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Interview with Janie B. Shirley

Shirley, Janie B.
Cummings, Zakia
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Then and now
Janie Shirley talks about living in a home, her church friends, playing Bingo, her two sons, and food she likes.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Zakia Cummings interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
JS (Janie Shirley): Shirley
ZC (Zakia Cummings): [Laugh] OK, and uh, your age?
JS: 83.
ZC: [Laugh] And are you married?
JS: Yeah, was but he, my husband asleep, he dead.
ZC: OK, and how many children do you have?
JS: I just have one now 'cause my baby boy passed.
JS: But, I did have two but my, my baby boy, baby son he died.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, that just left me and my oldest son.
ZC: Oh, OK, and I was asking you before, um, do you take any medications?
JS: Yeah, just for a little something they give me for, for blood pressure, for my bowel movements. And, and the doctor did tell me I have my, my bow, I guess he give me so he say you bladder, come bladder kind of hard over on I guess.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: They give me the medicine, but I don't know what, what it is.
ZC: OK, and how do you feel before you take your medicine?
JS: I be feeling alright.
ZC: And, how do you feel after?
JS: I be feeling alright.
ZC: You be [laugh] feeling alright.
JS: I just don't have no complaints at all.
ZC: OK, um, how do you, OK you have any illnesses?
JS: Huh-uh.
ZC: No illnesses at all.
JS: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
ZC: So, you, um.
JS: Nothing but, uh, eaten [laugh].
ZC: [Laugh] And how do you feel on a daily basis?
JS: How.
ZC: Uh, now do you feel daily? Do you feel good?
JS: I feel good.
ZC: Do you feel good?
JS: Yeah, I feels aright, yeah.
ZC: Are you usually up beat? Or, just kind of low tone? Are you happy?
JS: Yeah, I'm happy.
ZC: Happy.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Do you like to get out and do things?
JS: Yeah, just sit out. People are so nice here.
ZC: They are?
JS: Uh-huh.
JS: They really are.
ZC: Alright, so.
JS: But, ain't no place like home.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: You know that?
ZC: Yes, I know that [laugh].
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: OK, we've talked about health. What's the next one?
JS: Education.
ZC: You want to talk about education?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: No, it, it's on your social. Just tell me when to stop, social, // esteem-. //
JS: // Esteem, // art and cult-.
ZC: Oh, arts and culture.
JS: Uh-huh.
JS: Housing.
ZC: Housing.
JS: Quality of life.
ZC: Quality of life.
JS: Social Security
ZC: Security.
JS: No.
ZC: Recreation.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Oh, ca, um, OK, well. How about I pick one for you?
JS: Uh-huh, pick one.
ZC: OK, let's see, social.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Social, social.
JS: Now what does social really stand for?
ZC: Social means like your relationships with other people.
JS: Oh.
ZC: Like your friends and // your family. //
JS: // Good, good, // good.
ZC: You like that?
JS: Yeah, that's good.
ZC: Is that, this, the one you want to do? Work on for now?
JS: Yeah, work on that one.
ZC: Social OK, who um, who do spend your time with and why? Who do you spend most of your, who do you like to spend your time with?
JS: You mean here at home?
ZC: Anywhere and yeah.
JS: I'd say, I like to spend my time with my church people.
ZC: Your church people?
JS: Yes, yes, yes, yes, uh-huh.
ZC: [Laugh] And why do you like to spend your time with the church people?
JS: Because uh, I been a member of St. Paul Baptist long and they all know me and they all nice to me. They comes over here and brings me stuff and service me.
ZC: What church is that?
JS: St. Paul Baptist.
ZC: St. Paul Baptist?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Oh, OK.
JS: And, they come pray with me and bring me little goodies, and they takes care of me.
ZC: They do?
JS: Yes, Yes.
ZC: So, that's who you like to spend your time with?
JS: Yes, indeed.
ZC: [Laugh] Who would you like to spend more time with? Can you think of anybody?
JS: No, not that I know of. 'Cause all the people over here are nice. Don't just, don't matter long as you treat me nice I don't-.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Now, now your church friends, uh, well the church people you were talking about, do you consider them your friends?
JS: Yeah.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Yeah, they my friends.
ZC: [Laugh] They are?
JS: Yes, yes, yes.
ZC: They, uh, OK, um, what are the most people, what's, who are the most important people in your life?
JS: Now?
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: I don't know 'cause I don't have no family left.
ZC: Uh.
JS: I don't know.
ZC: What about before? Who was, who was, who where the most important people in your life?
JS: I still say my church family.
ZC: Your church family?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Your church family, uh, what is the nicest thing somebody's ever done for you?
