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2005-10-28 Interview with William B. Keightley, October 28, 2005 AF008:2005OH101 A/F 694 01:17:00 William B. Keightley Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Beard, Ralph. Jones, Wallace. DeMoisey, John. Pitino, Rick. University of Kentucky -- Basketball. High school athletes -- Kentucky. World War, 1939-1945 -- Kentucky. Basketball players. Keightley, William B.; Interviewee Suchanek, Jeffrey; Interviewer keightley_af_0694 1:|8(10)|14(18)|17(29)|22(21)|28(15)|31(18)|41(32)|49(28)|67(16)|77(27)|91(25)|101(1)|104(18)|114(25)|124(26)|134(21)|137(29)|140(28)|153(2)|164(2)|172(2)|175(17)|181(27)|192(16)|213(25)|227(10)|235(18)|238(19)|248(18)|255(13)|275(6)|286(23)|289(28)|296(22)|310(12)|318(8)|329(18)|345(23)|352(3)|360(6)|368(20)|374(27)|381(14)|394(9)|402(18)|404(24)|414(6)|420(16)|425(24)|431(16)|441(26)|450(7)|463(2)|477(5)|483(19)|489(9)|503(37)|522(6)|535(21)|549(10)|554(11)|559(19)|576(8)|585(12)|588(16)|595(9)|607(21)|611(34)|623(23)|636(30)|647(5)|660(16)|670(28)|678(7)|681(32)|691(19) audiotrans BKeight interview SUCHANEK: We'll go a little bit and then I'll stop and make sure were recoding ok but Mr. Keightley last time we talked we uh, we talked about you growing on the farm and all, all you activities there. And I thought today we'd start there off and talk about your education background. Where did you go to school? KEIGHTLEY: I went to school at uh, well of course my, my elementary education was in a one room school. SUCHANEK: What was the name of it. KEIGHTLEY: And It was called Bonds Mill School. We started, we started to school in July and it was a seven month school and we were through in February. Now the, you know the, back in those days the older kids in, in the school, seventh and eight grade well even some a little younger than that had to help on the farm with the housing of tobacco and that sort of thing so, so the larger kids, boys had, had to miss quite a bit of school from the fact it started in July. SUCHANEK: Who was your teacher do you recall? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, her name was Onita Phillips , she was, she was born and, and reared about 400 feet from the school (laughter) and she, he, um was the only teacher I had. And then when I finished the sixth grade they'd consolidated into another school called Sand Spring. That one had all eight grades. You see they at one time, especially in one room schools they'd combined well say the third and fourth grade, you might go from the second grade to the fourth grade and then the next year they would teach third grade. You know and it sounds a little out of balance and I guess it was. But by the same token one teacher and there wouldn't be maybe 25-30 student but when you had to teach all eight grades it made it difficult. You know you might go from the fourth grade to the sixth and then back to fifth. And then when we consolidated into Sand Springs we had the seventh and eight grade was together, but the one teacher taught the grade separately. It was kind of a unique thing. I recall you would, maybe if you had your homework caught up, and eight grade and say you was in the seventh and the eighth grade was in their session, you would sit there and listen and retain some of it for the next year. SUCHANEK: Right, there is talk about kind of going back to that kind of system where the younger kids can, can sit there and listen to the older kids learn. You think there is an advantage to that? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes, you know what I am gonna tell you Jeff, in fact last evening I spoke in London. You know, I have really strong feelings about the consolidation of the community schools, I'm talking about especially high schools, taking away the community pride. You had kids that were probably more disciplined, because you didn't wanna do anything that the whole community would talk about. Especially in competition, I've even talked about academic competition, we used to have, with a one room school, every school, we'll say in Anderson county would have a spelling bee, or you would have speaking contest and that sort of thing... right within the county. And now I know, yes, yes they still have these theories are they still have it, but its on a much larger scale and not as many students get to participate. And even now I am talking about the seventh month school, if you were in the eighth grade and you got out in February, now the high school, which was the county school at that time was Kavanaugh, you could go, they had a class they called Sub-freshman so you'd go, you could go if you choose another two months to Kavanaugh as a sub-freshman to try and prepare you for entrance into the high school level the next fall. SUCHANEK: Did you do that? KEIGHTLEY: No I because, because they consolidated my school when I was in the sixth grade, and then the elementary schools then, the seventh and eighth grade kept the same schedule as the high school. SUCHANEK: Describe that one room school house for me, did it have a big potbelly stove? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes sir, you have it. You know in the early fall course the board of education would send out a truck load of lump coal. And of course there was always plenty of wood back in those days to start a fire, course your know as you used to call it kindling. We, we would start it with kindling. The older kids started the fire in the school every morning under the supervision of course of the teacher; you couldn't get into the school until she came. But, that was the duties of the seventh or eighth grade boys, was to make the fire. SUCHANEK: Would they ring a bell? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, yes sir. When you heard that bell ring it just, it was one of those old hand clappers and she'd just stand up and ring it, she'd ring it when you'd go to recess and when recess was over she ring it.... I seen in the paper incidentally last week they're talking about kids learn better if they have a recess were they get out and run around and play. I just read that last week. SUCHANEK: And did you walk to school? KEIGHTLEY: O yes sir, SUCHANEK: How far did you walk? KEIGHTLEY: I was about a mile and half. Yes, my brother rode a pony to school, but no I walked about a mile and half. All the kids walked SUCHANEK: That was a cold walk on some winter days? KEIGHTLEY: Well yes it was, yes, yes. SUCHANEK: Did you bring a lunch? