Interview with Grace Toy Ferguson, 1985 February 14 [audio]

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  • Father's job; Childhood home; Dumping trash
    Keywords: Cabinet making; Chicken Alley; Furniture; Henry Clay (Del.: Village); Ireland; Long Row; Toy Estate; Toy's tavern; Trash dumps
    Transcript: Johnson: My name is Dorothy Johnson and I'm interviewing Mrs.Ferguson. Her name was Grace Toy Ferguson. For the second time we are interviewing her at her home --1017 Park Place and today is February 14, 1985. Mrs. Ferguson, you told me last time that your father's name was Neal --

    Ferguson: Neal James Toy.

    Johnson: And he was a cabinet maker.

    Ferguson: That's right.

    Johnson: We are wondering if you knew the name of his mother and father. Your grandparents.

    Ferguson: I don't know.

    Johnson: Do you know anything more about the Toys?

    Ferguson: I was a Toy, you know.

    Johnson: Do you know when they came to this country?

    Ferguson: Oh, no.

    Johnson: Did they come from Ireland?

    Ferguson: I guess they did.

    Johnson: We have a map of the museum that was published in 1858 and on it there's a little square that says that this was the J. Toy Hotel. Would that have been the ancestor of Tom Toy who was your uncle?

    Ferguson: Tom Toy was my uncle, yes.

    Johnson: Did he get that hotel from his father?

    Ferguson: I don't know.

    Johnson: Did a lot of Toys live in the area? Were there a lot of Toys here for a long time?

    Ferguson: A lot of Toys. Now there are only a few.

    Johnson: Oh, yes. Do you remember anything about them when you were little?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. They were nice, respectable people.

    Johnson: I really would like to know more about your mother and father -- anything you can remember about them.

    Ferguson: My father died when I was five. And my mother died when she was 76. I lived with her after I got married.

    Johnson: You told me that your mother's name was Kate McClafferty.

    Ferguson: That's right.

    Johnson: And she was born in Chicken Alley.

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: Do you remember ever visiting in Chicken Alley when you were small?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. We used to walk up there from the crick. Walk way up there.

    Johnson: And what was their house like?

    Ferguson: Oh, just an old-fashioned house.

    Johnson: Was it attached to the house right next door?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything about the kitchen there, what it looked like?

    Ferguson: No. A coal stove.

    Johnson: Would they have had just one room on the first floor?

    Ferguson: Yeah. First floor.

    Johnson: And how many rooms were there in the house all together? In Chicken Alley?

    Ferguson: Yes.Oh, about six, I guess.

    Johnson: And were there three stories to the house?

    Ferguson: Two stories.

    Johnson: And did they have a parlor upstairs?

    Ferguson: Did they have what?

    Johnson: Did they have a parlor?

    Ferguson: I guess they did, yeah. I know we had a parlor upstairs.

    Johnson: In the Long Row. We had it upstairs in the front room. We had a nice parlor.

    Ferguson: No, we always had linoleum on it.

    Johnson: Do you remember the parlor in the house where you were born?

    Ferguson: The house is still up there where I was born. At Henry Clay. There's a spinning wheel around and you go up the steps and that's where I was born. And right next door was my Uncle Tom's saloon.

    Johnson: Do you remember what the house looked like inside? When you lived there? Did it have wallpaper on the walls?

    Ferguson: I guess we did, yeah. Some kind of wallpaper.

    Johnson: When you lived in the long row, did you have wallpaper?

    Ferguson: We had wallpaper on the wall.

    Johnson: Do you remember what the floors were like? In the really old times?

    Ferguson: Old-time floors.

    Johnson: Were they wood?

    Ferguson: Wood, yeah.

    Johnson: Would you have linoleum on it?

    Ferguson: Yeah, we had linoleum.

    Johnson: Did you ever have a rug on it?

    Ferguson: Couldn't afford a rug.

    Johnson: Did you ever know anybody who made a rug out of rags? Saved the old clothes and made them into rugs?

    Ferguson: No, we never did that.

    Johnson: Do you know anything about Wagoner's Row?

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: Did your family live there before you were born?

    Ferguson: No. I was born in Henry Clay, that's where I was born.

    Johnson: Did your family live anywhere else before you were born; that is your mother and father and older brother? Would they have lived somewhere else?

    Ferguson: No, I think they lived there all the time. And then we moved up to the Toy Estate on Kennett Pike, and then my father died up there. He was only 45. He was a good mechanic.

    Johnson: What was that house like when you lived there?

    Ferguson: Oh, that was a nice place. The Toy Estate, it was.

    Johnson: And how many of you lived there? Just you and your father and your mother and your brothers?

    Ferguson: Yeah. My mother and father and two brothers.

    Johnson: Last time you told me that sometimes you got bottles from the dump and brought them to the tavern and the bartender there would give you a nickel for the old bottles.

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember where the dump was?

    Ferguson: Across the street, I think.

    Johnson: By the river?

    Ferguson: And then down there was the river.

    Johnson: Do you remember what the windows were like when you were a little child? Did they have curtains on them?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Curtains.

    Johnson: And how about screens? Did she have screens on the windows?

    Ferguson: Yes, screens in the summer.

    Johnson: Were they half-screens?

    Ferguson: Oh, just homemade screens.

    Johnson: Did you have trouble with flies and mosquitoes in the summertime?

    Ferguson: No, we never did because we had screens.

    Johnson: Do you remember if your house had a porch?

    Ferguson: Yes, it did, up the Long Row.

    Johnson: And did you have any furniture on the porch?

    Ferguson: We had a swing. A little swing. My father made it.

    Johnson: Was it made of wood?

    Ferguson: Yes, wood, sure.

    Johnson: Of course, he was a cabinetmaker.

    Ferguson: Yes, he was a cabinetmaker and a good one, too.

