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pod615 - Episode 3 - Maggi Vaughn (Part 2)

pod615 - Episode 3 - Maggi Vaughn (Part 2)

Maggi Vaughn [00:00:00] These new you know, we got all these new ones on there now, that they're not, they wouldn't know a real country song if they heard it, you know.

pod615 Theme [00:00:12] Up and down Broadway, across the avenues, East Nashville to West End, Belle Meade and Bellevue, Midtown, Franklin, Green Hills, Brentwood, Donelson, and Hendersonville. The people, the places, the lifestyle. livin', lovin' in the 615.

VO [00:00:42] Welcome to the pod615 with your host, William Kitchens. In this episode, we present part two of our discussion with Tennessee Poet Laureate, Margaret Britton Vaughn. We hope you had the opportunity to listen to part one of this special two part series already available on this streaming platform. So let's jump right back in. Enjoy.

William Kitchens [00:01:03] Well, tell me let's talk about the Ryman book, because that's the one you had published. The Tennessean published.

Maggi Vaughn [00:01:08] Well, listen, the Ryman Auditorium to me is the greatest building in the world. When people say, Maggi, you need to travel more. Well, I don't care. I'm in love with the Ryman. And and in 1960, I was backstage every Saturday night with them all. I knew them all. And and and part of when I came back, I was backstage and when I came back in 65 and I and I loved the Ryman, just something about that old building that tells you a story. I mean, you feel it when you walk in. You hear the walls talk. And that's, I wrote that first book where the Ryman is telling the story about her children, Minnie Pearl and all of them. And it's my favorite book. My other one next to favorites, called Kin, which I talk about my kin folks, but the Ryman. Oh, my goodness. There's nothing like the Ryman Auditorium.

William Kitchens [00:02:15] You've got poems there about the late Ralph Emery

Maggi Vaughn [00:02:18] Ralph Emery

William Kitchens [00:02:18] One of my favorites. It's just a real simple four line one I wish I had it with me. Chewing Gum.

Maggi Vaughn [00:02:23] Chewing Gum.

William Kitchens [00:02:24] Where you talk about just the.

Maggi Vaughn [00:02:25] Chewing gum.

William Kitchens [00:02:25] massive amounts of chewing gum holding it together.

Maggi Vaughn [00:02:28] Yeah.

William Kitchens [00:02:29] Holding those pews together.

Maggi Vaughn [00:02:30] Yeah.

William Kitchens [00:02:30] So I'm going to mention some artists here that you've had the pleasure of knowing, either knowing or hearing stories about. One that resonated with me when we first met was the story what Minnie Pearl told you about Hank Williams.

Maggi Vaughn [00:02:45] Oh.

William Kitchens [00:02:45] When he was being kicked off the Opry

Maggi Vaughn [00:02:47] Well, Hank drank a lot, and he'd show up with too much to drink on Saturday night when he was doing the Opry and they said, we're going to give you one more chance. And he showed up drinking. And he was going to go on in about 45 minutes or something, and Minnie got in the back seat of a car. And someone was driving and they rode around Nashville to try to sober him up. And she was sitting back there with him and she said, Oh Hank look at the light. They looked out the window, said, Look at the light. Because his famous song was I Saw the Light. And she said, Look at the light Hank, look at the light. And he said, There ain't no light Minnie, there ain't no light. I heard so many wonderful stories from her it's just incredible.

William Kitchens [00:03:46] And you did write that poem Grinder's Switch.

Maggi Vaughn [00:03:48] Yes. I wrote the Grinder Switch poem and she went nuts over it.

William Kitchens [00:03:51] It's great.

Maggi Vaughn [00:03:52] And that's when she said, You got to write it. You got to write the book. You got to write your book. And I took it to her, the manuscript, and that's when she took it to the Opry. She loved it. She wrote the foreword to it. Encouraging people to.

