The Beginnings of a Family Man
"My self-esteem was low back then. I never thought I'd do as well as I have."
- James Raeford
James Raeford was born on October 15, 1934, in a small community right outside of Fayetteville, North Carolina, called Grays Creek. James is the son of Fred Douglas Raeford Sr. and Lelea Butler Raeford. He has one older brother named Fred "Buddy" Douglas, an older sister named Mae Pearl, and a younger sister named Mattie. Raeford and his siblings were all delivered by his aunt, who served as the family midwife. Raeford also has one half-brother named Anthony, and one half-sister named Faye, both of whom are from his father's second marriage.
Raeford says that he was closer to his mother than to his father growing up. Raeford refers to his mother as a loving woman that "would take care of us when we had a cold." He recalls hearing his mother come into his room as a child to make sure that he was "comfortable." His mother never knew that he was awake because he would always lie there in his bed as if he were asleep, but Raeford saw this discreet sign of affection. Raeford reminisces about his love for his mother by explaining how he used to go out to the outhouse and cry without anyone knowing, while his mother would groan from the pain she felt from the cancer that inhabited her body. Raeford recalls that she would moan in pain from the moment she woke up to the moment she went to sleep. Raeford's mother died at the young age of 36. Raeford was only 10 or 11 years old at the time, but today he is convinced that her death was a blessing. He is thankful that she did not have to experience the excruciating pain the cancer caused any longer than she did.
Raeford says that his father acted as a father and not as a friend to him growing up. But once Raeford was grown, his father tried to make up for it by wanting to be around him all the time. Raeford makes the comment that "my father wanted to be buddies with me when I grew up and would want to do everything with me." Reflecting back, he feels sure that the reason behind his father's actions was that he was trying to make up for the time that he lost with his son during his childhood by trying to be a good father figure. Raeford's father died at age 76.
* Click on the play (triangle) button to listen to audio clips and click on the pause (two vertical lines) button to stop audio clips.
Audio clip of Raeford speaking about his relationship with his father
Raeford is married today to Daisy Raeford and has been for 46 years. He recalls the time he first met Daisy in 1957. He remembers going on a date with one of Daisy's friends, Daisy herself, and a few other people. He says that "the car was full and Daisy told another guy to get out so Raeford could get in." Instead of expressing interest in Daisy's friend, Raeford asked his date for Daisy's number, and he promptly called her the next day. Ever since that day, he and Daisy have been together. They dated for "a couple years" and then got married in the Justice of Peace office in Mooresville, North Carolina, for six dollars. Following the wedding, Daisy stayed with Raeford at his apartment in Davidson for 11 years until Raeford built a house in 1968. Raeford and Daisy still live in the same house today. It's Daisy's love of the family that Raeford admits to admiring the most about her. She knows how to raise a family much the same way his mother used to. In addition to being a great woman and a great mother, Raeford says that Daisy is also a great cook. Raeford's favorite dish of Daisy's is fish and turnip greens. After explaining this dish, Raeford reaches for his stomach and responds with an "umh, umh."
Raeford telling what he admires most about his wife
Raeford and Daisy have two sons, Pete and Ron. Pete is the oldest, Ron the youngest. Raeford says that Pete always worked harder than Ron in all that he did, but Ron had a little more natural talent. Raeford says that "rarely would Ron bring a book home from school."
Pete was a great football player that played in the USFL and the Arena League upon graduating from Northern Michigan University. Pete is presently a football coach at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia. Raeford recalls trying not to cry when his son left for college, but he recalls that a tear "slipped out" and slowly ran down his face. Raeford felt a little embarrased at the time, but at that point, he knew that Pete realized how much his father cared for him.
Raeford at Pete's college graduation with from left: son Ron, wife Daisy, son Pete
Once Ron graduated from high school, he was not sure what he wanted to do. After getting laid off from a few jobs, Ron came to Raeford and told him that he wanted to go to barber school. Raeford said, "Ok, I'll do what I can to get you started." After Ron graduated from barber school in Charlotte, he went to work with Raeford. Once Raeford felt he was a capable barber, he let Ron run his shop on Main Street and shortly thereafter, decided to open up another shop in Cornelius. This shop is the one that Raeford works at now and has been working at for 4 and 1/2 years.
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The text, video, audio, and website are the result of interviews conducted by Ronnie Shore,
Davidson College Class of 2006, in the Fall of 2005.
© 2005 Kristi S. Multhaup, Ph.D. | Davidson College | Davidson, NC 28035 | Phone: 704.894.2008
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