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Barnes and... A Conversation with Charlotte Tiller-Schexnayder

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Steve Barnes sits down with Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder, a journalist and public servant to talk about her memoir, "Salty Old Editor: An Adventure in Ink ".  Schexnayder along with her husband Melvin Schexnayder owned and published the Dumas Clarion newspaper for over 50 years.  Schexnayder who is considered a pioneer for women in politics and journalism sat on many state boards and served 14 years in the Arkansas Legislature.

TRANSCRIPT

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE. THANKS FOR JOINING US. AN ADMONITION OR A CAUTIONARY, I HAVE BEEN IN LOVE WITH OUR GUEST FOR OVER A HALF CENTURY NOW, CHARLOTTE TILLAR SCHEXNAYDER. WELCOME TO THE BROADCAST.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I AM HONORED TO BE HERE.

CHARLOTTE TILLAR WHERE YOU WERE BORN AND IN SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS AND YOU'RE CAREER INCLUDED MOST NOTABLY I THINK FAIR TO SAY ABOUT A HALF CENTURY IN JOURNALISM.

50 YEARS.

AND YOU WERE GOING TO SEE HOW IT WORKED OUT.

THAT'S RIGHT.

YOU HAVE BEEN EVERYWHERE, KNOW EVERYBODY, SERVED PRESIDENTS ON DOWN AND SERVED IN VARIOUS PUBLIC POLICY POSITIONS, AND WHAT A LIFE YOU'VE HAD.

THANK YOU.

NOW, CHARLOTTE TILLAR SCHEXNAYDER HAS SUMMED IT UP SO FAR IN "SALTY OLD EDITOR". IT'S A WONDERFUL MEMOIR OF GROWING UP IN SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS AND ADVENTURES IN THE WORD TRADE. THANK YOU FOR WRITING IT.

THANK YOU. THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME HERE.

WELL, LET'S START BACK IN THERE. YOU WERE A CHRISTMAS BABY.

CORRECT. 1923.

IT WAS DIFFERENT THEN. LIFE WAS DIFFERENT.

VASTLY DIFFERENT.

TELL US ABOUT GROWING UP.

ITS WAS A WONDERFUL SHOW SMALL TO GROW UP IN. I LIVED IN TILLAR UNTIL I WAS ALMOST FOUR AND MOVED TO MCGEE AND LIVED THERE UNTIL MY FATHER DIED. THERE WERE REALLY DEFINED MOMENTS IN MY LIFE AND ONE OF THE FIRST IS WHEN MY FATHER DIED, MY GRANDFATHER DIED, BOTH OF INITIAL CAUSES AND WE LOST THE FAMILY PLANTATION AND THAT CAUSE SAID US TO MOVE BACK TO TILLAR AND A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE IN A SMALL TOWN AND 267 PEOPLE AND MORE LIKE FAMILY. WE HAD NO CLOSE RELATIVES BUT COUSINS AND THEY WERE ALL FAMILY.

THE STRUCTURE OF ARKANSAS WAS DIFFERENT AND TILLAR AND I DON'T THINK THE POPULATION IS 267 ANYMORE AND HAD A PHYSICIAN. YOU HAD A DOWNTOWN. YOU HAD BLOCKS AND IT WAS IN A WAY KIND OF SELF CONTAINED.

THAT'S RIGHT. AT ONE TIME THERE WERE 25 STORES IN TILLAR. THERE IS ONE LEFT NOW, BUT IT WAS A WONDERFUL TIME BECAUSE WE COULD EASILY WALK TO TOWN. WE WALKED EVERYWHERE. WE DID HAVE A CAR, BUT WE WALKED EVERYWHERE AND WE WERE ABLE TO GO TO THE DRUG STORE, THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE, THE GENERAL STORE, THE GROCERY STORE, ALL OF THESE THINGS IN ONE BLOCK AND WE COULD CROSS THE RAILROAD TRACK AND GO TO THE POST OFFICE AND OTHER STORES AND IT IS BANK. IT WAS WONDERFUL TIME TO GROW UP, AND THE RAILROAD WAS SUCH A KEY TO LIFE BACK THEN.

