Interview with Martina Lawless, 1984 February 21 [audio](part 2)

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  • Her brother taking photographs; card parties and dances at Breck's Mill; water supply at the Kennett Pike house and at the Mount Pleasant House; taking the Rising Sun trolley to Brandywine Springs Park
    Keywords: Brandywine Springs Park; Breck's Mill; card parties; close stools; dances; laundry; Photography; Plumbing; Shellpot Park; Street-railroads; Tanks; water pumps
    Transcript: Lawless: ...down to the creek one day to try to find some place where I could get some tobacco for her [her Aunt Anne]. [laughter]. Boy.

    Johnson: Did you find any?

    Lawless: No, I didn't get any that time, but we finally got some for her, but she was the best-hearted. Oh, she was a wonderful person. She lived to be 90 years old. And we stayed with her for a while there after her daughter died. And then we had to come home. We had this house. Don't look at my windows. Oh, boy. They're setting me crazy. I guess my niece will start cleaning up here after awhile. They're awful. No. Is there anything else now?

    Johnson: Well, we still have a lot of questions here which I still haven't asked you? Do you remember taking pictures when you were little? Did you take pictures on Christmas or on your birthdays?

    Lawless: No. Oh, they took pictures. My brother, he was crazy about pictures and he had on the third floor of that house of ours he used to develop them himself. Yeah. He had a regular developing room up there after we came downstairs and didn't use the third floor. Yeah. He used to - We always - I wish I could find that, - could show you that - oh I wish I had that album to show you all the pictures out there - the snow storms and the summer and the tennis court and all that stuff. I don't know where it is. I really don't know. I have a whole album full of pictures. I was always taking pictures and he was picture crazy - John was. He was always taking pictures and, as I say, he had that room. And when we first had that house, we had a water tank on the third floor which was a crazy thing, but that's how we got our water. But, anyhow, after a while the city water came out that way and did away with that tank so they took it out of there and he used that for his developing room. And that's where he developed all of his pictures. But he was always taking pictures. Yeah. Oh, I guess his son has the albums. I don't know who has them.

    Johnson: You mentioned going to Breck's Mill, too. Do you remember when did you first start going there?

    Lawless: We used to have card parties. St. Joseph's used to have card parties down there. Card party and a dance. Once a year, maybe in the spring sometime. I can't remember the dates. But, that's where - we didn't have any place to have one and that was a hall. And we used to have our card parties down there.

    Johnson: Do you remember the showers that were down there?

    Lawless: The what?

    Johnson: Did they have showers - I think that was the first place they had showers in this area. This may have been before your time.

    Lawless: Showers?

    Johnson: Showers at Breck's Mill.

    Lawless: What kind of showers? Body showers?

    Johnson: Yes - Just go in and take your showers.

    Lawless: I never heard of that.

    Johnson: Yes. They say they did.

    Lawless: I never heard of it. No.

    Johnson: Do you remember the Tankopanican Band that was led by Alfred du Pont?

    Lawless: The what?

    Johnson: The Tankopanican Band that Alfred I. du Pont led.

    Lawless: That was before my time, but I heard them talking about it. Oh, yes. Yes. Oh, yes. I remember them talking about that band he had. But I don't remember anybody that was in it or anything. I don't know who would know much about that.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything about water - where you got your water before they had water in the house? Would your father have to get it from a pump somewhere?

    Lawless: We had pumps.

    Johnson: Where would the pump be in relation to the house?

    Lawless: Well. We had a pump in our kitchen down at the hotel. And then they had water someplace down in the bar room - I don't know where. But when we moved up to the other house, we had water in the house. We had a tank in the cellar. You had to light it. I forget. I know we had to light it to get it going and it had a big wheel on it. And we had a well outside, outside in the yard, and that's where the water came from. And then above that we owned that property up there too, there was a big well up there and there was a pump on that well. Uh-huh.

    Johnson: Do you remember any springs that you might have gone to to get a drink of water - any springs that you were told not to drink from?

