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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with J. D. Thomas and Lela Rigsby Thomas, November 14, 2000. Interview K-0507. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Different perspectives on new arrivals to an old community

J.D. and Lela have different perspectives on the influx of new residents in their area. Lela is suspicious of these outsiders, but J.D. is more open, or at least resigned, to their arrival. He believes that his experiences in the military prepared him for meeting different kinds of people.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with J. D. Thomas and Lela Rigsby Thomas, November 14, 2000. Interview K-0507. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

ROB AMBERG:
I'm curious now that you're getting an influx of new people for this community. I mean, Dale is not from around here, Fluty. But most of the people here are still from right around this community. The fact that you're seeing cars from New Jersey and New York and different places. Is that a—not so much a concern—but what does that feel like?
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
It feels like we're being invaded. Our [unclear] has been invaded by outsiders.
ROB AMBERG:
Is that right?
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
I really do!
ROB AMBERG:
I'm sure that's a very strong—
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
People coming in that we don't know anything about.
ROB AMBERG:
Are you thinking that they'll bring new ways?
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
Right. That's what I'm afraid of most definitely.
ROB AMBERG:
And they'll be different.
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
I know some of the neighbors said, "Oh, we're getting all the people from Florida. We don't need these Florida people in here, or other states to come in to buy our—park, build houses and enter our community."
ROB AMBERG:
Are you hearing kind of the same thing, J.D.?
J. D. THOMAS:
Well, I don't know. I guess when I was in service, and when I worked with the federal government and all like that, I worked with many different types of people, seeing many different types of nationalities, many different types of denominations and all like that. After we moved back here, we watched our kids grow up, Rob, and all like that and everything. And then the talk of the road and seeing cars where you would see two or three hundred a day and it'd increase to 600 a day then on up to a thousand, fifteen hundred a day. And right now you get two times that an hour. I guess in life you learn to advance real, real fast with everything else. And knowing that all these people since World War II, most everybody stayed in hometown areas. After World War II, and after TV, telephones, what have you. All means of contact of transportation and travel become known, people intermerge from all over the world and all over the states and everything. So you cannot hold anything against anybody. Whatever their rights may be, they have a right to come and do things. You cannot stand in the way of advancement or anything like that.
ROB AMBERG:
That's what it sounds like to me. That you've kind of seen changes, and you're ready to accept them.
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
We might as well try to accept the changes. I know this neighbor of mine was saying, "We don't need all these strange cars, all these cars up and down the road that used to be just a little old plot neighborhood. Now we have all this traffic."
ROB AMBERG:
So you're seeing more and more cars.
LELA RIGSBY THOMAS:
Yes. Sometimes a car drives up and you don't even know who they are. Where are they going to?