Interview with Joseph and Mary Todd Kauss, 1981 February 17 [audio](part 1)

Share/Save:
  • Family and residence history for both Mary and Joseph Kauss
    Keywords: Breck's Lane; Family history; German immigrants; Henry Clay(Del.: Village); Rising Sun Lane
    Transcript: Tremaine: Tape 1, Side 1. Mary Todd Kauss. February 17, 1981. Dorothy Tremaine, interviewer. And your name?

    Mary Kauss: Mary Todd Kauss.

    Tremaine: Your Address?

    Mary Kauss: 1922 Rising Sun Lane.

    Tremaine: And do you mind saying how old you are?

    Mary Kauss: I'll be 81 in May.

    Tremaine: Oh my. And where were you born?

    Mary Kauss: 172 Breck's Lane. That's the next lane over.

    Tremaine: And where have you lived?

    Mary Kauss: Well I'm here 51 years. And for two years we lived at 1905 Delaware Avenue when we first got married.

    Tremaine: And before that?

    Mary Kauss: Oh I...well we lived on Breck's Lane. And then I had worked at Copeland's.

    Tremaine: And your father's name?

    Mary Kauss: His name was John Todd, but he died when he was 29.

    Tremaine: Oh my. And where was he born?

    Mary Kauss: He was born in England.

    Tremaine: And what was his occupation?

    Mary Kauss: I don't know what he did. He worked in the dye works down Bancroft. They brought him here from England.

    Tremaine: At Bancroft?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Textile worker. Do you know where his father was born?

    Mary Kauss: No I don't.

    Tremaine: Or his mother?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: Your mother's name?

    Mary Kauss: Ella Craig.

    Tremaine: And where was she born?

    Mary Kauss: She was born up here along the Brandywine. In Long Row. The houses are all torn down now.

    Tremaine: And did she work at all?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, I guess she worked when she was young. Course, she had us children very young, too.

    Tremaine: And her mother's name?

    Mary Kauss: Her mother's name was Catherine Foster.

    Tremaine: Where was she born?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, I imagine out here. I never heard any different about them. Only from being around here.

    Tremaine: And your mother's father?

    Mary Kauss: He was born in Pennsylvania. His name was DeWeiss Craig.

    Tremaine: And did he work?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. He worked for the DuPont Company when he came here to Wilmington.

    Tremaine: And what was his occupation?

    Mary Kauss: Well he worked up in the old office. And he collected the rents for one thing I know.

    Tremaine: He collected the what?

    Mary Kauss: The rents along the Brandywine here. And he'd go get the mail from the DuPont Building and take it up to the old office.

    Tremaine: Oh my.

    Joseph Kauss: He was more like a mailman, you know.

    Tremaine: Yes. Perhaps since you're here, too, I'll do yours. Your name?

    Joseph Kauss: Joseph Kauss.

    Tremaine: And where were you born?

    Joseph Kauss: Born in 606 East 5th Street.

    Tremaine: And your occupation?

    Joseph Kauss: Stenographer.

    Tremaine: For what company?

    Joseph Kauss: DuPont's.

    Tremaine: At what location?

    Joseph Kauss: I was out...well I started with DuPont's first place. Was up the Hagley Yards.

    Tremaine: And where have you lived? The same places?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah. See I lived on the east side. Then I met her and got married and lived at the same places.

    Tremaine: Mmmm— hmmm. And your father's name?

    Joseph Kauss: Fred.

    Tremaine: And where was he born?

    Joseph Kauss: Germany.

    Tremaine: Germany! And what was his occupation?

    Joseph Kauss: He was a machinist.

    Tremaine: And do you know where his father was born?

    Joseph Kauss: Germany.

    Tremaine: And his mother?

    Joseph Kauss: Germany. The same thing.

    Tremaine: What about your mother's name?

    Joseph Kauss: Catherine.

    Tremaine: And what was her last name? Her maiden name?

    Joseph Kauss: Catherine Hoelle.

    Tremaine: And where was she born?

    Joseph Kauss: She was born in Germany.

    Tremaine: And did she work?

    Joseph Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: And your mother's father? Or your mother's mother?

    Joseph Kauss: Oh, I don't know that.[laughs]

    Tremaine: All right. Now you say you were born...

    Mary Kauss: Around Breck's Lane.

    Tremaine: And you were born...

    Joseph Kauss: Fifth Street.

    Tremaine: On Fifth Street.
  • Mary Kauss' daily routine as a child on Breck's Lane; heating the house during the winter
    Keywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); children's routines; daily routines; Food habits; games; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Working class families; Hopscotch; Kitchens; Nightgowns; Outbuildings; Outhouses; rag carpets; sleeping arrangements; St. Joseph on the Brandywine School; stoves
    Transcript: Tremaine: When you were growing up over there, do you remember any of the things that you did as a child? Who got up first in the morning?

    Mary Kauss: My mother.

    Tremaine: Your mother. And what did she do?

    Mary Kauss: She had breakfast ready when we came down.

    Tremaine: Now when you got out of bed, what was the first thing you did?

    Mary Kauss: Go downstairs and have breakfast.

    Tremaine: Get dressed?

    Mary Kauss: No. We usually wore our housecoat down.

    Tremaine: Your housecoat. Did you wear slippers?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: What was served for breakfast?

    Mary Kauss: We had cereal. Oatmeal for one thing. We had different things. We had bacon and eggs or sausage. Different things: Pancakes. We had a lot of different things. Never the same thing two days straight.

    Tremaine: Did you have any juice?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. We had juice.

    Tremaine: Or milk?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. Plenty of milk.

    Tremaine: Did you drink coffee or tea?

    Mary Kauss: Oh no. I drank milk with my meals.

    Tremaine: Did your mother drink coffee or tea?

    Mary Kauss: Well she'd drink coffee with her breakfast and tea for lunch and dinner.

    Tremaine: Now after breakfast, what did you do?

    Mary Kauss: Well it was school time. We had to dress for school.

    Tremaine: Where were your clothes kept?

    Mary Kauss: In my bedroom.

    Tremaine: In what?

    Mary Kauss: Well, we had closets in the bedroom.

    Tremaine: Did you have a bureau?

    Mary Kauss: We had a bureau with big mirrors on it.

    Tremaine: And what did you keep on top of it? Was there a dresser scarf?

    Mary Kauss: I can't remember. I just remember the bureau. And there was what they called a washstand. That was in the room. It had a basin and a pitcher on it. And then on the bureau, I know it had another mirror setting down on it. And a cover. I can't remember what else would be on there.

    Tremaine: Now the pitcher and basin. Who filled them?

    Mary Kauss: My mother.

    Tremaine: When? At night or in the morning?

    Mary Kauss: It was always there when we went upstairs at night, anyway. I don't know when she did it. See I played when I was young with the kids to us and all that.

    Tremaine: And there were a lot of children?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. Lot of children.

    Tremaine: Did you play with children from other developments, too?

    Mary Kauss: No. With the children on the hill. Along the lane.

    Tremaine: Along the lane. And did you all go to school together?

    Mary Kauss: Well they went to A.I. And I went to St. Joe's on the Brandywine.

    Tremaine: Did you take your lunch to school?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: And how did you take your lunch?

    Mary Kauss: In a paper bag. That's all I can remember. And there would be a sandwich and cake and fruit.

    Tremaine: And when you went to school, how did you come home?

    Mary Kauss: Walked.

    Tremaine: Did you make any detours on the way home?

    Mary Kauss: No. Straight home. We'd cut through the woods. Breck's Lane would take us over to Barley Mill Lane.

    Tremaine: And when you got home, did you have to change your clothes to go play?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: And what did you have to wear to go play?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, just another dress. But it wouldn't be one we wore to school.

    Tremaine: You'd change your shoes?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: And had older shoes to put on?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: What games did you play?

    Mary Kauss: Oh I don't remember. Hopscotch. Jump rope. Hide and Seek. I guess that's about all I can remember we played.

    Tremaine: And did you have chores?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: No chores?

    Mary Kauss: And I was even old, and I didn't do anything.

    Tremaine: You mentioned breakfast. What about dinner?

    Mary Kauss: What did we have for dinner?

    Tremaine: Yes. Or was it called dinner?

    Mary Kauss: No, at that time it was called supper.

    Tremaine: And what would be served then?

    Mary Kauss: Well we always had some kind of meat. And we always had vegetables. Would you just like me to give you one meal?

    Tremaine: A typical one.

    Mary Kauss: Well, I'd say we had pot roast. Potatoes. My grandfather had a big garden. We always had plenty of vegetables all summer and then they were put up for the winter. Let's see, peas or string beans. There was always a green vegetable every night.

    Tremaine: Dessert?

    Mary Kauss: Well, we didn't have much dessert. On the weekends we would have rice pudding or pie. But not much during the week. We could have cookies or something like that. But it wouldn't be a cooked dessert.

    Tremaine: You mentioned a garden. What type of garden did your father have?

    Mary Kauss: My grandfather. Well, he had vegetables. He had scallions and radishes. One side was potatoes. Corn. He grew most everything. We had a big yard up there. Two sides.

    Tremaine: And this was behind the house?

    Mary Kauss: Behind the house, yes.

    Tremaine: Was it a long, narrow garden?

    Mary Kauss: Pretty wide, because he had a garden on each side of the walk. At that time we had an outside toilet.

    Tremaine: And that was out where?

    Mary Kauss: Way down the back of the yard. And you couldn't see it from the place, because he had things built that covered it. Flowers. Vines grew up over it. You couldn't see it from the house.

    Tremaine: Did he have sheds out there?

    Mary Kauss: We had one shed. A wood shed down back. And the coal went in the cellar.

    Tremaine: He didn't have any other sheds?

    Mary Kauss: No. That's the only one.

    Tremaine: Well, who carried the wood into the house?

    Mary Kauss: My grandfather. And there were two boys. My mother's two brothers lived at home. They helped with stuff like that.

    Tremaine: Well he didn't have an herb garden then?

    Mary Kauss: No. It was just vegetables.

    Tremaine: When did you do your homework?

    Mary Kauss: Oh. We played just for a little while. Then we'd start our homework about 6:30.

    Tremaine: Where did you do it?

    Mary Kauss: At the kitchen table.

