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Interview with Viola Boyd, part 2

Boyd, Viola, 1911-
Pettus, Debra
Date of Interview: 
Boyd, Viola, 1911-; Boyd, Sam; Boyd, Harvey; Autrey, Rod; Seaboard Air Line Railway Company; Ku Klux Klan (1915- ); Matthews-Murkland Presbyterian Church (Charlotte, N.C.); African Americans--Segregation; Racism; African Americans--Social conditions; African American families; Middle class African Americans; Railroads--Employees; Country life; Beauty operators; Hairdressing of African Americans; Police--community relations; North Carolina--Charlotte; North Carolina--Matthews; North Carolina--Matthews--Crestdale; Pennsylvania--Philadelphia; Interviews (Sound recordings); Oral histories
In this follow-up interview, retired hairdresser Viola Boyd speaks about her life, career, and family. She begins by discussing her experiences while living in Philadelphia as a young wife at the age of 15 in the 1920s, including her search for a job and her social life. Mrs. Boyd had a son and left him with her mother in Matthews so she could work. She recalls how she and her husband Sam moved back to Matthews so their family could be together. She describes her family’s difficulties farming cotton the first year they were back in Matthews, then their search for different work. Mrs. Boyd recounts her husband’s career working for Seaboard Air Line Railway and her work as a hairdresser at her home. She recalls experiences of racism in her community in Matthews, including a time when a local doctor demanded that she go to the back door with her injured son. Mrs. Boyd shares her opinion that conditions had improved for African Americans by the time of her interview, but there were still prejudiced people in Matthews. She also discusses her leisure activities, including her membership in the Matthews-Murkland Presbyterian Church, working on her home garden, and entertaining visitors including local politician Rod Autrey. As the interview closes, Viola shares stories about raising her children, including teaching them about sex, avoiding arguing in front of them, and making sure they looked presentable.
North Carolina--Charlotte; North Carolina--Matthews; North Carolina--Matthews--Crestdale; Pennsylvania--Philadelphia; circa 1920 - 2004
Interview Setting: 
Home of Harvey Boyd (Viola Boyd’s son), Matthews, North Carolina
Robert Smith student project on the Charlotte African American
Interview Audio: 
DP: Debra Pettus
VB: Viola Boyd

Begin Transcribing Interview Below:

DP: Today is Friday, March 26, 2004. My name is Debra Pettus and I am a history student at UNC Charlotte. I am currently enrolled in an oral history class entitled; "Oral History of Black Charlotte," being taught by Dr. Robert Smith. Today, I have the honor of--and the pleasure of interviewing Mrs. Viola Boyd, who lives at 350 Crestdale Road in Matthews, NC. (pause)

DP: OK. Mrs. Boyd is now telling us a little bit about when she got married to Sam Boyd and they moved to Philadelphia.

VB: That's right.

DP: So Mrs. Boyd, tell me about what it was like when you moved to Philadelphia--what you were doing up there.

VB: One week, I went out the doors and dumb enough to not know where I was going. I didn't know which door I was going out of. That dumb.

DP: Were you in your house?

VB: Philadelphia, and just excited to see this brick wall. This, all walls look the same.

DP: Uh-huh.

VB: Uh-huh.

DP: So where you lived, are you saying where you lived, everything looked the same? All the houses and everything? Was it like row houses?

VB: Yes, everything. It was just nothing but rows and I forgot the number and everything.

DP: So when you left your house you couldn’t find your way back ‘cause you forgot the number?

VB: I stood there for a little bit and thought “well, I’m gonna push this door.” (laughs) And I pushed that door and it was the right one.

DP: Oh so you got lucky?

VB: I got lucky!

DP: Yeah.

VB: Yeah.

Oh I just hopped up, I was, alright, first I’ll try, went downtown and went and got me a pay for a job.

DP: You had to pay for a job?

VB: Yeah, you had to pay for a ( ) job. You made three dollars a day.

DP: Why did you have to pay for it?

VB: That’s the way it was.

DP: Did you go to like an employment agency?

VB: Yeah.

DP: And they found you a job? But you had to give them some money.

VB: Right, and you go right on out same day as they gave you the number, you’d go right straight down and start work. It was exciting.

DP: Yeah!

VB: And being young.

DP: Now how old were you then?

VB: 15 years old!

DP: So you were 15.

VB: 15!

DP: Had a baby.

VB: Had a baby.

DP: And a husband. And now you’re out trying to find a job.

VB: Trying to find me a job.

DP: And what did you end up finding?

VB: Finding a day’s work. Get down on your knees and place this big scrubber on your knees.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: You washed the windows on the out and inside. Every week.

DP: Same place?

VB: No.

DP: You’d have to go to different homes? Was it like businesses or homes?

VB: ( ) Maybe in the office, some places in the homes.

DP: So would you go to the employment office and then they’d send you where they wanted you to go?

VB: Right. Yes ma’am.

DP: OK. Did you have to wear a uniform?

VB: No, you got to the place where you was experienced and they’d send you cards. Viola Boyd, this address.

DP: And they’d send you cards to tell you where you needed to go?

VB: They’d tell if you was good.

DP: That you were good?

VB: Yeah. If you were good, then you’d get that ( ) card.

DP: OK. So how long did you do that? You just keep doing that while y’all were living in Philadelphia?

VB: I done that, let me see, probably about a year.

DP: Now what was Sam doing then?

VB: He was working in a, something like a factory. Good jobs for pay.

DP: Uh-huh.

VB: Uh-huh. But it started good for young people because young people can’t make enough money for. They always wanted to make more and good time and stuff like that. And you’d go out for a good time and you’d get scared to death then. We went out for a good time and then a paddy wagon (laughs) a paddy wagon rolled up, nobody getting me and Sam in it. And we didn’t go in no paddy wagon.

DP: Where were you, were you like in a bar or restaurant or something?

VB: No in a house!

DP: In a house? OK.

VB: Yeah. In a house. We were there for a party. And the party, maybe there’d only be about 12 or 15 people there. And he blew the horn to the window, you know, scared, we didn’t know, and then run into the window and everything, oh, we never did go, in no paddy--

DP: So you never did have to get in the paddy wagon?

VB: We didn’t.

DP: (laughs) Did other people have to go?

VB: Yeah. They went on.

DP: How did you avoid that?

VB: Well, we stayed out of the crowd.

DP: Just stayed out of the crowd?

VB: Just stayed out of the crowd. His sister we, wouldn’t go out with her. We’d go towards the back.

DP: That was safer.

VB: Sure was. (laughs) I took the safer route in life.

DP: Now when you went out to have a good time, you went to homes where the other people went. Everybody went together, it was like a party. Is that the way it was?

VB: We did. We was scared to death. But I did it one time.

DP: Now what were you scared of? The paddy wagon?

VB: The paddy wagon getting us to carry us downtown ‘cause ( ).

