Peachey, Tom Interview Transcript

James Madison University
Shenandoah Valley Oral History Project

Oral History Interview With: Tom Peachey
Interviewer: Carrie MacLeod
Place: Front Royal, VA
Date: April 12, 2006

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General topic of interview: The interview briefly addresses a white person’s retrospective on the topic of integration and massive resistance in the Warren County school system. It also covers the experiences of a professional psychologist.

NARRATOR: Tom Peachy

DATE: April 12, 2006


PLACE: Front Royal, Virginia


Tom Peachy moved to Warren County as a boy. He attended school in Warren County until the closing in 1958. At that time he attended one year of his education in Lewisburg, Virginia. When the school in Warren County reopened the following year he returned. He went on to complete his education with a master’s degree. He is married and has three grown daughters. He has recently retired from an administrative position in the mental health field.


Tom shared some interesting stories from his life. He gave insight to many different areas. He touches on his experience with the integration of the schools in Warren County. He tells a personal story of how he and his wife met. He also shares some insight into to his religious beliefs, discusses an interesting story of his time spent in Brazil, and reflects on his professional experiences as a psychologist. The interview took place at the public library so there is a little background noise in the recording.


MacLeod: My name is Carrie MacLeod and we are conducting an interview today with Tom Peachy and we are conducting the interview at the public library in Front Royal, Virginia. Today is the 12th, April 12th, 2006. Okay we will start out with some background information, where were you born?


Peachy: In Strasburg, Virginia.


MacLeod: Umm and then when did you move to the Front Royal, how long did you live in that area, when did you move to Warren County


Peachy: We moved to Warren Co. in 1950, August of 1950.


MacLeod: And what were your parents’ names?


Peachy: Milo and Goldie Peachy.


MacLeod: And did you have any brothers and sisters?


Peachy: Yeah three older sisters and a older brother, I was the youngest the baby of the family.


MacLeod: The baby, there are some advantages.


Peachy: Yeah. (Laughing)


MacLeod: And where did your parents grow up? Were they from Virginia?


Peachy: They were from Pennsylvania, my father was Mennonite, and my mother was Church of the Brethren. And they my dad worked at the American Viscose up in Lewistown. He was transferred in ’37 to Front Royal, Virginia when they built the plant here. Of course coming from Pennsylvania they were always, just in terms of the integration kind of issue they were always pretty much in favor of, you know integration and you know equal rights and that kind of things.


MacLeod: Okay, umm what was your parents’ education background? Do you know?


Peachy: Well my mother, well my dad he went just through the eighth grade that was as far as the school went. And actually he went to the eighth grade twice because he didn’t like working on the farm. (Laughing) He went twice he liked education and he had always wanted to get a college education but never could. When he moved down to Virginia he took some correspondence courses, Dale Karney courses and some other physics, and math and chemistry.


MacLeod: Did your mother work?


Peachy: She did seasonal work in the apples, in Winchester and she worked some in the sewing and she was primarily taking care of the kids, raising the kids, but she worked whenever she had the opportunity. We always had a big garden, and she would always, all of us would be planting the garden. But Dad, he made this contraption to create rows, it was kind of a.some kind of a platform that had three, triangular things and it, so if you pulled it would create the rows and so he would strap mother to that every year. (Laughing) As the kids got bigger he would strap them. He would say Geeee, and Hawww. (Laughing)


MacLeod: Let’s see what type of social activities did you enjoy?


Peachy: Growing up.


MacLeod: Just growing up being kids.


Peachy: We had a strong work ethic. We were.we did a lot of singing, music was important. Dad played the guitar, the harmonica and the fiddle, before my sister and I burned it up in a house fire. And um… let’s see, church was important, after they came down we went to the Presbyterian Church in Buckton, it was pretty fundamentalist actually. But a.anyway, plus we a I did a lot of work for the neighbors so the neighbor families, gathering and cutting wood, digging ditches and stuff like that.


MacLeod: Lets see so your schooling, your own schooling did you what was what was your education prior to the integration process?


