Lloyd Cunningham

Interviewee: Lloyd Cunningham
Interviewer: Maria Schleidt
Interview Date: n.d. 2011 (or November 4, 2010?)
Transcribed by: Mim Eisenberg/WordCraft; June 2013
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY

ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

U.S. FOREST SERVICE, REGION 8

RETIRED PERSONNEL

Interview with:          Lloyd Cunningham

Interviewed by:         Maria Schleidt

Date:                          n.d. 2011 (or November 4, 2010?)

Transcribed by:         Mim Eisenberg/WordCraft; June 2013

[Transcriber’s note: The audio files are labeled: No label, 1, 2 and 3. For the purpose of this transcription, I considered them Files 1a, 1b, 2 and 3.]

 

MARIA SCHLEIDT: There’s a gentleman in Vandervoort. He says he drove trucks for the CCCs at Camp Shady.

LLOYD CUNNINGHAM:  What was his name?

SCHLEIDT:  He’s right there you turn to go to Vandervoort. He’s the first house on the corner.

CUNNINGHAM:  I know the house, but I don’t know what the name would be.

SCHLEIDT:  Mmm. I can’t remember his name.

CUNNINGHAM:  There’s Cooks. I know Cooks is [unintelligible; 0:36].

SCHLEIDT:  I interviewed him maybe a year or two ago. I don’t know. I’ll have to look it up.

So your name, sir?

CUNNINGHAM:  I drove trucks, so I [ought to? 0:49] know who he was.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. I’ll have to look it up, and I’ll send you a note.

CUNNINGHAM:  Okay.

SCHLEIDT:  So what’s your name, sir?

CUNNINGHAM:  Cunningham, Lloyd Cunningham.

SCHLEIDT:  What year were you born?

CUNNINGHAM:  Nineteen twenty.

SCHLEIDT:  Where?

CUNNINGHAM:  Here in Mena.

SCHLEIDT:  In Mena?

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh-huh. Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  Now’d you find out about the CCCs?

CUNNINGHAM:  My dad—we lived at [Old Alice? 1:14], and my dad was kind of acquainted with the welfare people.

SCHLEIDT:  He was what?

CUNNINGHAM:  He was acquainted with the welfare people.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  That’s how he got me in the CCs. I [unintelligible; 1:26] 16-year-old, which [unintelligible; 1:30] there, but I was big for my age, so they didn’t know the difference. In fact, hard times so you get money where you get it. So I luckily got in there. Stayed there two years and nine months.

SCHLEIDT:  They didn’t ask for documents to prove that you were at least 17?

CUNNINGHAM:  Nope. [Laughs.] I know I got a friend said he went in, and he went north somewhere, and they found out that he wasn’t of age, so they discharged him. [Laughs.]

SCHLEIDT:  They did?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, they discharged him because he wasn’t old enough. But they didn’t say anything [about me? 3:05].

SCHLEIDT:  So you were born in 1920. What’s your birthday?

CUNNINGHAM:  April—9th of April.

SCHLEIDT:  The 9th of April.

CUNNINGHAM:  The 9th of April.

SCHLEIDT:  Nineteen twenty.

CUNNINGHAM:  Nineteen twenty.

SCHLEIDT:  And you joined in 1936?

CUNNINGHAM:  I don’t know what month. I don’t what happened to my discharge. The whole place got burnt, so I guess it got burnt up. I don’t know.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh.

CUNNINGHAM:  So I don’t know where my discharge is.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. All right. How long did you stay with the CCCs?

CUNNINGHAM:  Two years and nine months.

SCHLEIDT:  You remember!

CUNNINGHAM:  [Laughs.] Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you serve only at Camp Shady?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. Started out pick and shovel, then I got a jackhammer, then I got to drive a truck. I drove a truck two years.

SCHLEIDT:  Two years. Were you associated with Camp Wilder?

CUNNINGHAM:  No. Well, when I was in there, Camp Wilder was just—I think you had one tent or something. I don’t know. I probably went there a time or two, but I don’t remember.

SCHLEIDT:  So you served from 1936 to 1939.

CUNNINGHAM:  Thirty-nine, yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Two years and nine months. So I understood that Camp Wilder was for the road construction crew. Is that correct?

CUNNINGHAM:  I don’t really know. Like I said, it went out just as I went in. It wasn’t there very long after I was in there.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, really?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah,

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, it didn’t last that long?

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh-huh. Camp Wilder didn’t last that long. I don’t know. Like I said, it just had one tent there when I was in there, so I don’t think there—

SCHLEIDT:  And what was the tent for? I mean, was that for them to sleep or was it a mess hall?

CUNNINGHAM:  I don’t remember. Just a tent is all I remember.

SCHLEIDT:  Just a tent? One of those big white tents?

CUNNINGHAM:  I think so. I’m not sure.

SCHLEIDT:  So what barrack did you stay at?

CUNNINGHAM:  Barracks?

SCHLEIDT:  Yes.

CUNNINGHAM:  Number two.

SCHLEIDT:  What did you do on Saturdays?

CUNNINGHAM:  Saturdays?

SCHLEIDT:  Saturdays and Sundays.

CUNNINGHAM:  Well [chuckles], so I’m driving a truck one time and had to go out and haul wood in, you know, for the camp.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. Firewood?

CUNNINGHAM:  Firewood.

SCHLEIDT:  And that was on weekends?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No audible response.]

SCHLEIDT:  Boy, you worked long hours!

CUNNINGHAM:  [Laughs.] Yup. Well, I didn’t come home much because I didn’t run around [unintelligible; 4:30]. I did [unintelligible; 4:32] but [unintelligible; 4:32]. But [unintelligible; 4:35] I just stayed in the camp.

SCHLEIDT:  So did you do revelry [sic; reveille] in the morning?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No audible reply.]

SCHLEIDT:  What time was that?

CUNNINGHAM:  I think it was six o’clock.

SCHLEIDT:  And you had to dress in your uniform?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. Well, when you was in camp, you was under Army regulations, and when you got out of camp, it was Forest Service. We just wore dungarees almost all the time.

SCHLEIDT:  And you had inspections on Saturdays, in the barracks?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. Yeah, they come around and check your beds and everything.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you know how to make it good?

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, yeah! [Laughs.]

SCHLEIDT:  [Laughs.]

CUNNINGHAM:  I remember the Army—[old days, Army clothes? 5:27], and I put it between the mattress to press them. [Laughs.]

SCHLEIDT:  Good idea!

CUNNINGHAM:  That’s how I press them.

SCHLEIDT:  Wow! I never thought of that!

CUNNINGHAM:  And that’s [how I press them? 5:38].

SCHLEIDT:  What did you get to do on Sundays?

CUNNINGHAM:  Not so much.

SCHLEIDT:  Was there a church service at the camp or outside?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, there was church services. I don’t remember. [I thought they were much better. ? 5:52].

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. Did you ever get to go out to the big town of Mena for, like, social events?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, I could go anytime I want to. Used to have [unintelligible; 6:09] up there by the [unintelligible; 6:10].

SCHLEIDT:  What was that again?

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 6:10] Road that had the dance hall there?

SCHLEIDT:  A dance hall?

CUNNINGHAM:  Rocks.

SCHLEIDT:  Rocks?

CUNNINGHAM:  Rocks.

SCHLEIDT:  In Mena?

CUNNINGHAM:  In Mena. And the boys would go there [with dates? 6:17]. [Chuckles.]

