Interviewer's Name: Archie P. McDonald.
Interview Date and Location: This interview was conducted on June 13, 2011, in Lufkin, Texas.
Context Notes: Interview and transcription completed in conjunction with the Charlie Wilson Oral History Project at Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.
During the beginning of the interview someone is clicking a pen repeatedly. In the middle of the interview someone is moving something across the table. Close to the end of the interview there is a cat meowing in the background of the audio. Finally, Paul J. P. Sandul, Assistant Professor of History is also present for the interview.
Tapes and Interview Record: The original recordings of the interview and a full transcript are held by the East Texas Research Center, R. W. Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.
Transcription Notes: The policy of the Charlie Wilson Oral History Project has been to eliminate false starts and crutch words from transcriptions when determined not to affect the meaning and flow of the spoken word. Obviously, and admittedly, this is a subjective endeavor and all care was taken to maintain the integrity of the interview.
Restriction Note: Following oral history best practices, as with all oral histories done for this project, Temple was presented with a release form to consent with and sign in order to donate his oral history to the East Texas Research Center, the official repository of the Charlie Wilson Oral History Project. The release form stipulates, among other things, the chance to restrict material, at the discretion of the interviewee and interviewer and repository, and to stipulate for how long. Noting this, Temple decided to have some material restricted for the time being. Once that condition is relieved, the full audio and transcription will be made available. In the meantime, the audio interview and written transcription that is available to the public adheres to Temple's wishes and has removed the restricted material. Hence, the transcription notes the removal of material in the flow of the text, while the audio has been split into two files: audio 1 consisting of everything up to the restriction; and audio two picking up following the conclusion of restricted material.
The interviewer Archie P. McDonald is identified as MCDONALD. Buddy Temple is identified as TEMPLE.
MCDONALD: My name is Archie McDonald. I'm a Professor of History and Community Liaison at Stephen F. Austin State University [SFA] and we are in Lufkin [Texas] this morning to visit with Mr. Buddy Temple, and the subject is Charlie Wilson. He was a good, close friend of Buddy's, and for a long, long time as a matter of fact, and an excellent source for biographical information and impressions on our friend, Charlie Wilson. And Buddy, I'll say to you, this is a part of a larger project that Paul [Paul J. P. Sandul] is in charge of for SFA. The Charlie Wilson Papers are, of course, deposited in our library [East Texas Research Center in the Ralph W. Steen Library on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas]. And this oral history project is going to supplement that and augment it and make it a whole lot more valuable, ultimately, for other researchers. We had a session in the late winter/early spring [March 25, 2011] where we had twelve or thirteen former staffers who were able to come to the campus and had individual interviews, and there was also a group interview. And we're sorry you couldn't make that, but we do appreciate you making this time available for us now. We both knew Charlie for a long, long time, so I'm just going to start off with when you met, when you two got together in the first place.
TEMPLE: Yeah. We met some time in the early '60s. I'm not sure the exact date. It was at a Democratic celebration, probably the Inaugural Ball, something like that, in Austin, either in '61 or '63. Probably '63. It was a big fundraiser. John Connally was [Texas] governor [1961-68; as a Democrat, though he later switched parties], and back in those days they had these big events with a lot, big entertainment. And I met him there, but we didn't really get to be good friends until 1964 when I moved back to East Texas. And Charlie and Jerry [Wilson's wife] invited me and my wife [Ellen] over to their home for dinner, and we spent the whole night talking politics and realized that we had a lot of mutual interests and just became fast friends immediately. And . . .
MCDONALD: For the record, Jerry was Charlie's first wife.
TEMPLE: That's correct.
MCDONALD: And was she an Angelina County girl?
TEMPLE: No. She was from Arlington [Texas].
TEMPLE: And I think he met her, she was a student at the University of Texas, I think, when they met.
MCDONALD: Okay. I never did know that, where they had gotten together.
TEMPLE: Yeah. I believe it was the University of Texas. She was at Texas, and I guess he was in the legislature when they met. I'm not exactly sure of that.
MCDONALD: And then she did move to Washington [D.C.] with him whenever he was elected,
TEMPLE: Yes. She did.
MCDONALD: And then they divorced a few years afterwards, and by that time, she had become a commercial realtor and had a career in her own right. And I guess stayed in Washington. I don't know.
TEMPLE: Yeah. She remarried, married a real nice fellow who was a real-estate developer. And they, from all indications, had a wonderful life together.
TEMPLE: I think they have a summer home in Maine, and they have a farm there in Virginia, and so Ellen, my wife, had a good visit with Jerry just a few weeks ago. They had a little reunion of some of the old friends over in Austin, and Jerry came down for that.
MCDONALD: Well, great. That's wonderful. I had not gotten a line on her in a long, long time, so I didn't know how she was doing. So, you came back. Where were you? What were you doing when you said you came back?
TEMPLE: I had gone to the University of Texas for one year after graduating from high school in New Jersey. I went to a boys' prep school up there, graduated in 1960, went to the University of Texas for one year and was not well-suited for college life at that time, and joined the Army. And then when I was discharged from the Army, I went back to Austin and went to work. And then my father [Arthur Temple, Jr.] came to see me, probably in the winter of '63/'64, and asked me to come back over. He wanted me to start getting involved in our family businesses.* So I moved back in the spring of '64, and that's when my real friendship with Charlie started.
[*According to the Handbook of Texas Online, "Temple Industries began in 1893 when Thomas L. L. Temple purchased 7,000 acres of timberland in southern Angelina County from John C. Diboll of Louisiana. Southern Pine Lumber Company of Texarkana, Arkansas, had been organized in 1891 as a partnership between Temple, C. M. Putnam, and Ben Whitaker, to sell lumber wholesale. The company folded the same year and was reorganized in 1893. Temple soon became the sole owner. A millsite was constructed at the company town, Diboll, midway between Houston and Shreveport on the Houston, East and West Texas Railway, and production of pine and hardwood lumber began in June 1894. Sixty thousand board feet of lumber was cut per day, and 600 men were employed. The firm was organized as a capital-stock enterprise in 1893. Timber resources came from a strip of land fifty-five miles long and five miles wide along the Neches River in Angelina, Anderson, Cherokee, Houston, and Trinity counties. Temple later purchased other firms and founded the Temple Lumber Company at Pineland. When he died in 1935 his son, Arthur Temple, Sr., became company president. Arthur Temple, Jr., assumed control in 1948, and the company rapidly expanded into fiberboard sheathing, particleboard, and plywood manufacture. In 1956 Southern Pine merged its Pineland operations into the parent company, which in 1964 was renamed Temple Industries. It built or acquired plants in Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia in the 1970s to expand particleboard and gypsum wallboard manufacture. In 1973 Temple Industries was acquired by Time, Incorporated, and merged with Time's Eastex pulp and paperboard subsidiary at Evadale, Texas, to form Temple-Eastex. The new company owned more than a million acres of forest in Texas and employed nearly 5,000 people nationwide. In 1984 Time spun off Temple-Eastex and a Time subsidiary, Inland Container Corporation, to form Temple-Inland, based in Diboll, which reported $1 billion in sales in its first year and became one of the nation's primary producers of corrugated boxes, as well as building products, pulp, and paperboard. Subsidiary companies are engaged in mortgage banking, insurance, and real estate development." Alan O. Miller, "Temple Industries," Handbook of Texas Online (www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/drt05), accessed March 26 11, 2012, published by the Texas State Historical Association.]