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah that's all we had, there was no school lunches, no cafeteria. You just packed a cold lunch. You know in the good ole winter time you could take a little maybe, pipe bottle of milk and have a good cold drink. Otherwise, you just had your own cup to drink water out of, which was one of those little collapsible things that you've seen. And you kept that in your desk. SUCHANEK: Did they have a well pump? KEIGHTLEY: We had a well pump, yes, course carried the water in, in a bucket and it had dipper in it. But you had to pour the water from the dipper into your cup. It wasn't like a family you know 5 6 members of the family drinking out of the dipper of course SUCHANEK: How about discipline in those one room school houses? KEIGHTLEY: Discipline was not a problem, but again we're talking about an era where times were pretty tough and people were well disciplined, and again, any little thing that would happen in a community like that everybody would know and nobody wanted anybody to think that the teacher ever had to paddle them. SUCHANEK: Did you ever see anyone paddled? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, I really have and you know had their jaw smacked. SUCHANEK: What do you think about that? KEIGHTLEY: Back at that time no body thought anything about it, but today, heaven forbid that subject will dismiss a teacher. Hey, Ms. Kavanaugh, even in high school used to take you to what was called the breakfast room and she had a big ole paddle and she would bust your butt. SUCHANEK: Did you have your butt busted? KEIGHTLEY: I had my butt busted by Ms Kavanaugh, very few every escaped it. It was just, she would say, well she always called me William, William I don't know if you've done anything but this was one for something you did and didn't get it. SUCHANEK: Did you have a name for her paddle? KEIGHTLEY: Oh it was called a few names but none of them consistently. SUCHANEK: Well if you could, tell me about Ms. Kavanaugh. KEIGHTLEY: Well that's a very, very unique story, that high school was founded in 1909 and she was the principal but it was a county school and also a boarding school that the more affluent people would send their kids that were being groomed for Annapolis's or West Point, and because it was a really an outstanding academic school. Education really took no time off, the boarding school students, would take classes of evening, and of course they, now Ms Kavanaugh had a cook, and she prepared a meal for what we always called the house boys, they ate in that breakfast room where you'd get your paddling. But yes they ate their three meals a day there. Course we would start the basketball practice, we didn't have that many sports back in those days, at four o' clock and then quite a few of the boarding school students would try out for the team and many of them were pretty good players, but they would eat at six o'clock, and she'd take them right back and start teaching them again. SUCHANEK: So they had evening classes? KEIGHTLEY : They had evening classes and they wound up about 10 o'clock at night. SUCHANEK: Now, these house boys were they kept separate? KEIGHTLEY : No, no, they, they, if you were a freshman you were right in with the regular county's, county's school freshman, or whatever your grade level was. No, you was educated in the same way, everybody received the same education, except the one's that were boarders had the advantage of having the evening schooling also which was a little, little more advanced. SUCHANEK: Had you ever considered maybe trying gout for one of the academies? KEIGHTLEY : No, No I never did, because there just, just wasn't enough time. It was referred to as little Annapolis's or little West Point, uh 165 of her students took the exams for either West Point or Annapolis and not a one of them ever failed. SUCHANEK: Really? KEIGHTLEY: Um, I do recall, you asked me about if I ever considered it, well my, my last year, Senior year, you know the war was really going full scale. SUCHANEK: That would have been 45', right? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes 44'... SUCHANEK: 44' ok. KEIGHTLEY: and I was trying to seek something I thought might best fit my needs, so I decided I'd like to be in the naval air corp. and I recall getting this address...(telephones). Yeah we got to get back to Kavanaugh, it maybe time for recess there. But, I was telling you about, I was trying to select a branch of the service that I thought would be best protective for me, because things were pretty, pretty hot along about that time. So, I got an address for the naval air corp. and I wrote and got the information and they sent me back an application. I recall I had to write a little resume about the academic part and so forth. You know when I sent the resume in I put on there that the school I attended was often referred to as Little Annapolis's or Little West Point. And when I got to St. Louis the people who going to process the papers, when I told them I was from Kentucky, they asked me are you the fellow that said that you went to this high school that is referred to as the Naval Academy or West Point and I said yes, well at the time I was there for that, we had to take the examination first before you took the physical and there was probably about 20 of us that applied. But, what, what really made me proud of that particular endeavor that I attempted was that I made the highest test score of the 20 people there. And that really, really made me feel well. They, they told it there... at that time I flunked the physical because of my feet. I had flat feet. I always had flat feet, I was pigeon toed. For some reason they were real particular about people flying and their feet, so they didn't take me and you can guess what happened. I come back and dag gone Marine Corp they draft me and take me. Something where you really have to use your feet. SUCHANEK: Right, to march. KEIGHTLEY: But before that happened, they sent me, I