SCHLEIDT:  Oh!

CUNNINGHAM:  That was Saturday  nights.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you have dances inside the camp?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No audible response.]

SCHLEIDT:  No? Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Not that I remember.

SCHLEIDT:  All right. Because I know some places, the camps are pretty far away from a town, so they usually had a dance in the camp, where they would bring out the music—

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, they could have, but I wasn’t much of a dancer, so—

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, you weren’t. Uh-oh.

CUNNINGHAM:  [Chuckles.] So I don’t know.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. Anything else that you would have done on weekends? Going out for ice cream or going to the movies?

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 6:56].

SCHLEIDT:  No? Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  I used to haul the boys up to a lake up there to swim, Mine Creek.

SCHLEIDT:  Mine Creek?

CUNNINGHAM:  I think it’s Mine Creek. It’s just a little old pond now. It’s still there, but it wasn’t very big. Not much bigger than this room [unintelligible; 7:17] swimming.

SCHLEIDT:  Mmm. Okay. Well, that’s something.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  So during the week, what did you do for the Forest Service?

CUNNINGHAM:  During the week? I just hauled the boys out on the road to work, you know. Then I set on the wire duty, telephone and [unintelligible; 7:39]. I’d set there—

SCHLEIDT:  Where?

CUNNINGHAM:  At Barge Springs and Albert Pike.

SCHLEIDT:  You’d be at Barge Springs?

CUNNINGHAM:  Barge Springs. I sat there for a long time off the telephone. Had a telephone [unintelligible; 7:53] line, and I sat there in case of fire so [unintelligible; 7:57]. At Albert Pike, it was—where the [café? 8:02] is now, back then it was [unintelligible; 8:04].

SCHLEIDT:  Where what?

CUNNINGHAM:  Albert Pike.

SCHLEIDT:  But where at Albert Pike?

CUNNINGHAM:  Before there was a [unintelligible; 8:11], now—

SCHLEIDT:  Café?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. Now they are. There was houses, a house back behind there, and I sat back there pretty close to that house [I was telling you about? 8:21]

SCHLEIDT:  Were you sitting outside the house or inside the house?

CUNNINGHAM:  No, I was by my truck.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, you were by your truck, waiting for a phone call.

CUNNINGHAM:  Right.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh. So you had one of those telephones that strung to—oh, I’ve seen photographs of that.

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 8:33]. It had a [unintelligible; 8:36] strung in them.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm, mm-hm, mm-hm. So that was your post, to sit there and wait for a phone call.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, that [unintelligible; 8:43]. I sat there in case they had a fire somewhere. You know, I could pick up the crew and go take them to this—

SCHLEIDT:  And you did that for two years?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No audible response.]

SCHLEIDT:  Did you ever haul rock or—

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  —cement?

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, yeah. Well, not really. On that bridge there at Albert Pike, the long bridge? The old concrete bridge there—

SCHLEIDT:  Right, there’s two. There’s two.

CUNNINGHAM:  I [unintelligible; 9:05] [rocks for concrete? 9:08], concrete [crusher? 9:10], rock crusher to make that bridge.

SCHLEIDT:  Are we talking the one at Shady Lake?

CUNNINGHAM:  No, Albert Pike.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, Albert Pike’s? Okay, Albert Pike has a stone bridge?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, a big concrete bridge. Still there. And had a rock crusher right there at the edge of the river, and we put rock in it, rocks for the gravel for that bridge.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. Wow!

CUNNINGHAM:  And over at Shady Lake—I was telling you yesterday over the phone about that bridge there?

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  I remember them building that bridge. I was probably [unintelligible; 9:41], but Joseph Riggle was laying rock—he laid rock over there on that bridge. I remember that very well.

SCHLEIDT:  Joseph Riggle. Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  I think all them Riggles are dead. There was one that was younger, went to [unintelligible; 10:00] schoolteacher or something [unintelligible; 10:05].

SCHLEIDT:  Did you do anything else at Shady Lake, at the recreation area? Do you remember doing anything else?

CUNNINGHAM:  Not really. That’s when I first got in there, you know, when I [unintelligible; 10:20] [the brush out? 10:22].

SCHLEIDT:  That was 1936.

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh-huh.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh.

CUNNINGHAM:  And I worked on that picnic table, the [unintelligible; 10:27]. I don’t know [unintelligible; 10:29].

SCHLEIDT:  The picnic pavilion or the bath house?

CUNNINGHAM:  The bath house.

SCHLEIDT:  The bath house?

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh-huh.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. You remember working there?

CUNNINGHAM:  If I did, I don’t remember what I did. No, I don’t. I have no idea what I did.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. So I’m showing you a photo. That’s—

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, that’s the dam.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, that’s the Shady Lake dam?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep, that’s the dam. I didn’t do nothing there.

SCHLEIDT:  No, that was built earlier, wasn’t it?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. And there’s another—that’s a 1939 photograph. They’re walking along—but do you remember the boat dock?

CUNNINGHAM:  They didn’t have that when I was there.

SCHLEIDT:  Not then? Okay, that’s ’39. That’s later.

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh. Out here, I think that was a bridge at one time out there where that is?

SCHLEIDT: Uh-huh.

CUNNINGHAM:  There’s a road comes down through here, and; 211:27] towards the dam. There’s a bridge. Still got that dock out there that’s on top of this bridge that’s underwater.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, really?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, that’s [unintelligible; 11:35]..

SCHLEIDT:  So there was a bridge going through to Shady Lake

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep. Road come this way, through there and over towards the dam.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh. Okay. I didn’t know that.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. I went there many a time.

SCHLEIDT:  Do you remember—well, this was built in 1940. Do you remember the little house, the caretaker’s house?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yup.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you ever go inside?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No audible response.]

SCHLEIDT:  No?

CUNNINGHAM:  I might have since.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm. Well, this was supposed to be built in 1940.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, well, I wasn’t in there in ’40.

SCHLEIDT:  But do you remember seeing it?

CUNNINGHAM:  Afterwards.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, afterwards. Okay. All right. There’s more pictures of it. This is somebody from 1976 brought us some photos.

CUNNINGHAM:  That’s [unintelligible; 12:24]. Is that Tall Peak?

SCHLEIDT:  Could be Tall Peak, yeah.

CUNNINGHAM:  Tall Peak, yes.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm, mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  When they built this road up—it was a long time they didn’t have a road [unintelligible; 12:36] Tall Peak. When I was hauling crew up there that was working on that.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, so you also hauled crew to the road.

CUNNINGHAM:  I hauled the crews out there, yup.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  I take them out there, and then I go back to camp and pick up [unintelligible; 12:50] and then bring it back to them.

SCHLEIDT:  And then bring it back. Ah.

CUNNINGHAM:  But I remember when they was building that road up there. [Martin Bell? 12:57] was the Caterpillar operator, and he wasn’t there, so [unintelligible; 13;05], I was going to [unintelligible; 13:06], a [unintelligible; 13:07]. There was a [ripper? 13:08] on it?

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh.

CUNNINGHAM:  So I got on it, and I was ripping the road up. Three big shots out of Little Rock [unintelligible; 13:14] up there, and I got a rock hung in that ripper?

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh.

CUNNINGHAM:  And I was trying to get it out, and I said, Well, I’m in trouble now because—[Laughter.]. I finally turned it sideways, and the rock rolled on down the [hill? 13:26], and [unintelligible; 13:28]. [unintelligible; 13:29] or nothing. [Laughs.]