Peachy: Well I went to A S Rhodes School from the first to the sixth grade. In the seventhth grade I went to the high school. ‘Cause only had if from the high school then was from the seventh thru the twelth. And so I did the seventh and eighth grade and then in ’58 the integration crisis hit and they closed the school down and during the time that they closed the school down, of course they did not have any classes of course, they were figuring out through the courts and stuff, what they were going to do. Well I guess after five or six weeks with the school being closed they were trying to get things organized for I guess, in town having classes in private classes in churches and stuff. The foundation John S. Mosby or something was trying to get something started. And it was a shortly around then that the school system down in south Southern, Virginia at Lawrenceville offered to take some students from Front Royal, Warren Co. to go to school down there. And so my dad didn’t think even if they put together something on the fly here in Warren County it would be pretty much a wasted year. He was always keen on making sure we got a good education. And so he.there were seven or eight of us from Warren County that went down to Lawrenceville and different families down there offered to take in a student and so that’s what we did and that is what I did. All of the other students were located in town and I was located out of town about eight or ten miles out of town in a little town or village crossroads called Dolphin. And I was with a family there the Hardgraves. Keith Hardgrave was the father, can’t remember the wife’s name, anyway there were pretty wealthy, owned a nice house, they owned the hardware feed store and the grocery store in that community. And so anyway that is where I went when I was in the ninth grade to the school down there, Lawrenceville High school.


MacLeod: How did you travel down there? Did you come home during the week or weekends?


Peachy: Maybe once a month I usually stayed down there most weekends.


MacLeod: Kind of like a boarding situation were you went down and stayed.


Peachy: It was a fascinating experience.


MacLeod: I am sure especially being fairly young.


Peachy: Yeah.


MacLeod: What about twelve or thirteen or so?


Peachy: Yeah.


Peachy: My first introduction to Beethoven and certain kinds of music. They played bridge and they were friends of the bankers.


MacLeod: Kind of high society? The family you were staying with. Got exposed to different culture?


Peachy: Yeah.


MacLeod: Did you attend Warren Co. up here for a year before it closed?


Peachy: Seventh and eighth grade.


MacLeod: Were the schools similar down there to Warren County?


Tom: It was newer.


MacLeod: Newer.


Peachy: I remember they had really good cooks.


MacLeod: That is unusual.


Peachy: They had really good cobbler, buttery flakey cobbler.


Peachy: I am kind of an oral person, which maybe fits with this oral history.


MacLeod: How long did you attend school down there was it just for the one year the school was closed up here?


Peachy: I came back the following year.


MacLeod: What did you find as far, what did you think of the atmosphere when you came back to Warren Co.?


Peachy: Well, I will tell you a little bit about the experience down there, with this family. It was kind of interesting, because I don’t know if I thought it at the time but when I was there I did a lot of chores, they had me up in the attic. They put a bed up in the attic. I was up in the attic. Kind of like servant’s quarters. And a I would help with the dishes and the chores and help down at the store a little bit and they kept me pretty busy. And a of course integration, there was a lot of talk of it down there. And a every so often some of the leaders in the community would meet over at the Hardgraves, they would have lunch and play cards, but then they would meet and I would listen in to the conversation and they would talk about planning for you know, if there were blacks that tried to integrate the schools down there and they talked about well this family and that family, that they thought might try something like that. But they had outstanding loans at the bank and they would take there loan and a put a lot of pressure on them if they a threatened to do that. So that was pretty fascinating experience. Kind of going from up in northern Virginia, up here, down there and seeing them plan and strategize to a keep that from happening down there.


MacLeod: That would be interesting.


Peachy: I don’t know if I thought it at the time, but there was a part of me that that was thinking well, you know I am like a slave or servant to this family and a it was kind of interesting.


MacLeod: To see there perspective.


MacLeod: Did they have children?


Peachy: They had a boy and a girl.


MacLeod: Did they help out as much as you did?


Peachy: No, I waited on all of them. That would fit my character, my personality, I was the baby of the family, being the baby in the family you grow up taking orders from others. Your opinion don’t count for nothing.


MacLeod: I can imagine. That is very interesting. To stand back and listen to that discussion of what their actions would be. Did you hear like, did you know what was going on in this area during the time you were down there?


Peachy: Yeah I knew that, I can’t remember but there were twenty or twenty-two kids that came in that school year.


