Interview with Herbert James Devenney, 1984 March 15 [audio]

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  • Family origins and living in Henry Clay; Chores and the daily routine; School and leisure
    Partial Transcript: Meyers: March 15, 1984. Today we are recording Mr. Herbert James Devenney., of 4 Orchard Drive, Longwood Estates, Mendenhall, Pennsylvania. Mr. Devenney is 72 years old. His telephone number is 215-388-6426. I'm going to start off today by asking in which village you lived.

    Devenney: The village of Henry Clay.

    Meyers: Can you recall the dates?

    Devenney: Yes. I was born there on Walkers' Banks February 1, 1912. Remained there, let's see, the first home in Walkers' Banks six years -- five or six years -- and then we moved over to another bank of homes near Hodgson's woolen mill. Until I was 17. And then we left the Brandywine altogether. That was 17 years there at Henry Clay. All right?

    Meyers: Yes. May I have your father's name?

    Devenney: My father's name was Thomas.

    Meyers: Place of birth and birth date?

    Devenney: One moment. Oh, man, I know the village he was born in. He was born in Donegal -- County of Donegal, Ireland, let's see, golly I can't think of the name of the village. I know it, though. Oh, well, he was born in Donegal. He and his brothers and sisters left Donegal when they were young men and young ladies -- I'd say around 20. And they came to Wilmington.

    Meyers: And how about your mother?

    Devenney: My mother was born in Lowestoff England and they left and came to Wilmington also -- three brothers and two sisters.

    Meyers: Would you recall her birth date?

    Devenney: Oh, my. No. That will have to be referred back to Edmond again for solving those questions.

    Meyers: Your oldest brother?

    Devenney: Right.

    Meyers: Did you have brothers and sisters?

    Devenney: Oh, yes. Five brothers and three sisters.

    Meyers: Can you tell me anything about them as far as the birth orders and the place of birth?

    Devenney: Well, the first-born was Edmond. The second was Edith. The third was Benjamin Thomas. The fourth was Mary. The fifth was Robert. The sixth was Rebecca. The seventh was Herbert -- wait a minute -- I'm going -- yeah -- no I'm not, I'm right. That's on the machine, too, I was up to seven, wasn't I? Rebecca. Thomas, Jr., Herbert and George.

    Meyers: That's the family?

    Devenney: That was the family.

    Meyers: How many of you were born in the Henry Clay Village area?

    Devenney: Let's see, there was George, Herbert, and Thomas. All the rest were born in Wilmington. Wait a minute -- no -- I'm wrong there. Some of them were born across the Brandywine. Uh -- near Simon Dorman's store. Now which ones they were I can't recall. Edmond will remember that. The rest of this data will have to come from Edmond, the oldest.

    Meyers: Grandfather's and grandmother's name? Places of birth and birth dates?

    Devenney: My grandfather on my mother's side was grandfather Benjamin Taylor. And, let's see, now do I have to think of pop's father. Oh, Lord. That will have to come from Edmond, also.

    Meyers: Edmond, as well.

    Devenney: Yeah. Now, I know it; can't think of it. All right, Louise -- Mrs. Meyers.

    Meyers: So, in your family you would say the other people that might be available for interviews that would, of course, be Edmond?

    Devenney: Yes.

    Meyers: Any others that might furnish additional information?

    Devenney: Well, George would be the youngest, so I imagine the information should come from Edmond. I'll convince him to have an interview.

    Meyers: Do you have pictures, letters or objects from those days that we might see?

    Devenney: George may have some of them. There's only one photo that I have and that was George and I and Thomas taken in the back field of our home with my father. I have that here with me and I don't have any pictures of any of the other children.

    Meyers: He might furnish that, too.

    Devenney: Yeah. When we broke up the home, Robert took all the pictures and whatever became of them, I don't know. Probably lost.

    Meyers: We're going to talk about the family's weekly routine -- the things you did at home -- the chores that you might remember that were necessary for you to do -- for you alone to do. Perhaps chores such as cleaning, cooking, shopping, and who took care of the children. And who did the gardening. And did you have livestock. Could we get into some of these items.

    Devenney: Well, we all helped our mother out, you know. Laundry was a daily problem because my mother was busy. Baking bread was a great deal in those days. Saved a lot of money by baking your own bread and mom was quite a baker. And we all helped out with chores around there. We raised rabbits in our back yard -- Belgian hares. Incidentally, that's how I got my nick name. My nick name today is Rab -- shortened from Rabbit. Now that's what they called me -- Rabbit -- shortened to Rab. And a lot of my friends today know me as Rab. Half of them don't know my right name. But I took care of the rabbits. They were used for food and also they were sold.