    Tremaine: What was in the kitchen besides the table?

    Mary Kauss: There was a big dresser that was built into the wall. Then there was a cookstove and chairs. That's all that was in there. Oh, and the sewing machine was in there.

    Tremaine: The sewing machine. Did you have curtains on the window?

    Mary Kauss: Oh sure.

    Tremaine: And shutters?

    Mary Kauss: No. No shutters.

    Tremaine: A rug on the floor?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. Well, in the kitchen we had rag carpets.

    Tremaine: Now did someone make that or did they buy it.

    Mary Kauss: Bought it.

    Tremaine: When doing the homework, did anyone help you?

    Mary Kauss: My mother. Then I had an older sister, but my mother helped us all. And we had to go to bed at 8 o'clock.

    Tremaine: And what did you wear to go to bed?

    Mary Kauss: We had nightgowns.

    Tremaine: Long ones?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. We had summer ones and winter ones.

    Tremaine: And the bed. What would be...was it a rope bed?

    Mary Kauss: It was a wooden bed that's all I can remember; it had a headboard and a footboard.

    Tremaine: You don't remember whether it was a rope bed or a spring bed?

    Mary Kauss: A spring bed.

    Tremaine: Was there any difference in the coverings that you used in winter and summer?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: What would you use in the summer?

    Mary Kauss: Well we'd just have one thin blanket if we wanted to use it and a spread. And in the winter we had more heavy blankets.

    Tremaine: And where were the blankets kept in the summer?

    Mary Kauss: In the attic.

    Tremaine: In anything?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. Boxes.

    Tremaine: Boxes. What else was kept in the attic?

    Mary Kauss: Had a lot of stuff up there. That's so many years ago. [laughs]

    Tremaine: Did you have trunks?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. There was a trunk up there. And there's a bed up there.

    Tremaine: Somebody slept up there?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. My grandfather slept up there. It was divided in two places. The two boys slept on the other side in one bed. My grandfather slept in the other bed.

    Tremaine: Was there heat up there?

    Mary Kauss: Oh no. Not at all through the house then. You're talking about when I was growing up, aren't you?

    Joseph Kauss: The only heat you had was your kitchen and front room. You had those big pot-bellied stoves, as we called them. Right?

    Mary Kauss: Oh we had that in the living room.

    Tremaine: That would heat the whole house?

    Joseph Kauss: Downstairs.

    Tremaine: Downstairs. And then the heat rose.

    Mary Kauss: We had of course the cook stove in the kitchen. That went all the time in the winter.
  • Visitors to Mary Kauss' house including delivery men and the insurance man; Joseph's Krauss' job as a stenographer and description of the office at Hagley
    Keywords: Clerks; coal delivery; Delivery of goods; Grocery trade; Hagley office; ice delivery; Office furniture; office workers; Outdoor furniture; Peddlers; Stenographers; Street-railroads
    Transcript: Tremaine: When you had visitors, did they come in the back door or the front door?

    Mary Kauss: Well. Lot come to the back.

    Joseph Kauss: I came in the back.

    Mary Kauss: Relatives and things like that. If it was first time or second time, they come to the front door. It had a porch. Front porch. We had a side porch, too.

    Tremaine: Were there any seats on the porch?

    Mary Kauss: What?

    Tremaine: Benches?

    Mary Kauss: On the back porch there was benches. But on the front porch was just two chairs.

    Tremaine: What type of chairs? Rockers?

    Mary Kauss: One was a rocker, I remember. The other was a straight chair. There was always two out there. And on the back porch they had two benches. Was a big back porch towards the side of the house. And then two benches and chairs. And grandpop had a swing for us to swing on.

    Tremaine: Did you have a hammock any place?

    Mary Kauss: No. Just had the swing.

    Tremaine: When peddlers came to deliver things, do you remember any of the men that might come? Ice man? Or milkmen?

    Mary Kauss: I remember the milkman. His name was Jim Ball. And the grocery — Harry Gregg had the grocery store. It was down the foot of this hill. And they come around twice a week. They would deliver it. Course we could go to the store, too. It was close to home.

    Tremaine: Now when he came to the house to deliver, was he paid then?

    Mary Kauss: Oh no. The bill went for a month. Just once a month it was paid.

    Tremaine: Then you paid at the store or paid him at the house?

    Mary Kauss: No. Paid at the store. Because we went to the store for a lot of stuff.

    Tremaine: And you don't remember the ice man?

    Mary Kauss: I don't remember an ice man coming around when I was real young.

    Tremaine: The coal man came?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. The coal.

    Tremaine: And he put the coal into the basement?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Through the window?

    Mary Kauss: Through the...mmm-hmmm...through the basement window.

    Tremaine: Anybody else come?

    Mary Kauss: That's all I remember.

    Joseph Kauss: The insurance man.

    Mary Kauss: Oh yeah. The insurance man. I forgot about that.

    Joseph Kauss: And how often would he come?

    Mary Kauss: I think every two weeks.

    Tremaine: And that insurance was for...

    Mary Kauss: Oh. All of us in the family had insurance.

    Tremaine: Health insurance. Life insurance.

    Mary Kauss: Mmmm-hmmm

    Tremaine: Since you worked up in the office, suppose I give Mrs. Kauss a rest here a minute and ask you...

    Joseph Kauss: Maybe sit back and get rested. She's got a bad back.

    Tremaine: Do you want to move someplace more comfortable? A pillow behind you or something?

    Mary Kauss: No, this is fine. I'm used to it.

    Tremaine: I sit in a straight chair because of my back.

    Mary Kauss: I do if I'm watching television downstairs. But I have one upstairs in my bedroom.

    Tremaine: Whereabouts did you work?

    Joseph Kauss: In Hagley office.

    Tremaine: Up on the road?

    Mary Kauss: The old office where grandpop worked.

    Tremaine: It was in the Powder Yard?

    Joseph Kauss: No, not in the Powder Yard. Outside the Powder Yard. It's about a square up from the Powder Yards.

    Tremaine: The small one that's restored now. Is that the one?

    Joseph Kauss: The two Seitz girls lived there. That's where the main office was for the powder yard.

    Tremaine: Describe what you did.

    Joseph Kauss: I was a stenographer. Took...well the superintendent was...Wilson. What was his first name? Anyhow, [Maxis?] was the main superintendent when I was there. But Roger Wilson, he was the guy got me the job up there. But I just made out weigh bills, took dictation from the superintendent. Wrote out all - anything typed...[just around the office?].

    Tremaine: Now you say typed. What kind of typewriter did you use?

    Joseph Kauss: L.C. Smith [Magnum?]

    Tremaine: Is it similar to the one that's up there now in the office? Have you been up to the...

    Joseph Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: I haven't found anyone who's been back.

    Joseph Kauss: I was in there one day to see the Seitz girls, but I haven't...They still got the typewriters and things in there?

    Tremaine: They have an old one in the office there that they have restored.

    Joseph Kauss: That's probably one of them. L.C. Smith.

    Tremaine: Then what happened to it after it was typed?

    Joseph Kauss: Well then, most of our...They had the mail boy came and picked up the things and took them to town to what office it goes to.

    Tremaine: How many times a day did he come?

    Joseph Kauss: I think just once. Once in the morning and once...Twice.

    Tremaine: And how did he get to town?

    Joseph Kauss: A bus.

    Tremaine: Bus?

    Joseph Kauss: Not a bus. A car. They didn't have buses then.

    Tremaine: A trolley car or a car?

    Joseph Kauss: Trolley car. Nobody had cars then.

    Tremaine: He'd take the trolley in.

    Joseph Kauss: The trolley. Up along the creek. You used to have to get off by the old...shops up there...walk across the hill and over. About a half a mile or more than a mile. Is the fence still around the Powder Yard?

    Tremaine: Part of it. Yes.

    Joseph Kauss: Well he used to have to go up along the outside of the fence and over to the office.

    Tremaine: Now how did you get to work?

    Joseph Kauss: Same way. On the trolley car. Down the east side I used to catch a trolley car at 6th and [Compton?] Come all the way out. Up along the crick, get off by the shops, walk up over the hill and come home the same way. If we missed the trolley car there we used to come along the creek, come up here and catch the Delaware Avenue car.

    Tremaine: What time did you have to be at work?

    Joseph Kauss: Eight o'clock.

    Tremaine: Until?

    Joseph Kauss: About five. We all brought our lunch, too, cause we all got an hour for lunch.

    Tremaine: An hour? And what did you take for lunch?

    Joseph Kauss: Sandwiches and stuff like that.

    Tremaine: And what did you carry it in?

    Joseph Kauss: Bag.

    Tremaine: Paper bag?

    Joseph Kauss: MMM— hmmm. Brown bag.

    Tremaine: And what would have been on your desk besides a typewriter?

    Joseph Kauss: Well I had a regular desk. That was it.

    Tremaine: Did you have any books on it?

    Joseph Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: A light?

    Joseph Kauss: Oh yeah. Had a light.

    Tremaine: What did it look like?

    Joseph Kauss: Oh, I don't think they had those desk lights. They had small lights just around on different desks. They had the old-fashioned...used to be a big, high desk up there. I think it was five or six of us worked there at the same time. A couple of them worked on this big desk and I had a desk, too. The chief clerk, he had a desk and one alongside him. There was about two big desks and about three little desks.

    Tremaine: You had a lamp or light on your desk?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah.

    Tremaine: What type was it?

    Joseph Kauss: [inaudible]

    Tremaine: Did you have a shade on it?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah. Shades on it.

    Tremaine: About how tall?

    Joseph Kauss: Well. See we went to work at 8 o'clock and left there about 5. We didn't have much use for lights except on a real dark day. There was a lot of light up there. They had windows all around the office up there.

    Tremaine: Did you have pens or pencils on your desk?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah, we had pens.

    Tremaine: And ink. What was ink kept in?

    Joseph Kauss: Well, those little wells. These guys that [had to write?], they had wells right in their desks. But I didn't have to use much of that.

    Tremaine: You mostly typed?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah. Then they had a machine up there they used to make the payroll out of. Put it on a big sheet and roll this thing over it. Make the payroll and send it in town. And they'd send out your checks.