DP: And why would the paddy wagon come and get you?

VB: Yeah, you ain’t supposed to have it in your home.

DP: OK. So it was against the law? (dryer buzzes)

VB: Against the law. What’s that?

DP: It’s your dryer.

VB: Oh.

DP: You want me to do anything?

VB: No. Leave it.

DP: So, y’all didn’t go very often to the--?

VB: Oh no! We was scared ‘cause wasn’t nobody there. Aunt Rosie, she was an older lady.

DP: Was she your aunt? Or was she Sam’s?

VB: She’s was Sam’s. She was an old lady. She didn’t have the time.

DP: Uh-huh. What else did you do for entertainment then, besides going to church?

VB: We’d just got to church. That’s all.

DP: That’s it? Did you go to movies or anything like that?

VB: Didn’t go to movies. That’s all.

DP: OK. Now who took care of your baby while you were working scrubbing floors?

VB: My mama. My mama. DP: You left him down in, with your mom?

VB: Yes I did. Yeah, she was between one and two. That’s where she was.

DP: But she was back here in Matthews?

VB: Yeah Matthews. And when we’d come home, we got right in the cotton field, started picking cotton.

DP: When you came home from Philadelphia?

VB: When I come home, mama have a field, and she loves having a house and a farm. And we got into her farm and raised cotton.

DP: So, OK. Why did you leave Philadelphia though? Did you just want to come back to--?

VB: Oh, heartbroken, you know. My baby here.

DP: OK. So y’all wanted to move back to be with your family?

VB: Yeah. That’s right. DP: So you came back here and your mother gave you her farm.

VB: Yeah. She said, Mr. ( ), go on her lot. DP: Now did y’all start growing cotton? You became farmers?

VB: (laughs) Yes. Growing cotton one year.

DP: What was that like?

VB: Oh my God! Picking that cotton.

DP: Tell me about that. Did you do that yourself?

VB: Oh Lord, yes. And the field was the Baptist Church down there.

DP: The cotton field is now the Baptist Church?

VB: The old Baptist Church.

DP: Oh OK. (laughter)

VB: My husband was building on that over there. That’s where he was working at.

DP: He was working on the building of the Baptist Church?

VB: Uh-huh. And then he worked at the gin house.

DP: And where was the gin house?

VB: Up there as you, just as you go into Matthews from here.


VB: Uh-huh. And they had a gin that would make the cotton.

DP: Oh, OK. Alright, so if he was working on the church, he was actually a carpenter working on the church, right?

VB: Yeah. Me and his brother was farming.

DP: Y’all were farming. Did you have anything besides cotton? Did you grow anything else?

VB: Well we grew cabbage and beans and stuff.

DP: So vegetables.

VB: Yes.

DP: Well tell me about cotton, ‘cause I’ve heard it’s a hard job--

VB: Well, honey, I’d get out there and get my mule and pack my cotton, and put sod heart. Yes.

DP: Yeah. Did you have to… What time of year did you normally have to pick it? Was it in the summer time?

VB: No it was the winter. And the fall.

DP: And the fall. Did y’all raise a lot of cotton?

VB: No, not too much. Just one field.

DP: Uh-huh. So how many hours a day did you say that you worked in the fields, cotton?

VB: Well, I planted, then after I planted, I sodded, and then I’d do it another time. It would grow and then we’d put it on the spools.

DP: Spools?

VB: Yeah! Big spools and the boll weevil.

DP: Was that when the boll weevil might get in there?

VB: Yeah, that’s it.

DP: (laughter) And then it would pop open, you’d see that fluffy white cotton.

VB: That’s right.

DP: It’s pretty isn’t it? I’ve seen it before on the side of the road.

VB: Yes that’s what it was. We done it one year.

DP: Only one year?

VB: Only one honey!

DP: Now why did you stop doing it?

VB: Well, what’d that do… Oh, mama moved out of the house, I moved in it and farmed one year, OK. I said, “sir”? He say Mr. Hooks wants me. Because he had the gin house too you know.

DP: Uh-huh. VB: He says Mr. Hooks wants me. Alright, I said listen here, “you get on the railroad” I said “’cause you aren’t no farmer.”

DP: (laughter) I remember you telling me this before. So you decided after a year of that cotton that you didn’t want to be a farmer?

VB: No sir. So OK he farmed, he run the gin and done a little of farming.

DP: But Sam got on with the railroad?

VB: Wait a minute.

DP: Oh OK. I’m getting ahead of you.

VB: I said, Hooks man wants you, but I, you didn’t man no farm. I said, you get on the railroad. Well he goes out there and gets on the railroad. Fifth hand.

DP: He was a fifth hand.

VB: Fifth hand. See, they’ll cut you off, like, you getting the cotton like it’d get in the grass and stuff like that. Well he would get the grass all done, they’ll cut the fifth hand off. ‘Cause it’s ( ) with the fifth hand, and they don’t have enough of a ( ). So OK, he got on that fifth hand.

DP: Now the fifth hand, was that--I’m still not understanding what you mean by that. The fifth hand was?

VB: They had five hands. Five. You always needed four.

DP: So you have two people with four hands, is that right? Or are you talking about four people?

VB: Well they had five hands, that’s five hands.


VB: Alright. You don’t usually have five hands. Usually four hands all the time.


VB: But when you have that right of way to cut, you’ll hire that five hand.

DP: So they were cutting the right of way for the railroad?

VB: Railroad.

DP: Alright.

VB: And he, you know, five weeks, he’s through. And he don’t have no more job.


VB: OK. I said, get on that and get that five hands. So he did, he got on that five. And he was such a good man, working ‘til they cut another off and take to him.

DP: Oh, so they took him and let somebody else go?

VB: Yeah!

DP: Well good!

VB: Uh-huh. And he worked 45 years and didn’t miss any. Never missed one.

DP: 45 years.

VB: 45. DP: Did he retire?

VB: Retire, a gold watch.

DP: And a pension?

VB: And a pension.

DP: Good for him.

VB: Yeah, everything. He never missed a pay day.

DP: Now what did he, OK. So he worked on the railroad when they did right of way. But did he do, what else did he do? Did he do other things too? Or did he just always work in--?

VB: Well he, after that, they put him on for good. That was both hands, he done cooking and done everything.

DP: So whatever they wanted him to do.

VB: Whatever.

DP: Did he actually get on the train and go away?

VB: Yeah, yeah.

DP: And would he be gone for several days and come back?

VB: Oh for a week.

DP: Week? OK.

VB: Uh-huh. And he cooked. He cooked for the boss man.

DP: OK so he was a cook.

VB: And they’d send for him over the night, about two or three at night. Get up, had to go.

DP: Was he a good cook?

VB: Good, oh, what you talking about?

DP: I bet, I bet.

VB: Well see I dressed hair.