    Lawless: No. We were never allowed to drink from any of them.

    Johnson: Pump was safer?

    Lawless: Yeah. We used to pump water because if my mother was a little bit leery about it, she'd boil it. And that was supposed to take away any germs that were in it. But, I remember the old iron pump that was in the kitchen down at the hotel. I remember that. But when we moved up to the other house, we didn't have any of that. We had pipes and spigots, and we had a bathroom and everything. We used to have to take a bath in the tub. Take our turns - stand in line.

    Johnson: I guess when you were really small at the tavern, you'd have to go outdoors to an outhouse?

    Lawless: Yes. That's right. Yeah. There was no toilet inside.

    Johnson: Do you remember what that was like? Was it quite close to the house?

    Lawless: It was beside the barn. Um-hmm. But they always had those - what do you call them - around the beds. Some people still have them if they are sick or anything.

    Johnson: Chamber pots?

    Lawless: Well, they had pots, but these were - oh, some of them were very fancy things. Oh, what do you call them? They sit down in a wood thing and then you put the lid down on them. Oh, they all had them. Yeah. But, no after we moved up to the other house, we had everything, all those conveniences. We had a tub and a toilet, water in the kitchen and everything.

    Johnson: Do you remember your mother doing the washing? How did she do that?

    Lawless: Well, they scrubbed on the board for a while until we finally got an electric washer, and that was the talk of the town and everybody came to see our electric washer. Yeah. It was an old friend of Kitty's that was selling them [laughter] - a boyfriend of hers. I forget the name of it but I can see it yet. Oh, that was a great thing when we got that washer. Yeah. I forget the name of that washer. But I remember the fellow that was selling them. Oh, gosh. Yeah. Yeah, we finally got that, but before that, it was just the board. - That we washed on.

    Johnson: Did your mother have one of those hand wringers with the rollers that she would have to put it through?

    Lawless: Um-hmm. Yeah. We had a big yard there to hang the clothes out in the yard and when I came home from school, that was my job - to take in the wash.

    Johnson: What did you do in the wintertime when it was too cold to hang it outdoors? Did you have any place inside?

    Lawless: Hung it in the cellar. We had a big cellar in the new house. We had this big - I don't know what in the yard. I don't remember. I was too little. We had a big cellar down there and, of course, that's where the heater was and things would dry down there. Sure. Oh [laughter], it was a great life. How do you keep your hair so white? Look at mine. I just don't know what to do with mine.

    Johnson: It's a real problem. Do you remember any street cars?

    Lawless: Street cars?

    Johnson: Did the street car run right in front of the tavern?

    Lawless: Oh, no. No. It still makes the same bend. You know No. 10, it was. I don't know whether they go by numbers now or not, I don't know. It was No. 10, and it would come out - out of Wilmington, down 17th Street, and up where the old Lammot du Pont - that was the circle - and made the circle there and went back to town that way. And that's where you would have to walk to get to the trolley. Yeah. And that's where all the du Pont men went when they didn't have anything else to ride in. They rode that trolley. It was called uh - the name of that trolley - Delaware Avenue and what - I don't know, I really don't know.

    Johnson: Is that what you would take in to Wilmington?

    Lawless: Yes. That's right. Well, then, there was another one. Called the Rising Sun. That went down Barley Mill Hill and you'd go down along the Brandywine - that way. Yeah. There was one down there and then this one on the pike. We used to use that other one a whole lot more than we used the one on the pike.

    Johnson: Why was that?

    Lawless: Because it was nearer. It was just down Barley Mill Lane, see. And old open things. Oh, my God! We thought we had a picnic when we'd go for a ride in the summertime on those open cars. All the way to Brandywine Springs and back. Oh, boy! And then Shellpot Park - down there. That was a park. That was a park when we moved here. There was nothing from here down - nothing! You'd hear the frogs croaking all night. Here comes Elsie now.

    Johnson: Would she like to come in?

