|Transcript of Mrs. Juanita Worsley Williams Interview|
|Interviewee:||Mrs. Juanita Worsley Williams|
|Interviewer:||Donald R. Lennon|
|Date of Interview:||May 6, 2008|
|Location of Interview:||Greenville, NC|
|Length:||One mp3 file, approximately 53 minutes|
This is Donald R. Lennon. I am interviewing Mrs. Juanita Worsley Williams of Farmville. This is May the 6th, 2008, and this interview is for the ECU Centennial Oral History Project. And Mrs. Williams we're asking your permission to preserve this in the University archives to be used for research purposes concerning the University and its early years.
Oh yeah. Walter Jones helped to make that a university.
Yeah, Walter was a wonderful--.
And he was my friend. My husband delivered his baby, Walter, Jr. [Laughter]
Really? Oh wow. [Laughter] Well I knew Walter, Sr. very well and Walter, Jr. too.
Walter, Sr. was my neighbor.
Right. He was a really interesting gentleman.
I knew him.
What I would like for you to do, Ms. Williams, is to tell about--. I know you're a Worsley from Edgecombe County. Tell me about your family, any brothers or sisters, and--.
There's nobody living. I'm the only one living.
But I mean originally, when you were a child and everything. Tell me what your father and mother did, and any brothers and sisters that you may have had.
I had about eleven. [Laughter]
We had a big family. I was the eleventh child.
So you were the youngest of eleven.
No, there was two younger than I am--twelve, thirteen--so they had thirteen children.
Gosh. And a lot of them were gone down to Panama when I was born.
What were they going down to Panama for?
Well, my brother went to college in Wilson and he was on a train and he was writing letters for people and this man came up to him and said, "How would you like to go to Panama?" He said, "You could be my secretary?" And my brother went with him. And then some more of my brothers and sisters went down there, so a lot of us died in Panama.
Yeah, was this part of the building of the canal?
Building the canal, yes, when they were building. And now they're going to build a new one.
Well what did your--? Tell me about your father and mother.
My father was a school teacher in the little red school and taught my mother. And he said, when she was ten years old, he said, "She's a cute child, but I'm going to marry her when she gets older." [Laughter]
So he was a Worsley and he taught at that little red school. They had a one-room schoolhouse.
Now was this in Rocky Mount or was this in--?
In Rocky Mount. Well it was right outside of Rocky Mount on Cokeley Road.
Oh, I know where Cokeley Road is.
You know where Cokeley Road is?
And he was from the Worsley family. Marvin Robbins was one of them; Aunt Lucinda Robbins. And let's see. There was a bunch of them. My uncle Luther Worsley and my--. Let me see. Well I've got them listed somewhere, but I can't remember them all. Uncle Luther, Uncle Henry. Uncle Henry married Effie Lewis from Farmville.
Well now did any of your brothers or sisters attend college, or were you the first one in your family to attend college?
Well, my brothers went to college at Wilson, but it wasn't a college really. I don't know what it was called.
Kind of an academy?
Something, something kind of academy in Wilson. But I was the first one that really graduated. My sister, Marie Turnage, went to East Carolina but she just went to that two-year course. What do you call it?
There was a two-year teacher preparation.
Yeah, course. And then I was the first one that went all four years.
Well when did you enter? When did you enter East Carolina?
Yeah, and it had started a four-year school at East Carolina.
And you graduated in '32?
Thirty-two, and went to summer school and graduated in three years. And a Wilkinson girl went. She was from the Wilkinson family in Greenville. You ever heard of them?
Oh sure, sure.
Well she was one of them that graduated with me. Mary Francis Whitehurst was another one that graduated with me.
Well now was it quite a break for you to leave Rocky Mount and come here by yourself to college?
Well I was staying with my brother, Jimmy Worsley.
Oh, he was living in Greenville?
He had just moved here as a lawyer and a CPA to Greenville. And it was during the Depression, '29, the banks closed. You were too young. Everything was all--. The banks closed and some of the people gave up life and it destroyed their families and so forth.