    Meyers: Did you have any livestock?

    Devenney: No. Other people up there had goats, but we didn’ t. For milk. Mostly Italians had them.

    Meyers: As far as maintaining the household, taking care of the furnishings, doing anything of a heavy nature, the boys did that?

    Devenney: Right. The children took care of all those duties.

    Meyers: Do you recall certain days of the week when perhaps you had to do those things, you had your chores assigned for a certain day of the week, or a particular time of the day that you performed these jobs?

    Devenney: Well, we always helped our mother but, especially hanging out clothes. At that time, you know, most of the clothes had to be hung out regardless of the temperature outside. Most of them were always brought in stiff as a board, anyhow. But at least they were washed and hung out in cold air. Yeah, I recall them days. My Lord, yeah. We were like the rest of the families there along the Brandywine. We all pitched in and did our share helping out. Had to be.

    Meyers: If you were to name the four most important chores that had to be done daily or routinely at a certain time, what would you say those were?

    Devenney: Well, for one thing going to the store -- that was to Simon Dorman’ s, yeah, and then later on, of course, we two boys had to go all the way down to Lincoln Street. They had an A& amp; P and Acme market -- or American Stores then. Yeah. And all up over Rockford Tower and on down until we got an express wagon later on. But if I had a dollar for every bag of Ceresota flour we carried up there, I'd be wealthy today. My Lord, yeah.

    Meyers: Do you recall where you got your tools and materials?

    Devenney: Tools.

    Meyers: Try to remember which were needed and where you got them.

    Devenney: Well, everyone up there had saws. Because wood was burned a good deal, you know, along with some coal. But wood -- oh, Lord, yeah. And the Brandywine -- there was plenty of wood came down. All the families there picked up wood from the Brandywine, you know, sawed it, cured it and used it for burning. Cooking. Everyone had one of those big old black cook stoves. In fact, we had two of them. And where those tools were procured, Lord, I don't know. The oldest brothers picked them up, I guess, one thing after another. All different types of saws we had, axes and various other tools used around the home; brace and bit and various things like that. Where they came from I can't recall.

    Meyers: A lot of family activities in those days since you were all there together -- nice tight little village you all lived in. Do you recall some of those times and the activities perhaps that you took part in and for example, did you sit on the front porch and can you tell me something about the games you might have played and you must have somewhere back there some very interesting stories you might like to tell.

    Devenney: Yeah. We had a double home there, you know, our second home there on the Brandywine and Sunday was a big day after coming from church. Of course, we attended Christ Church --the Episcopal Church. And I know we used to change papers with the Kindbeiter family who lived in the next block. And we'd exchange the comic section, you know. Because they had the old Baltimore paper where we had a -- what the devil -- what paper did we get? A Philadelphia paper. What was it? Was it a Record? A Record? I'm not sure about that. Anyway we exchanged papers.

    Meyers: Were they big in those days?

    Devenney: Oh, yes. No, I don't think they were as heavy as they are today. There was no advertising like there is today. But they had -- the comics today aren't the same as they were in newspapers then. I can't --

    Meyers: Did you swim a lot -- and fish?

    Devenney: Oh, yes. Yep. I don't think there was a boy or girl on the Brandywine on both sides --

    Meyers: What did you catch?

    Devenney: Oh, gosh. About the only thing the Brandywine had was sun fish and carp which we never ate. And a few bass -- not very many. There wasn't any bass in the Brandywine.

    Meyers: If you caught any, though, what did you do with them?

    Devenney: My mother used to throw up her hands when we would bring sunfish home. She said, "There's not enough there to fill a pan." You know, they don't come very large. But she always fried them for us, nevertheless.

    Meyers: Did you ever perhaps trade fish among your neighbors?

    Devenney: No. Later on we used to sell to -- there was a Jewish man. My God, what was his name? Denny is all I know. He used to come up and what in the world did he sell? I can't recall just what in the world he sold. But, anyway, he'd buy the carp off of us providing they were fresh, still alive. So we used to keep them in buckets for him. He'd only buy so many of them. They use them for gefilte fish -- something or other. Now the carp is full of mud; it has a muddy taste.

    Meyers: Did you or any of your family play a musical instrument?