    Lawless: No, she's gone. She lives next door. She wants Dolly; she's O.K. Oh, they were wonderful when we were both sick. We both got down at one time. My sister had a stroke. She had been down and then I goes ahead and takes sick and gets in the next room. And every day - oh, she had a wonderful husband. Oh, did I cry when he - he dropped dead at the Hotel du Pont at a banquet of Delaware Power and Light he worked for. Dropped dead in the lobby. Oh, he was just wonderful. She's good, but she'd bore you to death. She'd come in here every day with a cookbook. I didn't want no old cookbook. Now, what would you like to have? Oh, crap, I didn't care what I had. And she'd come in every night with something. She was really good. Well, we - the two of us - we're the only ones have been in these two houses since they were built. The rest of the houses have changed, you know. People moving in and out, but we are the two originals. Yeah. Well, she had an accident. She's very lucky. She walks good. Her son's down in Salisbury. And she went down there - she always did go down there for the holidays - and she cooks and she bakes. Oh, she's a grand cook. And she'd have this whole load of stuff to take down. Oh, she loaded up the car. I watched her and she went off. She didn't do a thing but have an accident, and was she lucky! She walks fine. She walks just fine. Very lucky. Her car was demolished. Yeah. Somebody coming in here? Oh, no, it's across the street.
  • Rooms in the house on Kennett Pike; working at Breger's flower shop and having an allergic reaction; her mother's distrust of nurses; her brothers' characters as children
    Keywords: Allergy; Brothers and sisters; Brothers and sisters--Death; Flower arrangement; iron beds; Midwives; Nurses; Seitz, Margaret
    Transcript: Johnson: Do you remember anything about your old bed when you were a child? What it was like?

    Lawless: Our old iron bed?

    Johnson: Yes. Did you have a feather mattress? Somebody said they raised chickens and their feathers were stuffed in mattresses.

    Lawless: Yeah. I don't know what the mattresses were, but we had the old iron beds. And then we had a wooden bed and when the boys - all went away - we used to have the third floor furnished. The boys were up there and then when most of them left, why we came downstairs and we had a big room downstairs we called the study room. We used to study there every night. And that was - my sister had the prize bedroom. Of course, she always did. The prize bedroom of the house, she had it. And then my mother and father's bedroom. And then there was another one. And then there was this big room where we used to study upstairs. We didn't study downstairs; we studied upstairs. That was for company. The downstairs were for company, visitors and we never could go down, either, no. And I used to sneak - my sister had a friend who played the piano. Oh, my sister taught music, you see. This one was a great piano player. She was a jazzer. She could do all the jazz and I loved that. They'd send my brother and I to bed and we'd sit on the top step and listen. She used to come - Pauline Seitz. Those Seitzes were great people up around there. She lived up there. They lived up in that neighborhood. Yeah. Pauline worked for DuPont. So did Florence.

    Johnson: Do you know Margaret Seitz?

    Lawless: Oh, sure.

    Johnson: Well, she works as a volunteer guide at the Museum, so we are frequently at the Gibbons House together.

    Lawless: Oh, does she? She used to pick me up. After my sister died, I went to work for Bregers. I studied flowers, see. I went to two flower schools - different schools in Philadelphia. And I always loved flowers. And Mr. Breger was opening his flower shop on Concord Pike and, of course, they knew I knew a lot of people and was friendly with a lot. We had a lot - we had a lot of connections and a lot of friends. We were well known and they knew that. So, they wanted to know if I would come. I worked for Mrs. Ellison Downs. Did you know her? Molly Laird? She was one of the big I du - I worked for her for quite a while and she's the one that sent me to flower school because I used to do all the decorations in the house, and I'd always have something on the table at night and the finger bowls and so she sent me to the flower school to take up the flower business. And the first one I made out all right and the second one I was doing fine when I developed poison. I got poison from some of the things we were using. Oh, I was a mess! Well, anyhow, I had two courses, pretty near, and I was working in the shop then with the second course. And then, Mr. Breger's daughter was taking the same courses from this school. She has the store now. She has Breger's flowers now - that girl. She's not - she's not in the original. The original place now is a beauty shop on the Concord Pike. It's a beauty shop now. But it was a beautiful place. I mean the flower shop; it was beautiful. Well, anyhow, I worked for ten years for him. And my sister Kitty got sick. I had to do something. No - I had to come home; that's all there was to it. To take care of her and be here. She was in bed for a long while. I went to Philadelphia every day. Well, one time I stayed with a friend of mine in Philadelphia. While I took that course. But did I get poison! Oh! I never! My brother used to take poison; I never took poison. Oh, I was a mess. So, my brother come up and got me. I couldn't even put on shoes and stockings. I was covered.

