Carma Credle Gibbs oral history interview, November 3, 1997






Carma Blair Credle Gibbs
Narrator
Ruth Jolly Wilson
Interviewer
November 3, 1997
Mrs. Gibbs' Home
Engelhard, North Carolina

Carma Blair Credle Gibbs - CG
Ruth Jolly Wilson - RW

RW: This is an interview between Ruth Jolly Wilson and Miss Carma Credle Gibbs. It takes place at her home in Engelhard, North Carolina, and today is November the 3rd, 1997.

Would you like to start off by telling me the name of your parents?

CG: My parents were Hugh Blair Credle and... [Whispers] Cut it off just a minute. [Break in recording] My mama's name was Anna Mann Fisher Credle.

RW: Where were you born?

CG: Where was I born?

RW: Yes.

CG: I was born at home in Lake Landing. (1:07, Part 1)

RW: Did a midwife deliver you?

CG: Yes.

RW: Who delivered you? Do you know?

CG: No, I don't.

RW: And you grew up in Lake Landing?

CG: Yes. I lived in Lake Landing until I married Horace. Then I came to Engelhard.

RW: Is the house still standing?

CG: Oh, yes, and it's so pretty.

RW: Which house is it?

CG: Do you know where Trey Jennette lives? (1:50, Part 1)

RW: Yes.

CG: Well, it's the house before you get to Trey's house.

RW: All right. Did you have any brothers and sisters?

CG: I had three sisters. Two have died and I have one in Belhaven.

RW: What was your childhood like?

CG: Oh, it was good. [Laughs] We didn't have a lot of things that other children had but we had enough. We had a good mother and daddy, and we just... We just loved where we lived.

RW: What was your home like?

CG: My home?

RW: Yes. What was the house like? Describe your house. (2:51, Part 1)

CG: Well, it's a large house, and it's on... Mama and daddy had one house to get burned and they had built another one, and it's a big, white house with a... It's a two-story and the yard is pretty. We lost our home. They sent us to-sent all four of us to-college and by then, you know, we didn't have a whole lot and we lost that. But somebody in the family owns it, so we're glad of that.

RW: How old were you when the first house caught on fire?

CG: I wasn't born then.

RW: You weren't born.

CG: No. I can remember after they... Well, they built right over the same spot, and we used to play-our little cousins right across from us. We'd all get under the house, because it was built high, and we'd play under there, [04:11 in the broken, like window lites and all]. It bubbled up and had little balls, and we played with those things. I don't know how it did it, but it would get hot and roll up like a ball. (4:32, Part 1)

RW: The glass would?

CG: Yes.

RW: Hmm!

CG: And we played with it. Our dining room and kitchen were on the back and there was a partition, or a porch, from that to the main house.

RW: What were some of the other things you used to do?

CG: Well, what do you mean? Before we started school, or.?

RW: Well, in the summertime, or any time during your growing-up years. Like, what was your social life like?

CG: Well, everybody didn't have a car in those days, but we had a surrey. Do you know what a surrey is? (5:34, Part 1)

RW: Yes.

CG: [Laughs] We enjoyed that. We had two cousins right close to us, so we had plenty of playing to do. And we always went to church-rain or shine, we went to church-and we would go in a horse and buggy, you know, if it rained or whatever. And in the summertime we would... The older folks, our mothers and daddies and all, would get up a bunch of small children like us and get a boat out down at Nebraska, and get in that boat, and Mama and Daddy would take eats, you know, like a picnic, and that's where we went swimming.

RW: In the [Pamlico] Sound?

CG: Yes. That was the best time. [Laughs]

RW: Did they rent the boat?

CG: Yes, or... I don't know that anybody ever paid. Everybody was just glad... You know, if they had a boat, maybe they'd go out with us. It was fun. We'd come back burned up. [Laughs] We didn't care, though.

RW: I guess it wasn't too easy to go to the ocean beach in those days. (7:14, Part 1)

CG: Oh, no. We didn't even know what it was all about.

RW: What church did you attend?

CG: Right up here.

RW: Amity?

CG: Amity. The whole family, we were members of Amity, and when my sister got married and moved to Belhaven, her husband was an Episcopal, and he didn't insist. He let her make up her mind. So she went to Mama one day and asked her if it was all right if she moved her, you know, and went to his church, and he was so crazy about his church. I mean, he took a big part in it, and Mama thought that was real nice. So she told her yes; that would be fine. So then, when I got married, Horace was going to church down here and I was still up there, and one day I thought, well, it's just... You know, we weren't going to separate. Mama had died then and I couldn't ask her. But anyway, I had an aunt who sort of got mad with me because of it, but [unclear 08:47]. But, anyway, I moved down here with him.

RW: I'm sure that you had Sunday school. Can you tell me what that was like, and maybe describe it? (9:04, Part 1)

CG: Well, up at Amity, we didn't have regular places, you know, for a room, you know, for an individual room, like they do down here, and I don't reckon they did down here at first. But anyway, they were sort of blocked off, about four rows, and the oldest ladies would be the teachers, and we thought they were something. They just knew everything. We had about four that, you know, you could block it off, and we had a nice-a lot nicer than we have now.

RW: Did you maybe...? Did they use a curtain to block it off, to separate it?

CG: No.

RW: No?

CG: No. Just like this was a row, a row of seats, and this maybe might be about four rows up here, and I can see some of them right now, standing there, just telling us everything, and we did like it. But, now, this one down here, they had nice rooms. (10:33, Part 1)

RW: Something I hadn't thought about before, but I know they have the upstairs that they used to use for the slaves in the Amity Church. Were there blacks that went to the Amity Church and sat up there when you.? I mean, I know they wouldn't have still been slaves, because that was later on, but I was just wondering if blacks still attended Amity at that time. No?

CG: No.

RW: That's interesting.

CG: When somebody was getting married, you know, there's a lot of coming and going, and all that big room, you could look up there and it was just filled with such a big crowd.

RW: That's a nice church because of the balcony.

CG: Yes.

RW: It's such a nice feel when you do have a large crowd of people. (11:41, Part 1)

CG: Yes.

RW: Where did you go to school?

CG: East Carolina, in Greenville.

RW: Yes, but when you were growing up.

CG: Oh! Where did we go to school? About a quarter of a mile from home there was a one-no, a two-teacher school. Do you remember where Sam Barber had a place?

RW: Is it the school that was called Lake View?

CG: Yes.

RW: Okay. I'm acquainted with Lake View School. So that's where you attended? (12:22, Part 1)

CG: Yes, and we could walk to school. If it was raining, Daddy would put us in the buggy and take us, but if it wasn't raining it was just a nice walk for us. I remember there was just two teachers.

RW: About how many students?

CG: I declare, I... I know there were only three in my grade, and it was like that. There were six grades, and there would be two boys and girls in the one and. It was just a handful. I don't really remember how many.

RW: Do you remember who your teachers were?

