Interview with Faith Betty Lattomus, 1984 April 19 [audio](part 1)

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  • Christ Church and its Sunday School; trolley route near and through Squirrel Run; moving from Squirrel Run to the Upper Banks and then to Wagoner's Row as a young child
    Keywords: Christ Church Christiana Hundred (Wilmington, Del.); Fourth of July celebrations; Hunter's Corner; Joseph Bancroft and Sons Company; Laird, W. W. (William Winder), 1910-1989; Picnics; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church (Wilmington, Del.); Squirrel Run; Street-railroads; Sunday schools; Theaters; trolleys; Upper Banks; Wagoner's Row
    Transcript: Wagner: Your full name.

    Lattomus: Faith Betty Lattomus.

    Wagner: Your maiden name was?

    Lattomus: Was Betty.

    Wagner: And your address?

    Lattomus: Was Montchanin, it's in Montchanin was where I lived, that was our post office. And of course there wasn't another post office except, now I don't know where the other - I guess the other one was up in Rockland and then there was one further down, down where you called Upper Hagley, that yellow building there, they said it was a mercantile something, I never knew it as that, all we ever heard of it was the yellow house and it was the Sunday School when it first opened up. At least this is what was told to us, now this was a little before my time, but that's what it was called there and then of course they built the church now, that is there now and I guess it must be going on to two hundred years old. It was a hundred years old before my mother died - they had a big affair up at Longwood, P.S. du Pont's, and then later from that they put on an addition to the Sunday School. Do you want to hear this or not?

    Wagner: Yes, I want to hear whatever you have to say.

    Lattomus: That was the Sunday School - they had put on like a wooden part of it, well, they tore the brick building down which was against - I don't know who engineered the fact of getting it - the big house, not the frame part - well, they tore the whole thing down and built the new building that is there now. As I remember, Mr. Ashton lived up on the Buck Road and he was the Pastor there for a long time. They built him a house eventually where the house is now, but he wasn't there very long. At that time he - well I don't know what they called it, but anyway he was not Pastor anymore and he had something connected with the hospital. He went and visited the sick and all, this is Mr. Ashton. And then of course when he left, Dr. Munse was the next one. The one before Mr. Ashton, I'm not sure of this, but I think it was Mr. Laird that was the Pastor of Christ Church then. Dr. Munse was very well - well Mr. Ashton was a very nice man, everybody liked him, but he was very poor as a talker. He had a very slow drawl, not that that - it detracted from listening because people, you know, they had a nice nap while they were in there [laughs]. Things like that were sort of detrimental to your ego I would think.

    Wagner: Now this was Christ Church - they tore down the building and built the whole new one?

    Lattomus: Well, right there at Christ Church there are still some houses there but there was a row of houses where these, well Robert and all - I forget now, but Wilson just retired, he'd been there twenty-five years I guess, but when that was there, we lived - we lived in I don't know how many houses up there, do you want me to go on that?

    Wagner: Yes, I would like to know about all of your houses.

    Lattomus: The first house that I was born in was in Squirrel Run. Of course it's still Squirrel Run, but I haven't been down there for years and years cause - one of the du Ponts bought all that ground there and he built a big house down there and when Christ Church and St. Joseph's - St. Joseph's used to have a big picnic there every Fourth of July and of course that was a big Howdy-do for all the kids in the neighborhood cause there wasn't much going on, although where the trolley car ran up and down, one time put up an open theater and of course that was great too. But the thing of it was, they couldn't put a roof on it and all the kids were up in the trees sitting there looking down there. I remember my grandmother, she was an old Irish lady, we lived at Honey's Corner and we walked down the ties and she had her high boots on, you know with the buttons, she almost fell and broke her leg. Mamma says that's the last time we go to the movies. [laughs] That didn't last very long, one summer, I think, I'm not sure of that.

    Wagner: Now where did the trolley run in reference to Squirrel Run, where were the tracks?

    Lattomus: Well you know where Bobby Carpenter's place is, the gate that goes in there, well right here to this side there was an Italian man, Vic Rado was his name, and he had a - built - framed it in for him - it was just a waiting place at one time where you get in out of the rain while you wait for the trolley car. See here was the trolley car came up like this through Squirrel Run and on up through - up to this little, not a village really where the Wagoner's Row is there.

    Wagner: The trolley car went right up through the middle?

    Lattomus: No, the trolley car went - came up and ended here and the road is still there, both the intersections of the road, but here out in this little corner like, that's where the man had his little store, ice cream and stuff like that. The only place it went through was the village, it would be Squirrel Run, and it came right on out up through Henry Clay, came on up through that woods and where Rising Sun Lane is, well it came along through that, that's Henry Clay, it came through that. Then the next little place it came through was Squirrel Run, and then Wagoner's Row. The trolley car came up along like there was a meadow in there and all along that meadow was railroad track.

    Wagner: So that it ran sort of parallel with Montchanin Road?

    Lattomus: Yes, it was that and it went straight through the woods, there was a place right through the woods and it went right straight through the woods and when it came out there, it came out at Squirrel Run. And then, of course, it went on into Henry Clay and then it came on down and it swerved there and on one side was Bancroft Cotton Manufacturing.

    Wagner: Bancroft Mills.

    Lattomus: Yes, they had that there. Then it turned there and went on a block, I forget the name of the block now, I think it went in, it came out Sixth or Seventh Street. You got on the trolley in town, that's where - or you could get it at any block, but that's where it started, and then after it slowed down, they weren't having much traffic or people on it or anything, then it only ran every other hour, so it made it a little difficult for people, course we had no bus service or anything like that, all we had was the trolley car. Course when we lived up the Upper Banks, we had - there was a store there at Hunter's Corner, it was the only thing...

    Wagner: Tell me, do you know what's at Hunter's Corner now?

    Lattomus: Have you contacted Chick Laird?

    Wagner: Yes, well I haven't, but the Museum has.

    Lattomus: Did he show you - well he has a little booklet - I'd love to have had one and it shows how Hunter's Corner went. I can tell you what I know about it. When we lived at Hunter's - the first place we lived was Squirrel Run, okay. And then the next place we lived was up at Upper Banks. And then we moved from the Upper Banks to another house not far from there, when I was still a baby and we lived there, that was still the Upper Banks. And from there we went to, from that house, there was two houses we lived in up there, and then we left there and went to Wagoner's Row, I was only three or four years old, but I can remember Wagoner's Row, just spots of it. There was, I forget, quite a number of houses there in Wagoner's Row.
  • Layout of Wagoner's Row and interior of her family's house
    Keywords: Campbell family; Chickenpox; crooked stairway; Dressmakers; Outhouses; Porches; Wagoner's Row; water pumps; Wooden-frame houses
    Transcript: Wagner: Can you describe the house, do you remember the house, can you describe it for me?

    Lattomus: Yes, well Hunter's Corner was over on this side of the road, the road that is still there and there's a cement gutter that is still there. We used to roller skate on it when we were kids. Then we used to sweep the barn out so we could roller skate up in the loft. But to get back to the other, where was I, I forget once in a while.

    Wagner: You were going to tell me about the house.

    Lattomus: Oh, the house, well the one in Wagoner's Row, we'll take that one up first. There was one house faced the road, here's the road that goes into - it still goes the same way - Route 100 or Montchanin - then these were built like row houses. There was one that faced this way and then the rest of them, there was one, Aunt Mattie lived there, two, three, there were four houses there all with little porches facing the same way.

    Wagner: Facing Route 100?

    Lattomus: Yes, Route 100, there was just one house that faced on Route 100, the others just - there was a little lane back there and it just went along back there and of course there was a pump there. That's where we had to get our water, we had no inside water or no inside toilets. The boys used to have a wonderful time with the toilets on Halloween cause they went out and turned them all over. That wouldn't go on the tape so very well, but anyway it is part of the thing. Then were was the house we lived in. These other houses, they were all facing this way, the house we lived in was facing this way. The porch was this way, yeah that was all that was there. Then there was a yard that belonged to the next people. There were two houses next, I don't know who was the architect, but he just put them up any old way he felt like doing.

