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h [electronic resource] / interviewed by Harris Mullen.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (46 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
Carlton-Anthony Tampa oral history project
Interview conducted on August 13, 1996.
Mode of access: World Wide Web
p Original version:
n VHS videocassette.
John F. Germany has had a long and distinguished legal career in the Tampa Bay Area, including practicing in many areas of the law and serving as Circuit Judge from 1959-1966. Discussion topics vary from life in post-Depression rural Plant City to his current multi-state law firm. On November 1, 1999, Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa dedicated the downtown library "The John F. Germany Library" to honor the work he has done for libraries and other activities in the community.
Hillsborough County (Fla.)
Mullen, Harris H.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
University of South Florida.
Resource Center for Florida History and Politics.
Oral History Program.
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E T h i s O r a l H i s t o r y i s c o p y r i g h t e d b y t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a L i b r a r i e s O r a l H i s t o r y P r o g r a m o n b e h a l f o f t h e B o a r d o f T r u s t e e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 7 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d T h i s o r a l h i s t o r y m a y b e u s e d f o r r e s e a r c h i n s t r u c t i o n a n d p r i v a t e s t u d y u n d e r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e F a i r U s e F a i r U s e i s a p r o v i s i o n o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o p y r i g h t L a w ( U n i t e d S t a t e s C o d e T i t l e 1 7 s e c t i o n 1 0 7 ) w h i c h a l l o w s l i m i t e d u s e o f c o p y r i g h t e d m a t e r i a l s u n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s F a i r U s e l i m i t s t h e a m o u n t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t m a y b e u s e d F o r a l l o t h e r p e r m i s s i o n s a n d r e q u e s t s c o n t a c t t h e U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H F L O R I D A L I B R A R I E S O R A L H I S T O R Y P R O G R A M a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a 4 2 0 2 E F o w l e r A v e n u e L I B 1 2 2 T a m p a F L 3 3 6 2 0
Interview with: John Germany Interviewed by: Harris Mullen Location: Tampa, Florida Date: August 13, 1996 Transcribed by: N/A Audit Edited by: N/A Final Edit by: N/A M:= Harris Mullen G:= John Germany M: Welcome to the USF Library's Oral History Program. I am Harris Mullen and our guest today is John Germany. I'm really looking forward to this program today because I think I may find out some things about John that I didn't know before. I have known John a long time. He's got a colorful background. We'll learn more about him as we go along, but I want you to know a couple of little things about him. This boy used to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning and deliver the Tampa Tribune. He lived in Plant City. I don't know if he went to berry school or not; but how many people do you know that got up at 3 o'clock in the morning, delivered the Tampa Tribune and went on to Harvard Law School? How did you get that kind of start John? Tell us little bit about your early beginnings. G: Well Harris, you've got to know that we're talking about a frame of time. We're talking about 1937. When you think? about 1937 everybody had to get out and earn a living, even at an early age. It was still the era of the depression. The best available job for a youngster was delivering newspapers. Not only did we deliver newspapers, we collected. On Saturday mornings that's what we did, every Saturday morning. We got up and delivered everyday but collected on Saturday. I learned a very valuable economic lesson then, and that is the fact that they guy with the biggest automobile in the driveway is not necessarily the one who pays his bills on time. Harris, since you came from the big city of Tampa you probably didn't realize that in those days Plant City had a lot of dirt roads. When I first started delivering I got the worst paper route, and I was the most ill-equipped to handle it. I was about as big as a minute then and weighed about 110 pounds. I delivered the papers on a bicycle, with small tires. At 3 o'clock every morning I got up, got my papers and went down these dirt roads. Many times that kick-stand would give way on the bicycle and the papers would just spread out all over the place. I'd have to pick them up and get back and deliver them. I will say that circumstances like this help build character. In later years when I was more experienced and physically