MCDONALD: I remember your father told me one time, I was interviewing him, that his father [Arthur Temple, Sr.] had insisted that he go away to school, and I think he stayed one night or something [McDonald laughs] . . .
TEMPLE: That's right.
MCDONALD: . . . and decided to come home and get into the business. Now Charlie was in the legislature, then, already when you first met him.
TEMPLE: That's right.
MCDONALD: And you later were in the State Legislature yourself and held other state offices, so you had the bond of politics.
TEMPLE: Yeah, I was interested in politics, but it was not something that I thought about on a daily basis until I got to know Charlie. He's the one that really piqued my interest in politics and government. And when Charlie ran for the [Texas] Senate in 1966; well, let me back up. When I was at the University of Texas that year, I remember watching the local news channel, their coverage of the legislative session, and I remember seeing Charlie at the front microphone on the [Texas] House floor arguing in favor of his sales tax bill. I remember that very well. But then in '66 when he ran for the Senate, we had become very good friends by then. And I worked long hours for him in that race. And we'd meet at his house over on Crooked Creek and sit at the table and write newspaper ads. And we'd get them like we wanted them, like on, I guess this was on a Wednesday night. I think the weekly newspapers then, which were a big part of our political communication system, they had a deadline of midnight Wednesday night for Thursday publication. I believe that's right. And so we'd get the ads written by six o'clock that evening. I'd take it in the car, and then I'd go all over East Texas to all these weekly newspapers and get back about two or three o'clock in the morning. I was working at the bank then. And, but we'd do that every week. And, of course, you had to do the TV spots live, so we'd sit there at his table and write the TV spots. And that was the year Bob Murphy was the major opponent, and nobody expected that Charlie could beat Bob Murphy. But we wrote some really, really good ads. I considered running for Charlie's legislative seat that year, but a couple of my good friends, Democratic friends were running, John Tatum and John Hannah,* were running, and I figured there wasn't room for me. And I was only twenty-four years old at the time, so I wasn't quite ready for it.
[*Hannah, when not practicing law in private practice, served as Texas State Representative, 5th District, from 1967 to 1973; later served as Secretary of State for Texas from 1991 to 1994 and a federal judge on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas from 1994 till his death in 2003.]
MCDONALD: John Hannah later served as Secretary of State, and he was also a federal judge.
TEMPLE: Federal, well yeah. After he served six years in the state legislature as a member of the House. Then he ran for District Attorney here in Angelina County, won that. He left that after a couple of years to become the first lobbyist for Common Cause in Austin. Then he came back in private practice. Then he was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District. Then he was Secretary of State under Ann Richards. Then he was appointed by Clinton as a federal judge.
MCDONALD: You know, just as . . .
TEMPLE: He had quite a . . . his father told him one time, John told me this story. He went to a speech where John was the keynote speaker and they introduced him. And he was sitting by John, Sr., and the man who introduced him went through all his different appointments and jobs and everything. And John kind of punched his father and said, "Hey, Dad, what do you think about that?" And he said, "I'll tell you what I think about that. Sounds like a man who can't hold a job" [laughter]. But, you know, John . . .
MCDONALD: I have two memories of John. One of them, we flew back from Austin many a time to Tyler on the old Conquest Airline.
TEMPLE: Right. Right.
MCDONALD: And he'd always head back for that three-seat spread in the back and lie down. That's why he wanted to get on first so he could get to it. And [Texas Governor] Ann [Richards], encouraging people on early voting, what we call early voting, first came in, and in that twangy accent of hers, she said, "Now, I want you to go on and vote because if you don't, and some good looking man like John Hannah invites you to go to Brazil, you can't go because you haven't voted." [Temple laughs.] He was a nice, nice, nice man.
MCDONALD: And I had his son in class . . .
TEMPLE: Oh, really?
MCDONALD: . . . at a later point.
TEMPLE: Well, he's here now in Lufkin and teaching school in the Lufkin public schools.
MCDONALD: Well, good. I did not . . .
TEMPLE: Yeah. He a good young man, that's for sure.
MCDONALD: Last I knew, he was working in the Valley for somebody's campaign.
TEMPLE: Right, yeah.
MCDONALD: Well, back to . . .
TEMPLE: But . . . that Senate campaign, nobody expected Charlie to win, and Martin Dies [Jr.]* was running against John Dowdy** that same year for Congress. And so a lot of Charlie's support was more focused on that Congressional race. And Bob Murphy, I'm sure you knew him very well.
[* Dies served in the US House of Representatives from 1931 to 1945, when he notably helped create and chair the House Committee Investigating Un-American Activities (HUAC), and again from 1953-58. He then served as a Texas State Senator from 1959 to 1967, whereby Wilson succeeded him.]
[** John Dowdy served as a Democratic member of Texas's House of Representatives from 1953 to 1967, then as a US Representative from Texas's 2nd District from 1967-1973, when he retired under indictment of bribery (Wilson subsequently won that seat in a special election).]
MCDONALD: Knew him well.
TEMPLE: He was a good man, and Charlie really liked him, but they were cast in the same race, so they were opponents. I'll never forget one of the ads, we were sitting around Charlie's table one evening and he said, "Boy, he is just killing me with this sales tax stuff." Said, "He's being very critical that I sponsored the sales tax." And, so, he said, "Well, we've got to do something about that. He's against the sales tax, and it was clear that the state had to have more revenue then, so if he was against the sales tax, what was he for? He must have been for an income tax. That's the only conclusion we can draw." So, we wrote a big ad, "Murphy supports income tax" [laughter]. And I'm sure that Bob Murphy must have just had a fit when he saw that ad, but it stuck. It hurt him, and Charlie won the race.
MCDONALD: You know, I always had the impression that Charlie never got over losing Nacogdoches County [Texas] to Murphy in that race because when he would come to speak sometimes, he would say, "Now, I know y'all didn't vote for me, but . . . " And I was . . .