Did you stay with your brother the entire time you were in college?
I stayed with my brother--. I graduated in three years by going to summer school. And then I got married the last year to my husband who became a doctor, Dr. Rhoderick Thomas Williams.
Right, right. And why did you select East Carolina. Is that just because it was close?
[Laughter]Because it was nearer. I had already applied to a school in Charlotte and my daddy said, "You can't go there. We've lost everything." He had a farm and my mother had a farm and they lost everything in 1929 during the Depression. And my brother moved to Greenville and he said, "Come on and live with me," so I lived with my brother and his family and went to East Carolina.
When you first visited--.
Did you come see the campus or anything before you came to go?
No, I just took the word of it. And I had a friend that lived next door, Margaret Bostick. Ever heard of any of the Bosticks in Greenville?
And Margaret Bostick lived next door and she became my friend and she still is a good friend in Farmville. She was Margaret Bostick and married a Hodges. Ever heard of any of the Hodges?
Sure, sure. Well that, with the Depression and everything and there being a lack of money, was there any problem with you paying your tuition and things?
Well to think about it, it was only twenty-five dollars a quarter. [Laughter] That's all it cost. And right after I got there I wrote a paper on history and household conveniences and won four hundred dollars, and that practically finished me through college. [Laughter]
What kind of contest was that?
The teacher said, "They're doing a contest, would you like to join?" and I said, "Yes. What is it?" "Write something about your life." So I wrote a paper on history and the household conveniences and sent it to Nashville and Las Vegas, and I won for a place. Top place was five hundred dollars. I won second place which was four hundred. But that helped to finish me through school.
That's amazing. [Laughter] What was life like at East Carolina at that time?
Well, you weren't supposed to smoke, the girls weren't, and I stayed away and watched to see a teacher coming and they would run behind and smoke a cigarette. [Laughter] Oh, me.
So there were .
So even back then the women were still smoking, whether they were smart or just--. They smoked.
That's interesting. How about--.
And Mr. Henderson was one of my teachers and was a teacher. Dr. [Rebarker] was my math teacher.
Tell me about Dr. . He's one of the ones that left during the Leon Meadows problem.
Uh huh. Is he still living?
Oh, he died?
Well he's the one that got me a scholarship to go to Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. And in the meantime I got married and couldn't go. And I married my husband that became a doctor.
Right, right. Well what about dress codes?
Dress codes. I know, you living off campus, you may have not been as--.
I lived off campus but my brother lived on Ninth Street which was about a block from the campus, and so I could take classes. And I graduated with high honors. I was pretty good--. You know one reason I did? When I was in high school in Rocky Mount some of the classes they had in Rocky Mount in high school they were teaching in the college. How about that? So I was making good grades and the girls said, "Please don't pass that one." [Laughter] And then sometimes they would draw on a circle, grades on a circle, and put the top one and go around. So that helped too.
Well, what kind of restrictions--? I know by you not living on campus you may not have been under the same kind of restrictions as the students that lived on campus. I know that--.
Well I doubt--. I don't think there was much difference really, because I would go to their rooms. Sometimes I would go eat with them. They had a dormitory and then they had a dining room for the students.
They had to sign out to even go to the cafeteria though, didn't they?
Yeah. Let's see. What else do I remember? I taught students that were having a hard time and so I made some money teaching them. I had a class outside. They allowed me to do it in the college, but it would have to be after hours.
Well now, it being during the Depression, how about the other students as far as their finances were concerned, were many of them very hard up for money?
Well I guess a lot of them had problems, but a lot of them that lived in Greenville they seemed to be doing okay. My father-in-law ran the Greenville Packing Company so he was doing okay. He sold meats and so forth.
Uh huh. How often did you get to go home to visit family?
To which family?
How often did you get to go back to Rocky Mount and visit with your family?
Well, one of the professors lived next door to my mother in Rocky Mount, and she would take me home that weekend.
Oh, that's nice. [Laughter]
She found out that I was there and she lived next door to my mother in Rocky Mount. And she--what was she? She wasn't a--. What kind of a church was she? But she lived next door to my mother in Rocky Mount. Christian Science.
