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Doris Maroney oral history interview, April 25, 2008

Date: Apr. 25 2008 | Identifier: 45-05-01-7
Interview with East Carolina Teachers College alumna Doris Maroney (formerly Doris Blalock). Ms. Maroney describes her early life in a farming family, with particular emphasis on her school in Lucama, Wilson County, N.C. She then describes her student experience at East Carolina Teachers College, including dorm life, classes, student organizations, and recreation. Interviewer: Joanne Phipps. Ms. Maroney's sister was also present. more...
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Transcript of Doris Maroney Interview
Interviewee:Doris Maroney
Interviewer:Joanne Phipps
Date of Interview:April 25, 2008
Location of Interview:Greenville, N.C.
Length:MP3 - 29 Minutes; 45 Seconds

Joanne Phipps:

Okay, so first I wanted to know about what--a couple of things about your childhood. What did your parents do for a living?

Doris Maroney:

My father was a farmer; we had tobacco crops; we had raised animals--hogs, cows, corn, even back then--cotton. But we lived on a farm and he had tenant farmers. We were typical country people.

Joanne Phipps:

So did you and your siblings go to school?

Doris Maroney:

Yes; we--excuse me--it was a community school. It was a little country school; I would say by today's standards a very country school in Lucama and we went through first grade through eleven. You only had eleven years at this school but we all three went there. The year I finished college there my sister started the first grade there and my brother finished high school there; so--. [Laughs]

Joanne Phipps:

Okay.

Doris Maroney:

So we were kind of spread out but mother and dad were both on the School Boards and they were community oriented people. Dad was a County Commissioner for a



lot of years with the County and mother in Home Demonstration work and, so we--we had a wonderful childhood, a wonderful bringing up.

Joanne Phipps:

Great.

Doris Maroney:

Yeah.

Joanne Phipps:

So education was important in your family?

Doris Maroney:

Very much so; yes. In fact we were one of--I think my--my brother and I were probably among the first of our friends who had any access to reference books because I remember my mother bought us our first Lincoln Library. Have you ever heard of that?

Joanne Phipps:

Uh-hm.

Doris Maroney:

It's a two-volume, two-volume book but we had the Lincoln Library to refer to; we thought we were really something [Laughs] because we could look up things there that other kids couldn't so--yeah.

Joanne Phipps:

So through high school were you thinking about college?

Doris Maroney:

I don't think I ever stopped thinking about it because there would be references made to when you finish high school. It was not like high school was the end of education; it was just a step. I don't remember mother and dad ever acting like we would not go to college. So it was a matter of where but no; I just always just sort of understood that they wanted us to go to college and so I have no recollection of any one time that--that--that came up and we discussed it. It just seemed to be understood; yeah.

Joanne Phipps:

Okay.

Doris Maroney:

Mother was President of the PTA and so--. [Laughs]

Joanne Phipps:

So there was this unspoken--



Doris Maroney:

And very good friends with our teachers and so we got told on if we did the wrong--. [Laughs] But no; our schooling was--was very, very pleasant, yes.

Joanne Phipps:

Okay; now I'm wondering--you mentioned that you were the first among your friends to have reference books. In high school were any of your peers also considering college?

Doris Maroney:

Yes; and in fact in my class--well when we were in the fifth grade there were three--three of us. They said because we were ahead of the class--I think it's because the classes were full--that they [Laughs] decided we were bored and we should not be in the fifth grade and we should be in the sixth grade, so we skipped the fifth grade except for one friend whose parents wouldn't let him. But another girl and I did skip the fifth grade and she ended up graduating here the same year I did. And the young man went onto Med School and whatnot, so and with only eleven years of school then I was out of high school at 15. And I was out of college here before my twentieth birthday. So there were--there were other--in my graduating class I think there were probably--probably only about four or five--there were thirty of us--thirty-one; I think only about four or five who really went onto a college or a university. There might have been a couple who took a business course, but not very many of them because it's a farming community and particularly the boys--most of them would stick with the farm and so on; so--.

Joanne Phipps:

Now among your--your siblings did any of the other ones go onto college?

Doris Maroney:

Oh definitely; [Laughs] my brother is a graduate from North Carolina State and got his Doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. My sister graduated in Music from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina; so they didn't stop with me. [Laughs]



Doris Maroney's Sister:

I got my Masters here.