    Lattomus: Were these stone houses, were they built out of the stone, or were these frame houses?

    Lattomus: No, to my recollection I'm pretty sure they were frame, frame houses. And this one where we lived when I was still a baby there, well about four I guess, and then there was another space there where these people, Campbell was their name, they lived there, and then right next to them was the pump. Then we went down the hill. See all these houses are mostly connected, a couple of them were freelancers, but most of them were - and then you went down a hill, and at the bottom of this hill on the right was another house, and this house the road went right into, almost to the gate, had a gate there, and that house faced the same way. Doing interviews. That's our son-in law.

    Wagner: Come in, we're getting interviews.

    Lattomus: Yeah, that was before his time, he doesn't know anything about that. Where was I?

    Wagner: You were telling me about the town houses - the row houses.

    Lattomus: Well this house that I told you, it had a porch on it, it faced on this same little road. The house was built - there was a pump there too, but they had to go down steps to get to their house. The kitchen was down on both sides. There was two houses there together, just the two together. And each one of them had to go down to - well you could go down and get on the trolley car right there, it went right past his house. And then the other house, that was those two houses, then there was a space there and there was two more houses, I think there was only two, and they were frame houses. Different people lived there, I don't remember. My Grandmother lived in one little house for a while, but she got so old she couldn't stay by herself, that's the way people lived in those days, they didn't put you in a nursing home - they suffered with you [laughs]. But up above them, when you come in, where that pump was I was telling you about that pump, I forgot to say, there was a road that went off, well it was private, there was only one house up there, but it was here, and next to it was this house. I don't remember it so well, but just the back end of it was windows and all, the door opened on the other - I'm not describing it very well, but I don't remember it very well either. But that was all there was in Wagoner's Row.

    Wagner: Do you remember how many rooms it had, downstairs and upstairs?

    Lattomus: I remember the one we lived in in Wagoner's Row, the one I'm talking about. They had, the one we lived in, they had a nice big, long porch, not closed in, just a porch, and then there was a kitchen when you walked in, and then in the next, it opened right on the same floor, there was another little porch like the other porches. See this house was connected with these three or four houses that I told you about in the beginning. They had a living room, a parlor they called it then, and of course the kitchen was a living space, it was right good size, it had to be with all of us. It had a crooked stairway, I remember that, so many people like them, but they are kind of a mess when you live with them.

    Wagner: You mean a curvy...

    Lattomus: Yeah, like this, you know. And then all I remember of upstairs is that we must have had at least three houses, or three bedrooms.

    Wagner: How many children were you?

    Lattomus: Well, my oldest sister, she didn't live there - she did live there, but not so much, she was learning her trade, you know, she was learning to be a dressmaker, so she stayed in town, they had a couple old maid aunts and she stayed in and just came home on Saturday. There was my other sister, Madeline, and my brother, Bill, my brother, George, and myself, there was four of us.

    Wagner: Where did the, you say you had one pump for several houses, where did they pump the water from?

    Lattomus: Well, they had wells, they had wells there - they had one there, I don't know how the first one - Godfry, their name was Godfry. I don't remember the pump. They must have gone down to the pump where we had, they had about three pumps, one up near us and then one down where - oh I remember it too well, they had beautiful purple grapes, you know, and they were real stingy with them - we'd have to steal them (don't put that down). Well, that's all I remember - I remember one thing at this house in Wagoner's Row, we all had chicken pox at the same time, my poor Mother.
  • Moving to a larger house in Upper Banks when her father became boss farmer for the DuPont Company; vague memories of powder yard explosions; interior of the Upper Banks house and the houses later being torn down; playing near the DuPont barn
    Keywords: Barns; boss farmer; Dougherty family; explosions; Horses; Porches; Upper Banks; Wedding costume; weddings; Wrecking
    Transcript: Lattomus: Then we moved from there - did you want to know the other houses?

    Wagner: Yes.

    Lattomus: We had Hunter's Corner, but we don't come up to that yet, unless you want to go right into Hunter's Corner - this was when we moved from Wagoner's Row to the Upper Banks, which is Hagley now. You came right up that road and went right straight down to the house. It didn't twist like this, it went straight down to the house. We have some pictures, I think, I know they took them - borrowed them for quite a while, and I'm sure they have them that you could check. We lived up there, we moved there because the man that was the boss farmer for the DuPont Company - see the DuPont Company had a farm at that time. Well, he retired and my father became the boss farmer so we moved from there up to the big house.

    Oh, it was a lovely house, but darn it, we don't have any pictures - we only have the picture with the group in front of it, but it was a lovely house. It went past like this, and then you went on down and you'd have to stop at the gate because that's where the Powder Mill started. And my brother and I used to think we were stealing rides, you know, we'd jump in the wagon and they'd laugh at the gate and they'd say, "All out", we weren't allowed in the Powder Mills, of course. But these three big houses, they were lovely houses. And one lived in were people named Toomey and he was blown up in one of the explosions. Not when we lived there, we lived at Hunter's Corner then. That one, and then we lived in the middle house, and then there was another one, just the three of them. Another big one - people by the name of Dougherty lived there. And they all worked, as far as I know, for DuPont Powder Mills.

    They said about remembering explosions, I can remember one, the only one that I actually can remember, it wasn't during the war - it was running, but it was not a war casualty is what I'm trying to say. People found out later that one of the men that worked in there lit a cigar or cigarette or something and blew up - I don't know how many people were killed. I remember that, we were at school - whenever there was an explosion, they dismissed the school. That day there were quite a few - that's the only one I remember and my sister says, "Well, I don't know whether you really remember or whether you heard it so many times," which could be true.

    Wagner: What year - could you give me a year?

    Lattomus: You hear so many things. So then, of course, there was quite a number of houses down there in that part. Of course they tore them all down. The one we lived in that was such a pretty house, my father went up, he said, "I hate to go up and see it." But he went up to see them pull it down. He said they pulled one big stone and the whole house collapsed. It had been shaken so many times.

    And then we had another one, I don't remember that, but it was just a small one, nobody got killed or anything. A big stone came through, course we were living in the house then. Always called it the Big House and we lived there then. When they got rid of these houses, see there was quite a number of houses - Mrs. Crowninshield had some of them renovated. In fact one that's a double house now is where my husband and I were married. All of them were just pieces and stuff, we used to play down there in the old houses. Then there was a group of houses, about three - Dan Shields, of course he's gone too, so many of the people that were older that could know better and remember more than I.

    Wagner: Can you tell me about the big house - how many rooms did you have in the bigger house?

    Lattomus: In the big house?

    Wagner: Describe the rooms.

    Lattomus: Well, we had - they had a road in past these three houses, of course, and it was enough of a gate like that you could pull, course we didn't have any car or anything like that. But you could go in from the upstairs, wait, I'm getting that mixed up. There was a - here was the kitchen, then the kitchen door and here was the pump. Then that's where we got our water from that pump, and you went right off it into the kitchen, the kitchen was right there. And it was what they call, well you were on the kitchen level, for the kitchen on that floor, but the next living room, you had to go up steps and you could come in from the outside, go through this little porch, you know how they used to build the houses like that. That was a living room, or parlor we called it then and then there was a hall and the upstairs I don't remember. There must have been four or five rooms because we had all those and my Mother and my Aunt, no, my Aunt didn't live with us there I don't think. She lived with us so many places, she got me all mixed up. That was, I remember it so well. That's when my sister was married in that house. So we have a lot of ties.

    Wagner: Do you remember the wedding?

    Lattomus: Yes.

    Wagner: Can you tell me about it?

    Lattomus: Well, she was dressed in white and all, but just some friends, a simple dress.

    Wagner: Did she make her own dress?

    Lattomus: It seems to me, I don't remember her attendants, I think she had a cousin that she went around with quite a bit and I think she was her bridesmaid.

    Wagner: Did she wear a veil?

    Lattomus: No, no, just a little plain, white dress - in fact I think she made it herself, I told you she was learning to be a dressmaker - seamstress.

    Wagner: Yes.

