Billy Graham Center

Collection 492 - Rev. William A. Drury. T5 Transcript.

This is an accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Rev. William A. Drury (CN 492, T5) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. Any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers have been omitted. Foreign terms that 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.

Some portions of the interview that referring to living persons have been removed from this transcript and from any copies made of the tape of this interview. The removals have been indicated in the text. This restriction will expire on December 31, 2030, thirty-five years from the date the interview was recorded.

. . . 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 Jennifer Taussig and completed in January 1998.

Collection 492, T5. Interview of William A. Drury by Robert Shuster, May 19, 1994.

SHUSTER: This is an interview with Rev. William Adolph Drury by Robert Shuster for the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. It took place on May the 19th, 1994, at 9 AM in Rev. Drury's home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When we ended last time we were talking with how you met Percy Crawford and became connected with him and became kind of a general manager for his ministry.

DRURY: Yes, and you did have to use that word "Adolph" to introduce me. [laughs]. You understand, before World War II it was a good German name. It wasn't too popular in World War II. Let me go back. I don't know where we ended, really, but when I met Percy B. Crawford, I was not impressed. I lived in New York, and I was moving to Philadelphia and my friends up in New York said, "Whatever you do when you get through there, get to hear Percy Crawford, get to a Phillies game, get to an A's [Athletics] game, get to hear Donald Grey Barnhouse (he's from Philadelphia)." And so the first opportunity I had to hear Percy Crawford was in a Methodist church down in south Philadelphia on a hot, hot, summer...miserable summer night. We were down there, with no air conditioning, in this Methodist church on [unclear] Avenue. It had to be about forty years ago, more than that perhaps. And I don't know whether you know anything about his...what he did.... He had the family with him. Ruth [Mrs. Percy Crawford] played the piano. She played the organ, she sang occasionally, she played a harp. Very was the first and probably the last person I ever met who played a harp, but she played a harp. The children traveled with him, and...and...and the kids would do their thing, they would sing. Well, the program went on and on and on so much that I got disgusted and walked out of the church with my wife because we had two little boys and they were getting kind of anxious and whatever. So I left. And I was not interested in hearing Percy B. Crawford again. However, we had.... I was a member of CBMC (Christian Business Men's Committee) in Philadelphia, I was working for Diebold (we probably talked about that - the safe and vault...lock company) and we had a little rally in north Philadelphia. I was invited to a meeting at the Union League. The Union League is where the elite meet to eat. They informed me...some business men informed me that they had invited Dr. Percy B. Crawford to Philadelphia to begin a youth rally, which would be called Youtharama. It's a big production-type rally. And I got a little bit perturbed, that here I had my rally, and I didn't want anybody else, and I was not really impressed with this man that I had heard so much about. But Youtharama was born. It was going to start in '54, '55 (1954, '55). Percy Crawford had seven heart attacks. I don't know whether you knew that or not. But he had a heart attack prior to when they were going to start the.... And then they had a flood up in Pinebrook. Pinebrook was a camp that he founded, Pinebrook Mountain....

SHUSTER: He had a congenital heart defect? Or is just that he was so energetic?

DRURY: If I understand, and I'm not absolutely sure that I do, Bob, that he had a problem...the valve would work properly and pump the blood provided whatever he did he did gradually. If...and he didn't. Consistently. He failed to do what he was supposed to do. If he was up at Pinebrook, and he was in the dining hall, and the phone would ring, and they would say, "Dr. Crawford, it's for you," rather than getting up.... Percy did not know how to do anything in first gear, okay? He always had to do it in high gear. And...and he would get up, and he would take off. He had one heart attack.... He rode a bicycle, and he rode it backwards on stunt night. Just Reverend Dr. Percy B. Crawford, who...who really impressed Dr. Billy Graham, (so says Billy). But he would ride a bicycle backward in what they called "the bowl" (that is a big building). But he got up off the lawn, ran over and got the bicycle, jumped on it, started to ride around, had a heart attack. Time after time, he had heart attacks. That's what killed him. That's what killed him on a New Jersey turnpike. And I'm getting ahead of myself. But Reverend Dr. Percy B. Crawford.... A week before he died.... He would come down to the Pinebrook Bookstore, 730 Chestnut Street [in Philadelphia], which he owned and operated, on Mondays, and I would not plan anything...when I was working for him. I would not plan anything, because when he said, "We are going out to lunch," we are going out to lunch. And whether you wanted to go to lunch or you had other things scheduled, you had to get.... So I didn't plan anything on Monday, and he came down, and he said, "Drury, we're going out to lunch. Come down to my desk at 12:00." And that's all he had. He had a big desk in a big room. When you see some of the operators today, the Christian Evangelical operators [laughs], the posh facilities that they have. He was in this long, sort of dormitory room. And he sat alongside his secretary, so could never be said that Percy Crawford was behind closed doors with his secretary. It was this massive room which was actually the second floor of Pinebrook Bookstore. And then on either side there were cubby holes or cubicles where the girls sat and typed and.... Well, I went up to his desk, and he said, "I just called Don Barnhouse," and he said, "You know he's dying with a tumor." He was in and out of a coma and all that. He said, "Drury, when I die, I want to die with my boots on." And I thought, "I've heard that line before." One week later, the Reverend Dr. Percy B. Crawford was in glory [heaven]. He said he wanted to die with his boots on. He was driving down from the King's College, where he was president, down on Jersey Turnpike. Now try to understand this. doesn't sound feasible or logical. Stopped his car on the southbound lane of the New Jersey Turnpike. He said to Ruthie, his wife Ruth Crawford...he looked across at the Howard Johnson [a restaurant]. He said, "I think I left my topcoat at that Howard Johnson's last week or whenever." Ran across...he got out of the car and ran across the turnpike and he had to cross over whatever you call them, median strip, ran up an incline.. I didn't see this scene but I was told, because I asked Ruth. I was curious to see if this was caused by the same thing he always did, which was wrong.. And sure enough, he ran in to the Howard Johnson's and had his heart attack there. The ambulance came and took him to St. Francis Hospital in Trenton, New Jersey. Ruth was on the other side of the turnpike the Chrysler. Somehow, somebody found her. Don't ask me how. And so this car...they went all over..... He was conscious enough to say (his breathing apparatus was all wacky) "My wife is out in the car." Now maybe he said she was on the other side, I don't know. But they found her. He was rushed to St. Francis Hospital in Trenton, New Jersey, which was a Roman Catholic hospital where they still said the rosary occasionally, which just blew Percy out of the water.. And he...when I got there...I heard about it Sunday...Sunday. I went up at 4:00 Sunday afternoon and stayed with him until midnight. And....