    Devenney: Oh, yes. Oh, yeah.

    Meyers: Tell me something about that. Did you have any favorite tunes you played?

    Devenney: I didn't play, but Edmond was a drummer; he had drums. Benjamin played the banjo and mandolin and he had another instrument. What the devil was that called? It looked like a harp except that it set down -- Edmond would know what that's called. I can't think of it. And you plucked it with a pick and got tunes out of it. What the devil is the name of that thing -- well, regardless. That will come from Edmond. So, our family was kind of musical.

    Meyers: Did you perhaps go to some of the other peoples' homes and join them in playing musical instruments for them and perhaps your neighbors played as well; maybe you got together in a little group.

    Devenney: No, I can't recall ever doing that.

    Meyers: Just an individual thing within your own family.

    Devenney: Yeah. Of course, they belonged to the Red Men. They had shindigs going, you know. Maybe they had music over there. I don't know; I was too young.

    Meyers: Did you have an organ in your home?

    Devenney: No. No piano, either.

    Meyers: How many would you say were in existence at that time? Did several families have them -- pianos?

    Devenney: Now, I don't know. There was a lot of those families' homes I was never in. Maybe the Rumers did; she was a school teacher; they may have had one. I was never in their home. All I did was shovel snow for them in the wintertime.

    Meyers: Can you recall any of the songs that were favorites of yours that perhaps you would all get together and sing? Maybe on a Sunday afternoon after you'd come home from church?

    Devenney: I don't know. Tommy was the singer. He was a beautiful baritone. He was the only one could sing in the whole family. The girls could sing; they were pretty good. But the boys -- Thomas was the only one that had a good voice. No, I can't recall -- I can't recall -- I'd have to do a lot of thinking on that and, of course, that machine is still running on so…

    Meyers: Let's go on. We're going to talk more about home procedures -- maybe your daily routine -- the routine of the family. Let's talk about a typical day -- a typical morning that people would be going off to work. Who in your home got up first in the morning? Do you recall that? Who was first to arise?

    Devenney: My mother, of course.

    Meyers: How were you awakened?

    Devenney: We were awakened by voice, I can tell you that.

    Meyers: Your mother's?

    Devenney: No, one of the oldest brothers -- before they went off -- to make sure we got up. Oh, yeah. Well, there was I and George and Thomas and Robert who had to go to school along with Rebecca, the youngest. So to make sure we got up and headed for Alexis I. du Pont School.

    Meyers: Do you recall, what was the first thing you did when you got up in the morning?

    Devenney: Now you're taking me back a few years. Oh, good heavens. Let me see. Well, I suppose that was a good old breakfast which was usually oatmeal, if I remember correctly -- hot oatmeal in the wintertime. And what in the world did mom always have prepared in the summertime? We ate a great deal of cereals, I know that.

    Meyers: Dry cereals?

    Devenney: Yes.

    Meyers: You had dried cereals in those days?

    Devenney: Oh, yeah.

    Meyers: What were they called?

    Devenney: Well, I'll tell you another great favorite was cornmeal mush.

    Meyers: Do you recall any of the names of those dried cereals.

    Devenney: Oh, God, Mother's Oats. And they had one made out of rice -- what was it called? Oh, Lord, I’ d have to do thinking on that.

    Meyers: Let’ s talk about your clothes. Where did you keep your clothes and what were they like. Can you describe some of that to me.?

    Devenney: Well, I'll tell you. We were a large family and we were a poor family. So our clothes -- everyone usually had one Sunday suit for church. And the rest was overalls or various other -- corduroy -- a great deal of children up there always wore corduroy because it could stand a beating. And corduroy and blue jeans.

    Meyers: Blue jeans in those days?

    Devenney: Well, yeah -- but they weren't built like they are today.

    Meyers: How were they built?

    Devenney: Just…

    Meyers: What shape?

    Devenney: Plain. Loose. And khaki shirts. That's all I can remember.

    Meyers: Did you have any particular chores that you had to do before breakfast? Were you all assigned certain chores?

    Devenney: Oh, yeah. Make sure -- some of the cellars out in front of that second home was where we kept the coal and wood. And to make sure that the wood box was always full before we went off to school and also that the coal scuttles were full of coal for mom. That she wouldn't have to traipse down to the cellar for coal. That was one of the chores that we had to do EVERY day.

    Meyers: Who would cook your breakfast?

    Devenney: My mother.

    Meyers: Who set the table?