William Kitchens [00:04:06] Absolutely. And I hope I hope this gets reprinted because it needs

Maggi Vaughn [00:04:10] Well I hope it does, too, when I get the money. One of the some of them was asking me that I barely knew somebody about the pew, the 18th pew, left hand side.

William Kitchens [00:04:21] That was me. We talked about that. That's one of the poems.

Maggi Vaughn [00:04:24] Well, you asked me if I sat in the 18th pew, well, Lord, I sat in all of them when I wasn't backstage. And but I would look out at people in those pews, all just starry eyed looking at those Grand Ole Opry people with children sleeping their heads in their laps. And I thought, I got to write this and I did. It's called 18th Pew, Left Hand Side. And the Ryman covered the whole books the Ryman talking.

William Kitchens [00:04:52] Absolutely. You give voice to the to the..

Maggi Vaughn [00:04:55] Ryman.

William Kitchens [00:04:55] You gave voice to the people of Tennessee, you gave voice to the Ryman. You gave voice to your to moms.

Maggi Vaughn [00:05:02] Well, I tried to you know

William Kitchens [00:05:04] Yes. You've done a wonderful job. Maggi.

Maggi Vaughn [00:05:06] Thank you.

William Kitchens [00:05:06] I want to ask you about something, Ralph Emery, Did you ever meet Ralph?

Maggi Vaughn [00:05:10] Oh, yeah.

William Kitchens [00:05:11] Tell me about Ralph.

Maggi Vaughn [00:05:12] Well, I mean.

William Kitchens [00:05:14] He just recently passed away and he was a...

Maggi Vaughn [00:05:17] He was first married to Skeeter Davis and they divorced and... Oh Ralph was there. I knew them all, Ott Devine. All of them.

William Kitchens [00:05:29] I'm going to mention some names.

Maggi Vaughn [00:05:30] Okay.

William Kitchens [00:05:31] Oh, Grandpa Jones?

Maggi Vaughn [00:05:34] Well, Grandpa was there with Ramona, his wife, and they would come out and do something together. And he was so friendly. They were all friendly back then. It was just country. They were still country folks and acted like country folks, you know, that never met a stranger. He he was nice. They were all nice. All those announcers and Ralph Emery and and Ott Devine and and.

William Kitchens [00:06:07] What about, it was tragic? But String Bean?

Maggi Vaughn [00:06:11] String Bean was. Oh, that was terrible. String Bean, you know, he just carried his money around in his pocket and hid it in the fireplace and all that. And. I don't think he even went to the bank. I think he just kept it there at the house and some guys knew it and murdered him. Stole his stuff. And it was terrible because String was funny. You know, wore those britches down around his knees with the belt all around his knees.

William Kitchens [00:06:42] And he was kind of ahead of the times. wasn't he.

Maggi Vaughn [00:06:44] Yes, he was. But nice, all of them were friendly. It was like family back then.

William Kitchens [00:06:51] Sure. Alright, Your best friend, Loretta?

Maggi Vaughn [00:06:54] Yeah.

William Kitchens [00:06:54] And you met Loretta.

Maggi Vaughn [00:06:58] Yeah.

William Kitchens [00:06:59] And you guys became fast friends...

Maggi Vaughn [00:07:00] Yeah.

William Kitchens [00:07:00] And ahh.

Maggi Vaughn [00:07:00] Carter and Pearl Butler were dear friends of mine who "Don't Let Me Cross Over. Love's Cheating, Line", you know, that was recorded by everybody. And they, Penny J Moyer wrote that and I knew Penny pretty well.

William Kitchens [00:07:14] Tell me about the best performance you ever saw backstage from the Ryman. There's has to be one performance that happened while you were there that made you go.

Maggi Vaughn [00:07:22] You mean.

William Kitchens [00:07:23] Wow, that was something.

Maggi Vaughn [00:07:23] That that was going on backstage or.

