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Andrea Lawrence

Computer scientist and computer science professor Andrea Lawrence was born in Asheville, North Carolina on October 6, 1946 to Jeanne Hayes and Emory Williams. Her family supported education and both of her parents finished college after she was born. Lawrence graduated from Allen High School in Ashville in 1964 and enrolled at Spelman College. She finished her undergraduate education at Purdue University earning her B.S. degree in mathematics in 1970. From 1979 to 1983, Lawrence taught mathematics in Cincinnati Public Schools before beginning her long career at Spelman College. She earned her M.S. degree in computer science from Atlanta University in 1985.

Having begun her career at Spelman as a lecturer and computer literacy coordinator, Lawrence was promoted to director of the computer science program in 1986. She held that position for three years before going back to school to pursue her doctorate. In 1993, Lawrence became the first African American to obtain her Ph.D. degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in computer science. She then returned to Spelman as an assistant professor in computer science, and in 1994, she became chair of the computer and information sciences department. Lawrence was promoted to associate professor of computer science in 1995. Throughout her career, she has been instrumental in programs to increase the number of minorities and woman involved in scientific disciplines, serving as president of the Association of Departments of Computer Science/Engineering at Minority Institutions (ADMI) and associate director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Scholars at Spelman College. Lawrence teaches a range of computer science classes including programming languages, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, and human-computer interactions. She also supervises projects on remote sensing in Antarctica, which uses satellites or aircraft to gather information about Antarctic ice. In addition to her teaching, Lawrence has published numerous papers for her research on human-computer interaction, including using computer animations to teach algorithms.

Lawrence has received several awards to date including the National Technical Association’s Technical Achiever of the Year Award in 2004. She was also named a Technology All-Star in 2005 by the National Women of Color (NWOC). Lawrence lives in Atlanta, Georgia and has three grown children, Deirdre, a scientific consultant, Allegra, an attorney and Valerie, a student.

Andrea Lawrence was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.071

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/19/2012

Last Name

Lawrence

Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Williams

Schools

Allen High School

Spelman College

Purdue University

Clark Atlanta University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Andrea

Birth City, State, Country

Asheville

HM ID

LAW04

Favorite Season

Summer

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Orlando, Florida, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Find a way or make one.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/6/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shellfish

Short Description

Computer science professor and computer scientist Andrea Lawrence (1946 - ) was chair of the computer and information sciences department at Spelman College from 1994-2009 and is currently as associate professor at Spelman. In 1993, she became the first African American to earn her Ph.D. degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Employment

Cincinnati Public Schools

Spelman College

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Andrea Lawrence's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Andrea Lawrence describes her family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her mother's growing up in North Carolina and Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her father and how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her early relationships with her parents and grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Andrea Lawrence shares her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her love of reading, starting at age four

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Andrea Lawrence talks about the integration of Ashville, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Andrea Lawrence remembers her introduction to computers

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Andrea Lawrence discusses her relationship with her father after her parents' separation

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Andrea Lawrence talks about the influence of her elementary school teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Andrea Lawrence remembers her days at Allen High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Andrea Lawrence talks about traveling along with her father, uncle, and cousins

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Andrea Lawrence describes her interest about technology

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her coursework at Allen High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Andrea Lawrence describes meeting President Lyndon B. Johnson as a Presidential Scholar

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Andrea Lawrence talks about Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her role with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her coursework at Spelman College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Andrea Lawrence describes how she met her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Andrea Lawrence talks about living in West Lafayette, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her computer science classes at Purdue University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence talks about reactions to the assassination of Dr. King

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her graduate work in computer science

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Andrea Lawrence talks about Dr. Etta Faulkner and her decision to pursue a Ph.D.

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Andrea Lawrence talks about computers and her mentor, Albert Bodder

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Andrea Lawrence discusses her difficulties she fared as a woman attending Georgia Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Andrea Lawrence discusses the state of teaching of computer science at HBCUs

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence describes her work with NASA Wives Scholars program

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Andrea Lawrence talks about how her writing skills helped her computer science

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her book and the psychology of computers

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Andrea Lawrence talks about computer literacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Andrea Lawrence talks about cultural and gender bias in the computer science field

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Andrea Lawrence talks about Spelman College's future and her current research

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Andrea Lawrence shares her concerns about the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Andrea Lawrence reflects on her legacy and career

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Andrea Lawrence talks about her three daughters

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Andrea Lawrence reflects on her life and career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Andrea Lawrence describes her photos