able I had the downtown route where the streets were close together. That's the way it works. At the end of three years of delivering papers I had saved enough money to go the University of Florida. I started in 1940. You will remember that this was the time that Hitler was over-running the Soviet Union and that England was just hanging on by a thread. While we recognized that this was going on, we did not realize that it would eventually affect us. But then, in our second year, Pearl Harbor came about; and all of the sudden everybody want to join the army. It's strange for today's young people to hear, but the Second World War was really a popular war. It was not one where you wanted to go to Oxford to keep from going to Vietnam. It was a situation in which you wanted to join up because everyone else was joining up, and we were fighting for the cause of freedom. I joined the reserves in November 1942. In 1943, our reserve unit was taken into service. This was the advanced ROTC and we were sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for basic training. I'll guarantee you, I saw a lot of dirty dishes during that period of time. We were sent back to the University of Florida for a short period of time and then to Fort Knox, Kentucky. There I went to the Tank Corps and from there into Europe. One of the things I modestly admit is that when Hitler saw me coming, he gave up! Then when my division was to be sent to Japan, Truman dropped the Atomic bomb. I still claim credit when Hirohito heard that I was coming, he gave up! You probably have never talked to anyone who claims credit for both victories in Europe and the Far East. I decided to go on to Japan and ended my tour of duty there. I taught in a there for a year to earn enough money to go to Harvard Law School. I graduated from Harvard Law School in 1950. M: Why did you decide not to go to University of Florida Law School? G: Well, Harris you know, when I talked to people they would say: "John, if you're going to be a lawyer you're going to have to go to the University of Florida. This is where you build the ties that will enable you to get business the rest of your life." I had kind of a stubborn streak in me. I considered Harvard to be the best law school. That's all I needed to put on my resume. And, Harris, I think I did the right thing. It has been a great experience, and the network that I developed at Harvard nationwide was much larger that the network that I would have developed at the University of Florida. M: Well, you came back and you went to work as a lawyer, right? G: Right, in Tampa. M: Tell us about the evolution of that and particularly in your association with
LeRoy Collins. I think that's the key. G: Well, this was a period of time in which the soldiers from the Second World War were coming back into the work stations, and they were not afraid of new ideas. For instance, when I started practicing law, one of the most active organizations in Tampa was the Junior Chamber of Commerce. They were very active in city and county affairs. They were instrumental in starting a Crime Commission. We had a lot of crime, and for years the older people had been running the organizations. But now, with the influx of these soldiers coming out of the army and the schools, they were taking over. It was an exciting period of time. In 1953 we had an election in which Dan McCarty ran for governor. He was opposed by a fella by the name of Brailey Odem. Brailey started the talkathon on radio, and it became so popular that he almost beat Dan McCarty in the runoff. Dan McCarty had been highly favored. A tragic thing occurred. Dan was inaugurated in 1954 and died right after the inauguration. Under our Constitution, the President of the United States Senate would be the acting governor. The President of the Senate at that time was a fella by the name of Charley Johns from Stark, Florida. He became acting governor. However, he had to run again in 1954 for the right to succeed himself. We had never had a situation like that in the state of Florida. The candidates for the governorship were the incumbent Charley Johns, Brailey Odem, who was a real contender, and then all of a sudden out of Tallahassee came this fella by the name of LeRoy Collins. He was a State Senator and had been active in education but was not that well known throughout the state. LeRoy Collins came to Hillsborough County and needed somebody to work in his campaign. I had admired Collins' work in the Senate, and I was young and full of vim and vigor and not afraid to take on an underdog. I joined up to work in his campaign. It was a question whether or not Collins could get into the runoff because Brailey Odem had been so popular before. But Collins did get into the runoff with Charley Johns. In the vote count Charley had been far ahead of Roy, and in the euphoria of his success he agreed to debate Roy. We didn't have television in Tampa in those days, and the debate of May 13, 1954 was to take place in Miami. My wife was pregnant with our first child, and she was due within a few days. We listened to the debate on the radio. They had a time limit, and Roy would always stop the second the time limit was up. But Charley Johns would keep right on talking. My wife would get furious with his breaking the rules of the debate. But anyway, just before the debate one of the people in the studio came up and showed Roy a copy of an ad that was to be in the next day's Miami Herald. The ad proclaimed that Johns had been the winner of the debate. Roy carried through with his debate. And just before it ended Roy said, "Governor Johns, I want to show you the ad that you have placed in tomorrow morning's Miami Herald." With that he put the ad right in front of the
