We had machinery come on and I’ll tell you that made working so easy. Type out a card with everything on it and that was the end of the line. That was the difference. That’s the changes, you know. Look at television, radio – how that helped the country. Without those, where would the country be today? Beautiful. Beautiful the way it’s worked. And every change is the same thing. All good for the better. And there will be a lot more good changes.
DIR. HUNTER WEEKS: What are some of the things that have happened in your life that amaze you today; some of the technological evolution or whatever – or events that have occurred in the world? What are some of the bigger things? WALTER: Everything happened during that 100 years. I’ll tell you that. With all the changes, so many people say ‘we don’t like changes’. Well I’ll tell you – without changes, you wouldn’t have nothing in the country today. And you’re going to find out – ten years from now, you people will find that out. You’ll find that different changes that are made and when the changes are made, they’re going to be better for the people. When I was working on the railroad, we had pen and ink. Pen and ink everything.
President of the railroad was here 3 or 4 months ago. They gave me a check for $50,000 for the Shriners, you know the Shriner’s children in Spokane (Shriners Hospitals for Children). We have to pay for all of their mothers and fathers and for the kids to go over to Spokane and that’s where the money went. It’s going to be spent there. DIR. HUNTER WEEKS: And you chose where it was going? You chose who to give it to? WALTER: Yeah – We give them so much money to go to Spokane to get the kids – look at the hundreds that they’ve treated over there. Young kids born with different things, you know.
Depression is no such thing. Sure it’s a depression. Right now there are 12,000 (meant million) people out of work. They don’t want to work – some of them. Some of them can’t. Some of ’em won’t. It’s always going to be that way. As long as I can remember, there’s at least 4 or 5 million who never work. Don’t want to work. That’s the way it is. Look at the kids, just floating around – quit school. That is too bad too. Quitting school is circulating all over the world. No good at all. I tell kids when they come down – Keep in school until you get educated, educated with everything you can. Because if you’re not educated today, you won’t work. You gotta be. You gotta know how to operate machines.
After that, Congress made a $100,000 Guarantee. I believe it is $200,000 now Guarantee – if you got that much money in the bank. The banks are full – the banks are full of money now all over the country. Look at the Government giving banks all of the money they want for everything. DIR. HUNTER WEEKS: But we’ve had some scares, though, for sure. WALTER: Mortgages, all that stuff, you know. I don’t know how much longer they can pay out all that money. You know, one of these days, something’s going to stop. Sure as the devil. But as long as so many jobs working right now, like there is – millions – the country’s in good shape. Good shape. And don’t let them fool you anything.
That was tough. Nobody realized, I’ll tell you right now how tough it was – to be without money. Especially when the banks – when Hoover closed – when the banks were closed that time in the ’30s. Imagine having a checking account and no money in it. You couldn’t cash a check until they reorganized, which took a little while, you know. And people were in bad shape all the way through. First National Bank here in Great Falls was the only one that paid off. All the other banks when they opened didn’t, and everybody lost their money. Some banks paid 10 or 15 percent. That’s all. The rest of it lost.
Because nobody can realize how rough it was in the ’30s. All that small wages – $5 a day didn’t last very long, you know. And it would soon run out of everything they had. And people had to take care of one another, which we did. Took care of lots of people. Our Masonic Lodges – God, we’d feed milk to kids – all that stuff you know. Had to do it. Had to help them. Because people were just starving. No jobs. The river road – when they built the river road, they, it put a couple, few people to work. Same with the Civic Center. All over the country at that time, they build different things – bridges and things to keep some people working, you know. But very few.
Wilson was the first president that I voted for when I was 21. Yeah – and it’s always been the same thing. Just fighting. That’s caused the Depression in the ’30s because the Senators were fighting with Hoover. Hoover was the President and Republican. And he just kept fighting – they wouldn’t give him anything. You know at that time in the ’30s back – in fact it was in the ’20s, a bill was brought up to give every man, woman, and child 200 dollars a month. Had they done so at that time, it might have stopped some of the ’30s, you know, being so severe.
DIR. HUNTER WEEKS: Tell us maybe a couple of the presidents of the United States that you remember, that you like the best, maybe that you have fond memories of? WALTER: Presidents? Well I think Roosevelt probably did the most, you know, with Social Security and things like that. I think he probably – they don’t do much. Look at the man in there now – he promised everything but the moon – and what happened? Nothing. He’s not getting any place at all. He won’t. They don’t work together. Congress and Presidents. Very seldom you ever see ’em get together. They’re always fighting.
A doctor in Boston – he wanted some of my blood. I had arranged for the doctor and the nurse from down – took some blood for him. I told him at the time – I said ‘that blood isn’t gonna tell you a darn thing’. You won’t know anymore about that blood, about my condition than when you took it over. You’re not supposed to, I don’t think. I think that’s – Mother nature takes care of that.