TEMPLE: Well, Charlie always had a very contentious relationship with Nacogdoches.
TEMPLE: Most of the leadership in Nacogdoches, other than A. L. Mangham [Alonzo Livingston Mangham, Jr.; Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce Director; Vice President, President, and CEO of Fredonia State Bank; and Mayor of Nacogdoches from 1975-1987]. A. L. was always a friend of Charlie's.
TEMPLE: But the establishment in Nacogdoches never supported Charlie. Well, I take it back. There were a couple of people, [Morgan Malcolm] "Mack" Stripling was a good Democrat, and he supported Charlie [Stripling was president and director of Fredonia State Bank, president of the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce, SFA regent, former director of Nacogdoches Abstract and Title Company, and served on numerous other boards and councils]. But, you know, the Wrights [a wealthy Nacogdoches family headed by Marryatte Steele ("M. S.") Wright and his sons Marryatte (known as "Steele"), Joe, Tom, Richard ("Dick"), and Ray Rinker (M. S.'s daughter's son); in 1930 the Wrights founded Texas Farm Products, manufacturers of Lone Star Feeds and Fertilizers] and a lot of the others never supported him. I think they considered Charlie to be a communist [McDonald laughs]. And . . .
MCDONALD: Steele [Marryatte Steele Wright, Jr.] might in fact . . .
TEMPLE: Yeah. Yeah. I think Steele never had any great affection for Charlie, so he always had a contentious relationship up there. Plus, the Forestry Department in the University [SFA] just really gave Charlie a hard time. On all the environmental stuff, he considered that they were in the pocket of the bad timber companies and were against anything to do with the Big Thicket or any of those things that Charlie was interested in. So, he did not have a good relationship with Nacogdoches.
MCDONALD: Especially with Kent Adair who was the Dean [of Forestry at SFA in the 1980s] for awhile.
TEMPLE: Oh yeah. Yeah.
MCDONALD: I know they had a bitter one. I remember Charlie telling me one time about them having him down, and they were going to convince him what environmentalists they were and so forth and how offended he was at the dog and pony show they put on because it was . . .
TEMPLE: Yeah. Well, I had a few little run-ins with Dr. Adair myself. Anyway, so Charlie . . .
MCDONALD: We're in the Senate now. He's in the Senate.
TEMPLE: Charlie's in the Senate. I used to go over there and spend time with him during the legislative sessions. I was fascinated by it all, and Charlie was very generous in his friendship. He would get me included in the strategy sessions that the members of the Senate would have. One year, they had a great sales tax fight. They needed revenue, and somebody came up with the brilliant idea to remove the exemptions on food and medicine. And, of course, Charlie was violently opposed to that because when he had passed the bill originally, he had exempted work clothes, food, medicine, necessities, so it would be not so regressive. And they came up with this plan to raise revenue by removing those exemptions. And Charlie and the liberal block in the Senate, Joe Christie [also interviewed for the Charlie Wilson Oral History Project], Ralph Hall [Texas State Senator from 1963-73], who's now a conservative Republican in Congress [U.S. Representative from 1980-Present, i.e., 2012]; Ralph was kind of part of that group, probably Jack Strong [Texas State Senator from 1963-69] from Longview. There were a lot of them. Anyway, they opposed it, but they didn't have the votes, so they filibustered it, and I was over there when that happened, and it was a fascinating thing. That's when I realized that Charlie was a little bit different from most politicians because, as I say, they would let me come into their meetings where their group of ten or twelve senators were trying to figure out what would be an acceptable revenue source. And they'd go around the room, and somebody would say, "Well, let's put a tax, increase the tax on beer and whiskey." And somebody, "Oh, no. No. No. They've been supporting me. I can't do that." Somebody else would come up with some business tax. They'd go around the room, and there were objections. Charlie was the only one who said, you know, "I'll support all of them because we have got to have the revenue." And he is the only one who didn't have conflicts with who had supported him. You know, "We can't go over that ox." And I thought, "You know, he is different." All the rest of them were very carefully taking care of the people who had supported them. Charlie said, "That has nothing to do with it. Let's do what's right." And it really impressed me. And he had a great career in the Senate, you know, and when the book about the Afghan War, Charlie Wilson's War, and the movie came out, it was really interesting to me to read the commentary by so many people talking about this obscure congressman who had never done anything. I thought, "They don't know what Charlie Wilson has done." I mean, when he was in the [Texas] Senate, he, Charlie had a very distinguished career in the Senate. He's the guy who got the Utility Commission created. I don't think it was his bill, but he's the one who year after year went back. And many other things. He was a great legislative craftsman. I mean, he could get more done than anybody I ever saw in politics.
MCDONALD: That was his strength is, what you might call the "lobby cloakroom" or something, is to work with his colleagues and get them lined up . . .
TEMPLE: Yeah. He was unbelievable. He had a great instinct for it, and he helped other people get their projects done. And he rarely asked for anything for himself or his district. And when he did ask, he got it. He was a great operator. So, he had a real good career in the Senate.
MCDONALD: Now, you talked about his constituencies there, but he really did have both labor and business support. He had both.
MCDONALD: And . . .
TEMPLE: Well, his business support was a little thin back in those days. Now, later, as a [US] Congressman, he did enjoy the support of most of the business community. But back then, Archie, I mean, my dad supported him.
MCDONALD: Yeah. That's what I was thinking of mostly.
TEMPLE: But most of the establishment in Lufkin did not support him. I mean, the Kurth group [prominent family who established the Angelina County Lumber Company in Lufkin in 1890], the Hendersons [also a part of the Angelina County Lumber Company], they did not support him. Ottis Lock who was out at the [Southland] paper mill, he was a bitter enemy [Lock was chairman of the Texas Department of Public Safety and several other state agencies, senior vice-president of Southland Paper Mills, Inc. in Lufkin, Texas State Representative from 1938-1948, and Texas State Senator from 1949-1959].
MCDONALD: Is that right?
TEMPLE: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It wasn't until much later that they became more comfortable with Charlie, when he was in Congress and helped Lufkin Industries get business, and, you know, he did a lot of things then. But when he was in the Senate, he was not popular with the business community at all. He . . .
MCDONALD: Well, I guess I remember the Congressional years so much better.
MCDONALD: But it seemed to me that he always, he had support coming from different directions that didn't necessarily support each other.
MCDONALD: For example, he had, if I'm remembering right, something like a ninety percent voting record in terms of, say, the banking and business community, and an equal over here on civil rights, on women and African American issues. Totally liberal on one side, but, and of course, anything for defense that was business related.
