This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Rev. William A. Drury (CN 492, T1) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
. . . Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of though within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
. . . . Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of a incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Robert Shuster and Matthew Drobnick and completed in December 1997.
Collection 492, T1. Interview of William A. Drury by Robert Shuster, September 15, 1993.
SHUSTER: This is an interview with Reverend William A. Drury by Robert Shuster for the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College. This interview took place at...on 9... on September 15th at about 9:00 AM in Mr. Drury's home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Reverend Drury, why don't we start with some family background. What were the names of your parents?
DRURY: My dad was Joseph Drury. Irish Roman Catholic. Worked at his Catholicism, also worked for the city of New York in the Depression. I was born June 3, 1926, and he worked for the Water Department and he had a steady job. My mother was...background was French-Canadian as far as we can ascertain. It's strange that I...I didn't ask the right questions when I was a youngster as far as background. My great-grandfather evidently came from Ireland. My father's father was born in Brooklyn. My dad was born in Brooklyn. I was born in Queens, New York. We moved from house to house back in the days of the Depression. We moved...ran like a rabbit when rent came due. We moved. And spent...spent most of my formative years living in the Long Island area.
SHUSTER: What was your mother's name?
DRURY: Marguerite. Marguerite Drury had...there were seven brothers and sisters. My oldest brother Sonny died, he drowned before I was born. And then there was John and Alice and Frank and Joseph and Marguerite and then myself.
SHUSTER: You were the youngest?
DRURY: No. No, I had two younger...I didn't give them in order. But Joseph is younger than I am and then Marguerite is the youngest.
SHUSTER: And what was your mother's maiden name?
DRURY: Hunt. H..U..N..T.
SHUSTER: Hunt. How would you describe your father?
DRURY: Oh, loving, caring, a demonstrative man. Never drank. If he smoked cigar, I never saw it. Smoked a cigarette. But caring. He had the ability (my mom and dad both) (it was Depression) to know the value of the dollar bill. We always lived on borrowed money (and I've learned from that), but from what we would call today "loan sharks." Whenever you needed money you borrowed two hundred, two hundred and fifty dollars. But a...but a caring man. He was a disciplinarian to a degree, but I grew up...I grew up, Bob, in a hurry. I...I...you know, what we know today (and everybody complains about family life today, in 1993), we didn't have any family life as such. It was Depression, it was a case of existence, survival. I started to work when I was nine years of age, never quit. Like H. L. Hunt, I knew a very important thing was to have money.
SHUSTER: That's when you were working for the Jewish deli?
DRURY: Worked for the deli, worked for the deli. Right next door there was a Jewish tailor. I worked for him, I delivered clothes. Very devout. I didn't...(of course I was a kid) I didn't know if he was Orthodox or...but he was a kosher...kosher Jew to a degree. And I...I counted his money; on the holy days I cut his meat. He wouldn't used a knife, you know, in the high holy days, Jews didn't. But I...I worked in a bowling alley, I got hit with a pin in the bone. I had to work for [unclear]. I'm sure you've seen in bygone days there's these big tricycles, these ice cream boxes on wheels and you pump them over everywhere.
SHUSTER: And you used to sell ice cream on these?
DRURY: Yeah, oh yeah. I got beat up. I got robbed a couple of times and I went back out the next day. You know, we talk about survival and your discouragement in the Christian faith. What do you do when you're not a Christian? [chuckles] You just get up the next day and go, you know. And I had somebody, one of our staff, one of out Teen Haven staff (which I'm involved in today) said, "Mr. Drury, I under...I hear you talk about these different jobs that you had." (I was drafted when I was...when I was eighteen years of age) and she asked me about these jobs and we counted twenty-two different jobs before I was eighteen years of age. But I had a short temper. I'm Irish and people say that's the problem. The devil is what the problem is. But I would blow my cork after nothing and.... Back in those days right before the war when things began to change, there were jobs all over everywhere from about 1939, oh, even '38, the year we were coming out of the Depression, and there were more...especially for kids. They...they paid us probably twenty-five cents an hour or a dime an hour (I don't know what). S...but I had a lot of jobs, had a lot of jobs. Dropped out of high school when I was fourteen years of age. I don't remember much about high school but evidently I learned a little bit of Spanish in school somewhere. And then....
SHUSTER: Did you have Spanish neighbors? Or....
DRURY: No, no, no. I think I learned it in high school (I don't remember). Grammar school, you know...we went to the eighth grade back then and then four years of high school. But I don't remember...I have a vague recollection because of my track record and my truancy they transferred me. Not that I was a bad student. I was a sharp kid, I was streetwise, you know. And they transferred me to Woodrow Wilson [High School]. I don't remember one class in that school, Bob. Not a class, not a teacher. The only thing I remember was a big fight I had on the bus. You know, you just had to look cockeyed at me and.... I guess I was born with a speech impediment. I stuttered something horrible and when someone would make fun of me, you know, would just explode. And I...I had a brawl on the bus on the way to or from Woodrow Wilson High School so I don't remember much about my, quote, formal education, unquote, until I got saved.
SHUSTER: You mentioned earlier that your father worked at his Catholicism. What did you mean by that?
DRURY: Went to mass, went to mass. Believe this or not, my father would be sound asleep and he would be saying his Hail Marys in his sleep. [Recites] "Hail Mary, mother of God..." And...and we lived in cold water flats. I don't know whether you know what a cold water flat is or not but it's an apartment of sorts; you have no hot water. You have no hot water; you have to boil the water. You have to boil the water to take a bath. Rarely ever did you take a bath in the wintertime, a regular bath in the bath tub, because there was no hot water. You would heat it and throw it into a bucket and then take a sponge bath. Everybody took a sponge bath. But I would come in, he...they never said anything about it. Of course, I stayed up late working in a bowling alley. You worked until the bowling alley closed and then the gamblers came in, Bob. From ten o'clock, eleven o'clock, whenever the bowling alley closed and sometimes they were there until four o'clock in the morning. And I set pins for them, because that's where the tips were; the big tips were with...with the gamblers. And I would come home, and it was interesting. You know, you tell these stories and nobody really believes them, but you had to find out where you were going to sleep that night, which bed or if there was half a bed. [Shuster chuckles] Seriously. Because there was a mob of us, you know. And when my dad...my dad worked around the clock, worked eight to four, four to twelve, twelve to eight. And after he was home I would go in and see if he was saying his prayers. He would be sound asleep, absolutely, snoring, [makes snoring sound] "Hail Mary, mother of God..." and so on. So he worked his Cathol.... He went to mass, my mother didn't. My mother maintained that the priest (and it was probably true back in those...) told you to keep producing, having more and more children. She said, "I never wanted seven children, you know, and that dirty blankety blankety...." And she called the priests all kinds of names. So she didn't work.... And I'm not altogether sure that she was born Roman Catholic. Like I say, we know very little about the history of our...our family. My daughter is working on her second master's degree and she had to do a paper or something on....
