Susan McClinton (SM): I came into the topless bar that you were bouncing to compete in amateur night—because there was a prize at the end. And at the time I had two children to support, so I needed the money. I remember at one point you said, ”I’ll keep an eye on you.”
Philip McClinton (PM): I thought, She doesn’t belong in here …she didn’t need to be in this place.
SM: And I think that was the beginning of our relationship. You said, ”I am going to take you rattlesnake hunting.” I thought you were absolutely out of your mind, but I had so much fun, I thought, Hey this is something I might want to do on a regular basis. And I remember at one point telling you that I had always enjoyed science and school. And you said, ”Well, why don’t we go back to school.” And I said, ”You’re crazy.”
PM: Neither one of us had anything but a 9th grade education. I’d tried 10th grade three times, and I couldn’t cut it. And we didn’t think anyone would take us. And I said, ”Call them and ask.” And they accepted us on probation. We took all of our courses together.
SM: You didn’t know anything about school. And I recall several times when you told me that you just didn’t think you could make it anymore. And I would always tell you, ”I’ll get you through it.”
PM: And we were both working on biology degrees.
SM: Remember cell biology, I drew a diagram and taped it up in the bathroom on the mirror, so in the mornings you’d have to look and learn it from there.
PM: Without your help, I’d have never gotten through this, because a lot of it I just plain didn’t understand. But I think the thing I am proudest of is that you finally did things that you never dreamed you could do. And you did them so well. You turned into a fine field biologist.
SM: I guess I learned for the first time that I really was a person of worth. You know, after my life started out so bumpy, I never thought we’d get a college degree. And if you hadn’t come into my life, I think I would have ended up in a very bad place.
SM: It was a rescue romance, is what we called it, because we saved each other.