Interview with James Clayton Mason, April 28, 1976.
R - When where were you born?
C - April twenty-first, 1906.
R - And where?
C - The town of Conway.
R - Who were your parents?
R - Do you know when they were born?
C - My father was born in Porter Maine and my my ... ah ... my mother was born in Brownfield Maine.
R - Do you know when?
C - No I don't know when.
R - Who were your brothers and sisters?
R - Do you know when they were born or the order they were born?
R - What was Conway like when you were a kid in the way of businesses, population, .... things like that?C - ... Well, we lived in the farming section in the East Conway area but ah ... North Conway was the tourist section and Conway was, oh, ... there
R - Where was that located? What was that near?
C - Well, on main street.
R - Oh that's since burned down hasn't it?
C - No it hasn't, it's the furniture place now.
R - Oh they had a fire didn't they?
C - They had a fire that burned down the Western Auto store but that wasn't the building.
R - Alright, would you say then, that tourism was the biggest business around there then?
C - It was.
R - Yeah, ok... were your grandparent living then?
R - Was she living with you?
C - yes, part time.
R - Did most of the families that you knew of have grandparents living with them?
C - ... a few, not too many.
R - Most of the grandparents would stay in their own homes?
C - Stay in their own homes.
R - Ok, but they were fairly near though?
C - Yes.
R - When did you start school?
C - Oh ... about 1911.
R - And you were how old then, five or six?
C - Going in the sixth year.
R - Ok, where did you go to school?
C - I went to the school in Center Conway.
R - That's the gold building I've seen down there?
C - No, it's the school building. I only went to the Conway Center school one year, then it burned and, ... we went to the town school in the town hall for three or four years before they built the new school.
R - That's the one?
C - Down where it is.
R - The gold one?
C - (nods head)R - How many grades were
C - eight
R - How many rooms?
C - When I went to school there were only, there were only two rooms, the first through the fourth grade and the fifth through the eighth grade was in the other room.
R - Two teachers?
C - Two teachers.
R - And what was taught?
C - Reading, writing and arithmetic!
R - Did you go to high school?
C - Yes, I went to high school four years.
R - Where was that?
C - Kezar Falls, Maine.
R - And you had to board down there?
C - I boarded, I stayed, ... I lived with my Aunt.
R - What courses did you take in high school?
C - I took, uh... Algebra, English... French... Civics... History. Took three years of French, one year of Algebra, four years of English. We had one year of mathematics.
R - Ok, what did you do when you got out of high school?
C - When I got out of high school I went to work for Downs pant company, for two years I worked there, ... if you want to know what I did, I ran a ... ah ... an electric cutter.
R - Where was this place?
C - It was right in Kezar Falls.
R - Is it still there?
C - No it isn't. Downs pant company has gone out of business for fifty, sixty years.
R - What did you do after that?
C - I came home and went to work on the, Redstone Quarry.
R - That was really booming at that time, wasn't it?
C - That was the only, actual big business in the town of Conway at that time. Some of the largest buildings in the country came from that quarry.
R - Do you know a few?
C - Yeah, the Masonic Temple in Alexandria Virginia.
R - How many people were employed in the quarry at its height?
C - Oh, there was probably 150.
R - When the depression came on, did that hit the quarry very hard?
C - Uh... Yes it did, during the depression there was very little work.
R - They laid off a lot of people?
C - During the depression I went into a grocery store, I general store actually, and, that had a post office in it.
R - And that's the red building next to The Pines (The Pines Motel).
C - Yes that's it.
R - How long did you work there?
C - ....I became postmaster in 1941...in 1949 we moved into the post office.
R - The new building?
C - Yeah.
R - And that ran though until?
C - 'till 1970 when it, ... when I retired and it closed.