Have you ever heard of that?
I'm not saying--. You are not a member, are you?
[Laughter]But she lived next door to my mother and she belonged to the Christian Science church and she had classes at East Carolina. And she would take me home sometimes on weekends to visit my mother.
Well now speaking of church, I know y'all had chapel on campus, but did you go to church out in the community?
I went to the Baptist church in Greenville.
The Memorial Baptist Church and Ms.--what was the--? Ms. Somebody went to that same church and she'd pick me up on Sunday and take me to Sunday school. And she was a member of that church in Rocky Mount. And then of course later they built a bigger church house on the edge of Rocky Mount.
Right, right. I know you mentioned Dr. . What about other faculty members that were mentors or ones that were--?
Flanagan was one of them. There was an English teacher. She helped me win that award. I can't remember her name. You don't have any other teacher's names, do you?
Not before me. Of course Dr. Wright was still the president at the time.
Yes, he was president.
Did you have any contact with him?
Well he would hold meetings, you now. Everybody would have to gather in a big room and he would talk to us. And he had a daughter near my age, and I don't know where she is.
Yeah I don't know that either, but--.
Dr. Wright was president and then Dr. Meadows became president.
When Dr. Wright died Dr. Meadows became president.
Dr. Meadows took over.
What was your reaction to him?
I liked him. Did you know my sister went there before I did and when he met me he said, "I remember a girl named Marie Worsley." I said, "That's my sister." He said, "Well she was real smart." He didn't say I was going to be real smart. He said, "She was real smart." [Laughter]
Of course he taught English before he became president.
Yeah. He did. He taught me English.
Did he really?
In the controversy that came out of the legal problems here at the University, I mean the College, during his presidency, they say that the female faculty and students were very supportive of him in the controversy that developed.
Uh huh. At first there wasn't many boys. I remember when the first boys came over and formed a basketball team.
Well go ahead and tell something about that.
1929 I graduated from high school and I went there, so it was about 1930 that some of the boys came and joined. It was all girls at first. And then the Greenville men came and joined, and I was trying to think who some of them were--some of the Greenville men.
My mind's failing me right now. I knew the first male to graduate from East Carolina was from down at Grifton.
He was from down at Grifton, the lower end of the county.
Well some of them may not have graduated. That name doesn't sound familiar.
No, I can't think of his name. What about organizations? They had formed the student government association in 1930.
Yes they did. I should have brought my annual because they had pictures of the girls, you know, that were all dressed up.
Well the student government--.
You don't have an annual, do you?
No ma'am, not for that period.
I should have brought my annual.
But the student government association had a lot of impact because there was--.
Yes, they had organizations and they were active. They were young and they were active.
Did you get involved in any of the literary societies: the Poe Society and the Lanier Society?
We joined some of the societies and in the meantime I was running around with my husband to be; didn't go to many meetings. [Laughter] Oh me.
You were in love.
And he was in Chapel Hill, and he wanted to get married.
What about the YWCA? That was created--.
Young Women's Christian Association.
Christian Association? I don't think I went to that. I'm sorry, but I lived out with my brother and his wife and a lot of it I didn't go. But I put on a--. For the teachers, my niece from Panama taught me a dance and we had a program [Laughter] and so I did the dance on that program. And so the teachers asked me to do a dance for their society. [Laughter] Oh gosh. So I went and put on that dance for the teachers' meeting and you
had to do acrobatics with it, and my sister-in-law gave me some pants things to wear. But I did crazy things.
Well now were you majoring in education?
I was majoring in science and math.
Science and math, okay.
BS degree in science and math. And I got it. I got it, and I was secretly married and didn't tell them until afterwards. And Dr. Slay--do you remember a teacher named Dr. Slay?
He was there at that time.
He was my favorite teacher and he took off and went to Chapel Hill and took more classes and I had moved to Chapel Hill where my husband was in school, so he got to be a good friend of ours again. He was my teacher and then when he went to Chapel Hill he was my friend then; Dr. Slay.
