They say I was the first baby born at old Athens General Hospital, January 25, 1921. Most everybody was born at home before those days. Dr. Ralph Goss Sr. delivered me, and the hospital then was a three- story converted home, a beautiful old antebellum three-story home at the current site of the hospital. And later, just a few years later, they put in the first wing of the Regional Hospital which is there now, and they made the original hospital, a three-story home, they made it the nurse's home, but it was torn down when they began building the brick wing of Athens Regional. But my mother and father were from Athens. My father was really from Hartwell, Georgia, born in Hartwell, Georgia. His father had been editor of the Hartwell Sun, James Thomas Magill. My father came to the University of Georgia. He was a senior at Georgia in April 1917 when war broke out with Germany. There were about twenty-five boys, not many students, in Professor (Robert) Park's English class. Park Hall now is named for Professor Park, and Professor Park said to those twenty-five boys that day when Germany and the United States declared war on each other, he said, "Every red-blooded American boy should join the United States Army today, and fight for democracy." The next day, there wasn't any need for Professor Park to be at class. They had all joined the United States Army. And my father was in the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I. But he came…he never got to graduate. He just left about a month or two of graduating, but he came back and was married to my mother, who was Elizabeth Garlington Carroll, her father was editor of the old Athens Herald. Eugene Winston Carroll was his name, and he sold the Herald to the Athens Banner around 1920 and it became the Athens Banner-Herald. And my father worked for the Banner-Herald for many years and became the editor in the 30s and 40s. And my mother went to old Athens High School. She was very smart, graduated valedictorian. Mr. Ted Mell was principal then and he later was the principal, when I did not graduate valedictorian (laughter). But anyway, she was in the first women's class at the University of Georgia, my mother. But she didn't have to, but she quit school when I was born. So she never graduated either. But I did. They gave me a diploma in 1942 in journalism. But it's been a great pleasure growing up in Athens as a boy, and I grew up at the Athens Y. I went, I started going there when I was about eight years old. And the Athens YMCA, like the University of Georgia, has really been a great institution. And then I grew up on the campus, hanging around the athletic field starting out as a boy. I'm getting my breath now. But I can tell about the Athens Y.
Talk about the Y, was that Mr. Walter Forbes, was he there then?
Yeah. The Athens YMCA is the third oldest YMCA in the United States. The oldest Y, the Young Men's Christian Association, and there was a special college in Springfield, Massachusetts where the Young Men's Christian Association physical instructors were turned out…they invented the game of basketball. And the first YMCA was I believe at Harvard. The second one was at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and the third YMCA in the United States was on the Georgia campus, the University of Georgia campus in the 1950s(1850's)And the one who brought it to Athens was Thomas R. R. Cobb Institute, later General Thomas R. R. Cobb, killed in the battle of Fredricksburg while serving with Lee's army in northern Virginia around the 1860s. And, you know, his daughter, they named Lucy Cobb, for General Cobb's daughter. But the Athens YMCA that became open to everybody in town, especially boys, young boys, that I went to, was located on the corner of Lumpkin and Broad where the Holiday Inn's parking lot is now. And the first physical director, I believe, was Walter Tallu Forbes, W. T. Forbes and he started the Athens Y camp up above Tallulah Falls. He was a great fellow, and it was appropriate that he be the first basketball coach at Georgia in the early 1900s, because, you know, the YMCAs up in Springfield invented the game of basketball. And they pioneered in the promotion of so many sports — gymnastics, softball, basketball. But I grew up as a boy at the Athens Y, and also hanging around the Georgia athletic field.