YOU CAUGHT THE TRAIN -- FROM THE BOOK IT'S ALMOST AS IF YOU CAUGHT THE TRAIN IN THE WAY HUGE CITIES CATCH A TAXI.

THAT'S RIGHT AND IT WAS A CHEAP SOURCE OF TRANSPORTATION. WE RODE THE TRAIN FOR MEDICAL PAYMENTS IN LITTLE ROCK AND WE HAD THE CALL.

AND WE WOULD SHOP DURING THE DAY AND COME BACK ON THE 9:00 O'CLOCK TRAIN. EVERYBODY MET THE TRAIN TO SEE WHO WAS GETTING ON AND OFF. IT WAS A SOCIAL OCCASION.

AND AS I WAS READING THAT WAS THE HIGH SPEED RAIL OF THE TIME.

IT WAS AND I OF COURSE HAD TO USE THE TRAIN TO GO TO COLLEGE AT LSU AND UNUSUAL I THINK. ACTUALLY I HAD TO BOARD IN MCGEE AND GO TO ADIS LOUISIANA AND TAKE A TAXI THERE. UP AT 330 IN THE MORNING AND GET ON THE FERRY WITH MY LUGGAGE AND GET ACROSS THE FEARY AND HOPE THERE WAS A TAXI ON THE OTHER SIDE. IF THERE WEREN'T I HAD TO GO TO A BUS STOP THREE BLOCKS AWAY. CAN YOU IMAGINE A YOUNG WOMAN BEING ABLE TO DO THAT NOW? I WAS 18.

YOU WENT TO THE MOVIES AT MCGEE SOMETIMES.

THAT'S RIGHT.

HOW MUCH?

ABOUT EVERY OTHER WEEK. SOMETIMES ONCE A WEEK AND WE WENT TO THE SHOWS CALLEDDED "THE TWO FERS" AND TWO PEOPLE ADMITTED FOR A QUARTER.

TWO FOR A QUARTER.

AND MOST OF THE TIME YOU WOULD GET TWO SHOWS.

DOUBLE FEATURE.

DOUBLE FEATURE.

YOU LOST YOUR DAD AT EIGHT.

THAT'S RIGHT.

BUT AS YOU MADE CLEAR AND EVERYONE, THE WHOLE TOWN ACTUALLY, BENEFITED FROM YOUR MOM WHO WAS A VERY STRONG HAND ON THE TILLAR AT TILLAR.

THAT'S CORRECT. SHE WAS A REMARKABLE WOMAN, VERY CULTURED. SHE PLAYED THE VIOLIN AND WELL READ AND SHE HAD FIERCE DETERMINATION AND WE COULD HAVE GRIEVED IN LIFE OVER THE LOSS BUT HE MADE LIFE CHALLENGING AND WORTH WHILE. I WILL FOREVER BE ENDEBTED TO HER.

FOR ALL THE GOOD TIMES GROWING UP IN SMALL TOWN ARKANSAS AND YOU TOUCHED ON THIS IN AN OBLIQUE WAY OF ANOTHER ARKANSAS AUTHOR WHO WROTE -- DEE BROWN.

YES.

AND THE GOOD OLD DAYS WEREN'T THAT GOOD AND WHEN PEOPLE GOT SICK THEY OFTEN DIED AND OVER THE COPYRIGHTER MEDICATIONS COULD CURE NOW AND YOUR CHILDHOOD WAS IN THE PRIME OF A DEPRESSION, SO THINGS MATTERED, THINGS COUNTED.

EVERY PENNY COUNTED.