SHUSTER: Was he conscious?

DRURY: Yes, he was conscious. He was always concerned about my salary. He was not financially responsible for the work that this...this group of businessmen started called Youtharama. The idea was they would raise the money, he would lend his name, he would give the invitation each first and third Saturday at Town Hall in Philadelphia. But they still had the oxygen tent back in those days, his oxygen tent and his I.V.... Quite conscious, quite conscious. His eyes were very, very bloodshot. And he said to me...he said, "Take this thing off, Bill, and get this thing out of my arm." And he was rambling and moaning and groaning. I gave him the bed pan. The hospital was understaffed. I think I'm probably the only human being who ever...the...the only Christian person who ever gave Dr. Percy B. Crawford a bed pan.

SHUSTER: As far as you know.

DRURY: But he said, "Oh, no, buddy, you're not going to do that. You're not going to...get the nurse." I buzzed for the nurse a couple of times, and she didn't come. As I said, they were understaffed. But then, on....

SHUSTER: You said he was concerned about your salary?

DRURY: Yeah, know, because it was paid by Youtharama and not by him. And invariably, whenever I saw him he would say, "Are you paid up to date?" which I never was. One time I was seven weeks in arrears and still hung in there because I wanted to see this thing go so bad I could taste it.

SHUSTER: And of course you had a had a wife and....

DRURY: Oh yes, I had a wife and [pauses and clicks teeth] three children, three children. The one girl came at the beginning of Teen Haven or thereabouts. But that was Sunday. At midnight they...the staff...he had been asleep for quite a few hours. And they seemed to think the crisis was over, so I left. I drove from Trenton, New Jersey, back to north Philadelphia where I lived. And Monday night, Monday night I was counseling a young man who came to Youtharama, who had a problem. And I was counseling him upstairs, I'll never forget it. And the phone rang in my little makeshift office. One of our trumpeters (we had a brass ensemble I used to take out in meetings and evangelistic crusades).... And Bob Cleevis [?] said to me...he said, "Have you heard about Percy?" I said, "Yes, I know all about it, I was with him for eight hours yesterday." It was about 6:30, or thereabouts. He said, "Then you know he's dead." I said, "Percy Crawford is not dead." I said, "That's a lie out of the pit of hell. Who is spreading those rumors?" you know. He said, "The radio and TV stations are announcing that the Rev. Dr. Percy B. Crawford died at 6:00 tonight." I said, "Robert, its not true." We...when I say we.... Percy B. Crawford was trying to put channel 17 on the air. Channel 17 in Philadelphia is now the Phillies [the city baseball team] station. But back in those days you had to get an adaptor. That's another story. It was a Mickey-Mouse operation at best. But Steve Musto was working for Percy, and Bob Straghton. These are the last of the quartets, of the Percy Crawford quartets. Steve Musto, as you may or may not know, was assigned to go to work with Jim Kennedy, and he dropped out of a heart attack. But I called channel 17, I thought somebody would be over there, and Steve got on the phone. And I said, "Steve, what's the word on Percy?" He said, "He's gone." And I hung up that phone and I bawled and bawled and bawled. He was Paul, and I was a mini-Timothy, you know? But....

SHUSTER: When you talked with him on Saturday, had he had a feeling he might be dying?

DRURY: No, no there was...I don't think there was any premonition. I...I've said that, and I'm not dead yet. That I want to die with my boots on. I have a living will that I've just signed, that I don't want to be kept alive on any kind of apparatus. But no, Percy...Percy was, you know...I think he was just analyzing and evaluating. And he certainly didn't want to die the way Dr. Barnhouse had died, you know. And so he said, "When I die, I want to...." And sure enough, one week later, one week later....

[text omitted]

SHUSTER: Because he was so busy elsewhere?

DRURY: No, you know, people.... Percy B. Crawford told me...he said, "The life of an itinerant evangelist..." (and I will be going to NACIE '94 [North American Conference of Itinerant Evangelists] down in....) "The life of...."

SHUSTER: Which is the national...North American Congress of Itinerant Evangelists?

DRURY: Yeah. I was at the one in Holland in '80 for the World Congress and the Billy Graham organization which....

SHUSTER: You mean the '83 one? [Amsterdam '83, the International Congress of Itinerant Evangelists].

DRURY: No, no, no. Was it '83 and '86 or '80...?

SHUSTER: It was '83 and '86.

DRURY: Okay, '83...'83. But he said, "The...the life of an evangelist is a lonely life." Well, when you're a know, I was saved by the skin of my teeth. I said the other day on the radio that if Bill Drury is anything, he's got the heart of an evangelist. Paul says to young Timothy, "Do the work of an evangelist." [II Timothy 4:5] And there's no place that I'm happier than doing crusade evangelistic work, and giving an invitation. It's the greatest thrill in all the world. You know, Billy [Graham] said this at the first school of evangelism. You know when I was in Cleveland, he was there. And he said the greatest thrill in all the world.... And either he or T.W. Wilson said, "Well, first, the greatest thrill in all the world is to see that first hand go up for salvation. To see a mortal human being come to God through faith in Jesus Christ. If you're here and you're outside of the family of God, right now, will you say 'Jesus, come in, cleanse, forgive, restore....' And then acknowledge it by the upraised hand." But one of them said...and I've been doing the work, not in the same league with Billy Graham. J. Howard Pew (multi-billionaire), I met with him before he died. He had a big picture of Billy behind him, a great big mural, you know, "With all my love to J. Howard." And he said to me, "Of course, I never met with the man. I wish he was alive today [Pew was apparently referring to Percy Crawford]." He said, "Do you preach the same gospel that he does [Drury indicated that Pew pointed to the picture of Graham]?" And I said, "Yes, but we're not in the same league." [Laughs] I was in single A, not double A or triple A ball. And here Billy was in the majors [a sports metaphor, referring to the different level at which professional baseball is played in the United States]. But he...Percy said, "The...the...the life of an evangelist is a lonely life, Bill." And then he said a very interesting thing. He said some things that I thought were rather profound. He said, "Very few people are really going to understand you. Very few people, because of who you are and what you are. You are going to live in a fish bowl" He says, "Very few people are really...want...will want to get close to you, to know you, to find out what makes a Percy Crawford or a Billy Drury...." And I found out, and I said.... Well, let's just say this, that I think I've experienced with my children the same thing that Percy had. They love me, I love them. I've...I've said to my children, again, here on the Willow Street Pike in Lancaster [where Rev. Drury had his home] that if a truck is going down the highway, and you don't see and I do, and I am in the road, what is Daddy going to do?" "Well, you're going to take the truck, Daddy. You're going to push me out of the way." And so we have that kind of relationship. But still, maybe my one daughter knows where I was coming from. I...I don't know, but my two sons are not academically inclined and my two daughters are.