CG: Yes, but [Laughs] I can't remember... Kate.

RW: Kate Makeley?

CG: Kate Makeley was one. Oh, my land. I just can't...

RW: Would R.S. Spencer's mother have been one, maybe? (13:31, Part 1)

CG: I don't remember her.

RW: Okay. Or Elizabeth Mann? Could she have been one?

CG: No, I don't think so.

RW: Okay. Then did you switch over to the Lake Landing High School?

CG: Yes.

RW: In the eighth grade, I guess?

CG: Yes, and that was just like going to college. [Laughs]

RW: [Laughs] Big change.

CG: Yes. We drove the horse and buggy. Virginia, my sister, and myself drove the horse and buggy, and when we got there we'd take the...

RW: Harness? (14:14, Part 1)

CG: Harness off, put the pony in a little... Everybody had a place to put their horse, pony, or what, and it was muddy. We'd cut off up there by Amity. We'd go through there. Oh, and it was muddy. It was up to their knees. I was scared to death. She wasn't very scared, but I was.

RW: Was it like a stable they had to put the horses in?

CG: Yes.

RW: So it wasn't just the hitching post.

CG: No. No, they didn't have to stay out or anything, and if some of the boys liked us and all, at noon they would go out and feed them so we wouldn't have to go out. [Laughs]

RW: Can you give me an idea what the social life was like in the school? (15:17, Part 1)

CG: Well, I can't remember too much about it. I mean, [unclear 15:27] a good time or anything. But we would have plays, you know, right many plays, and our moms and dads would come to it. In the daytime we had... We had one place that we could pitch the ball. I remember that. We could play ball.

RW: Was that basketball?

CG: Yes.

RW: You didn't have a gym there then.

CG: No. Well, later on we did. Right at first we didn't. Seem like they built another part and that's where we had our plays and entertainments.

RW: Can you give me an idea of what school was like at Lake View?

CG: Lake View? (16:35, Part 1)

RW: Yes.

CG: Well, the only thing I remember about having anything to play with was a see-saw. That was the only thing. So we just all got out in the yard, and it was all... We were all about the same size, not any little ones especially. In the back of the building it was full of trees, and we played back in there in those, played hide-and-seek and stuff like that. The teachers had a bell, you know, that they rang when it was time to come in, and the toilet was just two... Let me see. Three people could go in at any time, regardless of how bad you needed to go. [Laughs]

RW: Well, what was it like?

CG: What was it like?

RW: Yes.

CG: Well, it was a nice little place, and it had three holes cut on the inside, and we had a door that we could hook on a hook so the boys wouldn't come in on us. (17:52, Part 1)

RW: That was for both boys and girls.

CG: Yes. And it wasn't right close. The building was here, and then you go out and go up that way and it was a right good ways, so when that bell rang we had to run. [Both laugh]

RW: What led up to your desire to become a teacher, or what made you decide to enter the teaching profession?

CG: Well, when I was a little girl, you know how you.? I don't know about you, but we used to play school, and I always had that I was going to be the teacher, and I loved it. I loved it, and I'd give them a... Well, this big and right on up, I'd give them a test, you know, and I just loved it, and from the time I was able to play at all I knew I wanted to be a school teacher. So Mama and Daddy had four girls, and all of us went to college, and when it was time for me to go Mama had made me the prettiest dresses and gowns and different things. You know, you couldn't buy 'em, and she sewed up a storm, so I had some pretty things. (19:32, Part 1)

[One day] this fella from Virginia came down to visit with some of his folks, and I started going with him and I got in love with him, [Laughs] and I didn't want to go to East Carolina and teach. I wanted to go to Virginia and be a nurse. So when I went in and told Mama she said, "No, sir," because they loved East Carolina. They wanted everybody to go there. So I just insisted, and they just insisted that I not, so they got their way, and I have thanked my Lord ever since [Both laugh] that I changed and went on.

RW: Well, what made them especially love East Carolina?

CG: I don't know. It could have been another place just as good. They just wanted us to be school teachers.

RW: They knew that was the place.

CG: Yes. And the oldest one, when she went to school, I think she went about seven or eight years. We always told Daddy that he thought more of her because she had more time. But she taught music. She was a music teacher. And then the rest of us were just school teachers. (21:09, Part 1)

RW: Not "just." [Laughs]

CG: Well, I've been so glad.

RW: What was it like for you at East Carolina Teachers' College?

CG: Well, when they took me to the college, I thought I would die. I thought it was the worst place I had ever seen, and the first... But now I know it was good, a lot better than it is now. I mean, things didn't happen then like now, and we were never afraid or anything like that. But when Mama and Daddy left that day it was just like, oh, I don't know. It was bad. But we soon got used to it, you know.

RW: You say "we." Was somebody else with you?

CG: Well, my cousin, my first cousin, was going, and her mother wanted us to stay together, you know, and-.

RW: Room together. (22:25, Part 1)

CG: Yes. And, if you remember Edna Farrow? Do you remember her?

RW: [unclear 22:33]

CG: She and myself were best of friends, so we had said for a long time we were going to be roommates. Anyway, but the other girl, my cousin, we were all right there in a bunch, seem like. So, we got along fine.

RW: So who did you room with?

CG: Edna.

RW: You roomed with Edna.

CG: Yes.

RW: You went out on that one. [Laughs]

CG: Sure did. And we both went two years, and the other one, my cousin, didn't like the first year so she went to Raleigh and took up a...what kind of a course?

RW: Secretarial? (23:20, Part 1)

CG: Yes. So that's what she did. We couldn't go downtown. If we went downtown... I think we could go every two weeks or something like that, walk downtown, and you had to wear your gloves, and you had to wear your hat. I didn't have any gloves and Edna had one pair, and I would wear one of her gloves and she would wear the other one. [Laughs] Things like that.

RW: Did you stick the other hand in your pocket? [Laughs]

CG: I'm sure we did, yeah. [Laughs] Oh, that was fun. But we had to be back... We had to sign out and we had to be back that many... If we were not, we were called up, and that scared us to death.

RW: How old were you when you first started at EC?

CG: How old?

RW: Yes.

CG: Oh, my land. Hmm. I don't know. (24:41, Part 1)

RW: Seventeen? Eighteen? Did you have eleven or twelve years to graduate from high school at that time?

CG: Yes.

RW: Which? Eleven?

CG: When I graduated the crops had been bad that year, and he said if they were bad I couldn't go, and I wasn't worried about it. So, I went to school, I went on to school again, and I might have taken one course or something just to fill in, and I worked in the library. So I guess I was twenty at least.

RW: Oh, really? Did you graduate after the twelfth grade then, or after the eleventh grade?

CG: Eleventh.

RW: Eleventh.

CG: Yes.

RW: So there were eleven years of school. And then you went an extra year because the crops were bad. (25:43, Part 1)

CG: That's right.