    Johnson: Did he make any other furniture in the house?

    Ferguson: Yes, he was making me a bedroom suite when he died. White maple or something. And my mother gave it to his brother because it was half done. So, the two boys couldn't do it.

    Johnson: Did his brother finish it for you?

    Ferguson: No. Never finished it. They were all carpenters but him, and he was a cabinetmaker.

    Johnson: How many brothers did your father have?

    Ferguson: My father? About six of them. Oh, he had Henry and Joe and Tom. And one sister.

    Johnson: What was her name?

    Ferguson: McLear.

    Johnson: Did she live in the Brandywine Villages?

    Ferguson: No, she lived up on Tower Road, there by Tower Hill School. And my Uncle Gene lived there. He was one of them. And my Uncle Jim lived on the other side and he was one. And my father had a lot when he died, but he never got nothing built. To build a house. But, we didn't get it.

    Johnson: Did he just buy the house you lived in when you were in the Toy Estate? Did he just buy that one? The Toy Estate? By that time your father had died.

    Ferguson: No, we didn't buy the house. Because my father had died. They let us live there.
  • Family heirlooms; Cellar in the family home; Storing food; Getting ice deliveries; Mother's cooking; Learning how to sew, knit, and embroider; Mother's cooking 2
    Keywords: Apples; Black walnuts; Blackberries; Cellars; Chestnuts; Clocks; Coal; Cooking; Embroidery; Heirlooms; Ice box; Irish stew; Knitting; Lemonade; Root beer; Sewing; Storage; Trunks
    Transcript: Johnson: Do you remember if there were any heirlooms around the house that your parents might have brought or your grandparents might have brought from Ireland?

    Ferguson: No. I don't think so.

    Johnson: Would they have had a large trunk and called it an Irish trunk?

    Ferguson: Yeah, an old-fashioned trunk. When I lived at the bottom of the Brandywine, I guess.

    Johnson: Was it made of wood?

    Ferguson: Yes, wood, sure.

    Johnson: Did it say anything on it?

    Ferguson: No, nothing.

    Johnson: Where did they keep that when you were little?

    Ferguson: Up in the bedroom.

    Johnson: Did they have an old clock or anything like that in the house?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. They had an old clock. I don't know where it went to -- disappeared.

    Johnson: What did it look like?

    Ferguson: Oh, just a clock. Standing on a thing. Old-fashioned.

    Johnson: Did your father make the outside of the clock?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything he made in the house that stands out in your mind?

    Ferguson: No. I was only five when he died. Five years old.

    Johnson: Did the house you lived in have a cellar? This would be the one you lived in before you went up to the Toy Estate. The house on Main Street.

    Ferguson: Yes, it had a cellar, yeah.

    Johnson: Was that underground or right next to the kitchen?

    Ferguson: Underground.

    Johnson: And did you have stairs to go down?

    Ferguson: No, you had to go down the side wall, outside. Oh, yeah, it had a stair, too.

    Johnson: The stairs were inside?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: And what was down in the cellar?

    Ferguson: Coal and wood. Put coal in there, that's all.

    Johnson: Do you remember when you got your first ice box?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Before that did they keep the food in the cellar.

    Ferguson: No, we kept it right out in the kitchen. The square ice box. Wasn't like the modern ones with shelves. It was a square one. And the ice was there and then you put the little shelves on the side and you put your stuff there.

    Johnson: Before you got the ice box how did you store food?

    Ferguson: I guess we didn't -- we didn't -- had to use it without ice, I guess. And then the ice man started to come around and he brought ice. Twenty-five pounds of ice. Who else are you going to see today?

    Johnson: Nobody else except you. I saw Jenny Toomey on Tuesday. Do you remember her?

    Ferguson: Oh, very well. I saw her the day – weren’ t you up there that day?

    Johnson: Yes, I was. I remember you saw Tom Dunlop, too. Do you remember him?

    Ferguson: Yeah, that was nice. Are you going to give me this book?

    Johnson: I'll get one just like it for you. I've written in that book so I'll have to get you another one.

    Ferguson: I'd love to have it.

    Johnson: Do you remember how they stored milk when you were little or did you have to buy it fresh every day?

    Ferguson: We bought fresh milk every day. The milk man came around in the morning. I don't know how he kept it. When we got ice, we were all right.

    Johnson: Maybe he had ice on the truck. On his wagon.

    Ferguson: He had a big wagon with ICE written on it. And he had picks and you told him you wanted a 25-cents piece of ice and he'd give you a piece of ice about that big. And he'd put newspapers on to keep it.

    Johnson: When you got milk, would they deliver it in the bottle or would you have to have a container?

    Ferguson: Delivered it in bottles.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything about your mother's cooking? Did she bake quite a lot?

    Ferguson: Oh, yes. She was a good cook.

    Johnson: Did she have a recipe book?

    Ferguson: Yes, but I don't know where it is.

    Johnson: Can you remember anything that she made that you liked especially?

    Ferguson: Apple dumplings. We had an orchard and that's all we lived on, apple dumplings. And I hated them ever since.

    Johnson: How about jelly -- did she make jelly?

    Ferguson: Yes, jelly.

    Johnson: And where did you get the berries to make the jelly? Did the children pick the berries?

    Ferguson: I don't know.

    Johnson: Jenny Toomey's son told me that they used to pick blackberries and he said he can't eat blackberry jelly anymore because he ate it so much when he was little.

    Ferguson: We used to go out after blackberries. Snakes all around. It' s a wonder they didn't bite us.

    Johnson: Was this in the powder yards?

    Ferguson: Oh, that was way up Chicken Alley.

    Johnson: And did you usually find berries when you went there?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Used to have blackberries with milk on them. And a little bit of sugar. And then we'd have blackberry pie. Mom would make a pie out of blackberries.