TEMPLE: Yeah, when he was in Congress, that's, and he was always a hawk on defense. I mean, he was a Naval Academy graduate.
TEMPLE: A lot of people didn't know that. And it was really interesting because in Austin, the hard-core liberals couldn't stand Charlie, but yet a lot of the business groups didn't like him either. It was a very strange thing. When I went to the legislature, and I'd go to Scholz Beer Garten, for example, where a lot of the liberals still hung out, and, you know, I was known as Charlie Wilson's friend there. And I mean, they would just rake me over the coals about Charlie. And we'd argue. We had some terrible arguments about Charlie. But, yeah, he was, his politics were very interesting, some of the friends and enemies he had. But then in, he served six years in the Senate, of course, and then ran against, of course, John Dowdy had gotten himself in a jam, and so Mrs. Dowdy ran. And I'm sure you remember that race. That was a bloody race.
MCDONALD: "Here's to J. D. She's a la-dy."
MCDONALD: I remember that song.
TEMPLE: And, then we had [local radio announcer for KEEE AM and KJCS FM Robert] "Bob" Atherton and Stallings. What was his name, up in Nacogdoches?
MCDONALD: Gene Stallings. No. No. That's the coach.
TEMPLE: No. No.
MCDONALD: I know who you're talking about anyway: J. C.
TEMPLE: J. C. Stallings [Station owner of KEEE and KJCS]. They were big on Mrs. Dowdy's program.
TEMPLE: And Charlie was fascinated with the kind of campaign they ran. I mean, he admired smart people. And it was a pretty bloody campaign, bitter. That's when they came up with the poster of Charlie from his mug shot. By the way, I was with him the night he got arrested . . . [McDonald chuckles] and charged with DWI [driving while intoxicated] which he later, they changed to Driving Under the Influence of Prescribed Drugs. Now, I would like to go back because I happened to have been there and know exactly what happened on that. And the truth of the matter is Charlie wasn't drunk. Nobody ever believed that. But Don Kennard* from Fort Worth, who was one of Charlie's good friends, he was doing his "Governor for a day," he was in the Senate. He was doing his "Governor for a day" celebration, and we all went over for it. And Charlie wasn't feeling good. He had terrible allergies that day. He suffered from allergies all his life, and he was taking a lot of decongestants, a lot of medication, and the gals were tired and didn't want to go to the party that night, and it wasn't much of a deal. It was over at one of the mo-, that Terrace Mo-, not the Terrace. What was it? Villa Capri. [*Kennard was a Democratic congressman in the Texas House of Representatives from 1953 to 1963 and the Texas State Senate from 1963 to 1973.]
MCDONALD: Villa Capri.
TEMPLE: That's where he had it. He had several suites rented there, and there were probably a hundred people there. And, you know, Charlie said, "I just don't feel good, and I'm not going to stay very long." And, so he took off. He drank maybe one beer, maybe one and a half. He was just sitting. He wasn't drinking. And he took off, and I followed him probably ten minutes later. And I came over, I was on Red River, and I came over this hill, and I saw the lights flashing. And as I went by (a friend of mine had given me a ride), and I said, "Pull over. I think that's Charlie." So, anyway, I went up, and I said, "Charlie, what's the deal?" He said, "Well, they think I'm drunk." I told the policeman, I said, "He has not been drinking. You get out of here. This isn't your business." So I went in and called Charles Herring, who was a Senator from Austin who was a lawyer and a good friend of Charlie's, called him. It was late at night, and I said, "Charlie, Charlie Wilson's, they're fixing to take him to jail. We need you to come get him out." So, he came and got him out. But anyway, Charlie really was not drunk that night. Nobody ever believed that, but . . .
MCDONALD: No. They thought that prescription, it was a Benadryl thing actually.
TEMPLE: Yeah, and he, uh . . .
MCDONALD: It was a made-up story, but . . .
TEMPLE: Yeah, but it was legitimate. Anyway, where were we? We were running for Congress . . .
TEMPLE: . . . and John Hannah was not running for re-election to the House, so that's when I ran for the Texas House. And, so, Charlie and I coordinated a little bit in our campaigns, but of course his district was so much larger than my little legislative district, we were pretty much running separate campaigns.
MCDONALD: We should say here, at this point, that, at this point, Charlie is living in Lufkin when he's not in session, and he's managing The Big Tin Barn.
TEMPLE: [coughs] Yeah. That's right. He was managing The Big Tin Barn.
[The Big Tin Barn began as a retail lumber yard belonging to Temple Lumber Company in 1951 and supplied building materials to Diboll and surrounding East Texan area customers interested in building homes and businesses. In May 1963 the name of the retail lumberyard was changed to Great Texas Lumber Company. In 1965 construction began on a new building located on Highway 59 north of Diboll and was completely operational by 1966. At that time, the lumberyard became known as Great Texas Lumber's Big Tin Barn. Charlie Wilson served as general manager of the yard in the 1960s. (Source: Lois Cooper, "Big Tin Barn: The Early Years," Diboll Free Press, January 24, 2007, available online at the Diboll Free Press website: http://www.dibollfreepress.com/news/2007-01-24/news/news02.html).]
MCDONALD: A retail outlet for Temple Products.