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  And that’s that bridge right there, [unintelligible; 13:37].

SCHLEIDT:  Yeah, that’s a diving board.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, [unintelligible; 13:36] building that bridge.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. I’ll have to look more into that.

Okay, there’s the bath house—

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, that’s—

SCHLEIDT:  —when you first enter.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, that’s the bath house.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. Do you remember this furniture?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No audible response.]

SCHLEIDT:  No?

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, we’ve had meetings there since, you know. [unintelligible; 13:57].

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. I was wondering if you remember seeing these being built.

CUNNINGHAM:  No, I don’t remember.

SCHLEIDT:  [unintelligible; 14:13]. There’s the picnic pavilion at Shady.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you guys ever eat up there?

CUNNINGHAM:  I think we did once [unintelligible; 14:18].

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. Okay. And there’s the picnic table inside the pavilion. Okay, this is—

CUNNINGHAM:  Bard Springs.

SCHLEIDT:  Bard Springs. It’s an old, 1937 photograph.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep. Okay. Yup. All right. Back on here is the spring, a rock with a hole in it. Water come out of there, and they drilled a hole through this rock, and water come out of it.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh!

CUNNINGHAM:  Right back over here. Up on the hill there is where I had to sit for fire duty, back up on the hill.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, okay. I’ll have to take a second look at that.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. I mean, I think it’s still there. I’m not sure.

SCHLEIDT:  So they drilled a hole through the rock so that the spring could shoot up there. Oh, interesting!

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 15:06].

SCHLEIDT:  Okay, there’s that picnic—

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  —at Bard Springs.

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 15:13] since I was there.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. And there’s the bath house.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, I remember [unintelligible; 15:18] built since I was there.

SCHLEIDT:  And there’s that bench in the—

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  Do you remember ever going to Shady ranger station?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Do you remember who the ranger was while you were in the CCCs?

CUNNINGHAM:  I can’t think of it. I think his name was [Lyles? 15:48]. I’m not sure.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  But I remember where it was at. But—

SCHLEIDT:  You do?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  Where was it?

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, it’s hard to tell you.

SCHLEIDT:  Is it anywhere near the church that’s up there?

CUNNINGHAM:  It’s back this side of the church. Back this side of the church is—there’s a house back this side of the church there, and back this side of that house up on the hill where the station was.

SCHLEIDT:  On the hill.

CUNNINGHAM:  On the hill.

SCHLEIDT:  [unintelligible; 16:20] Okay.

Did you ever go out to the Vistas?

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 16:37].

SCHLEIDT:  Have you seen the new plaque?

 

[End File 1a. Begin File 1b.]

 

SCHLEIDT:  Do you like them?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yup.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. You know why we built them the way we did. [Laughs.] So no one could move them!

CUNNINGHAM:  You remember [Buckeye? 2-0:12] Mountain?

SCHLEIDT:  Yes.

CUNNINGHAM:  I remember that because going down that there hill, you had to keep it in gear, all them [unintelligible; 2-0:21] on there, all the ways down that thing.

SCHLEIDT:  Wow. Where did you get your training as a truck driver?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No immediate response.]

SCHLEIDT:  You didn’t have to go to a class or anything like that?

CUNNINGHAM:  I take a test.

SCHLEIDT:  You take a test?

CUNNINGHAM:  And I never drove a truck in my life. My uncle, when I first applied—my uncle was a crew foreman, and they had an opening for a truck driver, and he said, “No, he’s not driving because he’s never drove one in his life.” I said, “Well, I knowed. I just told you I want you to give me a tryout.” So this lieutenant or captain, whatever it was, told me, “Your uncle will be transferred in a while, but I’ll try you out.” He left. Tried out and I passed.

SCHLEIDT:  Very good!

CUNNINGHAM:  Had no problems.

SCHLEIDT:  No problems at all.

CUNNINGHAM:  No problems. My uncle I was talking about—there, right there.  [Apparently points to a man in a photograph.] That was my uncle.

SCHLEIDT:  That’s your uncle?

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh-huh. Carl.

SCHLEIDT:  Carl.

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh-huh. [unintelligible; 2-1:15].

SCHLEIDT:  Hmm. All right. I’ll have to remember all those photos when I get back, because we’ve got the same album. Very popular.

Did you ever get in any other yearbook like this? Did you get one every year?

CUNNINGHAM:  No.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, no?

CUNNINGHAM:  No, this is the only one I got.

SCHLEIDT:  I thought they issued them every year.

CUNNINGHAM:  No, I think you just got it when you came out. This is 1937.

SCHLEIDT:  Because, I mean, that’s the only year that I have found. Everybody tells me, “Oh, we found a yearbook,” and I’m thinking, Is it the 1937? And sure enough—and I’m thinking, Did they not—because in other places they issued a yearbook every year.

CUNNINGHAM:  I don’t think we did over there. I think this was the only one I remember, right here.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Now, my brother was in—before I went in, he was over in Camp Slatington.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh. Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Wasn’t in there very long, but I don’t even remember [how come he going in there and how come he get out? 2-2:03]. He wasn’t in there very long. There’s a side camp down here where the Spoon Springs is?

SCHLEIDT:  Where the Spoon Springs—yeah.

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 2-2:19].

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm. There was a side camp?

CUNNINGHAM:  Right this side, [unintelligible; 2-2:22]. Now where the highway is, that’s where the camp was.

SCHLEIDT:  Hmm.

CUNNINGHAM:  And it wasn’t there very long, and my brother was in there, and he [unintelligible; 2-2:33]. And I had a book of his. It was [black? 2-2:36]. And I went on up there. I don’t have no idea [unintelligible; 2-:240]. I have no idea in the world where that book went to. I don’t know if he gave it to one of his daughters or what happened.

SCHLEIDT:  Do you have any photographs of yourself when you were in the CCCs?

CUNNINGHAM:  No, because they was all burnt in my home.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, they were all burnt.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, the whole place burnt, and all that stuff was lost.

SCHLEIDT:  I spoke to Larry Lay’s son.

CUNNINGHAM:  Who?

SCHLEIDT:  Larry Lay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yes, Larry Lay’s son.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. And he loaned me some photographs, not much, but I guess this is Camp Shady.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  During a snow.

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 2-2:34].

SCHLEIDT:  This is—

CUNNINGHAM:  That look like—

SCHLEIDT:  I think there’s a better photograph.

CUNNINGHAM:  Education building. That’s what that is.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, I remember that.

SCHLEIDT:  Do you have any idea which building that was?

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh—[Pause.] That’s [unintelligible; 2-4:08].

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  That’s [unintelligible; 2-4:10].

SCHLEIDT:  Let’s see if I can find that photograph. Does that look familiar?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No response.]

SCHLEIDT:  When it first started, the camps first started, my understanding is it was a twin camp.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  With the Arkansas company on one side—

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, Missouri here.

SCHLEIDT:  And the Missouri. So they were gone by the time you joined.

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, when I joined they only had one barracks up here.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  And they had one barracks. That’s where the administration building was, over here. It’s where we went to the administration building.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh.

CUNNINGHAM:  Down here was the barracks.

SCHLEIDT:  Barracks. There’s the flagpole.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. The bath house was right in here.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  The bath house was right there. That’s the administration building there.

SCHLEIDT:  That’s administration?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep. That’s [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-5:34].