    Lattomus: The only thing I remember about the upstairs, one of the cousins of ours wanted to stay all night with us over the weekend, and we said okay and he saw his mother and father start to walk away to go down to the [?] and he started to bellow and that was the only remembrance I remember the upstairs in that one - they had to take him home. But that was all - as you come in, went down straight to the big house, there was a road, I guess it's still there, goes down this way, and it goes down to a gate - three gates there, that one and the one down to the lower Hagley, and there was another one, I forget where that was.

    When that house - course they finally vacated all the houses, all of them, most of them were torn down or just left to wreckage and I don't know what happened to all the other people, I don't remember correctly how many houses there were, but it was quite a number of houses. Most of them worked for the DuPont Company in one way or another, on the farm or in the - a lot of them drove wagons for powder and a lot of them just - I don't know what they did.

    Wagner: Now this farm, was this food for the du Pont family or was it food to be sold?

    Lattomus: No, no, it was primarily for the horses, see they had quite a number of horses that had to be fed and bedded and of course they didn't change much - have you been over to the barn?

    Wagner: Yes.

    Lattomus: Do you remember that place with the cobblestones that you go down through one level ground to the other? We just loved that - that's where they had the horses up there and they would bring them down and and put them in stables down below. I can remember that very well.

    Wagner: You could play down there - you could play around the barn?

    Lattomus: Well, we weren't supposed to really [laughs], but if you could get away with it, you played down there.
  • Garbage disposal and vegetable gardens; moving to Hunter's Corner after Hunter's Grocery closed
    Keywords: arc lights; barn burning; bathrooms; Dan Kauffield; honey wagon; Hunter's Corner; Hunter's Grocery; mantle lamp; mazda lamps; Mrs. Chandler; Refuse and refuse disposal; Telephone; vegetable gardens
    Transcript: Wagner: I wanted to ask you about - what did you do with your garbage? You didn't have any garbage pickup did you? Where did you throw the garbage?

    Lattomus: No - yes, I think they had somebody come around. They had what they called the honey wagon.

    Wagner: Well, that was for the outhouse, right? For the outhouse. But your ordinary garbage, like your potato peels and stuff, what did you do with those?

    Lattomus: I'm sure they had some place or something they did that to, course they probably fed a lot of it to the - I don't think they had pigs up there - this was primarily for feeding the horses. And they used to have - well, whatever surplus they had, they sold it for the DuPont Company. And my father worked for them for quite a number of years. I remember his boss so well, Dan Kauffield, he was awfully good to my father, he liked him a lot.

    Wagner: What did your father do?

    Lattomus: He was the head of the whole farm, you know, the planning, the hiring and the firing and whatever a regular farmer - as far as vegetables and things were concerned, they just had their own gardens, they didn't have big gardens. Course the du Pont family wasn't in existence as far as living down there around there at that time they weren't.

    Wagner: So each family had its own garden out back of the house?

    Lattomus: Yeah, if they wanted to have one. They didn't have to, but we lived along here and right opposite us the garden - the garden that belonged to our house, and then at the foot of that garden there was another house, one, and that's my aunt and uncle lived there, he worked for the farm.

    Wagner: What was his name?

    Lattomus: William Snyder. You know, it's like everywhere else, you get your family in if you can [laughs] it hasn't changed from years ago. My uncle, too, that was my father's brother, they didn't live there, but he worked there - he lived over in Montchanin, near Rockland. They were a tight little community. Most of them were actually Catholic. I think probably that's the reason they finally built a church because they had no place really for us, like, to go. There was never, as far as my knowledge, never any fuss and carrying on, everybody lived nicely and you did to suit themselves. As long they obeyed - they used to have - and we loved it - see them pull them off and oh, they did get heck for that. They had bags that they put on the fences to dry - I forget what they were for. I think it was for the stuff that they had left over and they would sell it. Now that's when we moved from there - is there anything else that you would like...

    Wagner: You said when you moved from there you went up to Hunter's Corner, Hunter's corner, right.

    Lattomus: See, Hunter's Corner - the trolley car was right here and you just walked about half a block and that got you up to Hunter's Corner.

    Wagner: Hunter's Corner is at the intersection of Montchanin Road and Buck Road?

    Lattomus: At one time there was three houses - they were all together.

    Wagner: On Montchanin Road?

    Lattomus: On Buck Road - no, on Montchanin Road. There were three houses, one on the end was a store.

    Wagner: What kind of a store?

    Lattomus: Hunter's Grocery.

    Wagner: Grocery? Who had that store?

    Lattomus: Hunter's Corner, that was the grocery and in the middle there was a woman, Sally Gilson and her father, and I think her father had been pensioned from the DuPont Company and he lived there and we lived on the end where the Hunter - William Hunter ran the store. And he finally decided, I guess it was all these houses closing and Wagoner's Row gone and all these ones gone, he left and he bought a house down on East Grant Avenue someplace, I forget. We used to ride down with him, he had a little son just my age and he used to take us in the wagon down there. I got around [laughs]. And Hunter's Corner, when he moved out, we moved in and they put an addition on our back because we didn't have enough - that's when we first had a bathroom - oh, we were uptown, we had a bathroom and we had the telephone. We were the only ones that had, you know, luxury.

    Wagner: You didn't have electric lights yet?

    Lattomus: Yes, there we did. Up at the house that I liked so much, that I can hardly remember, we had what they called mazda?

    Wagner: Yeah - arc lights.

    Lattomus: They had a mantle - that's what they called a mantle lamp. We knew a woman, Mrs. Chandler, she went around in a wagon and sold all these things - oh, we had a...

    Wagner: She went around, she had the business - she went around, Mrs. Chandler went in the wagon?

    Lattomus: Oh yes, she went around and oh, she'd visit with the people too, have a cup of tea and sell some mazda lamps - yeah, we had that there. Then down Hunter's Corner, of course, we had electricity. And right next to Hunter's Corner, where we lived, this was before we moved down there from the other house, the barn caught on fire. Somebody - tramps used to lay there a lot, sleep in there - and that's what they blamed it on, I don't know, but it burned almost down. Of course we weren't living there then, nobody - he had vacated it and they were fixing it up for us to go in and thank goodness - cause it was right next door to us - it was only the length of the garden, and a road for the trucks and the horses and things to go in and out. Now that house wasn't frame, I'm sure, that was a concrete or cement or something.

    Wagner: What about fire engines, any fire engines?

    Lattomus: Well, I don't know, they must have had them, I guess a bucket brigade more than likely. Course as I said, we still lived up at the other house and we didn't have too much connection with that. Then they rebuilt the barn again, and the man on the end where the store had been, Mr. Elwood McClain, he came there as a farmer, I think, on his own, I mean he farmed and sold. He wasn't connected to the DuPont Company - DuPont farm.

    Wagner: Did he have his own farm, or he just tenant?

    Lattomus: No, he was - what do you call it?

    Wagner: Renter.

    Lattomus: Yes, he didn't but it, he just rented it, and of course I guess he just paid them rental and he had sold whatever he had. One time they opened up a little place and my sister, they are all dead now, all my relatives, they opened up a little factory - not factory - cannery, and she was the fastest one with a knife. Isn't it funny how things come back, I haven't thought of those kind of things for years.

    Wagner: I'm delighted you're thinking of those things.

    Lattomus: Well, I didn't think I'd - Madeline said she'll know whether there is stuff she can use or not, she can just throw it out.
  • Living in Eleutherian Mills residence before it was acquired by Mrs. Louise du Pont Crowninshield
    Keywords: barracks; Crowninshield, Louise du Pont, 1877-1958; Eleutherian Mills (Greenville, Del. : Dwelling); living room; parlor; peat; pot bellied stoves; pump organ; square box piano
    Transcript: Lattomus: When we left Hunter's Corner, see I was about twelve or thirteen, fourteen maybe, I don't know, that's when we moved up in the big house. It had stood vacant for quite a number of years, they put the guards during the war - the guards were billeted there and then after the guards left, it stood vacant for quite some time. In one of those brochures it said it was vacant for so many years until Mrs. Crowninshield - that wasn't true because we lived there for at least three years, and I can tell you a lot about it.

    Wagner: Tell me.