HAND ME DOWNS --

THAT'S RIGHT. WE BARTERED FOR THINGS. IT WAS A DIFFERENT ERA. THERE WAS NO SOCIAL SECURITY OR PENSIONS OR WELFARE OF ANY KIND AND PEOPLE HAD TO DEPEND ON ONE ANOTHER AND WE DID. WE TRIED TO HELP ONE ANOTHER AND EVEN THOSE IN THE MOST DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD TRY TO HELP PEOPLE. I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS I REMEMBER MOST IS WHEN A MAN LEFT TILLAR TO GO FIND WORK AND WAS GONE FIVE YEARS THE MERCHANTS IN TILLAR ALL PROVIDED FOOD FOR HIS FAMILY ON AN ALTERNATING BASIS. THEY WOULD HELP ONE ONE WEEK AND ANOTHER MERCHANT WOULD HELP ANOTHER WEEK. THOSE WERE GOLDEN DAYS IN TERMS OF COMPASSION.

AND BELOW THE RETAIL IT STRIKES ME -- I HOPE THAT WE HAVEN'T LOST IT, BUT THERE WAS A COMMUNAL SPIRIT IN TILLAR WHERE FAMILIES WOULD EXCHANGE GOODS -- NOT NECESSARILY ON A BARTER BASIS -- MAYBE IT WAS, BUT IF THE YOUNGEST CHILD IN A FAMILY HAD NO USE FOR A SWEATER OR BOOTS WERE GIVEN TO ANOTHER FAMILY.

HAND ME DOWNS WERE HIGHLY VALUED AND HIGHLY USED.

AND YOUR MOM BOUGHT A NEW -- WAS IT A DODGE OR PLYMOUTH.

THE FIRST CAR I REMEMBER WOULD HAVE BEEN A MODEL T AND WE HAD A MODEL A, AND THEN IN 1934, I BELIEVE IT WAS, SHE DECIDED TO BUY A NEW CAR, AND IT WAS A BLACK CAR BUT HAD GREEN SPOKE WHEELS. SHE WAS A WIDOW AND WAS FOR THREE YEARS AND SHE THOUGHT WAS IMPROPER AND HAD THE SPOKE WHEELS PAINTED BLACK. WE TRADE IT FOR A PLYMOUTH AND DROVE IT FOR SEVEN YEARS AND SOLD IF FOR $700.

SHE WAS A REMARKABLE TRADER.

AND COLLEGE BECKONED AND YOU MENTIONED YOU WERE AT LSU LAST AND IT WASN'T AS THOUGH A YOUNG GIRL FROM TILLAR WASN'T EXPOSED. THERE WAS YOUR MOM'S UPBRINGING AND HER VAST KNOWLEDGE AND LOVE OF THE ARTS AND I NOTED EVEN AT TILLAR IN THE 1930'S YOU COULD STUDY FRENCH AT TILLAR.

THAT'S CORRECT. WE HAD ALL OF THE CORE CURRICULUM. THEY WOULD CALL IT NOW. WE WERE VERY STRONG ON -- NOT ONLY THE BASICS BUT FRENCH, DRAMA. MY MOTHER EVEN DIRECTED A SMALL ORCHESTRA FOR THE HIGH SCHOOL AND I PLAYED A VERY DISMAL VIOLIN IN IT. I HAD NO MUSICAL TALENT. SHE HAD IT BUT IT WAS A PART OF THE TIME ARTS WERE PART OF OUR LIVES AND SHE TOOK ME TO SEE AND MEET FAMOUS ARTISTS AND I REMEMBER HEARING VIOLINISTS AND NUMEROUS PEOPLE. SOMEHOW WE MANAGED IT. THERE NEVER SEEMED TO BE THE MONEY BUT WE FOUND IT.

LSU -- DID THAT OPEN DOORS? OPEN YOUR EYES? HOW DID IT SHAPE YOU?