[text omitted]

SHUSTER: I wanted to ask mentioned that Percy Crawford had said to you that an evangelist's life is a lonely life because no one really wanted to get to know you or to know what made you tick.

DRURY: Well, you're....

SHUSTER: Why do you think that is?

DRURY: Well, you're traveling incessantly. You're traveling incessantly. I'm sure that...I...I...I don't know when and if in fact he did, that Billy Graham stopped eating out in public. know...and I've seen it....

SHUSTER: Because...?

DRURY: Because people are coming up constantly and incessantly, and I've seen that to a minor degree, a minor degree, here in Lancaster County, because of I'm on radio and television now, both. I...I have been interrupted in conversation with businessmen, and where else do you go, but to a restaurant, to talk shop or business, or whatever. And I found that to be very, very my own life, traveling.... Of course, back in the days of Percy Craw...and I worked with Percy. I traveled with the team [an evangelistic team for meetings at which Drury preached]. But I've traveled more locally, within a two or three state area, when I had the team, when I had the gospel team. When I had to go for a crusade in Ohio or Indiana. I never got out to the West. Well, once or twice to California. But you go to that motel room, and that's it. Or...or...or you go to somebody's home, which is even worse yet. And I couldn't quite understand why some of these hotshot evangelists didn't want to stay in somebody's home. But it becomes a burdensome thing. And...and...and if Christians were to hear this, they'd say, "How could that be?" But you constantly have to make conversation when you're in somebody's home and like it or not, you constantly have to entertain. You have to answer questions.

SHUSTER: You can't relax.

DRURY: And...yeah, and.... And yet in a motel room it's a very, very lonely situation. You get down to the lobby at ten or eleven o'clock at night after the crusade is over to see if the coffee shop is.... So I can identify with that, I...I can empathize with that. Percy...Percy taught me...taught me a lot of things. And coming out of the business world...I came out of the business world right into Percy Crawford's camp. And I had no concept of ministry. I was...I had a man who's been on our staff recently for fifteen months. He was going to be my Timothy. But he could run out in the corporate world. He had a good job, he made big bucks in the corporate world. But he didn't have any concept of ministry. He didn't really understand that your life is not your own. That you were bought with a price, you know? [reference to I Corinthians 6:20] So I came from Diebold, and my whole...whole personality.... People had called me feisty and you know, whatever. I don't really know, I don't know how you'd define a Bill Drury. But Percy said to me, "Bill," he said, "some people debate decisions and other people make them." He said, "And I make them. As long as you understand that, we're not going to have any problem."

SHUSTER: So, in other words, who was the boss?

DRURY: Yeah, yeah. You know I...I came from Diebold, a big, big corporation, probably first in America today - Diebold Incorporated, Safe & Lock. And around the world - they sell safes now, and I don't know what all. But I...sort of ruffled my feathers. "So you make the decisions, huh?" You know, I didn't say it, but, "Are you God? Are you deity? Or what?" But I learned, as I came along to where I am today, that somebody's got to make the decisions. "The buck stops here." [A slogan of President Harry Truman's, indicating that his was the final authority.] Percy said, "If you don't want to get a job done," he said, "you get a committee. And I see that up at the College. These committees, you come, and.... Fortunately I still have veto power." And they worked on this thing maybe for two, three, four, five, six months. And they would come.... He said, "You never heard such nonsense in your life. So if you don't want it to get done, you get a committee. And you make sure everybody on the committee has a sub-committee. And you get a lot of fellowship, but you get very little...." And you see that today, Bob, in Washington DC. I just heard a report about the incredible amount of guys who are quitting the Congress because they know in their own heart that they can't accomplish anything. Percy.... Billy Graham had his [Crawford's] funeral at Town Hall - we had it packed at to capacity.

SHUSTER: That was in Philadelphia?

DRURY: Yeah...October 1960. They.... Well, it'd be the first week in November, because he died Halloween.


DRURY: What's that, the 31st?

SHUSTER: 31st.

DRURY: The 31st of October 1960. And Billy...Billy had the...had the funeral. It was interesting. We...we had tried the headquarters [of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association] out in Minneapolis, and tried here, and tried there. And it was [unclear]. Somehow we got a hold of his parents' home in Charlotte (they were alive) and Mr. Graham said to his wife, "Do you have any idea where Billy Frank is? I...I...I don't know anything about his schedule." And you would think he was talking about a kid who was playing out in the front yard. [laughs] "Do you know where Billy Frank is?" Well, we got a hold of...I didn't, but one of the other people close to Percy got a hold of him, and he came, and he spoke. And he told about the excitement of when he was a student, when Dr. Graham was a student, at Wheaton. And I've spoken at enough colleges, including Wheaton, to realize that kids come in, and get propped up, and put their textbooks on their lap, and are scrutinizing it for the next class. But he said not so with...with...with Percy B. Crawford. Now this is Billy Graham talking. He said that when this man came there was excitement. "He was Mr. Excitement. And I would close my books, and I would prop up my arm and my head and my hands and my arms." And he said, "He had magnetism, he had magnetism.". It was said of the Reverend Dr. Percy B. Crawford that...that..that no other evangelist could push the gospel crystalized, chronologically God's plan of salvation in twelve minutes and give an invitation. But the meetings that I was with, Percy Crawford never...never did I ever sit in a meeting where souls were not saved. First-time decisions. The only decision I know of might have been.... Well, the Pinebrook on Friday night would have been different, and I'll tell you about that. But the only decision [invitation] that Percy Crawford ever gave [ever asked for] at Youtharama, this big youth rally we had, where we attracted anywhere from fourteen hundred to two thousand kids on a Saturday night.... As I said, I was a layman, and I came full time with Percy, and I'll tell you how I got involved with him. know, what was I going to say again?

SHUSTER: You were talking about how there were always the decisions when he preached.

DRURY: Oh. The only invitation he gave was for salvation. Never recommitment, not dedication. I could....

SHUSTER: Why was that?