    Devenney: Mom. She did all that work.

    Meyers: She did it all by herself; you didn't do any of that?

    Devenney: Well, washing and drying dishes was the boys' and girls' duties.

    Meyers: You did that before you went off to school?

    Devenney: Oh, yes. And before we went to bed, too.

    Meyers: And how about when you sat at the table -- did each of you have a particular seat that you sat at each time?

    Devenney: Usually, yes. I do recall that. And we were not allowed to talk at the table, either. Edmond was -- later on after pop died, Edmond was a strict taskmaster. Yep. He was very strict.

    Meyers: How close was your school to your home?

    Devenney: It was about -- let me see if I can judge that distance. I'd say two miles. But, all the boys used to take short cuts -- across the bridge, up by John Dorman's store, past the Red Men's Hall and up the Reading Railroad and walk up there to the ball field of Alexis I., and cross that into the school. And we reversed ourselves the same coming back. In the winter and summer it was the same route. Yeah.

    Synopsis: Devenney talks about his family background. He says that he grew up in Henry Clay. He talks about his parents immigrating to the United States, his father from Ireland and mother from England. He talks about helping with daily chores, like laundry and baking. He discusses going to church. He talks about leisure time, like fishing in the Brandywine and he recalled that some of his siblings played musical instruments and sang. He talks about getting to and from school everyday.
    Keywords: Baking; Ceresota Flour; Chores; Christ Church Christiana Hundred (Wilmington, Del.); Church; County Donegal, Ireland; Dorman's store; Family; Fishing; Food; Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Laundry; Leisure; Lowestoff, England; Music; Siblings; Walker's Bank (Del.: Village)
  • Afternoon routine and lunch; Chores; Leisure time, ice skating, fishing, marbles, and other pastimes; Evening routines and layout of the family home
    Partial Transcript: Meyers: How about a typical week day afternoon. Do you recall some of the lunches you had? What did you eat at lunch time? Who prepared it?

    Devenney: Well. At that time we were going to school so we carried our lunch.

    Meyers: What did you carry in your lunch?

    Devenney: Oh, God.

    Meyers: Did your mother pack the lunch?

    Devenney: Yes. Yeah, mom always packed the lunches for us boys and girls. Oh, I don't know, whatever was available I guess.

    Meyers: Did you carry any liquids? Did you carry milk?

    Devenney: Oh, yes. We always carried liquids.

    Meyers: In what? What did you carry milk in?

    Devenney: Oh, God, let's see. Let me think.

    Meyers: Would that have been goat's milk?

    Devenney: No. No. It was cow's milk. We used to get that milk up at Miss Mary's. Do you know where Miss Mary's home is? Up above the hill, above Breck's Lane. Now. Well. She had a small farm there and Mr. Duncan who took care of it he sold the milk. That was another one of our jobs, going up there every day to get a few quarts of milk. Yeah. What we carried it in I can't recall, Louise. Everyone had --

    Meyers: Did you take sandwiches?

    Devenney: We had lunch pails, you know. Oh, yeah.

    Meyers: What was it made of, the lunch pails?

    Devenney: Aluminum, if I remember correctly. Same as our milk kettles were. Either that or tin. I don't know whether it was aluminum or tin in them days. I don't know.

    Meyers: Did you carry sandwiches?

    Devenney: Yeah, sandwiches, yeah. That's one thing I can always say. We were all healthy, I guess because we always ate a good balanced meal.

    Meyers: When you came home from school, did you have certain duties that you had to perform immediately when you got home from school? Did you get together on some of these? Were there some in particular that you had to do personally?

    Devenney: Well, a lot of times, of course, we had a lot of freedom to ourselves. Except when we had to go to the store for mom. And then we either played baseball or went swimming, according to the season.

    Meyers: How close was the store to your home?

    Devenney: It was on Main Street on the other Side of the Brandywine. It was Dorman's store, John H. Dorman.

    Meyers: How far was that?

    Devenney: Oh, a half-mile around -- over the bridge a half-mile.

    Meyers: When you came home from school, did you change your clothes?

    Devenney: Oh, yes. Oh, yeah.

    Meyers: Did you have roller skates or a fishing pole in those days?

    Devenney: I never had roller skates, no. We all had fishing poles.

    Meyers: Did any of the children have roller skates?

    Devenney: Oh, I can't recall any because there was no paved roads up there.

    Meyers: Ice skates?

