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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And on this Friday morning it's now time for StoryCorps. People across the nation are sitting down to interview each other for this oral history project. Valerie Anderson spoke with her 83 year old father Robert Stover. Robert grew up in the late 1930s, and as he remembers, he never really had a hometown.

Mr. ROBERT STOVER: My father was a salesman with the Hoover vacuum cleaner company. He could move into a city and sell out its potential fairly rapidly. So, you know, we lived all over.

Ms. VALERIE ANDERSON: Was it easy for you to make friends when you went to different schools?

Mr. STOVER: It wasn't a hell of a lot of fun, because when I would get to a new town, everybody had to see who could whip the new boy. I was willing to stipulate that they all could including the females. But, it had to be proven.

If you're born puny but born bright, teachers tend to like you and they call on you a lot. And I was so stupid as to volunteer the answer when one of the other kids couldn't.

Buffalo Kowalski, he didn't care for that. He was very sturdy, very big for that age. That's how he got the name Buffalo; he was built like a damn buffalo. And he used to beat me up going to school, at recess, coming home, and, you know, I had no chance against him.

But, one day I happened to be taking to class, a Gene Autry cap pistol, and in desperation, as he was hammering me, I swung it and I hit him in the face. And I broke his nose. He thought it was a good move. You know, he said, way to go, boy. He quit beating me up, and I got to know him. He wasn't that bad a fellow.

Ms. VALERIE ANDERSON: Daddy, you were always very strong, but I have to say, my mother was equally strong.

Mr. STOVER: Yeah, in our life together we did it her way. She wasn't very big, but she was strong-willed, beautiful, but scrawny. When we bought this farm, we had people who paid monthly rent. But typically, they would be behind a month or two. So Kay said she would go out and get the cash. She said, you're too damn nice to those people. So she took her revolver, strapped it on, went out and got the payment on time. And then from then on, she collected it.

She was my match. Some days, she was more than my match.

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INSKEEP: Robert Stover with his daughter Valerie Anderson in Howard, Pennsylvania. Their conversation will be archived at the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress, and you can find the Podcast at npr.org.

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