    Tremaine: The checks all came from in town? Uh huh.
  • Going to Atlantic City; St. Joseph's Fourth of July picnic; Christmas traditions; Mary Kauss' mother going to Wilmington routinely; accessories including hats and pocketbooks
    Keywords: Christmas decorations; delivery of goods; Fourth of July; Grocery trade; hats; hucksters; peddlers; shopping; Street-railroads; Vacations; winter outerwear; Working class families--Social life and customs
    Transcript: Tremaine: Did you get a holiday or vacation?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah, we got the regular holidays. Yeah, we got a vacation. We got the regular holidays that DuPont [?]

    Tremaine: Did you go away for vacations?

    Joseph Kauss: We used to go to Atlantic City a lot.

    Tremaine: Did you go away for vacations?

    Mary Kauss: Well, I went to Atlantic City.

    Tremaine: When you were young?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: And the whole family went?

    Mary Kauss: No. I took my sister sometimes. And my mother would come with us.

    Tremaine: And how would you travel to Atlantic City?

    Mary Kauss: Catch a train to go down.

    Joseph Kauss: Catch a train down French Street. Up to Philadelphia. Cross on the Ferry. Catch another train down from Camden. That's the only way you could get down there.

    Mary Kauss: Only, when they run excursions they would run straight through. I was on several excursions.

    Tremaine: Like tours that we have now?

    Mary Kauss: I can't remember who gave these excursions.

    Tremaine: But somebody in town arranged...

    Mary Kauss: Yeah. Something.

    Tremaine: And on vacation days and holidays, were there special celebrations around here? Fourth of July?

    Mary Kauss: Fourth of July, St. Joseph's had a big picnic. What would you call that up there, Joe? Where Hallock lives? That was one of the big days around here, Fourth of July.

    Joseph Kauss: There's a big field out there alongside Hallock's house.

    Mary Kauss: Back in there.

    Tremaine: And you all went up?

    Mary Kauss: Everyone went up. Yes.

    Tremaine: Take a picnic lunch?

    Mary Kauss: Well, you could buy stuff. They had stuff for sale. And they had music and dancing. All that stuff. All kinds of soft drinks.

    Tremaine: Any type of carnival games?

    Mary Kauss: No. I don't remember that. The children would play ball and games like that.

    Tremaine: When you were working there, you went to these also?

    Joseph Kauss: Not much. I didn't know her then [laughs]

    Tremaine: What about Christmas? Was there a big celebration at Christmas?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: What would they do at Christmas time? Anything? Would you decorate at all?

    Mary Kauss: Oh. Yes. Decorate and have a tree.

    Tremaine: A large tree?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. And a wreath for the door.

    Tremaine: Where would the tree be put?

    Mary Kauss: In the living room.

    Tremaine: Next to a wall?

    Mary Kauss: More in a corner. In a corner like that over there.

    Tremaine: What would you use to decorate the tree?

    Mary Kauss: All I can remember is balls and tinsel.

    Tremaine: What type of balls?

    Mary Kauss: Just round red ones. Just regular Christmas balls.

    Tremaine: You didn't put candles or lights on?

    Mary Kauss: No. Nothing like that.

    Tremaine: And what would be under the tree?

    Mary Kauss: Just cotton. That's all. And a few presents for us kids. But nothing much.

    Tremaine: And you got your presents in the morning?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Christmas morning. And did you have a big meal?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. We always had big meals at our house.

    Tremaine: What was Christmas dinner? Would it be similar to the ones nowadays?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. Mmmm— hmmm. You'd have turkey for dinner and vegetables. Dessert.

    Tremaine: Uh. Presents under the tree. What was your most prized possession when you were a child?

    Mary Kauss: I can't remember. All I can remember is getting dolls and things like that. I can't remember anything else.

    Tremaine: Did you have more than one change of clothes for the dolls?

    Mary Kauss: No. I don't think so.

    Tremaine: Were they small dolls?

    Mary Kauss: Uh huh.

    Tremaine: Eight inches or...

    Mary Kauss: Most of them were small.

    Tremaine: What type of face did they have?

    Mary Kauss: They had china faces and the hair..looked like on them.

    Tremaine: Were they American made?

    Mary Kauss: I don't know, but I'm almost sure they were.

    Tremaine: Did you have any favorite toy or possession when you were a young boy?

    Joseph Kauss: We had ten children. What we had was mostly hand-me-downs. Only time we got different was when we start working. We very seldom had a tree down on the east side where we lived. All we had was have [plates?] with fruits and nuts and stuff like that on it. And we had small presents...

    Tremaine: When you went out in the winter, did you have snowshoes?

    Mary Kauss: I had boots.

    Tremaine: And they went over your shoes?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: And what type of coat or hat?

    Mary Kauss: Gosh. All I remember is a coat and hat.

    Tremaine: And a scarf?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: And mittens.

    Mary Kauss: Gloves. I had gloves, too.

    Tremaine: Did anyone in your family make the mittens?

    Mary Kauss: No. They were bought.

    Tremaine: Whereabouts did your family buy things like that?

    Mary Kauss: Oh. I don't know where my mother bought them at.

    Tremaine: Would it have been downtown?

    Mary Kauss: Downtown. Yes.

    Tremaine: Or Philadelphia?

    Mary Kauss: Downtown here in Wilmington.

    Tremaine: How often did she go to Wilmington?

    Mary Kauss: Oh she went in a couple days a week.

    Tremaine: Did she do any marketing downtown?

    Mary Kauss: No. My grandfather did a lot because he was in town every day. And then we had the store down here. They carried fresh meat and everything.

    Tremaine: You said you didn't remember the iceman. So you did have to buy your meat as you...you couldn't hold it?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Joseph Kauss: They used to have what they call hucksters come around here sell fruit and stuff like that.

    Tremaine: Eggs?

    Mary Kauss: That was bought at the store. There was a store just down the road here. Butter and eggs were bought there.

    Tremaine: And the milkman came around to the house?

    Mary Kauss: Come around every day. Uh-huh.

    Tremaine: Was it a local milkman?

    Mary Kauss: Well he didn't live far from here, but I don't know where he lived. He was a man from around here. Jim Ball was his name.

    Tremaine: If you had a birthday, was there a special celebration?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: No birthday cake?

    Mary Kauss: Oh there might have been a cake just for the family. But no parties.

    Tremaine: No parties. When you were working, what did you carry in your pockets?

    Joseph Kauss: What did I carry in my pockets?

    Tremaine: A pocket watch? A handkerchief?

    Joseph Kauss: I had a handkerchief.

    Tremaine: Change? Tokens.

    Joseph Kauss: A small pocketbook with change in it.

    Tremaine: Tobacco?

    Joseph Kauss: No, I didn't smoke.

    Tremaine: What about women? Did you carry, or did your mother carry a pocketbook?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: And what would she carry in her pocketbook?

    Mary Kauss: I don't know. I didn't go in her purse at all.

    Tremaine: Did your mother wear jewelry?

    Mary Kauss: No. I don't remember her wearing jewelry.

    Tremaine: What about make-up?

    Mary Kauss: I don't remember wearing make— up.

    Tremaine: Lipstick?

    Mary Kauss: No. They didn't even wear lipstick when I was young.

    Tremaine: Did she wear a hat?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. Always wore a hat.

    Tremaine: And gloves?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Did you wear a hat when you went to work?

    Joseph Kauss: Hats were in style, yeah.

    Tremaine: What type of hat?

    Joseph Kauss: The same types they're wearing now. Just the regular T-caps. A lot of us used to wear caps.

    Tremaine: You took it off when you were working?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah.
  • Typical family size; aprons and shoes; courtship, wedding, and newlywed customs; Mary Kauss working as a waitress at the Copeland's house
    Keywords: Amusement parks; Apartments; Caterers and catering; Copeland, Louisa d'A. du Pont (Louisa d'Andelot du Pont), 1868-1926; Courtship; Motion picture theaters; Weddings; Women household employees; Working class families
    Transcript: Tremaine: What was the ideal family size? Or didn't they have an ideal family size?

    Mary Kauss: Well our neighbors that lived next...there was two houses like here. They had eight children. So we always had plenty to play with. There were plenty of children on the hill to play with.

    Tremaine: Most families had two or three children? Or more than that?

    Mary Kauss: Yeah. Not many had more than two or three.

    Tremaine: Was there any...did you ever hear of them saying, "Well, we're not going to have any more children."

    Mary Kauss: No. I never heard that.

    Joseph Kauss: The pill wasn't in them days. [Laughter]

    Tremaine: When your mother was working around the house...she worked around the house..

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. She worked hard, too.

    Tremaine: What did she wear?

    Mary Kauss: All I remember is a housedress, we called it. She always wore an apron.

    Tremaine: What did the apron look like?

    Mary Kauss: Just...a thing went around there. It went around the waist.

    Tremaine: It wasn't a particular shape or color or...

    Mary Kauss: No. Nothing like that.

    Tremaine: Did you wear an apron at work?

    Joseph Kauss: No. [inaudible]

    Tremaine: Did you wear glasses then?

    Joseph Kauss: I didn't wear glasses until I was about 35 or 40 years old.

    Tremaine: What about the shoes?

    Joseph Kauss: Used to have the high shoes. Mostly.

    Tremaine: With laces?

    Joseph Kauss: Laced high shoes.

    Tremaine: What about women's shoes? Or children's shoes when you were young?

    Mary Kauss: I remember having patent leather bottoms and cloth tops.

    Tremaine: About how long would they last?

    Mary Kauss: Well that wasn't our school shoes. That was our Sunday School shoes. And the others was just leather. Laced up as Joe said.

    Tremaine: It was a high shoe, then.

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: And you wore that to school? About how high? About how many things on the side?

    Mary Kauss: Gosh. Maybe eight.

    Tremaine: If the lace broke, what did you do?

    Mary Kauss: We always had other ones around the house. And this store down the road I told you about sold shoes, too.

    Tremaine: Sold

    Mary Kauss: Sold shoes. Rubbers. Mmmm-hmmm.

    Tremaine: When you went to get married, did you have to ask permission to get married of her parents.

    Joseph Kauss: No just told them the date we were gonna get married. [Laughter]

    Tremaine: Do you remember whether most people asked permission in those days?