JS: I don't know I, I, I don't know.
ZC: Can't think of anything.
JS: I don't know.
ZC: What is the nicest thing somebody's done for you?
JS: Uh, let's see, they do so much for me all of my life, I don't know.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: That's just one of, I don't know, everybody does something nice to me.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: They do?
JS: 'Cause I learn if you be nice to people, people be nice to you.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: So, so, I try to be nice to people and everybody's nice to me.
ZC: Can you think of, uh, uh, time when somebody's did something nice for you?
JS: [Pause] My grandchildren bring me clothes. That's nice.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Sure is, I don't have to worry about no. They come in here and surprise me, bring me pants, blouses, my grandchildren.
ZC: Your grandchildren?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: How many grandchildren do you have?
JS: I have three girls and one boy.
ZC: Three girls and one boy.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: They bring you, uh, nice stuff?
JS: Yeah.
ZC: Feed you?
JS: Yeah.
ZC: That's good.
JS: That's, they love to surprise me.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: You know what they did last week?
ZC: What?
JS: I, you know now I'm not complaining, but the food don't be too good here. Now, I'm not complaining, they brought me a chicken dinner.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: And, last Wednesday my, my church came over here and brought me chicken supper. So they, honey, they got me spoiled.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: And, they so nice to me, I don't know what to do. And, one of them, my church people came. The Deacon, my Deacon, church people, come over here and have prayer with me. And, we just-.
ZC: Have a good time?
JS: It's just wonderful.
ZC: That's good, that's good.
JS: I is to my church family. That, that's my family, 'cause all my regular family's all dead and gone.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: OK, we talked about social.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: OK, we have just tell me what you want. Tell me when to stop, esteem, arts and culture, history.
JS: That's housing.
ZC: I mean housing [laugh], quality of life.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Security.
JS: Security.
ZC: Recreation, that's like things that you do during the day.
JS: Oh, I don't do nothing during, sit around these rooms and look at the wall.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: That's all, that's all.
ZC: Recreation, would you like to talk about this one?
JS: What is that one?
ZC: Uh, this one physiological body need. Just things we need to survive, like food, um, I'm, I'm go, I'm uh, going, to ask you about the food here, um.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Um, what is your favorite meal here?
JS: Fried chicken.
ZC: That, that they have here, fried chicken.
JS: Yeah, I like fried chicken and fried okra.
ZC: Fried chicken and fried okra?
JS: Now that's two things I love, and snacks.
ZC: And snacks?
JS: And them people that working on snack machines, they all call me mommy. And, they always brought, come here and bring me snacks.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: And one time I had got so upset 'cause I love them honey buns.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: And, he'd come in there mommy we brought you honey, uh, I went to 148 now, was 141 'cause I turned them honey buns a loose.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: But, is short as I am, uh, one lady say, uh, "Miss Shirley you gotten so fat, say what happened?" I say, "I'm pregnant." She say, "Pregnant?"
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: I say, "No hun, no cut that out." I say, "Honey, I'm pregnant if ya'll decide to change me and send me somewhere else. Send me to a crazy house at 83 and crazy ya'll need to send, send me to a crazy house, that's the only place I need to go at 83 and get pregnant."
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: Yes, sir.
ZC: So, that's your favorite meal here?
JS: Yeah, chicken and fried okra. I love that.
ZC: And, what's your least, least favorite meal served here.
JS: Uh, broccoli and spinach, uh-huh.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: I don't like that. You don't either?
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: No, uh-huh, broccoli and spinach, I don't like.
ZC: You don't like that meal?
JS: Huh-uh.
ZC: Not at all.
JS: Huh-uh, no way, huh-uh, huh-uh.
ZC: [Laugh] Oh another thing I wanted to ask you is what do you think about the, uh, new hairstyle? Did you see the girls, with these girls with the new hair styles? I have mine tied up and you know.
JS: I think it's pretty nice, I like it.
ZC: You think it's nice?
JS: Uh-huh, don't you?
ZC: Yeah, I think it's nice.
JS: Sure is.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: Wish I had some hair to style. Tell you what happened to me. I had a stroke, and a nervous break down, and the nerves taken all of my hair out.
ZC: Oh.
JS: All the way out, and I call my doctor. He's a white doctor. I say Doctor ( ) is anything, I stayed in the hospital two weeks. Is anything you can do to bring my hair back? He, "No, Miss Shirley but, I tell you what I can do. I can take all your darn money for nothing." Say, "'Cause when the nerves takes it out, it burns it out from the root." Say, "I could have you running to my office every week." Say, "I wouldn't be doing nothing, but taken your money for nothing 'cause there's nothing I can do." He say, "Don't let no doctor sweet talk you and say they doing this 'cause they won't be doing nothing. When the nerves take it out, it's out." Now wouldn't that a honest doctor?
