I went to work for the Times Herald I said, "I will do a great job for you. I want this job. I can do this job, and I will do it better than anybody else can do it, but you must let me do it on my own in my own way of doing because," I said to them, "I cannot afford to have a disaster at home. You cannot afford to have a women's editor who is a disaster in her home life. Therefore, I must do both of these things and I must continue to do it as a whole and I must continue to do it well. So there will be times that I'm not going to be there on the spot when you may look for me." The interesting thing is that if I had that to do over, I would have that in writing as a contract because I had to retrain every editor as they would change management. I had to retrain each one that that's the way I worked and it took a lot out of me. So now I tell young women, "Get it in contract form."

    And the way I did it, of course, was to take my children to work with me on Sunday afternoon when there was nobody else there. The older ones, I would take them down with their books and their homework and assign them a desk and let them do their homework. That gave them a sense of where their mother was when they were at home and I wasn't. It also gave them a sense of my responsibility to the career that I followed. And I also told my children at a time when it was exceedingly not done, that my work was important to me and that I—I could hear other women say to their children, "But honey I'm doing this just because—I'm doing it for you or I'm doing it for—just, we need the extra money." I always said to my children, "I have a career because I want a career. That's who I am."

    And I remember one specific—a child one time, who was extremely unhappy because she'd had to change schools. And after tears and recriminations and the thing issue—"I'm not going back to that old school, you can't make me." I finally set my foot down one day and said to her, "Your work is over at the school. Mine is down at the Times Herald. You go and do your job and leave me free to do mine." And then later I felt sad about that and started to comfort her and found out she'd already taken care of it, you know, all she needed was the ultimatum. And children take care of a lot of things if you give them the choice of doing so. So those are some of the specifics that we did.

    And the other specific was that Curt was always there for me. He always was supportive and the rare times that he had to be out of town, he—when people say, "How did you do it?" I say, "I could do it because Curt could tie sashes and comb hair and make curls as well as I could. And that's the way." Also, very early they learned to iron their own clothes, they learned to fold their own socks, they did all this sort of thing.

    Kasper: I remember your telling me a story about how the house was organized, too, so that there were ways of simplifying and yet keeping the home comfortable as well as practical.

    Castleberry: Yeah. There was one room that I considered my room. That was the living room and it was my room and it always had to be cleaned up and picked up because I needed a sanctuary—a place that I could do—one of the little things, specific thing, was that I never folded socks. I always bought all white socks for the children in stretch size and I put them in a basket together when they came out of the laundry and it was up to them to find them and put them on. Some of my friends thought my children were underprivileged. And the interesting thing was that they seemed to accept it as the norm because that's the way we did things.

    Kasper: And when the children, when the five girls, were grown, I remember you told me at one point that you kind of reflected back with them on what it was like to have an untraditional mother.

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    Castleberry: I did. Yeah, I did. I've enjoyed interviewing my daughters as I've enjoyed interviewing other people. And one time I got them all together, all five of them, and I said, "Now, tell me, from your point of view, what was right and what was wrong, what went well and what didn't." And, well, one of the fun stories that I find—when my youngest daughter had just graduated from college, she and I did a program called "The Mother-Daughter Relationship" for a leading organization in Dallas, and they asked her what it was like to grow up with a working mother. And she said, "I hated it. I just absolutely hated it." She said, "I'd get sick at school and the nurse would call and say that your child is sick and the paper would say, 'Well, your mother is out on assignment and we can't reach her right now,' and the neighbor would have to come get me." And she said, "But," she said, "see, I turned out okay." [Laughter.]

    So, they really, the girls know now that it was okay to have a non-traditional mother. At the time that they were going through there, I had to keep reminding them that it was okay and their father reminded them it was okay to have a non-traditional mother. And the interesting thing was, from my point of view, I had to do a lot of things that were probably uncomfortable for me, such as, specifically, when Curt would be in charge, they had a party. Nobody kept bedtime. And I came in one night at 10 o'clock and everybody was still up and they were having a great time and the den was in a shambles, but they were just so tuned in. And my immediate reaction was, "Why don't you have these kids in bed?" And he looked at me and said, "But, it's not hurting them." He said, "We agreed that if things did not hurt them morally or physically or their educational sense of well-being, we wouldn't sweat it. And I don't think these kids are permanently damaged by having a good time until 10 o'clock tonight, do you?" [Laughter.] And, of course, I had to agree that, sure enough, no.