DRURY: Because he was an evangelist. He was an evangelist. He...he didn't call himself a revivalist. He was not there to revive people. [chuckles] He said, "They're not saved to begin with! You've got to get them saved. Then you can reviv...." And I can still see.... And anyone who knew Percy B. Crawford.... We jokingly said that his one finger was about eighteen inches long. And he would point that finger at you like a shotgun. And he would go around the audience very quickly. "You, you, right there, yeah, you, you, you, and you and you and you. You're outside of the family of God and you're going to a sinner's hell. That's right, you're going to die and you're going to go to hell and you're going to burn there for...the Bible says so. There's a lake of fire, there's going to be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. And you're going to go there. And right now what I want you to do, I want you to get up out of your seat and say, 'Jesus I want you to come in to be my Lord, my Savior, my Master. I want to be cleansed, want to be forgiven, want to be restored, want to receive Jesus.'" And boom. As I said, I never was in a meeting where, I don't care how small it was, that somebody didn't get up. Jokingly they said that Percy B. Crawford could speak to a group of Fundamentalist pastors, [laughs] and somebody would be saved. What I said about dedication up at Pinebrook on Friday night.... And it's been said, and it's true, I've met people around the world, who sat at that fire [the campfire at Pinebrook] and just recently, just recently.... Oh, yes, I know who, yeah. I was in a church, Calvary Church up on the boulevard. They were one of the hundreds of churches that moved outside of Philadelphia. The man who started that church was instrumental in Billy's life. I can't think of his name. His name. But the pastor of that church sat at that campfire up in Pinebrook, which is up in the Pocono Mountains. And Percy would give...that would be the only time he would give an invitation for go for broke, for Christian young people who would say, "Lord Jesus, I'll go where you want me to go." And he had these little....

SHUSTER: So this invitation was a commitment to Christian service?

DRURY: Commit...That's exactly right. And they had this pile of sticks. They called them faggots. [Laughs] I don't know where in the world that name ever came from.

SHUSTER: That's what sticks...that's an old name for sticks.

DRURY: Is that right? [laughs] But at any rate, the idea being that you would pick up one of these pieces of wood, sticks, whatever, and throw it into the furnace [sic] and say, "I'm willing to burn like that, God, wherever you want me to go." I've met people around the world who sat at that campfire (and some of them senior citizens today, needless to say), and they took that stick and threw it in. So that was the only time that I knew that.... And Percy Crawford, Percy Crawford at his camp, both at Pinebrook.... Pinebrook was for teenagers and adults, Mountainbrook was for girls, and Shadowbrook was for boys. Monday...Monday it was arranged, you know, chronilo...chronologically that he could speak at all three camps in the morning, in the morning. And Percy Crawford would turn his straight-backed chair around.... Because he was speaking to kids, and he wanted to have a relaxed situation. He was the first one before any other speaker (and...and he had Billy Graham up there, when Billy Graham was a young man).... But he was the first one to give the invitation. And then the other speakers and he had the best in America, the whole Bible Conference circuit group. But he would turn around, and he would give the invitation on Monday morning.

SHUSTER: First thing.

DRURY: First.... For salvation. Strictly for salvation.

SHUSTER: Let me ask you, as you worked for him for a number of years. I mean, you've talked about him as a preacher and a soul-winner. What kind of person was he to work for? Was he...? You mentioned that he said, "I'm the one who makes the decisions." Was he a good decision-maker? Was he a good planner?

DRURY: Oh, yes, yes. I...well, he said...he said of himself...he said, "It's's amazing." He talked something like this. [Drury says the next quote brusquely, as if out of the side of his mouth.] He...he...he said, "It's amazing...." He hesitated sometime when he was talking one to one. Never did that in the pulpit. He said, "That the people know what I did: Pinebrook, Mountainbrook, Shadowbrook, King's Korean Mission, the King's College, and evangelistic...." And he was more of a one-night evangelist than a crusade evangelist. As a matter of fact, Ruth told me this, Ruth told me this, that he was invited to LA [Los Angeles for Billy Graham's crusade there] in 1949. And they couldn't get Percy B. Crawford. And...and...and Torrey Johnson said to the group of businessmen or whatever [Christ for Greater Los Angeles, the group that invited an evangelist to hold a series of meeting in Los Angeles every year], "There's a young guy on our team with YFC [Youth for Christ] by the name of Billy Graham and he is an excellent evangelist." And they sent Billy. And they wanted Percy. I'm also told that they wanted Hyman Appelman, they wanted.... I forget who the other guy was, there was another hotshot guy going around. But Percy...Percy, at the most, I think.... And most of the evangelistic meetings I...I know that Percy had, like up in Toronto, Canada, and New York City at the...oh, the big meeting hall in New York City. That was a one night crusade, rather than.... But once you knew who Percy Crawford was, and what he was accomplishing for God (he was moving mountains), then you could work with Percy Crawford, not for Percy Crawford. You know there's a difference. And I marvel...I marvel, with all the flack and all the decisions, and his curtness.... You know when he would make a decision, he would make a decision, and then he would walk away. "Bill, that's what we're going to do" And Jim know the name Jim Vaus? [Vaus Vaus was best known for tapping wires for gangster Mickey Cohen before his (Vaus's) conversion.]

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

DRURY: Jim Vaus came to Youtharama. And I would get down to Town Hall like two o'clock in the afternoon, and the choir would start rehearsal about three o'clock, and the orchestra, and all of that. And he got there early. Percy got there at maybe a half hour before the rally. But Jim Vaus said to me, "I've got a terrific message on angels." [Laughs] You know, I said, I was a novice. I said, "Jim, angels aren't going to fly [Shuster laughs] in this meeting. I don't think that that's important." "Oh, yeah," he said, "Tremendous message." I said, "No, I think...." What Jim Vaus was noted for was his testimony and his sound effects. He didn't have any of his equipment. And we didn't need it, really, because the speaker was only a very small part of the program. And that has to be explained. And it was evangelism, it was evangelism. We were there to see souls saved. So I said, "So be it." And I...I said to the other people, "You see Percy Crawford walking in the front door, let me know." And they said, "Percy's out in the lobby talking to some people." I went around the side of the auditorium, and I said, "Percy, when you have a minute." He said, "What is it?" I said, "Could you come over here?" [chuckles] I said, "Jim Vaus is backstage and he has a message on angels." "He has a message on what?!" I said, "Angels." "Jim Vaus isn't going to be talking about wiretapping?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "No, he's not going to do that, Bill." I said, "I told him that, but he said he is." "Well, he told you, but he didn't tell Percy," he said. I walked behind him, and I stood off at a distance to see how he operated. He said, "Jim, you're going to be giving your testimony tonight. You ARE going to be giving your testimony tonight." Before.... And Jim said, "But...." "No buts." He said, "That's why I brought you here, James, for you to give your testimony, and then I'll close with the invitation. God bless you." Walked away - that was it. And so he was the decision maker. He was the decision maker.