DRURY: Yeah, and geography as...as...as to the migration of people. And she asked me and she thinks I'm absolutely stupid that I don't know anything about our past. But, you know, he...I know he went to mass, went to confession occasionally. I went to mass with him. I remember one Christmas Eve we went to mass and I was slightly inebriated, [chuckles] more than slightly, I was intoxicated.
SHUSTER: About how old were you then?
DRURY: Oh, seventeen, sixteen. And I got in to this church and I had this camel hair coat that I had just bought and stood up to take the coat off (this was many, many years ago) and I passed out. I just fell out into the aisle and they brought me out in a snow drift and they sat me there and they washed my face with snow. So I...I went to mass, I went to confession, you know, and I tried to be something like my father. And I thought...you know, even as a kid then growing up you question, you question, you question and you were taught never to question the Church, the Holy Roman Apostolic Church. And I questioned: "What about this thing called 'purgatory?' How long are you there? These people can't get themselves out of purgatory. How are they going to pray you out of purgatory?" And these questions came, you know, but he.... And...it's very interesting that Catholics can take the name of God in vain and not even know that they're doing it. Anything goes wrong my father would say, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Jesus Mary and...Jesus, Mary and Joseph, would you look at that." Not swearing, but just habit. Just habit. Everything was "Jesus, Mary and Joseph," you know. And I saw that with a priest. We met a priest in Toronto not too long ago at the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. A Roman Catholic priest, we became buddies, we...he came down and went over to my camp, to our camp.
SHUSTER: In York.
DRURY: My Teen Haven camp, and walked around and could not believe that this was not funded by some kind of denomination or the government, [that] I wouldn't take.... And he walked around (this is a clergyman, a Catholic priest), and he kept looking. He looked at a gymnasium. "Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Jesus, Mary and Joseph." And I don't know what that means, really, whether it's some kind of compliment like we say a "Praise the Lord!" or "Hallelujah!" or whatever, but it was "Jesus, Mary and Joseph." So he worked at his Catholicism...his Catholicism at any rate.
SHUSTER: Did you admire your father?
DRURY: Oh yes. Yeah, we...we played baseball, never went on a vacation. Big, big holiday. Big, big holiday was...he worked for the city of New York, as I said, the water department, and we would go Hudson River Day Line. This was a...I guess you would call it a cruise boat. But once a year the water department, city of Philadelphia [sic], five boroughs, would have a cruise. That was our holiday.
SHUSTER: You said....
DRURY: That was THE holiday of the year, 365 days. We went...once in a great while, and we didn't do it every year, we went to Coney Island. They...they...my dad didn't have a car, never owned a home, never owned a car. And we would get on a Coney Island local, which was a nickel, if we had enough nickels to go around. Believe it or not. You can tell these stories today, my kids get the violin out and say "Yeah, sure Dad." But we would go down there and spend the day there at Coney Island. One of the problems was, as I look back, trying to get our family together. They...they...they...it seems like that they were dispersed [chuckles] from the time I was nine years of age. We lived under the same room [sic], we would come home at night and everybody hunted a bed. Nobody had a room, a bed, to go to. And sometimes....
SHUSTER: Not even your parents?
DRURY: They did, yeah. They did, and I think sometimes my mother didn't want to sleep with my father because of this thing with Catholicism, you know. She...she liked him, I don't know that she really loved him in a lot of the years. 'Cause she was always fearful that "He's gonna make me pregnant again. [chuckles] I'm gonna have another child," you know.
SHUSTER: Do you see characteristics of your father in yourself?
DRURY: Oh, not really. Not really. Only that he had a bad back. I have a bad back. Sometime when we're walking I can see my father. And...but that's about it, that's about it. He was not a frugal man. I think I...I...I learned that from Christ, really, frugality. I was a gambler, I was a con-artist, I was a hustler as a kid, you know, growing up. And, as I said, he did (and I don't know if it was him or my mother).... You asked something before about the little deli, Eli Rome. Eli Rome. But these were good people, you know. And we didn't know what prejudice was when it came to white ethnic groups. We...I...I grew up a racist. I didn't even know what a racist was but I was a racist. And today, for thirty years, I've worked primarily with black young people, but I knew all the vindictive phrases: "niggers," "coons," "shines," "jungle bunnies," you know, and all those things. In those days...we have an expression today about "warehousing" people. In those days there was Harlem and South Jamaica and that was it. You could go five boroughs in New York: Queen's, Bronx, Richmond, Brooklyn, Manhattan and you would not find blacks living in these other neighborhoods. All the neighborhoods out on Long Island, they were really white. From the Queen's border, clear on out. I doubt seriously that you would find any black people out on Long Island. Yeah, what was the question?
SHUSTER: Well, we had been talking...I asked you about ways in which you resembled your father or if there were ways in which you resembled your father. Did he ever talk to you about God or about things of faith?
DRURY: No, No. Never. No. In as many years as I've ever lived, never did a Roman Catholic ever ask me to come back to Catholicism. Now that tells you something about Evangelical Christianity. So, when you're witnessing, testifying, globalizing, communicating Evangelical Christianity, if in fact that's what it is, I think that's what it ought to be. But....
SHUSTER: What does it tell you?
SHUSTER: What does it tell you?
DRURY: That it's a...a maintenance type of agreement with the church that you go because you have to go. And it's, as Paul said, a form of godlessness, a form of godlessness. A lot of Roman Catholics wouldn't quit going to church.... Well, if you deliberately, willfully miss mass, I mean that's a mortal sin. And if you die in a state of mortal sin, then you do not go to purgatory. You go to hell, and there's no way...this is what I was taught. This is what I was taught. Plus the fact that back in those days everything was in the Latin Vulgate [the Latin translation of the Bible used in Catholic churches before Vatican II], so you had no idea what was going on anyhow. If...and I don't remember, at least today there is more teaching, preaching, what they call a "homiletic" [sic] in the church, in the Roman Catholic church. I don't ever remember any kind of talk or speech in the Roman Catholic church as I was growing up. Plus the fact that, for me it was a lot of work because to go to mass, you had to go to confession. And I stuttered something horrible. And I was very fearful of that type of thing, you know, and it...it would work you over rather than you work over what you were going to say in confession. And I would be in a cold sweat, you know? But it really tells me that it's not worth having. If it's not worth sharing, it's not worth having. And I've said that to Evangelicals for forty years.