come back home from St Louis and they sent me on to Chicago, and that's where... SUCHANEK: Was that the Great Lakes? KEIGHTLEY: No I went, I went somewhere downtown Chicago ( Phone rings), But to get to Chicago, I had to go by rail so I catch, you know I catch the passenger train out of Lawrenceburg heading for Chicago. SUCHANEK: Was that the L & N? KEIGHTLEY: Huh? SUCHANEK: Was that the L & N? KEIGHTLEY : No it was the Southern. Course you know it was an all night ride and there was a lady sit in front of me and had a small baby. And that little rascal he cried all night long. And I looked, you know I looked at him over the seat one time and he had little red bumps all over him. Well, I dismissed it and I went on and that's where they made the physical and decided that I shouldn't be a member, I shouldn't be an air force crewman because of my feet. Well, I come back home in about 5 days I got the dag gone chicken pox. That little rascal had the chicken pox. SUCHANEK: And you had never had it? KEIGHTLEY: And I'd never had the chicken pox and I had pox on top of pox, was beginning to shave a little bit, of course I shaved you know maybe 3 or 4 times a week, and I couldn't shave, had all of those pox all over me and it was probably the sickest I have been in all my life. And that's what I got out of that adventure. But, yeah, she... SUCHANEK: Describe her physically? Give me a physical description. KEIGHTLEY : Oh, she was about, she was about 6'1,'' weigh about 190 pounds, had hands like Jamal Magloire. Hey, if she shook hands it went halfway to your elbow, and wore an old, I guess she had an old long black dress with a white blouse, and wore old black shoes, the dress had big ole pockets on the front and she always carried her change purse in her pockets, and every noon if you happen to have a class in her room about three o' clock she'd dig down in that purse and get out a dime and have you to go down stairs and get her a soft drink. Because they sold soft drinks out of the algebra teacher's room, the algebra teacher was in charge of the soft drinks, Most of them were still a nickel but Ms. Kavanaugh would charge a dime but she was gonna put her dime in there because you know what those bottles and the dime had to match out. And she'd always, she'd always got a Nehi grape, and she drink that and get the ole blue stain all over her lips, I'm telling you, and she sit up there burp, I mean what a, what a character she was. SUCHANEK: Did she have gray hair? KEIGHTLEY : Oh yeah gray hair , had it in a bun, and she had this great big ole rocking chair and it sat up on a platform, it was about probably two and half feet high, and she sit up there and rock. And you know how, how kids are especially when you get along about junior or senior in high school. And she taught algebra, she taught Spanish and she taught Latin. So you know she uh, whatever course you happen to be taking, well the guys especially would get up there, and would think Ms. Rowley was asleep, she'd set there, she'd be listening to you recite, and then some of them would take off and start trying to say something about the three bears or something and man she'd rare up and I mean she would wack em', but you know how kids are they think it's funny if they can pull, pull something on a teacher, you was not gonna pull a single thing on Ms. Kavanaugh. SUCHANEK: She was pretty stern was she? KEIGHTLEY : Oh she was stern. SUCHANEK: Did you ever see her laugh? KEIGHTLEY : Oh yes she laughed, she was a, she was a, yes, a highly respected woman. SUCHANEK: A big woman. KEIGHTLEY : A big woman, A big woman. SUCHANEK: Was she married? KEIGHTLEY : Yes she was married and had, had two daughters, And Dr. Kavanaugh passed away before I got to high school, he was living when my brother went to Kavanaugh, but then one of her daughters was a teacher there. SUCHANEK: How many students went there? KEIGHTLEY : Average of about 125, that's just an average. SUCHANEK: Of all the grade right? KEIGHTLEY : Well just the four grades, yeah plus, yes just the four grades. SUCHANEK: Did she wear glasses? KEIGHTLEY : She wore glasses, yes sir she wore glasses? We did all of the economical things. We had, we had in the fall we'd have one day where we cut wood, they would bring in small trees and the boys would all bring an axe, or a crosscut saw and we'd have a wood chopping day. SUCHANEK: Really? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, to burn in the grates upstairs or in the stoves downstairs. SUCHANEK: So there was no central heating? KEIGHTLEY : No central heating, No, no, no central heating. That whole house is standing with a big marker in front of it including the gymnasium where I played and where Aggie Sale played, who was Coach Rupp's first all American. But it was uh... SUCHANEK: How about school functions, did you have school functions there did you participate? KEIGHTLEY : Well, when we say a school function? SUCHANEK: Like Choir or band... KEIGHTLEY : No but I tell you got here, I am gonna tell you what she introduced back in 1909. You know that school pioneered the extra circular actives that we now consider an essential part of a modern program such as of course basketball, track, oratory and dramatics were started in 1912. Yes we did those things but only for the entertainment of the parents and the other students. We started each day with a chapel program.