"You're right, I can get his number," I said, picking up the phone.
When I called Metzger's number, a woman answered. His wife, I assumed. She wanted to know who I was, what I wanted. I told her. She called, "Tom." I heard her tell him I was "some professor from San Diego State." I also heard a little girl's voice in the background. So Metzger was a family man.
He picked up the phone, asking who I was and what I wanted, in a cautious, but not unfriendly, businesslike tone of voice. I told him what I had told his wife. I was a sociologist at State, doing research on the origins and development of social movements. It would be helpful to me to meet him and discuss the growth of the Klan in Southern California.
He was agreeable, a bit flattered, it seemed. We made a date to meet Thursday of the following week. I was to phone him on Wednesday and receive directions to his house in Fallbrook.
I said goodby, hung up the phone and got up to go to my one o'clock class, winking at my colleagues.
"Nothing to it, gentlemen."
"You forgot to tell him...."
"Tell him what?"
My one o'clock class was Contemporary Sociological Theories. Someone asked about what was happening "down there at the border with the Ku Klux Klan."
I was tempted to give the class over to a discussion of the Klan—after all, everything is relevant to social theory—but I noticed that a few students were frowning and shifting about in their seats. If it wasn't on the required reading list and wouldn't be on the test, they didn't want to "waste time" talking about it. I compromised.