    Lattomus: Well, you can see the front of it, there used to be a drive. See the road came right straight down here and it was a drive went right around front. And right over here in the corner was the first DuPont office, it's sill there, but the way it used to be it was in pretty bad shape, well, it just deteriorated, nobody bothered with it and that was it. You went in that door, in the front door, and there was a window here and another door and that door at that time led into our kitchen. There was a pantry there and you went down the steps and that was a pantry where you put your - well, Mamma never used it cause there was a place up where you could put jars and what canned and all that, but they probably used it at that time. That was going in and then there was steps there and you went up the steps and there was a door there and there was a hallway. And you went up another flight of steps and that was my old aunt, who was an old maid, she came in to live with us. Of course that made it nice because she had a living room and then upstairs she had her kitchen. And then you went in the front door, here on this side there was a big room and it had a double doors on it, now this was what we called the parlor.

    Wagner: This was on the right-hand side as you came in the front door?

    Lattomus: Yes, as you go in the door, right-hand side, and this other was a great big hall. This one where the double doors were, that was our living room and you pulled the doors to and that was our dining room, and then you went through another door and that was the kitchen, that was our kitchen. And of course we had a big kitchen stove, and we had stoves, we didn't, we never used fireplaces. I don't know why, but Pappa never did use them.

    Wagner: What did you burn in the stove - coal or wood?

    Lattomus: Well, coal or peat, right alongside of the house there was a great, long bed of peat, I don't know whether it's all gone or not, but we used that all the time we were up there.

    Wagner: You would go out and cut the peat - did you go out and cut your own peat?

    Lattomus: Oh yes, you had to do that. Well then that's the downstairs part of this side, as I remember it. But when you come out of the dining room and you walk back a little bit, that was the porch, I guess it still is the porch. And when we went there, see they had the soldiers, the guards billeted there, and you should have seen that - they had a beautiful place, you know - tons of whiskey and bottles - they just took them out on that porch and shucked them.

    Wagner: And threw them down the hill.

    Lattomus: Well, you'd go out on the porch and now, I'm sure, it's a lovely view and all, but at that time it was nothing but - we were glad when the bushes grew up.

    Wagner: When you came out on the porch, what was down the hill from the big house - were there still buildings down there when you were in there?

    Lattomus: No, the only thing I remember there was a springhouse - there was a springhouse down there, but the other buildings - in fact some of them, the fountains and the pool, all that stuff was built while we were still there. And then down - well see, the downstairs as they know it now, that was nothing but empty rooms, I mean, we never used it, and they never used it. All those beautiful things that are there now, of course they were hauled in and set up there, they may have resurrected them from some places, but they weren't there when we were there - I'm sure we didn't get any of them, darn it [laughs].

    Wagner: How about upstairs?

    Lattomus: Well, you would go up those stairways - I thought it was a different one, but they said it wasn't the same one that was there when we were there, I thought it was, but they ought to know more than I do about it. We remembered it as coming on down - does it come on down now?

    Wagner: It just goes from second story to first story.

    Lattomus: Yeah, it doesn't go...

    Wagner: And then you have to get off that stairway and more steps go down to the lower level.

    Lattomus: Well, the ones when we went up the stairs, right here at the side, off the side, that's where our bathroom was, right there - we only had the one bathroom.

    Wagner: Right at the top of the stairs - at the top of the stairs?

    Lattomus: At the top of the stairs. When you get off the steps like this, you turned and right there - I think they still have that as a restroom, don't they. Seemed to me last time I was there it was in the same place, maybe not. Well anyway, if you don't go to the bathroom, you go right on by, you go right on past, and there was a big room just like the one down - didn't tell you about the rest of the downstairs. Want me to go back to it?

    Wagner: Yes, let's go back to the downstairs.

    Lattomus: Well, the one as you go in the front door and the hallway, I told you on one side.

    Wagner: Right.

    Lattomus: Well, on the other side was another big room just like the one on the right side, but it didn't have the doors in between, it just was a big open room. And we never used it - yes we did, we used that as a living room, we had a parlor and we had a living room - well, I tell you, we were uptown with a parlor and a living room [laughs]. And I remember it because at that time we had square box piano and it was a beautiful thing. She bought it from Miss Gilson, because she was moving and didn't have any place for it, so we bought it. When Pappa and them moved, they were building a house and a smaller one, so I think they sold it, well they got rid of it I know, we don't have it. I would give my eye teeth to have it now, and an organ, we had an organ.

    Wagner: Both - both a piano and an organ?

    Lattomus: Oh yeah, organ too.

    Wagner: Pump organ.

    Lattomus: My sister learned - she practiced on - no she learned on the piano and practiced on an organ [laughs]. She says, "No wonder I never amounted to much in the musical line." Well, anyhow, after you get past that room, that was really a nice room. It should be, I think we were probably allowed to sit down it once or twice. That other room, it was another big room like the one upstairs, but we didn't - I didn't tell you upstairs either, I'm getting it all backwards. The room at that time, we just had a bed in it, a bed in case we had extra company or something. It wasn't really furnished. So that's the upstairs and then you go on up the steps, course that's where the maids that we didn't have existed. There were seven rooms up there, I think, we never used any of them. We had so much room we didn't, we never used used any of those rooms.

    Wagner: How did you heat this big house?

    Lattomus: With stoves, pot bellied stoves they called them then. Course the one in our room and my Mother and Father had that room, and then my sister and I had the next room, and then Aunt Lyde, she had - in fact I have it on my porch, I'll show it to you, a little iron stove, and it was hers and it's well over a hundred years old. She was 89 when she died, she's been dead forever [laughs]. That's all - the upstairs, I couldn't tell you anything about that. But over in the other side, I think we got - and we had a stove, you were asking about stoves, we had a stove in that room, and then of course when we were eating, we kept the doors closed, and then when we weren't eating why - so it heated those rooms. And of course the bathroom, you know, you just got in and out as fast...

    Wagner: As fast as you could...

    Lattomus: And hope the Lord didn't see the rest of the dirt [laughs]. I don't think I can remember any - of course when we first moved out of the big house, Mrs. Crowninshield remodeled this other house, and had made one big room out of it.

    Wagner: I wanted to ask you...

    Lattomus: I'd love to have one of those things that he has, it's about Montchanin, Chick Laird, in fact he wrote it up, I think, himself and he brought it up to us to let us see it, but he didn't give it to us.

    Wagner: He didn't give you a copy?

    Lattomus: No.
  • Attending Alexis I. du Pont School; laundry and household chores; family pets
    Keywords: Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Aprons; Bathing customs; Chores; Hearing aids; Laundry; morning routines; Outhouses; Wilkinson, Norman B.; Yellow School (Wilmington, Del.)
    Transcript: Wagner: I've got to keep an eye on my tape here, we're going all right. Now, I wanted to ask you, where did you go to school?

    Lattomus: Alexis I.

    Wagner: Okay.

    Lattomus: We were supposed to go to Montchanin, within Montchanin District, but my sister, not my oldest one, next one, one older than me, she almost had gangrene in her arm. They put that - see them getting...

    Wagner: Vaccination?

    Lattomus: Vaccination, that's what I'm trying to say, well she had this vaccination and a big hollow and she almost lost her arm and so he said he wasn't going to send her to the Montchanin School, she's going to Alexis I., they said you can't go to Alexis I. unless you get her vaccinated. Well she's not going to go get vaccinated - she's going to Alexis I., and that was it, she went to Alexis I. and she never did get vaccinated. The rest of us got vaccinated. [tape is switched]

    Lattomus: Now my husband's hearing aid broke and he's having a heck of a time, you know, you have to go up to him and holler and oh, he's so mad. He went to the very best one he could think of and all of this he's been a year fooling, fooling with it. I heard there was a place called Handleman's up at Concord Mall or someplace. I'm going to get in touch with him because this is outrageous. He just can't hear a darned thing.

    Wagner: That's a shame.

    Lattomus: And when they put the thing in, he went to a regular real good doctor so that everything would be kosher, it's kosher all right - don't tell my husband [laughs].

    Wagner: Okay - we're still going to school, you did not go to the A. I. that we know now, where did you go?