They named a dormitory after him on campus.
They did? Well he was wonderful. And Dr. Henderson, and Dr. .
How about Dr. Austin?
Do you remember him?
And a woman teacher. She was the one that helped me with my paper that won that money.
Well now you were a--. How about Sally Joyner Davis? She taught history.
She taught history too, but the one that helped me was not Davis. What was her name? She was an English teacher, I think. She taught English.
Right off the top of my head I don't remember who was teaching English at that time.
That was 1932, now.
And I had a math teacher got me a scholarship to go to Peabody College in Virginia--what's the name of that town?--Nashville, Tennessee. And I had to refuse it because I was secretly married. [Laughter]
Now was Miss Graham--?
Wasn't that terrible?
Was it Miss Graham teaching that English--?
She now lives right down the corner from me. And she, sometimes when she wanted somebody to spend the night with her I'd go over and spend the night with her. She wanted somebody with her all the time.
Is that right?
Yes. I remember her. In fact I spent a night there.
What do you remember about the faculty in general as far as your involvement with them? Was there a good relationship between all the faculty and students?
Yes. Oh yes. In fact I was teaching some of the high school students that needed help. That was where I made my spending money. [Laughter]
Well now the model school: were you involved in that? The model school, where they did their student teaching?
Yes I had to do student teaching. I had to take student teaching. Mine was in science and math because I got my BS degree. Oh yes.
What can you tell us about that? I don't think there's but one picture of the building left--.
What was that teacher's name that was a science teacher? It was a woman. And they had--. The first men students came and they got in my class. [Laughter]
I'm trying to think of any other faculty members that I was familiar with during that period. Well tell us some more about the student life. I know you weren't living on campus, but I'm sure you had a lot of interaction with the students who did live on campus.
They put on stunt night, you know, on the stage, and I had a friend from Rocky Mount that was there, we did a stunt that my niece taught me in Panama. [Laughter] Oh me.
What was the stunt?
What was the stunt?
We did mostly acrobatics, turning over and so forth, and then we would dance around a little. But we won.
Well now did you teach after you got married and left school?
No. [Laughter] Isn't that terrible? I didn't. I did substitute teaching in Farmville. Every time somebody would get sick I would come there and teach. And I have a friend that married a--Mary Frances Whitehurst married a boy in Farmville and then another girl, a Wilkinson girl, was in my class. You know the Wilkinson girl?
Well I know the Wilkinson family.
Yeah. [Laughter] You don't know one my age.
She would be ninety-five, like me. And Mary Francis is the same way. She would be ninety-five. Mary Francis is dead. I'm supposed to be dead. [Laughter]
No you aren't. [Laughter] Tell me about Henry Oglesby. You remembered him.
He was in my class.
Tell me about him from a perspective--.
Well he was very friendly and he criticized me all the time, being a woman. [Laughter] He was always saying, "You should have done so-and-so." And I thought I was doing everything right. And Henry Oglesby was the type that would tell me that that wasn't right. I should have done it some other way. But he was a good friend.
He was probably primarily joking with you or playing with you--
I think he was a big flirt.
And I was in science and math and that's what he was in. Is he still living?
Oh. Well he was about my age, so I'm ninety-five.
I remember when he died.
I remember when he died.
Oh. Well he was a good friend.
Well tell me about other students who were here--.
Other students who were here that you knew.
Zell Foley was a good student. I don't know where . She left, she finished, and she went to Tarboro and taught school in Tarboro until she died. Zell Foley. She married a very nice man in Tarboro. And she was a Foley, F-O-L-E-Y. Do you remember any Foleys?
No, that's not a familiar name for me.
And Margaret Hodges was Margaret Bostick. She was a Bostick and her daddy helped start that furniture store, Bostick and Sons [Bostic Suggs].
Bostick and Sons, right. Tell me some more highlights that you remember from your days here.
What was life like in Greenville in 1930?
Well, the women a lot of times wore socks. They were called a "socks girl." They didn't want to wear long hose all the time and they would wear socks.