SCHLEIDT:  Right in the middle, next to the barracks?

CUNNINGHAM:  That’s where they had the pool hall and all that stuff. The PX [post exchange] was all in that building right there.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  It might have been what that building was over there [unintelligible; 2-5:45].

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. Now, where was the officers’ quarters?

CUNNINGHAM:  All right, this is their kitchen right there.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  That was the kitchen, and back up here there was an office. There was the office right there, the building right there.

SCHLEIDT:  This one?

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh-huh.

SCHLEIDT:  And that’s what?

CUNNINGHAM:  That there is the office where—I don’t know what you call it. He’s the one that take care of everything.

SCHLEIDT:  Is it the Army?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, he’s Army.

SCHLEIDT:  Headquarters? You’re saying this long building here?

CUNNINGHAM:  That’s the kitchen.

SCHLEIDT:  And what was this long building here?

CUNNINGHAM:  That there was the shop, I guess.

SCHLEIDT:  That’s the shop?

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 2-6:34].

SCHLEIDT:  So that would be the mess hall.

CUNNINGHAM:  The mess hall. Now, where the officers stayed was back up in here.

SCHLEIDT:  Their quarters.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  It’s their house, where they lived.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. Was it just one house?

CUNNINGHAM:  No, there’s two. It was right in there.

SCHLEIDT:  Two houses. Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 2-6:55] remember.

SCHLEIDT:  Two officers’ quarters. And you think this one was some sort of shop?

CUNNINGHAM:  I think that was a shop.

SCHLEIDT:  Where was your education building, then?

CUNNINGHAM:  Up here.

SCHLEIDT:  This one?

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh-huh.

SCHLEIDT:  No, where’s your hospital? When you got sick, where did you go?

CUNNINGHAM:  I didn’t get sick.

SCHLEIDT:  Well, what about when the other guys got sick? Not you!

CUNNINGHAM:  I don’t remember.

SCHLEIDT:  No? Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  I don’t remember.

SCHLEIDT:  Do you have any idea what you folks did around here?

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, this here was just an open field here.

SCHLEIDT:  What did you guys use it for?

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh—

SCHLEIDT:  Did you play baseball?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, they played baseball. I didn’t. They played baseball, and they had boxing tournaments ahead of [unintelligible; 2-7:52] with boxing. They got them boxing out there. And back up here, along in here is I hauled that wood to.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh.

CUNNINGHAM:  That wood. Back in here is where I hauled that wood to, and they’d cut it up [unintelligible; 2-8:08]. Now, you see, the main road goes through here, like this. And right in there, that’s where [they had wood? 2-8:20]. I don’t know what all this is up there.

SCHLEIDT:  Well, this would have been the first company—remember, the Missouri.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, that was Missouri, but I don’t remember what that—

SCHLEIDT:  But a lot of this stuff maybe would have been dismantled.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  And moved.

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, it wasn’t all dismantled because there was still one barracks there when I was in there. They used to have boxing tournaments between Shady and Eaglet Mountain. Of course, I didn’t box, but [Bert Lyles? 2-8:59], Dave—Dave was—I can’t think of his name now. Of course, they’re all dead. They used to have boxing matches between [unintelligible; 2-9:17].

SCHLEIDT:  What about baseball? Did you guys play with other teams?

CUNNINGHAM:  They did. I didn’t. I don’t know much about the ball games.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you ever take any classes in the education building?

CUNNINGHAM:  No. I should have, but didn’t. [Chuckles.]

SCHLEIDT:  Could you read and write when you were in the CCCs?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. Yeah, see, I went into the sixth grade.

SCHLEIDT:  And left school. And you graduated from sixth grade.

CUNNINGHAM:  Quit school. Quituated. [Laughs.]

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh.

CUNNINGHAM:  All back then, times was hard, you know, and Dad didn’t believe in education anyhow, so when I quit school, he didn’t care. I helped him farm for a year or two before I went into CCs.

SCHLEIDT:  How many brothers and sisters did you, do you have?

CUNNINGHAM:  I had three brothers and one sister, and they’re all gone. [unintelligible; 2-10:10] still here. She’s [unintelligible; 2-10:10]. She was six years younger than me.

SCHLEIDT:  Six years younger.

CUNNINGHAM:  She had a stroke. She’s a twin. Her twin, her brother—he died when he was a baby.

SCHLEIDT:  What’s her name?

CUNNINGHAM:  Owena. Owena Fay.

SCHLEIDT:  Owena Fay.

CUNNINGHAM:  She was—last few years, she’s had cancer of the breast, and she had a stroke.

SCHLEIDT:  I’m sorry.

CUNNINGHAM:  She’s in and out of the hospital all the time. I got good news the other day. They said she’s home now, and she’s back talking.

SCHLEIDT:  [Chuckles.]

CUNNINGHAM:  So she’s doing better.

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  You forgot about your oldest brother, Roy.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, Roy.

SCHLEIDT:  Roy. Was he the one in the CCCs?

CUNNINGHAM:  No. Troy was the one in the CCs.

SCHLEIDT:  Troy was in CCC? Okay. So it’s Roy,—

CUNNINGHAM:  Roy. Roy was my older brother. He died when I was—

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  Roy and then Floyd.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, Roy and Floyd, [unintelligible name; 2-11:04].

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  So there’s Roy, Floyd, Lloyd, and then you and—

CUNNINGHAM:  Owena.

SCHLEIDT:  How do you spell her name?

CUNNINGHAM:  Owena?

SCHLEIDT:  Yes.

CUNNINGHAM:  O-w-e-n-a.

SCHLEIDT:  I like that: Roy, Troy, Floyd, Lloyd.

CUNNINGHAM:  You see why they named me. My nickname is D. Everybody knows me as D. Nobody knows me as Lloyd. Somebody hollers, “Lloyd,” I look around, “Who’s talking?” The reason they called me D was because Lloyd and Floyd sounds so much alike, our mother—my middle name is [Debara? 2-11:47], so they said, “We’ll just name you D.”

SCHLEIDT:  It makes sense to me. Okay. All right.

So what else can you tell me about your time with the CCCs? Did you enjoy it?

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, yeah. Yeah, I enjoyed it.

SCHLEIDT:  What did you enjoy most about it?

CUNNINGHAM:  Just being out, I guess.

SCHLEIDT:  Being out in the woods?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Getting paid?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah! I got five dollars a month.

SCHLEIDT:  And the rest went home to your mom and dad.

CUNNINGHAM:  They lived on fifteen dollars a month, and they put [unintelligible; 2-12:25] in the bank for me. And when I come out, I bought a suit of clothes, a guitar and a car.

SCHLEIDT:  And a car!

CUNNINGHAM:  I still got my guitar. Montgomery Ward.

SCHLEIDT:  Montgomery Ward.

CUNNINGHAM:  It still says on that guitar, says “Montgomery Ward.” [Laughs.] Yeah, I’ll never forget it. I got the guitar, a suit of clothes—

SCHLEIDT:  Well, how much money did they save for you?

CUNNINGHAM:  Over three years, probably, I don’t know, a hundred [and seven? 2-12:54] dollars. I don’t know.

SCHLEIDT:  Really!

CUNNINGHAM:  They lived on fifteen dollars a month.

SCHLEIDT:  And farming.

CUNNINGHAM:  Farming.

SCHLEIDT:  How big of a farm did they have?

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, they didn’t have no farm. Just—you won’t believe it, but he had to homestead the place over on the mountain.