    Lattomus: I went to the A. I. that's down on the Kennett Pike.

    Wagner: Okay, you did not go to the little yellow school?

    Lattomus: No, no - my sister did, my oldest sister did. No, my Mother and my aunt went to the little yellow school. Then by the time they built the other one, they were past the school age.

    Wagner: How did you get to school?

    Lattomus: Are you kidding? We walked - snow and ice in winter - and summer - we walked. And I wasn't old enough to - I had to go in the kindergarten, so she would take me about three, two days a week I was allowed to go to school. Cause see she had to lug me from one class to the other.

    Wagner: Did you carry your lunch?

    Lattomus: Yes, there wasn't any - are you kidding - there wasn't any...

    Wagner: Did you take peanut butter sandwiches?

    Lattomus: Wasn't any cafeteria in those days by golly.

    [Unidentified man]: Are you picking her brains?

    Wagner: I'm picking her brains.

    Lattomus: I don't think she's getting much.

    Wagner: Yes we are.

    [Unidentified man]: I don't know about that.

    Lattomus: She said "Do you want to hear yourself?" I said, "No, I'm liable to tear it up."

    [Unidentified man]: Take care.

    Lattomus: Okay, dear. No, we had a nice visit with Dr. Wilkinson. Is he still down there?

    Wagner: No.

    Lattomus: I didn't think he was, he hasn't been there for years, has he?

    Wagner: No. Now see, Dr. Heacock just retired.

    Lattomus: My husband knows him pretty well from through Winterthur. There was another fellow who was with Dr. Wilkinson when he came up and I can't think what his name - sounds like a Polish - wasn't he a Polish fellow born.

    Wagner: I can't think of his name at all, and I just read that interview, too. Let's get back to school - you took your lunch, right? What did you take for lunch?

    Lattomus: Well I graduated - went to Kindergarten there and graduated from there, I never went but the one school.

    Wagner: Did they give you homework?

    Lattomus: Oh yeah.

    Wagner: Lots of homework?

    Lattomus: We thought it was a lot, I guess the way it is nowadays, it wasn't.

    Wagner: Did you buy your own books, or did the school furnish the books?

    Lattomus: No, no, we didn't buy our books.

    Wagner: Do you remember what you wore to school? Did you wear long skirts, short skirts?

    Lattomus: We wore - we went barefooted all summer at home, but we didn't have to go barefoot to school [laughs].

    Wagner: Did you have long arm or short dresses?

    Lattomus: Regular, just medium length, I guess. My sister used to - they used to have pretty little dresses and then they wore little white, like just over so they could wear the dress for two or three days without - cause the washing - you didn't ask about the washing.

    Wagner: I'm coming to that [laughs]. Who did the washing?

    Lattomus: My Mother for years, until we moved down in that last house we lived in, and then she had a washing machine. We had a woman that came and did our washing. My Father come in one day and she was sitting at the table having a cup of tea and a slice of toast, and Mamma was lugging the clothes and putting them in - he said, "You needn't bother coming back, Mrs. Harrington, I'll buy her a washing machine." She got a washing machine, anyhow.

    Wagner: How did you - where did you hang out the clothes? You had to hang them out, you did not have a dryer?

    Lattomus: Oh no, no, just on the clothesline. In the wintertime, I guess we probably wore the same suit most of the week [laughs].

    Wagner: Did you bathe every day?

    Lattomus: Oh no, Mother always laughed and said we only bathed once a week. But we did do better than than. We didn't get a full bath too often I'll tell you, because when some of the rooms were mighty cold and you weren't thinking about cleanliness, you were thinking about Godliness to let you get into bed.

    Wagner: Who got up first at home? What time did you get up in the morning, who got up first?

    Lattomus: Oh, my Father, my Father was up and gone before - my Mother mostly up the same time and she'd get his breakfast. I worked for nine years after we were married, so we just went our own ways at breakfast time. I'm still not much of a breakfast eater, not my cup of tea.

    Wagner: Do you remember - it says, think of some of the more important chores that you had to do when you were little...

    Lattomus: Oh, I never had to do too much because of my other sister - she was six years older than I, so I didn't do much of anything.

    Wagner: You were lucky.

    Lattomus: I was lucky, I was a pet, I think. I didn't do - one chore I didn't like - course we had outside toilets down there, too, even after we had the bathroom, they kept it because with all the family one wasn't quite enough at times [laughs], but I had to go out and scrub the seat. We always had shrubs and honeysuckle grow all over the thing, you know, so it didn't smell - held your nose. Once in a while I used to help with the lamps. We did still have some of those lamps.

    Wagner: You had to clean them?

    Lattomus: Yes, and if they needed a new mantle or something - I just helped to clean the globes, they wouldn't trust me with the mantle. They were pretty fragile things. You probably don't remember them at all.

    Wagner: Well, we had a Coleman lantern that had the glass mantles and they are fragile, but they certainly do give a lot of light.

    Lattomus: Oh yes, in fact they really gave a better light, I always thought, than the electric light.

    Wagner: Did you have animals?

    Lattomus: You mean pets?

    Wagner: Pets.

    Lattomus: Oh sure, three and four dogs at a time.

    Wagner: Oh, really?

    Lattomus: Cats weren't allowed up at the house, they had to stay in the barn, they were there for chasing mice and rats and they didn't - but dogs, oh yeah, we always had at least - well the last few years, we had one which was named Teddy, he was a little white, looked like a French poodle, but he wasn't. And there was another one - we had one Pershing and one Fox, we had that during the war, we had to name them after the leading men. Then I had one after we got married - well, you see we got one out there now.

    Wagner: Beautiful dog.

    Lattomus: You can't let her loose, free for five minutes and she takes off, won't learn to come home. She's just a show - what we do is let everybody look at her. She's very gentle, she's not a bit - she would have made somebody's child a good pet if we hadn't got her first. We didn't get her first, our grandson decided he wanted a dog and he got the dog and turned around and joined the Navy, and I could have killed him.

    Wagner: So it's your dog, huh?

    Lattomus: It's his/our dog. You can't let her in, she's beautiful, but she sheds so terrible. In the wintertime we can let her in, but in the summertime she has to stay out, she just gets hair all over the place.
  • Swimming and getting swept down the Brandywine; daily routines and having an ice box; St. Joseph's Fourth of July picnic; Free Park houses and getting chestnuts in Chicken Alley
    Keywords: Bathing suits; Chestnut; Chicken Alley; Fourth of July celebrations; Free Park; Laird, W. W. (William Winder), 1910-1989; Meat--Preservation; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church (Wilmington, Del.); Sausages; scrapple; Swimming; Swine
    Transcript: Wagner: Did you go swimming?

    Lattomus: I had a lovely experience - it's not on that thing, is it? Is that why you brought it up?

    Wagner: No, I just want to know where you went swimming.

    Lattomus: My two brothers were working on the place in the back, you know where you said it was so lovely and all, well, they were up there working. I guess it was in the - oh, I know it was in the summer because I was in the water, and they were up there I guess gathering up cans and stuff, I don't know, but the two Cheney girls came over. He was a caretaker of the church, and he and his two daughters came over to go swimming in the water with me. And so down we went, and of course we didn't take into consideration that a couple days before we had pretty heavy rains and the Brandywine was a little higher than it should have been when we went in. And in we went and boy the first thing you know down I go - went right over the dam and the two girls screaming their heads off you know. My two brothers came flying down - I was all right then - I couldn't get out, I was sitting there on the rock, water coming all over me [laughs]. That hit a spot when you said, "Did you go swimming?" That was the last of the swimming we had. But we had a canoe, and we used to canoe - my husband - he wasn't my husband then, but he lived in Rockland and my sister and I used to paddle him up there and he'd get out at the bridge and walk home.

    Wagner: What did you wear to swim? You didn't have swim suits?

    Lattomus: Oh yeah, my sister made bathing suits. She made it of black sateen - bloomers. And then when they got wet, the bloomers...[laughs]

    Wagner: Sagged [laughs]

    Lattomus: No, we didn't do much swimming after that, that was forbidden. I could have, you know, hit my head on the ground.