SHUSTER: Meaning your faith.
DRURY: Your faith, yeah, your faith. And it's interesting historically...historically Bob, what Catholics do not know. I...I have a nephew-in-law, a niece and they have a very devout son who is an alter boy. And that kid works...well, they do as a family. You know, they wouldn't miss mass, you know. But when I told them, I told other Catholics that in the [unclear] version which we call the Roman Catholic Bible, [coughs] excuse me, [coughs] that in the front cover it says that if you read the Bible three...if you read the Bible fifteen minutes a day you get three hundred days out of purgatory. And if you do that faithfully for something like ten days you get another fifteen hundred days out of purgatory.
SHUSTER: That's a good deal.
DRURY: It is a good deal. This is what I've said. And my nephew, who is probably the most devout Roman Catholic that I know on our side of the family, never saw that, never saw that. Showed that...showed that to his son and he said, "Daddy, we have to start reading the Bible. We're blowing it, especially you." He says, "I can catch up." [Shuster chuckles] This is a very devout Roman Catholic boy, you know. So, rarely ever, rarely ever have I talked to an informed knowledgeable Roman Catholic who had enough to share with...I learned more about Catholicism when I became an Evangelical Christian than I knew as a Catholic kid and I didn't work at it, I didn't work at it. I was a scallywag [a rascal] and if I worked at it I would have to go to confession every week. And that's...that's...I think that Catholics that work at their Catholicism probably do that, you know.
DRURY: But I did not work at my Catholicism, that's for sure.
SHUSTER: How would you...go ahead.
DRURY: Let me say one more thing. When I was drafted and I was in a combat infantry in Europe, I remember that they...they announced (we were out in the badlands somewhere) and they announced that a priest was coming to hear confession. [chuckles] And I already been under fire and I heard the bullets snap over my head and all of a sudden you get foxhole religion. And I got foxhole religion. And I went and I stuttered (and still stuttered, you know) stuttered and the priest said, "You're afraid to die." And I said "Right, right, right, right. Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me." [chuckles] I wanted to have a clean slate over there, that's for sure.
SHUSTER: How would you describe your mother?
DRURY: Caring. Hard working. Kept to herself a lot and not...anything but a demonstrative person. She might have had some Irish blood because she...she had a fierce temper when.... She could say anything that she wanted about her kids. Not "children" - "kids." "My kids, my kids, my kids." But let somebody else underneath us or above us in the cold water flat yell at one of her kids - come tearing up the stairs or screaming and yelling at me and my brother, little guys, you know, she was out the door. I mean, she was on their back...verbally, verbally. I remember.... Again, it's...it's hard to describe when you're off and running and you just run the streets, and I spent very little time in the house. You know, you're going from the time you get up in the morning.... But I remember that...when we had to go to Queen's General Hospital she would take us. She would take us on the bus or in the backyard trolley car, what they call a "backyard trolley car." Never had a tooth filled. This will shock you, but we weren't taught to use a toothbrush, you know? Today it's altogether a different world. So, you would go up to Queen's General Hospital which was a clinic type thing and have teeth pulled. The big deal was that you'd come back from Jamaica [N.Y.] and stop at one of the...one of the five and dime stores and they had a little counter and you'd get a chow mein sandwich for a nickel which was quite the thing. And sometimes you would get a root beer (now this is the Depression)...you would get a root beer with the chow mein sandwich for a nickel. Again, you tell that today and they say "You're dreaming," you know. And then I remember the few times that I was...twice maybe...once...once I was actually on furlough after I took my basic training, but I remember my mother seeing me off. Now I had a caring father, but, like I say, he worked around the clock, and I remember her coming to the train station. I remember one time just before I went overseas, I went awol [absent without leave]. I knew...I found a way...some other guys shared with me how to get out of camp in Jersey, found my way back to New York City in the middle of the night, out...(we were living in Richmond Hill at the time), and I don't know what time it was but I spent two, three, four hours, probably stayed up until four o'clock in the morning, got an hour of sleep, two hours of sleep, and went back to camp. The very next day we were [recites] "off our back and on our feet. This is reveille and not retreat. Let's go soldier." And we shipped out, we went over to Pier A and shipped out....
SHUSTER: Did you know you were shipping out the next day?
DRURY: No, no. You'd never, never know, no. You don't have any warning at all. They...especially when the war was on, you got thirty thousand blabbermouths, you know, [Shuster chuckles] and the day you shipped out, that's when you knew. If you had any plans beyond that, forget it, you know? And you were told...you were told in the basic training, "Do not make plans. Don't make any serious plans because you're not going to keep them." And then [sighs] where did I...I was at....
SHUSTER: You were talking about when you were shipping out one time, your mother would come out to see you.