SCHLEIDT:  On the mountain? Which mountain?

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, if you’re going out [unintelligible; 2-13:17] Road, Bethesda Springs Road?

SCHLEIDT:  Bethesda Springs Road?

CUNNINGHAM:  On the right there—there’s some houses up there now. They built two houses up there where I used to run [cows? cattle? 2-13:27].

SCHLEIDT:  [Laughs.]

CUNNINGHAM:  We farmed eleven acres. You had to farm so many acres to homestead, so we had to [unintelligible; 2-13:34] the mountain. [unintelligible; 2-13:38]. Potatoes, onions, watermelons. We raised lots of good stuff. [unintelligible; 2-13:42].

SCHLEIDT:  What’s your dad’s name?

CUNNINGHAM:  Bud.

SCHLEIDT:  Bud?

CUNNINGHAM:  They call him Bud. His name is Noah Levi.

SCHLEIDT:  I was going to look him up on—did he get a homestead patent?

CUNNINGHAM:  He got a homestead deed, yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. I’ll look him up.

CUNNINGHAM:  And since then, they’ve sold that place. My brother, [unintelligible; 2-14:03], bought it, and he passed away, and his grandchildren got it, and they sold it. There’s two houses up on top there now.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

Let me ask you: How was the food?

CUNNINGHAM:  I guess it was great.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you gain any weight while you in the CCCs?

CUNNINGHAM:  No.

SCHLEIDT:  No?

CUNNINGHAM:  [Chuckles.]

SCHLEIDT:  Most guys did.

CUNNINGHAM:  I was skinny.

SCHLEIDT:  You were skinny?

CUNNINGHAM:  I was tall, but I wasn’t fat.

SCHLEIDT:  Well, that’s good.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, I didn’t get fat until I come home. [Laughs.] She fed me.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, boy.

CUNNINGHAM:  [Laughs.]

SCHLEIDT:  When did you get married?

CUNNINGHAM:  When did we get married?

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  September the 18th, 1946.

SCHLEIDT:  Forty-six. September 18th?

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  I think that’s right.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, the 18th is [unintelligible; 2-15:00].

SCHLEIDT:  So—

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  We had our 65th wedding anniversary—

SCHLEIDT:  Wow! Impressive! Impressive!

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 2-15:10].

CUNNINGHAM:  And we’ve got two sons.

SCHLEIDT:  Two sons?

CUNNINGHAM:  Two sons and one stepson. She was married before. We’ve got three boys. You might know Jeff. Runs the body shop?

SCHLEIDT:  Jeff?

CUNNINGHAM:  Jeff’s Body Shop there across from the high school?

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. Yeah.

CUNNINGHAM:  That’s her baby boy.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, that’s your baby boy.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, that’s her baby boy. [Laughs.] There’s Earl. out on Racetrack Road. Earl?

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh.

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-15:37].

CUNNINGHAM:  Everybody knows Earl.

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 2-15:38] the campground.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, okay.

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  The campground down in there.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  Jeff [unintelligible; 2-15:43]. His wife, Phyllis.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh.

Did you ever drive anybody up to any other tower besides the Tall Peak?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, Bee Mountain.

SCHLEIDT:  You drove them to Bee Mountain?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yes, now see, back then there wasn’t no road to Bee Mountain either. We had to carry it up there—I them on over there and let them out and they carried the gunny sacks. They carried a week’s supply of groceries up there in the sacks.

SCHLEIDT:  So was there a cabin for them to stay in?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, there was—[Lewis Welcar? 2-16:13] stayed there for years at Bee Mountain Tower. And he lived there in the tower.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. Was there a bed in there?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. There was everything in there. I reckon it’s where he lived. Same with Tall Peak Tower. They lived in it, too. And what’s this other tower, Whiskey Peak Tower? Is that what it is, out here towards [unintelligible; 2-16:34]?

SCHLEIDT:  It might be a state—I think it’s a state tower. It’s not one of ours.

CUNNINGHAM:  I’d take them there.

SCHLEIDT:  Whiskey?

CUNNINGHAM:  They had to carry [ropes? 2-16:42] there. It was a long ways there. They had to walk, oh, a couple of miles to get to that.

SCHLEIDT:  There was an Eagle Mountain? Abbot?

CUNNINGHAM:  [Wasn’t? 2-16:49] Eagle Mountain. I remember [unintelligible; 2-16:51] over on Shady.

SCHLEIDT:  Abbot.

CUNNINGHAM:  Eagle Mountain’s over at Shady. Is Whiskey Peak—is that [unintelligible; 2-17:04]?

SCHLEIDT:  Okay, towards Norman. Oh, so you go on to the next district. Okay. Whiskey. Wow! You went far!

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, the Little Missouri [Falls, in Ouachita National Forest] picnic grounds there?

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  It would be right north of there is where the tower was.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. All right.

CUNNINGHAM:  The road turns back [unintelligible; 2-17:25] go back to the highway, you know? That’s where it was, up on top of that hill up there, [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-17:30].

SCHLEIDT:  I’m just not aware of all the towers that are on the Womble [Ranger] District. I’d have to look them up.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, that was [unintelligible; 2-17:42] Whiskey Peak Tower. That was [unintelligible; 2-17:43].

SCHLEIDT:  Okay, so you drove—

CUNNINGHAM:  I drove the boys there, and they had to walk. Carried—

SCHLEIDT:  Their supplies?

CUNNINGHAM:  They didn’t like that because they had to walk a long ways there. It was a long ways.

SCHLEIDT:  Yeah.

CUNNINGHAM:  And I don’t remember building a road to it, so I don’t know.

SCHLEIDT:  Wow, that’s [cross-talk; unintelligible; 2-17:59].

CUNNINGHAM:  I’m sure they did, but I don’t remember them building it.

SCHLEIDT:  Do you think they enjoyed being lookouts?

CUNNINGHAM:  Say what?

SCHLEIDT:  Did they enjoy being lookouts?

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, yeah. Yeah. I don’t know why. [Chuckles.] They sat there day after day just looking around. Yeah, they enjoyed it.

SCHLEIDT:  What else did the boys do when you hauled them? Did they go out and do any forestry projects?

CUNNINGHAM:  Naw, they worked on the roads. When I hauled them, they worked on the roads.

SCHLEIDT:  Working on the roads? Putting in culverts?

CUNNINGHAM:  Putting in culverts or cleaning out the ditches and—

SCHLEIDT:  It seems like the company at Shady basically worked at building recreations—

CUNNINGHAM:  Roads.

SCHLEIDT:  —and roads, not so much—and fire.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  And fire.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay, so what did you do during a fire? You would carry the crew to the fire?

CUNNINGHAM:  I just carried the crew there.

SCHLEIDT:  You didn’t actually fight the fire?

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, I did a time or two. I had to carry that five-gallon water can on your back. [Chuckles.] To spray. Yeah, I done that a time or two.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm. What other tools did you guys use when you went out to fight fires? I mean, I know it’s kind of primitive today, but—

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, when we went out to fight fires, they had to rake a fire line around it.

SCHLEIDT:  So you had fire rakes?

CUNNINGHAM:  Fire rakes, yes.

SCHLEIDT:  And the water cans?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Anything else? Did you use shovels?

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Or [flaps? 2-19:31]?

CUNNINGHAM:  Shovels rakes, and all that stuff.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you ever haul water?