    Johnson: She was a good cook. Did you ever gather nuts? Did you get black walnuts on the property?

    Ferguson: God, yeah. When I went to school, I got many a crack. They turned your hands all black, you know, and we'd go to school and we'd shell them and put them up on top of toilet. And sometimes somebody else would come and steal them all.

    Johnson: And they are so hard to shell. And you have to dry them to make them good to eat.

    Ferguson: You have to dry them and let the frost get them.

    Johnson: And did the teacher scold you for having black hands?

    Ferguson: Oh, we'd get a licking in school for having our hands black. And we'd shell them with the heel -- you know --of our shoe. And chestnuts. We used to gather chestnuts. And did the same thing with them. Shell them. Great big things about that big.

    Johnson: And did your mother make something good out of chestnuts?

    Ferguson: We'd eat them.

    Johnson: You did eat them, or you didn’ t eat them?

    Ferguson: Yeah, we did eat them.

    Johnson: Before your mother could cook them.

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did your mother make bread?

    Ferguson: Always. Raisin bread at Christmastime.

    Johnson: How did she make the raisin bread? Did she put any frosting on it or just plain?

    Ferguson: Oh, I don't know how she made it. She'd mix it up and put the raisins in it and mix that all up and made it into loaves. About that big and stuck it in the oven. We had a coal fire.

    Johnson: Do you remember when you first bought bread at the store?

    Ferguson: We were tickled to death to buy a loaf of bread. Five or ten cents it was then. Oh, that was fun. Look what it is now.

    Johnson: Do you remember if there was a shortage of flour in the First World War?

    Ferguson: Yeah, a little bit. Had to watch yourself the way you used it.

    Johnson: How did the flour come?

    Ferguson: In a bag.

    Johnson: Was it a muslin bag?

    Ferguson: Yeah, measuring bag.

    Johnson: What did you do with the flour bag afterwards?

    Ferguson: Oh, store things in it.

    Johnson: Somebody said their mother made dishtowels out of the cloth bags.

    Ferguson: Yeah, cakes and pies.

    Johnson: Did your mother ever make a dishtowel out of the old flour sack? A dishtowel to dry the dishes with?

    Ferguson: Yes, she did. Out of the flour sack.

    Johnson: Did you have to help her hem that?

    Ferguson: Oh, I was just a kid, I don't remember that.

    Johnson: Did you have sewing lessons when you went to school? Did they give sewing lessons as part of school work? Did they teach you to sew in school?

    Ferguson: In public school they did, yes. That's how I learned to sew. I used to be a pretty good sewer.

    Johnson: Did you make your own dresses?

    Ferguson: Yes. I made them.

    Johnson: Did you ever take embroidery lessons?

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: Where did you do that?

    Ferguson: Up to school.

    Johnson: Was that at St. Joseph's?

    Ferguson: Yes. The teachers taught us that.

    Johnson: Did you enjoy that?

    Ferguson: Yeah, I liked it.

    Johnson: Do you have anything you ever made?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Or crochet?

    Ferguson: Did you ever learn to knit?

    Johnson: Yes. After I got older I learned that. I used to make sweaters and dresses and everything.

    Johnson: Did your mother make Irish stew when you were little?

    Ferguson: Yes. With potatoes and stuff and carrots and onions.

    Johnson: And what kind of meat would she use, beef or lamb?

    Ferguson: Beef.

    Johnson: Did you make lemonade?

    Ferguson: Lemonade -- we used to have that.

    Johnson: Did you ever have iced tea?

    Ferguson: No. No, we had lemonade.

    Johnson: Do you remember how your mother made it?

    Ferguson: Lemonade? Lemonade and water and put the water in it and sugar and a piece of lemon.

    Johnson: Did she ever cook up the peel to get a different flavor?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Did your mother make root beer?

    Ferguson: Always.

    Johnson: Did everybody in the neighborhood make root beer?

    Ferguson: They bottled root beer like that and then we had bottles and you'd hear them in the middle of the night going "pop." Scare you to death. So after a while they got out bottles that had tops on them. They wouldn't pop.

  • Gathering mushrooms; Using the outhouse; Going to Alexis I. du Pont School; Church and Sunday School; Celebrating New Year's and other holidays
    Keywords: "The Workers' World at Hagley" by Glenn Porter; Alexis I. du Pont School (Wilmington, Del.); Baseball; Celebrations; Easter; Mushrooms; New Year's; Outhouses; Photographs; School; Stickball; Valentine's Day
    Transcript: Johnson: Are you getting tired?

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: Was your mother a disciplinarian when you were little? Was she strict with you? Did she find a lot of things for you to do around the house?

    Ferguson: I was only a kid. Yes. I done things. Go to the store and things like that.

    Johnson: Did you ever gather mushrooms when you were little?

    Ferguson: Yeah, over along the Country Club we used to gather them.

    Ferguson: That was a treat then, you know. Get up at five o'clock in the morning to go after mushrooms.

    Johnson: How did your mother cook them?

    Ferguson: She just creamed them with milk and pickled them with a little bit of flour or cornstarch.

    Johnson: Did they grow all the time or just after a rain?

    Ferguson: The mushrooms? Not in the winter. No, mostly in the summertime.

    Johnson: About how many people would go? Would they all go together?

    Ferguson: Yeah, a bunch of us would go out. In the morning, it would be dark. You could see them in the ground.

    Johnson: Did you just break them off or did you have to use a knife?

    Ferguson: Used our fingers. Cut the little end. If we had a knife, we'd cut the end off. Wash them. Put them in a pan. I still like them.

    Johnson: Did you bring a bag to put them in?

    Ferguson: Had our own bags. Paper bags or any old thing.

    Johnson: Did you know when they were going to be there? Would you know when they were going to come there when you went to get the mushrooms? That you'd find some?