DRURY: She would...she would...and she wrote...she wrote me, in the Army, you know. I was in the States, in basic [training], she wrote me. My father might have wrote me a let...but she wrote, so she was probably the more caring one. My...my father (and you asked about traits)... now that I think about it, my father was a very, very emotional creature. And he would hit and he would hit hard. And he would go somewhere to cry, to bawl after he hit you, after he would clobber you, after he would beat the tar out of you, he would go through that cold water flat and find you (sometimes in a closet because we were obviously kids and we did not want to see...anybody see us cry), but he would come, grab you by the arm, and cry with you, pull you by the arm and cry with you. But she was a caring person, she was a caring.... And I loved my parents. I don't mean to get emotional about this but people today, kids you know, use their parents incessantly, incessantly. "Gimme, gimme, gimme." A lot like the prodigal son [Luke 15:11-32]] "Give me, give me, give me," you know. And my father, he didn't have to do anything for me, he just had to be my father. That's all he had to do. He just had to be "Papa," you know? And kids today just don't understand that. And we've lost that. And as mercenary people...and I have made the same stupid, idiotic, moronic, demented mistake of saying, "My kids are not going to want for the things that I wanted," and the best thing that could have happened for my kids is to want for those things. And then you learn something about survival. But I have two grandchildren. I love with...with all of my heart, every fibre of my very being, but we were down at Ocean City [in New Jersey] and I learned something this year down at the boardwalk that those stores (the junk and the garbage that they sell) is geared to the grandparent to bring home to the grandchildren. You're going to find all this plastic...and the prices.... But my...my...my grandchildren who are extremely well-taught (and I'm kind of prejudiced but my daughter has done a phenomenal job, she's a disciplinarian in the right way), but you can't hardly buy anything for those kids, Bob, because they have it. Christmas, birthday's, you know, tons and tons of stuff. And they have been deprived of...of survival, you know. And you...you know, you can't even talk about it because people say "Well, don't you think that you have a responsibility to take care of your own," you know? The name of the game, this Jewish psychiatrist, what was his name...? "The Logic of Reason" and "Reason of Logic." He was a survivor of one of the worst Dachau or, you know, one of the...and he talks about the craving to live. Survival, you know? And I...I said to my brother Frank one time who is the next older brother, he's the "Archie Bunker" [a popular television character in the 1970s]. And I said to him "Frank, do you remember ever remember getting a toy for Christmas?" He said, "I never thought of it. No," he said, "I never got a toy. You probably did because Mama liked you," you know. [Shuster chuckles] But I never remember getting a toy for Christmas. If we got anything, we got corduroy knickers and a pair of shoes. And that was it. And if we...we had a Christmas tree, invariably we went out and stole it. It was the unpardonable sin to have Christmas without a Christmas tree. But, it's sad, it's sad. And there's a philosophy at work in the minds of young people and I think we have encouraged it...we've encouraged it. Somehow Mama and Papa becomes the crutch rather than, you know, the instructor, the counsel; in a loving way I'm talking about and not a bunch of do's and don't's, you know. But setting an example. And we said to my oldest son, you know.... Of course, when we got married...I didn't have a job when I got married. And so we had...we had very little with our two boys. When the girls came along we had a little bit more. And I really, today...I think we have spoiled our youngest girl because when she came along we had a few bucks. And you do the things that you never did for the two boys. And Billy went out and worked. He sold Christmas trees, he did this, he did that, he did the other thing. So we have failed as a...I don't want to get off preaching. But my Papa just had to be a papa. "Here comes Papa." And I started to write a book, and people have asked me, you know.... I spoke at Dallas Seminary, you know. We're going from a kid to a high school dropout with a stutter in New York to a speaker at Dallas Seminary, which was sort of a...sort of a...
SHUSTER: Quite a journey, huh?
DRURY: ...a penultimate experience. And it was one of those days that God was in it and it wasn't Bill Drury at Dallas. And everything that you said was right, everything that you come out and...challenged. And hands went up. I give an invitation [to come forward and accept Christ as savior.]. I...don't care whether Dallas Seminary or Moody or I give an invitation to Christian kids, "to get your act together! Get...get the crud out of your life, stop having a pity party!" Self-centered, egotistical, selfish people wanting more of God and giving nothing in return. Well, anyway, I got through speaking at Dallas and one of the D.D.'s, PhD's, IOU's, whatever, [Shuster chuckles] came up with their hands behind their backs and the half-specs, you know. I think you have to practice that when you are in seminary, to look "seminary-ish" if there is such a word. And he came up and he said, "Drury, where...where are your books?" I said, "Books that I've written?" He said, "Yeah." And I said, "I've never written one." He said, "That's immoral." I said, "Immoral, sir?" "You know, I'm impressed. I'm at Dallas and I've arrived, you know. And he said, "That anyone would die with that knowledge in their head, that's wrong." And he wandered off into oblivion [Shuster laughs] or the world of academia or....
SHUSTER: But that made an impression on you.
DRURY: Yeah. Then I...but I said I started to write a.... In that book, that book that I didn't write (but I've started it three or four times), that I talked about seeing my papa coming down Higby Avenue, you know, and sometime he'd come out on the Long Island Railroad. The railroad, we said, ran right through our back yard. When you walked out in our back yard, there was a railroad. And we used to go out, Bob, we used to go out. I never remember a day in this house that we rented for thirty dollars a month, a big old rambling house (that was the biggest house we ever had). At least you could find a place to sleep in that house. But we never had enough money to...to buy enough coal for the winter. So you went out on the railroad track, and the railroad bed that the ties, the railroad ties, and the tracks lay on for some reason would have coal. And we used to go out there with burlap bags and go pick coal, go pick coal, go gather wood. We would...we'd get up early and go behind the stores clear up in Farmer's [sp?] Boulevard and gather all of the crates you could possibly...but they would burn like tissue paper. But it was interesting and I have no regrets. You see, that's what my heart believes. At least I...I said to my daughter one time when I scolded her verbally in the office upstairs here. And I said, "Sweetheart, what have you been deprived of?" And I always ask my kids that. I said, "If you were crossing this highway out there and Daddy see's you crossing the highway, and you don't see the tractor trailer coming, what does Daddy do? He runs and he gets me out of the way, pushes me out of the way, regardless." I said, "What else can you do, you know?" I said, "What were you ever deprived of?" She said, "Things." Which was the last thing I expected because she's the height of frugality now. She's really disciplined and the height of frugality. That's a story in itself. But, "Things." And we taught it, we taught it. Christian people taught it. The car you drive, the house you live in, the place at the shore, the place at the mountains, the place in Florida. We have taught the imperative of things. The imperative of things. It ought not so to be but we've done it and then kids wanted all of these things. And then they get to the years of decision making then they, you know, realize that these haven't satisfied them. You know, Patty Hearst [a rich heiress who was kidnaped in 1974 and became, briefly, a revolutionary] was a case in point. She said, "Things never satisfy." She was the daughter of multi-millionaires. Things do not satisfy. You want for your kids. Buy 'em this, buy 'em that, buy 'em a new bicycle, a pony, you know. Whatever. But I'm on the same kick again.
SHUSTER: Well, I think it's...it's good to hear. Do you see any traits of your mother in yourself?