television camera. Of course, Charley couldn't answer the question of how it got in there. M: He chewed him up pretty good. G: Oh! he did, in the debate, and that ruined Charley's campaign. Roy was elected governor. And, I want you to know that my daughter was born the next morning. My wife got so excited during the debate that she gave birth to the baby the next day. So, those are well embodied in my mind. And, Roy took over in 1955. M: So that started your association with Governor Collins. Tell us about it from there on. G: Well, Roy asked me to come to Tallahassee and be his legislative aide in the 55 sessions of the legislature. In those days the legislature met 60 days every two years. Now they meet two years every 60 days it seems like. Anyway, I moved my family up to Tallahassee, and I handled his legislation before the Florida Legislature. And those were the days in which we had to reapportion the legislature. The legislature was pretty well ruled by what we called the "Pork Chop Gang." That term was developed by the editor of the Tampa Tribune, Jimmy Clendenen. The legislature was very unfairly apportioned. For instance, the county of Dade had one state senator and Jefferson County with 10,000 had one state senator. They had equal representation in the Florida legislature. The state senator from Jefferson County was one of the deans of the Senate. His name was Dill, Clark, and he was getting on in years. But Dill Clark had a lot of power. Being a banker, he would lend money to the incoming freshmen senators, never asked for payment of it and just kept notes. But, even the Pork Chop Gang knew that they had to do something to reapportion the state. Jefferson County had lost population in the last 10 years. Right next to Jefferson County was little Liberty County which was mostly made up of pine trees. They decided that they would combine Liberty County with Jefferson County in reapportionment. They showed this to Dill Clark and said, "Senator, what do you think of this?" There was a long silence, and Dill Clark said, "If you give me Liberty, you give me death!" That killed that bill, right there. I mean he was that powerful. Roy kept vetoing the bills that they passed, and it actually took the Supreme Court in the case of Baker v. Carr, to bring about reapportionment. Roy had a very difficult time in getting his programs across because of this fact....I mean we had to do it with a lot of merit and the help of a very few people. One of them was Verle Pope from St. Augustine. Another was Doyle Carlton, Jr. from Wachula. These were stand-up people, real heros, at that period of time.
M: This was a real critical period in the integration school and.... G: Yes. During this period of time, candidates were using the integration issue as a way of providing a platform for higher office. One brilliant legislature did this, and he pushed something called the "interposition resolution" in which he was going to interpose Florida between the Constitution and what we had to do. Roy couldn't veto resolutions and wrote a stinging message on it. Of course, it never did anything. It was a useless thing, but that person used that interposition resolution to later become the governor of the state of Florida. The Roy's...I don't know whether you remember this or but, when Roy was going out of office he made a speech in Jacksonville which was a very courageous speech in which he said, "Even though it may be the law of the land that we segregate, it is not right to do." He appealed to the conscience of the citizens of the State of Florida for the purpose of integration. I mean it was a situation in which blacks could not go down to Woolworth's and have lunch at the lunch counter with anybody else, and he was in the vanguard in doing something about it. Because of this, he was tapped by President Johnson to head the agency which was trying to develop this all over the country. When he left Washington, he ran for the U. S. Senate. A fella by the name of Gurney ran against him and tied this whole thing about integration around his neck. Roy was defeated. To me it was a sad thing, because I think Roy Collins was one of the greatest statesmen this state has ever produced. M: Inaudible... G: Oh yea! because if you looked to see what was happening in Alabama and in Georgia, what they were doing, and Florida came through relatively unscathed. It was a wonderful thing. M: Well, you didn't stay in Tallahassee forever. You got involved in a judgeship somewhere. G: Well, Roy asked me to stay and I said, "No, I'm going to return to the practice of law in Tampa." In 1955, we had redone the judicial system and had initiated a new level of courts call the Court of Appeals. Roy asked me to go on the Court of Appeals for the Second District which was headquartered in Lakeland. Under the Constitution, an appointee had to have 10 years of law practice and I did not qualify. But shortly thereafter, Circuit Judge Henry Tillman died in office. Roy called and asked if I'd want to go on the Circuit bench and my wife said, "don't do it. Judges are still older than my father." To show you this Country's short