    Devenney: Oh, yes. Everyone had ice skates.

    Meyers: You did a lot of skating?

    Devenney: Oh, yes. Every winter.

    Meyers: Any accidents?

    Devenney: No, I can't recall any.

    Meyers: Did a lot of the adults ice skate?

    Devenney: Yes. Yes they did.

    Meyers: How about in the evening. Do you recall some of the meals you had for dinner?

    Devenney: At night.

    Meyers: And did you call it dinner? Did you call it something else?

    Devenney: No, it was called supper.

    Meyers: And you ate that at a certain time every day?

    Devenney: Yes.

    Meyers: Do you recall the hour?

    Devenney: Oh, let's see if I can remember. We always had to wait for Edmond, the oldest, to come home. At that time he was working -- I don't know whether he was working at Betts's Shop or was it Experimental, or the railroad. Well, anyway, we had to wait until he come home and he'd wash up and none of us ever sat at the table until Edmond sat down first. The old autocrat.

    Meyers: Edmond, your oldest brother.

    Devenney: Yes. That was after pop died, you know. He run the household. Edmond did. Pop was much easier to get along with.

    Meyers: You all ate together?

    Devenney: Oh, yes.

    Meyers: The children ate with the adults?

    Devenney: Yeah. The only time we didn't eat together was when they started to grow up on their own and married. Edith was the first one. She left home and got married. And then Benjamin, the second one. Yeah, we all ate together.

    Meyers: Did you say grace before each meal?

    Devenney: Oh, yes.

    Meyers: How about the seating arrangement? You had a pattern around the table.

    Devenney: Yes, we did. Each one had its own place -- their own place. I do recall that. Yeah, we were a closely knit family, a very religious family.

    Meyers: Did you talk about the tings you did in school? Around the dinner table at night?

    Devenney: No, we were not allowed to talk at the table.

    Meyers: No conversation at all?

    Devenney: No. Very strict.

    Meyers: Silence in other words?

    Devenney: Yeah. Once the meal was over, then…

    Meyers: But you all sat down without talking?

    Devenney: Yeah. And the oldest brothers sometime would strum on their instruments in the evening. You know, fooling around with music.

    Meyers: What time did you go to bed at night?

    Devenney: Oh. If we had school, it wasn't very late, I can tell you that. I can't recall. But during the summertime, of course, I guess we stayed up much later. Summertime was a pleasant time up there. On the old banks of the Brandywine.

    Meyers: What were some of the things you did in summertime up there? In the evenings?

    Devenney: Oh, Lord, until dark we always played marbles or various other games. Run, sheepie, run. Kick the stick. Baseball. As long as there was light.

    Meyers: Would you like to tell me something about the marble game that you played? Describe some of that.

    Devenney: Oh, Lord. Marbles. Every kid in the crick played marbles. Everyone had a bag full of marbles. Commies. Prized them, too. Especially the shooters -- brilliant glass of all different colors, you know. And we prized them. Oh, Lord, yeah. And baseball in the back field. We always played baseball in the evening until it got dark.

    Meyers: May we go back to the marbles. How did you play the game of marbles? Did you have a big ring?

    Devenney: Yeah. We played it -- you know there was only a couple of cars at that time. As I remember there was only a couple of cars owned by people on our side of the Brandywine so we didn't have no traffic interference, so in the road out in front. So we just scratched a small circle in the center and then four or five feet out a large ring. And the boys all got together and started the game. Put the commies in the center and chose whoever went first and started the game. And I guess I was no different than the rest of them; we thought we were winning something by winning these clay marbles. Oh, it meant a lot to us.

    Meyers: The marbles were clay?

    Devenney: Yeah. And so…

    Meyers: Describe them a bit to me. How about color?

    Devenney: Brown. The only ones I can remember were reddish brown color. That's about all I can remember about them. But the shooter -- the glassies, as they were referred to -- the shooter or glassy were brilliant. Beautiful. Gosh, we thought we had a diamond, but we all prized them. And it was an interesting game, a very competitive game. And some of the boys were very good at it. I bet you if they had started competition throughout the U. S. at that time when marble championships went on, I bet you some of them Brandywine boys would have come out on top. But it was later on that they started an interest in this game throughout the nation and they had championships from Chicago on out to the East. But at the time we were all grown up and marbles we had lost --

    Meyers: Anything else you can tell me about the game of marbles?