DRURY: Good question. I have to think. I don't think so. I...I don't think so. I think that.... Caring, she was caring, I was caring. I think I was caring to a degree before I got saved. I heard a saying, if I can remember it.... "Any...any good or kindness therefore that I can do.... I shall pass this way but once. Any good or kindness that I can do, let me not ignore or neglect, for I shall not pass by this way again." And I learned that back in my unsaved days and I sort of used that as a motto. I...I never opened the Bible in my life, didn't know anything about the Bible. And, I think she was caring. When she got older, when she got [coughs].... This is sort of a trait. Maybe it's still true, I don't know: that parents start to talk about their kids, talk bad about them. And they would talk to Frank about me and she would talk to me about Frank and Joe and so on and so forth. But, no, I don't know that I see any of my mother's traits, really. As I said, from day one...from day one, when I started working at nine years of age, I knew that my parents did not have money. They did not have money. And as soon as I could, I started paying my own way, started paying my own way. I bought a bicycle without brakes for two dollars, you know, almost got myself killed on the thing. Before I went into the army, before I went into the army I bought my mother the first washing machine she ever had. Wringer type washing machine. I bought her a mangler, which irons clothes. I don't know why I thought that she needed that but [chuckles].... And then when I got out of the army (and I'm getting ahead of myself), but I determined...I determined, even when I was in Europe, that if I survived this war, "I'm going to go back and I'm going to pay off my father's bills." And that was part of being, you know, which just is not true today. I don't know whether I'm just overstating....
SHUSTER: You thought it was your responsibility?
DRURY: Well, just...just once I wanted them to have at least a ten dollar bill in their pocket to go out.... Never, never went to a restaurant and.... You know, I think of taking my grandchildren out and they're growing up in restaurants. Never went to a restaurant except White Castle. I don't know if you know anything about White Castle [a fast food, takeout restaurant specializing in hamburgers].
SHUSTER: Sure, sure.
DRURY: But I worked in White Castle and in fact I just wrote to Bill Ingram who was chairman of the board of White Castle and I knew his father because his father (this is forty or fifty years ago) used to come into White Castle. But we never went to a restaurant. Never, ever. I don't know what I was saying but today, today, you know, we live in restaurants. [Pauses] But, yes, yes, I know what it was. When I got out of the army I said, "Papa, I want all of your bills. All of your loans, Give me all of you loans." He said, "No kid's going to...." I said "Papa, I want the bills, all the bills." I said, "I want them. If I have to work twenty four hours a day without going to bed I'm going to pay off your bills." "No kid of mine...." I had four hundred dollars...
SHUSTER: Your father said, "No kid of mine is going to pay off my bills?"
DRURY: Yeah, yeah. And I had four hundred dollars, you know, mustering out pay. And I thought I had payed off all of those bills and I found that I hadn't. And I was furious. I was so stinking mad, knowing that if he had one unpaid bill, he would always have an unpaid loan or...you know. But I worked feverishly to.... But I wanted to do that. I wanted to do that. And then I went up.... There's a buddy of mine lived in Gloversville, New York. And I went up there and I found this home on a shady street and I wanted to buy that house because I could buy it under the G.I. Bill. I think it was four percent interest, three-and-a-half percent interest [on the mortgage for the house], something like that. And I wanted my parents to move up there and I wanted to buy them that house. And I didn't have any money other than I would wheel and deal. I was as good as gamblers get. But I...I think to be a good gambler you have to diversify. [They laugh] You have to play poker, you have play three card monte, you have to shoot craps, you have to play the horses, you have to play blackjack, you have to diversify. But if...if...if you just stick to one.... And anyhow....
SHUSTER: Because if you stick to just one long enough, the odds will go against you?
DRURY: Yeah, yes. So you diversify. And I, in the army, when I got out of the army.... But a gambler is a gambler, always going for the big kill, the big kill, the big kill. But I just fell in love with it and I was just a kid (I was twenty-one years of age) and I wanted a house for my parents. And do you think I could get my father... He was tied, he was shackled to the water department. And then he died, he died a vary young man, fifty-four years of age. Had...had a blood clot and died, you know. So we didn't buy the house, I didn't buy the house up in Gloversville. And then I, again...I...I started running and running and running. When I left to go into the service, I was working [for] Pepsi Cola. I had just written to [Craig E.] Weatherup. Weatherup is the chairman of the board of Pepsi Cola and I thought, "Why not?" Because the thing that I do [at Teen Haven] today is fund-raising, you know. I'm chief cook bottle washer, administrator, preacher, teacher, evangelist. I wear sixteen different hats. But....
SHUSTER: Just like when you were a kid.
DRURY: Yeah. Wheeling and dealing, only...only now I'm doing it for the Lord. But I wrote to Weatherup [sp?] the same day I wrote to White Castle and I told them how I used to lay out on the dock on the East River in New York (the East River runs between Long Island City and Manhattan). And I would lie out there, Bob, with the water rats. I mean, we had monstrous water rats. And during my coffee break.... You had a coffee break, you had a lunch. You always brown bagged it, you always brown bagged it [brought your own lunch from home in a paper bag]. Peanut butter sandwich. I don't think that I knew there was any other kind of sandwich other than a peanut butter sandwich when I was a kid growing up. And I would look across at the lights of Manhattan and wonder, you know, what, if anything, was going to happen, you know, to Bill Drury. What did the future...? And really [I was expecting] nothing. I had three and a half strikes against me...
SHUSTER: You mean you expected nothing.
DRURY: Expected nothing, yeah. I...I didn't have any education, I couldn't talk straight, I couldn't give my own name and address in public. You couldn't pay me thirty thousand dollars to get up on my feet and say, "Bill, here's all the money in the world or thirty thousand dollars. Get up and give you name and address." I would freeze. I froze in the army, again and again. And I don't know if you know what that means, to freeze, you know? But you know what you're going to say, you get up, and absolutely nothing comes out of your mouth. Absolutely nothing, just knots inside, tied up. So I laid down on the dock, on the pier, on a big four by four, eight by eight and looked at the water and looked across at the lights in Manhattan and I thought, "What, if anything, is going to happen?" And so I wrote the head of Pepsi Cola, and told him. I said, "I dreamed whatever dreams I could." The thing I wanted to be was the best gambler in the world. I wanted to be a jockey, I walked horses. I think if anybody had given me half a break I was.... When I went into the army, believe it or not, and we don't have a TV camera here, whatever, but I was rejected from United States Marines, the Coast Guard, the Navy because I was underweight.
SHUSTER: You volunteered for those three?
DRURY: Yeah, yeah. And I was ninety-eight pounds soakin' sippin' soppin' wet. [Shuster laughs] When I got out of the army at twenty-one years of age I was one hundred and ten pounds, just a hundred and ten pounds. So I could be a jockey but it never happened. But....
SHUSTER: Did you like animals? Is that why you wanted to be a jockey?
DRURY: No, no. I...I liked the race track. To me, the biggest thrill in the world was to walk horses for twenty-five cents an hour, thirty-five cents. Just go down and act like...I was a con-artist, I was a con-artist. I would...I would get...buy these shirts in the five and dime store, you know, the gaily colored shirts?