MacLeod: The first I guess it was the first they closed the school for a year then the first there were nineteen or twenty something like that students that African American students were the only students that attended.


Peachy: Yeah that was the same year that I was down there to Lawrenceville. Then they reopened the following year and maybe half the students went there and the other half went to Mosby.


MacLeod: Was that a segregated school?


Peachy: John S. Mosby, yeah they set it up to avoid integrating. I remember when there was some discussion I guess in our family and I guess some other families about having us come back and go to the school with the blacks there. But a it was kind of pretty dicey. And a there was some thought that the you know it could be dangerous, it was dangerous enough for the blacks that were there, so anyway, there was some thought given to that. In retrospect that might have been the thing to do. If you would have had a few to start that maybe quite a few may have come back.


MacLeod: Parents, like you said parents were probably apprehensive to put their kids in danger.


Peachy: Of course the Kilby’s and all of them, they were really in the heat of it.


MacLeod: Yeah I listened to her speech at Shenandoah University for black history month. And she told me a little bit of her story. Let’s see, do you have any in particular memories when you came back to Warren County any episodes, what was the atmosphere in the school? What were the teachers like?


Peachy: Well I remember trying to reach out to them to a I think there was a James Kilby and there were.there were a number of kids there that I say hello to and try to reach out to and treat them like anyone else. But it was an unusual situation and the first year unfortunately they stood more apart then they were socially integrated into the life of the school that took a while. It has taken years, but there are still occasionally still sub groups that have tension but by in large it was, you know it was, it got better and better as the years went along. Actually when I went to, after graduating from school I was thinking about being a missionary, and I went to Brazil for a year. Brazil is a broad mixture of ethnicities and nationalities and so that was kind of interesting to experience that. But even down there they had there own little prejudices and some you know lighter skinned you know would still lord over the darker skin. And a they had more a mixture of blending of the races down there, so prejudice was not quite as marked as in the United States. But it was still there. It is unfortunately, everywere you go you have whether the tribal prejudices, or other kinds of ethnic prejudices, if people are different there is going to be some kind of prejudice. It has to do with our evolution and the fact that we are getting better, but we are still ruled by parts of our brain that we know very little about. While we have our cortex and our heart, the brain centers hold more intellectual kinds of thoughts and feelings. We would like to think we are above that kind of thing. We are really not. Even the best of us have that deep within us and it can come out in a lot of different ways. Which is unfortunate, but the way it is.


MacLeod: Natural instinct to be judgmental a lot of times we don’t even realize it. What kind of missionary work did you do?


Peachy: I was thinking about being a missionary. I went down and spent a year at the school. Down there there are junior colleges. They were blended in with their elementary, junior high, high school with junior college. So I was on a campus and I met a number of missionaries from Massanutten. They have a lot of conferences down there. And so I went down there their they had six or eight Americans come down for a year to go to school to become familiar with the Brazil. And I was thinking about being a missionary down there and so I went to their school. They had like sixth grade Portuguese, eighth grade Brazilian history, college level sociology, college level physics, and a smattering of different stuff. That was pretty fascinating learning a new language.


MacLeod: Yeah, and how old were you?


Peachy: Just out of high school. I made some pretty interesting errors in my Portuguese class. They had one I remember. It was funny. They talked about the diminutive and augmentative form. There was a first year teacher. She was very attractive little lady. She was talking about using the diminutive and augmentative form with words. They asked for examples. And I come up with the example of “comezza,” which is shirt in Portuguese. Well I said the diminutive form would be little shirt “comezemu, comezemu” and the class just broke up. The teacher got bright red in the face. A “comezemu” is a slang word for a prophylactic, a rubber, a little shirt. That was just one example of getting me in trouble.


MacLeod: Do you still know Portuguese?


Peachy: No, well I learned it very well. When I was there I was pretty conversant. In fact some of my roommates were Presbyterian, on a ministerial scholarship down there. They were Brazilians and they, a we got in a lot of political debates about communism and you know the United States and stuff like that. It took me like six months before I really learned the language well enough to understand them very well and to get in the arguments. Well it slowly dawned on me that several of the were very avid communists. And I over heard some of them one day kind of plotting. And there had been some assassination attempts on some of the missionaries, and I got into an argument with them one time. They came in my room late one night and worked me over and suggested that if I valued my health I would be leaving town very shortly. And so I talked to some of the missionaries and left town the next day. They expelled them. They were leaders in the Communist Party there. Any way it was kind of interesting.