existence, Judge Tillman was the son of Pitchfork Ben Tillman, who had been a senator from South Carolina during the Civil War. M: How old were you? G: I was 35. But, I said, I can always get off the bench but I can't always get on. So I went to the bench in January of 1959 and stayed until September of 1966. I started back in the practice of law. M: You frequently talk about leaders. Can you remember some of the people who stick out at real leaders during that period of time, as far as the history of Tampa is concerned? G: We were very fortunate, Harris, during that period of time, to have outstanding political and business leaders. Elsworth Simmons, for instance, was the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and a real leader. Sam Gibbons represented Hillsborough County in the House of Representatives, and Sam had the idea that this area needed an urban university. This is the inception of my long continuing interest in the University of South Florida. Let me tell you how the University was created. The three Florida universities at that time were Florida A & M, Florida State in Tallahassee, and the University of Florida in Gainesville. With all of the burgeoning population in the area a university was needed where students could commute. Sam introduced a bill in the 1955 legislature to create such a university. First of all, it had been planned in the '53 legislative session. It passed pretty easily because they didn't think it would ever come about. In the 1955 legislature we looked at the funding. Jim Moody was chairman of the appropriations committee at that session and he got the funding bill passed. Jim Moody was from Plant City and was another great leader. M: Speaker? G: No, he wasn't speaker, he was chairman of the appropriations committee. The bill got passed for funding and it came to the governor's office and my job was to take the bills to the governor's office and discuss them with him as to whether or not he should either sign them or veto them. Well, there was a lot of controversy. You've got to remember that the University of Florida Alumni had the largest representation in the legislature. FSU was increasing its alumni representation, but they were still far behind. They joined forces to defeat this bill because they did not want to see another university to dilute the funding for the existing universities. So Roy Collins, the governor, was peppered with arguments down playing the need
for a new university at all. We argued with Roy that we did need an urban university, and finally he signed the bill. Once the funding was obtained and the bill was signed, the question then was where it should be located. Our biggest competitor was St. Petersburg across the Bay. Under the leadership of Elsworth Simmons the county gave the university 1,000 acres. This area was once Henderson Air Force Base. Then a developer by the Sansong from Dade County gave the university an additional 700 acres. The entire 1,700 was across from the Fowler Avenue Industrial Park which incorporated a Schlitz Brewery. The Pinellas opposition derided us by calling it "Bottlecap U." This 1700 acres could make a very large campus, as opposed to FSU's 400 acres, which it has done. We had to attend all of the meetings of the Board of Control and they finally chose this location to build a new university. Once again, the forces from out of the community did not want it to be called anything like the University of South Florida. They said, first of all, it's not south Florida. They wanted to make it the University of Temple Terrace. The one thing on which we stood firm was that the name had to include the word Florida to give it status. We weren't really central Florida, so we plugged for the present name and finally got it. That was not easy! However, in 1956 the ground breaking took place for the University of South Florida, and Dr. John Allen came from the University of Florida to become its first president. He had a vision of establishing an academic university, and he chose not to have a football team. In fact, one of the first buildings was the library. He was a wonderful president for the University and Grace Allen was close by his side at every endeavor. Now, of course, it is thought that a university must have a football team as a rallying point especially a commuter university in need of esprit de corps. The University of South Florida had a shaky start but Governor Collins speaking at the 25th Anniversary of the University's founding said that the crowning achievement of his term of office was the creation of the University of South Florida. M: You've been pretty close to the library all along, I think...I don't think a lot of people recognize the depth of the USF Library. This is really a regional library and with great opportunities for future assistance to the area. G: This is the second library building, and now they're going to add on to this. I'm really pleased about what they are doing. This led me to an interest in libraries other than the University of South Florida. Until the '60s, Tampa had never built a main library. Andrew Carnegie built one on 7th Avenue for the City in 1917. I would go to that downtown library, and you could hardly get in because of the bodies lying all over the place trying to get books. So, an organization called "The Friends of the Library" was created. We decided that we would try to get a new downtown