CUNNINGHAM:  No, I don’t remember hauling any water.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

Are there any other truckers listed in there? Are you listed there separately?

CUNNINGHAM:  I don’t think so.

 

[End File 1b. Begin File 2.]

 

SCHLEIDT:  —photo.

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 2-0:11]. Maybe I can find it.

SCHLEIDT:  The [unintelligible; 2-0:16] of your company. That’s F-23.

CUNNINGHAM:  There’s [unintelligible; 2-0:21].

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  All right, there’s all the truck drivers.

SCHLEIDT:  Do you remember any of them?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. I can’t [unintelligible; 2-0:35], but—

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. Oh, that’s—what was he—was he your leader?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, he was—

SCHLEIDT:  Was he a sergeant?

CUNNINGHAM:  He was a sergeant, Sgt. Hawkins.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. So what was his job?

CUNNINGHAM:  He was the Army. He was over at the Army, but [unintelligible; 2-0:54] the Forest Service. He was the sergeant. He was the one to give you extra duty and all that stuff.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. Why would you get extra duties? What did the guys do?

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, you had to clean the bath house, wash the dishes, pots and pans, all that stuff.

SCHLEIDT:  Did the boys ever get in trouble? Did they ever do silly things?

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, yeah, but I can’t remember it

SCHLEIDT:  You can’t remember?

CUNNINGHAM:  I didn’t.

SCHLEIDT:  You didn’t.

CUNNINGHAM:  Nope.

SCHLEIDT:  You kept busy.

CUNNINGHAM:  I was a good boy.

Yeah, that was a blacksmith shop. That’s Frank Smedley right there.

SCHLEIDT:  Frank Smidley [sic]?

CUNNINGHAM:  Smedley, yeah. He’s dead. And truck drivers.

SCHLEIDT:  Did anybody ever get KP [kitchen patrol] duties?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, I got KP duty.

SCHLEIDT:  Why is that?

CUNNINGHAM:  I just come around [unintelligible; 2-1:43]. [unintelligible; 2-1:46]. The bath house—I didn’t like that because it was—had to go down under the commodes and scrub out the floor, down at the creek.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, there was a creek under there?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  How big was the bath house? I mean, how many showers do you think there would have been in there?

CUNNINGHAM:  I don’t remember. Probably—

SCHLEIDT:  More than two?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, two or three.

SCHLEIDT:  Because I’m trying to figure out how many—it had to be pretty large for 200 men to—

CUNNINGHAM:  It was pretty large, but I don’t remember—just two or three showers. I don’t remember [exactly? 2-2:22].

SCHLEIDT:  Who did your laundry?

CUNNINGHAM:  [Chuckles.]

SCHLEIDT:  Did you bring it home for your parents to wash? [Laughs.]

CUNNINGHAM:  I’m sure we did it there, but I can’t remember if we did it there at the camp.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, [unintelligible; 2-2:39] truck drivers. [unintelligible; 2-2:43]. [unintelligible; 2-2:52].

SCHLEIDT:  I’ll have to find out who that gentleman is who lives in Vandervoort and see if you remember him.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. [unintelligible; 2-2:55] if he was there in—what did you say, ’37?

SCHLEIDT:  I think so. Yes, sir.

CUNNINGHAM:  I’m sure if he drove a truck, I knew him because that’s when I was driving a truck. [unintelligible; 2-3:13] name these truck drivers.

SCHLEIDT:  I would just list all the company members, right?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  What did you do for the holidays? Did you come home for Christmas?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No immediate response.]

SCHLEIDT:  You can’t remember?

CUNNINGHAM:  I can’t.

SCHLEIDT:  Because I know sometimes they had special menus on the holidays.

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, they probably did, but I don’t remember.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you ever have to fight a fire at night?

CUNNINGHAM:  Nah. Not that I remember. I know we had a big fire over there at Albert Pike one time. That’s the one I had to carry the water cans up on the mountain.

Yeah, all these big ones—[unintelligible; 2-4:09].

SCHLEIDT:  Hmm. What kind of truck did you drive?

CUNNINGHAM:  It was a Chevrolet.

SCHLEIDT:  It was a Chevy?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you maintain it or did you have mechanics?

CUNNINGHAM:  I maintained it. There’s the trucks out there.

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. What color were they? Were they black?

CUNNINGHAM:  No, they wasn’t black. It was—I don’t know, [unintelligible; 2-3:48] green, I guess.

SCHLEIDT:  A dark green? Hmm.

CUNNINGHAM:  That’s [unintelligible; 2-4:41].

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm. And it said “Department of Agriculture” on them, “Forest Service”?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No audible response.]

SCHLEIDT:  No? When you went out in the woods, did they have special canteens or—

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, they had canteens to carry water.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm. And a little food thing?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, mess kit.

SCHLEIDT:  Mess kit. That’s what I was saying. You had it? Did you have china inside, when you ate inside the mess hall, real china?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Because I know in some camps they had trouble getting china.

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, we had plenty of china.

SCHLEIDT:  And so a lot of them had to eat from their mess kits when they went into the mess hall.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. [Chuckles.]

SCHLEIDT:  So you had china.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  You were one of those lucky camps.

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, yeah. I remember one time, it was probably about eight people setting [at the? 25:38] tables, six or eight. They served pineapple. Just had a slice for each one. This one guy—he liked it. He tried to get them all [unintelligible; 2-5:51]. We said, “Everybody wants them.” “Yeah, but I like ’em.” [Laughs.] Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  What was the food like? Was it something you normally ate at home?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, it was just regular food.

SCHLEIDT:  Regular food? Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Where do you think they got the vegetables? Were they local?

CUNNINGHAM:  I have no idea.

SCHLEIDT:  Idea?

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 2-6:20].

SCHLEIDT:  I was wondering if you had to haul in produce or anything like that, or if anybody did,.

CUNNINGHAM:  I don’t know. Buddy Lloyd was a Army truck driver. See, they had a truck, but it was a Army.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Got the Army [unintelligible; 2-6:33]. It was a Army truck, and he hauled all the supplies, so I don’t know [unintelligible; 2-6:36].

SCHLEIDT:  I see. So the Army handled that themselves, not the CCCs.

CUNNINGHAM:  The Army handled all [unintelligible; 2-6:41].

SCHLEIDT:  I understand now. Okay.

Did you ever have to serve at a different camp, when they were short handed?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No audible response.]

SCHLEIDT:  No? You weren’t that lucky, huh?

CUNNINGHAM:  [Laughs.] No, I went to Hot Springs a lot to haul stuff back [on the ferry? 2-7:02].

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  I had a lot of supplies out of Hot Springs. I don’t remember [unintelligible; 2-7:07]. Some kind of [unintelligible; 2-7:10], I guess.

SCHLEIDT:  Did you normally work by yourself?

CUNNINGHAM:  [No audible response.]

SCHLEIDT:  Did you ever have trouble with your truck getting stuck somewhere, or were they pretty reliable?

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, they were pretty reliable. Of course, they were different then. You know, they didn’t have synchronized gears. You had to double clutch. There was a governor to thirty-five mile an hour.

SCHLEIDT:  Thirty-five miles an hour.

CUNNINGHAM:  Thirty-five mile an hour.

SCHLEIDT:  Where did you get your gasoline?

CUNNINGHAM:  Down in camp.

SCHLEIDT:  In camp, you had your own gas station?

CUNNINGHAM:  Had gas pumps there, yeah.