Doris Maroney:

Oh that's right; you [Maroney's sister] did get your masters here at EC didn't you?

Joanne Phipps:

Oh excellent. So what made you choose ECU?

Doris Maroney:

Well I think one of the big things--

Joanne Phipps:

Sorry I called it by the wrong name.

Doris Maroney:

ECTC.

Joanne Phipps:

There we go.

Doris Maroney:

Yeah; but probably financial reasons as much as anything but it was not far from home. I wanted to teach school and this was a teachers' college at the time. We only had 1,100 students here--1,100-something and only about 100 of those were boys, so [Laughs] it was--it was a girls' school. And it just seemed the--the right thing to--it just seemed the right place. And we had--they had what they called High School Day and our senior class those, who were interested, came on a school bus and there were high schools from all over the State I guess who were invited, because we weren't the only high school class here that day but they toured the whole campus and we got to see all these college students walking around and I just knew this is where I wanted to be. So there just wasn't much question about the fact that I was going to go to Greenville to school.

Joanne Phipps:

What was your first day like when you moved here?

Doris Maroney:

It was exciting; I was--I was very excited to be--to be here and I can't say it was something that I dreaded leaving home or anything. I was thrilled to death and getting settled in your room and--and I was rooming with a girl whom I had met before.



We were entirely different personalities but we--we did--we got along very well. And I had a room in Cotten Hall and made loads of friends, one of whom was my dear friend through three years--we were afraid to room together for fear we wouldn't be as close friends if we lived together until our senior year and we did room together our senior year. So--but my first day here was you know--I don't have much recollection of orientation and that sort of thing except we did have to meet in the--I was telling her earlier; I can't remember the name of the building but the word Wright keeps coming to mind if it had been an Administration Building at one time, because there was a big auditorium there. And I do recall we met there and then there were different--there were no sororities; the boys had the fraternity but the girls had no sororities but we had Literary Societies. And I was in Edgar Allan Poe. [Laughs] So it was--there were three; it was Poe and gosh now I can't remember the--the other two even. There was really it didn't mean anything; you had a few meetings and did a little charity work or something like that but it wasn't like living in a sorority--with a sorority--is today and then the--the YWCA, the Y was--and my freshman year I got on the Y Cabinet and that was--that was a good experience and I also got--was Hall Monitor. I don't know what they call--some freshman was appointed and I don't know how they appointed me but they did and--. [Laughs] I was Hall Captain or something--whatever they called me then and that all just seemed to happen very quickly. And you got to meet the Dean of Women. Yeah; I remember meeting Miss Morton for the first time. She'd scare you to death. Oh but she was a dear lady; she was very sweet. You--you became very fond of her after a while, so--. No; things just sort of fell into place.



Joanne Phipps:

Uh-hm; now on your first day what was your family's reaction like when they dropped you off?

Doris Maroney:

I don't think they were glad to get rid of me. [Laughs] I think--I really think they were just so proud of the fact that they had a daughter who was going to college; I truly do, because I remember them bringing me and getting all my stuff up into the room. I didn't have much. In fact, I told--I told her [Maroney's sister] yesterday I can remember coming to school and I don't know now why I had a trunk because I didn't have enough to fill a trunk. I remember a green suit with a little fur collar and I had a couple of skirts and some sweaters. And I think you only had one pair of shoes, but you didn't--you didn't feel that you were that different from other people. There were a lot who had more than I did but I don't recall ever feeling that I was under-clothed--under-clothed or that I wasn't as good as the rest of them even though I did come from the rural area and all. So when I really felt it was when I had to take chemistry and I had never had chemistry in high school even, and the majority of the kids in the class had high school chemistry and that was pretty rough.

Joanne Phipps:

What other challenges do you remember from adjusting to coming here?

Doris Maroney:

Being homesick; I admit that I was homesick the first--the first quarter, a portion of the first quarter because we couldn't go--we couldn't go home for the first six weeks I think it was. I should have found my handbook and--but and I also commented the time I'd get most homesick was in the evening when we'd go to the dining hall and then you're going back to your room and I knew just what my family was doing at that time and--. So those were the--those were the lonely times, but they also--[Laughs]--kids today would die at this. But we would leave the dining hall for one hour; we went across



the building. It was in front of Cotten Hall and I don't remember what it was called now; it was like a gymnasium or--and it was fairly new building back then, but it had a jukebox and for one hour we'd played the jukebox and we danced.