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: He say, ""I'd just be taking your money for nothing."
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Now, that was honest, wouldn't it?
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: I wonder one of my own race doctor's been that honest with me. He'd had me running back and forth just to get the money.
ZC: Uh-huh, you make, you say, you had a stroke?
JS: I had a stroke, uh-huh and a nervous condition.
ZC: So, how did you feel after you were in the hospital and you found out you had a stroke?
JS: I had a stroke. I was at home. You know what, I got home and I have huge big yard and I had been asking my son to cut my hedges. He said momma, "You don't need."
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: I went and I was trying to cut my own hedges. And, all at once when I was cutting hedges the hedge clippers dropped out of my hand. As I reached down and picked those hedge up and that's when I, I started up the steps to go in the hose and I got back to the house. Oh my God what's done happen. And, this friend of mine, and my son called her and she come and carried me to the hospital and what had hap, I had had a stroke.
ZC: You had a stroke?
JS: I had a stroke on my right side and it affected the left side. Now I can't us this hand too good now.
ZC: Uh.
JS: But, thank God and I couldn't walk. I blind on this side and every time I try to walk I hit the floor. You could find me laying out there in the hall anywhere laying down. I couldn't walk and I'd take pleasure in this. I, you know the merry walker what to have you walking, you walking on.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: When you can't walk. One morning they put me on that and I went off to therapy place to get for treatment. She say, "Miss Shirley we going to talk this merry walker from you. Say you don't need it." I say, "Oh no, no don't take it, I can't walk without it." She say, "That's if you got more confidence in this merry walker than you is in God."
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Say, "You trust in God and we want you to walk down to that breakfast room every morning instead of riding in this wheel chair. Not, no wheel chair a merry walker." It look like a little bug, but it's long and, and you got bars on each side cause there's a threat I'd fall. First morning I got out, I say, "I'll go down there." I went started out there down the hall, next thing I knew I went on the floor. They pick me up and bring me back in here. Second morning, I got up, I got half way down there. What I say, "Oh my Lord, I can't do it." She said, I said, "That woman's right. Say, I got more faith in this thing here than I do God." So, I pray to good Lord. I say, "Dear God, if it's your will, please give me strength to be able to walk again. I'm your, you my child, dear Lord and you, just help me to be able to walk again." And, next morning, I got up, started down to the breakfast. I went all the way. I didn't fall. That shows you God will answer your prayer.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Now, I'm and other people saying what God, I'm not telling you what people told me, I'm telling you what God done for me.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, every since that, I've been calm now, I've had some ( ) 'cause they tell me continue riding in my wheel chair 'cause I might you know fall.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: With that stroke, but, other than that everything's fine.
ZC: Everything's fine?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: That's good, when we were talking about the food. I just, I was saying, uh, who would you, uh, what advice would you give to the cooking staff here about the food?
JS: I don't know. The food is not too good. I don't know.
ZC: Huh, I didn't hear you?
JS: The food is not too good you know.
ZC: Oh.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Yeah. What would you tell them to do if you could?
JS: I don't, I don't complain.
ZC: You don't complain?
JS: No, uh-huh 'cause I know they don't not only cook for me, they got a big staff to cook for and you can't please everybody. I just go along and eat it. You got two choices. Don't nobody make you eat it. You got two choices, eat it or leave it. If you want it, eat it. If you don't want it, leave it on the tray.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, ain't, ain't no use of worrying the staff in the kitchen. They can't please everybody. And, some of these people so hard. They fuss all the time and I don't see it. They can't please everybody.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, when they do have something like fried chicken and stuff like that, cream potatoes, I takes my time and I go in that kitchen and tell them I enjoyed my dinner. I say, oh I, I told em, let them know I appreciate it. I still say you got to be nice to people for people to be nice to you. You go around with a high head and complaining all the time, don't nobody want to be bothered with you, do they? No, you can't go around complaining, no, I don't go for that. If I want it, I eat it, if I don't I leave it.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Now, sometimes they bring me milk and I never drink milk. 'Cause milk, milk will, will make my bowels run off. And, sometimes when they bring me milk I say, "I'm sorry, I can't drink milk, makes my stomach upset."
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: I don't complain, and when, uh, they bring me milk, I don't complain, I just leave it on the tray.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, they pick it up, but why complain?