    Mary Kauss: I never heard of it.

    Joseph Kauss: They just assumed that if you went with them a couple years, well you're getting married.

    Mary Kauss: I heard it later on in life, but not when...

    Tremaine: When you were courting, and other young people were courting, did you have special places you would walk or visit?

    Joseph Kauss: We had a good time. There used to be a lot of dance halls around town. There used to be two..uh...Springs and Shellpot. Used to have dances out there on the weekend. Used to have a lot of amusement parks around here.

    Tremaine: Did you ever go out to Brandywine Springs?

    Mary Kauss: Many times.

    Tremaine: On the trolley cars?

    Mary Kauss: Uh-huh.

    Joseph Kauss: People from Philadelphia used to come down to Wilmington and go out to the Springs. At that time. It was a big place out there.

    Tremaine: Now when people got married, did they usually have a wedding in a church?

    Mary Kauss: We did. But there was all different kinds. Some went to Elkton. Some got married quiet at home. I been to houses where they were married right in the house.

    Tremaine: Where did young married people live? Did they live with one of the parents right away...right after the marriage, or would they be able to afford a new home?

    Mary Kauss: I never remember anybody living with their parents. They used to have a place of their own.

    Joseph Kauss: That was one tradition. Get married and get out. If you needed any help, why you come back.

    Tremaine: Most times, what would they have? A room. Rent a room someplace?

    Joseph Kauss: They had apartments around. That's what we did first.

    Tremaine: Where would you find apartments?

    Joseph Kauss: We went down on Delaware Avenue.

    Mary Kauss: 1905 Delaware Avenue. We've been married 54 years.

    Tremaine: How wonderful. This was an apartment building?

    Joseph Kauss: No. It was a house.

    Tremaine: A house. A lot of the homes down there...the larger ones...had apartments? And did you start off with lots of furniture?

    Mary Kauss: I had everything filled up.

    Tremaine: How wonderful.

    Joseph Kauss: Well you only had...

    Mary Kauss: Three rooms and a bath. It was all furnished.

    Tremaine: So that wedding customs for you were very similar to what it is today.

    Mary Kauss: Yes. Then after the wedding we had, like a dinner over at home. And then...these men didn't charge me...but there was two men. One of these men had a service...

    Joseph Kauss: A caterer.

    Mary Kauss: A caterer. Uh-huh. But he came to the house and did it free. I worked with him many times over at Copeland's. And his helper was Frank. He helped a lot there. He came to the house, too.

    Tremaine: You said you worked at Copeland's. What did you do there?

    Mary Kauss: Waitress.

    Tremaine: Waitress. And what did your duties consist of?

    Mary Kauss: Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Tremaine: And you didn't have to live there?

    Mary Kauss: Well I didn't have to, but I did. See I was close to home, too. See, they're house is right over there. And Breck's Lane was on the other side. Close to home with everything with it.

    Tremaine: And did you get holidays off?

    Mary Kauss: No. Not holidays. Christmas we were off. Usually we just stayed anyway. And we were served just like the family. The caterers served us just like the family.

    Tremaine: And did you have a room to yourself?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: When you worked, did you have a day off?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. Wednesday.

    Tremaine: And what did you do on your day off?

    Mary Kauss: My mother and I went in town.

    Tremaine: And what did you do in town?

    Mary Kauss: Shop around and look at clothes. Stuff like that.

    Joseph Kauss: There were a lot of stores on Market Street.

    Mary Kauss: Yes, there were.

    Tremaine: Were there movie theaters in town?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, yes there were.

    Tremaine: Did you go to the movie theaters?

    Mary Kauss: Not then. I would go with him later on. But not with my mother. She was never great for movies.
  • Childbirth and infant care; Joseph Krauss' memories of the 1916 explosion at the powder yards and handing out wages on payday
    Keywords: Baby carriages; Baby foods; Childbirth; Company; Diapers; E.I. du Pont de Nemours & amp; Gunpowder industry; Industrial accidents; Infants--Care; Midwives; packing house explosion; Paydays; Physicians; powder yards; Wages
    Transcript: Tremaine: When babies came, did you go to a hospital or did you have it at home?

    Mary Kauss: I did. I went to the hospital. Before that the ladies had...a woman would go in and deliver the baby.

    Tremaine: A midwife? In the home?

    Mary Kauss: Mmmm-hmmm. The people I grew up with all went to the hospital.

    Tremaine: Which hospital?

    Mary Kauss: I went to the homeopathic. I don't know where they went to.

    Tremaine: Did you have brothers and sisters?

    Mary Kauss: I had two sisters younger and a brother. My mother was married twice. She married Jim Toy the second time.

    Tremaine: Were your younger brothers and sisters born in the hospital?

    Mary Kauss: No. They were born at home.

    Tremaine: With a midwife?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: How long did your mother stay in her room after the birth?

    Mary Kauss: I can't remember.

    Tremaine: A day. A week.

    Mary Kauss: I don't know, but it wasn't long like they did when I went.

    Tremaine: A couple days?

    Mary Kauss: I'll say about four days.

    Tremaine: Did the midwife come back?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. She was a neighbor. We had two lived around the Brandywine here.

    Tremaine: Do you remember their names?

    Mary Kauss: One was Farren. The other was Buchanan. [Maryam?] Buchanan.

    Tremaine: What did babies...did they have diapers?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes, they had diapers.

    Tremaine: Did they look like diapers today?

    Mary Kauss: They were big squares, and you'd fold them over into a "v" shape.

    Tremaine: They weren't like...

    Mary Kauss: Not like now. They were square.

    Tremaine: They were rectangular, and you'd fold them?

    Mary Kauss: They were a big square, and then you'd fold them over that way.

    Tremaine: What about formula?

    Mary Kauss: They were breast-fed.

    Tremaine: They never had a formula.

    Mary Kauss: Not that I know. Not that I remember.

    Tremaine: They went directly to a bottle and then...

    Mary Kauss: Food on the table.

    Tremaine: Regular food. Was their food mashed?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. It was cooked separate and everything at our house. Put through a sieve to make it real fine.

    Tremaine: Do you remember if there was any special food the babies got?

    Mary Kauss: I don't remember.

    Tremaine: And what did the babies wear?

    Mary Kauss: Around in the daytime?

    Tremaine: When they were babies, what was put on them?

    Mary Kauss: All I remember is a dress. Little dress on them.

    Tremaine: Did they have anything on their feet?

    Mary Kauss: I'm sure they did. All I remember is stockings. I'm sure they must have put something. All I remember is stockings.

    Tremaine: Were they taken outside at all?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: In what?

    Mary Kauss: They had coaches. It was a great big long thing with a, like a mattress for the bedding.

    Tremaine: It was like a carriage?

    Joseph Kauss: Four wheels.

    Tremaine: Made of wicker?

    Mary Kauss: Yes, wicker.

    Tremaine: Did it have a hood of wicker?

    Mary Kauss: No hood.

    Tremaine: Open carriage set on four wheels?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: With a mattress and a cover?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Where did they take them when they took them out?

    Mary Kauss: Out on the porch and things like that in good weather.

    Tremaine: And let them sleep out there.

    Mary Kauss: Yes. Uh— huh.

    Tremaine: I don't see many doing that now.

    Mary Kauss: No. That's when I was real young.

    Tremaine: Yes, I can remember that. When someone was sick, did the doctor come to the house?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. There were two doctors right on Breck's Lane.

    Tremaine: What were their names?

    Mary Kauss: One was called "Old Doctor Joe.” His name was Joe Chandler. And Dr. Spear was the other one.

    Tremaine: They went to the house?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, yes.

    Tremaine: If they had to give you medicines, what were the medicines like?

    Mary Kauss: I don't remember, but we had a drugstore right out here.

    Tremaine: Were they powdered or liquid or pills?

    Mary Kauss: I remember I having liquid for a cold.

    Tremaine: Did you take castor oil as a child?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Every day?

    Mary Kauss: Oh no. [laughs] Not every day.

    Tremaine: But it was used? You remember getting castor oil.

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Were you working when there were any explosions?

    Joseph Kauss: Yes, I was working there in 1916 when they had the big explosion up there. I think there were 42 boys killed.

    Tremaine: Did the doctor come down then? Or doctors? Did they call in the doctors?

    Joseph Kauss: Well, a lot of them come right away as soon as they could. I don't know how many doctors were. There was bodies all over the place up there.

    Tremaine: Were you working at your desk when it happened?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah.

    Tremaine: What did you think when you heard the noise?

    Joseph Kauss: We knew what it was. It was the Pellet House. I made out the list of the boys who were missing that day.

    Tremaine: How did you know which ones were missing?

    Joseph Kauss: That's what they said. They went along and made their count.

    Tremaine: They went and checked each one.

    Joseph Kauss: Sure. They knew how many people were working that day. That's how they found out how many were gone. Buried them all in one big casket over in Silverbrook Cemetery.

    Tremaine: Did you have to notify the families?

    Joseph Kauss: The people in town did that.

    Tremaine: And you sent the list right into them?

    Joseph Kauss: Well, like I said, we had a chief clerk. I helped to type the list.

    Tremaine: Were things disturbed on your desk from the explosion?

    Joseph Kauss: Oh yeah. The windows...a lot of times the windows would come in. They had more than one explosion up there.

    Tremaine: On the smaller ones, what happened with smaller explosions?

    Joseph Kauss: Unless somebody got killed or something like that, they wouldn't be too much of a problem.

    Tremaine: Did you always go out to see what had gone off?

    Joseph Kauss: Oh yeah. They would find out.

    Tremaine: Even the small ones?

    Joseph Kauss: It wouldn't take long to find out what it was. We had six wheel mills along the crick, and three big dry houses up around I think where Crowninshield's is. They had a big refinery up there. That was the most safe place up there. The refinery. There were very few people [hurt there?]. They'd just mix up the saltpeter and stuff.

    Tremaine: And that doesn't explode? Do you remember any of the men that worked in the office? The names of any of them?