library built. This was when Nick Nuccio was mayor and I was chairman of The Friends. I went to him and said, "Mayor, if I can find a way to finance a library, will you build it?" He said, "Yes" and he lived up to his word. I found that we had a cigarette tax that had not been fully used. I went to New York and researched the fact that we could use a cigarette tax this way, and that's the way the downtown library was built. M: Well, you're sort of a Judge Emeritus. Did you get involved in recent conversations about the quality of the judicial system in respect to some of the recent trials and so forth that have been plastered all over the newspapers and television? How has the judiciary evolved since you were on the bench? Is there something new that we don't know about? G: There was something called the Missouri System in which the judicial candidate would run against his record rather than against an opponent. Florida adopted this for the appellate court and for the Supreme Court. We do not have it for the circuit judges. We have never been able to sell the people on the idea that this is a better way to elect your judges than by popular vote. For instance, I had to run when I was 35. Everyone thought I was a young whipper-snapper and shouldn't be on the bench. It's hard to go out and say that I give better justice than Harris Mullen my opponent does. It so happened at this time in 1959 that James Clendenen, editor of the Tampa Tribune, invited me to accompany a group of newspaper editors to the Soviet Union. My wife was scared to death as she was pregnant with our third child, and Khrushchev was over here banging his shoe on his desk at the United Nations. No one I knew had been to the Soviet Union, and I reasoned that on my return I could speak with authority and that might help with my re-election to the bench. I was invited to speak many time but the most memorable time was at the Roosevelt P. T. A. The meeting had gone on entirely too long. When it was finally my time to speak, the President Rebecca Smith said, "Now Judge Germany will take ten minutes to tell us about the social and economic life of the Soviet Union!" Anyway, it was fun! I do want to say that Harris and I have known each other and enjoyed each other over the years. He's known my wife for much longer that he's known me. M: I really have. G: At the present time we live on Mullen Avenue which is a street developed by Harris' dad in the early 1920s. The Mullen name is long in the history of Tampa. I want to point that out.
M: I was always a little bit inhibited by Mary Ellen. She was the only girly that could beat me in half-court basketball. G: That's my wife. She's still a good athlete. She claims also ping-pong. M: Yes, she's an excellent ping-pong player. How about other leaders? Can you recall others influentials in our history. We have a brand new bunch of leaders here in Tampa who might not realize who came before them. G: Well, the Chamber of Commerce was very important in those days Harris and still is. M: Considered one of the best chambers in the country. G: Right. Scott Christopher had done a splendid job at the Chamber. We have had excellent presidents in the Chamber. In those days, the leaders in the Chamber usually came from the banks, the utility companies, and so forth. For instance, Bill McGinnis was a real power during his life in which he not only was the head of Tampa Electric but then moved over to be the CEO of the Exchange Bank. Fred and Howard Frankland were important leaders. M: Howard Frankland? G: Howard Frankland was a member of the Road Board, and the Howard Frankland Bridge was named for him. It was people like that who kept this community going, and we owe a big debt of gratitude to them. M: Well you kind of think about the stadium a little bit, how the community got behind that stadium. It's do different in contrast to what it is today. It was kind of a joke at first, Tampa having a big stadium like that. The Chamber and everybody got behind it, and that thing just evolved. Now it's a different ball game. G: Now it's called Houlihan's. One of the things that shows progress Harris, is the fact that we're thinking in terms of Tampa Bay instead of just Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. You know the outside world looks upon us as Tampa Bay. M: It's hard to sell though, you know. G: Well it's going to be easier to sell because we have different advantages.