    Ferguson: Yes. By the Country Club was a golf course and we'd go in there and get the mushrooms early in the morning.

    Johnson: Did somebody tell you when they'd come?

    Ferguson: No. They wouldn't say nothing.

    Johnson: Would one of the other children call for you?

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: How did you know they were there?

    Ferguson: We knew they were there. We could see them from the road. Coming up. They were wild.

    Johnson: I guess they were good to eat.

    Ferguson: Yeah. Had to watch what you were doing to get them, too.

    Johnson: Did anybody ever get toadstools by mistake?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Last time you told me that your brother Tom had tuberculosis.

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: Do you know how they treated that in those days?

    Ferguson: How he got it?

    Johnson: Well, how he got it and how did he get well.

    Ferguson: Well, he worked in the powder and he got cold. And he had gout and consumption. And it lasted three months. on, he died.

    Johnson: Yes, he died.

    Johnson: Did they tell him to go away or give him any treatment?

    Ferguson: No. We didn't have the money. Nice looking fellow, too.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything about a flu epidemic in 1918?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. That was terrible. None of us got it, though.

    Johnson: I guess it was worse in the city.

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: When you had outhouses, do you remember what you used for toilet paper?

    Ferguson: Newspapers. Out in the woods we used leaves.

    Johnson: Do you remember what diapers were like?

    Ferguson: Oh, we had to make them. With some kind of flannel. Had to hang them up, you know. Now they use paper ones.

    Johnson: When you played baseball when you were a child, do you remember where you played?

    Ferguson: Up at Alexis I. School.

    Johnson: About how many children would get together for a game?

    Ferguson: A good many.I was vice president of my class at Alexis I.

    Johnson: What did you have to do as vice president?

    Ferguson: Oh, I don’ t know what we had to do. I graduated in 1914. Had a nice class. And my Mary still has my ring. She wears it.

    Johnson: How many were in your graduating class?

    Ferguson: Thirteen.

    Johnson: Imagine, 13.

    Ferguson: One boy. I don't know where I’ ve never seen him since we graduated.

    Johnson: Do you remember his name?

    Ferguson: Chester Smith. I don't know where he is. Guess he's dead.

    Johnson: Did they have a graduation ceremony?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. Preacher there and they had singing and all that stuff.

    Johnson: When you played baseball, did you use a regular baseball bat or did you use an old stick?

    Ferguson: Sticks.

    Johnson: In that case, did you call it baseball or did you call it stickball?

    Ferguson: And then we used to skate on the ice and we had an old tin can for a ball. And we'd hit the tin can and away we'd go. It was fun.

    Johnson: What did you do on Sunday?

    Ferguson: Went to church. And Sunday School.

    Johnson: Would you have to go to Sunday School in the afternoon after you went to church in the morning?

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: How did you feel about that?

    Ferguson: Oh, we didn't mind that. We would have been tasked if we didn't go to Sunday School.

    Johnson: What kind of a task.

    Ferguson: Write so many words a hundred times, or a thousand times.

    Johnson: Did that ever happen to you?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: What did you have to write?

    Ferguson: I was disobedient or something like that.

    Johnson: Do you remember any of the teachers you had in Sunday School?

    Ferguson: No. They're all dead. I'll be 90 in March.

    Johnson: What day in March?16th day of March. Day before Patty's birthday.

    Johnson: Did you ever go to something they called Poor Man's Beach?

    Ferguson: It was right where they went swimming in the Brandywine. Then they'd go to a little beach there and somebody called it Poor Man's Beach. Maybe that was a very long time ago. Yeah, we went there, too.

    Johnson: Do you recognize anybody in this picture?

    Ferguson: I can't see very good.

    Johnson: Jenny Toomey said she thought all those people were really much older than she was. That was taken before her time.

    Ferguson: I guess so. I'd like to have one of those books.

    Johnson: Well, you certainly may have one. If I can't get a new one for you, I'll give you this one. There's a picture in here of Alfred I.'s orchestra. The last time you told me that you knew Sam Hackendorn. I was wondering if he was in this picture because you said he was in Alfred I.'s band.

    Ferguson: He's dead, isn't he?

    Johnson: Oh, yes.

    Ferguson: He used to come to my house to play cards.

    Johnson: Somebody told me that this -- Mrs. Hayward told me that this is her father. He used to play the Violin. His name was George Washington Jones. They lived in the C.I.D. house.

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. The C.I.D.

    Johnson: Do you remember celebrating New Year’ s? What did you do then?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Didn't do anything. Went out and beat an old pot and made a lot of noise, that's all.

    Johnson: This was at 12 o'clock at night?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Mrs. Toomey said that some of the du Ponts went around to visit friends on New Year's Day and brought presents. So, I guess that was just their custom.

    Ferguson: Yeah. Candy.

    Johnson: They were French and they did that. Do you remember anything about Eastertime?

    Ferguson: Not much. We never gave much at Easter. We'd give hard-boiled eggs or eggs, you know, color them. And that was Easter.

    Johnson: Did you hide them around the house?

    Ferguson: Yeah, hide them and then we'd go hunting them. Somebody would hide them and we'd watch where they hid them and then we'd go get them.

    Johnson: Did they ever play any jokes on you?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember what they were? How about Valentine's Day? Did you make Valentines and pass them out at school?

    Ferguson: No. We made them ourselves.

    Johnson: Did you give them out to your classmates?

    Ferguson: Yeah.
  • Courting and dating; turning over rainwater barrels; Seeing Halley's Comet in 1910; Superstitions and ghost stories; Playing in the powder yards; Drinking and tobacco use
    Keywords: Beer; Courting; Cuspidors; Dancing; Dating; Ghost stories; Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Halley's Comet; Mischeif; Playing; Powder yards; Pranks; Smoking pipes; Superstitions; Whiskey
    Transcript: Johnson: Did you have a boyfriend in those days?