    Joseph Kauss: Mr. Hoopes was our superintendent. Before him was Roger Wilson, he was [inaudible]. Chief clerk was...his name was Whitey. Sam Ward was the chief clerk down there. The other fellow was Whitey. The superintendent of the pellet houses was a man by the name of [Sykes or Seitz?]. He was the superintendent of that end of the Powder Yards. Down in the other part of the Yards, a fellow named Joe Haley was superintendent down there. The superintendent of the refinery was Stillenbrecht. Something like that. I used to pay the men off. That was one of my other duties, to go down the Yard and pay. They used to come up to the gate and get paid.

    Tremaine: You mentioned that the checks were made out in...

    Joseph Kauss: In Wilmington. They came to the office. And we in turn paid them down at the gates. The men would come up to the gates. We wouldn't go down into the Yards.

    Tremaine: And you'd pay them as they were leaving to go home?

    Joseph Kauss: No. During working hours. A certain time.

    Tremaine: And how often were they paid?

    Joseph Kauss: I think it was every two weeks...I'm sure it was two weeks.

    Tremaine: And they could come during certain hours to the gate, and you'd be there to hand their checks to them?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah.

    Tremaine: Were checks deposited in a bank, or were they say, taken to a grocery store?

    Joseph Kauss: Well you never know [who did that?]. Although I know one thing that happened, some of these guys would take their checks and the Company used to have to go after them to make them cash them.

    Tremaine: They would save them?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah. They would have them for three to six months, some of them. They didn't need them, see. They just left them lying around the house. I can think of a few occasions. [Portion of audio repeats]
  • Powder yard workers spooked by loud noises; neighborhood gathering at the powder yard gates after an explosion; Mary Kauss ice skating and sledding as a child
    Keywords: Children--Social life and customs; Company; E.I. du Pont de Nemours & amp; Gunpowder industry; Hagee's Tavern; ice skating; Industrial accidents; powder yards; skates
    Transcript: Tremaine: Do you remember any funny stories of things that happened, that might have happened in the office or around?

    Joseph Kauss: Not particularly. Except I was down there in the yard one day and I jumped on a plate or something. They all jumped. "Don't you do that again," they said. They thought the stuff was going up. That's the only thing I remember. [laughs] I thought it was funny, see, the way they jumped. So they said, "You be careful down here, Joe."

    Tremaine: In other words, everyone was a little jumpy if there was a loud noise?

    Joseph Kauss: That's right. See you had to wear powder shoes for certain operations. They had wooden shoes.

    Tremaine: But you didn't wear those?

    Joseph Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: Because you stayed outside the gate?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah.

    Tremaine: Do you remember any stories or anything about when you were a child?

    Mary Kauss: I remember plenty of explosions. The windows would come in-- the glass windows in the living room--and it seemed like it would shake the whole house. A lot of them were very bad.

    Tremaine: Then who would repair them?

    Mary Kauss: The DuPont Company had it done.

    Tremaine: They would would come and see that it was taken care of?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Your home, did it belong to the Company?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. Mmmm-hmmm.

    Tremaine: And you didn't pay rent?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: You paid rent for it?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Joseph Kauss: Wait a minute, Mary. Chick Laird owned your house, didn't he?

    Mary Kauss: She's talking about when I was young. Aren't you?

    Tremaine: Yes. But it was owned by the Company, and you paid rent?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. Chick Laird only owned those houses a short while, Joe. Just a few years back. Maybe 10 or 15, but I'm talking about when I was young.

    Tremaine: That's right. You said you remembered the explosions.

    Mary Kauss: Yes I do.

    Tremaine: What would you do?

    Mary Kauss: Well everybody got up for that. Everybody went up the Hagley gates to stand there until it was over and they'd hear something. And I remember the priest would come down. The doctor way up the hill, he'd be up there, Dr. Joe Chandler. But everybody went up. And we were allowed to go up with my mother.

    Tremaine: To the gate?

    Mary Kauss: To the gates. Mmmm-hmm.

    Tremaine: And they would come to the gate and tell...

    Mary Kauss: Well, they'd hear stuff anyway. Different people would be coming out and they'd tell them. But everybody'd go up there.

    Joseph Kauss: See, [when they did that...stopped operations and people working?].

    Tremaine: Uh, suppose you were in school when one happened?

    Mary Kauss: Well we'd stay in school until school was over.

    Tremaine: They would keep you there?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: That must have been terrible.

    Mary Kauss: It was terrible. Yes.

    Tremaine: Because the school was close enough, you could hear and feel the explosion.

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: Did it do damage to the school?

    Mary Kauss: It would just shake it. I don't remember the windows coming in up there. But we had several explosions at night, too. I remember we had several at night.

    Tremaine: The yard was working round the clock?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. They had shift work up there.

    Tremaine: Did any happen when you were in bed?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. It would happen that way.

    Tremaine: And you still went up to the gate?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. We were allowed to go up.

    Tremaine: You got dressed?

    Mary Kauss: Uh huh. Everybody went up. That was something everybody did on the Brandywine here. You see there were lots and lots of houses around here then. Nothing like now.

    Tremaine: Did you go ice skating?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: Where did you go ice skating?

    Mary Kauss: Right above...I guess you didn't see the Mill across the crick did you?

    Tremaine: What mill is that?

    Joseph Kauss: Hudson's Mill.

    Mary Kauss: Woolen mill, up above that. Not by them, but up above there. We went skating there all the time.

    Tremaine: What type of skates did you wear?

    Mary Kauss: They weren't shoe skates. They had straps across the toes and across the back. Over the ankle.

    Tremaine: And one runner?

    Mary Kauss: One runner, yes.

    Tremaine: Made of metal?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. You got a pair for 98 cents then. I can remember that well. That was a Christmas present many times.

    Tremaine: You would get a new pair each year? Then they couldn't be sharpened I take it.

    Mary Kauss: Not that I know. Never heard that.

    Tremaine: Did you go sledding?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, all the time.

    Tremaine: Whereabouts?

    Mary Kauss: On Breck's Lane.

    Tremaine: What about the bottom, when you got to the bottom?

    Mary Kauss: Well, we'd turn either way. To your left or to your right. Course in years later they had the bus running out there. The trolley car, I meant to say. But there was always one kid would stand at the bottom to tell us when a trolley was coming.

    Tremaine: You'd wait?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. But I never would sled over here on this hill. I wasn't allowed off the hill.

    Tremaine: You stayed close to home?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: What type of sled did you use?

    Mary Kauss: All I can remember is a wooden sled with metal runners.

    Tremaine: And how large a sled? Would it hold two children?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. Easy it would hold two.

    Tremaine: Or three or...

    Mary Kauss: I'll say two. I had a great uncle that made it.

    Tremaine: Oh wow.

    Mary Kauss: Mmmm-hmmm.

    Tremaine: You wouldn't happen to have it?

    Mary Kauss: Goodness no. Another thing, he made that settee that's on my side porch.

    Tremaine: Oh. Did he live up here?

    Mary Kauss: He lived up on Breck's Lane. Up above us.

    Tremaine: They're mounting this exhibit on Labor Day, hopefully, on the Worker's World. We're looking for things that were made or used or brought over from Europe and used in the area, too. We've found some things that were made right here...somebody's knocking at your door.

    Joseph Kauss: That's next door.

    Tremaine: I see you have a painting here.

    Mary Kauss: Yeah. That's Hagee's. My daughter has a friend. He painted that for her.

    Tremaine: That is a beautiful.

    Mary Kauss: And then in back there - if I could get up I'd get it for you - that's the woolen mill there. He was a real artist that painted that.

    Tremaine: Oh yes. That's a beautiful painting. Both of those are. Isn't it nice to have them?

    Mary Kauss: Joe, what did he want?

    Joseph Kauss: The water meter guy.

    Tremaine: He'll have to come in and read the meters.
  • Spring at the primary water supply on Breck's Lane; kitchen storage cabinet; Mary Kauss' mother baking bread and cooking; garbage disposal in the nearby run; playing with neighborhood children; haircuts and dental care
    Keywords: Baking; Children--Social life and customs; Cookware; Crackers; Dishwashing; Food--Storage; Haircutting; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Working class families; Refuse and refuse disposal; Tableware; Teeth--Care and hygiene; Water-supply
    Transcript: Tremaine: You didn't have water piped in to your house did you, to your house as a child?

    Mary Kauss: Over in Breck's Lane?

    Tremaine: Yes.

    Mary Kauss: No. Right at the side of our house was a spring, and we got our water there. Course years later we had water piped in, and a bathroom upstairs and heating. But I'm talking about when I was younger.

    Tremaine: When you were a child?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Was there any water kept in the house?

    Mary Kauss: In the house at that time? No. We had to go to the spring for all of it.

    Tremaine: You didn't have a place in the kitchen where you kept some water?

    Mary Kauss: In the kitchen. Oh yeah. There was a certain place to keep it in the winter. But it was kept outside in the summer.

    Tremaine: On the porch?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. Well, we had a big side porch. And then we had a place in the back of the house. You couldn't see nothing from the entrance to back there.

    Tremaine: What would the water be kept in?

    Mary Kauss: We had buckets.

    Tremaine: Wooden buckets?

    Mary Kauss: No, metal.

    Tremaine: Tin?

    Mary Kauss: I'll say tin. Something that color.

    Tremaine: Tin, I guess it would be. Or copper.

    Mary Kauss: And there were always two buckets out there at one time.

    Tremaine: Two. Why two?

    Mary Kauss: I don't know. It was just a habit, I guess, to have two buckets there all the time. And it was real close. It was just through the yard.

    Tremaine: Now when the water was brought into the kitchen to do dishes, what type of sink did you have?

    Mary Kauss: We didn't have no sink at that time. The dishes were done on the kitchen table. In a dish pan. And then a tray to put them on, the dishes. And then dried and put away. As I said - I don't have one here - but they had big kitchen closets. I don't know what they called them. And they held dishes and all kind of stuff. Everybody up on the Brandywine had one of them in their kitchen.

    Tremaine: You spoke of doing your homework on the kitchen table?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Well now the dishes were done first?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. That was cleaned up right away.

    Tremaine: Now what about utensils: forks, spoons. Were they kept in the kitchen, too?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. There was a certain place in the kitchen for them in this cabinet.

    Tremaine: What about cooking utensils? Where were they kept?