DP: Yeah, I know that. I want to get to that. Now when you came back. OK you came back, you got on the farm, and you decided that being a farmer, you didn’t want to be a farmer.

VB: That’s right.

DP: Is that when you decided to become a beaut--Weren’t you already doing people’s hair?

VB: I was in Philadelphia. DP: And that’s where you learned--

VB: Learned to do hair.

DP: OK. Now tell me about that.

VB: Well when I went to Philadelphia, OK. I was just as nappy-headed as could be and I was sitting there looking at the lady, and she used that iron, and I looked at her. I had to go in every two weeks to get mine done. And I looked at her, then I took it up.

DP: So you learned by just watching her.

VB: Just watching her. Done that six years before I took it up.

DP: So you were doing hair before you ever got your license.

VB: Right. Because I looked at her.

DP: Right.

VB: And then see, when I come back home, I had it made. See, I could do it. And I done it, I was doing a teachers hair, she said “Ms. Boyd, you’d better take it up.” Said “You were born to be a beautician.”

DP: I think you were, because if you picked it up that quickly.

VB: I did and had ‘em coming, man, from Monroe to Charlotte.

DP: Because when you came back there was nobody around. Did you tell me there weren’t anybody?

VB: There wasn’t nobody!

DP: There was nobody to do hair.

VB: No! You see, I learned how to use the iron, alright. You used that iron, if you used it back that way, it burns hair off.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: And I had sense enough to put that back.

DP: So you, you were able to. And that was a very critical part of the process.

VB: Yeah, yeah. And, I ( ) Mr. ( )’s boy, I said leave him with the guy. ( ) And I had them coming from Monroe, Charlotte, everywhere. I’d do hair starting in the morning, unless it’s a holiday. And I’d do eight o’clock, every hour. Five o’clock we’d walk out. Had to go to the hospital for my arm.

DP: The arm.

VB: Yes indeed.

DP: ‘Cause you were doing your hair so much?

VB: So fast. DP: Uh-huh.

VB: And I had to go to Dr. Crest’s office, he goes, “The beautician from Matthews done killed herself.”

DP: Now was that after you had your accident? Remember you said you had your wreck?

VB: No.

DP: No? That was before.

VB: That was before. Long before.

DP: So were you doing so much hair that you were causing your arm to get messed up?

VB: Yes! Yes! Lord, I had to, mhm-hm--

DP: So you started at eight o’clock in the morning and you worked all day?

VB: Except holidays.

DP: Except holidays?

VB: Like holidays you had a holiday. Alright. I was giving appointments unclassified and so I’d stop giving appointments every ( ), and, you know ( ). At five o’clock. At twelve o’clock, I had five heads sitting there. One after another.

DP: So was there nobody else around to do it? To help you?

VB: No, no, no. No. No. I was the only one.

DP: (laughs)

VB: And I, and I had the luck with it.

DP: You had the monopoly on it.

VB: Yeah because, see, people would come in here “I want Ms. Boyd, I want Ms. Boyd!”

DP: Yeah.

VB: So I had it made.

DP: Did you ever have anybody that you knew, that wanted to learn how to do it? And maybe help you?

VB: Yes ma’am, yes ma’am. Man who built the shop, Dr. ( ). I said, don’t take it. Do it right and ( ).

DP: So you had a shop in the back here didn’t you?

VB: Yes I did.

DP: That’s what I thought.

VB: Uh-huh.

DP: How many chairs did you have?

VB: I had both ( ) like ( ) and there.

DP: Did you have like two sinks?

VB: No I did not have one. No. I had--

DP: Dryers?

VB: I had dryers.

DP: Uh-huh.

VB: But ( ) no one else. Because I had to do that.

DP: Well you couldn’t do any more than that, could you?

VB: No, huh-uh. So I, I really had it made. And this man built the shop, ( ), said do it right in the yard. So I did. ‘Til the very last I had this wreck. In ’87.

DP: So you had a car accident in ’87.

VB: ’87. And I was doing hair, had this, had this wreck. And so, Doctor knocked me down to one or two a day, and so I was doing that, one or two a day.

DP: One or two heads a day?

VB: That’s right.

DP: OK. He told you you had to reduce your--

VB: He said I had to stop. I said ( ). He said one or two. ( )

DP: And you’d been used to what, 15 or 20? (laughs) How many do you think you did in one day at your peak?

VB: Well, I don’t know about that honey.

DP: You had five heads going at one time at twelve o’clock, am I right?

VB: At twelve o’clock. I done heads all day. At twelve o’clock, and I left tired that night. And I counted. Five heads, washed, sitting, doing so fast.

DP: You must have been very fast.

VB: I was ( ).

DP: Just a natural, weren’t you.

VB: Just natural.

DP: And you enjoyed it?

VB: Loved it.

DP: Loved it.

VB: Learned it myself didn’t have to go to school.

DP: Now did you say that you got your license through--?

VB: Oh, I don’t know, my ( )

DP: But didn’t you do it through, like at home at night you did it a little bit?

VB: Yeah, and let me get the address. Madame Walker’s number one school.

DP: Madame Walker. It was Madame Walker’s.

VB: Going to school.

DP: But it was through, didn’t you mail your stuff in and all?

VB: Yeah, mailed it, you gotta pass it.

DP: Right. And then you told me that you were, you’d work all day, and then you’d come in and try to do your course at night. Trying to do all that.

VB: ( ) say ( ) have to help me. But there was so much that contradicted. Got to go over here and over there to find ( ).

DP: So did it, did a lot of it contradict what you already were doing? Or you felt like you--?

VB: You got to learn it.

DP: Yeah.

VB: You got to learn it.

DP: You got to learn it. There it was.

VB: You got to learn this hair for the other thing.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: Um-hum. Yeah. I got my antique certificate, it’s in my drawer. Still stickers and things.

DP: Your certificate or your--

VB: Yeah I enjoyed it, if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have finished my hair care. Most people wouldn’t. Alright now some weeks you make good, you’ll be glad when you can rest.

DP: Yeah. Well now, I know from experience being in a beauty parlor, or a beauty shop that there’s a lot of conversation going on. So you do a lot of socializing, don’t you? Which is part of it I think.

VB: Honey, its all of it! (laughter) My mouth going from just as fast. (laughter). Yeah, they ask me, oh Lord, yeah, I was a talker. And you got to be, you got to be a talker, you know what I mean? Meet people and speak--

DP: And you learn so many interesting things and you get to know people so well.

VB: Oh what you talking about? Have something to say. Reading the paper and you have something going.

DP: I guess you just stayed up, stayed informed about the community that way.

VB: Yeah and Charlotte. Two old people ( ) up in there’s, could hardly go up that hill, there’s ( ) (laughter)

DP: So somebody you didn’t even know, they just showed up?