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Huh-uh, I, I believe in being nice to people. These people have a lot of people to try to please and you can't please everybody. Some people, some of these people here complain about everything. And, you know I excuse my expression but, I didn't know elderly people could be so and some of them can say some bad words. I didn't think we elderly people could do that. How can we, they always talking, about young people say but don't leave no, don't leave no road map for the young people to go by. If we ain't been right ourselves, don't complain to your old young people then. Try to live a life so the young people have respect for you. But, don't be doing things worse than young people.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, then trying, well young people don't do this and young people don't do that. We ain't leave no road map for the young people. How can young peoples, if we ain't going do right, right you know, nap, map for them to go by.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: So, try to be nice as you can around young, old, young people. 'Cause, I didn't say what I ought to cause, some of them nasty words.
ZC: ( )
JS: Uh-huh one of them.
ZC: Alright, what's the next topic you want to talk about? We got education, esteem, arts and culture like drawing.
JS: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
ZC: And painting, housing about here, quality of life, you know what makes a person happy.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Security, which one would you like?
JS: Uh, security, what's that?
ZC: Security, just about feeling safe, or whether or not you feel safe, um.
JS: Oh yeah, I feel good.
ZC: You feel good? What, uh, so do you feel, do you, you feel safe here, living here?
JS: Yeah.
ZC: You do?
JS: I don't see why not.
ZC: [Laugh] What is, uh, what is your big, what are some of your biggest fears in life?
JS: I don't, I don't know.
ZC: You don't know?
JS: Uh-huh, I don't go out of the house. I just puts my trust in, in God at all fears, 'cause when I lay down at night I reads my Bible and ask to God watch over me and take care of me. Keep me from all hurt and danger while I sleep. And, give me a good nights rest. God's over it. I don't have no-.
ZC: No.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: OK, um, name some of the times within this month that you, uh, felt fear?
JS: Not any.
ZC: Not, not any?
JS: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
ZC: Um, have you or a friend of yours ever had anything stolen?
JS: Yeah, I had some, I had, I had five, no six dollars 'cause she gave me some 'cause my son have to ride the bus over here and he uses a walker. He work at school cleaning floors and slipped and fell and broke both legs. Now he's in a walker. And, she would give me some money to help him on his bus fare and I had five dollars and I put it in my Bible.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Here's my Bible, right here.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, this particular time when he come up here, come over here, he got ready to go, I said, "Wait a minute John, I got some money to give you."
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And the money was gone. Went in the Bible
and got it out. But, I'm not saying everybody do that, but whoever did it, God going to cut their hands one of these days.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, then one time one of my members come over here. I was in, in, in, in a bad place, nursing home then, and uh, she said, "Miss Shirley what can we do, you need anything?" I said, "Yeah, I like me some underwear." So, she went and brought me four packs. You know, they underwear you get so many to pack, pack.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, she brought me three packs before three, three pair and then anyway I had six pair of underwear. That night I took me a shower and was in the bath. The next morning I was putting on some clean garments. But, you see, what it was the tags wasn't taken off, I guess they stole you know, sold them and used them to sell.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: But, I say as God, let your will be done. I can't do nothing 'cause you can't put something on somebody, you don't know you not sure, you blame somebody stealing your stuff and you didn't see them do it. They can sue you.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: 'Cause, I know somebody say I stole something and I didn't do it, I'll sue them, cause that's when, goes ruining my reputation.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: So, I, when I lose something, I just go right on and pray to God.
ZC: OK, you're doing really good, OK, recreation, education.
JS: Education?
ZC: Esteem.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Arts and culture, housing.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: And quality of life, which of these would you like to do next?
JS: Let's take quality of life and see what it say.
ZC: Quality of life?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: OK, what do you think makes some, some people happy in life? What do you, what makes a person happy?
JS: I don't know 'cause I been happy all this time. I don't know, I don't know. I just don't know.
ZC: What makes somebody say, "I've had a good life."
JS: I have just hope to meet somebody, sad ( ). One of the things plus after they, if some of the people pass that makes it sad.
ZC: It makes you sad?
JS: It show does, 'cause I remembers I lost my son. I ain't gone say it's, do you have any children?
ZC: No.
JS: If you ever, if you get children and you ever lose a child you don't get over it. My son been dead now four years, and sometimes I think it was yesterday, 'cause we come up together, my, my husband, he, he use to drive this long distance truck. He, he run off the over old bri-, old bridge overhead and got killed instantly.
ZC: Hmm.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: So, what, what makes a person happy? What makes someone happy?
JS: I don't know being around happy people I guess.
ZC: Being around, around happy people?
JS: Uh-huh, and, uh, reading the Bible and studying God's word and all that.