    Mary Kauss: In the bottom of the cabinet. It was a big thing. From the ceiling--not from the ceiling, but pretty high up. The dishes were all kept up there, and there was a certain place for the glasses. Then down in the bottom there was pots and pans and things like that. Then there was a place for salt, pepper and flour and coffee and all that. They made room for them. It was a big thing.

    Tremaine: What did bought flour come in?

    Mary Kauss: As far as I can remember, it come in a bag. Oh, and we did have a barrel. I remember that, because mom baked bread. We had a big barrel. This was in another closet in the corner. In the kitchen. And the door was closed all the time. But it was a wooden barrel.

    Tremaine: How often did she make bread?

    Mary Kauss: Twice a week.

    Tremaine: And how many loaves?

    Mary Kauss: I just can't remember the right amount. But she did bake twice a week.

    Tremaine: Did you ever buy bread at the store?

    Mary Kauss: Not very often as a kid.

    Tremaine: What type of bread did she bake?

    Mary Kauss: We had white bread at the table all the time. White loaves. She did a lot of cooking, too. Cakes and pies. We had a lot of pies.

    Tremaine: When you came home from school, did you have a snack?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, yes.

    Tremaine: What did you have?

    Mary Kauss: I usually had crackers.

    Tremaine: Crackers?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. We could have what we wanted.

    Tremaine: What type of crackers?

    Mary Kauss: I don't know what they called them. They were big round ones. I can't remember.

    Tremaine: Pilot?

    Mary Kauss: I can't remember. But it was a round cracker, I know. She asked you not to eat too much, because we were going to have our supper early.

    Tremaine: But you were allowed a little snack?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yeah. Uh huh.

    Tremaine: You say your mother did a lot of cooking. When she did the vegetables, did she throw away the carrot scrapings and potato peels?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: Did she throw them in the garden, or did you have a trash?

    Mary Kauss: At that time, this was years and years back, there was a run. They called it a run. A water run down the back. And it was buried all over down in there. When the water get high, it took it all away.

    Tremaine: So it was an open...

    Mary Kauss: Yes. Everybody on the hill did the same thing.

    Tremaine: Everybody's went into the same one. And then you hoped it would rain...

    Mary Kauss: Yes. A lot of times it would take it, anyhow.

    Tremaine: Is that what happened to the dishwater, too.

    Mary Kauss: No, I don't think they went down that far with it. I don't think they went all the way down the back of the yard.

    Tremaine: Just threw it out?

    Mary Kauss: Mmmm-hmmm. Must have. Wouldn't be out the porch. Would have been out back.

    Tremaine: Now this thing that carried away the garbage, whereabouts was it in relation to your house?

    Mary Kauss: It was all the way down in the back of it. In the back yard. And then there was a bank, and it was down the bottom of the bank. We had a big yard. Nice long one.

    Tremaine: Must have. And you played in the back yard?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: When you went to school, were there children from these other developments, Squirrel Run, for instance, that went to school there, too?

    Mary Kauss: They went to school there. But there was another family on the road. We'd all meet and go up together. And cut through the field. It was called Miss Mary's then. A du Pont lady. We'd cut through there to get to Barley Mill Lane, then go on up to school.

    Tremaine: Were you all friends?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: All along the Brandywine?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Did you visit?

    Mary Kauss: No. I played with them, but I never went in many houses. But we all played together.

    Tremaine: Did you have your hair cut? Where was it cut?

    Mary Kauss: We had a barber shop out here. I got mine cut once. I really got put to bed for that. My mother loved long hair. It was real blond and kind of curly. That's the only time I remember being put to bed.

    Tremaine: You went down by yourself?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, no. My grandfather took me.

    Tremaine: Oh, your grandfather took you down and had it cut short?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. Oh, she was mad at me.

    Tremaine: Did you save the hair.

    Mary Kauss: No. [laughs] It never was cut but that one time.

    Tremaine: You let it grow the rest of the time.

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Did he usually do men and women's hair?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. There was only one barber around here.

    Tremaine: And where was he located?

    Mary Kauss: Right down around the road - down from the bottom of this road - in between - there was a barber shop, a drug store, a grocery store. Two grocery stores. One at the bottom. Along there.

    Tremaine: Between Rising Sun and...

    Mary Kauss: Breck's Lane.

    Tremaine: Dentist. What about the dentist? Did you ever go to one when you were a child?

    Mary Kauss: There were none out there, but I'd gone to the dentist.

    Tremaine: When you were a child?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: And you went into Wilmington?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. I don't remember where to, but I know...

    Tremaine: What about a tooth if it were loose?

    Mary Kauss: Well they'd pull them at home. They never took you to the dentist to have that done.

    Tremaine: How would they pull it?

    Mary Kauss: I don't remember.

    Joseph Kauss: A string around it. [laughs]

    Mary Kauss: I think that would be the way.

    Tremaine: I tried that once. It didn't work.
  • Newspaper delivery and interior decorations; laundry, ironing, and clothes storage; going to St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church and Sunday School on Sundays
    Keywords: Catalogs; Closets; Delivery of goods; House furnishings; Household soap; Ironing boards; Irons (Pressing); Kerosene lamps; Laundry; Newspapers; Sears, Roebuck and Company; Sunday schools; Working class--Religious life; Working class--Social life and customs
    Transcript: Tremaine: What about reading material. Did you receive a newspaper?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. We got a newspaper. It was delivered.

    Tremaine: To the door?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Or to a box?

    Mary Kauss: They'd throw it up on the porch. The paper boy.

    Tremaine: And he walked around?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. Mmmm-hmmm.

    Tremaine: And would it come in the evening?

    Mary Kauss: In the evening, yes.

    Tremaine: Who read the paper in the family?

    Mary Kauss: Who read it? Everybody.

    Tremaine: Did you have magazines?

    Mary Kauss: No I don't remember magazines growing up.

    Tremaine: What about a Sears catalog?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. We had one of them.

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah, they took that [?] [laughs]

    Mary Kauss: We did.

    Tremaine: What about prints on the wall? Did you have Currier and Ives prints or calendar prints?

    Mary Kauss: Gosh. I can't remember. We had a pretty picture in the living room. It was a place, I think, from Italy. It wasn't all built. Lot of windows down at the bottom. I don't remember the other, but we had two pretty ones in there. Then out in the kitchen we didn't have anything but a calendar.

    Tremaine: You did have a calendar?

    Mary Kauss: A calendar. That's all.

    Tremaine: Do you remember if it came from a certain company?

    Mary Kauss: No. I can't remember.

    Tremaine: What did you use the living room for, the front parlor?

    Mary Kauss: Only when we had company. We sat in the kitchen all the rest of the time. We do here a lot, too.

    Tremaine: I think we all do. [laughs]

    Mary Kauss: We'd always sit in the kitchen.

    Tremaine: Did you have a mantle clock?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. Yes. We had one in the living room, too.

    Tremaine: Where was the other one?

    Mary Kauss: In the kitchen. We had a mantle in there, too.

    Tremaine: Over the fireplace.

    Mary Kauss: We didn’ t have no fireplace.

    Tremaine: Just the mantle. And what was under the mantle?

    Mary Kauss: Just the wall.

    Tremaine: And what else would be on the mantle in the kitchen?

    Mary Kauss: I think two lamps were on the mantle. That's what was on there.

    Tremaine: And in the front parlor?

    Mary Kauss: They were candlesticks. Candles.

    Tremaine: Do you remember any lamps? Kerosene lamps. With a painted globe?

    Mary Kauss: No. We didn't have that.

    Tremaine: But you had kerosene lamps?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Whose job was it to clean them?

    Mary Kauss: My mother did it all.

    Tremaine: When you're cleaning the shades, there's a carbon that gets on the hands that's quite difficult to get off. Do you remember how she got it off her hands?

    Mary Kauss: No. I don't remember.

    Tremaine: Did she make her soap?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: You bought it. Do you remember what brands?

    Mary Kauss: To get washed with, it was Ivory. And there was a Bee soap, then.

    Tremaine: What kind?

    Mary Kauss: Bee soap. B-double-E. And what was the other? I can't remember. Fels Naptha.

    Tremaine: We still use it. And that was used for the laundry?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: In doing the laundry, where was it done?

    Mary Kauss: Well it had to be done in the kitchen if it was cold weather, and in the summer she'd do it out on the back porch.

    Tremaine: In...

    Mary Kauss: Two tubs. Then after she boiled them in a boiler. She had a boiler to boil her clothes in.

    Tremaine: And what did she use to stir them?

    Mary Kauss: She had a big long stick. That's all I know. She stirred them with.

    Tremaine: Did she have a washboard?

    Mary Kauss: Yes, she had a washboard.

    Tremaine: And did she hang clothes on the line?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. We had a big yard and everything was hung up.

    Tremaine: What kind of clothespins did she use?

    Mary Kauss: Just like the kind I have now. With the two...

    Tremaine: Two prongs. They weren't larger than we have now?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, I can't remember that part of it. But I know it was the same kind. I have several of them.

    Tremaine: Were clothes laundered as much in the winter as in the summer?

    Mary Kauss: She washed twice a week.

    Tremaine: Winter and summer.

    Mary Kauss: Uh-huh. She'd have to hang them out, because there was no place in the house to hang them.

    Tremaine: Your house didn't have a basement?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. It was cold down there. I don't remember. She might have put clothes down there. I don't remember.

    Tremaine: What was in the basement?

    Mary Kauss: Well the coal came in the basement. We had potatoes down there and a lot of stuff like that.

    Tremaine: You'd store food. Canned goods?

    Mary Kauss: Yeah. Canned goods. That was all kept down there.

    Tremaine: To iron the clothes, what type of equipment did she have to use?

    Mary Kauss: Well she had an ironing board that reached from one thing to another.

    Tremaine: You mean a table?

    Mary Kauss: From a table to another table. Then the irons were heated on the coal stove. I think she had three on a stove at one time.

    Tremaine: They were all one piece?

    Mary Kauss: They were three different irons.

    Tremaine: Three different irons. All one-piece irons? Not the part that goes in...

    Mary Kauss: No. No.

    Tremaine: Three different irons. Were they heavy?

    Mary Kauss: They were heavy. I wouldn't want to have to use them.

    Tremaine: Did you ever help with the ironing?

    Mary Kauss: No. Never did.