SHUSTER: Like Hawaiian shirts?
DRURY: Yeah, something like that. So you walked like a jockey and you'd walk up behind somebody at the racetrack and they would have the program in there and they would have some tout sheets [tips sheets listing likely winners in the race] that they bought outside. And you would walk up trying to look like a jockey, you know, and you would shake your head.... And I saw something last night on TV how these guys use...get to use your phone credit cards. Never lay it down because there's always somebody looking and.... Try to use it from memory rather than putting the card.... Well, we did something like that at the racetrack. You walk up and a guy will always have a...a [tape recorder turned off and turned on again].... As a con-artist, you would say, "Forget that." and start to walk away from the...I can't think of what we would call the....
SHUSTER: The mark [the victim of the con]?
DRURY: The mark. The mark. "Wait, wait, wait, son. Do you work at the track?" I'd say, "Do eagles fly? Do birds fly? [Shuster chuckles] Of course I work at the track." "What do you bet...know about the next race?" "Well, you know, I'm not supposed to say." "Well, what would...what would it cost me for you to say?" I said, "All I want you to do is just buy a ticket on the horse that I'm going to give you, for me. Just buy a two dollar ticket, that's all." "That's it?" I said, "Yeah, buy a ticket. You want to put ten, twenty dollars down. Just buy a two dollar ticket [for me]." So they'd do that but you had to hustle because you had to get enough tickets for every horse in that race, understand. [laughs] If...if...if there....
SHUSTER: [Laughs] So you were covered. Yeah, I was going to say, "How did you make money out of that?"
DRURY: Yes, yeah. You would go to somebody else and pull the same thing. So sometimes I walked out of the race track with.... Almost invariably, the favorites come in the top three. But time and again I would walk out of the race track with a hundred dollars, which was a tremendous amount of money. I was a kid, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen years of age and you know, that was a tremendous amount of money.
SHUSTER: Did any of your...did any of you marks ever find you and ask you, "How come your...?"
DRURY: No. No. No. Listen, we would...we would...I would sell tout sheets outside of the.... A tout sheet is a guy who makes up these things as "Jack's...Jack's Race Card." He would give you the winners, okay. So you would stand outside and sell these for fifty cents, which was a lot of money for back in the Depression), to get fifty cents for a piece of paper. And...and you sold these things. Then you would go in...now I worked for Jack for these cards that you would sell before you went in the racetrack. You would sell these cards. Then you had free time during the races. At least if there were eight races, you had time for five, six races to look for marks. And then you would do that. Then you would go outside before the last race (maybe about the 7th or 8th) and you would meet Jack again. Jack has a mimeograph machine in the back of his station wagon and he would run off the first four or five, six races. You already knew the winners then, okay. You ready for this? And he would run off [the new cards], and you'd hand these out free. And people would come looking for you the next day, "This guy had five winners!" [Shuster chuckles] Well, he didn't have five winners, you know? So, it was...you could get yourself killed [chuckles]. But I didn't, I didn't. I got into some fights, some brawls, mostly because of my mouth.
SHUSTER: You mentioned a couple of times that you went to work when you were nine.
SHUSTER: Was that because your parents asked you to [or] because you wanted to?
DRURY: I don't ever remember them.... My father, you know (you asked me a question before and as you go back and reminisce), was a very proud man. And I was a very proud person even after I got saved. Again, I was talking about things in a different time, a different era, a different scene. When we got married, I didn't have two coppers, two coppers to [rub together]...and that's a whole other story about how we got married. I had made a commitment [to Christ] at Moody but it didn't come together until in that little Protestant church which we'll talk about later at Elmont, Long Island. But, I was so proud.... The difference today...what you expect the grandparents to do for the children, okay, we get the children bonds, you know, so they'll have enough money to go to college and stuff like that. When my father-in-law would buy toys for my children at Christmas time, and they were expensive toys then I couldn't afford (now today we would be elated), I told my wife, if he does that again, he lost a son-in-law. Because he's not going to buy toys for my kids that I can't afford. And I....
SHUSTER: And your father was like that, too.
DRURY: Yeah, very proud, very proud. "No kid of mine is going to pay off my bills. No kid of mine is going to do this, do that or the other thing." So yeah he was a very proud.... He didn't have anything to be proud about other than his one son, namely me, who went overseas and fought in the war. And when I went down.... Another thing I would do before the war...after the war, I would go over to New York City. I would go over to Manhattan, get half loaded, inebriated, stoned, whatever, find my way down to Long Island City. I wanted to be with...with Papa. I didn't have a car...you traveled...the public back in those days.... Of course, back in...in the war nobody had a car. You couldn't get.... Gas coupons [ration certificates that allowed someone to buy gas] would probably get you from here to the corner. And...but I would go down, and I determined that when I made money I wanted to buy my father a hamburger and a cup of coffee. It was a big thing, it was a big thing for me, Bob, to walk my way through the streets and go back to the water department and find my father at night laying on his desk sound asleep [chuckles] with his fedora [a type of hat] on, his head crushing his fedora. And I would wake him up and say, "Pop, you have time for a hamburger?" "Oh yeah." And the first words out of his mouth, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph." I said, "My nickname! [laughs] What you didn't find out is my real name, my birth name was Adolf, Adolf Drury. [Shuster laughs] And it's Adolf William Drury. So, after they stuck me with that horrible name, then, they called me "Babe" so I was Babe, I'm still Babe to my one sister, Babe Drury.
SHUSTER: Was Adolf a family member you...?
SHUSTER: Who were you being named after with "Adolf"?
SHUSTER: It's not Irish, obviously.
DRURY: A guy by the name of Adolf Krueger who had money. I don't know if he lived with us. We had several live-ins, and even with that you know we didn't have any money. But we had several live-ins when I was a baby, so I didn't know him. Supposedly, so this story goes, real or imagined, that "If you name that kid after me I'll give you X amount of dollars." So, sure enough, they named the kid after Adolf. And my mother tells the story, you know that I was deformed and, you know, I [laughs] don't know whether I was or not, but, anyhow, that's how I got the name "Adolf." And I had Adolf up until the time.... One thing the Roman Catholic Church did for me...when I was confirmed, you had to find a name of a saint, and you could choose that name in confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church. So I was "William" and it was...it has been....
SHUSTER: Oh, so you were born Adolf Drury...
DRURY: Adolf Drury.
SHUSTER: ...and William was your confirmation name.