ZC: All that?
JS: Yep, that.
ZC: What makes you, you uh, happy as a person? What are some of the things that makes you happy as a person?
JS: I be happy person when my church people be here, come over, have prayer meeting with me.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: I don't know, it just makes me happy, I enjoy that.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Now, now don't think I got my wings to fly in heaven. But, I believe in the Holy Ghost and the Bible. Reading the Bible and prayer, I believe in. And, when you come around here and say "Shirley have prayer, let's read some scriptures in the Bible." That makes me happy.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: I love that.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, my church members comes over and they shares time with me and we have prayer meetings. We get together and then when they come in here sometime they go by Kentucky Fried Chicken and bring my dinner.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, you know all that makes you happy.
ZC: Uh-huh, excuse me let me shut the door it opened back up. [Pause] I'm back, uh-huh so you were talking about prayer meeting.
JS: Yeah.
ZC: People coming to visit you.
JS: Uh-huh, you know how happy it make you feel when you know you in a place like this and somebody think enough to come see, see you. That makes you happy.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, and I, I tell you, I love people.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: I likes people, 'cause God say love each and everyone.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: It don't matter black, red, or blue, what big fine house, cars, you suppose to love them, 'cause God say love each and everyone, 'cause that he, we are his children. He loves us.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: So, why can you, how can you say you love God and you never seen him before and hate our brothers and sisters. Better be careful how you talk to him, say, "Oh I love him. I love God." And hate your next door neighbor. And, you ain't seen God before. But, you, you see your neighbor everyday and you hate him and say you love the Lord and ain't showing it. No, I get in Bible honey.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: [Laugh] Oh yes, yeah.
ZC: I hear you. OK, I don't know why that door keeps on coming open.
JS: Well that's alright, you cold?
ZC: No, it's just hat it's going to record on the, uh, recorder.
JS: Oh.
ZC: Alright, now we have.
JS: Uh, we have a good time, ain't we?
ZC: Yeah, we are. We have esteem, arts and culture, // housing. //
JS: // Housing. //
ZC: Recreation and education, so which one.
JS: You can ask me some education, 'cause I don't have no education.
ZC: You want me to ask you about that? It's just a few questions.
JS: OK, yeah.
ZC: Um, what was your last year in school? How far did you go in school?
JS: About the middle of I, I didn't cut the, I like one year from finishing high school.
ZC: OK, you finished, so you finished one year in high school?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: What was that, ninth grade?
JS: Yep, yep.
ZC: That was ninth grade.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: OK, um, what would you teach a young person?
JS: What would I teach to, to young people? I would teach, tell them to grow up treat elder people nice.
ZC: Older people?
JS: Yeah.
ZC: Or, I, I didn't hear you.
JS: I say, when they grow up treat elder peoples nice.
ZC: Elderly people?
JS: Yes.
JS: Have respect for elder people.
ZC: Uh-huh, and.
JS: Yeah, that's what I want my young people, that's what I use to teach my children.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: What is some things that you would like to do?
JS: I don't know, uh, I don't know, [pause] in the education?
ZC: Anything, anything, whether it's going back to school or learning how to do something like art, or.
JS: I like, I like to-.
ZC: Anything.
JS: -Learn how to sew.
ZC: To sew?
JS: I can't sew.
JS: And, my, my sister could take any piece of material and make something she and I was jealous of my sister 'cause I didn't, I couldn't even handle scissors, but she could just take, get her a pair of scissors and material. She'd cut and make you anything you wanted. She could, she could look in a book and see something in a book.
ZC: And make it?
JS: I, I couldn't even handle nothing. I wish I had learned to sew, but I just couldn't.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: As, as I say, I grew up on a farm and ( ) . I hoed cotton, I picked cotton and guess what, I stole cotton.
ZC: [Laugh] Really?
JS: Well, let me tell you. My daddy said one time, 'cause we had this big coun-, country farm, lots of cotton in it. My daddy said whoever pick the most cotton, I'm going to give them a quarter and my brother, he could pick cotton, oh, he could pick. Everyday, his sheet be full of cotton. And, I just couldn't pick no cotton. This particular day I say, I'm a get me some cotton. I'm going to get that quarter. I went and cut a whole in his sheet of cotton.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: And, stole his cotton and put it in my sheet. And, my brother caught me. He say, "What in the hell you doing with my cotton huh, got all of you." You know what my brother said. ( ) But you know what I got that quarter. So, I picked cotton, and hoed cotton, and I stole cotton.
ZC: [Laugh] Where are you from, what state?
JS: Huh.
ZC: Where are you from?
JS: South Carolina, Rock Hill.