THAT DEFINITELY DID. FIRST OF ALL I WENT TO ARKANSAS A AND M COLLEGE AND ONE SUMMER SHE DECIDED WE NEEDED THE COSMOPOLITAN EXPERIENCE AND SPENT AT IN CHICAGO AND MY BROTHER DIED DURING WORLD WAR II WHILE I WAS THERE AND I CAME FOR ANOTHER SEMESTER TO BE NEAR BY MOTHER AND THEN I WENT TO LSU ON TRAIN ON MY OWN AND HAD THE MOST WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE AND THE BEST WAS MEETING MY HUSBAND MELVIN AND HE WAS CALLED INTO THE ROTC AND ACTIVATED INTO THE ARMY AND BACK FOR A DAY'S TRAINING AND A WONDERFUL LIFE FROM THEN ON.

BUT HE HAD TO TRAVEL A LOT, AND HE WAS GONE A LOT.

THAT'S RIGHT.

ON BUSINESS, SO YOU GUYS FIND YOUR WAY BACK TO SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS -- MAKE YOUR WAY BACK TO SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS AND THERE IS A LITTLE NEWSPAPER THERE AND PEOPLE THOUGHT -- WONDERED IF YOU HAD TAKEN LEAVE OF YOUR SENTENCE -- SENSES AND YOU DECIDED TO TRY IT.

FOR ONE YEAR AND IF WE DIDN'T LIKE IT AND HE WAS A CHEMICAL ENGINEER BY DEGREE AND WE LIKE TODAY SO MUCH WE STAYED 50 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS.

YOU SAW NEWSPAPERS CHANGE, SMALL TOWN NEWSPAPERS.

VASTLY BECAUSE WE WERE LETTER PRESS WHEN WE BOUGHT THE NEWSPAPER WITH THE HELP OF THE DUMAS PEOPLE THAT RECRUITED US TO BE THERE AFTER BEING IN MCGEE FOR SIX YEARS RUNNING THE MCGEE TIMES.

NOW, YOU BECAME OVER -- YOU WRITE IN THERE THAT FOR THE LONGEST TIME UNTIL DUMAS GOT HIS FIRST RESIDENT PSYCHOLOGIST ANYHOW WERE THE TOWN'S OFFICIAL PSYCHOLOGIST.

I WAS. PEOPLE PORED OUT THEIR TROUBLES TO ME. THEY WOULD COME TO MY DESK AND I WOULD LISTEN AND I OFFERED AN EAR AND I OFFERED WHERE THEY MIGHT GET HELP AND THIS CAME IN MANY WAYS. THE ONE I REMEMBER MOST IS WHEN I WAS WORKING IN MY BACK SHOP AND A MAN CAME IN AND SAID HE WANTED TO SEE THE EDITOR, AND THIS WAS AN ELDERLY BLACK GENTLEMAN AND I WALKED TO THE FRONT AND HE SAID "LADY, SOMEBODY TOLD ME YOU WOULD HELP ME. I BROTHER DIED AND I HAVE NO SUIT TO BURY HIM IN" AND WE GOT THE SUIT BUT WE ALSO STARTED THE HELPING HAND FOR DUMAS AND LASTED FOR 25 YEARS. THEY'RE STILL IN REDUCED CIRCUMSTANCES OF NOT HAVING A FACILITY ANYMORE, BUT IT WORKED FOR A LONG TIME TO HELP PEOPLE IN NEED.

RUNNING A SMALL TOWN NEWSPAPER YOU WERE THE EDITOR BUT YOU DIDN'T SHOW UP IN CHANAL SUITS.

HARDLY.

IT COULD GET PHYSICALLY DIRTY.