    Johnson: Did you have to go in the hospital?

    Lawless: No. I was home here. No, I didn't go to the hospital with it. I was home, just sitting here, with a sheet all around the place and I had to take baths every so often. Oh.

    Johnson: I guess that was the end of working with flowers.

    Lawless: Oh, no! Oh, no. I went back to the shop. Yeah. But I wasn't working with the kind of things they were working with at the school. The trouble was and I know what did it. When we - at the shop, we never used the fern leaf along - unless they were wet - had been wet - because there's a seed in back of that thing that's poisonous. And if you wet it, it kills it, whatever it is. And I knew that. I knew Mr. Breger never made sprays or anything unless he wet those things. Well, we worked on them in the school and they weren't wet. And it was hot. We were in a hotel room somewhere, I forget where. I was perspiring, see, and that's why I got it. Never had poison as a kid. I never had poison. My brother did. He used to get it, but I never did. But, boy, I got a mess of it that time. It was really something. Well, my brother come up and got me. I couldn't put on - all I could put on was the dress. And when the doctor come in, he said, "You sure have a mess." I said, "You're not telling me; I know. " So finally I had to bathe, and bathe, and I finally got rid of it.

    Johnson: Do you remember what the doctors were like when you were a little child? Did your mother have to call the doctor anytime you remember?

    Lawless: Uh. Yeah, I guess so - later years.

    Johnson: Do you remember their names?

    Lawless: Dr. Macenty was one of them. And he wanted me to be a nurse when St. Francis opened. He begged my mother to let me go, but she wouldn't let me go. She said no daughter of hers would ever be a nurse.

    Johnson: I wonder why she said that?

    Lawless: She had a nurse one time when one of us was born and she didn't like her. And she didn't like the way she acted. And she just had bitterness against that. She wouldn't let me go. And St. Francis was opening and everything and he was a very dear friend of ours. He's gone, too. Nothing doing. She wouldn't let me do it. He said, "She's a born nurse." I used to go around to all the sick people, you know, in the neighborhood, and do what I could for them and he says, "It's in her; you ought to let her go." Uh-huh, nothin' doin'. I never became a nurse but I've done enough of it since then because I went to my brother's every time they were having babies and anything was wrong. One of them had five so you know I had a time goin'. I went all the way to Florida, too, and stayed with one.

    Johnson: Do you remember what you - what it was like when your mother had your brother? Do you remember anything about that? Did the doctor come to the house?

    Lawless: No, I don't remember. No, I was only about three years old, or so that's the difference in our ages. I don't remember it at all. I remember, slightly remember, the nurse she had. It was unusual to have a nurse in those days. And she had this nurse and that's what disgusted her with nursing, was that nurse. And that's the reason she said she'd never let me go. But she did have that nurse when my brother was born. Now he was very delicate when he was born. He used to have what we called spasms. But now they call them somethin' else. But, anyhow, she used to have to grab him when he'd get them and dip him in hot mustard water. Convulsions like - he used to have. He was awful delicate when he was a little fellow. And I used to stand beside her and watch her bathe him in this - Well, he was - he's never - he's never had any real sicknesses only he does have this trouble now. He has emphysema. He has oxygen in the house all the time. Yeah. But he's never had an operation. No.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything about her feeding him when he was little? Any special food or...?