SHUSTER: And he had that kind of personal authority to make it stick?

DRURY: Oh yeah, absolutely, absolutely. People...people.... I think, I could be wrong, but I respected him for it. You know, with all the vacillating people that I knew, even in...even in industry, even in Diebold. If so..guess so...think so...hope so...suppose so. [Shuster chuckles.] But not Percy. Percy was know so.

SHUSTER: Let me ask you this. I did an interview with Jack Wyrtzen. And he was talking about how he knew Reverend Crawford and worked with him sometimes. And that at one time, some of his staff had helped set up a system for Pinebrook where it would involve more delegation of authority because so much of Crawford's time seemed to be spent doing things directly.

DRURY: Uh-huh.

SHUSTER: And they helped develop a system like this. And they said this is something that Reverend Crawford thought was a good idea. But after a couple of weeks...

DRURY: Yeah.

SHUSTER: ...things were back to him doing pretty much everything himself. Does that ring true?

DRURY: Yes. I don't know why, but, and I saw the guy recently, he was up in years. He was a head baker at Pinebrook and somehow he was in charge of the personnel: the waitresses, and other people who worked in the kitchen, just not the maintenance crew or anything like that. And I don't know where he got this wacky, crazy...and...again, they got paid a pittance back in those days. Probably in the 30s they might have got...or...or...they probably just came for room and board - they wanted to be there. Well, this was in the late 50s. He organized a strike, at any rate.

SHUSTER: At Pinebrook.

DRURY: Yeah, he organized a strike. Everybody was going to walk off, there was going to be no food. However, [chuckles] somehow the thing leaked to Percy Crawford before the first meeting. Gospel truth, okay? You just don't play games with the Reverend Dr. Percy B. Crawford. And he heard, and he got up, and he said, "Before we have the message, is there anybody here who would like to work at Pinebrook this summer?" You know, hands went up all over." He said, "Will you walk out the door and go over there in that building to Mrs. McClutchen [?] and she'll find out how many we need." And he told somebody to go over quietly and tell Mrs. Mrs McClutchen [?] that the people coming over. "We're going to hire them today and they're going to replace the kitchen crew." And after the meeting, this...what was...? McMaster! McMaster! He played a trumpet. He came over to Percy and said, "Percy, you know we're walking off the job." "Yeah, I know that," he said. He said, "You're fired, you and everybody in the kitchen. Go and tell them to pack their bags and get a bus, or call their parents and tell them to come pick them up." [Laughs] And Micky McMaster said, "Fired?! Fired? But I'm in charge." "No, no, no. You were in charge. You're not working for me." And there was...I wasn't there when it happened. But I understand there was a floodgate of tears. You know, the floodgate opened up and all. But he was a decision maker. And it was said....

SHUSTER: And he got through with that?

DRURY: Oh, yeah, yeah. He said the parents came and chewed him out and all of that. He said, "Naw, naw, I didn't make the decision. This crackpot that they work for over there, Mickey McMaster.... And evidently they took a vote, and they said 'Yeah, we want more money or what...." but he said....

SHUSTER: So he never came back to work for Pinebrook? That was it?

DRURY: No, but they did the following year. But they knew that...that with Percy, you know, the buck stopped here. And if he said "Jump," you said, "How high, sir?" [Shuster laughs.] But I...but I had some knock-down dragouts with him. I...I really did. I said, "I come from the business world and I'm not going to take your flack." But he...he fired Chuck Pugh [?], one of the finest musicians there was in America. I didn't realize how great he was until after I got involved with Percy and I traveled around the country. But we had one of the, as I look back now, probably the best music program in America. It was a production-type rally, and we don't...we don't see that type of.... We see some of it on TV, but there were no announcements, other than the offering time. But the thing just flowed. And he was a great musician. And he confronted Percy. And Percy fired him. And I said, "Percy, you can't do that." I said, "He is Youtharama." "No." He said, "The men said [?] I'm in charge and I'm in charge. And he came...he came to me in a confrontation." How I got involved with Percy, I don't know whether I....

SHUSTER: We talked about that a little bit last time.

DRURY: Did we do it last time?

SHUSTER: But let me ask you this. You mentioned that you had some knock-down dragouts with him. Was he the kind of person that you could argue with, and then it was okay the next day? Or was was it...?

DRURY: Yeah, oh, yeah. Absolutely, absolutely. Once you spilled your gut, or he spilled his gut, and you stood your stood your ground, and you had a had a case, not like [unclear] or going on a strike at Pinebrook in the middle of the season or whatever.... But yes, yeah. And I think that if Percy.... As I looked at the people that worked for Percy, I don't know why or how that I got as close to him as I did. He used me as a sounding board. I don't think he ever really wanted my opinion. We would go out to lunch at the State House on Chestnut Street. (And some of this might be repetitious, I don't know.) But he would throw around these numbers. He and Ruthie and I would go out. And he would say, "Bill, I need fifty...or maybe it's one hundred thousand dollars I need for the King's College. I need fifty thousand dollars for Pine.... Maybe it's the other way around. It's real hard to...." This is forty years ago. And it blew my mind, you know. I thought, "How can this guy...?" And now, right now I'm talking about how I need sixty-six thousand dollars to send kids to camp, you know. And...but he was...and he never carried cash with him. Never. I never knew him to have cash, at any rate. He would get up and we would walk out of the State House, and he would say to Ruthie, "You pay the bill. I don't have any money on me." After he'd kicked around a half of a million dollars, or a quarter million, which was a tremendous amount of money back in those days. I...I said something before, and I think this has to be said, that although Percy's kids did not know him, he loved his children. And I stayed at the manse up at Pinebrook on more than one...up at the King's College, Briarwood. And he would call me up. And again, he said, you know, "Bill, I have to go away first thing Thursday morning. You're going to be speaking in chapel." And I said, "No, no, no." You just change your plans. And you can come up and stay Wednesday night and speak in chapel Thursday." And one of his fetishes, he enjoyed wrestling, watching wrestling on tube back in those days. And I can still see him sitting in front of that television set with Donna Lee, his little girl, on his lap. And when she would go to bed, he would say, "You give Uncle Bill a kiss. He's got a little girl, you know, and he loves his little girl, like I love...." But she.... That was the best seat in the house, to Donna Lee.

SHUSTER: Watch Gorgeous George [a well known television wrestler of the era], and....

DRURY: I guess. You know, all those.... And we had a guy working for us, Mr. America, was that his name? Long blond hair. Percy hated long hair on men. But...and he wore this perfume.

SHUSTER: He was a professional wrestler?

DRURY: What?

SHUSTER: This was a professional wrestler?