They've got the beaches and we are more industrial. However, I'm not sure that we are ahead in that area because a lot of small industries have been established in Pinellas County. We need to think about it. We must sell ourselves, package ourselves, as the Tampa Bay area. Like they have the baseball team, we have the football team; and of course this new Ice Palace that's going up is state of the art. That's going to be a wonderful thing. The Yankees' Legend Field will be a tremendous asset. M: You know the tri-cities, Clearwater, St. Pete and Tampa have not worked well together in the past. I hope we have a new solution to that. G: We do have an organization called the Golden Triangle started a long time ago by Cody Fowler and a couple of others from St. Pete and Clearwater. The purpose was to get the people from the tri-cities together on a social basis, thereby hoping to develop more of a business relationship. It meets twice a year in a formal setting, black tie, at a dinner dance. Also, one time they have a stag party. Though it has done some good, it hasn't accomplished what we had hoped for. M: What's changing in the legal world? Is there something new going on with the lawyers and firms that we ought to know about? I know that you're trying to build one of the biggest firms in the country. I guess we shouldn't name it by name, but it sounds like Holland & Knight. G: What's happening, Harris, is the fact that we're really turning out too many lawyers. It hurts me to see that two prior proprietary schools have just been established in Florida this year, one in Jacksonville and one in Orlando. The have high tuition, and they're unaccredited. Those students cannot take the Florida Bar because they are graduates of unaccredited law schools. Once they've graduated, there will be a build-up of pressure to let them take the Bar. The law firms are not hiring as many as they used to, and when that occurs, the best students are still sought after by all the law firms. Then 75% of the graduates must scramble for a place to earn a living. Many of these have to go out and hang out a shingle on their own or join together with their classmates to form a law firm; and they are really not qualified to practice law, Harris. For instance, the larger firms have a mentoring system. When the top graduates come from the law school they're still under the wing of senior lawyers watching what they do. The Florida Bar certifies that these people who pass the Bar are capable of handling any kind of problem that the consuming public needs. And, the Bar owes the public a responsibility. We've got to do something about it. We've done studies. I've been on a committee in which we've talked about the clerkship for lawyers passed by the Bar, much like the
doctors have. It's never sold, but something has got to be done about this. M: Well you're active in the ABA still. American Lawyers...you just came from a convention didn't you? What happened there? G: Yes. One of my partners was the former president of the American Bar, Chesterfield Smith. He was also the real father of the present Florida Constitution. One of my present partners is a woman who is chairman of the House of Delegates and is running for the presidency of the American Bar for the year 2000 or 1999. I was involved in talking to the state delegates for Martha Barnett from our Tallahassee office. M: Are we going to get a new constitution? G: Oh, there is a requirement that a new commission be appointee. That will be appointed very shortly to review the constitution. M: What does the constitution need? G: Well, it certainly needs fine tuning in several respects. M: Well maybe they could put you on the commission. Good paying job. G: No, I think the Commission needs younger people. M: What have you enjoyed most in your legal career? G: Well Harris, you know all of these things that I have talked about: the dirt roads in Plant City and all. I've really lived through the golden age of this century and of the practices of law. The freedom that we've had, the trying to correct the wrongs that we think exist have made for an enjoyable career. For instance, I was a generalist at the practices of law. Today we have mostly specialists. You don't have the ability to relate to the client, personally, the way I was able to. As you know, I represented Tropicana Orange Juice. Mr. Rossi, who was the founder of Tropicana and I had a very close relationship, and I'm not sure that you can do that with the CEO's of corporations these days. M: You're dealing with computers ? G: Well, we're dealing with general counsel, house counsel and this kind of stuff. A wall is set up between you and the decision-maker of the client.
M: Have you ever thought about teaching? G: Yes, that's something I would enjoy. I told you I taught... M: In Japan. What did you teach? G: Well, I taught American Government, and then I developed a course called U.S. and the Far East. I had found that the students didn't know anything about the involvement of the United States in the Far East. It was a lot of fun because it kept you on your toes. M: We know very little about the Far East's involvement over here too. G: That's right, that's right. M: You don't find many people speaking Japanese these days. G: Well you get more and more of them, I'll say that. In fact, I'm interviewing a Chinese lawyer next Tuesday. M: For your firm? G: Yes, for the firm. M: How many states is your firm involved in? G: Well presently we have nine offices in Florida. We have offices in Atlanta and Washington, D. C. We're examining whether or not we should move into New York City, which is a quantum leap from the other two areas. M: Aren't you there now? G: No, we're not in New York City now. We're just considering the possibilities. M: I thought maybe I'd get you to help them open my office up there. G: I just went up there. Once again I used the "old boy" network to take a look at the law firms in New York because my classmates are running a lot of big law firms there. They were very generous in their time and their information about what we should do and should not do in coming in.