You know, when they give you a driving test—as you drive your test, you’re sitting there in [a camp bayou? 2-8:04]. You go down the road, and on your brake pedal they had a button there. When you push on it, it would go off, shoot paint on the ground, and then they—that way, they test how long it would take you—reaction time you got on your brake and stopped. [Chuckles.]

SCHLEIDT:  Hmm. Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 2-8:28] timed just right. They could tell how long it would take you to get on your brake.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, you had the gears over there, and you had mechanical brakes, and you haul thirty or thirty-five men on one of them trips, you had to keep it in gear to go down the hills.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm. I could imagine.

CUNNINGHAM:  That’s the reason [unintelligible; 2-8:53] go down the hills, you had to [unintelligible; 2-8:54] a long time, going down the hill, to hold it back.

SCHLEIDT:  It’s not a great road up to that tower, nn-nn.

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 2-9:04], I was hauling a crew to Tall Peak over there, and I went back to [unintelligible; 2-9:10], come back, and the road was kind of slick. And, the boys had tricked me, to push me off in the ditch. Just for [unintelligible; 2-9:17]. You know, they do things like that. Well, I fixed them! I take the [unintelligible; 2-9:23] off the spark plug and dropped it on the ground, and when they got a hold of it, it shocked them.

SCHLEIDT:  [Sharp intake of breath.]

CUNNINGHAM:  So that stopped that. [Laughter.]

SCHLEIDT:  You’re tricky. Oh!

CUNNINGHAM:  Oh, they had all kinds of [tricks that they do? 2-9:39].

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  Short sheet you.

SCHLEIDT:  Who?

CUNNINGHAM:  Short sheet you, put sand in your bed. They did all kind of [unintelligible; 2-9:49] there.

SCHLEIDT:  Really!

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

 

[End File 2. Begin File 3.]

 

CUNNINGHAM:  —put a book of matches between your toes, you’re laying there asleep, and they set it afire. [Chuckles.]

SCHLEIDT:  I hope they never did that to you.

CUNNINGHAM:  [Chuckles.] Well, no.

SCHLEIDT:  No.

CUNNINGHAM:  They had one guy that was—he was a heavy sleeper, and they picked him up, bed and all, and carried him up the woods and set him down, and he didn’t wake up.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, my gosh!

CUNNINGHAM:  [Laughs.]

SCHLEIDT:  Imagine when he woke up!

CUNNINGHAM:  When he woke up! Oh, they done all kinds of mean stuff.

SCHLEIDT:  Have you been back to the camp after it was dismantled? Have you seen the two chimneys?

CUNNINGHAM:  I went over there a while back, and I couldn’t tell you where nothing was at because it’s growed up, and I couldn’t remember none of that stuff, where it’s at. Chimneys and all that? I couldn’t place it.

SCHLEIDT:  There’s one chimney that has the names, I guess, of the gentleman who built the mess hall, but they’re still up there. There’s that marble plaque that has the “CCC Company” and everything on it.

CUNNINGHAM:  Mm-hm.

SCHLEIDT:  So assume that was probably the PX, commissary.

CUNNINGHAM:  Probably [unintelligible; 3-1:16].

SCHLEIDT:  Recreation.

CUNNINGHAM:  Well,—

SCHLEIDT:  And we found the cellar. We found the cellar for the mess hall. Yeah.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep. Yeah, in my own mind I could tell you where everything was at, but going over there now, I couldn’t tell you because it’s growed up.

SCHLEIDT:  Yeah. You know, we’re going to burn it again this coming year.

CUNNINGHAM:  Say what?

SCHLEIDT:  We’re going to burn the area around the camp, mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  Behind my barracks there—there’s four barracks, and behind there is where the bath house was.

SCHLEIDT:  Behind yours?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep, behind the barracks. There’s a line of four barracks, and behind it is where the bath house was, and down in front was where the administration building was.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  And back to your left is the Forest Service office and [unintelligible; 3-2:06] office, and a kitchen, and up on the hill was a [unintelligible; 3-2:09]. On the other side of the kitchen was a shop, blacksmith shop, and the administration building was across the road right where the Missouri Camp used to be. That’s where I take my driver’s test. They put you—[unintelligible; 3-2:31] [on top of your head? 3-2:33], under a [chart? 3-2:35] that tells moving like this, how much you moved. You’d be surprised how far you would move standing still. You wouldn’t think you would move.

SCHLEIDT:  Right. Why’d they do that?

CUNNINGHAM:  I don’t know, to test your nerves or something. I don’t know.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh. Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Some of the guys[unintelligible; 3:2:52].

SCHLEIDT:  [Laughs.] Oh, my gosh!

CUNNINGHAM:  They had a lot of stuff that was [unintelligible; 2-3:59].

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. Did they have a library?

CUNNINGHAM:  A what?

SCHLEIDT:  A library.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Did they have books? Magazines?

CUNNINGHAM:  That was in the PX building there, I guess, but I never did—I never [unintelligible; 3-3:07]. I thought [unintelligible; 3-3:20]. [Laughs.]

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh. So what did you do after you left the CCCs in 1939?

CUNNINGHAM:  I drove a truck, dump truck down here on 71 Highway for a while, and that wasn’t too long because I went in the Army.

SCHLEIDT:  And then you went into the Army. What year was that?

CUNNINGHAM:  Nineteen forty-one.

SCHLEIDT:  Where did you serve?

CUNNINGHAM:  Pacific. I was serving in New Guinea.

SCHLEIDT:  Really! Wow.

CUNNINGHAM:  I was over there. [It was three years. ? 3-3:58].

SCHLEIDT:  Is that you right there?

CUNNINGHAM:  That’s me right there.

SCHLEIDT:  What is he pinning?

CUNNINGHAM:  In Australia. That’s a Silver Star.

SCHLEIDT:  Wow! What did you do?

CUNNINGHAM:  I got a Silver Star.

SCHLEIDT:  You got a Silver Star for being a good boy.

CUNNINGHAM:  I volunteered to go across the river. I received sniper fire. [The kid who guided us? 3-4:20] was wounded.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. And that was in Australia?

CUNNINGHAM:  That was in New Guinea.

SCHLEIDT:  New Guinea?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, but I took that picture in Australia.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Then I got another somewhere. [unintelligible; 3:37] up there is a Purple Heart. I got a Purple Heart, too. Got a Purple Heart and a Silver Star.

SCHLEIDT:  So how long did you stay in the military?

CUNNINGHAM:  I was overseas nearly three years.

SCHLEIDT:  So that’s about 1944? And then you came back?

CUNNINGHAM:  I went over in ’41 and came back in ’44, I guess.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  I went overseas in May in ’42. May of ’42 I went overseas. And I don’t know what month I came back.

SCHLEIDT:  So you came back here? Were you discharged when you got back?

CUNNINGHAM:  No, I volunteered to work the kitchen over at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs.

SCHLEIDT:  At what hotel?

CUNNINGHAM:  Arlington.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Worked over there as a—I washed dinner. But I didn’t wash them. I stacked dishes. But I volunteered there so I was close to home. I stayed there until I got my discharge.

SCHLEIDT:  I see. And then after that you got married?

CUNNINGHAM:  [Laughs.] Yup, that’s when we got married, after I got out.

SCHLEIDT:  And where did you move to? Back here? To Mena?

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 3-6:14]. We’ve been on this place for sixty-something years. [Laughs.] [unintelligible; 3-6:18] built this house.