Long dresses to go with them?
Yeah, dresses long enough so they could wear socks. And then the dresses got shorter and shorter. Before I left they were up to their knees.
Well that's what I was going to ask you.
Uh huh. They did. They were sort of getting shorter, and then at one time they were wearing some kind of pants that when you close them they would look like a regular size skirt. What do you call those pants?
I know what you're talking about.
They were real blousy and then when you close them together it looked like you had on a dress or a skirt.
Right, right. I know what you're talking about. Well I know one of the controversies that developed during the '30s was that Dr. Meadows apparently--.
They got upset with Dr. Meadows about something.
Quite a few things [Laughter] as a matter of fact.
Well I liked him.
But one thing that there was quite an argument about was the cheerleaders and the band, the girls in the band, were accustomed to wearing short pleated skirts--
--for their performances.
And Dr. Meadows put an end to that and made them wear long skirts.
Oh, is that it?
So there was a real controversy--
I didn't know what the controversy was, because I had gotten married about that time.
Well what really happened later on was they charged him with embezzlement and he went to prison for three years.
Oh. He was?
That was the charge against him, that he--.
That he used some of the school's money?
Used the non-appropriated money, student fees and things like that, to--
I never found out.
--maintain rental property that he owned.
Uh huh. Well I liked him.
Apparently a lot of the female faculty and students did like him. He made enemies of the male faculty but he was apparently very well liked--
--by the female faculty and students.
Hmm. Well I wondered what happened to him, because he was the--. He was sort of head of something when I was there.
Well he was head of the English department.
Because when I went there my sister had gone there several years before and she just went to the two-year thing. What was that called? Two-year program.
It was a teacher training program.
Well she became a teacher. What kind of program? Teacher training program?
And then I went into the four-year BS degree.
And she taught school near Farmville. Stayed with the Turnages and married a son. [Laughter] Became Mr. and Mrs. T.C. Turnage.
Well that's a good family to marry into. The Turnages were very prominent people.
Yeah, Davis Turnage keeps up with all that. He may have said something to you or written to you or something. Davis Turnadge didn't, did he?
No, not that I know of.
Well he was telling how many people in North Carolina that are near my age.
More and more, nowadays.
That was near my age--
--that are still living?
Well he was telling about it, said at least twenty.
Oh I'm sure.
Uh huh, and he lives near Asheville, so.
Can you think of any major problems you had while you were here as a student, either--?
Oh, money was scarce. [Laughter] Oh yes. And I wrote a paper, "Chemistry and Household Conveniences," and my English teacher helped me with it, and I won four hundred dollars, and that helped me finish.
Yeah, that really would. What about downtown? What did downtown Greenville look like?
You know the old part of downtown was kind of closed up at that time, but now they've opened it back up.
What do you mean it was closed up?
Part of downtown, where Rosenblum Levy is, places were one time, they just didn't use it for awhile.
In Greenville. And now they opened it back up, you know.
Where was Rosenblum Levy?
Where was Rosenblum Levy?
Rosenblum Levy was in Rocky Mount. My uncle was the secretary for Rosenblum Levy
I thought you said that downtown Greenville was closed up?
Well, that was closed up at one time, downtown Greenville. And they just didn't use that part, moved out at the edge of Greenville.
Oh, that came much later. I'm talking about 1930.
I'm talking about when you were here.
No, they had Rosenblum--. They had--. What was the store at Greenville?
Blount-Harvey, yes, and my brother sold shoes there, at Blount-Harvey. And one of the men--one of the family--had a girl that was going to be a debutante or something, and my brother took her to New York to buy clothes.
Goodness gracious. Okay. So the town was quite small at the time you were here. It didn't cover--. And the campus was much more compact than it is now too.
Oh yes. It has--.
Do you have any thoughts on that?
It has really grown.
Was the lake--? And they may have developed the lake at the time you were here. At one time they had a lake there on campus. Is that--?
Had a who?
A lake, water.
Was that after your time they developed that?