    Kasper: So be it.

    Castleberry: So be it, right.

    Kasper: Vivian, at the same time that you were in this busy career as a journalist and a busy career as a wife and mother of five growing girls, you also were extremely active as a community leader in the Dallas community, especially the women's community. In fact, Liz Carpenter said that you were the godmother of the women's movement in Dallas. Can you talk a little bit about some of the activities you were active in?

    Castleberry: Yes. I'll get to be specific real quickly. But I think the reason she said that was that I, again, was the span. I was the bridge from what was going on in the community to the greater reading public and that's probably the reason she assigned that. Specifically, and personally, I was involved in all of the opening wedges of the women's movement and the children's rights movement and the custody movement, this sort of thing. The reason being because that's a part of the whole human being and it's imperative to the whole of us that we take care of these little pieces. So I was one of the founding members of the Dallas Women's Center and of the Women for Change prior to that, one of the thirteen women as the founder, one of the founders of the Women's Issues Network, and one of the founders of the Executive Women of Dallas, and the different things that came along, because I happened to be there and had collected information and people knew me and knew what I did, then I would be drawn in as one of the founders.

    And that was another thing where my management was not always comfortable. I was on the first Dallas Commission on the Status of Women and because I wanted to do that and had in the background helped to put together all of the ingredients for that to happen and had been in the background a political motivator in moving the city council and our elected officials to the point in time where this was possible, then at that stage I knew that I could not take a public role without permission. So I went to my editor and I said to him, "This is where I am and I want to do this." And I didn't say, do I have permission to do it? I said, "These are things that—here's the given, and here's what I want to do about it, and I want to know what degree of comfort you have with that." And as a result, he said to me, I didn't say may I—I never asked for permission. And, as a result of it, he said, "I'm perfectly comfortable with it as long as you do not take a leading position." So that was just great with me. I could be the undergirding framework to help things happen and somebody else then would take the bows and whatever else came along.

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    But that's how I managed to be involved in all of these changes—as a what I consider to be a change agent in the community for what was going on in women's and family issues in the community.

    And, again, what was always so important to me was to do this so that all segments of the community were included. For instance, beginning in 1957, shortly after I went with the Times Herald, I did an annual women's panel for the Times Herald. Every year we had a women's panel that opened up issues that were significant to women. And because I put it together and ran it, what it really served for me was a way that I could get to what's going on in the community and what the people are thinking behind the scene. And then it would provide a week of stories, plus, the great bonus, was that I then had a first-person, singular person in every segment of the community that I could go to for anything significant that was going on in that community. I knew who to ask.

    Kasper: Plus, it built that sisterhood.

    Castleberry: It built a great, wonderful sisterhood that still goes on. I still meet people informally in Dallas even to this day who will say to me, "When are you going to do another women's panel?" And I have used the techniques of that—again, you never know where you start and where you finish—but what all of these different things that I have done have given me information, ability and knowledge to do something else so that I can put together another program for somebody else. And I draw from all these different experiences that I've had in the past.

    Kasper: And the Homemaker Panels went on for twenty-five years didn't they?

    Castleberry: Homemaker Panels went on for twenty-five years. We changed in scope, we changed in the way we did them, we changed in who we asked, but that particular program started—again, it started because I had a need. I had a need in the summertime for stories that had substance and depth. And in July and August in Dallas nothing goes on at that time. So I created the panels so that women could feed in to me some of the information that needed to be reported to the community. As a result of that, then, every year we would bring back all of the prior panelists, plus community leaders, and we built a kind of a framework of sisterhood that included about 500 women. And we cut across all ages, all ethnicities, all backgrounds, all colors, all interests. Marvelous things happened, such as the year that I seated the president of the Junior League next to the woman from South Dallas who lived in a housing project and whose eight children were sleeping on the floor because they had no beds. And by the end of the day, the president of the Junior League had not only provided beds for all of the children, she had provided medical care for one of the children in need. So what it really did—what I found out very early on was that women, underneath the top surface, speak the same language. They all give birth, they're all there together. If you get that top layer off and they hear each other's human needs, that's all it requires to get the needs answered.

    [End Tape 1, Side A; Begin Tape 1, Side B]

    Kasper: —and I know that you feel that these separate pieces are not in fact separate.

    Castleberry: No.