    Ferguson: No, not when we were kids.

    Johnson: Later on when you did go out with men, what did you do on a date?

    Ferguson: Dance. I was quite a dancer.

    Johnson: Where did you go?

    Ferguson: Breck's Mill.

    Johnson: How often did they have dances there?

    Ferguson: Pretty year every week.

    Johnson: How much did it cost?

    Ferguson: Twenty-five cents. We paid ourselves -- the girls paid their own.

    Johnson: Do you remember what kind of dances you did?

    Ferguson: Waltz, Schottische, Polka. And then we had square dances.

    Johnson: Who played the music?

    Ferguson: Oh, they had an orchestra. People we knew.

    Johnson: Do you remember if your mother collected rainwater? Did you have a big barrel outside to collect rainwater?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: And why would she collect that?

    Ferguson: You asked me that before, didn't you?

    Johnson: I don't think so.

    Ferguson: About the rain barrels. How we would go around and upset everybody's rain barrel.

    Johnson: You say they got mad at you for upsetting their rain barrels? What happened when you upset their rain barrels?

    Ferguson: I was never sick much. Oh, I had diphtheria twice.

    Johnson: If you upset somebody's rain barrel, would they give you a spanking?

    Ferguson: They wouldn't catch us. We'd run like the devil. Everybody was blamed for it. Many a one I upset. And toilets up on the hill, we upset them. That was fun for us.

    Johnson: Do you remember how they cleaned out the toilets? Did they have to clean those toilets?

    Ferguson: Yeah; Come around with a big dump cart. The shit wagon we used to call it.

    Johnson: Did the Company do that or who cleaned them?

    Ferguson: DuPont Company cleaned them. I don't know where they'd throw it. It would be dripping all along the road.

    Johnson: Do you remember what they did with the ashes when they cleaned out the coal stove or the wood stove? Would they use those ashes to fertilize the garden?

    Ferguson: We'd use them for a pavement like. Where we'd walk through, they'd throw ashes.

    Johnson: Do you remember going outdoors at night?

    Ferguson: Not very often.

    Johnson: Did they have lights outdoors?

    Ferguson: Nobody every bothered anybody. No. It was pitch dark.

    Johnson: Did people look up at the stars in the night time if it was real dark around here to look at the stars?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember doing that?

    Ferguson: Look up at the stars? Sure. We used to know the stars.

    Johnson: That must have been nice that you could see them. Do you remember Halley's Comet going by in 1910?

    Ferguson: Huh?

    Johnson: Haley's Comet went by in 1910, do you remember that?

    Ferguson: What went by?

    Johnson: The Comet -- Haley's Comet. It's coming again – this year they're going to have another sighting of the comet. Did people get excited about that, the Comet going by?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: Did you see it?

    Ferguson: Yeah. I forget what it looked like now.

    Johnson: Was there quite a bit of excitement?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did people used to forecast what the weather would be like by looking up at the sky?

    Ferguson: Yeah. They used to tell you whether it was going to rain or snow.

    Johnson: How would they know?

    Ferguson: Oh, they just guessed.

    Johnson: Did they have any sayings like if the sky is red that's a bad sign or a good sign?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember what that was?

    Ferguson: No, I don't know.

    Johnson: Did you ever hear anybody say they had seen a ghost?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: Who saw that and did you believe them?

    Ferguson: We did them days.

    Johnson: You said it?

    Ferguson: Sure.

    Johnson: Did you really see a ghost?

    Ferguson: No. Never saw a ghost.

    Johnson: Did you think you saw one?

    Ferguson: We thought we saw one, yeah.

    Johnson: Why?

    Ferguson: Oh, I don't know why.

    Johnson: Was it partly because people got killed in explosions?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did they ever tell stories about things that happened in the powder yards?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. Make them up, too.

    Johnson: Do you remember any of them?

    Ferguson: No. I was too young.

    Johnson: Was anybody afraid to go in because of that? Were they afraid to go in the powder yards because of ghosts?

    Ferguson: Yeah, sure. Scared to death to go out at night.

    Johnson: You said last time that you did play in the powder yards before they chased you out. Do you remember if you rode around in those little handcarts that they pushed the powder in?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: In the powder yards. Where they were making the powder? Did you play there?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did you ride in those little cars?

    Ferguson: Yeah, if we got a chance, we would, yeah.

    Johnson: That was on Sunday when they weren't working?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Nobody working.

    Johnson: Was that fun?

    Ferguson: Yeah. We hopped on a freight car and would ride it. Used to go up through the powder yards.

    Johnson: Did anything happen when you did that?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: I guess it was just on Sunday, though?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you know what kind of tobacco your father would have smoked in his pipe?

    Ferguson: Omega.

    Johnson: Did most of the people have the same kind?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did your mother mind his pipe?

    Ferguson: No. She. didn't mind it.

    Johnson: Did you have a cuspidor in the house?

    Ferguson: Oh, sure, a great, big one.

    Johnson: What did it look like?

    Ferguson: Brass.

    Johnson: Where did they keep it?

    Ferguson: Oh, over in the corner or anyplace. They had a couple down in the saloon, you know, for people to spit in.

    Johnson: Did your mother hate to clean that?

    Ferguson: Yeah. She didn't like to do it, but she did it. Just for my father, yeah.

    Johnson: Do you know what the men would drink in the tavern most of the time? Would it be mostly beer.

    Ferguson: Beer. Plain whiskey.

    Johnson: Whiskey sometimes. Do you know what kind of beer it was?