DASession

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DATitle
Andrea Lawrence talks about Spelman College
Andrea Lawrence discusses her difficulties she fared as a woman attending Georgia Institute of Technology
Transcript
Okay. All right, so, okay, so in 1964, you start school at Spelman.$$I did.$$And how did you like Spelman[Spelman College]--$$Oh, I loved it.$$You already knew a lot about it.$$Right, I knew, and, right, because I had come down in the summers, and my mother was working. And I had, in fact, spent one summer mostly on the campus, living in--when she had a dorm room on the campus. They had faculty, female faculty housing at that point and male faculty housing. A lot of single faculty would live on campus for a couple of years. So I felt right at home. I knew the names of all the buildings because I found out as a child that if I could name all the buildings, people--when, say I was nine or so, people would be impressed and give me a nickel. And I could buy an ice cream cone in the snack shop. So I had learned all the buildings. And I moved into Packard Hall, which is no longer a dormitory. It's now administration. And I really had a great time. I joined the glee club. I was on the newspaper staff. I took a overload in classes most years. After the first semester, I took an overload, and I loved being here where you could, where there were dances and remember, I was just coming from an all-girls school that did not have a all-male school across the street. So, I said, "This is really nice." I can, you know, I don't have 'em in my classes, but they're right over there.$$Now, you took an overload of courses?$$Most time, after the first semester because I was trying to do two minors. So the average load was fifteen hours. I generally took eighteen.$$Okay, you're, you described yourself as a speedy reader?$$Yes.$$Okay.$$I mean not like the ones that come out of their courses that claim they can read, but I read very rapidly. I also type rapidly, which has been very handy. It came in very handy when I started writing those computer programs.$$Okay, okay, now were you exposed to computer science at Spelman?$$I was not. A few years later, they had computer science. The only computers I knew about were, as I said, the ones my mom used in the office, in the registrar's office, the Wang's and the, she brought me a computer. But that was later. No, I was not exposed at all. My first real exposure to computers was when we left Atlanta and went to West Lafayette, Indiana. I dropped out of school when we got married. And my, when my ex-husband finished Morehouse, he went to graduate school at Purdue.$$Okay, now, let's, moving very fast, back up and go back (laughter). We've got a lot of ground to cover.$$Okay, I was trying to figure out where the computers, when I ran into computers and like that.$$Yes, okay, so now I know.$$Okay, I'll hold--$Okay, all right, so 1993, you became an assistant professor here--let me ask you this before we get into teaching. What were some of the struggles that you had as a woman, you know, in computer science? Was there any problem with that at, here, even at Spelman?$$Not at Spelman.$$Okay. But at--$$At Georgia Tech.$$At Georgia Tech (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$At Georgia Tech [Georgia Institute of Technology], the percentage of women in the PhD program was very small. I would say less than 10 percent. So we knew, of course, all the women, other women, and I will have to say that they got, used to get together some times as a group and give each other support. They might have a brunch or something, give each other support. But it was difficult because many times, you would be in a class, and there wouldn't be any other women. And some of the men might not want you to be in their group. And you had to make groups or partner up. So they just really didn't wanna be partners with me. Now, whether that was because I was as old as their mothers or because I was African American or because I was a woman, it was hard to say. But I did find that. My best bet for getting a partner was to either find someone who has been sent back to school by some company or the Army, Armed Forces or another woman. So it was really a situation where if a woman--I'll give you an example. One of the women PhD students had a baby. And she was married to a male PhD student. And I heard someone say, they didn't know I heard them, well, she can't be serious about her degree or she wouldn't have had this baby. And I later heard someone say about one of the male students whose wife had had a baby, "Well, you know, we need to hurry up and get him out so he can get a job." And I know one of my friends who was asked to teach a course over here in the AU Center part time, was told that she shouldn't be doing it because she was taking away something that some man might need. So it was, and she was a single mother with a teenager. She really needed it. But perception was, as a woman, she shouldn't be taking the mouth out of the--the bread out of the mouth of the breadwinner, so to speak, taking the money away from the breadwinner.$$So were you involved in any efforts on the part of women to organize themselves against this kind of thing?$$We didn't really. Tech actually formed, offered us a support group through student services where we could get together. And those weren't all computer scientists. They were from different areas. And we got together once a week, and we would talk about situations and advise how to handle situations we ran into. The computer science women, as I said, sometimes would have meals and get together and encourage each other, but no formal organization.$$Okay, so, so at Spelman, now, you were already teaching at Spelman, right, while you were--$$Right, I was teaching math until I got the CS degree.$$Okay.$$'Cause I had enough graduate hours in math to, from getting a teaching certificate to be a, to be able to teach. But once I graduated with the Masters, then I started computer science.$$Okay, so you just moved right over to another--$$Seamlessly, yeah.$$Yeah, so they had a department, computer science department right here or--$$They had a computer science department by '93' [1993], but they did not have one in the late '80's [1980s] when I was working in the department. The, it was part of mathematics, the mathematics department. So they said we had to have, I think five faculty members and had finished the graduating class before we could become separate. And I believe, that happened under the auspices of Dr. Martin. While I was in grad school, he was able to bring the department out of mathematics and into a separate department.$$Okay. All right, oh, now what was your--I'm sorry. I didn't ask you what your dissertation was titled?$$Oh, it was "Empirical Studies of Using Algorithm Animations to Teach Algorithms. So I did, basically, it would look like little movies where I animated things going through a different processes on the computer. It might be putting things in order, sorting, or it might be some other process that you could carry out. Most of the ones I did were based on sorting. There're probably 12 ways to sort numbers, and the best one to choose depends on the problem and the computer you're using and the data. So in computer science, Algorithm courses, you teach several methods. So what my work was about was trying to figure out ways to teach these methods more effectively, and I created these algorithms. I did experiments at Georgia State and Georgia Tech with students to see which ones worked best for them. So that was, it was pretty interesting, especially, my final conclusion was that the animations were good, but they were only good as long as the students interacted with them. If they just watched them, this TV generation, it didn't really have an effect. They had to do something with it like choose the data to be sorted or choose the next step. They had to do something with it for it to be effective.$$Okay, we have to pause here again.