(Interruption) KEIGHTLEY: Is it? OK, as I, as I told you earlier the other day its probably not recorded the school was founded up on the 18th chapter of Matthew, but we started each day with a chapel service, and her song was Old Time Religion, every morning we had to go upstairs in the chapel, sing Old Time Religion, read scripture from the bible and then go to our respected classes, never missed a day. But we did have these other things dramatics and oratory. We had that for the entertainment, as I say of our, of our parents and other members of the school so uh, you know she was a, was a lady far advanced in education and that was the only thing she knew was education. And she liked to take wayward kids and make them learn and she could because she was such a powerful individual. But uh... SUCHANEK: Well it sounds like you feel like you got a good solid foundation for your education. KEIGHTLEY : Well you know I will get to it later, you know I started in Eastern Kentucky, but now I tell Jeff, I know this is carrying just a little bit far maybe, but you know I feel like in that school and I really worked at and I studied every night religiously because there was nothing else to do you know. SUCHANEK: No television. KEIGHTLEY : No, no that's right, and we always talked about the radio. And this, this to me was a means to an end. And I always felt in graduating from that school that compared to today and you don't need to judge, or you know most other schools and I am not judging the University of Kentucky, but I feel like I got as much education as people who graduated today from smaller colleges. I truly feel that. SUCHANEK: What kind of student were you? KEIGHTLEY : Well, I was , you know here is another strange thing, my first two years I was straight A's. And I've got, I received numerous awards, scholastic awards at Kavanaugh, but then my senior year, course, now I did, I played basketball and not unlike most kids when they get into athletics if your not careful you'll spend to much time with athletics, but uh, I was not the class valedictorian, although I had a leg up on it and I let it get away, but I was class president. And I always made all of the, anytime that anybody had to make any speech and had no time to prepare, I was the guy. SUCHANEK: You wrote it for them. KEIGHTLEY : Well, I was the guy that had to get up and make the speech. SUCHANEK: And make the speech? KEIGHTLEY: And make the speech, you know, to represent the school. SUCHANEK: So you weren't an introvert. KEIGHTLEY : No I was not an introvert, I don't know why but I wasn't. SUCHANEK: So did you have to campaign to be class president. KEIGHTLEY : No, No, No, No, SUCHANEK: They just made you? KEIGHTLEY : They just made, you know, have, they just take a vote, you know if people like you, I tried never to alienate anyone. Try to be as helpful as I could so yes... SUCHANEK: That's quite an honor. KEIGHTLEY : Well it was at that school, yes at that school it was, not many students, but at least they knew who everybody was, when I say that what type of person they were. Your life truly was an open book, no margin for error. SUCHANEK: Talk about your playing days in athletics, did you play, I guess they didn't have football. KEIGHTLEY : No, we did not have football, they had football back in the 20's but, they got back then you know the protective apparel, about the only thing they had was those old leather helmets and they got some sever injuries, and so she discontinued football and we did not have baseball. Basketball was actually the only sport we had although she had introduced track and early on football. In my tenure basketball was the only sport. And course I never had the benefit of having played or practiced in an indoor faculty, even at the Sand Spring, it was all outdoors. And I go to Kavanaugh and the coach there was a guy that was an alumnus of the University of Kentucky, and highly successful high school coach in this state one of the all time greats, that was a guy by the name of Ralph Carlisle, that ended his career as a coach at Lexington Lafayette, and Ralph was the coach and he was not that far removed from University of Kentucky because he was a all Southeastern player here in 1937 I believe it was, now I am there you know in 1940-41 having never played in an indoor gym. SUCHANEK: Did someone encourage you to go out for the team? KEIGHTLEY : Well you know again, we are talking about community pride, I am from out at the McBrayer Bond's Mill part of the county. Aggie Sale who was coach Rupp's first all American, a third cousin of mine, the onus was on me to play, so SUCHANEK: You had to uphold the tradition. KEIGHTLEY: had to uphold the tradition, now Ralph Carlisle and my brother graduated from Cavanaugh the same year 1932. They were in the same class. But you know I go in there and I play on what they called the second team my first year. And then my second year at Kavanaugh I started for Ralph as a sophomore which was almost unheard of. SUCHANEK: So you must have been a pretty good player? KEIGHTLEY : Well I, you know what, I don't know if I was good or not, I guess, yes, I was ok. SUCHANEK: What position did you play? KEIGHTLEY: well you know strangely enough I was 6' 1 1/2'' SUCHANEK: Which was tall. KEIGHTLEY: Which was tall at that time but I was a jumper, and I played center, in fact under here somewhere right now I have a little clipping that someone sent me, we played, this was my senior year, I got it somewhere, and somebody just sent it to me, we played Frankfort high and they were ranked number one in the state, we played them, it was at Kavanaugh and they beat us 25-29, it was in over time. But I got 21 of the 25 points. I've got the clipping under here somewhere. SUCHANEK: I'd like to see that. Now, back in those days I guess the set shot was the, the popular shot at the time. KEIGHTLEY: You had the, the two handed set, SUCHANEK: And I guess free throws were shot underhand? KEIGHTLEY: Underhand two hand free throws, underhand. SUCHANEK: The hook shot? KEIGHTLEY: You had a spin shot, it wasn't a hook shot. "Frenchy" DeMoisey popularized that thing. I just had that out last week, somebody was talking about it, I got one here but dang that's not it. You know how it is, anything can get lost on this desk. SUCHANEK: We can find it later. KEIGHTLEY: Well before we get through I will find that scrap, its here cause it's one of my prized possessions. SUCHANEK: Now the style of ball back then you didn't have the high scores like you have today. KEIGHTLEY: Oh, no, no, no. You know if you averaged back at that time, if you averaged 12 points a game you were a hot shot. SUCHANEK: What was your average do you recall. KEIGHTLEY: You know, I cant tell you, I really don't know... I was probably about there. SUCHANEK: You think 21 points maybe was your career high? KEIGHTLEY: No I had more than that, yes I had some High 20 games. But that, that was a big one because it was against the top team at the time in the state. SUCHANEK: Tell me about other places you played, tell me about some of those old gymnasiums you