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Albert Marion Pippen was born in 1915 in Whitakers, Edgecombe County. His father and Mack Braswell owned and jointly worked a farm outside Tarboro, but after the partner’s death Pippen’s father sold his portion and bought another farm. He did well, and proceeded to speculate in farmland, buying and selling properties in the area. The elder Pippen also went into the mercantile business in Hamilton with his brother Thurston Pippen. Pippen Sr. married Glynn Andrews, Albert’s mother, in 1903. Albert Marion Pippen’s older brothers and sisters were born on the farm near Whitakers, as was Pippen himself some years later. Pippen has many memories of his boyhood, including taffy pulls; watermelon parties; hogs under the schoolhouse; and attending both the Whitakers Methodist Episcopal South Church and Bethany Christian Church. He says as a tiny child he would be carried to church and then wake up in his bed at home. After the school’s establishment in his second-grade year, Pippen attended the Woodland School, which his father had helped found. Pippen was apparently a delicate boy (suffering from “nerves”) and was never accepted by the draft board for service (he indicates he was “borderline” 4F). He went to work for the National Biscuit Company as a saleman. He also learned how to fly. In 1947 he was transferred as a Nabisco Special Representative to Rocky Mount, where he managed to buy a house with the financial help of local celebrity Kay Kyser, a well-known bandleader and radio personality who’d been born in Rocky Mount. Pippen seems to have bonded with Kyser’s wife, Georgia Carroll, over the Kyser daughter’s love of Nabisco Arrow Root Biscuits. Pippen says race relations were always good, as far as he was concerned, and mentions the close relationship between his family and the African American Parker family who worked for them and looked out for his mother when his father was away. Pippen has several good anecdotes about early family life, including the time he and a friend “built” a wooden airplane and tried to launch it off the shed roof (disastrously); his mother’s failed attempt to learn how to drive; his mother’s expertise with a handgun and shotgun which she would “shoot from the hip,” and skill at killing hawks who menaced her chickens; and his own lack of skill at killing chickens. Pippen was a keen genealogist, and had traced the Pippens to their arrival in America in the 1630s and 1640s. He concludes the interview with a good story about a forebear whose wife managed against the odds to bring her wounded Confederate husband home to Tarboro from the Petersburg battlefield.

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