Maggi Vaughn [00:07:25] No, I know you can tell me that story too, but I'm talking about the one, the live performance that made you go, wow, that was really something special.

Maggi Vaughn [00:07:32] I don't know. They they all did. You know, of course, when Minnie would come on my heart pound because of my love for her. I don't know.

William Kitchens [00:07:45] Were you there when Nixon appeared?

Maggi Vaughn [00:07:49] No, I was not there that night.

William Kitchens [00:07:51] Roy Acuff, tell me about Roy.

Maggi Vaughn [00:07:53] Oh, he was wonderful. Roy Acuff was one of the first ones on there, you know. And it started in 1925, and I can't remember the year Roy came. But Roy and Minnie were real close and Roy helped so many people. And I wrote a song about him, about him not long ago that I hope gets cut one day. It is fun. It's I don't know. You've gotta of kind of be brave. Songs about that these new you know, we've got all these new ones on there now that they know, they wouldn't know a real country song if they heard it, you know, they've kind of gone pop a little. And the songs about these new people that go to Acuff and say, you know, you really need an update of the times or what we're doing, you know? And of course, his big hit back years ago was Great Speckled Bird. And the song goes. Roy said, Uh huh. And that night he gave them the bird. Oh.

William Kitchens [00:09:10] All right. Tell me about little Jimmy Dickens.

Maggi Vaughn [00:09:13] Oh, Jimmy was fun.

William Kitchens [00:09:16] You got a poem about him in your book?

Maggi Vaughn [00:09:18] Yeah, about him being little and loud. And he wrote a song. I'm Little, But I'm Loud.

William Kitchens [00:09:23] Something abou a Cold Potato. That's one.

Maggi Vaughn [00:09:25] You Take an Old Cold Potato and Wait. you know, Tater. He called it Tater, Tater and Wait Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed you know and Lord if you were, stayed in the country you slept at the foot of the bed when company came. If they didn't have more. Just the one bedroom, you know, you you. You went to the foot of the bed of your grandparents, you know, and the other people had another used to back in the farm days they had two beds a lot of times in one room. And I think that's where he that came from he did, sleeping at the foot of the bed.

William Kitchens [00:09:56] Ernest Tubb.

Maggi Vaughn [00:09:59] Ernest Tubb was he helped so many people he he and Loretta cut a duet of mine and called the "Bartender". And he he was just helpful to everybody. Never met a stranger and all of them that way they'd help anybody they could. But he had the record shop and at midnight he had the Ernest Tubb Midnight Show. And I'd be there a lot. Ah

William Kitchens [00:10:33] I was going to ask you about that. The Midnight Jamboree?

Maggi Vaughn [00:10:36] I was on that. He had me on there to read a poem. I think it was about Ralph Emery, cause Ralph was there that night.

William Kitchens [00:10:44] How about that.

Maggi Vaughn [00:10:44] A poem about Ralph Emery, and I was on there.

William Kitchens [00:10:47] The one that's in your book?

Maggi Vaughn [00:10:49] It's in the book.

William Kitchens [00:10:49] Yeah.

Maggi Vaughn [00:10:49] Yeah, Yeah

William Kitchens [00:10:50] That's great. What were those Jamborees like? I bet that was a hard ticket after the show?

Maggi Vaughn [00:10:56] Well.

William Kitchens [00:10:56] Trying to squeeze everybody in.

Maggi Vaughn [00:10:58] Well they, they did what they could, you know, they just kept it going as long as they could. I mean, it would have gone all night, if radio stations stayed on all night.

William Kitchens [00:11:08] It was "The Afterparty"

Maggi Vaughn [00:11:10] Yeah. Yeah. It was you know and during the breaks, if they were on at 7:00, usually they were back on it around 9:00. And so they would go off at 7:30 and a new group would come on stage and they'd go over to Tootsie's. And Tootsie's had upper room that people didn't know about that was closed off, we'd go in the back door and we'd sit in up there.