RW: And then the following year you started school, started at East Carolina Teachers' College.

CG: Yes.

RW: So your dad was a farmer.

CG: Yes.

RW: Did your mother sew for people outside of the family?

CG: Did she what?

RW: Sew for people outside of the family.

CG: No, but she sewed our clothes. We had right many.

RW: How many years did you go to ECTC? (26:25, Part 1)

CG: I went two years and got a B course. Then I started... Then Mama was sick. She had fallen and was... Well, she was just unable, and somebody had to be there with her. So I took courses through...

RW: Ext... Through the mail.

CG: Mail, yes.

RW: I can't think of what you want to say either.

CG: I can't either. And then I'd go back some summers when our other sister, who was teaching in some other place, she stayed and, you know, took care of her. I finished out after a while.

RW: How old were you when your mother passed away?

CG: Let's see. Oh. I don't know. Honey, I declare, I don't remember.

RW: Was it shortly after this illness? (27:40, Part 1)

CG: Do you know, I was... Let's see. I was thirty-two years when I got married, and Mama had died in March and we were married in December, and I was thirty-two years.

RW: So she lived a good while, then, after she took sick.

CG: Yes.

RW: Did you do a lot of dating in college? What was that like?

CG: Well, I was scared to death. If anybody asked me for a date I was scared, you know. [Laughs] I was so... Well, all of us were just so, I don't know, different from what it had been, you know. But the first year I didn't care whether I saw a boy. Well, there wasn't anybody there. I mean, you know, on campus. There was not but one boy that was going to school the first year I went to college.

RW: So it was mostly girls. (28:48, Part 1)

CG: Yes. Then around the second year, well, I'd say there was maybe one or two more, and I thought I would never forget that boy's name but I have. I've forgotten it. But he was a fine boy, he really was. Then when I started on the second year, why, I had a few dates, as many as I wanted. I was scared to get off of that campus, afraid I wouldn't get back in on time. [Laughs]

RW: I take it, then, that they were boys that were not attending college.

CG: Yes. That's right.

RW: So, can you tell me a little bit about what dorm life was like?

CG: What kind?

RW: Dorm.

CG: Oh. I liked that. Like I say, Edna and myself got along good, and people, the girls around us, and we'd meet and, you know, go out and walk around outside. We'd go to church. (30:14, Part 1)

RW: Was there a church on campus, or.

CG: Yes.

RW: .you had to go off campus?

CG: [unclear 30:19] And we had a movie every so often. I don't know how often that was, but that was over at the library, or... I guess it was a building just for recreation.

RW: What were some of the courses that you took?

CG: Oh, the worst one I took was history. Oh, I knew I was going to fail that. But, now, Miss Sally, I believe that was her name, and everybody had said how she wasn't mean but she was strict. You know, she wanted you to know. And [Laughs] the girls... I was scared to death, and they said, "Don't be afraid," said, "If she asks you a question and you don't know it, answer something. Just don't sit there, answer something," and said, "She'll take it right up and go along." So that's what I did, because I could not learn history to save my life. But I did, I-knock on wood-I never did fail the first test of any kind, and I was proud of that.

RW: I imagine that was a big change, to go from Hyde County to Greenville. (31:49, Part 1)

CG: Yes. Indeed, it was. When I was... I can't remember what I want to say. When you first go and get your-what you're going to take.

RW: Your schedule.

CG: Yes. That place, that building, was so full of folks, and you just go from one to another, and I was scared I wasn't going to get the things I wanted and, I declare, that worried me so bad. But everybody else was the same way, I think. But I got along fine. I was homesick. I begged Mama to let me go home and they wouldn't let me, so. [Laughs] I'm glad they didn't let me.

RW: You didn't have telephones back then. Or did you?

CG: Yes. Well, no. We had to go to the office. If we wanted to make a call we had to go to the office, and like if our mamas wanted to call us, they called the same way and then they'd send somebody over to go to the office to talk to them. Things have changed a lot.

RW: Haven't they?

CG: Yes.

RW: How old were you when you started teaching? (33:30, Part 1)

CG: Let's see. I started in '30-. Wait a minute. It couldn't be '23, was it?

RW: You graduated in '33, I think you told me, and you started teaching in '34?

CG: In '30-. Yes.

RW: Does that sound right?

CG: Yes. When did I.? I started in '33. I took somebody else's place. She was having a baby, so I taught the last three years [sic], and that was '32. I think that's right.

RW: You said '33.

CG: '33?

RW: Yes. That brings up an interesting thought. How long did she teach during her pregnancy before she had you fill in for her?

CG: How long did she teach? (34:36, Part 1)

RW: Yes.

CG: That year?

RW: Yes. How far along was she in her pregnancy?

CG: Let's see. About seven years, I think.

RW: Seven months, you mean?

CG: Months, yes.

RW: So she was showing a lot. Was that an issue for the school, or was it not particularly an issue?

CG: No. It didn't seem to bother anybody. They didn't make her stop or anything.

RW: She chose to.

CG: Yes.

RW: Did she go back to teaching afterwards, after she had the baby? (35:13, Part 1)

CG: She did a lot of filling in. I don't believe she started teaching anymore, because I kept going with that. She didn't teach anymore except volunteering, you know, at times.

RW: And this was the first grade.

CG: Yes.

RW: First and second. Was this at Engelhard.

CG: Yes.

RW: .or was it-? It was at Engelhard.

CG: It was at Engelhard.

RW: Well, Engelhard must have been new at that time.

CG: No.

RW: The Engelhard school?

CG: No. I don't think it was... No, it wasn't new, but they added a new part to it.

RW: Oh, is that how it was? (35:59, Part 1)

CG: Yes.

RW: Okay.

CG: Cause that building needed work and it needed some more space, and I think they built... They did an auditorium and in back of the auditorium they had two classes.

RW: Two classrooms.

CG: Yes.

RW: And one of those was yours.

CG: Yes.

RW: And that is the same classroom that you had, I take it, until the schools consolidated.

CG: Yes.

RW: So you always taught in the same classroom until then?

CG: Yes.

RW: Would you like to describe that classroom? (36:45, Part 1)

CG: The classroom that I had back there?

RW: Yes.

CG: Well, everybody said it was mighty pretty. [Laughs] It was nice and big and it had little seats, nice little seats, and between the two buildings there was a-I mean inside-a nice boys' bathroom and girls' bathroom, and that was nice.

[Break in recording]

Is it on?

RW: Yes.

CG: I can remember a lot of... We had two big boards to write on, you know, and the children would make things around the top, make it pretty.

RW: Like what kinds of things? (37:46, Part 1)

CG: Like clay, you know, and they'd paint, paint pictures. I never will forget one time. Whatever they made, I put it up. I mean, I put it where everybody could see it. One teacher, she really was an artist, and her children always looked real pretty, I mean everything was pretty, and one night we had a PTA meeting and a lady whispered to somebody and said, "I wish you could see her room on the other side." She says, "It's a lot prettier than this," and that lady had a first-grade child. She said, "Well, I reckon they are." Says, "These are just exactly as pretty as those," and went on and went on, and I was hearing it. But I put it up whether it was pretty or what.