used to go to? What are some of the teams you played? KEIGHTLEY: We played, yes all of them were old, Midway, Midway had a little old gym that you just couldn't believe, and they had, and they had a bunch of great players back in those days, Midway did, and they won the state tournament in 1939 and but, but the gyms course Kavanaugh had a real, there was no real way you could hit the ceiling in that gym, but at Midway you had to learn to shoot the two handed shot flat, because if you put the normal arch that I would, say at Kavanaugh it would hit the ceiling. And at Harrodsburg high school, where Aggie Sale coached, also had a gym. I hit that, there was one right in there about the middle of the floor, and I hit that thing two or three times, so if you do that, ball's out of bounds, you loose the ball. Then I played some of the games like early in the year we played some of the what we called smaller schools probably had as many as we did, but like Bald Knob in Franklin county, and Peaks Mill, McAfee in Mercer county, Cornishville. That's some of they, they you know small schools. SUCHANEK: I can't imagine the gym Cornishville had. KEIGHTLEY: Me either!!! SUCHANEK: More like a barn maybe. Were the games well attended back then? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah because you know what there wasn't anything to do, course we always charged at Kavanaugh, they charged a quarter a person, but some of these places like Cornishville you just played. You know the school furnished the uniforms and the balls. You furnished everything else. SUCHANEK: Your shoes. KEIGHTLEY: Your shoes and one pair of socks and that's it, a jock strap. That's what you had to be able to spring for. And it used to be at Kavanaugh, I know guys like me, we older guys we always, would always fuss about it. I was telling you we had to build the fire to heat the water to take a shower, after the game or no after practice, well you know we go to practice, that dag gone second team as we called em', young like me when I was a freshman, you know Ralph would run them out so we could keep just the varsity out there, well those suckers would go down and use up all the hot water and there we were again. But, which brings up another interesting thing. SUCHANEK: Ok go ahead. KEIGHTLEY: Another little interesting side factor about Ms. Kavanaugh, she always, you know, considered herself as your mother. Well Ms. Kavanaugh was a, was a really livid basketball fan, she used to stand beneath the goal with an old black umbrella and holler all through the game "get that ball boys." Any how, on her way to go to the gymnasium she would come through what was our locker-room. And you be in there maybe just come out of the shower, or maybe just changing clothes, being just as, just as SUCHANEK: Half dressed. KEIGHTLEY: Half dressed; totally undressed and she would say the same thing. Boys don't pay any attention to me I am nothing more than your mother and walk right on through. Hey, you made me think about things I haven't thought about for a while. That's good. SUCHANEK: That's good, I know we used to play up in some up in northeast Ohio where I played, in high school and there was this one gym you knew in one part of the court the wood was dead and you'd try to bounce the ball and it would just die on you, and one game. I remember I was, I forgot about it and I hit that dead spot and the ball went out of bounds and I'm sure you encountered things like that in several old gyms that. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, right yes. You know even today not at this particular time, but Rupp Arena had some dead spots like that in their floor, you'd dribble that ball and it would just about stick. SUCHANEK: Kind of home court advantage if you knew that, right? KEIGHTLEY: Yes if you knew how to get around it. SUCHANEK: Kind of guard your man and force him that way. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, kind of yes, yeah, head him to the dead spot. SUCHANEK: So what were some of the more memorable games you played in besides the Frankfort game? And not only that, who were some of the better players you played against? KEIGHTLEY: I had, I played against a Jack Coleman who play at the University of Louisville, Paul Noel who played at the University of Kentucky, another kid from Midway by the name of Carpenter, a player from Frankfort by the name of Chester Moore and Bobby More and Clayton Powers who played football here at the University. He was on that Frankfort team that was rated number one. Doc Ferrell who was a football player here at UK, played at Madison, A name Winget that played at Bridgeport, a Alcorn played at Versailles. I played Henry Clay, they had a guy name Sims, another one Johnny Mayes, play University High Bunky Wilkey and Charlie Allen. Harrodsburg had a guy Amos Black that played football at U of L and I had some teammates that were pretty good. SUCHANEK: I was gonna ask who you played with on your own team. KEIGHTLEY: Yes I had, my early years there at Kavanaugh, I had really a great player from Lexington by the name of Frazier Leamus who went on to play at Duke. I had a Schryock kid that played at Eastern. SUCHANEK: How do you spell that? KEIGHTLEY: SCHRYOCK and he played at Eastern. Paul Weight at Cynthiana, and I can't remember, Clark county had somebody by the name of Hilton that was a good player in my span of time. SUCHANEK: Who are some of the coaches that you recall. KEIGHTLEY: Oh man you got, you got a Who's Who, that is if you're my age. Outside of my age some of the great coaches of that period, of that time was Letcher Norton at Clark County, I had um, of course Aggie Sale at Harrodsburg, Earl Jones was at, at Maysville, Woody Crumb was at Cynthiana, Bill Harold, Bill Harold that's a little later for Bill. Evan Settle at Shelbyville, who played here. I see course Paul McBrayer played at Kavanaugh and he coached at UK and later was at Eastern Kentucky SUCHANEK: Is that any relation to Terry McBrayer? KEIGHTLEY: Uh, no Paul, no Terry was from Greenup and Paul was Anderson county and he was a cousin of Ralph Carlisle. But uh, yeah we uh, Dave Lawrence, Dave Lawrence he coached at Kavanaugh and played at Corinth and I played with his brother at Kavanaugh, he was an outstanding player. You know there, there, this is in the early to mid forties there was a lot of good basketball players.