William Kitchens [00:11:35] Through the alley.

[00:11:36] Yeah, the alley. And we would cut up for a while and then we'd go back over to the Ryman, you know. And it was great just sitting there talking to people, talking to them, that they weren't snobs, they weren't holier than thou, that they just would sit and talk to you like you were talking to a family. And we were family. We were family back then. I loved it. I wouldn't take anything for those memories.

VO [00:12:08] We'll be right back to the pod 615. After this quick message from our sponsor.

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Maggi Vaughn [00:13:02] It's not as country as it used to be. Some of the old timers, so many of them have passed away that the old country and.

William Kitchens [00:13:10] There's always been a generational change. There's always been, you know, we're going to add the drums now and now we're going to add.

Maggi Vaughn [00:13:16] Yeah, we're see, as long as Roy Acuff was there, he wouldn't allow drums on the stage.

William Kitchens [00:13:20] Remember, reading about that.

Maggi Vaughn [00:13:22] That was his thing. He, no drums and of course it went, it started in the Appalachian territory mountain people sitting on their porch learning, kind of folk songs handed down from Ireland and places. And A.P. Carter, who lived in Hiltons Virginia right over the Tennessee line, would go out and collect these songs and work on them and pretty soon they were becoming more country as it traveled toward Nashville. And the Grand Ole Opry. It got more country, more honky tonk sound than the mountain sound. And A.P. had a daughter named, well Jeanette Since I had COVID, I can't remember things. Well Jeanette and I became, dear friends, she was like in her eighties, late seventies, early eighties when I met her. And I have a funny story about that. Marty Stuart. I knew Marty and Connie real well. And Marty brought her into the Ryman for a special show one night. And I was there and my editor was here visiting me from New York. And at the end of the show, she did what all Southerners do. Y'all come see me. That's what she'd say, Y'all come see me now. That's how slow she talked. So we got back home and they later I said to [00:15:01]Carol, Aaron [0.6s] said, Let's go see her. So I called her, I got her number and I called her and I said Jeanette. I'm Maggi Vaughn, I'm the Poet Laureate of Tennessee and you said, y'all come and I want to come see you with my editor. And she said, Well, okay. And I said, okay, well, we'll be there Wednesday or so, whatever day it was. And I hung up and I said to Carol, I say, she didn't sound too enthusiastic. And she said well, let's go. So we went. She lived in Hiltons, which she called Po Valley. And honey, she saw us drive up. She met us at the door. She said, Y'all come on in here I'll fix lunch. And I said well thank you. Jeanette, I said you didn't sound too excited about it when I talked to you, and she said, Well, I called Johnny. Of course, Johnny was married then to June Carter, her niece. I called Johnny. He said he knowed you, and you was mighty fine. You welcome in my home, and we got to know her. And I would go back a lot to visit her. And one night a huge storm hit and I was going to drive back. And she said, you just stay right here in this house. Well, I saw a big old grandfather spider. Well, there were I was bitten when I was a child by a spider. It scared me to death. And I thought, I can't sleep here. That spider might get me. So she called or her niece who ran they ran the carnival. Well, I can tell you about that in a made. And she said it said, I've got the key to Tom T Hall's house here... He had a little house up there said I'm going to put them there. So I slept in Tom T's bed that night. And when I got back to Bell Buckle, he used to come over here to see me and he'd eat at the cafe. And I said, well Tom, I slept in your bed last night, you know, when he got here or night couple of nights ago. And he loved that. He loved my writing. And he he said, my Grand Ole Opry book was genius. He said that. He said This book is genius. Maggi, how did you know all this? And I said, I grew up on it. You know, I grew up on it, Tom.

William Kitchens [00:17:36] I was going to mention him. Now we'll go back to Johnny Cash.

Maggi Vaughn [00:17:38] Johnny Cash

William Kitchens [00:17:40] Tell us about Johnny, your...

