Life history

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Thomas W. Crider, a resident of the South Louisville neighborhood, was interviewed in his early 90s. Crider, born to a hardscrabble farm family in Crittenden County, KY describes the tragic death of his father in the Curlew Coal Mine and subsequent struggling childhood in Marion, Kentucky, Evansville, Indiana and finally Louisville, Kentucky. Crider, a natural storyteller using vivid and peppery language, tells of his failed first marriage, a series of blue-collar work experiences, and finally his enlistment in WWII in the Seabees, a construction unit of the U. S. Navy. Hopping from one South Pacific island after another, the narrator colorfully tells of manipulation of his role as a company barber to secure special favors and his relationships with the islanders and their families. On return to the states, he describes his extensive training as a beautician in several states, how permanent waves damaged his hands forcing him to leave his upscale clientele, his longtime marriage to Eleanor Mattingly, his wanderlust, and his later work on the maintenance crew at the University of Louisville.