M: A lot of great folks have come out of Plant City, I'm sure you're friendly with most of them. Redman was from Plant City. G: Jim Redman, and you know that's the... M: Moody. G: Jim Moody, Jim Moody is still... M: Very well regarded folks. G: Jim is highly regarded. Reese Smith was from Plant City. Bob Thomas was from Seffner, which is close to Plant City. Warren Cason was from Coronet, which is close to Plant City, Spring Head. We burst forth every now and then. Of course when you look at Plant City now it's very different. They have got an Olympic gold medal winner from Plant City. They had as many gold medals from Plant City as England did from the whole country. M: They did have berry schools there. You didn't go to the berry school? G: No, I didn't go to the berry school. Berry schools were very good, Harris. They filled a need. They needed the children to pick berries during the winter, so they worked the children during the winter and then the kids went to school during the summer. M: Pretty much a swap was it, that way? G: Yes. But it was more or less in the country area where they were growing the berries. They sill have berry schools. M: Berries come in around January, don't they? G: They start to come in earlier. If you're really lucky you may be able to get some fresh berries by the end of November or certainly by Christmas. I didn't realize how big the berry acreage was until recently. I was coming back down from Brandon earlier this spring, and I stopped at a berry stand. A friend of mine owned the surrounding berry fields, and they were selling berries on the side. I asked how much acreage he had, and he said 200 acres in berries. That's a lot of acreage. I used to pick those suckers, and I tell you right now my back still feels it.
M: You know they've improved that berry too. G: They've improved the life of the berry. They haven't improved the berry, Harris. The shelf life is much longer, but the old berries that you would need to eat within a day or two were so much better. They were very juicy. They're not bad now, but some of them taste like cardboard. M: The experiment station there, remember when we used to go there? G: Yes. M: Dr. Bryan, was it Bryan? G: I don't know. The University of Florida has done a very good job, not only in vegetables, but in the citrus industry. That has helped tremendously. M: Folks probably thought you'd go in to agriculture, but you pulled a swap on us. G: Not after I picked those strawberries. M: Do you ever get back to Harvard. G: Yes, I attend all my reunions. Our class had some famous and infamous people. We have sitting United States Senators, Chaffley from Rhode Island, and Stevens from Alaska. We've had several governors. We had several Court of Appeals judges. The most infamous member of the class was Cleindnst. He was the Attorney General during the Watergate thing. I enjoy going back. It's been a great experience. In fact I just talked to my law school roommate the other day. He's coming down to Florida and he's coming over to stay with us, which will be my pleasure. M: Where is he from? G: He was from upstate New York. He had gone to Yale Undergraduate and Harvard Law School and became General Council of Rank Xerox over in England. M: You have a few Harvard folks around town here, don't you? G: Yes, there is an organization called the Harvard Club of the West Coast of
Florida. M: Is that the group that gives the business award yearly? G: Yes, they're willing to accept any member from any of the graduate schools as well as undergraduate schools. One of the most active members of the undergraduate school is Bronson Thayer. He was the former chairman of the Harvard Alumni Association. M: He didn't go to law school? G: No, he did not go to law school. He was undergraduate. He loves the school, and Bronson is a big booster. His daughter went there, which is a great thing for him. She just graduated. She was on the rowing team. In fact, she worked at the Olympics with the rowing team. M: Well, I think we've hit the waterfront pretty well, John. I'm glad that the library is doing this series. I think it's very important. It's so easy to capture this stuff on tape and...maybe our kids, later on, will really like to see it, but maybe not. The really young are not too interested, but it's great to have this resource in the library. G: And Harris, you know it's so easy to forget these things. We've had a couple of deaths within the last year of people who had tremendous knowledge of what happened in the inner-workings of Ybor City and all. Their information died with them. No one every really got it from them: Manny Garcia, the lawyer, Cecil Bugby, who was one of the bag for the ...?(Mafia in the 20s) M: Then on the other side of that coin is Tony Pizzo who came out here to the University and did what we're doing now. He did ten rolls, and we have that for posterity. Tony really know his history, particularly his Latin history. G: That's wonderful. You know what he did for our firm? We used to take our summer associates to the cemetery that's right by the jailhouse. Tony would come, and he would tell the early history of Tampa by the headstones. He would say, this person was buried here and so forth, and that was a great thing. M: He knew them too. Do you still have that program from your students? G: Well, Tony died. For our summer associates we have George Howell doing it now. George has kind of become a historian, a good historian.
M: A good historian. G: And you know The Tampa Museum that Tom Touchton has put together is going to be wonderful for the Tampa area. M: Yea, Dade County has a wonderful museum like that. Some kind of budget like $6 million. G: Yes. It's great. They just got a new director, Canter Brown. I've heard him a few times, and he is extremely knowledgeable on Florida. M: Thank you, John, for allowing us to dig in your past.