    Wagner: I'm supposed to go through your family routine here, like who got up first - your Father got up first. How did you get up - the alarm clock or what woke you up?

    Lattomus: I think my Mother woke us up. They had a big old-fashioned clock in their room, and then they had a clock in the kitchen. I don't know, I guess the other ones - I don't remember. I wasn't too interested in clocks, I never was very good at getting up.

    Wagner: You don't remember anything like a bell being rung or anybody talking about ringing a bell to get everybody in the different villages up?

    Lattomus: No - nobody was there at lunchtime, you know, we were all in school and I guess my Father and Mother just had a quick bite, they were always working. When you have a big house and a big family - well, she was 73 when she died.

    Wagner: And she did all the cooking, you didn't...

    Lattomus: My sister helped, I didn't do it. Once in a while when she would be in town or something like that, when I was a little older, my brother would say, "I know who cooked the dinner, Ganny did, she made scalloped potatoes." About the only thing I knew how to make - scalloped potatoes.

    Wagner: You all sat down to dinner together?

    Lattomus: Oh yes.

    Wagner: At night - everybody came home for dinner?

    Lattomus: Oh yeah, at night time, yeah. Unless they were invited out or something, and then, of course they...

    Wagner: Did you call it supper or did you call it dinner?

    Lattomus: We called it supper in those days.

    Wagner: What would you have for supper?

    Lattomus: Oh, there was a variety of things. We were always good eaters. My Father didn't skimp on what we had to eat and of course they usually had a garden. We didn't keep them or anything, but we did keep them, too, we had hogs and then in the fall, he didn't butcher them, but he sent them to a butcher. They made scrapple and sausage and all kinds, so we lived pretty much on salt stuff during the winter time, I forget.

    Wagner: Did you have an ice box or a refrigerator?

    Lattomus: We just had ice boxes then, we didn't have refrigerators.

    Wagner: The ice man came?

    Lattomus: Yeah, the ice man came and a meat man, Johnny Gilson - his wife just died not too long ago, she was in a house there at the corner of Church street and - right down here on the Kennett Pike.

    Wagner: What do you mean by Church Street?

    Lattomus: Well that's what they called the street that St. Joseph's was on. They don't call it that now, it Route something, but we always called it Church Street because that's where the Catholic Church was, and they always used to have entertainments and all. We went to all those kind of things. As I said, there was no sickening waste of time and intelligence, or get mad at somebody. Half the time you don't know who they are you're fussing about.

    Wagner: You talked about the Fourth of July celebration that St. Joseph's put on - did it go like our St. Anthony's, or was it just one day or...

    Lattomus: Oh, it was just one day and they built a stand for the young people - teenagers mostly - to dance on and they had some kind of old-fashioned orchestra, you know, the music bouncing around. I mean we lived over at Hunter's Corner then and that wasn't too far, we just went across the field. And you could buy food, but a lot of them took their own, packed their own picnic dinner and then bought ice cream and stuff like that. Oh, we looked forward to that, that was one of the highlights of the season when St. Joe's - that's what we called it, too - St. Joseph's.

    Wagner: Do you recall any of the du Ponts coming to these things or were these just workers' families that came?

    Lattomus: No, I never saw any of the head of the families or anything. One thing that Mr. Ashton did, or Dr. Munse, I mean, and this goes back a little bit. When he first came there, course all the years we were there they had paid pews in the churches, or in our church and I guess they had in most of them - that was the first thing Dr. Munse says - they go. He says anybody in my church can sit in any pew they want to unless somebody's got it ahead of them.

    But see the house was - the big, old house on Buck Road, it was a nice old house, but I guess it was pretty antiquated and they had to - they owned that ground there, so I guess they moved it right on down. Have you ever been in that rectory? It's lovely. My husband built that.

    Wagner: Oh, he did?

    Lattomus: He had charge of it.

    Wagner: Well, who was sexton at the church?

    Lattomus: People by the name of Cheney, he was the one that the two daughters went swimming with me. His whole family lived right there in that first house as you go in Free Park. His daughter still comes to church, we consider ourselves the old-timers.

    Wagner: How many houses were in Free Park, do you remember?

    Lattomus: No, there was several that were - the sexton's house was by itself and then there were a couple that were joined and I couldn't remember how - my sister's would have remembered, but I don't remember that. I know they had - a lot of people still live there. Another place that they had houses that were lovely finally - where Chick Laird lives. And then there was another place, I don't know what they call it, we always called it Chicken Alley. And I still think it gets that, Chick laughs at it - it's still Chicken Alley. There used to be a row of houses there and there were Italian people lived there mostly, bachelors I think.

    Wagner: Bachelors?

    Lattomus: Yeah.

    Wagner: Didn't they bring their families?

    Lattomus: Well, some of them did, a couple of them - what was his name - I always remembered him because he used to gather the chestnuts and we used to walk across the bridge and go over and he'd have a big thing of chestnuts. He went back to Italy, must have been during the first World War, he went back to Italy and they never heard of him again. He must have got killed in the war.

    Wagner: Did he cook the chestnuts or did you just get the chestnuts and take them home and cook them?

    Lattomus: Oh no, he would just give us the chestnuts, he didn't cook them. A lot of times I liked them just without cooking them. Oh, we used to have a beautiful tree down at Hunter's Corner, it was great big. And then of course they went all over the United States, I guess, they just went flooey. I think they said they are coming back some, I don't know, but we loved them. That's the only thing I used to have an argument with a girl - they had a girl, niece living with Gilson, and she lived there one winter and went to school down St. Joe's. And of course she'd get home ahead of us, the chestnut tree was on our ground, so I figured that was our chestnut tree, but she'd always be home and have a milk pan full before we got home. And, oh, we used to get so provoked.

    Wagner: Didn't fight, did you? [laughs]
  • Nightgowns and undergarments; her sister helping with laundry after they were married; riding the trolley for fun; local taverns; her brothers and future husband going hunting
    Keywords: Bars (Drinking establishments); Columbus Inn; Coon hunting; Fatty Summers; Lawless' tavern; Nightgowns; St. Faith's Guild; Street-railroads; Street-railroads--Employees; Sunday school teachers; Underwear; Upper Banks; Washing machines
    Transcript: Wagner: Talking about supper, did you all say Grace?

    Lattomus: No. We do here, but they didn't.

    Wagner: What time did you have to go to bed at night?

    Lattomus: Oh, we never had any set time, we just...

    Wagner: Didn't have any curfew?

    Lattomus: See, all the children - I was the youngest one and most of the others - I was in bed long before the others, there was no trouble getting to bed because I was just always in the bed - I still am.

    Wagner: I have to read my questions. Did all the children go to bed at the same time - no, you were the youngest, you went to bed.

    Lattomus: No - why would my sister who was fifteen or sixteen go to bed because I was six.

    Wagner: What kind of clothes did you sleep in? Bedclothes did you sleep in?

    Lattomus: Oh, flannel pajamas. Mostly nightgowns, pajamas weren't so much heard of then, nightgowns were easier, I guess, to sew, to make - nightgowns. In the summertime I think we just wore our under panties and...

    Wagner: Vest.

    Lattomus: Yeah - a little shirt over...

    Wagner: What could you do for being a woman - what kind of underwear did you have? Did you have girdles and bras and all that sort of stuff?

    Lattomus: No, no.

    Wagner: I guess they had them by the time you reached your early twenties?

    Lattomus: My oldest sister, she was married then and gone. She lived up at the big house for a while, but then she wasn't too long there before she got married, I guess she was eighteen or nineteen. She first died not quite two years ago - she was eighty some, no she was eighty-eight, I guess. Oh, she was real old.

    Wagner: Real old [laughs]? How old are you?

    Lattomus: Seventy-six, I'll be seventy-seven.

    Wagner: What kind of underwear did you have?

    Lattomus: Cotton - little cotton...

    Wagner: Just cotton?

    Lattomus: They're called briefs now, I think they just called them cotton pants.

    Wagner: What about shirts or vests?

    Lattomus: Little vests they called them then.