ZC: Oh, Rock Hill?
JS: Yeah, I, I out on the farm though.
ZC: Oh, OK.
JS: Yeah, I stole me some cotton. I got that quarter. 'Cause in them days and time when you got a quarter you had lots of money. In now days you got a quarter, you ain't got nothing.
ZC: Uh-uh.
JS: You know that?
ZC: Yes I do.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: You can only but a little bubble gum.
JS: Yeah, honey, you can't even buy a candy bar hardly now for a quarter.
ZC: Uh-huh, cost 55 cents.
JS: That's right.
ZC: 60 cents.
JS: So, I stole me some cotton and I stole that quarter, went a long ways
ZC: OK, we have, we have few more, four more. OK, so which one do you want to do now, recreation, housing, arts and culture, and esteem?
JS: What about housing?
ZC: Housing, OK housing, alright, um, what do you like about living here?
JS: Well, I like it 'cause I don't have no other choice but, it's just meeting different people.
ZC: Meeting different people?
JS: Uh-huh, yeah.
ZC: Do you like to meet different people?
JS: Yeah, 'cause, yeah I like it alright. I like meeting different people.
ZC: Uh-huh, anything else you like about living here?
JS: I don't have to get up and cook, alright. I don't have to give myself a bath. All, all I have to do is eat, sleep, shit.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: I don't have to do nothing else, they're all so nice to me.
ZC: You love it?
JS: I love it, but I still would like to be at home.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: You know that.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: But, I say man this alright 'cause uh, the nurses are nice to me.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: They come see about you at night and make your bed and change your linen on your bed.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, you don't have to do nothing. And, so why not treat people nice.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Instead of uh, this, this ain't right, complaining about everything, I don't think that's right. 'Cause this is ( ) they ain't working for no one person. They trying to please everybody.
ZC: Uh-huh, what would you, uh, what would you improve about living here if you could change anything, what would it be?
JS: I don't know, nothing, it's alright like it is.
ZC: It's alright like it is?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Nothing you can think about?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: OK, alright, three more, recreation, esteem.
JS: What is esteem mean?
ZC: Esteem is how you feel abut yourself. You know, um, like for instance one of the questions are who makes you feel important? In your life who makes you feel?
JS: You mean now or the past?
ZC: Now.
JS: My church people.
ZC: Your church people?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: They make you feel important?
JS: They do, uh, they comes over, I, I don't know, my church people got me spoiled.
ZC: They do?
JS: I'm ( ) me.
ZC: Hmm.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: And, and.
JS: And, I have had a sweet life and as I say my husband, he got killed driving a long distance truck.
ZC: Hmm.
JS: My mother died and my father died. My brother and my sister died. And left me and my children. So, when my husband died I had two children. My oldest son was fif-, fift-, fifteen and my baby boy was five. And, I raised my children myself.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: In those days wasn't no, no welfare. I don't guess it was all that kind of stuff. I raise my own. So, at that rate me and my children grew up together. And, so we was, we was almost like sister and brothers. Tell you, I love myself.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And my son, he don't walk to well 'cause I told you he clean the floors at school and slip and broke his legs. But, my baby boy he, he was musician.
ZC: He was?
JS: And, I'm not bragging but he could make a trumpet talk.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: And he was so, and he went to college. Wouldn't nobody help me raise them, but I helped him go through college. And, my oldest son he was a good ball player. So, we, we, we, we will, we was growed up together. When you lose a child honey, it'll do something to you. Lord have mercy, if I could have my son back. Hmm, but the Lord don't make no mistakes, uh-huh.
ZC: Um, do you think the younger people, uh, respect the older generation?
JS: Do you think they ought to respect?
ZC: No, do you think the, they, they respect older people? Do you think young people, uh respect older people?
JS: Sometimes, some of them does.
ZC: Some of them do.
JS: Uh-huh, cause some of them don't respect the children. Young folks either, just say anything. And, you have to live a life for the chi-, for these young peoples to look up to. You can't live and kind of life and those young folk ain't gone respect you, if you life any kind of life. Cussing and saying all kinds of words I declare I didn't think, I just didn't think young people could say such bad words.
ZC: Huh, do you, um, what do people praise you for?
JS: For being so good.
ZC: For [laugh] being so good?