TEMPLE: Which was Temple, let's see, at that time it was Temple Industries. And, yeah, that's right. It was Temple Industries, and he was the manager and spent a lot of time hiding from my father [McDonald chuckles]. We would, some of the local guys here who are friends of mine now who are a good bit younger, they used to get jobs down there in the summer. They'd make jobs for them, and one of the places they'd send them was to The Big Tin Barn to work for Charlie. And they've got so many funny stories about how they'd be hiding out in one of the sheds drinking their cokes and escaping work. And Charlie would come and catch them. And Charlie always said that, "What they didn't realize was that they were hiding from me, and I was hiding from Arthur" [McDonald and Temple laugh]. But, anyway, he had a rough race. I had a run-off and barely won, and then he went to Washington, and I started serving in Austin. There was a period of time, well, early in his Congressional career, we maintained a very close relationship talking on the phone regularly. I'd go there from time to time and see Charlie. And, of course, I'd see him when he'd come home. And he, when I ran for the Railroad Commission, Charlie helped me a lot because, he at that time, remember all the stuff with oil and gas law and regulation when [Jimmy] Carter was President? Charlie had really helped the independent oil and gas guys in Texas, so he was really good friends with a lot of them. And he got quite a few of the real influential ones to help me in my race for the Railroad Commission. He'd set me up to meet them, and I'd go see them, and most of them contributed, Charlie asked them to. So, he was very helpful there. And then when I ran for Governor, he came down. He had gotten wind that things weren't going well and that we did not have a campaign because I didn't have a campaign manager. And it was a last-minute deal. So, Charlie came down. He said, "We've got to do something here." So, we spent about two days writing ads for television which were very good ads and really helped a lot. But it was kind of like the old days, going back to the 1966 Senate campaign when we'd sit there at his dining room table and write out the ads. Same thing. Then, when he got into the Afghan deal, he invited me to go to Pakistan with him on numerous occasions, and I had no interest in going. I couldn't think of anything less appealing than going to Pakistan and running around. And to be honest about it on a personal basis, Charlie's drinking and apparent drug use, and let me say this, as close as we were, and he was the closest friend I had for forty-five/forty-six years, I never one time asked Charlie, "Charlie, were you doing cocaine?" I never asked him. He never volunteered, so I know nothing about any of the alleged drug use. That's just something I didn't want to talk to him about. But during that period, his drinking really got bad, and I got a little uncomfortable with Charlie. He, our lives were so different at that time. He was doing the thing in Afghanistan and hauling these beautiful women all over, and, you know, it just, we were on different wavelengths. So, there was a period of time there where we still talked regularly, but we weren't really on the same wavelength. And that persisted really until he quit drinking. And when he and Barbara [Livshin Alberstadt Zavacky] got married [February 2, 1999], then we resumed our close relationship just like it had been before. And, of course, when he moved back here, we'd talk every day, usually two or three times a day.
MCDONALD: Yeah. I know I was in the kitchen there with him when we did the symposium for your father.
MCDONALD: And Charlie was the driver of that. He really badly wanted to do it, and he and Murphy George [prominent local businessman (William George Company)] were the big fundraisers for it.
TEMPLE: I know. And I was totally opposed to it [McDonald laughs]. I was.
MCDONALD: Well, we talked about that.
TEMPLE: I did not want to do it. I thought it was much too early. I mean, how can you say what somebody's legacy is nine months after they die? But, anyway.
MCDONALD: Well, that's true. But, my point about that was that I was sitting in his kitchen several times, and either you would call him or he would call you about something,
TEMPLE: Well, . . .
MCDONALD: And so I knew you all had this . . .
TEMPLE: Well, we, uh . . .
MCDONALD: . . . constant contact.
TEMPLE: It's really interesting. Charlie was the only friend I had who had been through all of my different phases of my adult life, you know, business, politics, whatever. I've got a lot of friends who have been good friends for part of it, but he's the only one to go through the whole thing with me. And, so, it was really, Charlie, that's one reason he meant so much to me. And he was such a loyal friend, I mean, golly, do anything in the world for you. But John Hannah, we had a deal back in "the good old days," back in the late sixties, early seventies, that got to be known as the "Diboll Machine." And it was a political group that we all helped each other. And it was John Hannah, John Tatum, Charlie Wilson, me, Ray Henson who was County . . . for awhile, [businessman] Jimmy McCall down in Diboll, [Lufkin lawyer] Claude Welch, and, well, all helped each other with our political races. And I mean, for many years there, we never lost a race. I mean, we won everything we got involved in: city council, school board, whatever. And somebody had some buttons made up: DSWDM, Don't Screw With the Diboll Machine [McDonald chuckles]. And they were great times. We had some great times. And, I kind of lost my train of thought, but . . .
MCDONALD: Well, let's talk about one later race. Do you remember, I ran into you and Charlie in the Crown Colony [a subdivision of Lufkin, Texas] dining area. I think it was the day after the third defeat of Donna Peterson [a very conservative woman from Orange, who was in her early thirties, first ran against Wilson in 1990, the first of three contests that were noted for their high-level intensity]. And I said, I asked him, "Are you paying her to run against you?" And his response was, "Well, I maybe ought to." Or something like that.
TEMPLE: Well . . .
MCDONALD: You know, but that was, you remember those races . . . ?
TEMPLE: Oh, absolutely. Well, see, part of that time, I was living in Austin when I was on the Railroad Commission. But yeah, I mean Charlie, we got to where Ellen [Temple] kind of became his go-to person for fundraising here because, by that time, Ellen had really gotten engaged in politics. And you know, Charlie, he'd pull these stunts. You know, everybody'd say, "Oh my God. Charlie's done now." You know, and he'd call Ellen: "Ellen, we need to raise some money." So, Ellen and I'd go out, organize these fundraisers, and, you know, he always was able to get enough money to run the races. But I mean Donna Peterson, you know, we can look back on them, and I know in the book and in the movie, they acted like Charlie just barely squeaked out a victory that one year when it was so tough, you know. I mean, Charlie never really had a close race. When the votes were counted . . .
MCDONALD: Forty-two percent was the most anybody ever got.
TEMPLE: I mean, he never had a close race, you know. But at the time, there were a lot of people who thought that Charlie was going to get beat. And I know, for example, Donna Peterson came to our office, at our old office over there where my dad and all. And she came in there, and my dad brought her around to introduce her to me, and oh, he was taken with her. He was so mad at Charlie at that time. And he took her to a couple of functions and introduced her. Oh yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, it was serious. And . . .
MCDONALD: I might say for the record that Ms. Peterson was from Orange, and she was a West Point graduate, and a helicopter pilot . . .
TEMPLE: Yeah, although Charlie, Charlie did a lot of checking on her, and he said, "She might have flown a helicopter at some point," but said, "a lot of the stuff she put out was not true."
MCDONALD: Well, no doubt that he's accurate about that.
TEMPLE: But, but, interesting thing, you know, Karl Rove* ran her campaign, I believe the first time. And I had heard of Karl Rove over in Austin, and I was amazed when he showed up doing George Bush's stuff because in Austin at that time, he was known as a really sleazy campaign guy who would do anything. I mean really sleazy. And, so, a lot of us were really surprised when he showed up with Bush and later became such a big, big deal.
[*Karl Rove is a Republican political consultant and strategist. He is most notably credited with the 1994 and 1998 Texas gubernatorial victories of George W. Bush, as well as Bush's 2000 and 2004 successful presidential campaigns. Indeed, in his 2004 victory speech, Bush referred to Rove as "the Architect." Rove has also been credited for the successful campaigns of former Attorney General John Ashcroft (1994 U.S. Senate election), Texas Governor Bill Clements (1986 Texas gubernatorial election), Senator John Cornyn (2002 U.S. Senate election), Texas Governor Rick Perry (1990 Texas Agriculture Commission election), and Phil Gramm (1982 U.S. House and 1984 U.S. Senate elections). Rove also served as senior adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff for President George W. Bush. It is likely that Charlie Wilson was the last, and one of the few ever, to defeat a Rove-backed candidate up to the Bush era when this transcription note was crafted.]