    Kasper: That you see them as a whole and that they are integrated. Can you talk a little bit about that?

    Castleberry: Yes, they are—I've always known it had to be integrated. I think one of the best things that happened to me was early on when I realized that I am a

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    whole person and these things that I do are the roles that I play, but I must not at any time let the role take over the person. And I've been very purposeful about that in that at each stage of my life I would review, in my own mind, where I am and how I can integrate this next phase.

    And there were some amusing things that happened along the way. For instance, one very amusing thing to me was the time when we were so busy with all of our children at home, all five of them were still there, and my career had hit its peak and I was working long hours. And one morning, Curt started to leave the house and he got to the door and I said, "Honey, hang in there, this is a good marriage and we're going to look after it pretty soon." And he opened the door and stuck his head back in and said, "It better be pretty soon so that I'll still be here." [Laughter.] And it was a humor, but it was also a warning signal to me to do something about that. So, at that stage, we started purposefully planning retreats or getaways just for the two of us. We didn't get to do it very often, but the very first thing that we did was drive over to Fort Worth and take a suite of rooms in a hotel because we didn't want to go far and we didn't want to be involved. And Curt is a television watcher and I'm a book reader. So we took a suite of rooms and he was in one room most of the weekend [Laughter.] watching television and I was in the other room reading. But we were together and we were not distracted and we went out to dinner together and we could walk hand in hand. And one of the things that I've always known is that this part of my life is so good, the personal part of it, and I've said to people, "I want to have time to walk hand in hand into the sunset with this man I married."

    And so we have tried our best—I have tried very diligently to keep these three separate parts of my life integrated into the whole and to be—try to be lenient with myself, too, when one thing for a period of time takes precedence over the other. And by that, I mean, when you're rearing children and you wake up one morning and everything that you've planned falls out of place, that's when flexibility, incredible flexibility, is required. And to think ahead—what are my options? How am I going to handle this? And to know that you're not always going to have the answer. And not to blame myself if I don't have the answer and if it doesn't turn out the way I wish it had turned out.

    So it has always been with me a sense of integrating and becoming—trying to become a whole human being. For instance, there's one other specific that I would like to speak to, and that is, that when I knew that I needed to leave the Times Herald. At that stage, I had done just about everything that I could possibly do in the way of innovation and—

    Kasper: You're talking about retirement now.

    Castleberry: Yes. When I was ready to retire and I knew that the time had come for me to spend some time doing the things that I had learned were important and significant for me as a human being. I also knew that a great lot of who I was was wrapped up in what I did. So Curt and I took a house in Colorado and for five weeks we stayed up there and the kids came and went and we were just there all of the time in residence and so I would walk by the streams, by the water and walk the mountains and didn't put on makeup and let my hair go. And I had five weeks of discovering some of the inner layers of who I was as opposed to the byline that came out in the paper three and four and five times a week, because I wanted to be sure that I could live with the who I am in addition to what I do. In a very large sense, as I look at it, I lived the role that many men live in that my career was significant and important, and it was also public. I said, "I don't have any sins, very much, that not everybody knows about because I've published them all everyday." And so who I am is what you see.

    And it was all an integrated whole and all of those years that I was there and working, and rearing the children, and doing the community things, I was thinking about what is the next step, what is the next step? What do I want to do when this is over? Where do I want to be when this is over? And although I didn't always have answers, and it frustrated me when I didn't have an immediate answer. I also knew—I know deep in the heart of me that the answer is there and that it will come in due time. So that I prepared all of those years that I was working for the next phase and what it would be, and when I got to retirement, I knew that I was going to devote a large piece of my life to peace efforts, because if we have no world,

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    none of this other stuff is significant. So we have to make the world safe for the next generation. I had no idea where that would lead me, but ten days after I left the Times Herald, I was on my first of three trips to the Soviet Union as a citizen diplomat and I have been back two other times working toward creating a peaceful world in which we can rear our children and in which we can resolve our differences without killing each other. And when I say that, it's such a small piece of the whole, and I realize what a minute, minuscule part I have to play, but that does not excuse me from playing whatever significant role I can to see that it happens. And when enough of us do that, it will take place.

    Kasper: One of the things I would like you to address briefly is it seems to me that part of the philosophy that underpins this kind of integration that we've been talking about between your career, your home life, and your activity in the community, is a sense of obligation that is both personal and public. And you play that out—the personal and the public—in all the roles you play. In other words, the personal obligations at home are not really different from the public obligations you have as a journalist and as an activist. Can you kind of address this philosophy?