I LIKED IT. THE MORE INK ON MY HANDS I LIKED IT, BUT THERE WAS SUCH A SENSE OF CREATING SOMETHING IN THOSE DAYS AND TAKING WORDS AND CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR A TOWN, CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH. SAY THAT IF YOU SAW SOMETHING THAT WAS WRONG YOU WOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND FROM THE TITLE OF MY BOOK AND I SAID "I'M GOING TO WRITE A HOT EDITORIAL" AND MY CHILDREN WOULD SAY "MOMMA IS GOING TO WRITE A HOT EDITORIAL" AND MELVIN WOULD SAY IN TURN "THERE GOES THE "SALTY OLD EDITOR" AND I LAUGHED AT IT BUT THAT WAS IT.

SALTY IS A RELATIVE TERM. I THOUGHT YOU WERE POINTED AND YOU WERE -- THERE WAS NO MISTAKING YOUR POINT BUT SALTY --

VERY DETERMINED. THAT'S WHAT THEY MEANT. THAT'S WHAT THEY MEANT. I WOULDN'T GIVE UP.

RIGHT. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT EARNED YOUR PAPER SUCH DISTINCTION OVER THE YEARS WAS THAT YOU QUITE EVIDENTLY BELIEVED THAT A LOCAL PAPER OUGHT TO BE -- NOT THAT IT SHOULDN'T ADDRESS NATIONAL ISSUES ON THE EDITORIAL PAGE FOR EXAMPLE, BUT THE PAPER WAS FILLED WITH LOCAL CONTENT AND ORIGINATED MATERIAL. THERE WASN'T SYNDICATED STUFF AND IT DELIVERED THE NEWS OF DESHA COUNTY AND REPORTED AND WRITTEN BY YOU AND YOUR STAFF AND THAT ISN'T TRUE OF EVERY SMALL TOWN PAPER. THAT REFLECTED A LOT OF GRIT.

WELL, IT DID AND WE DETERMINED THE NEWSPAPER WOULD BE SO RELATIVE AND RELEVANT AND NO ONE WOULD WANT TO THROW IT AWAY AND PASSED FROM HAND TO HAND AND SOMETIMES FROM NEIGHBOR TO NEIGHBOR, AND IF WE THOUGHT WE WERE DOING A GOOD JOB IF PEOPLE REALLY WANTED IT AND IT WAS OUR JOB TO RECORD THE HISTORY OF THE AREA AS WELL. I THINK THAT WAS ONE OF THE MOTIVATING FACTORS TO GET ALL THE SMALL NEWS AS IT MIGHT BE BUT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO THE PEOPLE.

WELL, ANOTHER TITLE OF THE BOOK MIGHT HAVE BEEN "OUT ON A LIMB". YOU AND  MELVIN WENT ON A LIMB.

A LOT OF TIMES.

AND IN TERMS OF THE NEWSPAPER'S POSITION.

DICEY?

YES. VERY DICEY. WE LOST SUBSCRIPTIONS AND ADVERTISING AND FROM THE POSITIONS WE TOOK TO DESEGREGATION OF THE SCHOOLS TO BUILDING A NEW HIGH SCHOOL TO THE SAND ON THE COURTHOUSE, A LOT OF DIFFERENT ISSUES. WE TOOK AN ECONOMIC HIT, BUT THEY WERE WORTH IT.

YOU KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO TAKE THE HITS?

THAT'S RIGHT.

TOOK THEM ANYWAY?

THAT'S RIGHT.

DO YOU FEEL WE'RE LOSING THAT IN SMALL TOWN JOURNALISM OR BIG TOWN.

I THINK IN JOURNALISM IN PARTICULAR, BUT I DON'T THINK THERE ARE AS MANY AS OLD SALTY EDITORS AS THERE WERE IN MY DAY, AND YOU KNOW IT'S A DIFFERENT WORLD OUT THERE, AND IT'S A DIFFERENT -- IT'S CORPORATE JOURNALISM NOW. IN MY TIME HAD THERE WERE SO MANY FAMILY NEWSPAPERS THAT EXISTED THAT ARE NO LONGER A FAMILY OPERATION BUT A CHAIN NEWSPAPERS.