VB: Didn’t even, didn’t even know them. People know me and I don’t know them. “Hey Ms. Boyd!” I don’t know them.

DP: (laughs) They know who you are, ‘cause you--

VB: Yeah, they know who I am.

DP: Well can you tell, do you remember an kind of, any interesting stories about when you were doing hair they you’d like to share with us? Funny stories?

VB: No, I don’t know anything funny, but I know several that’s good to me.

DP: What’s that?

VB: When Peanut (laughs) made up with all that money.

DP: Peanut?

VB: Yeah, when Peanut put that interest in?

DP: I’m OK, I’m not following.

VB: You’re not following?

DP: Huh-uh.

VB: Well honey, when Peanut, oh I’ll never, I’ll never forget that. Peanut put that interest up there.

DP: Oh! Are you talking about President Carter? And the interest went so high? I gotcha, I, I understand.

VB: Yeah. Oh yes. Did you get that one too?

DP: Yes! (laughs)

VB: Now that was the way I ( ).

DP: That was the, we did have high interest rates back then.

VB: Alright, I had a little bit, I said, let me go and see, alrighty there, alrighty ( ).

DP: Did you make a little money off of it?

VB: Yes, I got 10,000 dollars. I counted that money, honey, and went up there ( ) standing up with me. I ( ) where my 10 dollars. Wonder what she’s done? (laughs)

DP: Well, where were you?

VB: Heck, I had 10,000 dollars!

DP: Now where did you go that you were standing up?

VB: At the bank! DP: At the bank?

VB: Yes indeed. At the bank with my 10,000 dollars! Sure, that baby, she alright, and I wouldn’t have. I could have made it.

DP: So you made some money?

VB: I made the money.

DP: Good. Good for you.

VB: I made $10,000.

DP: So you invested that and made some money for it.

VB: Just turn it, turn it turn it.

DP: Made you feel pretty good, I bet.

VB: Oh sure, what you talking about. So glad I had it!

DP: (laughs) Uh-huh.

VB: Uh-huh. ( ) would have walked away. ( ) for something else, but that was my little start.

DP: That was your little start.

VB: Um-hum. Yeah.

DP: Well, can you tell me about--you know when you, back when we talked the first time I visited with you, you mentioned about your experiences with Jim Crow. And having to ride the bus and sitting in the back. Would you mind sharing that with me again?

VB: Honey. I’m walking up that road. I was up there 3 miles up there and my grandpa had, he had 66 acres over there. And my other grandpa had 24 ½ acres.

DP: Uh-huh.

VB: We didn’t have sense enough. See, I’m only, only, I’m only 15 years old.

DP: Uh-huh.

VB: You know I didn’t have good sense.

DP: Well you were just a child.

VB: Just a child. And didn’t know what to do. When I did find out what to do, well it was too late. Didn’t have sense enough. I went and got the 24 ½ acres and got that--

DP: Um-hum.

VB: And see, I had little, you know, little people, but I had to buy them up. It was tough. Get me a lawyer, and all like that. Good deal though. ( ) spent.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: Well, Renfrow got there in ‘66.

DP: The railroad? Did you say--?

VB: Renfrows. Renfrow Matthews, Renfrows [the Renfrow family was a prominent family in Matthews]

DP: OK. Renfrow--

VB: Yes.

DP: --Matthews.

VB: They got it.

DP: How’d they get it?

VB: How’d they get it?

DP: Um-hum.

VB: Grandma married a Wheeler. And when she married this Wheeler, well you see, the Wheeler died.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: My grandma was supposed to get it. Because she was the only one living, see--

DP: Yeah.

VB: She, didn’t have sense enough.

DP: Didn’t know how to get what she was supposed to get?

VB: No, but I don’t, ( ) probably ‘24. That’s Grandpa Teeter ( ). And a man said “Viola I know you wish you had of got that.” I said yeah, but I put that in the interest and it grew, you know.”

DP: OK, so you’re talking about when you invested your money.

VB: Yes indeed. That story. Didn’t have sense enough.

DP: Well it sounds like you had pretty good sense. You knew what you were doing. You made some, sounds like you made a little money off of that.

VB: Well, I well, I’m telling you-- Well I did but still I could have made more.

DP: Yeah. Well, hindsight’s fifty-fifty isn’t it? (laughs)

VB: Yeah. But, I could have had a whole lot of money if I had just--read the paper.

DP: Well at least you didn’t lose it like a lot of people back then--

VB: We lost the Renfrow. 66 acres.

DP: Acres. Yeah. Which is very valuable land I’m sure now.

VB: Ooh, you better not go down through that

DP: Is that where all the stuff was built off?

VB: Oh lord, Providence Road.

DP: Oh, is that Providence Road?

VB: Yeah, you know Winn Dixie’s--?

DP: I know exactly what you’re--

VB: Well we start at the, just past the store clean down--

DP: And that was all your grandmother’s land?

VB: Grandpa Teeter’s.

DP: Yeah.

VB: And, alright. Grandpa. Josephus came back this way from Matthews. White segregated.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: Well, we had someone who has the land--

DP: Um-hum. But lost it all.

VB: Um-hum. Didn’t have sense. It wouldn’t have done for me to have some.

DP: (laughs)

VB: But I had sense enough to keep that little bit.

DP: Yeah. But do you remember when you were talking to me, Mrs. Boyd, about how it felt for you to have to get on the bus and go to the back of the bus and sit? Do you mind, since I’ve got my recorder on, would you mind telling me how you felt about Jim Crow and having the blacks go one place and colored go one place and whites go to another? How did you that--

VB: Yeah. I went right up in Matthews. (car horn honks) And you were scared of the whites then. But now I’m not.

DP: You’re not scared of whites.

VB: Everything I could get out.

DP: Oh yeah.

VB: (laughs) Well, anyway, I got help in Matthews. And a man just took me and put me back--

DP: On the bus.

VB: On the bus.

DP: And pushed you to the back?

VB: Right. Just “you get back.” And they’d get in front of you.

DP: Right.

VB: Uh-huh. And the children would spit on us.

DP: Yeah.

VB: That’s terrible. Now it wouldn’t do for that ( ). You know why?

DP: Why?

VB: We had Ku Klux Klan’s, and we got Negroes.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: Alright. We got something to fight with, it ain’t nothing but a march. It ain’t like it used to be. They didn’t know about that march, ( ) up into Washington.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: So you see some great difference. Honey, it will be, nobody won’t mind now. Not now.

DP: So you think things are better, a lot better or--

VB: They get better.

DP: --You think they have gotten--

VB: Yeah they’re better. But it’s still, you can see it in people’s eyes.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: You see how we are treated. You get your payment check and get. They’ll do it to you.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: But, we still be one.

DP: OK, now let me ask you. I’m not sure if I understand what you said. Now you said that you can see it in somebody’s eyes?

VB: Lord yes.

DP: What can you see in somebody’s eyes?