But we had times to go to lunch. I think a bell would ring and we would have to go to the lunchroom. Then we'd come back in and put our heads down a little bit a rest a few minutes and get back to work. (39:23, Part 1)

RW: About how many students did you have in the room, and what grades did they cover?

CG: I taught first grade every year, and I have had as many as thirty-five and that was a crowd.

RW: No teachers' aides.

CG: No. No, sir, and it just wasn't right, but they, after a while, got down to... I reckon I had about twenty-three or [twenty]-four. Maybe I had that many.

RW: That was just the first grade?

CG: Yes.

RW: How about the second?

CG: I didn't teach... I didn't have any...

RW: You didn't have any second-graders? (40:18, Part 1)

CG: No. One year I taught... Well, that was after I went to Mattamuskeet. I taught first grade and a few second graders together.

RW: Were supplies hard to come by?

CG: No, not really. We knew we had to, you know, be careful, but most of the time we had what we needed. Books and things were really all. We had a library and things for them to play with.

RW: Did the small children have desks or did they have long tables?

CG: They had little desks.

RW: They had little desks?

CG: Yes.

RW: How did you handle discipline?

CG: I declare I didn't have any trouble with discipline. I mean, once in a while. But I don't think it'd be that way now. [Laughs] But I got along fine with them. There was always maybe one that would mess up things, but I just didn't have any trouble with them. (42:06, Part 1)

RW: You never had to stand anybody in the corner?

CG: Oh, yes. Yes.

RW: [Laughs]

CG: There was always one. I can't remember who he was, but.

RW: Seems like I remember that you used to have a little bed over.

CG: I did.

RW: .against the wall for a kid if they got sick or something that they could go lie down.

CG: Yes, and that really was good too. The janitor was right under, or right by, our room and he took a liking to me. He was good to everybody but he always wanted to do something for me. He knew Horace. He was a friend of Horace's, I think.

RW: What was his name? Do you remember? (43:08, Part 1)

CG: I don't know.

RW: He was black, wasn't he?

CG: Yes, and he built me that little bed.

RW: Is that where that bed came from?

CG: It sure is, and one of the... I don't remember who the mother was, but she thought it was a good idea and she and somebody else helped, I think; made a little mattress and a little cover and a little pillow, and I declare it was [43:36 who and who] to get in that bed. [Both laugh]

RW: How did you handle your reading classes?

CG: Well, I'd usually have about three groups and I'd just divide them up, you know. I don't know... I reckon you had to... Well, anyway, I would pick out the good ones, the better, and the middle, and the slower ones, and I just took one group after another, and while that group had finished reading then they had work to do that I put on the... (44:26, Part 1)

RW: Blackboard?

CG: Blackboard, or just made on paper, you know. That kept them busy and, like I say, I... And I can remember... Do you remember R.S.'s daddy?

RW: Yes.

CG: Do you remember? When his little girl started to school she cried and she cried. She was the most pitiful little thing I ever saw.

RW: This was Mary Anne?

CG: What is her name?

RW: Yes. Mary Anne, wasn't it?

CG: No.

RW: No? Okay.

CG: [I don't think so.]

RW: Well, go ahead. (45:08, Part 1)

CG: But every morning he would take that child to school and she would cut up so. You know, she was just heartbroken. So he's standing out there with her and I'd go out and talk to her. After a while, though, we got her straight and she was all right. He was worse than she was. He was old, you know, and sort of feeble I think, and I felt so sorry for him because he hated to walk off and leave that little thing.

RW: Didn't you have some type of a musical band?

CG: Yes. We sure did, and... Let's see. The ladies, I told them how I wanted them made and I got the material, and they made regular little things, you know, for them to play on, and I declare, we did some good [unclear 46:14]. [Laughs] I'd save them from year to year and use them, you know, the next year.

RW: The little costumes, you mean.

CG: Yes.

RW: Well, what was the music like? What type of musical instruments did you have? (46:34, Part 1)

CG: Not anything like... Let's see. Well, I guess it was. But it was just a.what do you call them?

RW: I think there were some little sticks that you beat against each other to keep time and then-.

CG: Yes, but I had one that you lined up and... I want to say a [unclear 47:00]. Anyway, and I had to use the same little records over and over because I couldn't get any, you know, that was little enough for 'em.

RW: It was much more difficult back in those days to get children's music.

CG: Yes, but I thought that was the cutest thing, and they did it good. They were smart.

RW: Didn't they use-? (47:33, Part 1)

[End side one, tape one]

CG: -match that and, can't remember, seem like they stood up... Now I'm not sure how it was. But they'd walk out on that stage and I thought they were so cute.

[Break in recording]

-here, and that was all, then it was, you know, loose over their arms.

RW: Yes.

CG: I gave those to Veronica when she started teaching, or I asked her if she wanted them and she said yes, but I don't know if she ever used them.

RW: Tell me something about the fall festivals they used to have.

CG: The one at school?

RW: Yes. (0:54, Part 2)

CG: Yeah, that was good. The children, of course, were crazy about it, and every teacher had a certain thing to do, you know, and I always had fishing. I had it in my room and I'd have it marked off with curtains, and they'd fish, and that was fun.

RW: Describe it exactly and describe what some of the prizes were, you know, what they would catch.

CG: Oh, my land. I can remember. I can't remember a thing. I can remember having things in boxes, you know. Seem to me like the principal would pick out...

RW: The prizes?

CG: Yes, and get 'em for me, and then I'd get out and get some at the stores and around, and... I can't remember about that.

RW: If I remember correctly, somebody would stand on the outside and take the money and give the kid the fishing pole and they would throw it over the sheet, and somebody stood in the back and fastened something onto the end of the fishing pole.

CG: That's right. How old were you then? (2:34, Part 2)

RW: Well, you had me in the first grade, but... Let's see. I started the first grade in '51, so you'd been teaching a good while by then.

CG: Yes.

RW: I guess I was probably in about the middle of your students, maybe. [Laughs] I remember the little Jack and Jill books. Or, what was it, Jerry and Judy? Maybe that's more what it was. [Laughs]

CG: Yes, Jerry and... I guess so. Judy.

RW: I remember that you taught by sight reading. Did you ever teach by phonics?

CG: Yes.

RW: With phonics?

CG: Yes. And, do you know, for I think ten... I can't believe it was ten years that they took phonics off, and I thought that wasn't good at all.

RW: But you taught the way they told you to anyway. (3:49, Part 2)

CG: Yes, but it sure was better with phonics.

RW: Definitely. I often wondered about that because you taught me sight reading and I just wondered how you felt about that. That brings up another issue. Were you involved in the new math when they came out with that? Did that affect you?