RIGHT. YOU COULD GO TO THE ARKANSAS PRESS ASSOCIATION DIRECTOR 20 YEARS AGO AND SEE FAMILY OWNED PAPERS ALL OVER THE STATE, WEEKLIES OR SMALL DAILIES AND IT'S CHAINS, CHAINS A LOT OF THEM. YOU COULDN'T HAVE DONE WHAT YOU DID WITHOUT MELVIN?

NEVER, EVER. HE WAS ALWAYS THE SUPPORT, THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, THE SUPPORT. WHENEVER I DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING HE WOULD SAY "GO FOR IT" AND NEVER WAS HE IN DANGER THAT I WAS THE FIRST WOMAN AND DIDN'T BOTHER HIM AT ALL. HE WAS SUPPORTIVE. HE PREFERRED TO BE IN THE BACKGROUND BUT HE WAS CHEERING ALL THE TIME.

THE TWO OF YOU COULD NOT HAVE RUN THAT PAPER, BEING ACTIVE IN CIVIC LIFE AND HAVE A HOUSEHOLD OF KIDS AND ALL SMASHING SUCCESSES. YOU TWO DID WELL TOGETHER.

THANK YOU. IT WAS A WONDERFUL LIFE. WE WERE MARRIED FOR 61 YEARS AND IN THE NEWSPAPER BUSINESS FOR OVER 50 OF THOSE YEARS. WE TRAVELED A LOT. WE MET A LOT OF FAMOUS PEOPLE. WE ENJOYED ALL THE PEOPLE FROM THE SMALL TOWN PEOPLE TO THE CITY PEOPLE, AND OPPORTUNITIES WERE MAGNIFICENT.

HERE IS ANOTHER DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOURNALISM OF SMALLER CITIES AND LARGER CITIES, IN LARGER VENUES. JOURNALISTS ARE ADMONISHED BY THE PUBLISHERS, EDITORS, WHATEVER, TO STAY AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC SPHERE. IN OTHER WORDS, NOT TO BECOME TOO ACTIVE IN PUBLIC LIFE TO AVOID A CONFLICT OF INTEREST. IT'S DIFFERENT IN SMALL TOWN JOURNALISTS AND NO 1EIFIES THAT MORE THAN YOU AND YOU WERE IN THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND IN EVERY ORGANIZATION AND ELECTED THE ARKANSAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY. YOU CROSSED THAT LINE INTO ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN PUBLIC POLICY. ANY REGRETS ABOUT THAT.

NONE WHATSOEVER. I BELIEVED IN ADVOCACY JOURNALISM BEFORE THERE WAS A TERM FOR IT. I WAS ALWAYS INTERESTED IN POLITICS AND MY GRANDFATHER BOUGHT HIS FIRST RADIO IN 1928 TO HEAR THE CANDIDATE SPEAK AND WE HAD POLITICS FOR DINNER AND DISCUSSED ALL OF THESE, SO I HAD THE SECOND THOUGHT OF BEING A STATE REPRESENTATIVE BUT I DIDN'T THINK ANYBODY WOULD VOTE FOR ME AND EVERY WEEK MY OPINION WAS SITTING ON THE EDITORIAL PAGE AND IN THE PAPER SOME WAY. NO ONE WOULD VOTE FOR SOMEONE LIKE I WAS. I WAS SURPRISED I WAS ELECTED.

MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE YOUR DISTRICT WAS LARGER THAN JUST DUMAS OR DESHA.

PERHAPS AND I RAN NO OPPOSITION AND I FIND AMAZING.

YOU MADE FRIENDSHIPS ALONG THE WAY. YOU WERE CAPABLE OF TWEAKING YOUR FRIENDS WHEN YOU THOUGHT THEY NEEDED IT.