    Lawless: No. No. I don't remember. I think mostly all did breast feeding in those days. I don't know. I don't remember. I don't remember any of that. But I remember how delicate he was, and when he started to school, I had to take him by the hand to school and he was an awful baby and if anybody looked at him or tried to throw a stone at him, he'd start crying, you know. And I used to fight his battles. I'd take him to school and bring him home. And then we'd go down to the barroom to Uncle Jack and he'd give us a little glass of beer about this big - the two of us. He always did, but he was always a baby. Now, that other brother of mine was a toughy. Boy, he was a tough one. You know what he did one day - he buried all my dolls. He wanted to be an undertaker, so he just dug a hole and buried my dolls. And I screamed and cried and yelled and everything, you know, and he had to get them up, of course.

    Johnson: Well, he got them up for you?

    Lawless: Oh, sure. Oh, he was a character. He made out very well. He went with DuPont. DuPont engineer, he was. Graduated from Notre Dame.

    Johnson: Did your mother punish him for doing that?

    Lawless: Oh, sure. But [laughter] oh, he was a devil. He was always doin' somethin'. He always was. Then, he had a big job with DuPont. He was down Waynesboro. Well, he practically engineered the building. He was an engineer. He engineered the building down there and they sent him two or three different places to - there was a tower somewhere - a cellophane tower that he engineered that, too. But his main place was Waynesboro. Down there. They had a beautiful home in the mountain. Oh, I loved it. Oh, it was just wonderful. He just dropped dead over his desk one day. He was only in his sixties. He just passed out.
  • Childhood games and pets; shoes and going barefoot in the summer; attending boarding school at Villa Maria College (now Immaculata University); first family automobile, a 1916 Buick; ice delivery
    Keywords: Buick automobile; cats; Delivery of goods; Department stores; dogs; eye glasses; Games; ice; Immaculata University; Jumping rope; Lippincott & Co. (Wilmington, Del.); Mary Jane shoes; Villa Maria College
    Transcript: Johnson: Do you remember any of the games you played with your brothers and sisters?

    Lawless: Oh, we used to jump rope.

    Johnson: Well, would you have played that with boys or was that only for girls?

    Lawless: Anybody that was around. Anybody would turn the rope. Yeah. Hide and go seek. Well, we used to play - we had - checkers we had those kind of things.

    Johnson: Did your family go away during the summer? Did you take a vacation?

    Lawless: No. No.

    Johnson: Did you ever go to any of the beaches on the Delaware River?

    Lawless: No, we didn't. When we were little, no. I did a lot of traveling later on in years. I've been to Europe. We spent ten weeks traveling in Europe. And I've been to Canada. And I've been to Florida. I've been to California and I don't know where all I haven't been. Oh, I've done some traveling.

    Johnson: Do you have any relatives in Europe still?

    Lawless: No. I never had relatives there. I never had relatives in Europe. No. We - we landed in Ireland docked in Ireland. I may have - there may be some long way-out relatives in Ireland.

    Johnson: But you didn't know of them?

    Lawless: No. No.

    Johnson: What sort of things would a woman carry in her handbag or pockets? Do you remember what your mother might have carried in her handbag when you were little?

    Lawless: Gosh, no.

    Johnson: And did your father smoke?

    Lawless: Yeah. Cigars.

    Johnson: What about family pets? Did you have a cat or -

    Lawless: We had a cat and we had dog. We had a collie - we always had a collie. Yeah.

    Johnson: And did you have to help your mother take care of the collie?

    Lawless: Oh, sure. Sure. And we always had a cat. The cat got the mice for us and the dog kept away the other things.

    Johnson: Were you allowed to go barefoot when you were little?

    Lawless: Oh - all the time. My father wouldn't let my sister go barefooted. He wouldn't allow it. And when I come along my mother said, "He raised her, now I'm raising you. Go in your bare feet." I went in my bare feet all summer - rocks - and she had trouble with her feet all her life. I never had any trouble with my feet. She had to get special - well - she got her shoes from Philadelphia somewhere, but she always had trouble.