DRURY: Yeah, William Adolf. And my...my passport, to this very day, has to have your birth name on there, and my passport says "Adolf Drury." [Chuckles] But, what I started to say is that my father would get off the desk, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph." And I would say "No, it's not Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Papa. It's Babe." So, we would walk through those streets fifty years ago, maybe. Yeah, at least fifty, sometimes more than that, because I remember New York City, I ran in the streets of New York City when I was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years of age from home two, three, four o'clock in the morning. And doing things, you know, that you would forget, you know, "Did God really forgive me for all those things I did back there?" But we would go up, we would go up. And when I got out of the army, those are the things that you think about in the army, in the foxholes, you know? Sitting in the crumby old diner in Long Island City, New York, at a counter, with the old fashioned mugs that were made up in Buffalo, I found out. All diners had the same kind of mugs, you know. I would sit there with my father. And when I got out of the army, I determined I was going to go find Papa and go have a cup of coffee and hamburger at that diner. And I didn't realize that he was telling these guys, everybody, the same people, really, like "Cheers" on TV everybody goes.
SHUSTER: People he worked with?
DRURY: Yeah, and people, you know, it's an altogether different world. People didn't migrate, didn't travel because they didn't have vehicles and they didn't have money. So it was a kinship, it was a oneness, it was a neighborhood, it was a community type thing. All over New York it was like that, you go down to the lower East Side. But he had told these people how I had won the war all by myself, you know. [Shuster laughs] And then when I went in there in uniform and I had a little bit of spinach [Army service ribbons and medals] on my chest, I said Colin Powell [Army chief of staff in the 1980s and 90s] and I have one thing in common, that we both...I see his spinach on his chest and it's a combat infantry badge. That...that if you prove yourself in combat as an infantry man you got this badge. It's...it's a rifle with a leaf around it. Look when you see Colin Powell and you'll see this rifle. It's a big thing, you know, bigger than the other citations. And I the Pour le Guerre and I had the Four De Guerre, and I had the Order of William. These are unit citations. It had nothing to do with what you did but your unit, the Eight Infantry Division did this in Belgium and France, Holland, Luxembourg. And so the country would give that unit a citation and they were ropes that you wore around your shoulder. And I walked in and I had this spinach and [imitates his father's voice] "See I told you, I told you...." [They laugh] And he had determined that I should get a job with the city of New York. He wanted at least one of his kids to work.... [Imitates his father's voice] "It's the greatest thing in all the world," you know. "You get benefits and so forth." I think the most he ever made from the city of New York was twenty-five dollars a week. Twenty-five dollars a week during the Depression. Not recession, depression, you know. People don't know what that word really means, but it was a depression.
SHUSTER: Do you think he wanted you to follow in his footsteps?
DRURY: Well, he wanted security, he wanted.... And the Water Department of the city of New York represented security for him. You got a paycheck every week when your friend...friends who had good jobs before 1929, now they were standing in breadlines and the families were separated, the kids went this way, the wife went that way, the husband.... And they lived wherever they could, whoever had a relative that would take them in. Well, he had family, he had seven kids and his wife, and he survived. He survived the Depression. So he wanted that, quote unquote, "security" and I took an exam for the...oh, what do they call it...?
SHUSTER: Civil Service?
DRURY: Public transportation in New York. And I got rejected. Did the paper work, wasn't that much. But I got rejected because I had a hernia. And that was another thing that I dreaded was.... I mean, "Don't get a rupture." They called it a "rupture" in those days. "Don't get a...." My father had a double rupture for years and he wore a truss. And one time he was breaking wood over the back of a chair for the coal, for the coal stove, and went down in a heap and I happened to be there as a little kid and I saw. And they would carry you out sometime (even the ambulance) in a straight chair and just put you in a chair rather than a stretcher and carry you three flights of stairs when you live in a cold water flat. A walk up cold water flat three, four stories up. And when I got out and...and they...they examined me and said, "Son, you've got a rupture, you've got a hernia." And, "Oh, dear God." 'Cause we had weird ideas you couldn't have children if you had a rupture, you knew you were sterile. [laughs] So I went over to the V.A. hospital over on Staten Island, you know, to be operated on for the rupture. And my father came over and he visited me and I remember that he was very, very faithful for the few days that I was there. And I was only there for a couple of days and they did not operate right away back in those days. Now you go in and you have...and it was a ward, you know, forty beds in a ward. And they shaved me, believe it or not, they shaved me to go under the knife and the surgeon came down to the ward, and he said, "You're Drury?" I was still stuttering and stammering. I said, "Yeah." He said, "I want you to do something." Now I'm shaved, this black guy came in, which was something back in those days for a black guy to shave you know where, you know. And I thought, "Man, if you slip, boy!" [laughs] But he came in and he [the doctor] said, "Lift that bed." And they were these iron beds, and I lifted it again and again and again. "Turn and lift it the other way." And I lifted it. So he came in this room with me, and he's probing in the testicles, he's probing. He said "Soldier, did anybody ever tell you that you've got a crooked neck?" Never forgot that. And I said [stuttering, pointing at his crotch] "Doc, doc, doc, doc." And I'm trying to tell him....
SHUSTER: "It's down there."
DRURY: "Pay attention, it's down there. Forget my neck." [laughs] And he said, "Son, I don't know who told you you have a rupture or a hernia but you don't have a hernia."
SHUSTER: [laughs] It was the army physician who had examined you when you were discharged?
DRURY: Yeah, yeah, the...no, no, the guy who said.... I had to work for the city of New York, get a physical to become a conductor in the New York subways. And that's the job I was going for, a conductor on New York subway. And he said, "Who told you that?" And I tried to explain, you know. He said, "You have a loose ring." That's what the man found. He said, "You've got a loose ring." He said, "That could come down next week and you would have a hernia if that breaks through that ring. If you have a hernia.... Or it could last for twenty, thirty, forty years." I have never been operated on for a hernia. Sixty-seven years of age today, never operated on for a hernia. And they wouldn't give me the job because they said I did have a hernia. And I'm thrilled, elated, I'm blessed that I never got the job. [Shuster laughs] God was at work even back in those days for a G.I., a studdering, stammering G.I. So I never went to work for the city of New York.
SHUSTER: You mentioned about your stutter. Did you always have that, even as a very young child?