Maggi Vaughn [00:17:40] Well, I knew Johnny knew Jean, June.

William Kitchens [00:17:41] Yeah.

Maggi Vaughn [00:17:41] Knew Helen, Anita, Mama Maybelle, knew them all. And Johnny was not around the Opry a lot in the days when I was going there. At that time, June was going to be or was married or going to be to Carl Smith. And I knew them all. And I remember one time I was in Jeanette's home there, and she said. June was just here and she wants to see you. And I said, Well, where is she? And she's she's over in Kingsport at Kingsport, which is right across the line from where Hiltons and. I got in the car and I said, I'll be back and I'm going to go find her. And she said, Well, she go to this, she named a store, and she liked over there. And I went there and I walked toward the back of the store and June was back there and June saw me and of course recognized me immediately and said, Oh, I know you. You know? And she said, Jeannette told me, you were coming and, you know, and I got to see June that day. And I bought a guitar at a pawn shop, before I went in there right quick and got her to sign it.

William Kitchens [00:19:03] Do you still have that?

Maggi Vaughn [00:19:04] No, I sold it. I have a guitar, though, that I still have it that when Kitty Wells, they had her last going away show at somewhere off near the new Opry Place. And Marty Stuart and Connie, all of them, Jack Greene, they were all there and they signed the guitar for me. I had another guitar. I had them all sign it and I still have it. And. But I'll let June's go because I needed money. When I need money, I sell something. I try to hold on as much as I can to things. I have a lot of stuff that belonged to Minnie Pearl and Uncle Dave Macon and furniture and all of that, you know I've held on to.

William Kitchens [00:19:47] Yeah, you said you had some Hank pieces?

Maggi Vaughn [00:19:49] I've got some Hank Williams pieces. I got it his end tables and coffee table and a lamp and several things that was his

William Kitchens [00:19:58] Now, of course, Hank passed away before...

Maggi Vaughn [00:20:01] Yes, he did, he

William Kitchens [00:20:01] you would have met him, but did you ever meet Hank Jr.?

Maggi Vaughn [00:20:04] Oh, Lord, yeah. I'd gone to their house when Hank was about 12 to interview Audrey, but she wasn't there. So I sat and talked to Jr., long time. He showed me all these guns and all that. Then I would see him after he got on the Opry and Audrey, I would see a friend of mine and myself. We started a publishing company and of course I worked for the paper, so I didn't spend much time there. I'd go there at night and Audrey had an office at the same buildings, so we'd see Audrey quite a bit.

William Kitchens [00:20:45] Did she ever share any stories about Hank with you?

Maggi Vaughn [00:20:48] Well, no, because we didn't talk that much now. Barbara, who was the partner with me knew her real well.

VO [00:20:55] The pod615 will return in just a few moments.

VO [00:20:58] Are you looking for a new way to promote your business, product or service? If yes, then why not consider advertising here on pod 615? Use your own ad or will create a custom one to showcase your brand right here. Reach out to us online at That's pod and the numbers 615. and learn how we can help promote your business, product or service.

William Kitchens [00:21:20] Okay. I want to ask you in my research about you Maggi, Is it a book of poems called Talking to Twain at Quarry Farm?

Maggi Vaughn [00:21:28] Yes and...

William Kitchens [00:21:28] Mark Twain was an inspiration and he's been an inspiration to many writers. Tell me about that and...