MacLeod: That is pretty good to be there six months to learn the language.


Peachy: It was six months to learn the language but it was later in the year when I confronted them. I had to leave school like three or four weeks early. I never did finish my second half exams. I got on the bus the next day and went to Brasilia, I had not been there. And there was an old school bus. I sat on top with the chickens. It was two dollars, I remember it was two dollars to travel about 2,500 miles on the bus.


MacLeod: And two dollars won’t even get you a gallon of gas today.


Peachy: That is true.


MacLeod: That is another interesting story.


MacLeod: Where did your education go after that?


Peachy: I went to; I came back and went to Davis and Elkins College – went there for three semesters. They were year and a half, but it was too expensive. I went to, as a ministerial candidate, a pre-ministerial; I took a year of bible and some other stuff. Any way religion was a difficult thing for me. Kind of I grew up being you know, grew up with a religion that was pretty fundamentalist, and then when I went to college, I found out that a lot of the stories in the bible don’t mesh with science very well. And when I was a little kid I used to watch my mother make gravy and she would put in the, she would add the grease from the bacon or whatever, she would throw in the flour, and milk and when she would add the flour then it would thicken up. One time I ask her why did it thicken up? And she said that Jesus made it thick. So we called it Jesus gravy. But when I studied Chemistry I found out that there was a scientific explanation to why it thickened. Just like Jonah and the Whale, a real whale can’t swallow a person because they, whales eat plankton. And it reminds me of this story of this little girl in school who, the teacher was talking about Jonah and the Whale, and one of the kids brought it up, and the teacher said Jonah couldn’t have been swallowed by a whale because their mouths filter plankton. And the girl said yes, it says so in the bible. And the girl said that it says so in the bible and it is true. The teacher said that well maybe after you die you could ask Jonah, you know. And anyway, there was someone that brought up the question, suppose that you don’t go to heaven. And the girl told the teacher, well then you can ask in the other place, implying that she didn’t have her bible right and she’s the one that’s going to have to find out from the other side. But anyway, religion was a big struggle for me and in the fundamentalist and being raised Presbyterian and with predestination. You know if people were predestined and God already knew it or selected it or preordained stuff, where does choice come into it, you know. They talk about when you die and you go to heaven you spend forever praising God. You know worshiping God. And then you look at the Old Testament how God was an angry God if you did’nt, if you had other idols than that God and stuff like that. Of course as a psychologist, when I went to college I graduated and got a masters in Psychology, and I started thinking. I told my cousin, Mennonite cousin Percy, we get in a lot of discussions. I told Percy that I don’t know if I want to go to heaven if there is a God that would enjoy me falling down on my hands and knees and praising him and supplementing to him for eternity. That sounded like a narcissistic personality to me. And if that is what God is like I don’t know if I want to spend eternity with someone that is so groovy on himself. That is my conception of God. I don’t mean to go off on these tangents.


MacLeod: No, No that is what I enjoy. I love hearing the stories. What did you say was the name of the college that you attended?


Peachy: Davis and Elkins, In Elkins, West Virginia. It is a Presbyterian college. Then I went to Virginia Tech. I transferred because I couldn’t afford it. Then I went to Virginia Tech. I got actually a bachelors in history, minor in religion and philosophy. Then I went into the teacher corps program. President Johnson developed the teacher corp. And I went to East Tennessee State University. ‘Cause they.that was a good way to get a masters degree by getting also an educational degree and working with the disadvantaged students. So I came back after I got my degree. I could not find a job in psychology; I came back to Warren County and taught school for about a year in the sixth grade. It was the first or second year that John S. Mosby school closed and that was in 1970, ’69 to ’70. That I taught school there, which is kind of ironic to come back and teach at the Mosby foundation. But it wasn’t, they sold it to the Warren County School system.


MacLeod: So was it an integrated school then?


Peachy: Yeah. I went the full cycle.


