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Interview with Frances Dewberry

Dewberry, Frances
Wilson, Ernestine
Philbeck, Amanda
Date of Interview: 
relationships with people and places; then and now
Francis Dewberry talks about her life from college days up until now.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Amanda Philbeck interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
AP (Amanda Philbeck): OK. First of all, oh, please stop. You're going to do fine. I appreciate you doing this. \\ Ah, go ahead and say it. Go ahead for me. \\
FD (Frances Dewberry): \\ When I get through you probably won't. [Laugh] No, I don't know how to start. \\
AP: Just, \\ first tell me your name. \\
FD: \\ Amanda? \\
AP: OK, state your name for the, for the thingy. Tell me who you are. It's on.
FD: My name is Frances Dewberry. [Dog barks]
AP: And you've been in Charlotte for?
FD: And I've been in Charlotte for, since 1952. I feel like I've, this is my home but I was actually raised in Bennettsville, South Carolina. I went to school there, graduated from high school there. From there I went to Winthrop College.
AP: What'd you major in?
FD: I majored in, ah, um, secretarial, you know. Uh, and I took a two year commercial course they called it back then. And, ah-.
AP: How did you like it when you went? Tell me about Winthrop at that time.
FD: Well, [laugh] I hated it then, because we, we had uniforms. And we hated uniforms. And there was no boys on campus of course. It was an all-girls school since then, it's coed now. Course like all of them are.
AP: Right.
FD: OK, from there, I went, uh, actually we moved, my family moved from Bennettsville to Laurel Hill, North Carolina. My dad took a job there. And, ah, when I got out of school, I took a job with the Health Department there. And from there I went to, we moved to Rockingham, North Carolina which is a little small town. There I worked for the Clerk of Court. I worked there for a long time.
AP: How many years did you work there?
FD: [Sigh]
EW: Five years.
FD: About five or six years. I, I can't remember now. From there I went to, let's see, where did I go?
EW: Moved to Charlotte.
FD: Yeah, we came to Charlotte then.
FD: Back in nine-, I think that, I think that it was 1952. The most that I can remember, and there I had several jobs. But my major job was Duke Power. And I stayed there-.
AP: What all did you do at Duke?
FD: Oh, I was a secretary the whole time. That's when the secretaries were real popular [laugh].
EW: That's when women did nothing but secretarial.
FD: That's right, women took care of the men and you know did their, part of their work and, you know, just really waited on them really [laugh]. But I, I loved Duke Power. They were good to me. Um, they, ah, [pause] they, they paid good money then, you know, and uh, I was very happy there. Course it's quite different now.
AP: Right.
FD: Quite different.
AP: // How long were you there? //
FD: // But ah-. //I was there for 30 years. I retired after 30 years of service.
AP: And so you've been retired how long?
FD: 11 years. I've been retired 11 years.
AP: What do you like about retirement?
FD: Um, I loved it at first because it was new, now it's old. And sometimes I'd like to go back to a little part time job but, you know, who's going to hire somebody my age?
AP: You would be very surprised. You'd be very surprised.
FD: [Laugh] But, ah, I got a job right now and a full time job taking care of my granddaughter, when she comes home from school. She's eight years old, almost eight years. And that's a job in itself. So I've got a job, really.
AP: // Tell me something funny that Katie does when she's here. //
FD: // And [clears throat]. // Oh, dear.
AP: One something, I'm sure Katie does a lot of somethings.
FD: [Laugh] She does [cough].
AP: What kid doesn't?
FD: Just let me think. Oh, she does, she, today even, ah, I was coming in the back yard here to mow the grass and I said, "Well you know Katie's going to close this gate," you know, I was thinking she was. She was right there. And ah, and the dog was, ah, you know, in the yard and of course Heidi got out. And she went everywhere. We couldn't find her anywhere. And I know if people could have seen us running around this neighborhood looking for that dog they would have really thought it was funny.
EW: We got to thinking we don't have, ah, any ID tag on her, and she's just running.
FD: She, she did not have an ID tag on her, and we love that dog and-.
AP: How long have you been keeping Katie?
FD: Since she was eight weeks old [laugh].
AP: Oh.
FD: She's ours.
AP: Oh, she's yours. You just let the mom ( ) her.
FD: Yeah, we just claim her [laugh]. Ah, yes she \\ had a fuss. \\
AP: \\ What, \\ what all do you do since, since you've retired, what all, what all have you done? I mean you said it was new, so what all did you do at first?
EW (Ernestine Wilson): Something bit me.
FD: Oh, let's see if I can remember. Ah, we just I, I don't know, I, I just felt free. I just thought there was nothing like it. I, you know, 'cause I, [dog barking] it was 30 years and I, and it was almost like I was in prison, you know, like a job is. And then all of a sudden I didn't have a job. I didn't have-, I didn't have to get up in the mornings. And it was just so different. But after you're retired for a long time you, uh, it gets old.
AP: [Pause] He doesn't see me. I passed right in front of him the other day and he didn't see me either.
FD: I know it sometimes he'll ride by and-.
AP: OK, go ahead.
FD: We're, I'm very active in the church. I, I love my church.
AP: Which one?
FD: And um, I, I go to University Hills Baptist over on Suther Road, it's right, real close to the University and, um-.
AP: How long have you been a member there?
FD: [Dog barking] There is-, let's see, about um, we been up here eight years, about seven years we been coming.
AP: You sing on the choir or anything you do?
FD: No [laugh]. No, I just go to Sunday school. And I go, and I, and I just listen to the preacher. But I-, our Sunday school class we do a lot of things, you know, there [dog barking].
AP: Like what?
FD: And like ah, visiting people, visiting the sick and doing things for people. And just whatever a Sunday school class usually does, but-.
AP: Anyway-.