    Ferguson: No. Stoeckles. That's all I remember.
  • Death and funerals; Mother's cooking 3; Haircuts and hairstyles; Shoes and shoe repair; Tooth brushing; Music and musical instruments; Fighting fires; Fourth of July Fireworks; First car ride
    Keywords: Automobiles; Death; Firefighting; Fireworks; Forty Acres, Wilmington, Del.; Fourth of July; Funerals; Hair; Hair styles; Haircuts; Hygiene; Sauerkraut; Shoe repair; Shoes; Tomatoes; Tooth brushing; Wakes
    Transcript: Johnson: Do you remember, if somebody died, would they have a wake?

    Ferguson: A wake?

    Johnson: Yes.

    Ferguson: Oh, sure.

    Johnson: What was a wake like?

    Ferguson: Just had them laid out and everybody came in to look at them. And talk and then go on about their business. The next day they were buried.

    Johnson: Did they have anything special to eat that they would offer to people who came?

    Ferguson: No. What's this going to be done for?

    Johnson: Just for their information when they want to furnish a house or to tell people how it was in olden times. Would you tell me about the stewed tomatoes that your mom used to cook. How did she make them?

    Ferguson: Stewed tomatoes? Pared them and put them in a pot and stewed them with salt and pepper. Little sugar. They'd make a meal.

    Johnson: And she grew her own tomatoes, isn't that right?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Everybody growed their own tomatoes.

    Johnson: Did your mother ever make sauerkraut?

    Ferguson: No, my uncle did and he used to give it to us.

    Johnson: Where did he live?

    Ferguson: That was in Long Row he used to give it to us. He lived in the Upper Banks near Chicken Alley. He made a big barrel full and everybody would get sauerkraut. Go with your kettle and he'd fill it up.

    Johnson: Would that have been your mother's brother?

    Ferguson: No. Her brother-in-law. Mom's sister married him. His name was Hackendorn.

    Johnson: Jenny Toomey said her father made sauerkraut, too. He'd make the girls do all the work and he'd tell them how to do it. Did you get your hair cut when you were little?

    Ferguson: I had beautiful hair way down to here and I used to wear two plaits wrapped around my head.

    Johnson: How did you fasten the ends of the hair to keep them in place?

    Ferguson: We had hairpins. Some kind of hairpins.

    Johnson: Did you ever make jewelry out of hair so that you could show how pretty your hair was?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: You use raw beets.

    Ferguson: On our face.

    Johnson: It was probable more healthful than some of the cosmetics we get today. When your brothers had their hair cut do you remember how that was? Did they get their hair cut by someone in the neighborhood?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Was it a friend of the family?

    Ferguson: No, just a barber there. Cut everybody's hair. You had to pay for it.

    Johnson: Jenny Toomey said her father would cut the children's hair for free. Do you remember who fixed your shoes?

    Ferguson: Daddy Elwood.

    Johnson: And how did he do it?

    Ferguson: He had a little shop down at the bottom of Toy's Hill. We'd go down them steps and we'd be in our bare feet and he stood all over your feet. In our bare feet in the summertime and he'd spit on them. Big the chewing tobacco.

    Johnson: What were shoes like in those days?

    Ferguson: Just plain, buttoned.

    Johnson: Were they kind of high around your ankles?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Were they comfortable?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Sure. We thought so.

    Johnson: Did you wear the same kind all the time or did you have different kinds for Sunday?

    Ferguson: No. You had Sunday maybe. If we were rich, we might have for Sunday but not very often.

    Johnson: Did your mother have the same kind of shoes?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Everybody had the same.

    Johnson: I think you can see this lady in here wearing shoes. Right here, it looks like.

    Ferguson: Who's that?

    Johnson: Mrs. Fleming. This is a picture taken in Squirrel Run. And I think you can see she's wearing --

    Ferguson: What place is that?

    Johnson: That's the Gibbons house that's opened that to the public one that they furnished and there wasn't any furniture in there when they opened it and so they've been trying to gather furniture that people would recognize as typical of the period. That's partly the reason I'm asking you all these questions so they can furnish that house the way it might have been. They have lace curtains on the windows in that house. Would they have had lace curtains when you were very little?

    Ferguson: Yes. They're nice.

    Johnson: Do you remember how you brushed your teeth when you were little? Did you brush your teeth every night?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did you use regular toothpaste?

    Ferguson: Used soap. Sure. That's all we had. If you were rich, you might have soap powder, but we were never rich.

    Johnson: It must have tasted awful.

    Ferguson: Oh, we didn't mind it. Gawd, we'd do anything. Put chicken shit in your mouth, we'd like it.

    Johnson: Did you take music lessons when you were little? Piano?

    Ferguson: Good God, no.

    Johnson: Did anybody you knew take them?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah, a lot of people took them.

    Johnson: How many people did you know that could play things, like a violin or harmonica or like that?

    Ferguson: The Rowe boys used to have them. One played a violin and one played a cornet and another played piano. And we had a little orchestra of our own and we'd dance a lot on the porch. They used to play sometimes for dances, too. They would be good.

    Johnson: Did they get paid for that?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Sure.

    Johnson: What would they do if there was a fire?

    Ferguson: They had an old fire engine with horses and they'd pull it -- the horses would pull it.

    Johnson: Where did it have to come from?

    Ferguson: In town. Forty Acres.

    Johnson: How did they know there was a fire?

    Ferguson: They'd ring a bell.

    Johnson: Where would that bell be?

    Ferguson: Down at the Forty Acres -- right down from Henry Clay. You could hear it.a11 over the place.

    Johnson: Who would ring it, just anybody?

    Ferguson: No. They had the ones that would take care of it. Ones that would ride horses -- two horses or four horses.

    Johnson: Do you remember any fires that happened?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Would they usually get there in time?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did anything burn down before they got here?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: How about fireworks on the Fourth of July?

    Ferguson: We had things -- put them on a pole and light it and then it would squawk. That's all we had.

    Johnson: Did you ever see any fireworks that the du Pont Company would explode for the Fourth of July?