    Tremaine: Did you ever have chores to do?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Joseph Kauss: She was a middle child. [laughs]

    Mary Kauss: Had to go to the store if I was sent to the store. Well, we had to hang our clothes up. We weren't allowed to leave them on the floor on nothing like that. And our things put away. We weren't allowed to throw our coats on a chair or nothing like that. They had to be hung up.

    Tremaine: Did you have a place downstairs to hang coats?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: Whereabouts?

    Mary Kauss: We had a closet in the living room.

    Tremaine: Did you have to go through the living room to get to the closet or was there a hall?

    Mary Kauss: There was a hall. No. It was just like here in there. There was a closet. It was kind of low down. I have a closet right there for little coats and things like that. Then in the kitchen there was a place for people that worked. For their clothes. School clothes had to be hung up.

    Tremaine: And on Saturdays, was there a different routine on Saturday and Sunday than during the week?

    Mary Kauss: Well of course on Sunday, we all went to church. I don't remember what we did on Saturday. We played so much with the kids, I guess that's why I lost track of all that stuff. There were always a lot to play with around here.

    Tremaine: Did everyone go to church on Sunday?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: What time did service start?

    Mary Kauss: We had mass at St. Joseph. I think the first was 7. We only had two: 7 and 10:30. And my grandfather went up to Christ Church. And his was...I'm sure it was later in the morning than that.

    Tremaine: And would there be a Sunday School class?

    Mary Kauss: At St. Joe's there would. It was 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

    Tremaine: Oh so you would come home in between. And would you have a big meal on Sunday?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. A big meal at noontime.

    Tremaine: In the middle of the day. And then go back to Sunday School.

    Mary Kauss: Yes. And then we had a supper at night.

    Tremaine: Supper at night.

    Mary Kauss: Just like--— we would probably have cold meat. Then lettuce and tomatoes cut down. And maybe a vegetable. Something like that. We had plenty of that kind of stuff in the house.

    Tremaine: You mentioned in your yard there was just the wood shed. There were no other sheds?

    Mary Kauss: No. And it was down the bottom of the yard.
  • First telephone and the cellar ice box; Mary Kauss making her First Communion and her aunt making her school dresses; sugar, tea, and medicines
    Keywords: First communion; Food--Storage; handmade clothes; high-top shoes; Medicine; mustard plasters; Sewing; Shoes; sugar barrels; Telephone
    Transcript: Tremaine: Did your grandparents bring from Europe any things that they treasured? Like utensils. Eating utensils.

    Mary Kauss: No. Grandpop didn't have anything that I remember.

    Tremaine: Did they ever go back and visit?

    Mary Kauss: I don't remember them every going back. Course he lived up in Pennsylvania. I'm trying to think what he was.

    Tremaine: Did you ever hear of the name Larkin Chest? A chest called a Larkin.

    Mary Kauss: No I don't.

    Tremaine: Do you remember a store or people by the name of Larkin?

    Mary Kauss: It rings a bell, but I can't place it.

    Tremaine: Did you ever hear of something called a Gem Pan. G-E-M?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: What about telephones?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, we were old before we had a telephone.

    Tremaine: How did you communicate with other places, or was there no communication between them?

    Mary Kauss: There was no communication. That's all. We were kind of old when we had a phone.

    Tremaine: Do you remember when the first phones came in?

    Mary Kauss: I was 18 or 19.

    Tremaine: Were there many of them in the beginning?

    Mary Kauss: Not many. No. We had a neighbor, and they were cousins. She was much older than I was. And she was a telephone operator. She had a phone. But the doctors, they didn't even have a phone out here.

    Tremaine: So, you didn't need one [laughs].

    Mary Kauss: No. I'm going way, way back.

    Tremaine: You mentioned the ice man coming. You said you didn't remember when he'd come. But do you remember what the ice box looked like and where it was?

    Mary Kauss: That was down the cellar.

    Tremaine: In the cellar? Because it was cooler...

    Mary Kauss: Yeah. It was cool down there.

    Joseph Kauss: Don't forget that spring you used. That spring along the side.

    Mary Kauss: You mean in the next yard?

    Joseph Kauss: There was a spring between you and Buchanans. You put stuff in there, too, didn't you?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Joseph Kauss: You just got water out of it.

    Mary Kauss: No. That was the spring we just got water out of.

    Joseph Kauss: That was in between the two houses.

    Tremaine: And it came down the hill or came out of the hill, the spring?

    Joseph Kauss: Right in the yard.

    Mary Kauss: Right in the yard. No hill at all. It was good water.

    Tremaine: I think they must have had good water over here. Everyone I've talked to is in excellent health. You know, bright. I said it must be the water.

    Mary Kauss: They had a spring down here I used to get it.

    Tremaine: Where was that?

    Joseph Kauss: Right down here. Somebody come down here and condemned it about two years ago. I'd been drinking it for 40 years. I guess that's what made me bald headed. [laughs]

    Mary Kauss: That did do it. [laughs]

    Tremaine: When we talk about lacing shoes, you wouldn't have used the button hooks then? You didn't have any shoes that would have required button hooks?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. The ones I had with patent leather bottoms and cloth tops--they were button shoes.

    Tremaine: And how many buttons did they...

    Mary Kauss: Gosh, I don't know for sure. They were just above the ankle and for a kid. I know when I made my first communion, that's the same kind I wore for that, too.

    Tremaine: You wore the button ones.

    Mary Kauss: Yeah. Patent leather bottoms, cloth tops.

    Tremaine: And what kind of dress did you wear?

    Mary Kauss: When I made my first communion? A white dress and it had a panel down the front. The sash had two rosettes on each side, and a big one in the back and streamers. I can remember that well.

    Tremaine: The panel down the front was what?

    Mary Kauss: It looked like lace.

    Tremaine: And did you buy that in Wilmington?

    Mary Kauss: No that was bought [at Litz?] in Philadelphia.

    Tremaine: First Communion was quite an affair. Was there a party or gathering?

    Mary Kauss: No. We didn't have nothing like that. There were so many of us out here. They all had the same thing.

    Tremaine: Did you wear anything else? A hat or head covering?

    Mary Kauss: Yeah, we had a veil on our head. And to go up I had a white shawl around my shoulders. It was in April. But on our heads we all...all the kids had a veil. All the girls.

    Tremaine: Just on top of the head.

    Mary Kauss: No, it come around and down the back a little.

    Tremaine: Over your eyes.

    Mary Kauss: No. Just across the forehead and down.

    Tremaine: And that was white?

    Mary Kauss: Yeah. Of course they don't use them now. But they did then... That was years ago.

    Tremaine: I think some do use them. I've fixed them for the girls at our church. They have to be ironed before they can be...

    Mary Kauss: What church is that?

    Tremaine: We go to St. Barnabus Episcopal Church. But we use the veils, too. Did you have any framed handiwork? Crewel work or needlepoint?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: Did your mother do any type of crewel...

    Mary Kauss: No she didn't. She was busy all the time washing and ironing.

    Tremaine: Did she knit at all?

    Mary Kauss: No

    Tremaine: Or sew?

    Mary Kauss: No. I had an aunt that did all that for us.

    Tremaine: Oh, you were fortunate.

    Mary Kauss: Uh huh. She had no children, and she did all the sewing. She made our dresses and everything for us.

    Tremaine: So some of your dresses she made?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: Did she make most of them?

    Mary Kauss: Not most of them, but she made quite a few for us.

    Tremaine: And were they all females, or did you have a brother?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, these were all female dresses.

    Tremaine: And about how many dresses, new ones, did you have every year?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, I'll say about three or four. That was...we always had one good dress for church. But these were school dresses I'm talking about.

    Tremaine: What would happen to them when you no longer wanted them or could wear them?

    Mary Kauss: They just wore out.

    Tremaine: They wore out [laughs]

    Mary Kauss: We put them on after school and play in them.

    Tremaine: Did you have anything like a checkerboard?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. We had checkers.

    Tremaine: And who would play?

    Mary Kauss: Anybody would play with us at home.

    Tremaine: Everyone knew how. And where was it kept?

    Mary Kauss: Gosh, I don't remember.

    Tremaine: In the kitchen?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. I think it was in the kitchen. Where the barrel of flour was. In that place there. In the closet.

    Tremaine: Sugar. How did you buy your sugar?

    Mary Kauss: I don't know. We always had a can of it anyway. It must have come in a bag. No. I think they weighed it at the store.

    Joseph Kauss: Sugar was loose. They used to have big barrels at the grocery store and then they...

    Mary Kauss: I remember that now.

    Tremaine: And coffee and tea?

    Mary Kauss: That was loose, too.

    Tremaine: Did you buy any fancy teas, do you remember, or was it just plain?

    Mary Kauss: Just the plain tea we had.

    Tremaine: Did your mother ever make tea from herbs?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: What about medicines? Did she use any herbs for medicines?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: Just what the doctor prescribed?

    Mary Kauss: Or she might buy cough medicine over the counter. I think it was called Red Star or something like that.

    Tremaine: Did it work?

    Mary Kauss: We thought it did [laughs].

    Tremaine: Did she use honey at all?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes, we used honey.

    Tremaine: Any other remedies you can think about?

    Mary Kauss: I remember she used to make mustard plasters. I wonder what that was for? Could it be for a cold?

    Tremaine: Chest cold.

    Mary Kauss: It could have been. Not for me, but maybe for one of the boys.

    Tremaine: Do you remember how she made it?

    Mary Kauss: No I don't.

    Tremaine: Do you remember those?

    Joseph Kauss: It's all the same way. Put the big cloth on, put the mustard on. Hot.

    Tremaine: Very hot. I can remember those.
  • Chamber pots and the kitchen spittoon; Mary Kauss taking dancing, sewing, and cooking lessons at Breck's Mill; swimming in Brandywine Creek
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Chamber pots; Children--Social life and customs; Cooking--Study and teaching (Elementary); Dance for children--Study and teaching; Hagley Community House [Breck's Mill]; Sewing--Study and teaching; Spittoons; Swimming
    Transcript: Tremaine: If you had chamber pots, where were they kept?

    Mary Kauss: A what?

    Tremaine: A chamber pot.

    Mary Kauss: Oh, they were kept upstairs in the bedrooms.