CG: Well, let's see. I was at Mattamuskeet then, and when we got our math books, well, all of us I think were upset about it. So one day I had my book home and, do you know, I could not. I think it was about the third page or something like that and I could not figure that out, and I was embarrassed [Laughs] to ask anybody. So, Betty Swindell.do you remember her?

RW: Oh, yes.

CG: I got her off in a corner and I said, "Betty, please help me with this math." I said, "I do not understand it." She said, "Carma, I don't either." (5:10, Part 2)

RW: [Laughs]

CG: And she was smart about it, but she didn't want anybody to know about... But I thought she was so smart, you know, that she could really help me, and she would have. But, I don't know, seem like we had a meeting or something, something like that, and got used to it. But I never did like it. I don't think anybody did.

RW: It was about like sight reading.

CG: Yes.

RW: What kind of pay did a teacher receive when you started teaching?

CG: My first pay, you'll never guess.

RW: A hundred dollars [Laughs] a month?

CG: No, sixty, and I taught three months, you know, so that's all I got. I got sixty three times. I couldn't even buy a... [Laughs] Well, it wouldn't buy anything. [Laughs] But we got a little bit more the next year. Let's see. Seem to me like. Well, it wasn't any. I don't remember. It wasn't very much but it was more than sixty. (6:38, Part 2)

RW: Was there a retirement plan established when you received your first paycheck?

CG: What now?

RW: Was there a retirement plan when you started teaching?

CG: Retirement?

RW: Yes, or did that come later?

CG: I guess it came later.

RW: You don't remember when that was established.

CG: No. I can remember the first time we knew anything about it. We stayed after school. Let's see. We were... No, I don't know where we were. Anyway, one of the girls from Belhaven came down and explained it to us and told us, you know, what to do about it and all. So we all took them up on it, I think. (7:45, Part 2)

RW: I imagine you were pretty happy to.

CG: Yes.

RW: How did marriage affect your teaching career?

CG: Marriage?

RW: Yes.

CG: I don't think it interfered. [Laughs] He was working and I was working and we just got along fine, as far as I know.

RW: Well, the reason I asked that question is because, in some parts of the United States, women were not allowed to teach after they married, even during that period of time, the early 30s. How did World War II affect the number of teachers available? Did it create any shortage?

CG: I don't remember any.

RW: Were most of the teachers women, or were there a lot of men? (8:51, Part 2)

CG: No, they were mostly women. I just don't remember many men.

RW: When you started dating Horace, were there any expectations as to your conduct as far as school went? Did they have any restrictions, or did you feel an obligation to conduct yourself in a certain way because you were a teacher?

CG: Mm, no. I don't quite understand what...

RW: Well, some schools, you know, they would say, "Well, if you're going to teach here, you can only date on Saturday nights," or you had a moral and social code to kind of uphold because you were a role model. It doesn't sound like... I've not gotten the feeling from anyone I've talked to in the area that there was anything like that that came from the school system.

CG: I don't think anything did. (10:24, Part 2)

RW: Did you feel that you had any responsibility in your social life as far as the children went? Did you feel a responsibility to go to church to be a good role model for the children, or was there any interrelationship between your social life-after you married, now-and school? I realize that there was PTA and that sort of brought the community together, you know, around the school, and church activities focused around different churches, but I just wondered if that affected your social life in any way.

CG: No. I don't remember anything. If there was something going on at school he would go with me. We weren't bothered about anything like that, as best I can remember.

RW: I'd be interested in knowing how much preparation you did at home. Did you spend a lot of your evening time doing school work? Can you tell me about that? (11:57, Part 2)

CG: Very much, and now I don't even think they take a book home. When we finally got a machine-not the kind of machine they have now but sort of something like a record player, but it was a big one-I would bring that thing home and use that, and when I didn't have that I would bring paper and pencil and everything. I couldn't ever stop doing that. I mean, it was a lot to do. I mean, when you left school you weren't through.

RW: When you were talking about something big like a record player you brought home, was it like a tape recorder, the big ones?

CG: Yes.

RW: But how did you use that?

CG: I can remember... I didn't bring it real often, just every once in a while, and I'd sit it right in the dining room floor-I had a table there-and I don't know whether... I think I let the children talk on it. I don't know. I just know I used it. I can't remember what I did with it. (13:30, Part 2)

RW: But you brought papers home to correct and you did a lot of preparations at home.

CG: Yes.

RW: I know you told me when I called you the first time that you never had time to keep a scrapbook or anything like that, that you were always too busy.

CG: Yes. I had really worried about that. I think about different ones and I think, "Now, who was that? Who could that have been?" and, see, if I had written it down, I would have enjoyed it a lot.

RW: Right offhand, can you think of any interesting stories?

CG: [Laughs] What kind? I mean, things that some of the children have done?

RW: Yes. [Laughs] (14:23, Part 2)

CG: [Laughs] Oh, mercy. I declare, I had one cute one. I know I couldn't tell it if I had to. There were two little Carawan boys. Oh, I can't tell it. [Pause] Oh! I wish I could. He came to school one morning and he was just as sad as he could be, and I asked him what was wrong. He said, "Miss Carma," said... Oh, he had... I can't say it. I bet I've told it fifty times.

RW: It'll come to you.

CG: The older boy said he couldn't go to school that day cause he... Oh! He wasn't in school, he was at home, and the little boy in my room came up to me. He said, "Miss Carma," said, So-and-so "couldn't come to school today." I said, "Well, what was wrong? I'm sorry he couldn't come." He said, "His vowels were making him sick."

RW: His vowels. [Laughs] (16:04, Part 2)

CG: Not his bowels. [Laughs] I have told that cuter than it has been but, I declare, I thought I would die. So, as soon as I could get out of that room, Mr. Bogue.did you ever know him?

RW: I don't think so.

CG: Well, I liked him a lot, and he liked me. I mean, I think they pick out what they like. I mean, there wasn't anything to it, but he just liked to go in my room and see the children, I reckon. But anyway, I could not wait to get away to go to the office and tell him, and, I declare, when I told him I thought he would crack up. [Laughs] It killed him. So, that afternoon, when we started to get the children lined up to get on the bus, his mother was out there waiting for him, and he told her, the mother, he said, "I want you to go in Miss Carma's room. She's got something to tell you." [Laughs] So she went in there and I told her. Well, it tickled her too. Both of those little boys were just as cute as they can be. But there were some funny things, I declare. I wish I could remember some of them more than I do. (17:36, Part 2)

RW: Well, you've had lots of children in your life.

CG: Yes.

RW: I understand you taught the grandchildren of some of the first children you taught.

CG: Yes.

RW: When did the schools start to consolidate?

CG: Oh, me. I can't keep up with dates.

RW: Well, I think it was in the fall of '63 that Mattamuskeet opened, because I think my class was the last graduating class and that was in the spring of '63. (18:18, Part 2)

CG: Yes. I declare, I didn't remember that.

