I think you were telling me before we started that the Panama, the school system in Panama put a ceiling on where, how far you could go?$$Yes.$$So--$$On the canal zone's area, and the canal zone [Panama Canal Zone] was administered by the America- U.S. government, okay, and they had schools for West Indians, in particular, that went no further than the eighth grade. It wasn't until many years later that they started a high school and that had to be probably in the, the late '40s [1940s], that they started high school.$$So, let me get this straight. If you were a, some other nationality, you weren't a West Indian, you could get a higher education at the expense of the state?$$No you could not.$$You could not?$$No, because basically the workers were Hispanic or Caribbean, and Caribbean primarily, and you had Hispanics but they rarely worked for the canal zone and that's why there's always that, that, that discussion that the canal [Panama Canal] was built by West Indians. They don't get credit for it but there are a number of research, research has been done and shown that this is where the building of the canal came from, truly, West Indians, and those are the ones that came primarily from the West Indies that lived there and raised their families and their only job was to build a canal. So the education, as I said, they brought people with them, women in particular, that educated, trained, initially. I, I know that I learned my ABCs and my multiplication tables. I could, if you woke me up in the middle of the night, I said twelve times twelve is how much and I'd say 144 but I knew that when I was about three or four years old because I used to sit on the stairs, looking into an apartment, a little room, to a room that Mrs. Carrington [ph.] held classes for the children of the people in the community and she would have the front row is for those children that are from maybe kindergarten to third grade and then from fourth grade to eighth grade, you had another, another group that she trained or they went off then to the elementary school and later, much later, just before I came to this country in 1953, they, I guess at '53 , yeah, '53 , they, I went to the junior high school [La Boca Junior High School, La Boca, Panama] to complete my eighth grade and at that time they had then put, initiated, the high school that went from nine to twelve.$$Okay, but when your mother [Edith Pond Brown] was growing up--$$My mother--$$--she could only, she was allowed going to eighth grade--$$--she only could go to eighth grade, eighth grade--$$--but what you're saying is--$$--and my aunts.$$--is that her education was supplemented by the teachers that they brought over from--$$Exactly, yes.$$--home, from Montserrat?$$From Montserrat and from Trinidad and from Jamaica and Jamaica in particular, and Barbados. Barbados had people I recognized that were really quite bright, educated themselves but, or learned from the English, but they were really very well informed. If you had a Barbadian teacher, you were very proud.$Nineteen seventy-three , at Midway Nursing Home [Maspeth, New York] now. You're the director--$$Yes.$$--of nursing services and administration and you were there for more than twenty-five years?$$No, no, no no--$$No? Okay.$$--I was there for ten years.$$Ten, okay, (laughter) we've got that wrong.$$Yeah, ten years, um-hm.$$Ten years, all right, that's a big difference. So, well tell us about that experience.$$It was an interesting experience because as I said, when Earline [Earline Ross] recommended me it was a new facility, it was a facility that was put into a community called Maspeth [Queens, New York] which was made up of people, Lithuanians and, and so on, Slavic areas and they, this community existed in a place called Maspeth, M-A-S-P-E-T-H, and the arrangement that the owners of the facility, Midway Nursing Home, had to make with them is that they will be willing to hire people from the community to work there, for them to get permission to put this site on, in the neighborhood, well, they shortly did, they got their approval. So when I was hired, I did not know that I had, I had to hire people from the community, solely, and I started doing that and when you came into the facility, and again I always seem to end up indirectly with some sort of racial situations, I, on the first floor was the administration staff. I was the only black person in, in the building, in the position of authority and because of my background, I was able to, the owners of the facility left me in charge of purchasing supplies, of hiring, developing their policy and procedure manuals and it was just a really tough job getting started but it was good, I looked at it as good experience for my future. And so when I started hiring, I was able to get people from the community to work the day shift which was seven to three [o'clock], up, a few to work three to eleven, very few to work eleven to seven was a difficult, a night tour, and, in the process of doing that, and this is way back then, in the '70s [1970s], right, in the process of doing that, I had to hire, no, I could not find people from