DRURY: As far back as I can remember. Story goes that once in a great while, once in a great while my mother and father would go out. They...if...when my father got paid, my mother would...would go to a supermarket. It was a place called Big Bear and it was a couple of.... Bohack [?] and...and they would buy.... They would put it on the tab at Eli Rome, the Jewish deli, and all, and I think my father got paid twice a month back in those days with the city of New York, and they would run up the tab with Eli Rome and then when he got paid he would pay off the tab. But with the rest of the money they would go to the supermarket because they could buy cheaper at Big Bear. But anyhow, when they went out, or if my father got free tickets (somebody would give Joe Drury a couple of tickets to go here or go there), he would take my mother out. The story was that in this one cold water flat we had a jealous neighbor and she would beat on...on...on the pipes that ran through all the cold water flats, and that made me scared, nervous, whatever, which I think is a phony bologna story, but anyhow I would say that "Th-th-th-the-the-the noi-noi-noi-noi...." And so that's what it was. And I went to speech teachers [laughs] when I went to elementary school, grammar school. The school...why I didn't drop out of grammar school, the school, this old wooden school in Long Island was right alongside of our house, right next door.... I mean, you could jump over the fence and you were in the schoolyard. We were the first house next to the school and sometime I did jump over because sometimes.... There was two bells...sometimes I was still in bed, Bob, when that first that bell rang. [Shuster chuckles] Anyway we had five minutes or what. I would get up, dress, fly down those stairs, wouldn't eat anything, jump over the fence, and I'd hear one of the teachers scream from inside the school, about a three story frame school, "Drury, get you body over that, you're late!" And sure enough, when I ran out in front of the house the second bell would go. And...and, you know.... But they were good days, they were good days. Had a...had a ball, lived it up. And had a speech teacher come in once a week and I remember when I was a little kid, I was only a little guy, she said "Put your hand on my diaphragm." I didn't even know what a diaphragm was, you know. And that's when that word only had one meaning, you know [Shuster laughs] and she said, "Put your hand on my diaphragm." And I didn't know and she said [in an irritated voice], "Put your hand on my belly!" and she said, "Now feel that when I going...." Indicates how her muscles contracted when she made various sounds.] And she worked with me forever and a day and it never happened.
SHUSTER: Never helped.
DRURY: When I got out of the army I went to Dale Carnegie [a chain of schools that taught, among other things, public speaking and how to be self confident]. More than anything else I thought that, "For whatever God there be, Jesus, Mary or Joseph, to whatever God there be, if the day comes when I can stand on my two feet and give my name, Adolf Drury or William A. Drury, give my name and address...." Never had a telephone, that's another thing. Through all of the growing up years, never had a telephone. Never had a car, never owned a house. But it didn't happen. I tried the Dale Carnegie thing, I tried to get up on my feet after they tell you what to do and how to do it and it didn't work out. They took my money and left me with a speech impediment.
SHUSTER: Did you stutter whenever you talked? Only when you got excited? Or was it intermittent?
DRURY: All the time, all the time when I was a little guy, when I was a little guy and even at the race track I stuttered. Even when I was a con-artist I stuttered.
SHUSTER: Did that help you as a con-artist?
DRURY: Oh yeah. One...now this is a truism, okay. One thing that really helped me at the race track is to take on another personality and then you don't stutter.
DRURY: When and if my mother and father would go out, I would say to my brother, Frank, the guy who's the Archie Bunker today, "Let's...let's...let's...let's...let's...let's...let's...let's play...play...play cowboys and cow...cowboys and Indians." I was John Wayne. Now can you imagine John Wayne stuttering? You took on Jimmy Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and I learned how to impersonate all of those guys, Jimmy Stewart, you know, and the Duke [John Wayne]. I learned how to impersonate the Duke. But once you stopped improvising [coughs] or role-modeling or whatever, you know.... But yes, stuttered so bad..
SHUSTER: But when you pretended to be someone else then you wouldn't stutter.
DRURY: Right, and it says [in the Bible] "Let this mind be in you which is in Christ Jesus [Philippians 2:5]." But you try to fathom that, try to go out in the woods somewhere, on the rocks, on the edges, or go alone to the shore and try to digest this, you know, "Let this mind be in you which is in Christ Jesus." [Makes exploding sound] If that doesn't shatter your spirituality I don't know what will, to cope with a thought like that. But, when you take another personality out.... But when I would go over to Eli Rome, my mother would write down what she wanted so I wouldn't be embarrassed. "Quart of milk, loaf of bread", you know, "quarter pound of cheese". [chuckles] But no, I stuttered here, there and everywhere. I said before, when I was in the army...when I was in the army in order to get a pass.... Well, every Saturday was inspection, was what they call "inspection." They would come in and you would stand at your foot locker and they would inspect your foot locker. Everything had to be exactly right: your socks here, your toothbrush there, And with your toothbrush, even though they were going to inspect it, had to be dry in the morning. You had a wet toothbrush, [indicating someone who is in a bad situation] "I...I...I...I...I...." [They laugh] Oh man. And then you would...so then you would go out on the company street and lined up and then the commanding officer or his lieutenant would come through and inspect your rifle, your M1 grand [?] rifle. And if he stopped in front of you, if he stopped in front of you then you whipped that piece up and threw back the bolt and he would look to see whether the thing was clean or not. And while he was looking you had to...invariably he would say, "Name, Rank and Serial Number," asking, "You're Bob Shuster; name, rank and serial number." And I would freeze. Nothing would come out. And invariably the sergeant, the first sergeant would say, "He's a stumble tongue, sir. He can't talk." "What's he doing in the United States Army?" And the joke was if he ever get's captured, we've got it made [they laugh] because he can't talk, you know. But, God changed the whole ball of wax, you know, and we'll get into that later, maybe. But I stuttered incessantly, to answer your question. And yet, and yet I look back and I think, "How in the world did I have girlfriends?" I had girlfriends, you know.
SHUSTER: Did you impersonate somebody else when you were with your girlfriend?
DRURY: No, no. I would...when I would get drunk...I was at a bar and sittin' at a bar with a female, whatever, you know. I would start these impersonations, you know, and the bar tender would, "Hey! Come on over here and listen to Jimmy Stewart. The Duke is here," you know, "Jimmy Cagney. Come on over here." But then you were play-acting, you know, you were taking on somebody else.
SHUSTER: You talked about, of course, when you were in the army, you were drafted in New York and had basic training in New York?
DRURY: No, no, no, no, no. I...I...I went through one of the shortest basic training.... You're supposed to be seventeen weeks of basic training.
SHUSTER: Now you were drafted in 1944? Is that right?
DRURY: Forty-four, forty-four. I no sooner turned eighteen, June 3....
END OF TAPE