VB: You can see the devil in his eyes.

DP: So you feel like when you look at somebody’s eyes you can tell whether they’re an honest or good or bad.

VB: You can see one look right in there--

DP: Um-hum.

VB: --whether you got love or hate. If you know a person. I’m a hundred years old almost. I know hate. I know love.

DP: So you’ve seen a lot of that through your life?

VB: Oh yeah.

DP: But you do think that over the years that things have improved some. Or do you think they have?

VB: Well I really think that, I think they’re pretty improved. ‘Cause honey, I went up here to Dr. Max with a boy who had got shot with a BB in his hand.

DP: Was this your little boy?

VB: Yeah.

DP: I remember you telling me, but I want you to tell me again. He got shot.

VB: Got shot in his hand. I was around there to Dr. Max, “go around to the back.”

DP: He was telling how to go to the back door.

VB: Door. And I didn’t go around, I just kept walking. I think I had my little Ford or little Chevrolet. I got in the car and carried him to Charlotte.

DP: How did that make you feel when he told you to--

VB: A dog.

DP: A dog?

VB: A dog.

DP: Did it make you mad?

VB: Did it? And he says “Oh, is that Sam Boyd’s child?” He had a little recollection.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: ‘Cause we’d been there a long, long time and everything. And everybody kind of recognized us. Even, we got a little recognition.

DP: Right.

VB: So that, that’s where that come in at. He’s, “is that Sam Boyd?” And (laughs) Mr. ( ) it was all for Sam. But all, everybody treated like that, not just one.

DP: Oh I agree.

VB: And so you see how it’s been, it’s been lots better. Uh-huh.

DP: When you were, I know you said your sons, and Arthur I’ve met. You’ve said that there were occasions when the Ku Klux Klan was in Matthews and did some things. Was it a preacher that you knew or somebody that they went to his house? Didn’t you tell me a story about that before?

VB: That was in, down in lower Charlotte. They went to his house to get him.

DP: Was it a preacher that--?

VB: Preacher, preacher.

DP: What was his name do you remember?

VB: Milton Bell.

DP: Milton Bell.

VB: Right.

DP: And the Ku Klux Klan went after him?

VB: Went after him in his house.

DP: And why were they after him? Did he do something in particular or just mean?

VB: Just mean, gone get you.

DP: Just picked you ‘cause he was the one they were gonna--

VB: Gone get you.

DP: Did you ever see the Ku Klux Klan up close? I mean did you ever see them like--?

VB: No I know some of them.

DP: Do you know some that are in the Ku Klux Klan?

VB: No, but I--

DP: I always thought they were so cowardly ‘cause they always wore that--

VB: Yeah, but some of them was really big people.

DP: Really big, important people here.

VB: Real important.

DP: Oh I bet.

VB: Some of them ( ) too.

DP: Do you think there’s still a Ku Klux Klan in--

VB: Charlotte.

DP: --Matthews?

VB: Yeah.

DP: Still people involved with that?

VB: Yes, there’s people.

DP: In this area?

VB: I don’t know about this area. I don’t know.

DP: I mean, I think they’re still out there. But I don’t know how active they are.

VB: I think they have recognition.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: You know just recognize you. Just pick you.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: But if you’re out there, they’ll get you.

DP: Well now, were you ever around anybody that you thought was in the Ku Klux Klan that you knew they were, but they were trying to keep it a secret?

VB: Um-hum. I know them and I know of them.

DP: And how did they treat you?

VB: They treated me alright.

DP: They treated you alright?

VB: Right. I but I knew who it was.

DP: Yeah.

VB: And we always would. It’s like I was up at “Well was that Sam Boyd?” (laughter).

DP: Is it because-- I think what you’re trying to say is that you, over the years, people knew you and Sam. And you established yourself and you had a business and you were very successful and people respected you.

VB: Yeah. That’s the only way--

DP: Um-hum.

VB: --That I was, because, we first got a car, 1953 Chevrolet. Brand new. And the police locked a man up, each trying to learn us how to drive.

DP: Uh-huh.

VB: Oh, they came out after that man.

DP: So they threw the man that was trying to teach you how to drive in jail?

VB: The police came and got him.

DP: And why did they do that?

VB: Thought he had a new car.

DP: Oh.

VB: See I had the new car.

DP: Right.

VB: And had him driving us. Neither one of us had a license.

DP: Uh-huh.

VB: And that’s really ( ), oh, all Hell was made. They done gone and raid the man’s house.

DP: Was he a white man?

VB: Yeah.

DP: The one that’s teaching you to drive?

VB: No, no, he’s Negro. And alright, when I got the Oldsmobile they couldn’t say nothing. I got it brand new.

DP: When did you get your license?

VB: I went and got my license, I was doing a girl’s hair and I said “come and I’ll get my driver’s permit or driver’s license done.” And then I went and its Sunday you know.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: So I went on around there and turned around and said this Thursday. OK. Sam had an appointment for that, OK I’m going with him. Now I got my driving permit that week but I’m going with Sam anyway so I can get in there.

DP: Go ahead and get your license.

VB: Yeah.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: The man say, “Are you ready?” I said, “I’m gonna try!”

DP: (laughter)

VB: He said, “Alright you better get ( ). Oh do you think you’re ready? Well get on in there.” A little on down the road he said “You’s a good driver. Come on now, turn there.”

DP: And gave you your license? That’s sounded pretty easy.

VB: Easy as spit. I got that license ( ) said ( ) ‘cause police gonna get sent. So OK, I kept that car about, I don’t know, I kept the keys out of it for a little while.

DP: Did you say it was an Oldsmobile?

VB: Yeah.


VB: It was a ’59.

DP: What kind of car were you driving when you had your accident?

VB: Which time?

DP: The one that you had--

VB: ’87.

DP: It was an 87?

VB: Wait a minute, ’80. Cadillac.

DP: Was it a 1980 Cadillac?

VB: Uh-huh. ( ) When I bought it, I said I ain’t buying no more. That’s just gonna be just--

DP: Right.

VB: --And I don’t need no more.

DP: Now was Sam still alive then?

VB: Yes he was and I said “OK Sam, we got to get a newer. Give it to him it had 50,000 miles on it. When we give it to the boy. He had a red one. I said, ( ) take that one too. Take the Cadillac.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: And he just got a hundred.

DP: Do you still have it?

VB: Yeah. Yeah.

DP: (laughs) 1980.

VB: Yeah he did, he--

DP: Is somebody driving it now?

VB: He’s driving it now.

DP: Who, Arthur?

VB: Calvin.

DP: Calvin, OK. It must be a pretty good car if it’s still 1980.

VB: Yeah!

DP: Wow! That’s what, 24 years old.

VB: Well my son drove it too. I had one and he--

DP: Um-hum.

VB: He’s a plasterer, I mean he’s a plasterer and all who made good money.

