Wrong Mize Peters?

Last Updated 5/25/2006

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Truman Library - Mize Peters Oral History Interview

Mize PetersTruman Library - Mize Peters Oral History InterviewMize Peters Mize Peters FUCHS: Mr. Peters, how did you become acquainted with Harry Truman? PETERS: Our first acquaintance was in the Noland School, which was known as the Southside at that time, in Independence, Missouri.At that time there were only two schools in Independence, the Southside, or what later became the Noland School and the Northside, later the Ott School.He and I were seatmates in the first grade.PETERS: I don,t recall being in the second grade at all with him.He was a boy who skipped grades.I wasn,t; I played a little bit but he was always studious.PETERS: Same seat, yes.PETERS: Yes, I was born at 209 South Main Street right across from the city hall where my grandmother lived.PETERS: Yes.PETERS: No, it was manufactured gas.PETERS: Of course there weren't so very many around there then, probably four or five.PETERS: Of course, as a youngster, the gas impressed me, but water wells were quite ordinary.PETERS: Yes, I,d go over there and play and he,d come over to my house to play.Of course, it was quite a distance and we didn,t do it very often.Usually he would come to my house after school because I lived closer to the school than he did.PETERS: Was that from Crysler Avenue?FUCHS: From Crysler.PETERS: And how long did they stay on Waldo?PETERS: I had no contact with them when they went to Kansas City and I,d forgotten that.PETERS: No, I don,t remember that.PETERS: No, I never went in the drugstore to see him there.I just don,t know how long he worked there.PETERS: I don,t know whether he lived on Waldo or whether he lived on Crysler when he worked in the drugstore, but I think he lived on Waldo.I don,t believe he was quite old enough when he lived on Crysler to work in the drugstore.PETERS: I do not know this.PETERS: Originally, the Clinton store was on the south side of the square right next door to where the First National Bank is now, or maybe the second door from there.PETERS: I think it was because when it was on the south side of the square I was quite small and I,m sure he would have been too small to work then.PETERS: Yes.I was born September 24, 1885, and he was born May 8, 1884.He was 79 last May and I,ll be 78 this September.PETERS: Yes, I was seven years old.PETERS: Why he was in the same room I was, as smart as he was, I don't know.He was always smart but he didn't try to impress people with his smartness.He enjoyed studying and learning.PETERS: My goodness, I don't remember.PETERS: No, he didn,t.PETERS: In later years I had a bicycle.PETERS: No.PETERS: No.She lived on the other side of town and went to Ott School.PETERS: On the Woodland College property (where Bryant School is now) there was a pond where we used to skate in winter.She lived close, on Delaware Street, and,[13]she was there a lot.PETERS: Yes.PETERS: Well, I wouldn,t say I was her beau, but I,ve taken her to dances.PETERS: I don,t remember.PETERS: No.PETERS: It was about the same as a ten-cent store nowadays, but they were called racket stores.PETERS: He was always the head of his class.PETERS: No, I don,t, except that she was always lovely to us and a lovely person to be around, motherly to all of us.My most vivid memory of her is in later years after her husband died.PETERS: I had the drugstore then.PETERS: You mean Harry,s father?PETERS: Yes, he was a road overseer.PETERS: I just don,t remember.PETERS: No, he lived out in Grandview, and then he had that haberdashery store in Kansas City.PETERS: Oh, yes.He father was very quick-tempered and he didn,t mind a good, honest fight. PETERS: Well, no, but I saw the results of one.It was when my father had his livery stable.My father was a stockman and he had a sales barn right across from the county jail in an old rock and frame building.PETERS: He had light livery, horses and single buggies to rent, no carriages like the ones we went to dances in, but you could get a surrey or a team.PETERS: I was a good-sized boy.PETERS: Yes, I was in his store a few times, not many.PETERS: No, I never did.Really, our closest friendship was after he got into politics.Then when he ran for Senator we went different places together.I remember that Mrs. Peters and I went to Sedalia one time and another time to Pleasant Hill.It was at Pleasant Hill that he lost his voice from talking so much.Mrs. Peters and I took Mrs. Truman to Pleasant Hill.PETERS: Oh, I thought it was fine, at least for politics.PETERS: Yes, we did, but for some reason I have a hard time remembering about it.PETERS: Yes, I remember him quite well, but I don,t know what the connection was.PETERS: Millard,s grandfather was a Republican mayor of Independence years and years ago.PETERS: No, I don't remember what class he was in.I think he was ahead of me.FUCHS: He graduated with Mr. Truman in the same class from high school.PETERS: Charlie was another smart boy.PETERS: I suppose they did.PETERS: I never called him Uncle Willy.I believe it was when he was spoken of that they called him that, not when he was spoken to.PETERS: I think it was usually someone who didn't like something he had written.He was very independent of his friends.He'd criticize Mr. Truman many times although he still was an admirer of his.PETERS: I knew Mr. Southern very, very well, and I admired him, but there were some things he was very set on.He was more or less a reformer.He was very "dry" for one thing.But he did admire Mr. Truman.You know, many people speak out their admiration for him in unexpected ways.Recently we sold some antiques.Mrs. Peters put an ad in the Examiner and just the phone number, no address or name.A man called up to find the address, then he came out to see an old iron pot.When he got here he seemed to know me, although I'm not sure of his name.As he left he said, "'You're an old friend of Truman's, aren't you?"I said, "Yes, we were seatmates in the first grade in school and we've been close friends since."He said, "Well, you know, people today are appreciating him more than they ever appreciated him when he was in the White House.They're still after his opinions on things.Second Interview with Mize Peters, Harry S. Truman Library, August 21, 1963.PETERS: I have often wondered whether that was the reason or not.PETERS: Of course, that's been so long ago, I just don't remember his definite attitude; he was not a machine man, or he didn't believe in machine politics.PETERS: I can't say that he endorsed it, but I do not think he opposed it.PETERS: No.PETERS: Oh, yes.PETERS: Yes, because whenever he would go around over the state to speak, we'd go.Then when he was campaigning for judgeships for the county court, we went to different meetings.My wife has never been active in politics, but she was always interested in anything that concerns the Trumans.PETERS: Well, that's been going on for a long time; when it started it was much larger than it is now.PETERS: Oh, yes.It's been a long time.What year did

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