    Ferguson: Yeah. We used to go to Guyencourt -- Ride up there. Somebody would take us up.

    Johnson: Would that be in the daytime?

    Ferguson: No, in the night.

    Johnson: How would you go -- in a car?

    Ferguson: Oh, no, we had an old wagon. If somebody had a car, they would take us. Or a dump wagon or something.

    Johnson: Would it be pulled by a horse?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember your first automobile ride?

    Ferguson: Yeah. It was up around the church. We thought we were big, riding in a car.

    Johnson: Who had the car?

    Ferguson: Oh, somebody from up there. I don't remember.

    Johnson: Do you remember what the car was like?

    Ferguson: Yeah, they'd take us.
  • Fourth of July Celebrations and dancing Irish jigs; Mother's sewing; Elections and politics; Pictures, Crucifixes and wall decorations; Having the newspaper delivered; Traveling
    Keywords: Ancient Order of Hibernians; Boats; Celebrations; Crucifixes; Dances; Dancing; Democrats; Elections; Fourth of July; Newspapers; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pictures; Politics; Riverview Park; Sewing; Sewing machines; Street railroads
    Transcript: Johnson: Did your father belong to Hibernians or anybody you knew belong to Hibernians?

    Ferguson: Hibernians? Yes, my father did. My husband did, too.

    Johnson: Where did they meet?

    Ferguson: Over at the school.

    Johnson: What were some of the things they would do?

    Ferguson: They used to have dances. We'd go to the dances.

    Johnson: And they had picnics, too?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Up at Squirrel Run we had them,

    Johnson: You said your husband's grandmother used to dance the jig. Can you tell me more about her?

    Ferguson: She danced every Fourth of July with Jerry Casey.

    Johnson: Did he work for the powder company?

    Ferguson: Yes he did.

    Johnson: Did her father work for the powder company?

    Ferguson: They always jigged. Now, my husband could jig with one leg. But he couldn't get together – he’ d just use one leg.

    Johnson: Did her father work for the powder yards?

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: Do you remember what his name was? Your husband's mother's father?

    Ferguson: My mother's and father's name was Toy. And my mother’ s name was McClafferty.

    Johnson: Do you know what your husband's mother's name was? Before she was married.

    Ferguson: My husband's name was Ferguson.

    Johnson: And what was his mother's name before she was married?

    Ferguson: Harrod. She's dead long ago.

    Johnson: Do you know anything about her?

    Ferguson: No, not much.

    Johnson: Did she ever say where she learned to jig?

    Ferguson: No. She lived in Wilmington.

    Johnson: Was she born in Ireland?

    Ferguson: No. But the grandmother was -- that used to do the jigging. She was born in Ireland. Boy, she could jig. Everybody would come to the picnic to see her jig.

    Johnson: It's too bad they didn't have television in those days -- so that they could have taken a movie.

    Ferguson: Wish I knew some of these people.

    Johnson: The faces are so very small; it's hard to know who they are. Do you remember if your mother had a sewing machine?

    Ferguson: No. She got one later on in life.

    Johnson: Did she have to sew by hand?

    Ferguson: Yes. Everything by hand. But, then she got a sewing machine. Then when I was going to school, she bought me a sewing machine and I had it for a long while and I gave it to a colored girl that worked for me after I got married because I couldn't see the needle. Wish I had it back.

    Johnson: If the electricity went off, you could still sew. Do you remember anything about election time or politics?

    Ferguson: Yes. Politics -- My uncle Tom's saloon -- he had a porch above and all the big politicians would be up there. And they would speak, you know. We lived next door to them. Oh, that was good -- big.

    Johnson: Do you remember anybody who came and talked?

    Ferguson: We were all Democrats, you know.

    Johnson: And who would come to talk?

    Ferguson: Oh, I don't know. A big Democrat.

    Johnson: Do you remember any of the people?

    Ferguson: No, I don't remember.

    Johnson: Did they ever get into arguments?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: Would it be the people that were listening?

    Ferguson: People would be all down along the road listening.

    Johnson: And would most of them be for the speaker who had come?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: But there would be a few that would object.

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did they ever have any fights?

    Ferguson: Oh, no. Just talk.

    Johnson: I guess the things that they argued about now are so far gone that it doesn't make any difference. It must have been fun to hear them when you were right next door there.

    Ferguson: Yeah. Oh, we didn't mind that.

    Johnson: Do you remember if you got a newspaper delivered to the house?

    Ferguson: Newspapers, oh, yeah.

    Johnson: Would you like something to drink?

    Ferguson: Oh, no.

    Johnson: Do you remember any pictures that you remember seeing on the wall? Would your parents have a picture on the wall?

    Ferguson: No. All kinds of pictures.

    Johnson: Would they have the Crucifix on the wall?

    Ferguson: We always did. I got one there.

    Johnson: Where would it be in your home?

    Ferguson: That's my mother's -- when I was going to school. When I was going to school, she bought me that --a dollar a week.

    Johnson: You mean she had to pay a dollar a week for it?

    Ferguson: Couldn't pay cash -- had to pay a dollar a week. A man used to come around and sell them.

    Johnson: Where did you keep it -- in your bedroom?

    Ferguson: Do you know what that means -- those words up there?

    Johnson: My daughter-in-law told me once and now I forget.

    Ferguson: Madras, King of the Jews.

    Johnson: Do you remember how many weeks it took to pay for that?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did a boy come around and deliver the newspaper.

    Ferguson: Yeah, a boy.

    Johnson: Do you remember who it was?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Tom Dunlop told me he delivered the papers, but that was probably later.

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember where you kept the Crucifix when you had it? Was it in your room?

    Ferguson: It was in the parlor.

    Johnson: Did you take any magazines when you were home?

    Ferguson: No, we couldn't afford magazines. Lucky if you read a paper.