DP: He plasters pools? Does he help build pools, swimming pools?

VB: He did. He built swimming pools, plaster and everything.

DP: What’s his name?

VB: Calvin.

DP: OK. Calvin. I’m trying to remember here your children’s names. I’ve got it written down.

VB: He had money.

DP: Now I’ve not met Calvin. Who was the gentleman that I met that’s your son-in-law?

VB: Oh that’s--

DP: Remember he came in the last time I was here?

VB: Uh-huh that’s, oh what’s his name? I forgot his name. He’s my daughter’s, she teached here in Charlotte.

DP: Is she a teacher?

VB: Uh-huh. Yeah she--

DP: Is that Maggie?

VB: She finished at Smith.

DP: No, no, no, I meant, what am I looking at? Is that Geraldine or--?

VB: Geraldine dead. She--

DP: Geraldine and Pauline.

VB: Pauline died. But Geraldine, she--

DP: They were twins.

VB: --She had an aneurysm.

DP: Right.

VB: Uh-huh. She’s dead too.

DP: But Geraldine, it was Geraldine’s husband wasn’t it that came here?

VB: Was he over here? I can’t think of his name. Can’t think of his name. He ain’t never been to nobody else’s.

DP: He seemed very nice--

VP: He finished school. ( ) Calvin. He finished for, for, Hugh ( ), plastering--

DP: Plastering.

VB: And everything like that.

DP: Uh-huh. That was Calvin.

VB: Yeah he finished that. And Harvey, you know, he put himself in school.

DP: Yeah. What does Harvey do? I know he’s working on your home here, but does he--?

VB: Oh he, he does his artwork.

DP: Auto? Does he work on cars? Does he got an auto shop?

VB: No he, he do artwork.

DP: Artwork! OK he’s an artist.

VB: Yeah! Oh, he done Smiths. Oh he done all these people--

DP: He draws pictures?

VB: I don’t know. But he do like shirts and things like that. Gets so many i don’t know.

DP: Shirts?

VB: And Smith. No not Smith. Second Ward and all that ( ).

DP: Oh yeah!

VB: Yeah, he do all that.

DP: Hmm.

VB: Uh-huh.

DP: I’d like to, I was going to ask him if I, if he was here today, I was going to ask him if he’d let me interview him.

VB: Yeah. You know he made the seal.

DP: Who?

VB: He made the seal of Mecklenburg.

DP: No I didn’t know that.

VB: You didn’t?

DP: Huh-uh.

VB: Oh yeah, he made that. It was only on ( ) and everything.

DP: He made the Mecklenburg seal?

VB: Yes ma’am. He went around the world.

DP: How old is Harvey?

VB: He’s--

DP: Is he in his fifties?

VB: Yeah, 59 I think.

DP: 59, OK.

VB: He was born in ’44.


VB: Um-hum.

DP: I’m gonna call Harvey and ask him if he’d let me do an interview with him.

VB: Well he will. ‘Cause he’s going everywhere, he’s ( ), you’ll see it.

DP: Yeah. I think it would be interesting to have a tape with, you know, of him, you know.

VB: Yeah. Oh he’s awake sometimes all night long. He’ll, like be going off on a trip, nearly have 40 or 50 mail order shirts.

DP: Does he have a family?

VB: Had one. All of them married.

DP: Um-hum. Yeah. So you’ve got, tell me again how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren you--

VB: Oh I can’t--

DP: You don’t even. Didn’t you tell me that you always know yours when you see those dimples?

VB: I saw a lot of them.

DP: (laughs)

VB: I said there’s the dimples, ( ), my my.

DP: Those dimples are all over the place aren’t they?

VB: Yeah! DP: (laughs)

VB: There’s the dimples.

DP: That’s so sweet.

VB: That’s the only way I know them, but I’ve probably got a hundred.

DP: You think you’ve got a hundred now?

VB: Yeah.

DP: Man. And don’t y’all get together every once in a while?

VB: We got together last year twice.

DP: Did they come here?

VB: Come here from Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, everywhere. Had to ( ).

DP: That was a major, major homecoming, wasn’t it?

VB: Well it was, had a ( ).

DP: Now what church did you, were you a member of?

VB: I was a member of--

DP: Or are you a member of?

VB: I’m a member of Matthews-Murkland Presbyterian. I established that little church over there, being the first female I picked, first female over at Murkland--

DP: At Matthews Miracle--?

VB: Matthews Murkland. I processed $75,000 bonds there.

DP: I remember you telling me bringing those bonds home with you, didn’t you? Didn’t you bring them home, have them in the house?

VB: Yeah!

DP: ‘Cause you had to--

VB: Had to process them, get them to the bank.

DP: Uh-huh.

VB: Uh-huh. Yeah.

DP: (laughs)

VB: So I’ve done a lots of work in this city.

DP: You did a lot of work in the church, didn’t you?

VB: Well, that church over there, when they rebuilt it, I was the secretary and the treasurer.

DP: Now we’re not talking about this across the street?

VB: No, we’re talking about that big church on Murkland. On Providence Road.

DP: Miracle?

VB: Murkland.

DP: Marigold?

VB: M-U-R-K-L-A-N-D.

DP: Murkland?

VB: Uh-huh.


VB: Yes.

DP: I’ma make sure I got it right.

VB: Yeah. So they send me some ( ) yesterday, they come out.

DP: How many, is it a big church?

VB: It’s ordinary it’s nice.

DP: Now, do you still go to church or do you--?

VB: I ain’t going like I did.

DP: Did they bring you things like tapes to listen to of their sermons and all? ‘Cause that’s what we do at our church.

VB: Yes, yes. Yeah they do that and yesterday, two come out here and brought me these, you know, ( ).

DP: Yeah, yeah. Do you have a lot of visitors and people come see you and all?

VB: Well, I don’t have no a lot come. I’ll tell you why. Our people are dead. Our people that’s dead honey.

DP: Um-hum. Most of your relatives have--

VB: All of them in Murkland.

DP: Um-hum. All your friends and all of your age are gone?

VB: Lord, what you talking about?

DP: Um-hum.

VB: Church full of young ones.

DP: Yeah.

VB: Yeah I’d have a house full selling the bonds for that church. Um-hum. ‘Cause I had them here. And toss them in the bedroom, poured them everywhere.

DP: (laughs)

VB: And carried them to the bank and just see, it’s just like anything else. You pass or don’t pass.

DP: Yeah.

VB: I just had, maybe two or three didn’t pass.

DP: Only two or three that didn’t pass?

VB: That’s right.

DP: That’s pretty good.

VB: I pulled into my driveway once. I had six big ones that all became mature, you know.

DP: Uh-huh. When they became mature you could cash them in?

VB: I cashed them in like, I don’t know, it was about 50 dollars, I don’t know how much that amount was right there. And the reason I had it, that girl there, she was so particular, she scared that, that I ( ).