    Johnson: Where did you get your shoes when you were little? Did you go downtown?

    Lawless: Lippincott's. [laughter]. Oh - Lippincott's. They were at Fourth and Market at the time, I think. They had the biggest store in town. We used to get everything there.

    Johnson: Do you remember what kind of shoes your mother and father wore?

    Lawless: No, I don't. But I remember the first time I got Mary Janes and I thought I was in Heaven on earth because I had a pair of patent leather Mary Janes for Easter. Yeah.

    Johnson: Could you wear those to school or...

    Lawless: Oh, no. Oh, no. They were Sunday shoes.

    Johnson: What did you wear to school?

    Lawless: Well, sort of an oxford they were, I guess.

    Johnson: And did you have black stockings?

    Lawless: Yeah. And in summertime I had little white socks. Sometimes none at all. I was a barefoot kid. My mother says, "I'm raising this one. She's goin' in her bare feet," so I did and I never had any trouble with my feet.

    Johnson: Did a lot of children wear glasses when you were little?

    Lawless: I never did, but my sister had to have glasses very young. But I never had glasses until I was quite a good bit older.

    Johnson: Was that unusual with a lot of children?

    Lawless: Yes, that was unusual. Very few children wore glasses in my day. Of course, it's not unusual today.

    Johnson: Somebody said they didn't think the examinations were as thorough then.

    Lawless: Oh, no.

    Johnson: Did they examine your eyes in school?

    Lawless: No. No. We didn't have nothing like that.

    Johnson: You just complained if you couldn't see?

    Lawless: I, pardon me. I don't remember anybody - any kid - when I was in school wearing glasses. I don't remember I don't remember seeing any of them with glasses on.

    Johnson: If somebody did wear glasses, did they like the idea?

    Lawless: Oh, well, my brother had to get glasses and that's the first one. Well, he was in high school, though. He was pretty - he had to get glasses. But that's the only one in our family and then my sister had to finally had to get glasses. But no, she didn't get glasses till she was way through school. She graduated from Alexis I. out there on the Pike. She graduated from there and then she went to Villa Maria Academy. And that's where she studied all the art business and music. And then when she came home, she taught music.

    Johnson: And did you study at Alexis I?

    Lawless: No.

    Johnson: You went right from St. Joseph's to Villa Maria?

    Lawless: That's right. No. I went to Ursuline for a while - about a year, I think, I went to Ursuline. And then I got sick and I had to have this appendix operation. So then, they decided I would go to Villa Maria. So that's where I went. In September I went there. Yeah. Now it's a gorgeous place and it's a college. And when I was there, the nuns and all the girls - they were all working to get the degrees that were necessary to have a college. They were working for it when I was there. Now they have it. Now Villa Maria - that's Immaculata - the college. That's where I went. Villa Maria is down the road farther. It's just the grade school. That's all it was when I went there. But now it's a college. Yeah.

    Johnson: How did you get there? Did you go by car?

    Lawless: Hm-mmm. We had a car. Yeah.

    Johnson: When did you get your first car, do you remember what that was like?

    Lawless: 1916 - a Buick. Great big thing; you never saw anything like it. Eight passengers.

    Johnson: Did you give your friends rides in it?

    Lawless: Oh - every Sunday we went for a ride. That's what they come up to see me in that. Yeah. Great big old thing.

    Johnson: Where would you go for rides?

    Lawless: Well - - We went to Atlantic City to see my brother a couple of times. Oh - we'd just go around the country and then when I went off to boarding school, they used to come up there to see me. Once in awhile, not too often. Of course, my brother went to Notre Dame and nobody got way out there to see him.

    Johnson: That is a long trip. He must have taken the train out there?

    Lawless: Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember people locked their doors? Was that a problem, locking your doors at home? 54.

    Lawless: It wasn't a problem, but we always locked them. Kinda had a special place. If you were out, the door was locked, anyhow, but we had a place where they kept the key. And they all knew - we all knew where this extra key was. To get in. But the door was always locked.