    Tremaine: And whose duty was it to empty those?

    Mary Kauss: Mom.

    Tremaine: She took care of them all? And she would take them out to where the garbage went down or out to the outhouse?

    Mary Kauss: To the outhouse. And she dumped them in a bucket upstairs and she only had to bring one bucket down. And she'd go back and wash them all out with soap and water from another bucket. She'd empty them in one bucket and take it down to the outhouse.

    Tremaine: Did that bucket have a name?

    Mary Kauss: Not that I know of.

    Tremaine: What about spittoons?

    Mary Kauss: Oh we had one of those, too. In the kitchen.

    Tremaine: Didn't have one in the front parlor?

    Mary Kauss: No. Just in the kitchen.

    Tremaine: Did someone use that?

    Mary Kauss: Somebody must have used it. I'm sure it wouldn't have been there if they didn't.

    Tremaine: Was it brass or metal or wood...

    Mary Kauss: More like clay...cou1d it have been china?

    Tremaine: A pottery type?

    Mary Kauss: Yes.

    Tremaine: Brown?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. Like that.

    Tremaine: Do you remember anyone cleaning that out?

    Mary Kauss: Mom.

    Tremaine: Poor mom. [laughs]

    Mary Kauss: She really worked hard.

    Tremaine: Did you have a horsehair sofa?

    Mary Kauss: No. My Aunt Ella had one, though. I remember what they were like.

    Tremaine: Hers was where?

    Mary Kauss: In her living room.

    Tremaine: Rain barrel. Did you have a rain barrel?

    Mary Kauss: No we didn't, but lots of people did have one. See, the spring was so close to us.

    Tremaine: Did you have a crucifix in the house?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes.

    Tremaine: More than one?

    Mary Kauss: No just one in the bedroom. In my mother's bedroom.

    Tremaine: What about music? Was there any musical instrument?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: Did anyone sing. Did anyone sing in the choir?

    Mary Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: Did anyone in the family take dancing lessons or sewing lessons?

    Mary Kauss: Well the place down here at Hagley. I think Chick Laird bought it or something. That all went on, something every night. We had dancing lessons and sewing lessons. All that. There was always something at Breck's Mill, they called it. There were different ages for different things.

    Tremaine: What did you take down there?

    Mary Kauss: I took cooking and sewing and dancing.

    Tremaine: At different times.

    Mary Kauss: Different days...nights.

    Tremaine: Now for cooking, what did they have?

    Mary Kauss: We were told to bring different stuff, and then the lady down there would teach us what to do with it. It was very nice.

    Tremaine: Do you remember anything you made?

    Mary Kauss: No. I wasn't much for...I liked cooking though. I still like to cook.

    Tremaine: And you took sewing there?

    Mary Kauss: Mmmm-hmmm. I never sewed much, cause I don't like it.

    Tremaine: And dancing?

    Mary Kauss: Oh, I loved dancing.

    Tremaine: Boys and girls?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. And they had Kate McClafferty's over here. Kate McClafferty, dancing teacher. She was a dancing teacher. She had a place in Wilmington, but she came out there for that.

    Tremaine: And that was one night a week?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. It didn't go on year after year like other things did. Maybe just for one winter or something like that.

    Tremaine: Did you learn just the basic steps?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. The waltz and I forgot what else I had.

    Joseph Kauss: I taught her how to dance.

    Mary Kauss: You did not. I was always a better dancer than you.

    Tremaine: [laughs] When you went to dancing school, did you wear gloves? Did the boys wear gloves?

    Mary Kauss: Oh no. Never heard of it. They weren't dressed up like that.

    Tremaine: Did you have to learn manners at dancing school. Was etiquette taught also?

    Mary Kauss: No. Just Kate McClafferty. She had a big place in town where she taught. It was just plain dancing. But it was nice.

    Tremaine: Pin cushion. Did you have a pin cushion on your dresser?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yeah we did. We had one.

    Tremaine: I'm going to have to turn this over. So I'm going to stop it...Let's see now. Did you ever go barefoot.

    Mary Kauss: Not much. I went a little bit, but not very much.

    Tremaine: Did any of the other children?

    Mary Kauss: Oh sure. They did.

    Tremaine: We talked about ice skating. What about swimming in the summer time?

    Mary Kauss: Oh yes. We went all the time in the crick. Over by the mill.

    Tremaine: Which mill?

    Mary Kauss: Hudson's Wool Mill on the other side of the crick.

    Tremaine: How did you get over there?

    Mary Kauss: There's a bridge here. At the foot of the hill here there's a bridge and then down that way on the other side.

    Tremaine: What did you wear to go swimming?

    Mary Kauss: An old dress and bloomers.

    Joseph Kauss: They used to skinny dip.

    Tremaine: Did you go skinny dipping, too? Or did the boys?

    Mary Kauss: The boys did. But they didn't go where we went. The boys went on the other side of the crick. On this side. We were on the other side.

    Tremaine: Well it isn't very wide there. [laughs] Did you take a towel down?

    Mary Kauss: I don't remember taking a towel.

    Tremaine: It was warm?

    Joseph Kauss: It was only about a five minute walk from the house.

    Tremaine: What kind of...did you play any games when you were swimming? Tag? Did you swing off ropes?

    Joseph Kauss: We swung off ropes.

    Mary Kauss: But we didn't.

    Tremaine: The boys did. Did you go swimming out here, too?

    Joseph Kauss: Sure. Went down there.

    Mary Kauss: You went down to the second dam, though, didn't you?

    Tremaine: What did the boys wear to go swimming?

    Mary Kauss: Just the trunks.

    Tremaine: You lived in town at that time?

    Joseph Kauss: Yes. But we come out here to swim. We had a lot of cricks down on at Christiana. I come out here when I was seventeen years old.
  • Tremaine mentioning the restored powder yards at Hagley and others interviewed for the upcoming exhibit; Joseph Kauss leaving Hagley in 1917 to work at the Experimental Station; Mary Kauss' grandfather going to the barber shop for a shave
    Keywords: Barbershops; Company. Experimental Station.; E.I. du Pont de Nemours & amp; museum exhibits; photographs; plumbing; spigots; Work environment
    Transcript: Tremaine: Do you remember, when you were working in the office, was everyone friendly, or were some of the superintendents...Did they treat everyone the same?

    Joseph Kauss: Yeah. They were very good.

    Tremaine: They didn't think that they were better?

    Joseph Kauss: No.

    Tremaine: Everyone was the same. Do you ever see any of the ones you have worked with?

    Joseph Kauss: I think they're all dead. I'm 80...I'll be 83 next month.

    Tremaine: Neither of you look it. I think it's wonderful. Have either of you been back to Hagley? To the yards where it's been restored?

    Joseph Kauss: I was up there about 5 years ago.

    Tremaine: But you haven't been...We're hoping that when this exhibit opens that we can have all you people up there.

    Mary Kauss: I'm going to that. I'm going to the exhibit.

    Tremaine: You know, we can have you all up there. Perhaps there will be people up there that you knew. Because some of them don't live in this area anymore. I interviewed a man from Florida that used to be up here. He was just here, and he...

    Joseph Kauss: Who was that?

    Tremaine: A Mr. Aurand. He was across the fiver. But there have been several who have just been visiting here. They understand we're doing this and they'll call and we'll go up.

    Joseph Kauss: I worked down at the Station, too.

    Tremaine: Oh you did work at the Station?

    Joseph Kauss: I worked down at Chambers Works, too.

    Tremaine: You were all over. When did you go down the Station?

    Joseph Kauss: The year I left Hagley.

    Tremaine: In 19...

    Joseph Kauss: 1917 I think it was. I was only there about four years...When they got wise to me they sent me home. I got a [tape?] out here in 15 minutes. You can keep on going.

    Mary Kauss: He's going to the club.

    Tremaine: To the Country Club? How nice. What about a Morris type chair?

    Joseph Kauss: We don't have them any more.

    Tremaine: No. Did you have them?

    Mary Kauss: If it was a straight back with a covered seat. I'm trying to think whether we had one at home. I think that was the name of it. I heard the name before.

    Tremaine: You don't happen to have any photographs of interiors or the outsides of the houses?

    Mary Kauss: No. My sister lives in Florida, she took all of that with her. She's still living. She'll be 83 next birthday. But she was still home when the house broke up she took all that stuff with her.

    Tremaine: We have not found photographs of insides of homes. So we have to take everything from things like this. People didn't take photographs inside a house.

    Mary Kauss: No they didn't.

    Tremaine: Outside of people. Perhaps in the background you can see the house. But very few even took just the house. A hydrant with a spigot. Does that mean anything?

    Joseph Kauss: That's the old fashioned. They all had hydrants and spigots.

    Mary Kauss: In later years they put water in the house. We had spigots in the sink in the kitchen then.

    Tremaine: You called it a spigot and not a faucet?

    Mary Kauss: Yes. They had to put that in here for us when we moved here. There were no bathrooms either. They had to put all that in.

    Tremaine: And that was 51...

    Mary Kauss: Years ago.

    Tremaine: Isn't that wonderful to live in one place like that?

    Mary Kauss: It is funny isn't it. And I love it out here. I really do.

    Joseph Kauss: What part of town are you from?

    Tremaine: I live way over in Cooper Farms. It was rural when we moved there 28 years ago, but it's not anymore. What about men's shaving mirrors? Did your grandfather have a shaving mirror?

    Mary Kauss: Well I never saw him shave at home. We had a barber shop out here, and I know he stopped there a lot.

    Joseph Kauss: You could get a shave and a haircut for a quarter.

    Mary Kauss: Gosh. A shave was cheap. Course he may have shaved after we went to bed. I don't know. But I never saw him.

    Tremaine: I think I've covered most everything here, unless you have something you’ d like to add. Of course, there's a lot more questions here. Was a man proud of his working man's hands? Now you worked in the office. It was different from the yards.

    Joseph Kauss: Proud of his working hands?

    Tremaine: Mmmm-hmmm. Proud that his hands perhaps were covered with dirt. That he worked with his hands. You worked in an office. Did you think as highly of the men who worked in the yard as you did of those who worked in the office.

    Joseph Kauss: I didn't have any trouble when I worked...[Continues in part 2]