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Interview conducted with Wiley Tripp May (b. 10/17/1936) as part of the Nash County Oral Histories Project. May speaks about growing up in the Red Oak community of Nash County. He mentions that his mother was a teacher for 35 years, and talks about what it was like the year she taught him. He recounts rural folklore, telling a story passed down for generations about farmers using dynamite to stop stray dogs from stealing their eggs. May describes hitch-hiking to Red Oak from ECU during Hurricane Hazel; seeing cars flipped by the wind while driving on the highway, and taking shelter in a service station in Rocky Mount where he watched the metal roof of a warehouse peeled off like a sardine can lid. He remembers where he was when WWII ended. He speaks about an uncle who served in several major battles during the war, mentioning his post-war reaction to loud noises and aircraft flying overhead. May also recount where he was when Kennedy was assassinated. He talks about his grandfather being born during the Civil War and growing up during the Reconstruction Era. May tells a gruesome story he was told by his father about the method of punishment used by the Ku Klux Klan against a black man accused of raping a white woman. He discusses his father’s battle with colon cancer; implies his father chose to take his own life to avoid becoming a burden on the family. May recounts seeing his wife for the first time at a drive-in theater; mentions they had 2 daughters together and have 2 grandsons.

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