    Johnson: What about ice? Did you have ice delivered to your home or what happened?

    Lawless: [laughter]. Yes, maybe once a week this ice truck would come along, you know, and I used to be so mad I would have the kitchen floor all scrubbed nice and in would come this darn man with a chunk of ice - drip, drip, drip - I used to get so mad. And then sometimes my brother on the way from school - he drove a car, he had a little Ford - and he'd stop at Diamond on the way out and get a piece of ice. That's how we existed. But he used to - the ice man used to make me so mad. See, I was home with mother most of the time. My sister worked in the bank. It's not there anymore; it merged with Security. And when it merged with Security, she went with them, too. Yeah. She was out into the bookkeeping department.
  • Her sister's love of reading; people staying at the Mount Pleasant Hotel; Italian baptisms
    Keywords: Carriages and carts; Fathers--Death; Henry Clay (Del. : Village)--Buildings, structures, etc.; horses; Infant baptism; Mount Pleasant Hotel (Lawless Tavern); newspaper delivery; Reading; Smocking
    Transcript: Johnson: Do you remember if your father read a newspaper when you were little?

    Lawless: Oh, sure.

    Johnson: What would that have been?

    Lawless: I don't know.

    Johnson: Did you ever read it, too?

    Lawless: No. We weren't allowed to read the newspaper.

    Johnson: Now why was that? Did they think the newspaper...

    Lawless: I don't know. They just thought it was none of our business - some of this stuff in the newspaper. Um-hmm. Now I remember we had a newspaper boy - Lundy was the name - and they lived down the creek. Lundy served the paper for years. I don't even remember the name of it. I guess it was still the same names. I don't know. We used to get one every day. Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything else, like magazines or things like that coming in?

    Lawless: No. Well, later on, but not when we were younger, no. Ladies Home Journal, that was the main one that we used to get. There was another one, I forget the name of it. No. We didn't go in much for magazines. My sister was a great reader. She'd read at night. She used to make me so mad; I'd be working all day and I'd go to bed and I'd be asleep and she'd be in her room reading something and when she was finished with it she'd just drop the book on the floor. Oh, I used to get so mad at her. She'd drop this book or she'd just throw it and make a noise, see.

    Johnson: To wake you up.

    Lawless: Yeah. Oh, she was a great reader and so was my brother, but I never was. I was never - I was always busy doing something else. She was always reading. And he was, too. He liked those little paperbacks. He liked mystery stories. Yeah. Here comes my paperboy.

    Johnson: I'll get your paper.

    Lawless: He puts it in the mail box. He's a nice little fellow. He's black, but he's an awful nice little fellow.

    Johnson: What about where your father got his hair cut? When he was little, do you remember that?

    Lawless: There was a barbershop down in the creek and that's the only one I ever knew of. I don't know whether he went down there or not. But he was quite bald. He got bald very young. He got white very young. But, I really don't know unless it was down at that barbershop along the creek. It's the only one I ever knew of.

    Johnson: Do you remember the name of the man who ran that one?

    Lawless: No. No, I don't remember the name. No, I don't. But I know exactly where it was. It was along the creek there facing the Brandywine.

    Johnson: Was it right near Breck's Mill?

    Lawless: Not far from Breck's Mill. There was some houses and some stores on the other side of Breck's Mill - down from Breck's Mill. There was a tavern there - there was two taverns.

    Johnson: What was the name of that tavern?

    Lawless: Oh, isn't that awful. There was two taverns there and then there was one up on Barley Mill Lane. There was three taverns; they weren't far apart. But I can't remember the name of it. Of course, ours was Mount Pleasant Hotel, the name of our place. What was the name of that?

    Johnson: Did people stay up in the hotel, too?

    Lawless: There was two rooms upstairs in that part over the hotel. If anybody wanted to stay. You know people - they used to come by horses and they'd want a place and we had a barn, see, and they could put their horses in the barn, store their wagons under the shed and then have the night there. Yeah.