MacLeod: So you graduated with a master’s degree as well?


Peachy: Yeah. And a minor in elementary education. In fact the school when I taught school, Michael Kits, who he was principal of Lesley Fox Kiser. He was, he taught there the first year there too. And another sixth grade teacher was Gertrude Griffen who taught me in the sixth grade at the A.S. Rhodes. And she said that when they were deciding where to place kids they, since I had a masters in Psychology, and I was male, they gave me a lot of the troublesome boys. So it was a pretty wild class.


MacLeod: I bet you had your hands full.


Peachy: Yeah they told me not to smile before Christmas. But I made the mistake and I smiled before Christmas. So it was a pretty difficult class.


MacLeod: Not to smile before Christmas, I will have to remember that.


Peachy: Some teachers say not to smile before Thanksgiving some say not before Christmas.


MacLeod: So where did your career take you after your year of teaching?


Peachy: I took a clinical job in down in Aiken, South Carolina. in a mental health center down there. At the Aiken mental health center, I worked with the schizophrenic and seriously mentally ill people coming out of the state hospital. There was a lot of deinstitutionalization. In 1955 they discovered that Thorazine medication had a very positive effect on symptoms of serious mental illness schizophrenia and manic depressive illness. And so they started giving everybody thorzine and then Mellaril a couple years later. It emptied the hospitals of probably a million psychiatric patients, but they didn’t plan very well for them getting out of the hospital. So that is where they started being street people and homelessness. That is were it all that started. And then in ’62, President Kennedy started the Mental Health Centers Act, and started a nationwide series of public mental health centers for those people to get treatment.


MacLeod: So what was your job again?


Peachy: I was a psychologist. I was there for a couple of years. Then in Jacksonville, South Carolina in a mental health center, then in Cleveland County in Shelby North Carolina for four or five years. I worked a lot with children program there and then I went to Grafton, West Virginia and worked there at a mental health center for about three years and then came back here to Warren County in 1980. Worked at the Northwestern Community Services from 1980-81 to the time I retired this year. So I was there twenty-five years, and worked as a clinic director, in Luray clinic as a clinic coordinator, and Woodstock and Warren County. Then in ’87 I worked as an acting executive director for a little while, then as a mental health director, mental health substance abuse director, then as a deputy director. Then we built the new center out here on Criser Road in ’96. We moved into it in ’97. Then in 2001 I was acting executive director for maybe another eight or nine months, then the clinical director. So I retired as clinical director.


MacLeod: When you hit the director level is it more like an administrative type thing or are you involved with patients a lot?


Peachy: Well I was involved with patients some but mainly supervising other staff. Relating to the state office from the board of directors, supervising the psychiatrists, administratively anyway since I am not a medical person, I was just supervising administratively. But sometimes I would have to knock them in the head.


MacLeod: Everybody needs that once in a while. (Laughing) Keep everybody in line. When did you meet your wife?


Peachy: I met her in 1966, I think, ’67. I was working for Web Davis, Davis Paving Company. And I had finished working for the day in August and was going out to the county fair. I had gotten all cleaned up. I was driving from town out towards the county fair. Actually, I was going out to see the hoochy koochy dancers. And I past Charlie’s pizzeria, which is the pizza shop going out of town. You know pizza, not Charlie’s but the Melting Pot. And I saw a couple of women in there. And I saw a lot of them with an out of state tag, an Illinois tag. And so I made a U turn at the old Howard Johnsons, Jimbos now. I went back in, ordered a cup of coffee and sat down and started talking. And they were on there way from vacation down in Florida back to Chicago. And we talked for a while about music and Russian history and different things and we went back, we went back to the motel room and talked for another hour or so. Then I went home. I guess they left I guess the next morning. And I got her address and phone number, and we started writing and talking on the phone. I went back to Virginia Tech, and it was my senior year then in ’67. She came down in October for a weekend, and even before she came down I decided that she was the one. So when she came down, we got engaged, I got a ring and we were married in December.


MacLeod: Okay, you were still in college?