DRURY: Yeah, and he got saved. And he went around speaking for Percy. I don't think he lasted that long, because I don't remember seeing that much of him. But I...I do remember him coming into the Pinebrook Bookstore. And it was a long, long, store. Not wide, but it was a long store. [Whistles] Huge. And whenever I would see him, I would back away, I would hide, because he was a hugger. He was a hugger. And the guy was a professional wrestler, you know? And he would come up and, "Brother Bill, how ya doing?" And I would... "Oh man, he's going to break every rib in my body." [Shuster laughs] And, well...was it Mr. America? Maybe so. Some of the other guys who were close to Percy might remember that name. But a giant, a giant in the faith. I think I started to say before that there were those who swore at Percy Crawford and those who swore by him. And I swore by him. I really did. They didn't understand him. And today, I find, you know, Bill Drury. They tell me I'm too dogmatic, I'm too repetitious, you know. And they would say.... There's a story in the Bible that I preach on, Luke 14, where Jesus was very dogmatic. Of course, he was the greatest dogmatist I ever read about, you know. And he said to the disciples, "Jump," you know. But I...the things that I thought of the Reverend Dr. Percy B. Crawford (and I don't know whether it's real or imagined) that I see in my own life.... I have a policy with the staff. We...we work in four cities here on the east coast. [break in tape]

SHUSTER: So if they call you up for a decision....

DRURY: I have a policy that if they call me up, that we get a decision. And we had this one guy in Washington, D.C. who was a good.... He was a field director in D.C. And he would call up and say, "Mr. Drury, I have a problem." And then he would spell out the problem. And 99.9 percent of the time, I would give an answer on the phone, you know. I would say, "Do this and this and this." Well, what I thought, and I would tell him, "You had all the time in the world to think about it before you picked up the phone. I thought you said that you have a problem and you needed an answer. You got...." And Percy was the same way. Percy was the same way. I would...wrestle with something, and I would call him up at the King's College or up at the camp. Boom. "Anything else, Bill? God bless you, doing a good job!" Hang up. [Shuster laughs] Boom. That was it.

SHUSTER: Let me ask you about Ruth Crawford. How would you describe her?

DRURY: Submissive. Submissive woman. Quite talented. Her children loved her, although I don't know how much personal, intimate time she spent with...with the children. Nanna [grandmother] lived with them and they would tell you that Nanna raised five children, raised her own family and then the other.... But Ruth was a very sweet, innocent...I think innocent, when Percy married her. I don't know how old.... She was a teenager. And the story goes that Percy said to Ruth Crawford in his proposal, "Ruthie," (he was older than her), "how would you like to take third place in my life?" And Ruth said, "Third place? I don't understand that, Percy." And she, the story goes.... Because I...I...I met her sister and her mother (her name was Devough [?]).... That she was infatuated. That she was playing the piano for Percy Crawford, and she was only a kid. I really don't know how old. But he said, [Drury imitates Crawford' way of speaking.] "Third place, yes." He said, "You see, Jesus comes first in my life. You know, I committed my life to Jesus a long time ago in California." I don't know if you've heard how he got saved. And his work comes second. Jesus is number one, and his work comes.... "And if you want to play third fiddle," he said, "I really need you. I'd love to have you, and I want to marry you." And then I asked Percy, and he said, "Yeah, it went something like that. I'm not...." [Laughs] But it's interesting, again. I got close to Percy. We talked. Some of his other associates...people...they didn't enjoy their relationship, you know, with Percy B. Crawford. And I don't know how many of our staff, our Teen Haven staff here, you'd have to understand, who enjoyed their relationship with, you know, Bill Drury. This one guy who I talked to this morning, who was a sixteen-year-old alcoholic (he was an animal, really), got gloriously saved, and he's now our assistant camp director. And I was in the army. As a matter of fact, I'll be going back for the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day in Europe.


DRURY: But this young man who works for us, he got married, he met a girl and got married at Teen Haven camp. But he...when I'm talking to him, I feel like I'm a captain in the army: "Yes, sir. No, sir. Right, sir. I'll take care of that, sir." He was on the phone this morning, "Yes, sir. Don't worry about it. I'll take care of it." So I don't know. But I enjoyed my relationship. I wanted to be with Percy Crawford. I wanted to ask him all the questions I could ask him about, "When do you start to give an invitation?" And Percy said, "When you get up to preach." And Graham said the same thing, Billy Graham said the same thing. You start the invitation. When you get up, you let people know that they have to make some kind of a decision, a commitment. And as you get into the message, then you keep directly or indirectly referring to a decision that people in that auditorium or coliseum or whatever the case may be.... And...but I...I....he was an outgoing person. When we were in a restaurant...I remember being in a restaurant one time and...and a guy had a little radio and the World Series was on. Percy said, "Would you turn that up, please?" [Shuster laughs.] So a very unusual individual. A very unusual individual. were not absolutely sure that he was with you, you know.

SHUSTER: Because he was always thinking about something else?

DRURY: His mind was always somewhere else, yeah. A rather quick thing, which is not advisable for young preachers and young evangelists. You'd be going to a meeting with Percy, and Percy would have his New Testament on the steering wheel. [Shuster laughs.] He was a fast driver, he was a fast driver, and said, "Bill," he said, "you can drive fast, but make sure that you've got one eye on the rearview mirror and the other eye on the road, and occasionally both of them on your New Testament." [Shuster laughs.] But he said, "When all of a sudden, another light pops into that...from that side road," he said, "you slow down. It's probably...probably the police." [Shuster laughs.] But he would be reading his New Testament while he was driving sixty, sixty-five miles per hour. "Bill, look at this, look at this. I don't know that I saw this before. Look, look and see what John says here." And I'm saying, "Dear God, please. Percy, the road!" you know. And Stuart and Bob and Sam Sr. [?] who traveled with him jammed into that big old Chrysler would tell him the same thing. That sometime they would just put their head back and close their eyes, you know.

SHUSTER: Going back to Ruth Crawford for a moment, was she very influential in the ministry of Pinebrook? Was she....

DRURY: I don't think so. I don't think so. And I don't think that she wanted to be. And...and she called him Daddy, you know. I think that she.... And he listened to her regarding the children. "Daddy, I don't think that they should go with us tonight, because their...their marks aren't too great," something like that, you know. But she made all decisions as far as far as music. And if anybody debated her decision with Percy, he would say, "Go see Ruthie. You know, she may...I...I don't know anything about music." So she...she lined up the musical guests, and all that. She was not in charge of music at Youtharama. Chuck Pugh [?] was. And he had a couple of things with her at the beginning, and when she understood it was over and done with. But she played the piano, she played the harp once or twice, which did not impress me at a youth rally, somebody sitting there.... But [unclear] Percy wanted that, and that was the exception to the rule. But no, she...I don't think that the best of my knowledge...maybe behind closed doors, maybe if they were alone in the car or whatever, she might have made some suggestions. But Percy was the decision maker.