(Unintelligible) (Telephone)(Interruption) Where are we? SUCHANEK: Well you're naming coaches and players. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes, yes, well you know some of the great players back at that time in high school ranks was Ralph Beard, Kenny Rollins in Wickliffe Kentucky, Gene Roles who later play at Western. Uh Joe Holland played at Benton, course Wah Jones played at Harlan. SUCHANEK: Did you ever play against some of those guys? KEIGHTLEY: I played against, I played against, no but we beat Danville that beat Wah's bunch at Harlan. We beat Danville and then Danville beat Harlan, and but I didn't play. Wah is one of my good close friends. SUCHANEK: Your talking about Wah Wah Jones? KEIGHTLEY: Wah Wah Jones, greatest athlete that ever played at the University of Kentucky, bar none. All American in two sports and he played baseball which was probably his best sport. It was incredible. SUCHANEK: Did y'all ever play in the state tournament? KEIGHTLEY: No, the only time Kavanaugh ever made the state tournament was in 1928 and Dave Lawrence beat em' with a set shot 12-10 in 1928 and Dave came on later and coached at Kavanaugh and Dave's wife was my music teacher at Sand Spring. And Truett DeMoisey who is a brother to Frenchy DeMoisey who was an all American here, Truett played here and he was from Walton and then I finished my last two years at Kavanaugh under a man by the name of Foxy DeMoisey. SUCHANEK: Now he was, was he a friend of Happy Chandler?(Telephone) KEIGHTLEY: Happy Chandler, yes.(Interruption) KEIGHTLEY: Yes, now these kids wanna wear these hip hop, I like the kids to look like somebody. When they travel. SUCHANEK: When they come into the gym, you know their a team. KEIGHTLEY: The worst thing the NCAA ever did, and I say NCAA of course members schools are the ones who voted for it but and I can understand it to a degree. The smaller schools didn't have the budget to buy sport coats and slacks for a team, see we always did that we wore a tie and sport coat and a pair of slacks. We didn't wear.... SUCHANEK: In high school or early on.. KEIGHTLEY: Here in Kentucky. SUCHANEK: Opps! KEIGHTLEY: Is that you or me? SUCHANEK: That's me. KEIGHTLEY: But you know the other the schools couldn't afford so they thought it gave us, say the bigger schools an unfair advantage and maybe it did but I like the opportunity to educated somebody on how to try to look. Now they wear dang old sweats and got to have the head phones and it's all part of the era we are in. And that cannot carry on over to the next level whatever it is. Once you get out of athletics or sports, let's put it that way, that's gonna end. SUCHANEK: Unless your Allen Iverson. KEIGHTLEY: Your right you know, that's gonna end. The one thing Rick always said and he carries it out, you wanna look the very best you can for yourself at all times. It's important. SUCHANEK: My coach in high school of course it was in the 1960's and 70's when everyone was wearing long hair and he tells me, he said you wanna get a job, get a hair cut. KEIGHTLEY: Well you know what, talking about that it hadn't been in the last, maybe three months there was a big flap over what Bill Cobsy said, he told em', he said pull up your pants up and get a job. That's exactly, now what was wrong with him saying that, he betrayed a bunch of people. But it's a fact you cant do it. SUCHANEK: In fact when you were in, when you were in high school the schools were still segregated weren't they? You didn't play any African Americans. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, and yet and yet Jeff, yeah they were segregated but even back then being segregated some of my real close friends were, were African Americans or blacks as we called them then. I mean nobody really knew any difference I am talking about when times were you know were hard, Hell, we all ate together, farmed together. You know it wasn't any problem and uh yeah we always, always now the high school, the kids from Lawrenceburg went to high school had to go to Lincoln Institute in Shelby County, consequently very few ever got to go. SUCHANEK: Couldn't get there. KEIGHTLEY: Very few, yes, no couldn't get there. No way SUCHANEK: I was, I was gonna ask you too, when you played for Kavanaugh basketball team, you must have had some arduous journeys during the winter to get to Peaks Mill, did you take a bus? KEIGHTLEY: No, we, we take cars. SUCHANEK: You didn't have any I 64 or anything back then. KEIGHTLEY: No, I can tell you, I recall and I still don't know if it would work because I would never try it again. We were going to Harrodsburg to play, and it was so cold the car we were riding in couldn't keep the frost off the inside of the windshield. And the guy stopped and bought a big onion, and rubbed that onion juice all over the windshield inside. SUCHANEK: And that worked? KEIGHTLEY: Well, it got us to Harrodsburg and back, but I never, as I say, I never tried it to this day. But I saw him do it one time, and I never heard of it before or since. SUCHANEK: How about that! KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, he rubbed onion juice all over the inside windshield to keep it from frosting up. SUCHANEK: Of course I don't think I like my car to smell like that. KEIGHTLEY: Well, it just kind of killed the exhaust smell a little. SUCHANEK: Yeah, but trying to navigate those county roads in the dead of winter...that must have been just... KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, oh yeah, well of course the traction was pretty good because it wasn't that slick asphalt it was gravel, yes. SUCHANEK: Were you the best player on your team? KEIGHTLEY: Well yes as I moved up the ladder my junior and senior year, of course my early years you had guys like Frazier Leamus and Bruce Algen and those guys. They were older, bigger and stronger. But you know how it is. It's kind of the metamorphosis of life, high school the longer you play the better you get. SUCHANEK: Did you have a good team? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah we had, yes we had, we had, we had a good team. SUCHANEK: What was your records do you recall? KEIGHTLEY: Oh we were, course we didn't play as many game as they play today, we probably something like 15-6 and maybe 18-3 something like that. Yeah, we always had a good team. SUCHANEK: Did y'all have cheerleaders back then? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah, oh yes, back then the dress was somewhat different than, than what you see today. SUCHANEK: Now would like your parents, or would you bring your own fan base to like Peaks Mill? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah we had, you'd have, not to many people could even, you know make the trip, they could get to Kavanaugh, but when you went on the road not many were able to do it, course everybody in Peaks Mill would show up. SUCHANEK: Now I recall seeing those, the basketballs that you used, they are not like they use today. KEIGHTLEY: No, no it had lace on it. It was a lace basketball and inside that thing was a bladder. You probably don't know you never played with one of those, and if that thing ever got punctured you could never, yes you could patch, you have to unlace it and take that bladder out and patch it like you would say a tire inter-tube and put that thing back in there and you could never ever get that ball laced up where it would be tight again like it was before. If you dribbled it on that lace, you don't know which way it was fixing to go, but I'll tell you this you could get a good grip on it. SUCHANEK: That's right. That's right. Well, in the last fifteen minutes or so that we have tell me what it was like at that time during WWII. You mentioned before that you had worked at the distillery when you were in high school because your father had passed away. That must have been very hard on your family. Tell me about living and going to school during WWII. Do you remember scrap drives and that kind of thing? KEIGHTLEY: Yes we had scrap drives; you saved all of your grease from you know, food you'd cook. Yeah, scrap drives that was big. It was a total effort. It was, it was a time and of course that was a conflict that every one supported which makes a huge difference there wasn't any room for divided opinion. SUCHANEK: Of course gas was rationed. KEIGHTLEY: Gasoline was rationed, it was, well we thought at the time it was a hardship, but looking back now it really wasn't because we didn't go anywhere. Sugar was rationed. SUCHANEK: You couldn't buy things? KEIGHTLEY: You couldn't buy things, you had to have stamps you know, you had books of stamps. SUCHANEK: Yeah meat was rationed wasn't it? KEIGHTLEY: Everything was rationed and the merchants would have to tear out how ever many stamps that say the sugar called for or meat or whatever and glue it into a book. SUCHANEK: Rubber was rationed, KEIGHTLEY: That's right. Everything was rationed. And of course say fuel gasoline was but if you had a, if you could get a B sticker that got you a whole bunch of gas. But course I didn't have a vehicle myself my brother had one but as I say there wasn't, wasn't anywhere to go. SUCHANEK: I think you mentioned he went up to the service didn't he? KEIGHTLEY: No he got exempted because my father had passed away. He was the one who left, he was older. SUCHANEK: Alright, I'm sure you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard about Pearl Harbor. KEIGHTLEY: Oh I certainly do, it was on a Sunday afternoon, it was real, real cold and uh that was right before my dad passed away. Every Sunday afternoon at our place, the neighbors would all come, I had, I had a basketball and I'm talking about the guys that were farmers, the younger ones would come and we'd play basketball outside all afternoon every Sunday. Aggie Sales brother was one of them and all the other kids my age that was in a couple mile radius, most of them would walk. They'd come and I had two goals, had one on the side of the barn and another one I had built back board and got a pole and hung the backboard and the goal from it but it didn't have a net, had no nets. And we played all afternoon. And my brother and my dad went to the barn to milk and it was just about dark and the attack had taken place somewhat earlier and we were totally unaware of it. But the next day, on Monday, at high school Ms. Kavanaugh got all of us together and heard President Roosevelt declare war. It was about, I'd say about ten o'clock on Monday. SUCHANEK: Did you listen to it? Or did she just tell you? KEIGHTLEY: No we listened to the speech, listened to the speech at school. SUCHANEK: What was, what was the reaction of everyone there? KEIGHTLEY: Well you know, everyone at that time was so unworldly, you know, they didn't realize the magnitude of it, they really couldn't realize the havoc that was spread in Hawaii. SUCHANEK: Didn't know where Pearl Harbor was? KEIGHTLEY: No, never heard of where Pearl Harbor and it was hard to visualize. I used to read the newspaper back in the late 30's and you know, the China was at war the whole time. And that use to bother me it, it would scared me, I was afraid, man that thing may spread. Well it did. SUCHANEK: And of course you were aware in 39 and 40 that England and France, there was a war already going on in Europe. KEIGHTLEY: Yes, yes, aware of that, yes sir, but still hoping that it wouldn't involve us, you at that time, I thought it must be 20,000 miles away which it weren't, but no it was hard for kids to understand the magnitude. And then another thing I remember from that day forward we had in first period of classes every morning, regardless of which class you were suppose to be in, which room you were supposed to be in, regardless of the subject, the first thing we had to give was current events, pertaining to the war, and that went for everyone, course you know you'd get 20 kids in a room course you, about 15 of them never listened to anything so they'd repeat what the first on had said that they heard it also, but we used to have give the current events. SUCHANEK: So you get that either from a radio? KEIGHTLEY: Yes get it from the radio, you the reason being to try and get the kids to have an interest and listen to see what was happening in a world that was in total turmoil. SUCHANEK: Now your father's passed away during the war years, are you paying, paying close attention everyday to what's happening or is it just kind of every once and awhile? Because your busy, you know? KEIGHTLEY: Yes I always paid close attention, now the one luxury we had, if you want to call it a luxury, we took a daily newspaper, not many people, Jeff, in those days took a daily newspaper. SUCHANEK: Which one did you get? KEIGHTLEY: We got the Courier Journal out of Louisville. That was a great paper. I believe the Binghams owned it at that time. SUCHANEK: It is not the same paper. KEIGHTLEY: No it isn't. It' has deteriorated.