Maggi Vaughn [00:21:35] Well, Elmira, New York, was where he spent his summers. His sister-in-law lived there, his wife's sister. She had young children the same age as Mark. And they spent all summer there. And that's where he did his writing. He traveled in the winter to places and spoke, but he wrote Huckleberry Finn and almost famous books at that farm. Matter of fact, the sister-in-law, couldn't stand him smoking in the house, all those cigars and built a beautiful studio for him to write in and put it on, out in the back up on a little hill. And I wrote in it. It had been moved to the college there, and I was the first poet to ever receive a fellowship there. The rest of them were all people who were writing biographies on him. And I got to sleep in the bed, ate at his table, wrote in his studio and my project. I told them, you know, you had to have a project, I said I'm going to write a book, like I'm talking to him, living here with him. And I did is called Talking to Twain at Quarry Farm because the farm was called Quarry Farm. And her parents, his wife's parents lived maybe a mile from there from this summer place where they have a small but it was a big two story brick home, a real fine home. But back then, a mile was like ten miles. You know, back in his day. And so I got that. It was I was like, he was there. I talked to him. And one night I, I was out late and I thought, Lord, I forgot to leave a light on. And when I got back, a light was on in that house. And I said, Well, Mark, you turned the light on for me. I felt him all around me. I would talk to him. And what's so funny is the night that they had the election and they couldn't decide if Gore won or Bush had won it went back and forth every hour it would change. And I was watching it in a room there, and I said, Mark, Mark, Hon, you'd love this. You know, I said, you'd be writing about this. And I mean, I talked to him just like I was talking to him. I was there on Thanksgiving and the dining room had this beautiful antique long table with all these portraits of the family hanging on the wall, and I'm there I set with that fine china, eating a baloney sandwich. cause I can't cook... and I think Mark would love this. Loved him!

William Kitchens [00:24:24] Well what's next for you, Maggi? What's a, what do you want to see accomplished next?

Maggi Vaughn [00:24:30] I'm working on books every day. I've got about four books in the works right now.

William Kitchens [00:24:34] And you still handwrite everything?

Maggi Vaughn [00:24:36] I handwrite everything. And but my problem is I can't read my writing. So Shirley, my friend comes over. And who takes care of me. And I dictate to her and she would write it where someone can type it and read it. But I have a hard time reading it to her because I can't. I write so fast. I write. I'm working on four books at one time.

William Kitchens [00:24:57] Wow.

Maggi Vaughn [00:24:57] And I'm updating the Opry book.

William Kitchens [00:25:00] Okay.

Maggi Vaughn [00:25:00] I just got to get the money to get them out. So I'm selling a lot of my stuff. Selling my books. I don't. And so.

William Kitchens [00:25:10] Well, you're not hard to find, are you?

Maggi Vaughn [00:25:11] No.

William Kitchens [00:25:12] Just come to Bell Buckle and ask...

Maggi Vaughn [00:25:13] Bell Buckle... Everybody knows who I am.

William Kitchens [00:25:15] Everybody knows where you live.

Maggi Vaughn [00:25:16] Yeah. And they come by, like I said, last Sunday, I had 11 or 12 people here. Some from Ohio. Some from Michigan. They come from all over the United States.

William Kitchens [00:25:28] Maggi, thank you for sharing this time with me,.

Maggi Vaughn [00:25:30] Thank you!

William Kitchens [00:25:30] With our listeners and thank you for

Maggi Vaughn [00:25:32] Thank you Honey. You come any time and anybody's listening. Come to Bell Buckle. I'm in my living room and love to see ya. Cause, honey, I love to live!

William Kitchens [00:25:44] We love you, too, Maggi. Thank you.

William Kitchens [00:25:46] Honey.

William Kitchens [00:25:49] Thank you for listening to our special two part interview with poet, author and lyricist, Maggi Vaughan. We hope you enjoyed the conversation from this treasured Tennessee resident. Do you know a person of interest you'd like to hear interviewed on our podcast? Let us know. Reach out to the show through our website at or send us a message on any of our social media accounts. Once again, thanks for listening.

William Kitchens [00:26:16] Have you considered creating your own business podcast? If you're an expert in your field or simply want to engage your customers, then you should. Guess what? pod615 offers professional corporate podcast production, editing and publishing with a wide variety of services to choose from. We can give voice to your business. Reach out to us on social media or the Internet to learn more about featured and branded podcast production from Pod 615.

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