RW: Do you remember how it affected you and how the children responded to it?

CG: To the.?

RW: Going to Mattamuskeet, moving to Mattamuskeet.

CG: Yes, and was that when the blacks.?

RW: Well, I think that it was a year or two after that that they started to initiate a few blacks, but before that happened when you moved to Mattamuskeet. Didn't you teach at Mattamuskeet?

CG: Yes.

RW: Yes, that's what I thought. Can you tell me how it was to leave, you know, Engelhard and consolidate in Mattamuskeet? (19:10, Part 2)

CG: Well, the most that upset me. Do you remember Juanita?

RW: Yes.

CG: Well, see, she... Let's see. We were going to be separated. We were just like that, and she was going... Let's see. Maybe. Anyway, I know the morning that I went to Mattamuskeet, I got out of my car and started and I looked over there, and there was Mr..now, what was his name?

RW: Bucklew?

CG: No.

RW: No?

CG: He was black, and he was a fine fellow.

RW: Oh. Green? (20:07, Part 2)

CG: No.

RW: No, okay. I don't-.

CG: [unclear 20:09]

RW: Oh. Was this after desegregation that you're talking about?

CG: Yes.

RW: Oh, okay.

CG: Yes, and when I started in he met me out there like that and shook hands, and he said the nicest things about me. I'll never forget him. But, you know, he died a good while back. But, no, it... We'd get some little, you know, sort of upset sometimes, because we didn't know what was going on.

RW: Now this was during the desegregation you're talking about.

CG: Yes.

RW: Did Miss Juanita quit teaching then? Is that.

CG: No.

RW: .why you were separated? Or why were you separated? (20:58, Part 2)

CG: Oh, she... Well, it was... When did.? Anyway, I know she called me. I can't get that straight, but she was there. Oh, I know. She stayed, because she taught seventh grade and, see, the elementary had to come to Davis, so.

RW: Oh, that's right.

CG: .that's what it was.

RW: Okay.

CG: And she called me that morning before school started, before I left, and she says, "Well, goodbye," and then we both started crying." [Laughs] But we soon got over that.

RW: So Davis was like first through the sixth grades?

CG: Yes.

RW: Okay.

CG: Yes.

RW: So that's why you were separated. (21:52, Part 2)

CG: Yes, and I liked it there. I declare, it was... I had a nice room and-.

RW: This is at Davis?

CG: Yes. It was right close home and I just liked it. I liked it at Mattamuskeet. I got along fine with Mr..you called his name.

RW: Bucklew.

CG: Yes. He was so nice.

RW: Tell me some more about the desegregation, how it affected you and how you felt about it.

CG: What, when they.?

RW: Desegregated the schools. I mean, I know that it was a very difficult time in Hyde County. I read a book on it and I got the feeling that it was difficult. Not only for the whites; it was difficult for the blacks.

CG: Yes. (22:54, Part 2)

RW: And it must have been a very frustrating thing for the children, all the children involved. Of course, I didn't live here during that time so I really couldn't relate that strongly to it before I read the book, and still I don't think I could appreciate what people went through. I didn't get the feeling that there was any right or wrong for the whites or the blacks. I think that everybody suffered tremendously, and I'm sure it must have been hard on you as a teacher, and the students and everybody involved.

CG: The little children were scared. I reckon they had heard so much, you know, at home and all. I can remember one day one of the men went to our door and he said, "Get your children down. Don't let them... Keep on teaching. Don't let them." you know, and there was a bunch going by right then, and I don't reckon they saw them or anything. But I don't know.

RW: Well, you had told me that the stress and the strain of it all was one of the reasons you decided to go ahead and retire. (24:26, Part 2)

CG: Yes. Well, that's right, and I was so glad I did. The children got bad, and they're still bad, so they say.

RW: Why do you think.? I mean just, you know, from your perspective as a teacher what do you think happened that changed the children?

CG: I think they heard their mamas and daddies talking all the time. If they had you know, gone on just like nothing had ever happened. But you know how certain classes of people will talk before the children. They heard a lot of it, I know.

RW: It's most unfortunate. So how old were you when you retired?

CG: I retired in '73. I was sixty... [Pause]

RW: About sixty, I think.

CG: Yes. I think so.

RW: Do you feel like you saw a lot of changes during your teaching career? (25:55, Part 2)

CG: What, from when I first started? Oh, yes.

RW: Would you describe some of those changes?

CG: Oh, mercy. Well, [Laughs] I don't know. I know there were changes but I just... I don't know what to say.

RW: Well, maybe I could rephrase it and say how would you have changed some things? Like, if you had had your choice, would you have not taught sight reading, or not taught new math, or if you had been in charge of integration would you have done it differently? What is your general feeling about teaching?

CG: Well, it's certainly different now. The things I hear, you know, like up at Mattamuskeet and all, you can't believe some of the things you hear. Well, it's just changed so much, and I wouldn't give anything in the world for stopping when I did because I would've been a... I would've been... It would have killed me. (27:42, Part 2)

RW: Took the joy of teaching away.

CG: Yes, sir. That it did.

RW: Well, when they got ready to integrate the children, did you have any special training for that? Did they prepare you for it? Did they send you to any special seminars?

CG: No.

RW: Nothing? They didn't prepare the teachers in any way?

CG: Oh, well, we'd have meetings, you know, after school, things like that, and talk about it. Yes.

RW: Talk about the problems involved, or.?

CG: Yes.

RW: Did someone come in from the outside to help with that? (28:28, Part 2)

CG: I think. I think so. I'm sure.

RW: How long did Miss Juanita teach after all this happened?

CG: Let's see. I stopped in '73 and she stopped in about '75, I think.

RW: So she taught a couple more years.

CG: Yes.

RW: How did she feel about that?

CG: Well, about the same, I reckon. We used to talk about it.

RW: It was just very difficult. (29:12, Part 2)

CG: I can remember one day they came to our door and told us to get up and go out to the school bus and get in. They were leaving; didn't give anybody a chance to get our coats or hats or anything. Let's see. I was driving, and Carma Starr was little then and she was with me, and the little girl who lived over there was with me. R.S. was leading us. He was in his car, and I was in our car, and Juanita was in hers and, I don't know, one or two others were there, and we were just... R.S. was just taking us in and they were scattered all down the road.

RW: Blacks, you're referring to.

CG: Yes.

RW: So, it was the teachers and the students that were told to leave?

CG: Yes. We all left.

RW: Did the students get in the school buses or.? (30:22, Part 2)

CG: Yes. The children got in school buses and those that were driving... Carma Starr was riding with me, you know, to school. Yes, the buses went too, left.

RW: And this was just short notice.

CG: Yes.

RW: .because of the problems. What would you have changed about integration? I mean, what do you think they could have done that would have made it any easier?

CG: I don't think there was anything.