(Interruption) That man worries the hell out of me. SUCHANEK: So you said you paid pretty close attention to what was going on, got the Courier Journal, right? When did it occur to you that it would, it would probably affect your life? KEIGHTLEY: You know, I made it through 42' and most, well I would say about middle way of 43'. I could see the handwriting, because we were not, France and England and you know their condition was worsening by the day and it was almost inevitable that I was gonna have to be caught up in it. SUCHANEK: I was gonna say, I'm sure that you knew students who had graduated from Kavanaugh ahead of you who had gone, there were probably people in Anderson county you knew who had been killed. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes, there was many of them, yes. You know, I, that's when reality really starts to set in. SUCHANEK: What did your mom think about that? KEIGHTLEY: Well, you know of course moms they worry night and day, but you know it's a, it was just a reality it was gonna happen so you just have to make the best of it, hope for the best, be as positive as you can but... SUCHANEK: When did you get the call? KEIGHTLEY: I got the call just as soon as I graduated; well I already, no I already had my physical before I graduated. SUCHANEK: Which was again in 1944? KEIGHTLEY: That, no that was in, no this was in, I had my physical in February of 45. See I went in just as soon as I graduated that's the reason I tried to get into the naval air corp. but I'd already had my physical and you know they took me right in and... SUCHANEK: What month was that? KEIGHTLEY: That was uh, I got out in May, went I, I believe, went in June 31st. I believe that was the date. SUCHANEK: By the time you went in the war in Europe was already over. KEIGHTLEY: The, when I went in I, lets see, yes when did it end in Europe? SUCHANEK: April. KEIGHTLEY: April, April, yes. But when I went in then, they, I went in the Marine Corp. I tried to get in, still tried to get into the Navy, I couldn't get into the naval air corp. and I went to Louisville and the old armories where they gave us the physical, I had to take another one, course you know the odd thing is the government keeps your running around naked for about three months before they take you in, and I'd never seen, that's something else, talk about taking that physical in that armory and there must have been you know maybe 500 guys there taking physicals, and you'd be standing in a line naked without your clothes for most of the day, now I never saw anything like that. That's one thing I had, really a difficult time adjusting to, I'm talking about after I got into the Marine Corp. is going to a latrine, and you know I always kind of think going to the bathroom is private, and then you go in there and they got that latrine that's maybe 100 feet long, got that running water going beneath the holes and you have to go to the bathroom and hell, there is 50 other people setting in there at the same time going to the bathroom, now I had a problem with that one. SUCHANEK: You can only hold it so long, you couldn't hold it three months could you? KEIGHTLEY: No, couldn't do it. And then I as I say I volunteered for the Navy, navy forces they stamped that on the paper. Ok. This is on I'll say a Wednesday, and on Thursday you got to go back to the armory and their gonna tell you where you gonna go, now I volunteered for the naval forces, and here comes this guy, a Marine out, and he says I need five volunteers for the Marine Corp. Not a single person moved out of all these guys that wanted to go to the Navy. Not one moved. And I'll be dag gone, they said ok we'll pick em' and I'll be dag gone if they didn't pick my name first. I mean they knew nothing about it. It was just a name. And I'll be dag gone if they didn't draw my or pick my name first, only time in my life that ever happened. And I really didn't want to go to the Marines. SUCHANEK: What did you think? KEIGHTLEY: I thought, man, uh oh, here goes my luck again. I tried everything in the world and now my last hope has faded. SUCHANEK: You know you had been reading all about the war and you know the Marine were the ones who... KEIGHTLEY: Oh, I know, see the worst part of it was I knew all about Iwo Jima, which was just awful. In fact, you know that's the reason I got that picture up there. And I thought man I don't know, it cant get much worse than this, then couldn't make a phone call, I had to write a post card back and tell them where you know, that I had been selected to go to the Marines and I was going to Paris Island, well thing of it was and I found out later, I'm on the rural route, and this is on the post card and you know, the mailman he reads it and spreads the word. Now everybody in the community knows I am in the Marine Corp. The lady who, the Bonds, that ran the grocery store knew it before my mother. SUCHANEK: When you left to go to Louisville for your physical, did you drive? KEIGHTLEY: No, no they took us up on a bus.(Telephone) SUCHANEK: We're almost out of time why don't we stop here. 2 Keightley discusses the rural schools he attended as a child, Kavanaugh High School in Lawrenceburg (Ky.), and his recollections of teacher and administrator of that school, Mrs. Rhoda Kavanaugh. He recalls his high school basketball career, teammates, opposing players and coaches, as well as differences in the game and in equipment between that era and today's. Keightley concludes with remembrances of Pearl Harbor and the effects of World War II on his daily life, including being drafted as a Marine in 1945. UKAW; University of Kentucky Men's Basketball