    Devenney: Yeah. Another interesting game was King in the Ring. Which is played with a steel smear -- a ball -- a ballbearing. And eight or ten feet away from the half-moon, usually against a backdrop of stone or wood was the half-moon filled with a designated amount of commies or the clay marbles. And on top of them set a glass marble which was the king in the ring. So -- and the toss was made same as an Englishman would toss a dart at a dart board except that you were on a 45-degree angle down toward the marbles. And if you knocked the king out, the whole mess of commies belonged to you. It was a very interesting game. Yes, it was.

    Meyers: You must have enjoyed that.

    Devenney: Yes. Everyone enjoyed it because everyone thought they were red hot when it come to pointing that ball-bearing at the marble and throwing it, you know.

    Meyers: Would you say that was one of your favorites?

    Devenney: That was, yeah, I enjoyed it very much. I enjoyed baseball. We had our own team Used to play the Forty Acres team in baseball.

    Meyers: Who were the Forty Acres team?

    Devenney: It was get-together teams.

    Meyers: Oh, I see. Where did they come from?

    Devenney: The Forty Acres section, that section down there, down near Lincoln, Levering, down there -- We used to play them at Tower Hill School, not Tower. The Rockford Tower not Tower Hill School.

    Meyers: You played baseball over near Rockford Tower?

    Devenney: Yeah -- Rockford Tower. And, of course, sometimes we played them at Alexis I. du Pont School. Yeah. Another favorite game was soccer. We all played soccer. I think we were pretty good at soccer, too. Alexis had good soccer teams, the school did. And then, fishing. I don't know any boy up there who didn't like to fish.

    Meyers: I'm going to go back here a bit about -- we kinda got off there about the marbles -- but when you went to bed, do you recall what you slept in at night? And where did you keep that clothing, your sleepwear clothing?

    Devenney: Well, us younger boys slept up on the third floor which was the hottest in summer and the coldest in winter. Oh. We didn't have no central heat up there then.

    Meyers: What did you put on to sleep in?

    Devenney: My God! Well, we all had flannel nightclothes. They had to be flannel. That's the only thing I can remember. And that was about the warmest cloth there was for sleeping -- flannel -- flannel underwear. Flannel robes and whatever it was we had and I remember flannel, yeah.

    Meyers: Where did you keep those clothes?

    Devenney: We had our own closets built in upstairs, the same as on the second floor where the elderly -- the oldest ones slept. They had their bedrooms.

    Meyers: You had a big family.

    Devenney: Yes, there was --

    Meyers: How did all of you sleep and how many bedrooms did you have?

    Devenney: There was quite a few bedrooms in that second home.

    Meyers: How many?

    Devenney: Oh, Lord, let's see. One, two, three, four, five -- there was five bedrooms on that second floor and then the attic. It was divided into two large rooms and that's where us youngest boys slept.

    Meyers: How many to a room, do you recall?

    Devenney: How many slept in a room? Some of them rooms slept two, I know that. Right up between the two brothers and the two sisters. Then mom and Edmond had his own room. So did pop when he was living. No, he didn't, either. No. He and mom had the front on the right, I remember that. Yeah. Let's see, one, two, three, four, yeah, there was four or five bedrooms on that second floor and then the big attic.

    Meyers: It was a fairly large home.

    Devenney: Yeah. And we had a very large living room and a large kitchen and a kitchenette in the back and a large dining area which became the main room because that's where the big stove was, anyhow. That's where the cooking was all done.

    Meyers: Before you went to sleep at night, the routine of washing yourself -- all of you bathing, tooth brushing --

    Devenney: Oh, before we got plumbing in -- oh, that was a chore. Everyone up there had great big, large galvanized tubs. And the water had to be heated for baths, and that's where you washed yourself -- in those tubs. That's something I don't like to recall. Especially in winter time.

    Meyers: Did you set an alarm clock at night?

    Devenney: Yes. Alarm clocks were set, but usually we got up by voice.

    Meyers: Who checked the stove to be sure everything was all right? Who locked the door, drew the drapes at night, drew the curtains?

    Devenney: I imagine it was mom unless one of the oldest daughters or sons were out somewhere in Wilmington or something and they always made sure everything --

    Meyers: Did you all have to go around and kiss your mother and did she come to your bedroom?

    Devenney: Yes. Oh, yeah. Mom always checked on us. She was a very lovable and friendly soul.

    Meyers: On the week-end, would you say your routine was different? As opposed to your weekly routine?