SHUSTER: What did.... It sounds like you were kind of general manager, really, for Youtharama?

DRURY: Yeah, I was the flunky, I was the gopher. I was a fund-raiser. I knew nothing, I knew nothing. Try to imagine your...your...yourself, you know, Bob Shuster, getting into a place where you had to raise x number of dollars.... And I said to a staff...I've said to every.... I just sent a letter out to our Board of Directors because we've got a $66,000 shortfall and we need $66,000 for camp. And that's only just one item. But I...I said in that letter, nobody, but nobody likes to ask people for money. And I sure didn't. And I was a very proud.... I'd already gave you my background in the office. I was a very proud Irish kid, and I wouldn't take anything from anybody. Today we always look to parents and grandparents for the goodies, you know. But I wouldn't take things from my father-in-law, who could well afford to give them. And I said to my wife, "Don't you ever take anything...." And "Can't he give me something for my birthday?" you know. [Shuster chuckles.] And so I never wanted to ask anything of anybody, and then you get in this situation. Chuck Pugh [?], our music director, could raise money faster than I could...could spend money faster than I could raise it. And Percy. Percy never raised a dime...never raised a dime for Youtharama. He would lend his name and his evangelistic fervor, and all of that. So I was chief cook and bottle water. Percy showed up. Once in a while I'd get a phone call. If he was in Florida he might call me. You know, what...what I never saved, and I should have (I kick my butt now), was the long-hand notes from Percy B. Crawford. He...time and again he wrote long-hand notes.

SHUSTER: What kind of things would he say in them?

DRURY: Oh, usually business. Start off with the weather. "Beautiful weather. I was out on the beach...."

SHUSTER: Oh, you mean notes from down in Florida, where he was.

DRURY: Yeah, yeah. Florida, wherever, wherever. Detroit.. He started a radio stations here, there and everywhere. Detroit, Chicago, wherever.. Quite often [chuckles] you'd get notes on hotel stationary, you know? But when I thought...I kick myself that I never.... I have a picture of him upstairs that somebody gave me. I don't know the other guy. I'll give it to you if you want it. I don't know whether you...somebody just gave it to me. But long-hand notes, and always very kind. I don't think I ever got a note that was curt or rude, or, "Do this, do that, do the other thing," but always nice. "How are things going? How does it look?" And so on and so forth. But never raised any money. And I know I'm repeating myself. But yet, for other things, for other things, he'd get on the horn and (I find myself doing it again and again) calling businessmen. And Moody said he did the same thing. You know, D.L. Moody. I don't know whether I've told you that story or not, with the praying Hare [?]. That praying Hare prayed in the money. D.L. Moody supposedly saw Hare, George Mueller, and said, "Where do you get this money for all these [unclear]? And Mueller said, "I pray. I pray." And Moody said, "I know you pray. But where do you get the money from?" He said, "I'm on my knees, and I get a message when I'm praying to call so-and-so. He just had a windfall in the Stock Market or something. And I get up and I...." Percy...Percy asked...Percy.... It's a very interesting thing. Fundraising, as far as evangelism.... He sent out cards, which I do about every other mailing. I will simply send out about a 4 x 6 card, a card about that big, about a financial need. He said, "People are busy. People...." I get, for lack of a better word, I get garbage here, you know. Voluminous stuff.

SHUSTER: Junk mail.

DRURY: Well, I'm talking about from Christian organizations. That two, three, four pieces of stuff that you're supposed to read. I'm sorry, but you give me something short and sweet, you know. And he did that, and he did it very effectively. But when it came to big bucks he got on the horn. He got on the phone and he called....

SHUSTER: So is it safe to say that as a head of an organization, as a preacher, Percy Crawford was a model for you?

DRURY: Oh, yes, yeah, yeah. know.... [unclear] some people said he was not the greatest businessman in all the world. But not one of them could hold a candle to him [in] how he could multiply dollars and keep all of the balls in the air at one time, with the radio stations and the TV station and Young People's Church of the Air [a radio program] and Youth on the March [a televison program], the King's Korean Mission. And with some people.... [Laughs] He even had a couple of diners of his own, restaurants. [Both laugh] You know, but he did, he did.

SHUSTER: [Interrupts with a few unclear words] That's all right. Go ahead.

DRURY: Yes, I don't know what all else that...that he started, or whatever. But he kept them all going.

SHUSTER: Did you have any connection with the radio stations or the television station?

DRURY: No. Other than I broadcast on the local station here [Lancaster, Pennsylvania], which is WDAC. And that was for one of the Crawfords. It might have been for the oldest son, Donald Crawford. Don A. Crawford.... But WDAC, which reportedly today in the best market and is the number one FM station in the country. I don't know that it is, but that's what the manager says, at any rate. And no, I had no input at all. My relationship with Percy Crawford, basically, fundamentally, was Youtharama . Running Youtharama and managing it and raising the money and all that. Secondly, traveling with him, and speaking when he asked me to speak for him, the College and things like that.

SHUSTER: Now I know that after...after Reverend Crawford died you continued for about three years with Youtharama?

DRURY: Two years. Two years. '60 '62. Maybe...well, let me get my act together here. '62, '63 I saw the hand writing on the wall, Bob. I saw the ghetto moving right up to Town Hall. Okay?

SHUSTER: How do you mean that?

DRURY: Town Hall - north Philadelphia. North Philadelphia in the 50s was lily white. River to river, from the Delaware over to the Schyukill River.

SHUSTER: This is the area of down near Germantown and...?

DRURY: Yeah, yeah. Germantown, Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill was posh [upper class]. It was posh. And...but the ghetto and the blight began right behind Town Hall. Town Hall is on Broad Street. Broad Street is the longest, straightest street in the world. It's the main artery that runs from Shelton Avenue all the way down to Navy Yard. And I saw what was happening. And really, I...I got the concern because of a Jewish gentleman - a demolition contractor that got gloriously saved. Came to Youtharama, brought his wife, brought his.... But, like most people who get saved out of a different background (my own case, there on the streets of New York) that you have a desire to share this Christ with other people. And so he did. And it's kind of a long story. He went into a...into a hoagie [sandwich] shop on Girard Avenue.

SHUSTER: Just for non-Philadelphians, hoagie is what other people call submarine [sandwhich]?