    Castleberry: Yeah. It goes back to that saying, that when I told the Times Herald they cannot afford to have a women's editor who makes a disaster at home. It is personal, and I think it is personal for all of us in that the kinds of things that need to happen into our world, if we cannot make them happen in our personal lives so that they become an example of what we're talking about to the public—and I don't want to come off sounding holier than thou. I realize that there are experts out there who may not have it all together in every area of their lives, and I'm not being judgmental or evaluating. But for me, what I was doing in the world would have been totally insignificant if I had not been able to live it out in my personal life. And the same thing is true in my personal life. If I were not able to reflect this into the wider community as one way to make a difference. Someone asked me last weekend if I have always been this serious about myself, and I said, "Well, I suppose I have. I've always taken life very seriously and, so far as I know, I just have one time to do this and I want to do it right and well. And I also want to be on the growing edge and the cutting edge so that there's never something I don't want to be doing tomorrow. So I keep knowing that tomorrow—I don't know what tomorrow is going to bring, but whatever it brings, I want to be prepared for it."

    Kasper: And would you reflect a little bit, too, I mean, I know this is in the same vein, but maybe you can push the analysis just a bit further, that each piece is a natural extension of the piece that precedes it. The personal follows into the journalism career, and the journalism career is followed by your social activism. Each one flows from the other.

    Castleberry: Yeah. It flows from rather than follows.

    Kasper: That's exactly right.

    Castleberry: It flows from rather than follows, because, again, it's the center of an integrated whole and I'm still working at it. I'm not there. And I am not an example for anybody else, I'm only one of the avenues through which this can happen. But the whole point is that this integrated whole is where it comes from in that I—well, for instance, I'll never forget the day when I was a young woman when I said, "I am not a wife and a mother. And a community volunteer. And women's editor of the Times Herald. I am not those things. I am Vivian Castleberry. I am a whole person and all of these things are the different roles I play, the different hats I wear, at one time and another, and I don't want to ever forget that the other part is important, but I don't ever want to think that that is exactly the whole of who I am." And maybe that's taking oneself much too seriously as a point of whether you can make a difference or not. I believe that every human being born is a unique human being with talents that need to be developed and that need to be given to the world and thrust out into the world. And if I can be an avenue through which people discover the depths of who they are—

    And one of the great joys of my working all those years was that I discovered the absolutely wonderful values of every human being. I never did an interview that wasn't a mind exploding gift to me, even those that I didn't want to do [Laughter]

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    because I would find when I got there that there were avenues and depths in these people that they maybe didn't know. And I always knew that they wanted to give you the best that was within them. And when I reported, I reported from that angle. I want to know who the whole of you is. I am not looking for the vulnerable points. I am not going to highlight and headline the things about you that are negative or the things that you consider to be insignificant. I am going to struggle until I find out where you're coming from, what makes you like you are, why you do the things you do.

    And that, I think, came out specifically when I covered parents who abused their children, and they had a national convention in Dallas, and that had always been one area that I could not really come to grips with. Who would abuse a little child? And since I had covered child abuse, I knew that. And then I turned around and covered abusive parents, the National Conference of Abusive Parents, and found out where these people were coming from and the great anguish and agonies that they had experienced in their own lives and their struggle to become whole human beings.

    Kasper: Yes. Well that, in fact, begins to touch on one of the last kinds of questions I wanted to ask you. And that was, what do you think are the consequences of this sense of integration in your life on your career as a journalist?

    Castleberry: I wish I knew.

    Kasper: I wish you knew. I think you do a little bit.

    Castleberry: I wish I knew. I mean, to answer you honestly, when people say, "What do you think you've contributed?" or "What kind of legacy have you left?" I don't have the remotest idea. And I have never been interested in that. What I really hope to be able to do is to do it and turn it loose to the world and let it go. And I hope it's good things that are turned loose.

    Now, if you want me to be more specific, I can give you some of the feedback that I've had and that will probably help to at least be the reality of what is going on. I have people all of the time tell me that what I did way back there in reporting these stories has made a difference in their lives. And when I meet them in the grocery store or at a public meeting and they say, "Do you remember such and so?" And sometimes I don't even remember, very honestly. I think this is a part of—one of the things that Curtis said to me years ago is that "You never remember your enemies." And I said, "No, I know where all the bodies are buried," but I choose to ignore that part of it because there's no point in emphasizing where the mistakes have been made. You use those as growing—stepping stones, but never emphasize those and try to find out where—

    Kasper: Or as you've said before to me, you learn by negatives. That's an expression you've used in the past.