Peachy: Yeah. I took her from Chicago, down to Tech, a pretty big change. So we have been together ever since. She had been a Franciscan nun for five or six years and decided not to take her final vows, and had started teaching school. Of course she taught school when she was a nun too. But she had gone to college some and taught school and then she taught school when we came down to Tech. She did some work at Polyscientific. Then when I went for my masters at East Tennessee she taught school at a Catholic school down at Johnson City, Tennessee. Then after three or four years we had Beth our oldest then three years later we had Jennifer. Then several years later we had our youngest Susie.


MacLeod: A house of girls.


Peachy: A house of girls.


MacLeod: I always felt sorry for men who lived with a house of girls.


Peachy: Well I had three older sisters.


MacLeod: Okay.


Peachy: My wife was the oldest sister of younger brothers, and three younger brothers. Wait a minute, Jim, Al, Pete, and Mike, four younger brothers, and then Marge the youngest sister. So in terms of birth order psychology, she grew up with younger males taking care of them and telling them what to do. I grew up with older females taking orders from my sister. So according to birth order that is a marriage made in heaven.


MacLeod: A perfect match.


Peachy: It is not the traditional best. Actually they found that is the most stable marriage of any birth order pattern you could have. Even more stable than the oldest brother of younger sisters, married to youngest sister with older brothers. Even though that is the traditional husband being the boss kind of thing. But it is not as stable as the other way around. I am not sure why. Probably because women run things anyway.


MacLeod: WE can’t help it. Another one of those natural instincts. Even when we don’t realize it, we are still that way. Well I thought it would be interesting because I knew when I was speaking to you on the phone she said she was from the Midwest. So that is very interesting story on how you met. Just saw her and knew she was the one. That is interesting. That is pretty much all the questions that I had. Do you have any stories that you want to share, any thing else that you can think of? You never did make it to the fair, the night you met her.


Peachy: I got distracted.


MacLeod: Yes you did.


Peachy: I guess I was trying to develop my own personal hoochy koochy dance. No other than I guess kind of reflecting back over the years, as a psychologist what one of my favorite expressions is was by Frederick Nietzche, who said that, “You tell me your truth and I’ll tell you mine.” And it took me a while to really fully understand what that means, but we all have our own realities and our own life experience our own reality is based on how we were raised and the kind of parents we had, our own unique experiences. We filter our experiences through these different belief systems and through these attitudes, judgments that we have. It’s just kind of remarkable how everyone has such unique, a unique reality and it is hard for us to appreciate, you know seeing your little son out there, and you have a daughter, your life is so much different than mine. Of course, that’s true. I mean we don’t appreciate that in other people just like the Kilby’s of this world. The ones that go through struggles of great prejudice and hardship. We are not very sensitive to that. We forget that others have their own unique experiences and perceptions that reality and truth is so much different for them. I saw a black bird on the post out there, and I was just wondering what their reality, their experience was like.


MacLeod: The same thought go through my mind.


Peachy: Little insects, bugs, turtles, things like that. I often think what is their life like. What do they experience? What do they feel? That little tree, the leaf on that does it feel me rubbing that leaf. It is alive. It has being. It has some experience, it reaches towards the sun. Any way my mind is filled with that kind of curiosity I guess. It’s interesting when you, you have a life time and you talk to people and you counsel them and you try to understand what struggles, and what kinds of problems they have that they are trying to work out. And half, over half of the people that live have behavioral disorders, schizophrenia, depressions, post tramatic stress from some trauma they have experienced, or anxiety, panics, attacks, or bipolar disorders or all kinds of things, substance abuse and addictions. Most people experience that at one time in their life or another. But when you spend a life kind of working and listening to people talk about their struggles and challenges you come to appreciate there different realities and their different views of the world. And it is just amazing, just amazing.


MacLeod: I try myself, I don’t know, when I run into somebody and they are being really mean, or just you know, I try and step back and just think to myself maybe something is going on in their life and they are having a bad day. And maybe that is why they are you know maybe not me in particular this way, and you know I was trying to kind of step back and look at things from their perspective instead of just being mean back. Well you just never know what is going on in someone else’s world.