I can't remember.
Okay, I'm not quite sure when that was built, but they for some years--.
Had a lake?
I think it was later--.
Yeah. Oh, it was a little bit--. It wasn't right on campus. It was right near there. And we used to go around there and have picnics.
How far was it from campus?
It could be in walking distance, I think, of some places.
See, the campus soon moved out and took it over. [Laughter]
Yeah. Well when I graduated from high school, I graduated in Rocky Mount. They had a lake in Rocky Mount. Yes.
Other than the skits and things like that, what kind of entertainment was there for students?
They just put on different programs and they would have things maybe about once a year or something that people put on their own stunt night.
Was there a theater in town at the time?
Oh gosh. I think there had always been a theater. [Laughter] I don't know. I can't remember that.
You don't remember going downtown to any performances of any kind?
I can't remember that. I was busy in school or either getting ready to get married again--I mean the first time. The only time! [Laughter] I only was married once. Thank you for thinking. Oh yes. And I married a wonderful man, and his daddy ran the Greenville Packing Company; sold meat.
What did your parents think of you getting married so soon?
They didn't like it. [Laughter] No, but my sister was very disappointed because I had been accepted to go to Nashville, Tennessee and she said, "I would have been thrilled to death to have had that chance." And I said, "I'm sorry, but I just can't go." I didn't tell her I was married at that time. You weren't supposed to be married in school. Did you know that?
Yes. And I was secretly married.
Would they just--?
And I got my diploma and right after I got that diploma somebody found out and told Dr. Slay that I was married. Yep. And then Dr. Slay came to Chapel Hill and got to be a friend of ours. Wonderful life.
You didn't say much about Dr. Austin. Was he--? You didn't have any classes under him?
Did he--? What did he teach?
Dr. Austin--. I thought he was teaching science at one time.
He may have been.
But you know the original named building there on campus was named for him.
Austin, yes. He may have taught right at the beginning?
Yeah, he was there for quite awhile.
Did he teach history or science or what?
I was just trying to see. Here's that picture that I was trying to find a while ago that shows three of the female faculty members.
That's Mamie Jenkinson.
And there's Maria Graham--
I remember Miss Graham.
--and then Sally Joyner Davis.
She taught math, Graham. Oh yes. That's wonderful.
I knew it was there somewhere, and it kept eluding me. Dr. Ragsdale: did you ever have him?
No, I didn't have him. What did he teach?
No. I didn't take education. I took everything in the math and science.
Claude Wilson also taught education.
And the English teacher's the one that helped me win that money.
Herbert Austin taught science.
What year was that?
This was early on. He was there for quite a while. This particular picture was pretty early.
I don't think he taught me.
Mamie Jenkins was an English teacher.
Yeah. I had her.
I don't know who else taught English other than she. Any other thoughts from your college years?
How about history? Who taught history?
Sally Joyner Davis.
I know, but some man taught too.
The man who taught history was--.
Because he taught me.
I think there was another history faculty member. They don't list another one in this that taught history. I'm sure there was another one, but I--.
A man taught me history, I think.
The English teacher's the one that helped me win that money.
Uh huh. Well Mamie Jenkins was the main English teacher. There may have been others, but she was one of the main ones in the early years.
She helped me write my paper.
[Woman's voice] Huh? [Woman's voice] My wife--.
Where is she?
She's in the back of the house there.
[Spoken to Mr. Lennon's wife] This is going back into history, before I was married.
Why did you decide not to teach except to substitute? Your husband was--. You were busy raising a family, or--?
Yes. I took the job to substitute when one of the teachers would get sick at Sam D. Bundy School, and I would come in and take their place.
But when you weren't substituting you were being a housewife.
Yes. No, I was running the Girl Scouts, and Children of the American Revolution, and the DAR, and the CAR. [Laughter]
I know how that is.
And all that stuff.
Well now, I think I asked you this before, but did you actually do student teaching while you were here?
Oh, everybody had to do student teaching.
Tell me something about that.