SCHLEIDT:  You built the house?

CUNNINGHAM:  My dad and uncle started it. We lived in here for years without [unintelligible; 3-6:29]. It was just wide open. Just the studs standing [down? 3-6:36]. Back then, we didn’t have money to do that. We’d just [unintelligible; 3-6:40]. [Laughs.]

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  About the same paying rent, [unintelligible; 3-6:48]. We lived in a little old two- or three-room house that his brother house. They let us stay up there while they was building this.

SCHLEIDT:  So this is where you raised all your children.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep, right here.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 3-7:05] bedroom.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, our oldest son was born about where she’s sitting there.

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

CUNNINGHAM:  Had a bed there.

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  We gave him the bed. And we still got the vanity and the chest of drawers. He still uses some of his stuff.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, boy.

MRS. CUNNINGHAM:  But when we’re gone, he’s supposed to get that.

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm. So do you go down to Shady Lake to recreate, to the Shady Lake recreation area?

CUNNINGHAM:  Say what, now?

SCHLEIDT:  Do you go down to Shady Lake?

CUNNINGHAM:  When?

SCHLEIDT:  Afterwards. Do you go camping down there?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, we went there a time or two.

SCHLEIDT:  Do you go fishing? Reunions? Did you go to the reunions, the CCC reunions?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. Yeah, I went to the reunions. That’s where Larry got all his stuff. His daddy [Dave Lay] was over there at this point. We called him Putsy Lay, [unintelligible; 3-7:59]. But Dave’s nickname was Putsy.

SCHLEIDT:  Putsy?

CUNNINGHAM:  Putsy, Putsy Lay.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

Um, there was something else. I wanted to give you a short little tape about the CCCs. The Forest Service put that together. That’s a DVD. And here’s a pin that the Forest Service created two years ago for the anniversary.

CUNNINGHAM:  Okay.

SCHLEIDT:  And that’s for you.

CUNNINGHAM:  Thank you.

SCHLEIDT:  You’re welcome.

Now,—

CUNNINGHAM:  Well, I can say that I didn’t get the education, but the experience is better really than education.

SCHLEIDT:  This is an old map. I don’t know if you want it. It’s an old map of Shady Lake. [Unrolls map.] [unintelligible; 3-9:07] in 1938.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  And so it shows you the old roads and the new roads. And I guess at one point—where am I?—that’s D and C, A, B. Okay, there’s that little cabin. Okay, and I guess at some point they were hoping to put cabins here. They were going to rent cabins.

CUNNINGHAM:  That bridge I was talking about is right in here.

SCHLEIDT:  Yes, sir, the bridge is right here. That’s a two-span bridge.

CUNNINGHAM:  Now, where’s that other?

SCHLEIDT:  It’s outside the recreation area. It’s on the way. It’s on the road from the Baileys’ house, the farm. There’s another single-span rock bridge before you get to the entrance.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. Okay. [I’m sure this old road? 3-10:05] went through here.

SCHLEIDT:  The old road?

CUNNINGHAM:  The old road went—

SCHLEIDT:  No, sir. There’s the diving dock, floating diving dock.

CUNNINGHAM:  That old road went right through here.

SCHLEIDT:  Hmm. See, this was made in 1938.

CUNNINGHAM:  That road come right through here.

SCHLEIDT:  You think that was an old road that existed before they built the lake?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, before they built the lake.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay, that would make sense.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  So it’s all under water now.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, it’s all under water now. But where that bridge is—I mean, there’s a diving dock and all. That’s where—right over there.

SCHLEIDT:  Interesting. Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  Went right through this. There was an old culvert right in there, [unintelligible; 3-10:46] the water.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.  I’ve seen when they empty the lake, you can see holes, posts in the ground.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. So I just assumed maybe they were an old dock, because the dock’s not there anymore. Okay, so it’s an old road with an old bridge.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah. Well, I [unintelligible; 3-11:17] I was going to look for  the culvert right over there, and that’s where I [went to fish? 3-11:20].

SCHLEIDT:  Mm-hm.

CUNNINGHAM:  And then this water dam wasn’t exactly where I thought it was.

SCHLEIDT:  I think that’s the other bridge.

CUNNINGHAM:  Neh, [I think this bridge? 3-11:42] there is just a culvert.

SCHLEIDT:  I’m trying to remember the entrance, because that’s the new road.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yep.

SCHLEIDT:  Yep, 38 onto [unintelligible; 3-11:52] towers. Okay. All right.

CUNNINGHAM:  About here, ain’t much of a bridge that I remember.

SCHLEIDT:  It’s just a single span. It’s a smaller version of the larger one inside the recreation area. Would you like the map?

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. Well, it’s yours, then.

CUNNINGHAM:  Thank you.

SCHLEIDT:  Yeah, no problem.

Is there anything else you can think of? If not, give me a call. If there’s anything else you remember that you think would be of interest, just give me a call or write to me, or if you find anybody else still alive—[Laughs.]—and wants to talk to me.

CUNNINGHAM:  [Chuckles.] You get old, your mind works slow.

SCHLEIDT:  That’s okay. You have memories that are not written anywhere else, so—

Did you ever read the newspaper that the boys put out, the Shady Lake Gap?

CUNNINGHAM:  I probably did, but I don’t remember.

SCHLEIDT:  No? Okay. Because I have—they have those on microfiche at the university, and I got a chance to copy some of them. It’s pretty interesting, what you guys did.

CUNNINGHAM:  Do you live at Oden?

SCHLEIDT:  Yes, sir. I live at the Oden Ranger Station.

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 3-13:16].

SCHLEIDT:  In one of the government houses, the one inside the woods.

CUNNINGHAM:  Yeah, I know where it is.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay. Yeah.

CUNNINGHAM:  See, I used to volunteer driving up to the [unintelligible; 3-13:32]. I drove eleven years, and I got too old and didn’t pass the test.

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  No, I was ready to take myself off because I was having heart trouble. If I’d have started [unintelligible; 3-13:50]—you know, [unintelligible; 3-13:54]. And I told the doctor—I said, “Now, I don’t want to be an unsafe driver. If you think I shouldn’t be driving, I want you to tell me so.”

SCHLEIDT:  Wow.

CUNNINGHAM:  He [unintelligible; 3-14:02]. He said, “I don’t think you ought to be driving.” I said, “That’s what I wanted to know.” I didn’t want to be an unsafe driver.

SCHLEIDT:  Yeah.

CUNNINGHAM:  But I enjoyed it. I drove eleven years.

SCHLEIDT:  As a volunteer?

CUNNINGHAM:  I used to stop there at the ranger station [unintelligible; 3-14:24] the mail.

SCHLEIDT:  Oh, okay.

CUNNINGHAM:  [unintelligible; 3-14:25]. They stopped that. Now they have to go down there in Oden to [pick up the mail? 3-14:29].

SCHLEIDT:  Uh-huh.

CUNNINGHAM:  Used to pick them—anywhere on the road, they’d pick them up, and now they won’t do that.

SCHLEIDT:  No?

CUNNINGHAM:  Uh-uh. They got to be a certain place now before they [pick you up? 3-14:40].

SCHLEIDT:  Okay.

All right. Well, I think that concludes our interview. Like I said, if there’s anything else you want to share, let me know. And if you come across any photographs,  I’d really like to get a hold of some photographs.

 

[End of interview.]