JS: Uh-huh, and I try and most of them when they come here visiting me at night and I say is there anything I can do for them. "Miss Shir, Miss Shirley you so nice. You're just a nice person." And, they'll just praise me and go to the snack. I like snacks.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: And, they'll go bring me snacks and stuff. They nice to me. I can't help it, when they nice to me I let them know.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: And, if I and, and if I, I can do anything for them I'll do it too.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: 'Cause like when nurse come in last night and bring my medicine. She come on time. I told her you so nice to come not wake me up so late at night to give me my medicine. She say, "Miss Shirley I will come here ( )." I say, "If anything important I can do anything for you to make you happy." I say nothing, but say a good word. Let me know and I'll do it.
ZC: Uh-huh, what do you most, uh, proud of?
JS: What I'm proud of?
ZC: Yeah, what are you most proud of?
JS: My son.
ZC: Your son.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: And why do you say that?
JS: Because he's been, not able to walk and he goes to church and he's nice to people. When he comes in here his, he's nice to elder people too. He goes around to all of them and shake they hand and say a prayer. He, he is achieved young man.
ZC: Uh, yeah.
JS: I'm proud of him.
ZC: That's who your, that's what you're most proud of?
JS: Oh yeah.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: Yes, yes, yes.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: 'Cause he good, 'cause I raise him up to be nice to elder people.
ZC: What about, um, your life? If you could change anything in your life what would it be?
JS: Uh, 'cause I'm just 83 years old, I don't know.
ZC: 83?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: You don't know what you would change?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Can you think of anything?
JS: No, I don't, I don't know, I don't know, everything going on real nice I don't know.
ZC: You don't know abut anything in your past, anything today, anything you would change?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: OK, alright.
JS: Nothing but, uh, reckon I'd change my eaten habits, God knows, I will eat.
ZC: [Laugh] Don't have to worry about that.
JS: No, no, uh-huh.
ZC: OK, now, uh, we have recreation and arts and culture, which one?
JS: Now recreation what's that?
ZC: Recreation is more like what do you do, do during the day? I mean like what type of activities do you do? You know, recreation is things that you do around, around the day like, um, what is your favorite thing to do?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Would you want to talk about recreation? Which one do you want to talk about first?
JS: My recreation, I like to go, go to the activity meetings they have.
ZC: Activity meetings, like what? What do you do in those activities meetings?
JS: We ( ) devotion and prayer and I sing.
ZC: You sing?
JS: I can sing, no I can't.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: But, I, I can help.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: I enjoy when, 'cause we have devotion every, every morning.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: From nine until ten, and sometimes we have different preachers to come in and preach for us. Oh, and the last time we had good service ( ) and bingo.
ZC: Bingo?
JS: I win Bingo, I'm a gambler.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: But, I wins bingo. Now last Tuesday, played bingo I won 50 cents.
ZC: Hmm.
JS: Now, we don't play, pay nothing to play Bingo and then sometime you play Bingo it's just for fun.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: So, we have Bingo this afternoon. We suppose to get a quarter if you win a game. Hoping I get a quarter.
ZC: [Laugh] Alright, uh, what is your least favorite thing to do? What is your least favorite thing?
JS: Honey, that's when I take a walk. Sometimes she say we going take, staff say when everybody get ready we going walk around the block. Uh-huh, I say, I'm too old for that. I done walked by days out and I'm no.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: Now, I say if I was riding my wheel chair to, no that's my least thing and I don't, they can't make you do it now. So I don't.
ZC: Hmm.
JS: That's my least thing I don't want to do is walking and now at 83 years old, uh, no, no.
ZC: Hmm.
JS: I, I don't ( ) OK.
ZC: Why don't you like walking?
JS: 'Cause I'm, I have to use my wheel chair 'cause I just can't walk just by myself.
ZC: Hmm.
JS: And, I done got some age, I don't need to be walking.
ZC: And, why do you like, uh, you said that you like devotion, and what else did you say you liked?
JS: Devotion and, and, uh, Bingo.
ZC: And, so why, OK, what do you, why do you like, uh, devotion?
JS: 'Cause it's prayer.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Good thing like that, good old songs, old time songs and prayer and uh, getting together being with the people.
ZC: Uh-huh, and what do you?
JS: And, get out of this room, room sometime gives you a, a chance to meet some of the other members, uh-huh.
ZC: And, what do you like about Bingo?
JS: Win a quarter.
ZC: [Laugh] What, [laugh], the money?
JS: Money, money, money, honey.
ZC: [Laugh] OK, um, what do you, uh, observe other people liking to do? What do you, what do you see other people, what do you see that other people like to do?
JS: I don' know, I can't judge nobody else, I don't know.
ZC: You don't know what other people like to do?
JS: No, I sure don't.
ZC: [Laugh] OK, um, what type of, uh, activities do they have here at the, uh, nursing home? You said they have devotion, and walking. What else do they have here at the nursing, I mean at the, uh, this, uh home?