I HAD WONDERFUL FRIENDS IN THE LEGISLATURE AND WE FOUGHT MANY BATTLES TOGETHER. WANDA NORTHCUT AND I WORKED HARD TO GET A SALES TAX ON MIXED DRINKS IN ORDER TO FINANCE THE FIRST RESEARCH BUILDING AT THE UNIVERSITY. WE WORKED HARD ON THE RULE DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT. IT TOOK FOUR YEARS TO ESTABLISH A OFFICE FOR THAT IN A RURAL STATE AND I WORKED WITH MC GIBSON AND BRING EAST COAST GARBAGE AND A LOT OF PEOPLE -- I REALLY LOVED THE LEGISLATURE, AND OF COURSE I UNDERSTAND THEY DIDN'T ALL AGREE WITH ME AND I DIDN'T AGREE WITH THEM, BUT IT WAS A VERY GREAT SENSE OF TOLERANCE THAT PEOPLE HAD FOR ONE ANOTHER'S OPINION BACK THEN AND I SEE THAT MISSING NOW.

WE HAVE LOST THAT OR IT'S IN SHORTER SUPPLY?

THAT'S RIGHT.

ABOUT SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS. TILLAR -- IN YOUR LIFETIME WENT FROM 25 STORES TO --

ONE.

AND THE PATTERN ACROSS SOUTHEAST ARKANSAS -- AND IN EAST ARKANSAS AND SOUTH ARKANSAS IS A DECLINING POPULATION. WHAT ARE WE LOSING CHARLOTTE? IS IT INEVITABLE?

IT MAYBE INEVITABLE BUT IT'S VERY SAD BECAUSE I THINK IT WOULD BE TERRIBLE FOR THIS COUNTRY TO LOSE ITS RURAL ROUTES. I THINK MANY OF THE OUTSTANDING PEOPLE THAT COME FROM THE SMALL TOWNS. I THINK SMALL TOWN VALUES ARE STILL THERE; THAT THEY'RE VERY MUCH NEEDED. I THINK A GREAT DEAL OF -- MORE ATTENTION SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON THE REDEVELOPMENT OF RURAL AREAS BECAUSE THEY HAVE SO MUCH TO OFFER THE PEOPLE. THE QUALITY OF LIFE, EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE NOT ALL CULTURAL ACTIVITIES THAT YOU MIGHT FIND IN THE CITIES, BUT THERE IS A VERY FINE QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE SMALL TOWNS.

IS IT FEASIBLE?

THAT'S THE HARDEST QUESTION. WE WOULD HAVE TO REESTABLISH THE ECONOMY IN THE RIEWRP AREAS AND THE FARMING HAS BECOME SO MECHANIZED THAT I DON'T KNOW.

YOU MENTIONED AND NOTED THERE WAS -- REALLY THERE WERE NO SOCIAL PROGRAMS BACK WHEN YOU WERE A LITTLE GIRL. NOW WE REACHED A POINT, A JUNCTURE IN AMERICAN WORLD THAT NO ONE THINKS WE'RE GOING TO DO AWAY WITH MEDICAID AND MEDICARE AND THE OTHER PROGRAMS AND THEY'RE BEING CALLED THAT THE STRUCTURE NEEDS TO BE CHANGED. WHEN DOES A 88 YEARS YOUNG NEWSPAPER EDITOR THINK OF THIS DISCUSSION WE'RE HAVING?

I THINK IT'S VERY CENTRAL TO DECIDE WHAT THE ECONOMY CAN AFFORD, BUT NEVER FORGET THE PEOPLE THERE NEED THE HELP. WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE AND EXAMINE HOW WE CAN REACH THEM. I FIND IT INTOLERABLE THAT THE RICHEST NATION ON EARTH COULD HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL AND IN MY AREA. THAT TROUBLES ME GREATLY SO I THINK THE DISCUSSION THAT IS ONGOING IS KEY TO THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY.

CHARLOTTE TILLAR SCHEXNAYDER THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS TIME.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME HERE.

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