    Johnson: How much would it cost to stay there, do you know?

    Lawless: I don't know. I don't have any idea. [laughter].

    Johnson: Do you have any idea who stayed there?

    Lawless: No. My mother used to get them some meals, I know that. No, I don't know anything about that.

    Johnson: Was it likely to be a peddler who was bringing dry goods down?

    Lawless: I don't know. No, it wasn't like a peddler. I really don't know what it was. But that's what the barn was for. And then there was a shed opposite the barn where they could put their wagons. And then we had another big place where we kept our carriage. We had a carriage with the fringe on it. Oh, yes! Fringe all around it. A two-seated carriage with the fringe all around it. I have a picture of it somewhere. I don't know where it is now.

    Johnson: How many horses would have to pull that?

    Lawless: Just one.

    Johnson: Just one?

    Lawless: Uh-huh. My father was very fond of horses. He had two and I think when we moved up the park, I think he sold them and I wanted a pony so bad. I wanted a pony and cart. Oh, I just wanted them so bad. So when he was going to the hospital, he said, "When I come home, I'll get you the pony and cart," No - he didn't survive. No. He did not. He was getting all ready to come home when he had a hemorrhage and those days these days they can do things - but those days they...

    Johnson: Do you remember any funny nicknames that you heard from people as a child?

    Lawless: Nicknames. No, I don't know. Oh, no.

    Johnson: Do you remember any weddings when you were real young - any relatives who might have gotten married?

    Lawless: Oh, and baptisms. The Italians used to come on Sunday to have their kids baptized. We used to have Sunday School, too, you know, and they used to throw candy. They were like almonds, coated almonds. And they used to throw them at the Christening, and us kids would be all out there trying to get the almonds. That's all I remember about that. They'd come down on Sunday to get the baby christened. Yeah.

    Johnson: Was there a time when you had to get your baby christened - would you have to be a certain age or...?

    Lawless: I don't think so. I think as soon as they were able to get out. 'Course I guess maybe it depended - no - John was born in January. And so was Father Tom. Kitty was born in March. And they were all cold months. I don't know. I really don't. But my mother used to make all those clothes. And she had - oh, she had the prettiest little things and she gave them all away to somebody. I don't know who she gave them to, but they were all made by hand, you know. She'd make all that stuff. I used to do a lot of it when my brother started to have family. I used to do a lot of handwork for them. Little dresses - smocked. I used to do a lot of smocking.

    Johnson: That is so pretty.

    Lawless: Yeah. I used to do a lot of that. And my niece was going to start in school. And I'd been down to Bancroft's Mill - you know about Bancroft's?

    Johnson: Yes.

    Lawless: And I bought a lot of, oh, I forget the name of it; it wasn't silk. It was like a tan color. It was nice, anyhow. Well, I made her two or three - smocked her two or three dresses to start to start in school. Yeah. I don't know what ever become. Don't you love my windows. Oh, they're setting me crazy. If my niece don't get over here and do something, I don't know what I'm going to - look at them - isn't that awful!

    Johnson: They look O.K. to me.

    Lawless: Oh, they're setting me crazy. With the sun especially shining on them.

    Johnson: And after the winter, you just can't help...

    Lawless: No, that's right. Oh, well, the house was all closed up for a while. She's got a little boy and he's not too healthy. He's had a heart - he's had heart surgery.

    Johnson: How old is he?

    Lawless: About ten, I guess. Yeah - ten or eleven or something like that. He goes to school every day. He goes to special school, but he's had heart surgery. And you know that's a worry all the time. But he's doing fine.
  • [Note: End of formal transcript] Her opinion on progress made since her childhood; Alfred I. du Pont's good relationship with St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church; final remarks
    Keywords: Buick automobile; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Iré né e), 1864-1935; Ford automobile; Kennett Pike
    Transcript: "We used to go for a ride every Sunday." "None of my people worked in the powder." "We all lived up there on Church Street"