William Lupton

Computer scientist William Lupton was born on May 26, 1941, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Central High School, graduating in 1959. That same year, Lupton joined the United States Navy and became a sailor, eventually becoming a U.S. Naval Flight Officer and attained the rank of Commander. He logged over 5,000 flight hours in his career and earned five Strike/Flight air medals for his combat cruises to Vietnam. In 1972, Lupton attended the Naval Postgraduate School in California where he received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer science. In 1980, Lupton served as chairperson of the computer science department at the United States Naval Academy. While there, he designed one of the most innovative and complete computer science majors in the country.

In 1981, Lupton took a position as a Professor of Naval Science at Louisiana State University and while there, he earned his Ph.D. degree in expert database systems. Following his tenure at LSU in 1987, he joined the faculty at Jackson State University and chaired the computer science department from 1987 to 1991. In 1991, Morgan State University invited Lupton to chair its computer science department, where he presently serves. Since 2007, Lupton has been the principal investigator of Morgan State University’s Network Resources and Training Site in the Minority University-Space Interdisciplinary Network project which aims to inspire young minority scientists and engineers.

Lupton has been president of the Baltimore and National chapters of the National Technical Association and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He was also the inaugural national president of the Association of the Departments of Computer Science and Engineering at Minority Institutions (ADMI). He has generated over $5 million in funding to improve science and science education.

Lupton is married to Monica McKinney and has three sons, Michael, Steven, and Scott Lupton.

William Lupton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 13, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.058

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/13/2010

Last Name

Lupton

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Bill

Schools

Naval Postgraduate School

Louisiana State University

Meade Elementary School

Vaux Junior High School

Central High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

LUP01

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

National Science Foundation

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Curacao Island

Favorite Quote

It Is Better To Have And Not Need Than To Need And Not Have.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

5/26/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hoagies

Short Description

Computer science professor and computer scientist William Lupton (1941 - ) was chairman of the computer science department at Morgan State University beginning in 1991.

Employment

Louisiana State University

Jackson State University

United States Naval Academy

Morgan State University

United States Navy

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:6282,55:7880,95:38999,416:51830,542:53846,591:54266,597:67678,768:89346,924:101500,1225$0,0:8592,87:14400,115:25170,182:31140,245:31560,252:37348,318:65060,553:65536,561:65808,566:68849,608:73220,647:73988,658:79395,704:83047,806:83794,816:88242,860:88834,867:89352,875:89870,884:90610,898:91054,906:92904,942:93940,961:99564,1052:101044,1088:101340,1093:102746,1124:108952,1136:115320,1206:116180,1211:118892,1230:122060,1282:127032,1362:127599,1370:130272,1443:130758,1450:131649,1463:132135,1472:141607,1570:146483,1640:147971,1666:148343,1671:148901,1679:149645,1688:150296,1697:152342,1783:158275,1860:172690,1920
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William Lupton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Lupton lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Lupton talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Lupton discusses how far back he can trace his family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Lupton shares stories of his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Lupton describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Lupton describes memories of growing up with his cousin

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Lupton shares his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Lupton recalls fixing his family's broken stereo

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Lupton reminisces about Christmas in his youth

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Lupton reflects upon his family's connection to the Navy

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Lupton describes his memories of attending school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Lupton recalls how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Lupton remembers some of his elementary school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Lupton details his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Lupton recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Lupton describes the type of student he was

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William Lupton recalls an emergency visit to the doctor as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William Lupton explains how he developed a sense of critical thinking

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William Lupton recalls some of his high school experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - William Lupton explains the "Philadelphia Syndrome"

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - William Lupton remembers meeting a friend from high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Lupton discusses his college aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Lupton describes his interest in math, computer science and in track as a youth

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Lupton considers the role of religion in his life