RW: Anybody could do.

CG: .they could have done.

RW: I got the impression that everybody was just caught in a tight spot.

CG: Yes. That's right. (31:12, Part 2)

RW: Do you think it was a good thing? Do you think integration was good?

CG: Not especially. Do you?

RW: Um.no. I think there's been a lot of damage done to both white and black children.

CG: Yes. Well, I declare, the whites and blacks go together. They have babies together and all that. It's so sad.

RW: Well, don't you think that that's one of the things that the parents were afraid of?

CG: Yes. I'm sure.

RW: [Pause] What were the most rewarding things you derived from teaching?

CG: What now?

RW: What were the most rewarding things you derived from teaching? (32:24, Part 2)

CG: [Laughs]

RW: Miss Annie [unclear 32:30] always told me I ask too many questions. [Laughs]

CG: Well, you do ask right many. [Laughs]

RW: [Laughs] It's payback time.

CG: Oh, mm. Well, I wanted to teach bad, and I did that. [Laughs] I wouldn't have been happy at anything else. I don't know.

RW: Would you describe any memorable experiences during your teaching career?

CG: Oh, land. You know I can think of something. (33:20, Part 2)

[Break in recording]

I ought not even tell this, but I've thought about it so many times. He... There was something wrong with him when he started school, and his mother and daddy were so nice and said if ever he did anything or, you know, if we didn't get along, to let them know and they would do something about it. He was just as precious and all as he could be, but every day of life he would mess his pants up, I mean poo-poo, and I'd [unclear 34:06] I didn't have to. I'd go in the bathroom-we were down here-I'd go in the bathroom and clean him up. His mother taught school. One day she came to me and she asked me how I was getting on, and I hated to tell her so bad but I had done it so many times, and when I told her she said, "Well, I'm glad you told us," and they took him out right then, took him off. But that was a bad remembering. I can't think of anything funny or cute. (34:51, Part 2)

RW: Did they main.? Well, I mean, later on the terminology, I guess, came out of "mainstreaming" children, but back during that time was it that children that had a handicap did not go to school with the rest of the kids?

CG: Yes, wouldn't let 'em go. I had a few to go. Not a few, but I had some.

RW: What were some children with handicaps that you had to deal with?

CG: I can't even think who they were now. [unclear 35:37]

RW: Now, I know you had Doug.

CG: Yes.

RW: You had Doug.

CG: Yes, and he was the cutest, and still is.

RW: He's precious.

CG: He is. He is so cute. (35:50, Part 2)

RW: He is. [Laughs]

CG: We would go out in the yard at recess, you know, to play, and I didn't follow him but I watched him every step. He wanted to do every single thing that the rest did, and I would say to myself, "He's going to get hurt and there's not anything I can do about it."

RW: Now, he has MS, right?

CG: Yes.

RW: Okay. So, we had a thing up here and it was a dangerous thing. It had heavy things on the end and they'd swing around it and then they'd turn it a-loose and there it was to hang and hit somebody, but most of them could, you know, take care of themselves. But I would be so scared, so one day I went to her-Dorothy-and told her. I said, "Dorothy, I declare, I'm so scared he's going to get hurt I don't know what to do." She said, "Miss Carma, don't you worry. If he does, it's all right. If he doesn't, it's all right." She said, "You go ahead and let him do just exactly like the rest of 'em do." And those steps, you know, they were wide and long. They were good steps on the front of the-. (37:06, Part 2)

RW: Yes, coming out the doorway.

CG: Yes, that front door, and I thought, well he can't climb those. It was hot on the back, when the weather was hot, and when it would cool off I'd try to go out front and let them play a little while, and he'd go up that place just like the rest of 'em. She said, "Let him go," and as far as I know he never did get hurt.

RW: Was he able to write with his hand?

CG: Not then.

RW: So how did you deal with that?

CG: I don't really know. I don't remember what I did.

RW: You had to really be flexible.

CG: Yes.

RW: I'm sure. (37:52, Part 2)

CG: Yes. Seem like I had some.... I don't know. I can't remember. But he sure has done something for himself, I declare.

RW: He has made something of himself, yes.

CG: He really has. He used to come see us right often, and he'd talk and laugh and we enjoyed him. He had a bad accident the other night.

RW: Did he?

CG: Yes.

RW: I didn't know that.

CG: He was coming from Fairfield, I think, and his car was little and there was a great big truck, and he ran under the truck. He didn't get hurt, but it messed up his car.

RW: That's amazing. He is amazing.

CG: I know he is.

RW: He really is amazing. Did you have any other children with any severe handicaps? That was a lot for you to deal with. (38:53, Part 2)

CG: I know it. Seem like I had more but I can't think-I mean, not more. There was more than he was. I can't think of any. I wouldn't have even thought of him. I don't remember. Oh! Yes, I did have one, cause it was the first... When I started teaching-that last three months I started-it was either the first day or the second day, and this little boy had a seizure, or whatever, and rolled over on the floor and started doing this, you know, and scared... Well, see, that was my first or second day of teaching and I was scared to death. I was scared whether he had it or not, cause I'd always heard these boys and girls-not the girls, the boys-were so mean down here, and they were. They were bad.

So I went upstairs. We had to go upstairs to get to one of the men. So I told them about it and I know one of them said, "When I got down here," he said, "She had called every teacher in there." He made the biggest mess of it. I said, "If you had been in here you would have seen what I saw." [Laughs] But he had them often, and [one day] I took him home, and I thought I should have, and his mother said, "Don't ever do this again," said, "Just leave him there." But, see, it took time from other children to... I wanted to do what I. (40:56, Part 2)

RW: Was supposed to do.

CG: .wanted to do, what I should've done, but.

RW: There was no doctor in the area at that time either.

CG: No.

RW: I'd like to go back to something that you mentioned early in the interview, when you said that something... It might be a little touchy, and if you don't want to discuss it, that's fine. But you said something about your parents lost their home.

CG: Yes.

RW: Could you tell me a little bit more about that?

CG: Well, you know, a lot of people were losing their home.

RW: This was back during the Depression. (41:41, Part 2)

CG: Yes, that's right, and he had sent four of us to school, away to college, and he was happy about that, but we knew we couldn't keep it. But me, my sister and myself, now talk about it. If we had just had a little bit we could have saved it, but we didn't have a little bit. Even after she got married we talked about it. But, anyway, we just-and Daddy died and Mama was feeble. She couldn't walk. She was in a wheelchair, and times were hard. We had plenty to eat and plenty house and everything. But after Mama died we couldn't do anything about it. We just lost it.

RW: So you lost it after your parents died.

CG: Yes.

RW: Okay.

CG: No.

RW: No?

CG: Let's see. Let's see. Mama... Well, it was all close together, and she worried herself to death. (42:56, Part 2)

RW: Part of the reason I was interested in that is because Miss Annie told me that Coleman Davis lent her mother the money for her to go to school, and that apparently he lent a lot of people money to go off to ECTC-Coleman Davis's father, I'm sorry-and I just wondered, you know... I mean, your father apparently, out of his own pocket, sent you all to school and thought that that was really important.