Joanne Phipps:

That sounds great.

Doris Maroney:

And see I didn't even know how to dance when I came to--to school because we never had dances in our little school. We had--our Junior/Senior would be just a dinner but the girls in the dorm, a lot of them knew how, and so the girls taught me to dance. And for an hour you had [danced]--and they were all girl break dances because there were no--there were so few boys and so many girls, so that--that helped to bridge that gap of being stressful after dinner when you were homesick.

Joanne Phipps:

Uh-hm; did your relationship with your family change over time while you were here?

Doris Maroney:

I think the only change I would say is I began to appreciate them even more because I did realize the sacrifices they were making to send me to school. And one of the things that I remembered yesterday was my parents--excuse me--came up to visit me in the late fall just to come up on a [Sunday]--when your parents could come and take you out in a car. Other than that you didn't get into anything with wheels. But they came up for a visit and my mother had on a beautiful coat. And I was so pleased because she had been able to buy herself a new coat. And I commented on it and she said no honey, it isn't mine; it's Margaret's. Margaret was a very good friend of hers. And Margaret wanted me to look nice today, so--. But and she did; she looked so pretty in that coat. So I think I did appreciate the sacrifices that they were making to send me to school even though tuition was--I think it was $90-some dollars a quarter and that included my room



and my board and my books, my tuition; you paid a--I had to pay $5 lab fees and a $5 activity fee but that was it.

Joanne Phipps:

Hmm.

Doris Maroney:

My parents told me when my--when I finished college, my brother finished his first year at North Carolina State--that his expenses for the one year were almost equivalent to my four-year expenses. And they said Jan-Boy's belonging to a fraternity and that sort of stuff all counted up and heavens-knows what my sister's expenses were compared to mine. But it was different.

Joanne Phipps:

How do you feel you changed when you went here?

Doris Maroney:

Well I think I did a lot of maturing. I really do; and I--I think I became a--I was--was a fairly shy person. And I do think I became much more outgoing and I--I related to people better because I was so excited to meet all these new people [Laughs] so I think that just my relationship with people changed and my appreciation of people from different areas and different cultures; there weren't a lot of different cultures but there were a lot of socio-economic levels that were represented and you--you did get an appreciation for that. Well I became--I became a stronger person. I can't say that I became a better person because I was not active in any church here in town. But I did work with the Y and we had vesper services and that took the place of church.

I--I felt pretty confident--I developed a lot of self-confidence because I also told [Laughs]--for my senior year I was elected President of the Women's Student Government Association and I remember so vividly going in to Miss Morton who was the Dean--called me down. And she didn't say congratulations, you know; she said "Doris, do you think that you're old enough to be President of the Student Government



Association?" [Laughs] And I said " yes, ma'am." And it was a good year; we had a real good year, so I did some maturing.

Joanne Phipps:

Tell me about graduation day.

Doris Maroney:

It was sad. [Laughs] No, really and truly I loved school and you knew that there were a lot of people that had been good friends that you were not going to be seeing again, so I was glad that--that I was graduating but at the same time you are--I think there's a sadness to it because you are severing these relationships that have been--been really important to you. I've kept up with some of them and particularly my roommate, the one roommate and she just passed away this year too. So there's kind of a finality there that is bound to happen but you get the yearbook out and you have a lot of fond memories of some of those gals that were real good friends.

Joanne Phipps:

How do you feel your years here prepared you to be a teacher?