DRURY: Yeah, right. Hoagie.... They even have a Subway now, which is a chain, one of the fastest growing chain restaurants, they say, in America. Those hoagies, hoagies, hoagies. And in Philadelphia, it's still a hoagie. It's still a hoagie. But he went into the hoagie shop, get a sandwich, or hoagie, whatever. And there was a group of kids, a couple of booths full of kids. And he went back and he started talking to these kids, and he talked to them about Youtharama. And he invited them to be his guests, not that there was any charge. But they didn't know that. "Nah, we don't want to go there." And so he went out to his car. He drove a late model Chrysler, a big beautiful car. And some of the kids saw the car, and thought, "Man, he can't be all bad." You know, they were impressed with the vehicle. And they said, "What was this thing he was talking about?" So the upshot of it was, he called me. He...he went across to a five-and-dime store, as I was told, got a notebook and a pencil, and went in to the owner. He said, "Would you mind very, very much if these kids signed up here? [laughs] And got their cronies and friends?" So the guy said, "Yeah, what would it hurt? They need something, you know."

SHUSTER: Sign up to go to Youtharama?

DRURY: Yeah. It really was in walking distance. It was a long walk, but you could have walked from Sixth and Girard down to Town Hall. But anyhow, he told me...and he called me before.... It was like the first and third Saturday [of the month, the dates the youth rally was held], and we did some other things which were rather unusual in the summer. But he called me.... And I figured how many kids, yeah, thirty-five, you know, forty kids lined up. And he said, "We need a bus." I called a very good friend of mine, Judge Edward J. Griffiths. Why I called him about a bus, I don't know. He was the Court of Common Pleas, number one.

SHUSTER: Edward J. Griffiths?

DRURY: Yeah. Judge...Judge Edward J. Griffiths. Super, fantastic, godly man. A friend of J. Howard Pew. His yea was yea and his nay was nay. When he said it was done, it was done. It was sealed, concrete. And I called him up, and...and...and I said, "Judge, I've got a stupid request." He said, "No, that's not stupid. If you've got to move.... I'll make a couple of phone calls, I won't make any promises." I got a call within a couple of hours. Miss Brown, the secretary, said, "We have a bus for you?" [Laughs] And I said, "Yes." Well, anyhow, we bussed these kids. And they caused a ruckus. You know, we were dealing with young people from a fifty-sixty mile area of Philadelphia. They came to Youtharama, they came from Atlantic City and Ocean City and Harrisburg, Wilmington, Delaware....And here they came, these black - white kids. Black jacket, girls half-way out of their bra, and that whole thing. The East Side Story. You know that....

SHUSTER: West Side Story. [Musical about teen gangs in new York City]

DRURY: Yeah, West Side Story. I'll get it right. East, west. And they came. And Don Loaney [?] (I don't know whether you knew that name or not).... Don Loaney was a youth speaker and a committeeman...told a lot of jokes, a lot of jokes. Something like Tony Campolo today. But really...and Percy had him every year up at the camp, George Palmer [?] had him, and he was a hot shot guy, made the circuit. And he was our speaker. And I thought, if anybody can handle these kids, he can. Well, before we got to the speaker, like we said, we had this production thing. And the kids, these thirty-five or forty kids are sitting here, off-key, and clapping hands. And nobody else is clapping their hands, and "Shhhhhh!" You know, like that. And I thought, "Oh dear God, what do we do? What do we do?" [Shuster laughs] And Loaney said, "Bill, what are we going to do with those kids out there?" I said, "You're going to preach to them." "I don't know whether I can do it." I said, "Loaney, you are the hot shot guy, you tell all the stories about how you did this and this and this." "I said, "You're going to go out and...." Well, the board of directors came down on my head. And then.... Not, you know "This isn't going to happen again." But they simply said, "You cannot integrate this type of youngster with this particular crowd. You're going to ruin the whole rally. Nobody's going to want to send their kids." Before the week was over the stories were already out: we had these gangsters and hoods. And they were, you know, they were just street kids. Probably family kids. That was an Italian neighborhood over there. It was a drug-ridden neighborhood. That was the beginning of drugs in Philadelphia, at Sixth and Girard. But white. White, white neighborhood. And up above that was Kensington, and German areas, and up in Olney and all of that. So I realized that we were not doing what we said we were doing. And I had lied, again and again, saying, "We are fighting juvenile crime and delinquency. Youtharama is fighting juvenile crime and delinquency." This was the first time juvenile crime came even close to us! And I don't know that these kids were involved in juvenile crime. So then I decided that, you know, these kids are the ones who really need the gospel. They desperately need it. And that's when I went down to Town Hall and I asked for the names of the incorrigibles. And I...I was doing three different things, really. I was doing Youtharama, then I was getting these referrals, very official...

SHUSTER: Referrals from who?

DRURY: ...police referrals. It's [pauses] kind of an involved thing. But they have a thing called Parent Youth Aid Referral Committee where kids who had a brush with the law and were back on the streets, they were brought before the courts and had their wrist-hand slapped or whatever - and Parent Youth Aid Referral was part of Youth Conservation Commission, which was part of the Welfare Department. Youth Conservation Commission got the referrals from a gang-control unit of the Philadelphia Police Department, which was just beginning at the time. And gangs were just beginning. These were very official looking slips that you would get from PYA. I...I didn't...I had the Board of Youtharama, but I didn't even tell them what I was doing, because I...I...I think they would have put the skids [fired] to me before I quit. And I went out, had a...had a ex-gangster, Bob Gray [?], who had served time in a maximum security prison.... He...he was the head of the union, floor covering union.... Still a Christian guy, but, you know, Mr. Tough Guy, you know.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

DRURY: And he went out, and another guy [chuckles]...another guy's got a very, very good job today at a Christian college. These three of us, we went out and called on these referrals in the mini-blighted poverty pocket of north Philadelphia behind Town Hall. I mean, that thing would spread like a wildfire, as far as the ghetto. It's been said that you've got more people in north Philadelphia than you've got in the state of Alaska today, jammed in, congested, volatile, high crime rate situation. So I went out with fear and trembling, and I called on...on...on these ghetto kids. I was born in poverty, but not high crime rate, volatile, violent neighborhoods that the kids today are, you know.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

DRURY: I could go on and on. It's just the plight and the blight of...of these young people....


Send us a message

Return to BGC Archives Home Page

Last Revised: 8/23/08
Expiration: indefinite

© 2016 Wheaton College. All rights reserved. This transcript may be reused with the following publication credit: Used by permission of the Billy Graham Center Archives, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.2008