MCDONALD: He ran one of [Texas Governor] Bill Clements's campaigns, too.
TEMPLE: Yeah. Yeah. Right.
MCDONALD: I got a letter from him because of a comment I had made about Clements in a history of Texas that I wrote. But those races were at the end of Charlie's time in Congress.
TEMPLE: That's right. That's right.
MCDONALD: And there were . . .
TEMPLE: And when Jerry Johnson ran against him, remember that one?
MCDONALD: That was a stiff one, now that was stiff, and particularly because Jerry had such good support in Nacogdoches County.
TEMPLE: Yeah. Exactly.
MCDONALD: And that one strained me because, you know, I had been with Charlie all along, and I knew Jerry very well. He later did serve in the legislature with distinction [Texas House of Representatives from 1989-1996]. He just ran for the wrong office that time. But, yeah, that was a tough race.
TEMPLE: Jerry was well known and was considered, but wasn't he in the legislature when he ran against Charlie?
MCDONALD: No. He ran later.
TEMPLE: Later? Okay. I was thinking he was a state representative then.
MCDONALD: He served for six years, and then he ran for state senate and didn't get it.
TEMPLE: Yeah. But one thing I was going to say earlier, going back to the '66 campaign against Bob Murphy, which was really a tough, that was really a watershed thing for Charlie because nobody thought he could beat Bob Murphy. Bob was a legendary figure around East Texas, very attractive guy, everybody loved him. And after that campaign, Charlie called Bob Atherton and J. C. Stallings who had done all the knife sticking into Charlie's gut during the campaign - they were smart campaign guys. Atherton was particularly smart. And Charlie set up a meeting, and the two of us went up to Nacogdoches and met with them to rehash the whole campaign. Charlie, because he admired smart campaign guys, and we spent a couple of hours with them talking about, "Well, why did y'all do this? Why did you do this?" And it was a fascinating thing. But that's, Charlie didn't take any of that personally. I mean, those guys had been sticking it to him for six months, you know [McDonald chuckles], and he was more than happy to go up there and make friends with them, be buddies with them. They were good friends after that. It was . . . anyway, so, now Charlie's in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I guess.
MCDONALD: Yeah. I didn't know anything about that while it was going on.
TEMPLE: Well, he used to tell me about it, and he tried to get me to go over there with him, but I didn't fully understand the full significance of it. And part of the reason was that Charlie was drinking so much in those days, most of the time when I was around him, he was drunk at night. You know, he'd come to our house or I'd see him in Washington or whatever, and to be honest about it, he talked more about the women he was dating and the women he was taking to Afghanistan and the stunts he was pulling. He'd talk about that more than he did the substance of what he was doing over there. And as I said earlier, that was a time when we were . . .
MCDONALD: It might have been the scotch, and it might have just been his keeping that secret. I don't know.
TEMPLE: No. I don't think so. Charlie and I didn't have a whole lot of secrets. But he, I'll have to say this. When I read the book, I was amazed because he never presented it in a way that led me to believe that it was that big a thing. I mean, he was always talking about "my muj," Mujahideen, "my muj, my muj. I'm doing this, and I'm doing that." Well, like I say, he was drinking so much, I didn't know what to take seriously and what not to take seriously.
MCDONALD: Well, let's talk about the people now. You mentioned the women.
MCDONALD: The one that I met, Annelise Ilschenko, Miss World, came to Lufkin. I guess that was the big fundraiser in the Civic Center, Pitser Garrison Center. She was quite an attractive lady.
TEMPLE: Oh yeah.
MCDONALD: And he did tend to attract them. I guess that's, you know, [Henry] Kissinger said that, "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." I guess maybe, maybe the power Charlie had.
TEMPLE: Well, Charlie, women just liked Charlie. I mean he was charming. He was good to the women, you know, he, they . . .
MCDONALD: Loved women.
TEMPLE: Yeah. I never knew, of course I didn't know a lot of them, but, yeah, I never heard of a woman that Charlie dated who, two years later, didn't have great things to say about him. I mean, you know, he treated everybody well. And, but, yeah. He was, we were flabbergasted because we knew Annelise. He'd bring her down here, and we'd have dinner with them, and, you know, we were looking a little askance at all that. You know, "What in the world is Charlie doing getting married? He has no business getting married, particularly to her." Although, she was very nice, but, and they broke up. Did you ever hear the story about, and everybody's gone now, so I can tell this stuff, but Charlie told me. I said, "Charlie, what happened to your deal with Annelise? I thought y'all were getting married?" "Well, kid," he called me kid. He said, "I had a trip to L. A." He said, "I got out there, and I called Snowflake," who was one of his others mentioned in the book a lot. Said, "I called Snowflake, and she came and stayed with me a few days during the engagement, and Annelise called the hotel suite, and Snowflake picked up the phone and answered it." And said, "That was the end of that engagement" [McDonald laughs]. But, uh . . .
MCDONALD: How narrow minded [McDonald laughs].
TEMPLE: Yeah [Temple chuckles]. He loved to tell that story. I wouldn't tell it if he hadn't enjoyed it so much. But . . .
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TEMPLE: Well, there were a lot of women, a lot of people thought, and Charlie sort of encouraged this. I mean, Charlie loved the reputation of having all these beautiful women around him. He really liked that, and a lot of people thought that Charlie had affairs with a lot of his staff members, the "Angels" and stuff. That's not true. He had a brief affair with one staffer a long time ago in Washington. And that's it as far as I know. When he was in Austin, he had all these great looking women working for him. He did not mess with, but he'd take them to lunch. You know, they'd be on his arm.
MCDONALD: They looked good.
TEMPLE: And I'll have to say this about Charlie. With Charlie, it was all about the romance, the candlelight dinners and all that. Had nothing to do with sex. I mean, he was a romanticist. He loved going exotic places and having dinners and all the romance and all that. That's what was Charlie's deal.
MCDONALD: That was the truth. And, you knew Charles Simpson, now, his first [Administrative] Aid well.
TEMPLE: Of course. Real well.
MCDONALD: That Charlie [Simpson] told me one time that they had an understanding about that. That he, as an aid, could not really have authority over them if they were sleeping with Charlie and that that was honored. That was a deal they had, and it was honored.
TEMPLE: It was except one time.
MCDONALD: But I will say, and you probably had the same impression, when I first went to that Washington office up there, and this no bra look first came in, I came home and told Judy, I said, "There wasn't a brazier in that whole office" [McDonald and Temple laugh]. And there were a bunch of good looking ladies in there. But I think he knew when to take care of business and when to play.