DP: Um-hum.

VB: And so--

DP: Oh, you’re talking about your day book.

VB: Yes.

DP: And you had some problems with her didn’t you?

VB: Yeah. So she put a fence up, then she found out she owed me, after all. You have to be so rough.

DP: Yeah, you have to have a rough, yeah.

VB: And she’s done the right stuff. All I told her, see, you can come as far as you want to, but there have to be so many people.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: Uh-huh. We would have no fussing like that. She says “Ain’t you owe me?” I said, “If I’m ( ), I’ll get on.”

DP: (laughs)

VB: Uh-huh. So alright, I was raking leaves and everything. I said, “Listen. I done told you, I don’t want to hear that no damn more.”

DP: (laughs)

VB: I said, ( ). Shout “Get on to hell with you.”

DP: (laughs) You said that?

VB: Yes I did. I’m mad now.

DP: Uh-huh.

VB: Tell you--

DP: She just kind of beat it into the ground there.

VB: Oh she did! Yes indeed.

DP: So did you, is that the reason you built your driveway around the back?

VB: Right, but a little bit out. Autrey asked me about that. Rod Autrey?

DP: (laughs) Uh-huh. Rod Autrey?

VB: Yeah.

DP: He’s a, he someone in the--

VB: Big house. Was.

DP: Yeah. Is he in the local government or the state government?

VB: Oh he was way up there ‘cause he’d ( ).

DP: Yeah, I remember Rod Autrey.

VB: Every time he come, he wants that chair.

DP: (laughs) He wants the chair?

VB: Yeah.

DP: (laughs) I can see why!

VB: He wants that chair.

DP: Uh-huh.

VB: Yeah.

DP: Is he pretty nice? Rod Autrey?

VB: He’s fine with me.

DP: Yeah. I’m trying to think. Is he in Washington now? Or is he--

VB: Yeah, he and his wife are, moving up.

DP: Or he’s gotten out of politics now?

VB: No he’s in politics but he’s--

DP: I can’t remember what he’s doing now.

VB: And then Kincaid who’s a big one. He’s different. He dead ain’t he?

DP: I don’t know. Kincaid.

VB: This was the police, when they’d come in all the time.

DP: Would they come here to visit?

VB: They’d come all the time. And I’d give them a little extra.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: I was able to do it.

DP: Who else did you, you know, spend time with like that and all?

VB: Oh, Kincaid, and that other man, he’d be out here working. I forget his name. But they’re always coming.

DP: Well, did you, how about Harvey Gantt or any of those?

VB: Oh well yeah, Harvey Gantt. All of them, yeah. Gave them some money for UNC.

DP: (laughs) Always looking for money.

VB: Yeah. ‘Cause another fellow came, what was his name? (pause) He fell in the office.

DP: He fell in the office?

VB: Uh-huh. Yeah he said “Ms. Boyd I don’t need a thing here but a good, bit of, something to eat.”

DP: Yeah, I don’t know who that would have been.

VB: Yeah, I know you know him ‘cause he’s on--

DP: Was he mayor?

VB: No, he wasn’t mayor.

DP: A senator or congressman or something?

VB: I can’t think of it now. Getting old now. (laughs) Done get old.

DP: When you think about when you were, I’m trying to think and look at my questions here I want to ask you. Can you tell me, did you have anybody that you admired when you were growing up? In particular? And it could be, you know, somebody famous or somebody in your family or. But anybody that you would have felt like you admired when you were a young girl growing up.

VB: (long pause) I can’t think of nobody right now. Who I wanted to be like.

DP: Anybody that was like, I’m thinking maybe, was there anybody that was maybe in politics or, you know that was very well known and in the newspapers or in history or anything like that. Anybody you can think of that you might have admired when you was growing? Or you could have been, you know, like your relatives or something. Your mother or your, I know you admired your mother.

VB: She didn’t live long enough.

DP: How, did--

VB: 45 years old.

DP: She was 45 when she passed away, wasn’t she? That was young.

VB: Really was.

DP: Yeah.

VB: To know what’s in you. ‘Cause it’s something in you that don’t come out ‘til (pause).

DP: Was it cancer?

VB: --( )

DP: Did she have cancer?

VB: No she had that one eye.

DP: No, but--

VB: And gallbladder.

DP: It was gallbladder?

VB: Yeah. I had it. When I had it I--

DP: But you were able to get yours taken care of?

VB: Yeah then. But way back in that time, you didn’t.

DP: Um-hum.

VB: ‘Cause my granddaughter has it. My other daughter had it too.

DP: Gallbladder.

VB: Gallbladder.

DP: It’s a gallbladder problem.

VB: Um-hum. And I done lived this long.

DP: Well, what other kind of health problems do you have? Do you have like high blood pressure or?

VB: Yes, I did. All I had was a little blood. But they say I had a heart attack the other day.

DP: You had a heart attack?

VB: I come out of it.

DP: Oh you did? Do you have to take those nitroglycerin tablets?

VB: What is that like?

DP: You know how when you get, my dad had to take those, I think it keeps--

VB: What is it, some kind of test?

DP: You put it under your tongue.

VB: No. He said I come ( ).

DP: Oh OK.

VB: Uh-huh. So it’s--

DP: How often do you have to go to the doctor?

VB: Well, I went to the doctor (pause). They rushed me out of here about two weeks ago.

DP: So you got sick and they had to take you in--?

VB: No I was right in this chair and I was sitting there eating a cracker and everything, slowly. And she set down there and looked at me, then Harvey, he come through the door. When he coming through the door, there the ambulance come in. I said “What in the world?”

DP: Who called the ambulance?

VB: Harvey did.

DP: Why did he call it?

VB:  I tell you I had something, like sinuses.
DP:  Oh.
VB:  You, know, like sinuses.
DP:  So you were complaining of some pain?
VB:  No there was pain in nothing.
DP:  No?
VB:  No. There wasn’t pain. But she’s just looked at me, you know and said--
DP:  So your nurse looked at you and thought you probably needed some attention.
VB:  Uh-huh. Yeah.
DP:  OK.
VB:  And so I was holding the door and then the ambulance came in here, I said, “Ain’t nothing wrong with me.” But they carried me over anyhow and kept me two days.

