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used to be on that route used to take care of his place while he was gone. He had a key to it. But uh — [clears throat] he found a hair pin in his bed one time [laughs]. That was the end of the post man so I took care of his place from then on [laughs]. [Clears throat] Um — he had two uh — two uh — secretaries there. Ms. Forest I remember her very very distinctly.INTERVIEWER: You said Mrs. Forest — ROBERT VEST: Forest was uh — I the — she was the head secretary and the other lady out there I can’t remember her name I tried hard to remember [clears throat] her name. Excuse me. But Ms. Forest was — she was in charge of everything and she was in the front room as you come in the door. The young lady was in the next room. And they did all the typing and taking care of the books and what have you.INTERVIEWER: Could Carter G. Woodson not type?ROBERT VEST: I — if he did I never saw him with a typewriter. Uh — he would dictate what he wanted. But uh — I never saw him with a typewriter. He had a very large room for his office and uh — he was always busy doing something. Very seldom did he come down to where I was. I’d be in the back there — uh — wrapping books. I had uh — wrapped them and sealed them and then tied them up and he came down to look at what I was doing one day and he was hold-ing his finger where I would make the knot and I tied it real quickly. He said, ‘you’re trying to catch my finger’. I said no but I did [laughs]. But he would often tell me — it seems to me [clears throat] he didn’t start really going up to school until very late in his life. If I recall I think he said something about he was 19 years old he worked in the mines for a while in West Virginia and he had an older sister that took care of him and his sister told him one time he told me this I — but she — but he told me his sister told him never to shine the cuspidor of a white man. Appendix A: National Park Ser vice and A S A L H O ral Hi stor y Project
214INTERVIEWER: Say that one more time.ROBERT VEST: Never shine the cuspidor of a white man.INTERVIEWER: What’s a cuspidor? ROBERT VEST: A spittoon. People used to chew tobacco and spit in this thing. Yeah.INTERVIEWER: And so wh — what did he mean by that?ROBERT VEST: He meant that he never — never to kneel to or do the shoe shine or what-ever it is to the white man. I didn’t know until later in life that he had done so many things [inaudible] [mumbling] finished Harvard and that he was principal of a high school and worked at Howard University and he was a brilliant man brilliant man. I mean you — just to talk to him you could see he was. I don’t think — my personal opinion — I don’t think that he ever thought of himself as being brilliant but uh — he carried himself in that in that manner. Uh I don’t know how you carry yourself in that manner but he was always very [inaudible] the way he spoke and what have ya. He was careful about what he was saying. Even in very general conversation. I remember when I told him I wasn’t gonna work for him anymore he said [clears throat] he used to always clear his throat first [clears throat] [quoting Woodson] ‘Miss Forest, uh, we will pay this young man. He wants to quit us’. He paid me twenty five