TEMPLE: Oh, he did. He did. The thing about Charlie's staff, forget what they look like. They were all very talented. They were smart as hell. And he had a dynamite staff, and they all loved him. You know, they worked their butts off for him. He had a great crew.
MCDONALD: The "taking care of the home folks" theme was substance. It wasn't fluff, and I say that's probably what sustained him in office more than anything else over all the period of time.
TEMPLE: There's no question about it. There were two things that saved him in my opinion. That was clearly one of them. He had such a good home folks operation. He took care of people's problems. The second thing was Charlie's sense of humor. Charlie, so different from most politicians, you know, Charlie, Charlie, nobody could tell a Charlie Wilson story like Charlie. And he made fun of himself, his self-deprecating sense of humor, and he never took himself seriously. He took his work very seriously, but he never took Charlie Wilson seriously. And I think that, and when he screwed up, he was the first one out there telling people about it. And I think people liked that. You know, I see, [political advisor] Mark McKinnon who did [President] George [W.] Bush's media work is a friend of mine, and he's partners with [advisor] Jack Martin in Austin who used to do my politics who started the company called "Public Strategies." It's now a big time deal, part of Hill and Knowlton [a revered New York-based public relations firm]. Anyway, Mark wrote a column about Charlie after he died that talked about how, you know, all these guys in Washington could learn a good lesson from Charlie Wilson. You know, when you make a mistake, fess up to it, you know. And it was really a good column. And I think that had a lot to do with Charlie . . .
MCDONALD: I agree.
TEMPLE: . . . because he didn't take himself so seriously.
MCDONALD: I agree. It, of all of the fallen politicians, including [President] Bill Clinton, it's the cover up that screws up rather than, you know, almost always they're actually culpable.
TEMPLE: And, you know, Charlie always said, he said this publicly, he said, "I'll tell you one thing. You know, if I get in trouble, you won't hear me blaming it on whiskey or something." Said, "If I get in trouble, it's because I got in trouble." You know, said, "You won't find me going off to rehab and claiming I just found God," you know [laughter].
MCDONALD: That's true.
TEMPLE: You know, like they all do. They all go to rehab and say they've found Jesus. You know, and [Temple laughs] . . .
MCDONALD: I know we're imposing on your time . . .
TEMPLE: No. I'm enjoying it.
MCDONALD: . . . and we're going to leave in about ten minutes. But I do want to talk, and not about the heart so much but health in general. My impression was that Charlie never was robustly healthy in his adult life. There was the asthma, for example, that was a . . .
TEMPLE: No, his health was very fragile all his life. He had terrible allergies. He had asthma. He couldn't sleep. He used to tell me that his drinking, when I'd get on him about it, and we did try to intervene in our clumsy way with Charlie a couple of times. Had one serious intervention, which I was not a part of, but Charlie told me, he said, "One reason I drink," he said, "Buddy, I can't sleep at night." And he said, "Alcohol is my sleeping pill." He said, "Without alcohol, I can't sleep." Side note to that, he also told me one time, he said, "Let me ask you something. If you go out, and you drink too much, you feel bad the next day, don't you?" I said, "Oh yeah. Terrible." He said, "I don't." He said, "That's one reason I think I have a drinking problem." Said, "When I go out and get drunk, I don't pay a penalty the next day. I wake up feeling great." You know, really kind of interesting. But, yeah, his health was, he didn't sleep and allergies and asthma. I mean, he always had something.
MCDONALD: So it was really a life and death decision when he decided to quit drinking.
TEMPLE: Well, yeah.
MCDONALD: I mean, he accepted that.
TEMPLE: And Charlie was fond of saying that his cardiologist in Houston, who was in charge of his transplant case, told him that, you know, alcohol or drugs is not what caused his problem. And that technically is true, I think, but it damn sure aggravated it.
MCDONALD: Yeah. It didn't help him.
TEMPLE: I mean, once you have, I mean, he inherited that from his father. His father died from congenital heart failure, or congestive heart failure. And
MCDONALD: I met him just once, but I met Mrs. Wilson two or three times, . . .
TEMPLE: Oh, God. They were . . .
MCDONALD: . . . and she was a . . . I'm telling you.
TEMPLE: Oh, they were dear friends of ours. I mean, Wilmuth [Wilson's mother] was a really close friend. Big Charles [Wilson's father; Wilson was often called "Little Charles"] was a little more withdrawn, but he was wonderful. He was a great guy.
MCDONALD: I enjoyed the episode when Charlie was in Nicaragua, and she called [Speaker of the House, Democratic Representative from Massachusetts] Tip O'Neal and said, "Make him come home."
TEMPLE: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But he, Charlie really, really honored his parents. I mean, he loved his dad. He and his mother. She was hard. Boy, she was a killer. I mean, she was used to giving orders and having them followed, and she treated Charlie that way [McDonald and Temple chuckle]. You know, but . . .
MCDONALD: But they had two very distinguished children [Wilson's sister Sharon Wilson Allison, a woman's rights activist, served in Planned Parenthood leadership, which is detailed more in her interviews for the Charlie Wilson Oral History Project], so that's . . .
TEMPLE: Oh yeah. No question about it. But he, oh, I had some thought I was, I can't remember what it was. But anyway he, oh I was saying he, his father died from congestive heart failure, and so Charlie had it. I mean he, but all the alcohol, there's no question it made it a lot worse.
MCDONALD: [Charles] Simpson told me that, you know, remember when he came down with the attack, not technical attack but the heart problem, and he was hospitalized in Germany, and then they told him, "You've got to quit drinking." And then he came home to Bethesda, and they told him that, and he said, "Well, I'm going to Houston and get a real doctor." And then when that doctor told him the same thing, Simpson said he called him and said, "Well, I've had my last drink." I don't know that that was, but I do know then when he moved back to Lufkin, he was never under the influence when I was around him.
TEMPLE: Well, no. No. He, but after that that you're talking about, when he had the problem in Paris, and they took him to Germany to, he did a lot of drinking after that. I never will forget; I was in Washington one time back in the eighties. I called Charlie, and we had dinner. And he was so proud when he got through, he said, "Well, kid, I just want you to know I've quit drinking." I said, "Charlie, it's long overdue. I am really thrilled." We, waiter came over, he orders a bottle of wine [McDonald laughs]. Proceeded to drink two full bottles of wine by himself. I didn't drink any. I was drinking something else. I said, "Charlie, I thought you said you had quit." "Well, I have." And like a lot of alcoholics, he didn't consider drinking wine to be drinking. You know, he wasn't drinking scotch anymore and no martinis, but he was absolutely convinced he had quit drinking. Drank two bottles of wine, you know [McDonald chuckles]. But he drank a lot. He quit drinking about the time he and Barbara were reunited [in the late 1990s]. You know, they had dated way back, and I'd met her back then the first go around. And he had, he had quit about the time that they reunited, and he never drank again.