    Devenney: Well, the week-ends? Oh, they were always relaxing. Oh, yes, because there was always chores to do. Either that or the oldest ones had to go off to work. Work usually ended on what -- Friday night. So -- your time's up? O.K., did you shut it off? Wait a moment. I'm a tobacco addict. Does cigarette smoke bother you? I run out of my cigars. I smoke cigars and I get 'em --

    Synopsis: Devenney describes his family's afternoon routine. He talks about the lunches that they took to school with him. He talks about family meals and dinners. He says that this father died when he was a child and that the head of his household was his eldest brother, Edmond. He describes some of his chores that he did after school. He talks about pastimes, including swimming, ice skating, and baseball, depending on the season. Devenney talks about playing with marbles and describes some marble games in depth. He talks about bedtime and his evening routine. He says that bathing was a terrible chore, since they had to heat the water on the stove top. He talks about the layout and floor plan of his family home.
    Keywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Baseball; Dinner; Evening routines; Floor plans; Homes; Ice skating; Lunch; Marbles; Meals; Milk; Music; School; Supper; Swimming
  • Weekly routines; Earning pocket change; Getting milk; Adult men's activities; Adult women's activities
    Partial Transcript: "We only attended church on Sunday..." "Yeah, that was quite a band, also they held minstrels down at the Hagley Community House..."
    Synopsis: Devenney describes his family's weekly routine. He talks about going into Wilmington on Saturdays. He describes how they earned some of their pocket change by collecting junk. He says that they used that money to go see movies in Wilmington. He says that he shared a paper route with his brothers. He talks about getting milk. He discusses some of the fraternal organizations that adult men participated in. He says he cannot fully recall the what adult women did.
    Keywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Ancient Order of Hibernians; Cavanaugh's store; Chores; Christ Church Christiana Hundred (Wilmington, Del.); Church; Dorman's store; Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Hunter's store; Improved Order of Red Men; Milk; Newspapers; School; Squirrel Run (Del.: Village)
  • Major events and holidays; Events at Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); The DuPont worker villages; Memories of Hagley Yard
    Partial Transcript: "Christmas is always a great thing to look forward to..." "You know, there was an awful lot of pictures taken..."
    Synopsis: Devenney talks about how his family celebrated Christmas. He talks about birthdays. He says that this family took a lot of photographs, but he does not know where they are. He talks about Fourth of July celebrations and recalls the men shooting a cannon to mark the day. He talks about parades in Wilmington. Devenney recalls the scale of the worker villages around Hagley. He talks about how they got renovated and demolished over the years. He says that he recalls some of the activities at Hagley Community House, but he is really too young to recall it all. He says that he really does not know much about what happened at the powder yard. He says that he knew some boys picked willows for the powder. He says he does not recall a Frizzell's grocery store, and says that he owned a bakery. He talks about some of the local saloons and taverns.
    Keywords: Birthdays; Blakeley's tavern; Christmas; Dougherty's tavern; Dugan's tavern; Easter; Fourth of July celebrations; Hagee's tavern; Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Hagley Yard; Lawless' tavern; Parades; Photographs; Sam Frizzell's store; Showers; Tancopanican Band; Toy's tavern
  • Fairs and picnics; Christmas presents; Getting water and other memories of daily life on the Brandywine; Growing a garden; Shopping in Wilmington and ordering from catalogs; Luxury items; Home remedies and medicine
    Partial Transcript: "I remember the boat rides...""Every year we had a big goose for Thanksgiving..."
    Synopsis: Devenney says he recalls church sponsored boat rides. He talks about the gifts that the Christmas gifts that the du Pont's donated to every child associated with Christ Church. He talks about getting water and using the outhouse. He discusses street-railroads and the People's line. He talks about his childhood paper route as well as the sounds and smells of the Brandywine Creek. He talks about his affinity for the creek. Devenney describes his family's garden and working in it. He talks about shopping in Wilmington and ordering from catalogs. He talks about how he spent his money, and what was considered a luxury in his youth. He says his favorite item was rubber, leak-proof boots. He talks about some of the tobacco products he remembers. He talks about home remedies and using goose grease to clear up ailments.
    Keywords: Boat rides; Chewing tobacco; Christ Church Christiana Hundred (Wilmington, Del.); Christmas; Cigarettes; Gardens; Home remedies; Joseph Bancroft and Sons Co.; Medicine; Peoples Railway Company (Wilmington, Del.); Street-railroads; Tobacco; Water