Peachy: I am a determinist. I believe that people do the best they can with the deck of cards they have been dealt. The hand they have been dealt. I believe that if there were a murder out there, I believe that if I had had their life experience, if I had had their intelligence, their brain, their parents, their everything, I would have done exactly the same thing they have done. And if you really believe that then you can’t be judgmental. Because you respect that people have given it their best shot and they have done what their genes have kind of programmed them to do — interacting with their life experiences. That is what it is about. Genes, life experience coming together and being unique individuals and so I think people do the best they can and that doesn’t mean that they could not do better, that doesn’t mean that the fact I have become part of a person’s life experience, you know, I don’t know that if my conversation with you will have an impact or not, but I have had relatively brief conversations with people that have come back to me and told me that my interaction with them was life altering. That somebody came back and showed me the ten year pin of sobriety. They said it started after a conversation with me. Not that my conversation was that great, or that important, but in fact the person was in a class at Lord Fairfax. And I was teaching a psychology class. And I told him about a painting story and he came up to me after class and said to me that you talked to me on the telephone one time when I called concerned hotline and you told me that story and it had special meaning and I understood what you were saying. I started my sobriety then. So any way that was one of the painting stories is something that I tell folks every once in a while when I think it might have meaning for them. It is a, I don’t know if you are interested? When I was a new psychologist I was down in Shelby, North Carolina and a friend of mine that I had hired, Joe Trachtenburg, a great big guy, must have weighed 250-300 pounds, we had hired him. He had bought a house and he was trying to get his house painted. And he asks me if I knew anybody that could paint his house. I said Joe, I like to paint, you buy the paint I’ll paint it for $250. He said fine. He bought the paint and I started painting after work in the evenings. I was finishing up, except I had the front of the house left to paint. It was on a, I was going on vacation I wanted to finish it before I went on vacation, so I decided that I would paint it on a Sunday. Joe’s house was on a, had a short, had a small front yard, had lots of churches on the street. So when I got there I was painting on Sunday when people was going to church, and I looked over at them and they looked over at me. I started to wonder if they were wondering why I am painting on Sunday. Sunday is the Lord’s Day. It is they day you are supposed to rest, and I started to wondering if they were thinking that I was a sinner. And I put on the paint and then I kept thinking about that and then as church let out I wondered if somebody was going to come over and ask me why I was painting on Sunday the Lord’s Day, and I kept thinking about it. I started getting angry. Started feeling angry and upset inside. I said I wonder if somebody did come over what I would do. And I started thinking about well maybe that minister will come over. And if he comes over and says, “Why you are painting on the Lord’s Day; you should have been in church.” I would say, “Judge not lest thee be judged.” And then we, I had just carried on this conversation in my mind with this preacher about that. And then we get in this heated discussion, and I was thinking I would just end up since I could not reason with the bastard I was just going to dump the can of paint on his head. And this went on in my mind this struggle went on in my mind for a couple of hours and the afternoon I was slapping the damn paint on pretty hard and all of a sudden it dawned on me that nobody came over. That no one said a nasty word to me. And I said where did all this stuff come from. And I said finally it came from inside of me. It came from my years of perfect attendance pins. It came from, from something that I wasn’t comfortable with. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with painting on Sunday. That was against some of my values and some of my beliefs, but I didn’t know that. I wasn’t aware of that. I do remember when I thought of painting on Sunday there was just a moment when I said maybe I should not paint on Sunday maybe it was wrong. But I repressed that, and said naw, its okay to paint on Sunday. So I painted, but it started this very significant conflict with in me. And it was what I called psychologically the term is projection. It is like putting a film in a projector and turning it on and projecting it. It looks like it is out there but it is really coming from inside of us. And a lot of people do that and I do that sometimes. And it is not a very healthy thing to do if you don’t recognize it. And this gentleman, a dear friend of mine has come up after the class and said, “It was kind of really fascinating because you saved my life.” Just because I told him that painting story. It is interesting; you never know how you touch people.


MacLeod: Yeah. That is a good feeling to know that you changed.


Peachy: Even though I believe that in determinism that we are shaped by our experiences, you can, you can be an experience for good, just like I was an experience for good. And I helped that person go in a better direction in his life. So some people ask me, if you really believe that, why in the hell were you a psychologist. And that is why I am a psychologist. That’s it.


Macleod: Very interesting. Very interesting. I like that. That’s a good story.