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Lupton describes his path from high school to the United States Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Lupton recalls his early United States Navy experiences and his plans to get an education

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Lupton discusses receiving an education through his career in the United States Navy

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Lupton considers the number of African Americans in his United States Navy programs

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Lupton describes his Naval career path from the USS Forrestal to serving in the Vietnam War

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Lupton describes receiving an education at the Naval Postgraduate School

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Lupton describes the nature of his military activity as a pilot in the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Lupton describes an incident landing at Da Nang, Vietnam, Part 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Lupton describes an incident landing at Da Nang, Vietnam, Part 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Lupton discusses his education at the Naval Postgraduate School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Lupton describes his experiences at the United States Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Lupton discusses building the computer science department at the United States Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Lupton describes the social atmosphere of the United States Naval Academy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Lupton tells of another landing incident aboard the USS Nimitz

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Lupton explains what happened to his aircraft aboard the USS Nimitz

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Lupton describes his career trajectory as a Professor of Naval Sciences at Louisiana State University

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Lupton shares some experiences from his service as a Professor of Naval Sciences

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Lupton describes the cultural differences between Louisiana State University and Southern University and A&M College

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Lupton describes his arrival at Jackson State University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Lupton describes his departure from Jackson State University and the reception of his Ph.D. degree

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Lupton discusses his arrival at Morgan State University and his development of the computer science department

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William Lupton discusses balancing his roles as researcher and department chair

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - William Lupton discusses the National Technical Association

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - William Lupton describes the importance of computer science

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - William Lupton reflects on the progress being made in computer science

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Lupton discusses topics in the future of computer science

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Lupton discusses government funding in the field of computer science

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Lupton describes the decisions his faculty are faced with in the Department of Computer Science at Morgan State University

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Lupton considers the importance of service in academia

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Lupton reflects on the changing academic atmosphere of Morgan State University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Lupton discusses the things he enjoys about his job in computer science

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William Lupton describes the awards he has received

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - William Lupton talks about his sons

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - William Lupton shares advice for a student interested in science

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - William Lupton explains why he would be a medical doctor if he was not doing computer science

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - William Lupton considers his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - William Lupton narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - William Lupton narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

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DATitle
William Lupton recalls fixing his family's broken stereo
William Lupton recalls an emergency visit to the doctor as a child
Transcript
Did you like to challenge your father?$$Not so much as challenge, but to verify (laughter), to verify. I know when stereos first came out, my dad bought us a stereo. And, oh, we loved it. We used to play it all the time. In fact, my favorite artist back then was a singer named Dakota Staton. You probably--most people never even heard of Dakota Staton, but she, she was a jazz singer; loved her. One day, the stereo broke, and I said, oh, wow. And I asked Dad [Clement M. Lupton] to fix it. Dad didn't have any money to fix it. His position was, you shouldn't have broke it in the first place (laughter). So I said, okay. One day when I got just tired of waiting, I took the stereo apart. My brother came in, and he said, what are you doing? I said, I'm fixing the stereo. He said, you'd better get that back together before Dad gets (laughter). Okay, he's gonna kill you. So, sure enough I found the piece that was broken on it, and I didn't have any way to replace it so I glued it and glued it and put some scotch tape on it and put it back together. The thing worked. Dad came home. The stereo was working. He noticed the music, but he didn't ask how it got repaired. So I never told him (laughter).$So what would you say was your earliest encounter with science?$$My earliest encounter with science was kind of an accident. We had--I don't know what had happened. We were in the house and either the hot water heater wasn't working or it had broken down or something. Anyhow, we had no hot water. And it was bath time so I was boiling some water on the stove and I was gonna pour it in the bathtub. And I recall when the water was boiling, I got some mits and I lifted this pot up off the stove, and I was gonna take it into the bathroom. And my brother came behind me and bumped me and I spilled the whole pot of boiling water on my chest which as I recall felt like ice cold. And I put the pot down and I was calling my mother [Mary Katherine Thomas Lupton], oh, oh, look what he did. And I was concerned about spilling the water on the floor. And then I took my shirt to pull it up to show my mother how wet it was, and I looked down, and I had no skin (laughter) to about my waist because it had all boiled off. My mother grabbed me and took me out the house and around to this hospital which is on the other side of the wall there that was Girard College [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. And this doctor was putting this salve and stuff on me, and I'm looking, saying what is this he's doing? And he was explaining what he was doing 'cause I was, between tears I was trying to listen to find out what he was doing because I was always conscious of what was happening to me. And I made the connection and said, hum, this guy's a doctor and I see what the doctor is doing, putting this salve, it looked like salve on me. And that was supposed to have some kind of reaction with the skin and the blood and the stuff and then he wrapped it. And I got to thinking about that, and I thought well,--$$About how old were you then?$$Oh, I guess I was about ten [years old], maybe eleven, somewhere around there.