[Transcript of interview with Bob Nevin, recorded as part of the Springfield-Greene County Library District's 2010 Big Read. For more information contact the Library at 417-883-5366 or visit us on the web.]

Announcer: "Recorded as part of the Springfield Greene County Library District’s 2010 Big Read. The following is an interview with Bob Nevin recorded on March/2/2010."

Bob: "Never thought about being poor or disadvantaged. We; my grandfather was a plumber he was fairly successful he’s with the Rotarians and I remember the Rotarians motto was "Service Beyond Self". He was very good in public affairs and different things like that. He was a Knight of Pythias, well it was a fraternal order, they had a [manual] of armed swords, of sorts. So when we were little he taught us those [manual] of arms. He made us some wooden swords and taught us the [manual] of arms. He was a dad to us. A dad couldn’t been any more cause he taught use how to use tools… tools he taught us how to fish. He bul-made us fishing rods. He took us, when we were old enough; he bought us 4-10 single said shotguns, single shot shotguns, [12 4-10’s] (1:14.600) and took use hunting and we hunted mainly rabbits and squirrels. He hunted quail to but we did not hunt quail with him. Oh, the many, many things he did for us. It was really fun. And the same with my mother the things she did."

John: "Where did you grow up?"

B: "Pittsburg, Kansas and one thing you know it was a big enough, it was about 18-20 thousand, it was a big enough town that Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey would come in the summer with a tent show and would be one day only. So what mom would do she’d get up at about 2 or 3’oclock in the morning and take us down to the railroad station where they unloaded. And we stood by the track and, up on a platform, and while they unloaded man we’d hear animals, different kinds, roaring we’d imagine what they were and the elephants and everything and they’d go down. In the mean time somebody, we didn’t know it but, they were putting up the tent up at the fair grounds. Then they had smudge pots we called them, kerosene pots, that they lit it was for mainly for light. And then so we were in school and then at 10’o clock in the morning they dismissed school and we all went down own to watch the circus parade. And so it paraded down Broadway. Course the cages of the animals were all open and we could see the animals, oh it was wonderful. We couldn’t afford to go to the circus but man seeing that circus parade. Then at night, about 7-8’o clock, she’d take us down to the station again and we’d sit there and as the performers completed their skit they’d send the animals that they used to be loaded. And so the elephants would help pull the circus wagons on the railroad car and then they’d start rolling and they’d disconnect the elephants and they’d roll and keep rolling clear down. So that was fun, and oh we watched them load up. That was, there were so many things; fishing trips, and ....... well Memori-Decoration Day, which was the last day of May. Fourth of July and Labor Day we go fishing, on a three or four weekend, fishing trip with grandpa. I remember the night before. I know I was, I suppose we were, so excited about the next day we were gonna go fishin. He took us on a trip. We looked forward to it."

J: "What kind of fish did you catch?"

B: "Oh, mainly catfish but some [field] bream. …What’s that white fish you catch?"

J: "Bass."

B: "No. We caught some bass too. Mainly we caught bass and crappie."

J&B: "Crappie."

B: "And he had a live box that he built, he built all kinds of things. He was a good craftsman, besides being a plumber. He’d put the live box in then as we caught the fish we’d put it in the live box; it was big enough that the fish would swim around until we got ready to go home. We’d have fish he told where I learned about him was mainly on these fishing trips. We went to a place near Roscoe, Missouri on the Sac River, that’s what he called it I don’t know if it’s the right way of pronouncing it or not, Sac River. Hieronymus was the plumber in El Dorado Springs. And so you’d get Mr. Hieronymus they’d, he’d, go out fishing at night they were telling each other about their childhoods. That where I learned about his side, mainly, he was from Susquehanna, that was a town in eastern part of Pennsylvania, and he got a dollar a week to stand by the coal tipples, the shoots that can down, to pick out stones. They got a dollar a week. There was a covered bridge that they used to climb up on. They carried rocks up there they looked down at the riffles below and see the fish. They’d drop the rocks thinking maybe they’d hit the fish. That was mainly where I learned about his young childhood. His wife came from Ohio. He came from Pennsylvania. How they ended up in Pittsburg, Kansas I wished I asked them. In those days you didn’t ask your parents or grandparents much about their early lives. I wish I had. There are so many things about them that I wish I knew. How could they end up in Pittsburg, Kansas from Pennsylvania and Ohio? Well, any how that’s about all. I had such a wonderful childhood and we knew we were poor, I mean generally, but we didn’t we weren’t disadvantaged or anything. Anything I think about people now. They can get jobs; anything to make a little money we’d do, anything. We got to where we’d cut grass for ten cents a piece. Shovel snow…"

J: "When was that?"

B: "Well that would be back in the twenties. And in the winter time we’d shovel snow, sidewalks. Course at the time the lots were only about 50-75 feet wide, but mainly 50 feet wide was the lots, and maybe 100 feet deep. And we’d shovel their walk for ten cents. And we’ make a little money. We’d also go around in the park there was, first they called it First Cow Creek I don’t know anyhow, and people would throw bottles in there, pop bottles. Well we’d go and try to retrieve them and wash them up good and take them to the bottling plant, that made the bottle coke yeah and whatever, and sell them. We’d get to or three cents a bottle; any thing to make a little money. At one time we were about eight or nine years old we wanted bicycles and mom said "Well I can not afford a bicycle." fifteen dollars was what a bicycle cost then. It was not a plan; you know the deluxe bicycle was the same as it is today. What’s the real fancy bicycle today?"

J: "Well like the Schwinn…"

B: "Schwinn! Yeah Schwinn was $25 well we wouldn’t even think about it, 25 but 15. She said "If you’ll save half of it I’ll pay the other half." so we went to work and we took us six or eight months to finally get seven and a half dollars. We had a paper route on Sundays we’d go knock on the doors and we’d pick up Kansas City Stars down at the paper, 20 of them. We sold them for either 20 cents or, I think 20 cents, we each got a nickel. So we got a dime out of it. So we each got a dollar for that it all adds up. So we finally got seven and a half she bought us a bicycle. She had to order it from the local hardware store. So we had a bicycle; and it was a name you probably never heard of. Anyhow it was just a plain ol’ bicycle. It had handlebars and we wanted steer horn handlebars that went way out. We finally got enough money to by those but oh man we had so much fun on those bicycles."

J: "Well that is a wonderful story. Thank you."

B: "Well it was a wonderful life that I had, my brother and I had. He went in the Navy in 36’ and just before the war he got discharged. Then a year later when the war started he got a note from the Navy if he didn’t come back in to weeks he would be drafted into the Army so he went back to the Navy. And he finally got to be a Chief that’s a pretty good rate you didn’t have rank, you hade to be an officer to have rank, but you had rate well. He finally got to be a Chief Machinist. But he went some rough, rough times during the war. I was in the Navy two years. He was in the Navy four years before the war then all during the war. So that’s all sisters and brothers."

J: "All right. Thank you ever so much Bob Nevin. I really appreciate you coming in today."

B: "It’s Bob with one O don’t forget that."

J: "My name is John Rutherford and I am the coordinator."

B: "John. You’re my brother’s name and my son’s name."

J: "Thank you."

B: "John not Rutherford. No I’m all right as soon as I get something to just kind of ease in. "

J: "Thank you ever so much for coming in and sharing a memory with us."

B: "Well I hope so. I hope it will be enjoyable to somebody."

[Transcript of interview with Bob Nevin, recorded as part of the Springfield-Greene County Library District's 2010 Big Read. For more information contact the Library at 417-883-5366 or visit us on the web.]