    Wagner: Did you have slips or petticoats?

    Lattomus: It was just according to whether we needed it or what the weather was like. If it was hot, you just wore the pants and...

    Wagner: Forget...What about, if it was cold you didn't bother about getting a bath every night, right? Brushing your teeth...

    Lattomus: Wash when you could.

    Wagner: How about locking doors, did you keep the doors locked or could you...

    Lattomus: Well, I didn't pay any attention to that, I knew they were trustworthy of my parents, they would see that everything was all right with me, and they did.

    Wagner: And you went to church every Sunday, huh?

    Lattomus: I taught Sunday School for quite a while.

    Wagner: Oh, you did?

    Lattomus: Yes, before I was married and I kept it up for about a year after we were married, and then it was too much because I worked in the bank and you didn't get out - we didn't get home until three-thirty or something like that. It left me no time to do my washing and ironing and cleaning. Course my oldest sister used to come out, she didn't have a washing machine, so we doubled up on it. She came out every week once a week and did all my wash and ironing free so she could use it for her, so that worked out pretty good. Course while she was there waiting for the washing, she'd do whatever was needed done in the house. Oh, she always took care of me like I was a baby.

    Wagner: How nice.

    Lattomus: We were always close.

    Wagner: How did you get into town?

    Lattomus: We had to come down from Upper Banks, a long walk to the trolley, or you could go from Upper Banks and catch a trolley car down further, you didn't have to come all the way into the end of the line, you could get it and go through Henry Clay. It went right through Henry Clay, I think, that we got that down.

    Wagner: Yes, how much?

    Lattomus: To Sunday School?

    Wagner: Carfare, how much carfare to go in town?

    Lattomus: Oh, a nickel, ten cents if you went in - Mamma used to give the conductor ten cents for each one of us and we rode in town and out to get rid of us - that's the truth. We had to sit on the front seat with the conductor, he took good care of us - it was a nickel in and a nickel out. He said, "Give it to me now so you won't lose it." I remember, Fatty Summers they called him. Imagine, now, haven't thought of him for years. He looked like Santa Claus, with his round belly.

    Wagner: He was the trolley driver?

    Lattomus: He was funny.

    Wagner: Did you get off in town and run around?

    Lattomus: Oh no, no, you took the dime someplace. You didn't have any money, we didn't go far from the trolley car. In fact, we didn't get off it at all, he just made the turn, took us back out again. But that would take an hour or something like that, I guess.

    Wagner: Sounds like fun.

    Lattomus: He'd have to stop, and then in the summertime they used to have the summer cars, and oh, did we love them. They were open, screens came down, you know, and the long bench and then there was a railing along there the conductor could walk along. And when it wasn't running, he would let us walk up and down. Such few silly little things that made happy days, golly day.

    Wagner: Do you remember your folks going to club meetings, like Odd Fellows or...

    Lattomus: No, my Mother, in fact we still to this day have the St. Faith's Guild in Christ Church and they meet regularly once a month on Thursday. And this original Guild, the daughters are still, see my daughter and two or three of the others girls whose mothers were there for years...

    Wagner: Oh, how nice.

    Lattomus: I thought it was pretty nice. She's pretty good on the job, she takes care of my religion for me. She used to belong to I don't know how many clubs. I used to go with her once in a while, but I don't get out too much, I feel a little bit shaky. I'm all right if I have somebody to hold onto, I didn't think I'd ever - this has just happened within the last year, so I don't know.

    Wagner: Do you remember the men talking about taverns, do you remember any local taverns?

    Lattomus: Oh, yes, the Lawless' saloon, do you know where that is? Tommy Lawless' Saloon, and the Columbus Inn, they were...

    Wagner: Oh, okay.

    Lattomus: Lawless' was - well, when you go down Route 100 and you turn to go up to the Kennett Pike, well right on that corner there, in that inset there where one road goes one way and one road goes the other, well this way was the Lawless Saloon, almost next door to the church, the Catholic church [laughs]. He was a Catholic, too. And then the other one, the Columbus Inn, well you know where - it's still there. And then there was another one in Hagley - it was right there up the hill to the Brandywine, up to the - oh, I'm getting it wrong, confused. Don't know as I'll think of it later - Columbus Inn - it never died down, we used to go there when we were sixteen, seventeen - get a crab cake and a Coke - we weren't allowed any hard stuff.

    Wagner: Do you remember any hunting, did anybody go hunting, anybody in your family?

    Lattomus: My brothers and my husband, course he wasn't then, he was about fourteen, I've known him since he was about twelve or thirteen.

    Wagner: You say he lived in Rockland? Your husband?

    Lattomus: Yes, and he used to walk down there and they would go coon hunting - my brothers and cousin, oh they used to go at least once a week. And one time they went out and while they were gone I thought I would surprise them and make a nice batch of fudge. I did and when I went to look at it, one of the cats had come up from the cellar that we didn't use, you know, and it didn't happen to one pan, one pan I got in time, the other one - but they swore black and blue that I gave them the candy that the cat had crawled into. They never did believe me. I said, "I wouldn't give you that, I know what kind of germs that cat had." Oh my, if I could have had it's neck, it wouldn't have had any more germs cause I would have wrung it.

    Wagner: Am I making - are you getting tired? If you get tired, you just say so.

    Lattomus: No, I'm all right when I'm sitting down or lying down. Walking around...
  • Graduation and school parties; Christmas and Halloween customs; Alfred I. du Pont's excursions for workers and their families; not going to the recreation hall at Breck's Mill often
    Keywords: Christmas; Commencement ceremonies; Dance; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; Du Pont, Henry Francis, 1880-1969; Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Halloween; Industrial relations
    Transcript: Wagner: Okay, tell me - how about, let's see, you graduated. Did you have a big celebration when you graduated - did you have a party?

    Lattomus: No, we had graduation exercises, two nights - class night and one another night - no, see we only had fourteen graduated in our class, so there wasn't that much likelihood of having any kind of a party. When they used to have parties - kids used to take turns at their houses - they had a house big enough - and then, of course, they invited anybody that wanted to come from high school; otherwise we wouldn't have any parties with just fourteen people.

    Wagner: They weren't wild parties? No drinking?

    Lattomus: Oh, no, no - root beer, my Mother used to make homemade root beer.

    Wagner: What kind of games did you play at the parties?

    Lattomus: Games? Not really...

    Wagner: Did you play games?

    Lattomus: No, really, they just mostly had dancing, that's all. When they had house parties when we were a little younger, in the house parties, Postman, you know, and somebody would go in the dark room and call who you wanted to come in, supposed to kiss them. [laughs]

    Wagner: What about birthdays, how did you celebrate birthdays?

    Lattomus: I don't remember that we ever did anything - always had a nice dinner,something a little specia1, but not a whole lot of clothes and things, we didn't have the kind of money.

    Wagner: What about Christmas, Christmas was the big day?

    Lattomus: Oh, Christmas. We never had Christmas too much until I got older. My Mother wasn't much on it. She believed - it wasn't because she was against it, it was because once she got through the day's work and all she was too tired to - unless the boys and Mal, my sister, they always had something for me. And Mal would make cakes and cookies and stuff like that. I mean as far as this elaborate like we do now...

    Wagner: Well, you did have a Christmas tree?

    Lattomus: No, we didn't have a Christmas tree, we had - what did we have - more wreaths and things like that and holly. We always had a big piece of holly on the door. And lots of times they'd put wreaths and things on it - I don't think we ever missed anything. We just didn't have - always the same kind of things other people had.

    Wagner: Did you ever take pictures?

    Lattomus: Not too much. I had a camera Howard gave me once, but it never did too much good. Way back then, you know, it would be quite expensive to go into detail like this, showing all the pictures and all. It's a shame we didn't - I have some, but I - they're stuck away, I couldn't find them, I looked for them and couldn't find them. I had a picture of me standing there by where Vic had his store, I had an ice cream cone in my hand [laughs].

    Wagner: How about - you said Fourth of July was a big celebration. Did you celebrate Halloween?