CG: Yes. Nobody ever helped him. He didn't ask for any, he didn't get any, and when I went to school-see, I was the last one-when I went to school... Oh, I do know. Baum.

RW: Elizabeth Baum?

CG: Yes. Her husband came to our house one day and he said he wanted me to get a loan, and I was so torn out about the other loan that Daddy had lost, you know, and I said, "No, sir." I said, "I'll never be able to pay it back." He said, "Yes, you will." He wanted me to go bad. So he fixed it, and I paid it off like, you know, like-.

RW: So you actually went to college with a loan. (44:35, Part 2)

CG: Yes.

RW: Okay. So did he loan you the money or did it come from some other place?

CG: It came from some other place. I can't remember. But he fixed everything, and then seem like they paid it... I can't remember. Well, after I got married I still had to pay some, but it wasn't a whole lot. I can remember two or three times we went up and went in the place and paid.

RW: So it was really a sacrifice for your parents to send you.

CG: Yes. I declare, they were hard times then.

RW: So they had a mortgage on their home.

CG: Yes.

RW: .and the farm and that's why they-.

CG: And did you ever know Sam Fisher? (45:35, Part 2)

RW: Yes.

CG: He was Mama's brother.

RW: That's what I thought.

CG: .so he got that. He got that. Then after he died Tommy, his son, got it, and then his son died, and now Cheryl-. Let's see. Max.

RW: Max has it.

CG: Max owns it now.

[Break in recording]

It's so pretty, I think. Every time I go by it, I-.

RW: It's a beautiful house. (46:19, Part 2)

CG: I think so too. People will say, "Don't you wish you lived there?" But I wouldn't want to live there because there's nobody, you know, nobody around, and...

RW: Sometimes it's good to let memories be.

CG: Yes. That's right. Is it on now?

RW: Yes.

CG: Max was on the edge. He was about to lose it and we were about to have a fit. I mean, we just wanted it to stay in the family. But, anyway, I think he's... We haven't talked to him in... We haven't even seen him. I don't know when we've seen him. But the last time I saw him, I said, "Max, are you afraid you're going to mess up?" and he said, "I think I'm going to be able to make it." That's all I know. But he sure has fixed that house and-. (47:26, Part 2)

[End side two, tape one]

RW: Can you tell me something about that?

CG: Well, see, I wasn't even born then. Well, let's see. Well, I reckon we all four were born right there in the house. But I don't... I've heard Mama talk about it, but they just had a couple of men, or something like that I think, to...

RW: To help.

CG: To help.

RW: I wondered if that was a real popular design. I mean, there's not too many houses that are built like that.

CG: No. I don't know. I can't remember much about that. But it's a front porch and a side porch, and we always had a swing in that side porch, and it was so nice. The upstairs was three nice, big rooms and a big closet and a nice hallway. Downstairs, I don't know what that front room-I don't know what they used for that. But there's a nice bedroom downstairs and a dining room and kitchen. But we had a back porch with a kitchen and dining room in it. (1:34, Part 3)

RW: I guess you just about lived out there during the summertime.

CG: Yes. And pecan trees and pear trees, fruit trees, you know, but they're just about all gone. Some of the pecan trees are still there. But we used to have the nicest pecans I've ever seen. We'd come from school evenings and go out and pick them up, sit down on the grass and crack pecans. [Both laugh] Daddy had horses. We had to have them, you know, to pull the surrey and all that stuff. I can see him walking down that path, great wide path, and it went way back in the woods. He walked many a mile back there, to see what the fellows were doing, you know.

RW: What was farming like back then?

CG: Well, it was good. He had some good hands, you know, that did his. He couldn't do much of it but he stayed on them. He did, I reckon, just as-no, not as good as somebody like the man you were just talking about. But Daddy just wasn't able to do as much as some of them did. I think he did a lot. (3:33, Part 3)

RW: It had to have been really hard work.

CG: Yes.

RW: Did you have a lot of mosquitoes out there too? [Laughs]

CG: [Laughs] Yes, we had them. Of course I can remember Mama and Daddy always wanted to sit on the front porch after dark, and I couldn't wait to get back in. Not because of the mosquitoes, but I just didn't want to be out there, you know. But, yeah; we used to have mosquitoes And snow! I think it's the funniest thing. We used to have a lot of snow, and I know when it's been that deep.

RW: That's, what, about two or three foot you're talking about?

CG: Maybe it was where it was blown, you know. (4:20, Part 3)

RW: Yes, drifts.

CG: Drifted, and the-what was that called?-passage was way out in the big yard and it would snow and the wind would blow it, and that's where I got that height.

RW: Ah.

CG: But it would be deep, not like it does here. We don't have any here, to amount to anything.

RW: You know, I often think about the changes over the years. You ride down the road this time of the year and you see all these pumpkins sitting out there for sale, and back when I was growing up you hardly ever bought a pumpkin, I mean, not like people do today. What was it like for you at Halloween time, say, or Thanksgiving? (5:23, Part 3)

CG: I can't remember... All I remember is Christmas. [Laughs]

RW: Well, describe Christmas.

CG: Oh, Christmas was a happy time. When Virginia and myself were growing up, we were just in elementary school and the other two sisters were off teaching, and we could hardly wait for the time to come, you know, for them to come home. And they were hiding presents from us, you know, and I can remember one night... We always had to read T'was the Night Before Christmas. I don't care what happened, we had to sit down on the sofa and read that, and we'd get tickled and giggle, you know. So one night, one Christmas Eve night, we got a pencil and a paper and we said, "Let's write down what we want Santy Claus to bring us." There it was Santy Clause time, you know. It's time for him to come. So we did, we filled out a long list, and we didn't get the first thing. [Telephone rings] (6:46, Part 3)

[Break in recording]

We didn't get anything that we had asked for. We were thrilled to death cause we got a doll every time, and something to wear. We got a-plenty. I've often thought about that, when [unclear 07:05] Our two other sisters wanted Mama to tell us who Santy Clause was and all, and Mama wouldn't do it. I think we were in high school before she ever told us. [Both laugh] (7:21, Part 3)

[End of interview]


Title
Carma Credle Gibbs oral history interview, November 3, 1997
Description
Interview with Carma Credle Gibbs, a North Carolina teacher. The interview was conducted at the home of Gibbs in Engelhard, Hyde County, N.C. Gibbs describes childhood her childhood, education, and career as a teacher. Interviewer: Ruth J. Wilson.
Date
November 03, 1997
Original Format
oral histories
Extent
10cm x 63cm
Local Identifier
OH0189
Creator(s)
Contributor(s)
Subject(s)
Spatial
Location of Original
East Carolina Manuscript Collection
Rights
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