MCDONALD: Did she have the influence on that?
TEMPLE: Oh, absolutely. And I, you know, I'm trying to remember. I thought that, I was thinking originally that she was the one who got him to quit, but I'm thinking that they both said that he had actually quit beforehand, shortly before they started dating.
MCDONALD: But it was probably good to have her around to keep that going.
TEMPLE: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And he was committed. I mean he never had another drink. He was cold sober the last ten or twelve years of his, well twelve or thirteen years, of his life. And he, you know, that heart thing, he never, that was never a successful thing. He never felt good after that heart transplant, and uh . . .
MCDONALD: You know, we came over to have, Charlie was going to be the first speaker in the little series that they named after me at the University [SFA]. And Brian Murphy, the dean [of the College of Liberal and Applied Arts], and I and Judy came over and had lunch with him at Crown Colony [in Lufkin], and he told me then, he said, "The heart itself is not the problem. It's all the medication that goes with it."
TEMPLE: Well, that's what they kept telling him,
TEMPLE: And that's what we thought. And when he died, we had a foundation meeting here, and he sat right there. He was on our foundation board. We had our meeting, and we had a good visit afterwards, and he was feeling, he told me that morning, he said, "You know, I'm feeling better." I said, "Good." We walked outside and got in my car where it's parked right now, and he died on the way out. I mean then, I, he started,
MCDONALD: That had to be bad on you, tough on you.
TEMPLE: It was very traumatic. And he, you know, he stopped on the way out to the car, and Chuck Crowson [local businessman and friend] was in another car leaving, and he said, "Charlie, are you okay?" "Yeah. I've just got to catch my breath. Just got to catch my breath." He walked around and got in the car, and we pulled out. And when we got right out there, I looked over at him, and he was kind of [makes a breathing noise] doing this, and I said, "Charlie, are you okay?" And he kind of went, "Rrrr," or something, but it sounded like, "Yeah. I'm okay." We got out on the street, and it got worse, and by the time I went around that way. And when we got up here, I said, I realized he was in big trouble. So I floor boarded it, and headed for the highway. By the time I got to the highway out here, he was dead. And anyway, the reason I was telling you that is my ex-brother-in-law is a cardiologist who treated Charlie some in Houston. And it was his partner in Houston that treated him down there. And after Charlie died, that night I called my brother-in-law who had moved to South Carolina. And he told me he had been in communication with the people at Methodist [Methodist Hospital in Houston], and he told me that that heart had never worked right. It just, that his, it had been a problem case from day one, and they never, it just never did work right. And I said, "Well, they always told us it was medication." And Bill said, "No." He said, said, "Buddy, some of the hearts just don't do. They start hardening or something. They lose their flexibility." And he said, and I asked Barbara, I said, "Did you ever, did they ever indicate that, you know, there was any problem with the heart itself?" And she said, "No." And I said, "Did they ever talk about a possible catastrophic event like this?" "Never. All they said was, 'We're having a hard time getting the medications right.'" So, I don't know. Maybe they were telling Charlie privately, and he didn't tell Barbara. But I don't think so because I think Barbara was there all the time. You know, I don't . . .
MCDONALD: And he was pretty, I think pretty sincere when he told us he was taking thirty seven different kinds of medicines.
TEMPLE: Oh yeah. Yeah. He'd show them to me. It was . . .
MCDONALD: And I think seven or eight of them, one of the by-products, is it makes you dizzy.
MCDONALD: And that was dizziness that he'd complain about.
TEMPLE: Well, the day he died, when he got in the car that day, just before he went out, he told me, he said, "I'm picking up some new medication tomorrow," that was going to make him breathe easier or something. And he said, "I'm really looking forward to it. They think it's really going to help me." But . . . nobody had any idea that something like that might happen.
MCDONALD: One more question because we did say we wouldn't occupy you over an hour, and that's because of my ignorance. At the memorial service, one of the three speakers, there was you and Joe and John Wing. Who is John Wing?
TEMPLE: [Temple clears throat] John Wing.
MCDONALD: Their relationship really.
TEMPLE: Yeah. Okay. John Wing is one of those guys that kind of slipped in under my radar when I was sort of in that black-out period. John was a graduate of . . .
MCDONALD: West Point he said.
TEMPLE: West Point. Yeah. He was a pilot who served in Vietnam. He worked for Ken Lay at Enron. He did the big power plant in England. Made a lot of money. He's about the only guy Ken Lay ever had who actually made the company any money. And they had apparently kind of a love/hate relationship, you know. Lay would get mad at him, and probably jealous of him because he did make a lot of money. And he'd leave, and then Lay would get him to come back. He'd go and do another project and make a bunch of money. And he was trying to do a pipeline through one of the countries, one of the obscure countries, and I can't remember which country it was over in that part of the world, Azerbaijan, or, anyway . . .
MCDONALD: Which "stan" is that?
SANDUL: Yeah. It's one of the "stans."
TEMPLE: Yeah, anyway. It, and somehow he got, he knew Charlie had done all that stuff over there, and I think he had actually gone with Charlie on some of the trips, and Charlie was trying to help him with his government contacts in that part of the world, get John permission to, the permits to run this pipeline, or something. And they just hit it off and got to be good friends. And when Charlie had his heart surgery, well Wing, Wing is very wealthy. He's made a lot of money. And, well, when he had his heart surgery, he made his home available in the Woodlands [a suburb of Houston]. You know, Charlie and Barbara stayed there for six weeks or something. When the movie had the premier, well, Wing flew us all out on one of his airplanes. And he's got a business down in, at the Conroe airport, a Wing Aviation, where they do aircraft maintenance and stuff. And John's just one of these really bright guys who's done very well.
MCDONALD: Okay. Well, that destroys a little bit of my romanticism. I had him in the CIA or something, you know, in my mind.
TEMPLE: Well, John is the kind of guy that, you know, I would be surprised if somewhere along the way he hadn't done something for the CIA. But he was not a CIA guy.
TEMPLE: But no, no, he was a businessman. But he had contacts. He had a lot of contacts, he had . . .
MCDONALD: Well, apparently close to Barbara, too, so that's . . .
TEMPLE: Oh yeah. And his wife is really, really a neat gal, and they, they were good friends. Off the record, let's turn this off. We're through, are we through, with . . .