That was the reason--. I mean when you finished you had to do student teaching. And Henry Oglesby was one that was criticizing me when I was doing my student teaching.
Well tell me more about how the student teacher aspect worked. How did that work?
They all had to do it, you know.
I mean, how did it operate?
We had classes. We had to do just like the regular teachers: make up our program for each day, and we had to use the blackboard to show them something because I was in math.
And these were students from Greenville who were students--?
Yeah, that were in college.
In college or lower grades?
University, wasn't it? Oh, when taught some of the students--. Oh, I taught some of the students that were slow learners and I was doing something on my own that I would have a class of them and I would charge them. [Laughter] But I didn't do it for the college.
But the model school was public school age students that you were teaching?
Yes, public school children that I would teach and help to get--. And a lot of them, I helped them to graduate. Yes. They were regular students.
Any classroom incidents that you remember that were interesting? Anything out of the ordinary, when you were--?
[Laughter]Oh me. I can't remember, but I remember one girl came with her head all wrapped up and I said, "What in the world's the matter with you?" and she said, "I dyed my hair last night and it turned red." Oh me. She was one of my students.
I didn't know students did that back in 1932.
Oh yes, they did. [Laughter] She wouldn't undo her head, but she had it all tied up with a scarf. And I said, "What in the world's the matter with you?" and she said, "Well I dyed my hair last night and it turned red." [Laughter] Oh me. She was a girl from town that lived in Greenville, came from a very well-to-do family. Yeah.
Well, do you have any other thoughts about your education or about the time that you were here at East Carolina?
Well, a lot of the classes I had at East Carolina I had in Rocky Mount. We had a good school in Rocky Mount. We really did. And did you know one of the classes we had at Rocky Mount was the Bible?
They taught the Bible, and now they're not allowed to do that, are they?
I don't know.
I don't think so. But in Rocky Mount we had a class in the Bible.
Things have changed a lot since 1929. [Laughter]
This was 1929, yeah. No 1929, I was in high school.
That's what I said. You were still in Rocky Mount. Well now, the high school in Rocky Mount, did it have twelve grades or what?
I think we just had eleven grades. They put in a twelfth when I came to Farmville. I don't think we had but eleven grades.
That was true of most of the schools back then, eleven grades.
And I don't know why they changed to twelve, but that was after my children were born. They still had eleven grades in Farmville, and then they changed to twelve.
I don't think they changed it until sometime in the 1940s.
Oh. Well they didn't have but eleven grades for awhile. Yeah. And I don't know why they changed to twelve. Do you?
Another year of instruction.
Uh huh. Because Miss Johnnie Joyner from Farmville was the teacher for the last year. She taught. Oh yes.
Well, unless you can think of some other incidents or activities that come to mind concerning your childhood or what led you to East Carolina, or your--.
We had the first grade, second grade, third grade--. My daughter, when she wasn't in school, and my friend next door, was Walter Jones' sister, and she played school. And she taught my daughter, Nan, so much that when she went into the first grade, and Miss Annie Perkins was the teacher, and she said, "Nan, what are you doing?" and Nan said, "I'm reading the newspaper. I want to see what was going on." And she said, "Well I'm supposed to teach you to read." And she moved my daughter up to the second grade. That was Walter Jones' family. And Miss Annie Perkins was the first grade teacher in Farmville. That was--. [Break in recording]
Now let me ask you a question pertaining to that. You were a student here when you met him?
Was it at a dance, or what kind of an affair was it?
I'm about three months older, but he was later starting school because of his age and see I started before he did.
But did you meet him here at East Carolina?
I met him the night he graduated from high school and I was a freshman in college.
Okay. Was this at a dance, or--?
No. My friend Zell Foley was going to do something that night and she called him and asked him to go with us. And she had a boyfriend from Greenville, so
anyway she asked my husband-to-be to go with us. And so the next morning he went home and told his mother he'd met the girl he was going to marry. [Laughter]
So this was a blind double date.
Uh huh. In a blind double date, yeah. [Mrs. Lennon speaking] Did you do the same thing?
[End of Interview]
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