DP:  When your nurse comes, does she check your blood pressure and all of that?
VB:  Once a week, if she ( ) every day ( ).
DP:  Maybe that was the deal. Maybe she--
VB:  No it wasn’t her. It was one of these housekeeping, they been in here.
DP:  Oh OK.
VB:  But anyway, I said “Ain’t nothing wrong with me.” And it always has been slow. And a man said, “Probably, that’s the reason she lived so long.”
DP:  (laughs)
VB:  She said “Low blood.”
DP:  Uh-huh.
VB:  Uh-huh. And I had that at bursitis.
DP:  Bursitis is bad. I’ve got that in this hip over here.
VB:  Ooo. Honey, I’ve had that thing all my life. I stepped out the door and my foot turned on the bed. Child, yeah. So I know I’m over the hill and I done lived a long time. I appreciated it and I worked hard at some things I wanted.
DP:  Do you feel like you’ve had a fulfilling life?
VB:  Oh, did I.
DP:  If you had anything to do over again, what would you do?
VB:  Change nothing.
DP:  You wouldn’t change anything?
VB:  I changed everything I could. Just like Aunt Rose come in and she had this beautiful antique furniture. And I had this modern furniture. Thought I had something. She said, “Viola, you ain’t never had ( ).”
DP:  (laughter)
VB:  Modern furniture.
DP:  Modern furniture.
VB:  Antique furniture.
DP:  Oh OK.
VB:  So OK. Aunt Rose left her ( ) at my house. And went to Charlotte to get that. It’s got stars in it.

DP:  (laughs)
VB:  And this, that chair right there. That. I got that over that.
DP:  All these pieces in here?
VB:  Yeah.
DP:  ‘Cause you’ve got some antiques. You’ve got some nice antiques.
VB:  Oh yeah. We’ve done away with mine.
DP:  ‘Cause I like that little table over there with that marble on it.
VB:  Yeah. I brought that in on the top of the car. And this here.
DP:  Rod Autrey’s chair.
VB:  Its Rod Autrey’s.
DP:  (laughs)
VB:  And the modern furniture in the room, and the modern furniture’s out there.
DP:  Is this the house that you raised your children in?
VB:  Built it honey.
DP:  So this is the house you’ve always lived in since you’ve been married to Sam?
VB:  I married Sam here, told him to get a--
DP:  Job at the railroad. (laughs)
VB:  --Railroad and he stayed there.
DP:  Well.
VB:  And so he stayed there, he didn’t miss a day. (pause) I don’t know why it is. But he didn’t miss a day. Didn’t miss a payday.
DP:  Did he like working at the railroad, do you think?
VB:  Yeah, he got the place he just loved it.
DP:  Did he?
VB:  When the man called, oh, he was just glad he was going to make him some money.
DP:  And then when he would go off on his railroad, then you would be back there fixing hair?
VB:  Yeah when I was, fixing hair I was. I had enough room to get out on a tractor.
DP:  Um-hum.
VB:  Over here. Joanna said I’d have my big old hat on, you know. And everything, ‘cause doctor said you’re allergic to wind and sun.
DP:  Um-hum.
VB:  I said, I can’t stand that. So I put on, got me some pantyhoses, put them over the glasses, and that’s the way I’d done. Be out there on my tractor.
DP:  (laughs)
VB:  I enjoyed it. ( ) because, ah--
DP:  What did you do on the tractor though? Did you just plow or?
VB:  Cutting my lawn.
DP:  Cutting your lawn.
VB:  Uh-huh. And fixing my lawn.
DP:  So you liked working out in the yard?
VB:  I loved it.
DP:  You liked planting flowers and things?
VB:  Oh, did I! I had that ( ) and red roses. Beautiful!
DP:  So you have a green thumb?
VB:  I just love to be outside. And love the yard. I just love it.
DP:  Is that what you did as your hobby?
VB:  What?
DP:  Do you think? Would that be considered--?
VB:  Yes it would. My yard and the home. I loved the home.
DP:  Um-hum.
VB:  Uh-huh.
DP:  Did you like to cook?
VB:  I did at first. But see there’s too much work in it.
DP:  Um-hum.
VB:  And I’d have to.
DP:  So who would be responsible for cooking?
VB:  Sam.
DP:  Sam was the good cook, wasn’t he?
VB:  Oh he was. I learnt him to do it.
DP:  You taught him?
VB:  Uh-huh. He said “Viola, how do you do this?” And I’d tell him. And I’d have to cook for a whole lot and give it to him, he’d do it, and he can beat me cooking! Yeah he can beat me cooking.
DP:  (laughs) Well he also got a lot of practice on the railroad too cooking. Didn’t he?
VB:  Yes he did and they’d put him right in the kitchen.
DP:  Um-hum.
VB:  Uh-huh. He was a good Christian man. We had our fights, but yet still we’d make it up in the bedroom.
DP:  Would you?
VB:  Yes sir. Children never did. The children says “OK I’ve never seen my mom and dad fuss.” No, if we had something to settle, we’d settle it in the bed.
DP:  So would you always make sure you’d just get away from your children when you had to discuss things?
VB:  Always, always, always. I ( ).
DP:  Um-hum.
VB:  ‘Cause you know, you get your little, ( )
DP:  Yeah you just didn’t want them to be involved in it, did you?
VB:  In nothing, nothing. And they’d say, “Momma,” no they don’t do that.
DP:  Um-hum.
VB:  Um-hum. Did that. I did the best I could. I’d read. My momma told us we come from a stump.
DP:  A stump? (laughs)
VB:  Oh we’d go out there looking for them white eggs coming out of the stump. Oh. Go on Maggie, we’ve got a whole lot of babies. (laughter)
DP:  (laughs)
VB:  So we had the bed. So I would read, spell and I said “Uh-huh, I ain’t gonna tease my children like that. When they ask me, I’m gonna tell them, “Darling, you laid in the mother’s heart and ( ) in the room.” That’s what I’d tell them.
DP:  Uh-huh. So you wanted to be honest with them so they wouldn’t--
VB:  Sure.
DP:  --be confused about where the babies came from.
VB:  That is the thing to do. So I did the best I could. And I dressed them. I was scared they’d go out and do something wrong to get something.
DP:  Yeah.
VB:  Clear Creek was the best, ( ). Best dressed.
DP:  Um-hum.
VB:  I stayed at home, wearing no clothes so my children could go out looking decent.
DP:  So you did without so they could have--?
VB:  Right.
DP:  Did you go shopping for them?
VB:  Yeah. Like in the winter time, before New Year, I started getting them out of the children’s things, and laid it away. So they could have five dresses for each day.
DP:  Um-hum. (laughs)
VB:  For ‘em to change. Alright now, you ironing that dress and it ain’t ironed right. You iron again.
DP:  Did you teach them how to do all that?
VB:  Yes I did. Alright now, I had to spring it in, I had a ( ), and they’d do that. She’d beat me at ironing.
DP:  She did better than you did?
VB:  Yeah she did! I said “Now alright, hang them all five up there, take that ( ), you’re gonna do it now.” You wear that more, more than one week.
DP:  Yeah.
VB:  And so I did the best I could. Couldn’t think about it. Course I lived on a farm.
DP:  Well. Can you, is there anything else that you would like for me to know about your life that I haven’t asked you a question about or anything that you feel like I’ve left out?
VB:  No, nothing.
End of Interview.