the community to work nights and I'm having difficulty staffing. So I went to the owners and I said, "Look, I'm going to have to put an ad in the paper, not the local papers only, seeking help and hoping that people will come in, if they meet the criteria, then I'll hire them and I cannot just strictly depend on, because I cannot depend on the neighborhood people," so I did. And then when I started hiring, I had difficulty later on and in no time, the community had a community board meeting and they were raging against the owners and they're hiring people from out of the neighborhood and so, of course, all of this came to me, they said, "What are you doing?" I said, "I'm hiring people. I have to staff the place. I have a health code that I have to follow. I have to provide--." Well, "Why are you hiring those people?" Who are those people? I mean, I'm not conscious of those people. I'm hiring people to work that are willing to work and, and, and the community got together and said that they were not happy because I was hiring people, and I said, well you all define who I'm hiring that's a problem and then I had, they said I had, I was hiring people from Haitia- you know, Haitian people, I was hiring African American people, I was hiring Spanish people, I was hiring some Chinese, I had a few Chinese people, Vietnam, whatever it was, and I said, "Well those are the people that applied and they're qualified. I don't have people from the community coming in to work nights. If you can get me some people from the community that are willing to work the night tour, then I will not have these people and I will follow the guidelines which you all originally agreed to that, people from the community will be given the first choice," and I couldn't get them. And that created some stress between the day shift, the evening shift, and the night tour. So I was constantly, you know, refereeing things through the supervisors, well, to the point that one lady came in one day and she said to me that, it was a horrible story, one of the aides, they had, you know, negative terminologies to call them as they took care of tha- them, as elderly, and this aide was from Brazil, came and said to me, "Mrs. Ingleton [HistoryMaker Grace Y. Ingleton], I don't like to be called names," and so on and so on and this lady, I said, "You're dealing with the elderly, you're dealing with people are confused and maybe they don't know what they're saying but your job is basically to provide care and not to be interacting in a negative way," and so on. She said, "That's fine if you're not delivering the care and having people call you all that they call you." I said, "That goes with the territory of having a job, human behavior, and your point is that you do not react to people the way they are treating you in that manner." Well, a couple of times I had residents that were so hostile from that environment that they spat in the face of one of the, the aides and she unfortunately returned the same negative response. And so, the reason I raised that is because it became quite a, quite a issue in the community and, you know, what the aide had done, not saying what the patient had done, and was back and forth. So I went through that period. I had to terminate the aide and then I thought about it and I said, well, you know, I'm going to give her a long suspension and I'm sure she will resign after that. She never resigned, she came back after nine months that I suspended her for but, but the problem with the situation that became a very hostile one, for me, for a period of time, but I was just determined that if I cannot find people from the community to work, I have to provide jobs to be fair to people that were willing to take the job and do it and I said it's going to be a battle of the wills because I, my goal was always, you bring me staff that were willing to work and I will be willing to hire them. If you cannot do that, then I think we meet halfway and you accept the people that are working, willing to do the work, and it took a while. I mean, I gained an enormous amount of respect from the staff and many of the community people and there are those that never ever accepted the fact that we were not able to staff with the people from the community, not looking at the fact that they were unable to provide the staff. It was a good learning experience for me because it, I mean, it made me a good administrator, I think, better than, than just the paperwork and the ordering and the budget and the policy and procedure, it taught me a lot about human behavior and, and learning when to be flexible and when not to be flexible and learning where to believe, to work by your, by your value system and it brought a lot of issues and value. What does it mean? Do I sacrifice providing quality care for the residents, for those people that are willing to come and do it and learn and provide good care or do I succumb to threats, really, subtle threats and, and verbal threats and so on. They used to look out for my car to come in, there were times that I would have a flat that, no one would know how I got the flat, you know.