    Castleberry: Yeah, you learn by negatives. I've used that a lot and I've learned a lot by negatives. I've learned a lot of things not to repeat. You don't do that again. And you don't do it that way again. And I'm constantly in a learning mode, even as I approach my sixty-eighth birthday, there are things that I haven't discovered yet and things that I don't know yet, and things that I don't know about people. So I try to keep myself constantly on the cutting edge of what is coming over next. I don't know how long I'll be interested in doing that and that doesn't matter, it's important now.

    Kasper: Do you see that the book that you're working on now, the history of women in Dallas, is a natural extension of your journalism career?

    Castleberry: Of course it is. The interesting thing is that for twenty-eight years I lived the importance of women and the significance of women in the Dallas community and that is the great unexplored thing. We have wonderful histories of the community written, but the human side of what has taken place is totally left out—totally. So what I am doing is a book on the history of my community as told through the voices of women. And I have found absolutely marvelous women who are, what I say are, in the cracks of history, or between the commas, or in the footnotes. Things that have never been told because the public life was what you got, if you got it at all.

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    And so what I'm doing, and what I tell people, is that I am simply confirming my prejudices by writing this book because I have always known that there would be no Dallas, both literally and figuratively, had there been no women, because, literally because women give birth and they nurture the children and they care for the human dimension of life. Figuratively, because women have been on the cutting edge of every important social breakthrough that has ever taken place in our city. They started all of the social services that are there now. They opened the Dallas public library; they opened the opera; they opened the symphony; they opened the theatre center; they did the first plays that were ever held; they opened the schools—and they opened them for girls because they sent their boys back east to universities, but they had to have places to educate their daughters, so they opened schools and educated their daughters; they did the first child care centers that were held. They did everything of any social significance—the breakthroughs were all made by women. So what I'm doing is confirming my prejudices.

    Kasper: And what you're doing, too, is, by extension or drawing back, you're also reflecting on your own personal life, and I say that, as a journalist, your major contribution from my perspective is that unlike the journalism that you came into in the late 50's, your major contribution is that you addressed the human side of the news. Now, would you, sort of in closing, would you talk about that?

    Castleberry: Yeah, I think what we did—we're the change agents. Because what we did was to look for the unreported element and unreported dimension of the community. Men are inclined by their conditioning and their training, and this is not a negative—but they're inclined by their conditioning and their training, to see things in quantity. If they can measure it or weigh it or count it, it has significance. Women do things that are by quality. And it's all an aura and an essence and it's things that you do not count, cannot weigh, cannot quantify in any way, but is this significant part of whether people survive and thrive. The birth-givers, the nurturers, the people—how is it that those of us who feed the human race are insignificant? If people don't eat, if they aren't nurtured, they don't survive very long.

    And somehow I always knew that—and that was a dimension that we put into the section. We covered all of the social issues in the community and increasingly we did not ever leave out the specifics of who was marrying whom, when. Because one of things that I've learned that is interesting is that every—there's twice in one's life that you cut a clipping from a newspaper and keep it forever. One of them is when you're a bride and the other one is when somebody in the family dies. You clip those and keep them forever. And you always remember how the paper treated you at those times. So through the years I got a lot of that. As I began to be known in the community for other things, people would call me about an obituary and they would call me about other things that were personally significant to them. But those things had to be put into the whole dimension of what was going on in the social issues in the community.

    Kasper: So it's not just that you in the paper addressed social issues that had not previously been covered in the paper, you also uncovered in that process the human side, with an understanding that the human side is the underpinning of what keeps us going.

    Castleberry: The human side is where it happens. And nothing ever happens in a vacuum. The crime story that erupts on the front page tomorrow happened in a societal setting that made this possible. And what I was looking for was what is possible. You know, what is going to happen next. [Tape interruption.]

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    Kasper: What we want to do now is we want to do the memorabilia and the outside. I mean that's, I think, all that's left.

    Castleberry: I think we really are. I feel comfortable with the wrap up if you do.

    Kasper: Oh, I do. I do.

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