JS: Having devotion and walking, um, that's all.
ZC: That's all?
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: You do, you go on trips or?
JS: Huh-uh.
ZC: No trips.
JS: Uh-huh, now they go, they goes on out and on, on the bus on activities, but I, I don't go. Sometime I'll go with them when they go to another church.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Uh-huh, but I, I, I hardly go.
JS: I just sit here and watch television.
ZC: So, like, uh, the ones that you don't participate in, why, why don't you participate?
JS: I not anything I know I don't participate in, I just don't participate with them around the block.
ZC: [Laugh] And you already told me why, why you don't participate in it.
JS: No, 'cause I done got too old and I don't feel like walking.
ZC: Uh-huh, OK, last one is arts and culture, um, and, I'm going to explain that. That's more like I'm a, like uh, arts and things like plays, and singing and stuff like that. So, but in a, in culture deals with who you are. Like your race and, and what do like since you're black, what do black people like to do and stuff? So, I wanted to ask you, are you proud of being an African-American?
JS: Yeah, 'cause God made me that way.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: I'm proud.
ZC: You proud of it? What are you most proud of about being an African-American?
JS: I'm just proud to be a human being.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: I am.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: I'm proud, 'cause I'm in pretty good health and I been meets other people. And ( ) white, or black, blue, brown we all God's children. Um, I can't say, "I hate I'm black, I hate I'm." I can't say that, "I wish I was white," no. Be what God made you.
ZC: Uh-huh.
ZC: Uh-huh, OK, um, what kinds of music do you listen to? Do you like to listen to?
JS: I like to listen to Christian music.
ZC: Christian music?
JS: Oh, yes.
ZC: Why, why you like listen to Christian music?
JS: 'Cause I'm a country girl. I come up in a church with old Christian, Christian singing and preaching and Sunday school and all. I'm an old country girl. I like, I don't like all this old beb- bla- blues. I don't care for that. Give me some good old Christian songs, hymns and-.
ZC: What, what is your favorite songs?
JS: "One more day that the lord has kept me, as I know" and I like this too, "Just count your many blessings, just count your // many blessings." //
ZC: // Many blessings? //
JS: "Just count // your many blessings." //
ZC: // "Your many blessings." //
JS: //"See what the Lord have done."//
ZC: //"See what the Lord have done."//
JS: I like that.
ZC: My grandmother loves those songs.
JS: Oh, I do too honey. Wish your, your, me, me and your grandmother could get together.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: We'd have a good time, wouldn't we?
ZC: [Laugh] Uh, yeah, yeah.
JS: Your grandmother live here in town?
ZC: Uh, she lives, she lives where I'm from, Washington, DC.
JS: Oh, oh, she's no where close is she?
ZC: Huh-uh, no she.
JS: She and I could have a good time.
ZC: Maybe, uh, well maybe if she comes down to visit.
JS: Hmm, if she comes bring her on around here, so we can get together.
ZC: [Laugh]
JS: She and I get together and get to singing and get these people wind up.
ZC: [Laugh] What other, uh, what other types of art do you like to do? Um, like, like that include like painting, singing, dancing, acting.
JS: Uh-huh, I used to could dance, but I can't dance no more. And, this is I, I, I can paint little tiny things but not a whole lot.
ZC: You like to paint?
JS: If, if there's something small, I'll paint, 'cause when I was at home, before I come here I do a lot of things. I painted my bathroom.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: Do you like arts and crafts, like to do things that you guys do, like sewing or making something with your hands?
JS: I like it, but I can't do it, see my hands.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: That stroke kind of fell off this hand.
ZC: Uh-huh.
JS: I like it, but I just can't do it.
ZC: OK, and can you believe that's all I have for you?
JS: OK, that's.
ZC: We're finished, but I thank you for-.
JS: And I, I.
ZC: -Taking your time out.
JS: Enjoyed, enjoyed talking to you.
ZC: You did, [laugh], thank, thank you.
JS: And, last thing now, you last thing you ask me now, what do I like to do?
ZC: [Laugh] Eat [laugh].
JS: 'Cause I like my snacks.
ZC: You like your snacks.
JS: So, if you grandmother comes, come around bring her on over here and we maybe, we can get together.
JS: Get to be friends.
ZC: Alright, I, I'll do that, OK.
JS: Uh-huh.
ZC: I'll be over here. I'll, you'll probably see me tomorrow 'cause I might interview three more people and-.
JS: Oh yeah.
ZC: -And, if I see you tomorrow, God, Lord willing, I'll see you tomorrow.
JS: OK, I enjoyed you baby.
ZC: [Laugh]