Doris Maroney:

Well I think they--they prepared me to be a teacher in that I did student teaching. I think his name was Walden in the Greenville High School and my student teaching was in English. And I was young enough when I finished that the--to go into high school and teach you could relate to the students pretty well. There wasn't that much difference in some of our ages. But I will admit that I did a lot of studying to--to teach [Laughs]--to teach them after--after I finished. I was by no means the best informed person I found out when it came to taking the book that the State recommended and--and teaching the children what they were required to learn. You did do--I did do a lot of studying those first years. But then I taught in--in an orphanage and that was a--that was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed being with the children but I taught in the high school and we were a self-contained community, this--this orphanage was. You lived on campus



and their school was on campus. We had a hospital and we had a dairy farm and a shoe shop and a sewing room and kitchen and the children went to school half-day and worked half-day. And so you never had problems with their having been out with their parents at night, so they didn't get their homework done. They had closed study hour. So my teaching experience was good in that respect but I also got to associate with children of all ages; I wasn't just with high school children. I lived in the dorm with the small children, the little--little itty-bitty ones. So I--I think--I think I was prepared to teach when--when I finished. I didn't feel that--I didn't feel frightened in--in doing it, so see I had gained some confidence in myself. [Laughs]

Joanne Phipps:

What other things have you done since then?

Doris Maroney:

Since the teaching?

Joanne Phipps:

Uh-hm.

Doris Maroney:

Got married [Laughs] and moved from Wilson County out to Indiana. And gee, my first job out there was with the Telephone Company and in Indiana and I was a service representative. And I had a certain number of accounts at the Telephone Company. I had never done anything like that but you were there working with people too; you were doing it all on the phone. That was interesting. And then we--we started a family and I wasn't working. But as they--one of them got a little older I did work--I didn't like--this is the only teaching I didn't like. A lady wanted me to teach in her kindergarten, a private kindergarten and I did that for about four months and I did not enjoy that. I didn't like her particularly and her methods and I didn't find that it was good for me to be doing that all day and then come home to my own children and--. So that was the only thing and then from there I went with a marketing research company and I



did--started out doing interviewing and then I ended up in the office training their workers and designing the interviews and evaluating studies from--the market research studies and writing reports and that sort of stuff. And then at age 42 I had another little baby.

Joanne Phipps:

Oh my.

Doris Maroney:

And I was going to go back to work immediately but I never did. [Laughs] So that ended my working career.

Joanne Phipps:

Do you remember any other college experiences that kind of prepared you for life afterwards?

Doris Maroney:

Dear let me think; that's--that's hard to pinpoint any one--one thing. I think and I was talking about this--this morning too, we had a course and they probably still do this here, but it was either at 7:00 or 8:00 on Monday mornings and Dr. Frank; it was called Current Events and it was only just once a week. But I did learn to love--to know what was going on in the world, read the newspapers and--and check with the news and that stuck with me because I can spend two hours at my table in the mornings. Now I don't have to get up, hurry with breakfast and that sort of stuff, so I thoroughly enjoy the paper and the crossword puzzle and all of that stuff and I think he inspired it--a love for something other than North Carolina and Wilson County by his Current Events show. I still didn't develop a love for geography; I took Geography courses and those I couldn't bear. But the English courses, the Literature, and whatnot--I still read a lot and I think part of my love of reading and all is associated with enjoying what I read while I was here. I'm trying to think of any--any one thing--well the--the cultural things like we had entertainment. I think it was maybe just twice a year; we'd have a big band and we'd



have a big speaker or we had--we had an opera singer once and I--I had never ever been exposed to anything like that. And I told her the night of her concert--it must have been my senior year, but I got to go up onstage with a big bouquet of flowers for her at the end of her program. You felt kind of important being able to do that. [Laughs] It was fun. So there were a lot--lot of things that I had never been exposed to that--that college did for me and just the dorm life with--with the girls, I think anybody who goes to school and stays in an apartment even with two or three girls is missing out on a lot of the camaraderie that goes along with being a--a college student and being involved in the college activities. Even the theater productions, the guy who was the Director of The Lost Colony down at Manteo--I don't know that you're familiar with that now--with Clifton Britain who was one of my very dear friends; here came here as a freshman the same year I did, and I couldn't--I was not--I had too much of a southern accent then they said to be in any of the plays. I--I dragged out my conversations too much but I was on the Technical Committee and I got to do the coconuts for the horses because we did the world premier of Ramona that year. And that was fun; I got to do a lot of things like that--that I would never ever have been able to do [Laughs] if I hadn't gone to school. So I loved it--every minute of it.

Joanne Phipps:

Well you know what Doris? I think that's all I've got.

Doris Maroney:

Okay.

Joanne Phipps:

But it was great listening to it.

Doris Maroney:

I don't know that I told you a whole lot. Can you think of any--?

[End Doris Maroney Interview]

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