    Lattomus: Oh, us kids did, yeah, we went up to Mrs. Carpenter's and all, she always had money for us. That house is torn down now, but we always walked clear up to Upper Banks and all around. You wouldn't walk around now, I wouldn't let any of mine walk. You don't even like them to eat anything, that's the truth, them putting - how could anybody be so mean? If they ever found out who did it, they ought to give him a whole bunch of pins and make him eat them. That would be an issue.

    Wagner: That would take care of them. What about, you were talking about, you remember the DuPont Company anniversary, do you remember when the DuPont Company had its anniversary?

    Lattomus: No, I know somebody who used to be good to the people who worked the Powder Mills - Alfred I. du Pont. He used to take them on a boat trip to Philadelphia and back. And this is all the old employees and children, if they had any. I went once, twice with them. Papa wouldn't go to something like that, but Mamma would and I went with her a couple of times. In fact I've got a couple little framed pictures that they sent at Christmas. They used to send Christmas cards to all the old employees, that I know, because I have these cute little pictures.

    Wagner: Was this an all-day trip?

    Lattomus: Oh yeah, they got on down Fourth Street, they picked them up, they took a bus and picked all the people up. You had to show your ticket and they picked them all up and deposited them down where the boat was docked, dock's still there I guess. Then they just rode up there and then they had all kinds of food to eat and ice cream and all that kind of stuff and he paid for it all.

    Wagner: Sounds like a nice day.

    Lattomus: Now Mr. H.F. du Pont was always good - he didn't go - well, I guess he did before I went there, that he used to give the women a present. He took one look at me and said, "She doesn't need a present."

    Wagner: Do you remember when the houses were torn down, the old houses were torn down?

    Lattomus: Not exactly, no - after the Carpenters - see the Carpenters bought all that ground, and I think it wasn't too long after that that they started...

    Wagner: Tearing down.

    Lattomus: They were still there when we moved away from there, but they should certainly have that in their archives or something.

    Wagner: I'm sure.

    Lattomus: I would think, you know, that is sort of important, I think.

    Wagner: Do you remember Mr. Alfred I.'s band that he had?

    Lattomus: No, my aunt would have remembered, she worked for him for quite a number of years, two or three years, but she's dead, too. I think we came too late.

    Wagner: What about - do you remember any social events down at Breck's Mill? Do you recall anything? What do you know about Breck's Mill?

    Lattomus: I don't know too much about it. We were - at the time when I was growing up it wasn't too popular a place. It was popular with the younger ones, but it wasn't too popular with the older ones. I think they were drinking on the side - they'd never encountered that, so he never let - we - you could join the organization, but he would never let us join it. He said you get into enough devilment up here without going down there for some more. Well I know, but not things that you'd be interested in, because they built that primarily for the people and the children, you know, to have recreation. As I say, we were never connected close enough to know anything, really, about them except, as I said, my uncle - and different organizations - we've been to plays and things like that - the plays and all, but that's in the more - later days that you could find out easily without any problem, I would think.
  • Hodgson Bros. woolen mill; the Sand Hole and former reservoir near Eleutherian Mills gates; sledding and ice skating; walking through an abandoned house before it was remodeled
    Keywords: Children--Death; Decoration Day; Drowning; Hodgson Bros. woolen mill; Memorial Day; Reservoirs; Sand Hole; Skating; Sledding
    Transcript: Wagner: It says, were you allowed in the mills? You've already said you weren't allowed down in there past the gate, but you'd sneak past if you could.

    Lattomus: See, they had a mill there, Hodgson's Mills, but it was named something else before it was Hodgson's. It was Hodgson when - in fact the daughter just died not long ago, she must have been up there pretty good, too. That's across the Brandywine, you went up there - a wooden bridge across there at that time. There were quite a number of houses acres there, but I was never over there too often, I couldn't tell you much about that. I don't know whether there's still some houses over there, I guess.

    Wagner: Did people visit back and forth across the river, or did you stay on your side and they stayed on their side?

    Lattomus: I really don't know, as I say, we had no connection with that part of...

    Wagner: You stayed up here?

    Lattomus: See, they had gates down there, well almost the area where you go into Hagley. They had gates there and they were mostly closed so you weren't allowed to go in that way. Up further was the same way, the gates were closed. Well, Ladybug, I think that's about...

    Wagner: If I call and say, "Can I come back again?", would you talk to me again?

    Lattomus: Yeah, I don't know what else I got left. My son-in-law is going... [Break in audio.]

    Wagner: Sand hole...

    Lattomus: It was just a place where at one time they dug sand and stuff out of it.

    Wagner: What did they use the sand - where did they...

    Lattomus: I don't know what they used it for, but then another time, I don't know whether it was the same time they were digging sand or not, but it was a dump.

    Wagner: A dump?

    Lattomus: A garbage place, you see the people threw their garbage and all in there. Cause I'll tell you why. My two brothers were rooting around in there - oh, the kids always went up to see what they could find - and they found the skeleton of a bicycle - handlebars and things, so they took it and cleaned it all up and made wooden wheels and put on it, then you had to get it at a top of a hill and somebody start you off and that's how I learned to ride a bicycle. But you know before that, does it have anything in there about a reservoir?

    Wagner: No, tell me about it.

    Lattomus: Well, the reservoir was right next to the, you know the houses just before you go in the gates at Hagley, over on the other side, up a little bit where the gates are, you know where the black gates are?

    Wagner: Right, down at the bottom of the hill?

    Lattomus: No, they're at the top.

    Wagner: At the top, all right.

    Lattomus: Into the cemetery. And here just on one side of it, years before Carpenters bought it I guess, they had a reservoir and that's where the water came from - at least this is what I was told - the water came from there, that's what the neighborhood, the ones that lived down there, that's where they got their water from.

    Wagner: All the pumps? Pumped from the reservoir.

    Lattomus: Well, it seems like - I don't remember this, whether it happened while I was little or while - I don't remember it, but one little boy, they were up there fishing or something, and he fell in and was drowned. And Mrs. Carpenter, as soon as they got it, they had it filled in. It was slanted in like this, if it had been slanted straight or up like this, but see it was - and he couldn't crawl out, he just went right back in. Oh, there was a big to-do, it must have been while I was still just a baby. We used to go up there every Decoration Day, ask us what we did, well we went up and sat on the wall until the old soldiers come out. Oh, that was a big deal, oh golly Ned.

    Wagner: Before I go, how about sledding and ice skating?

    Lattomus: Oh yeah, ice skating on the Brandywine.

    Wagner: The winters were colder then?

    Lattomus: Yeah. Then, of course, earlier, or afterwards, we went over on the pond, you know. The three ponds, they allowed you to skate over there and sledding, we used to - a lot of these hills when it would snow, even that one by Mrs. Paul du Pont, you know, we used to sled down there. And then that one up here on top of the hill, there by the railroad track on down - Carpenters lived there, old Mr. Carpenter, an old man, lived there, and we used to sled down that hill. But now you can't. And then over Talleyville - not Talleyville, up Ridge Road - oh, there were a lot of places - not anymore - you'd get run over as soon as they'd look at you.

    Wagner: That's right. Well, we've talked a lot, haven't we?

    Lattomus: I'll wake up tonight and say, "Darn that woman." I'd like to be helpful...[break in tape]. Just a wreck, that house up next to Simpson Dean, where Simpson Dean lived, and we used to go up and walk all through it, the windows were out of it and everything - Oh, it was just a mess. And then the first thing we knew, all the trucks and everything coming in and they were remodeling it and building it up before we moved away from there.

    Wagner: But it was fun to play in?

    Lattomus: Oh yeah. And the black gates there, there was a swinging bridge down there - I never went acres it, I was scared because it was kind of hanging, they didn't bother with it. And he went over it and so did my two brothers, but not me, it was up too high and too wet.

    Wagner: Well, you had your little share of the water.

    Lattomus: Yeah, I think I did. I think he's waiting until it's over, so nobody will talk to him because he can't hear you [laughs].

    Wagner: Can't hear. Well, I hope... [break in the tape].

    Lattomus: Near - right near the old office, the old office was here and the lime house was on the same side right over there. [Greets son and some miscellaneous talk before the tape ends.]