    Johnson: Do you remember who would read the paper first? Would your mother read it first?

    Ferguson: Yeah, she would read it. We'd read it. We were going to school.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything you read that startled you?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Do you remember how you felt about the First World War coming on?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: Did you read about that a lot?

    Ferguson: Yeah. My daughter, Gracie, is going over to Hawaii in April and that's where her husband was in the war and he was there at Pearl Harbor. So, they said they would go when they were 25 years married. They never had no money. Now they're 30 and they still have no money. So, now at 35 he said let's go. He's retired now.

    Johnson: Did you ever take any trips with your mother when you were little? With any of the family? Did you go to the beach or theatre?

    Johnson: Yeah, but I don't know where my book went to. It disappeared. Big album full of pictures. I think Catherine got it but she says no.

    Johnson: Did you ever go to a place called Riverview Park?

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: What was that like?

    Ferguson: Oh, it was nice. We thought so.

    Johnson: How did you get there?

    Ferguson: The trolley car.

    Johnson: And you had to take the ferry across the river?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did you ever go up to Philadelphia on the boat?

    Ferguson: When we were older, we did. On the moonlight. That would be a big treat, to go to Philadelphia.

    Johnson: About how long did it take?

    Ferguson: Couple hours to go up and back again.

    Johnson: Would you get off when you got there or just stay on the boat?

    Ferguson: Stay on the boat.

    Johnson: And who would go with you?

    Ferguson: Oh, two or three girls and fellows.

    Johnson: Was your mother pretty strict? Did you have to be back at a certain time?

    Ferguson: Well, she'd wait for us to come home. We would be home before twelve.

    Johnson: Was she strict at other times when you went out with boys?

    Ferguson: She’ d wait for you all right. See that you got home, yes.

    Johnson: I know you said your brother used to watch you and tell on you.

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: What were some of the things he might be doing? Did you go to the dances?

    Ferguson: Always. I was quite a dancer. I won the prize waltz one once in McGregor's Mill. A beautiful ring. I gave it to my nephew and I guess he gave it to some girl.
  • Images from "The Workers' World at Hagley" by Glenn Porter; Attending dances and classes in Breck's Mill; Mother's tea making; Going on sleigh rides; Fishing in Brandywine Creek; Bed linens; Watching Italians play bocce in Squirrel Run; Neighborhood feelings; Household chores

    Keywords: "The Workers' World at Hagley" by Glenn Porter; Bocce; Brandywine Creek; Chores; Fishing; Hagley Community House (Breck's Mill); Hay rides; Irons (Pressing); Neighbors; Sleigh rides; Squirrel Run (Del.: village); Tea
    Transcript: Johnson: Did you have a grape arbor when you were little? Did your mother make grape jelly from the grapes?

    Ferguson: Yeah. We had grapes.Johnson: Did they grow wild?

    Ferguson: We ate grapes. We’ d eat them before the darn things become ripe.

    Johnson: I see you have some of the pictures here that are in this book, too. That's Breck's Mill. Did you ever take a shower in Breck's Mill?

    Ferguson: A shower? Gawd, no.

    Johnson: Tom Dunlop told me that he played basketball there and afterwards he would take a shower.

    Ferguson: He didn't take no shower.

    Johnson: A lot of these are the same pictures that are in the “ Worker's World" Book. This is really a wonderful map. It tells you all about the area and that shows the skating. That must have been fun playing hockey on the ice. Someone said they'd like to have one every year. That some people didn't come to this one and they could get other people to come who didn't come the first time.

    Ferguson: I hope they have another one. I really enjoyed that.

    Johnson: The only thing -- they served cake. They ought to have served tea sandwiches.

    Ferguson: Well, they got plenty of money. Those cookies were no good, some of them.

    Johnson: I think sandwiches are really nicer. And we had a little trouble with the sherbet because it melted. So next year we'll know a little bit more about doing it. Here's where we used to sit, right here. On this side. On the third floor.

    Johnson: The third floor they had the dance.

    Johnson: What would be downstairs, do you remember?

    Ferguson: Later on a woman came in to teach them how to do things. Somebody paid for it.

    Johnson: Do you remember what she taught?

    Ferguson: Oh, teach the kids how to sew and things.

    Johnson: Did you know anybody's kitchen that had a brick floor?

    Ferguson: I guess they did, I don't know. We wouldn't. We had linoleum.

    Johnson: Did you ever make popcorn?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Do you remember any funny stories that people told?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: I think turning over the rain barrel is funny. Did your mother make tea? A pot of tea? Hot tea?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: Do you remember how she made it?

    Ferguson: Just made it -- tea balls -- no -- tea, loose tea.

    Johnson: Did she have a big pot?

    Ferguson: Yeah, big pot and she'd strain it.

    Johnson: Do you remember what the strainer looked like? Was it a metal strainer?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Do you know what color the teapot was?

    Ferguson: Green, I guess.

    Johnson: Would you take milk in it?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did you ever go for a ride in a sleigh that was drawn by a horse?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Where did you go?

    Ferguson: Up along the road, way up St. Joseph's Church and all around. People that had a horse, they'd take us.

    Johnson: Do you remember who took you?

    Ferguson: No. Anybody that had a sleigh. That was something to get a ride in a sleigh.

    Johnson: Did you ever have a hayride?

    Ferguson: Yes, indeed, many a day.

    Johnson: And who would do that?

    Ferguson: Somebody. And you'd pay to get a ride. Way up to Birmingham Park or Lenape or someplace like that.

    Johnson: Did you ever go fishing?

    Ferguson: Always went fishing.

    Johnson: Where did you go fishing?

    Ferguson: In the Brandywine.

    Johnson: What did you use for bait?

    Ferguson: Bread. Hard crust of bread.

    Johnson: Did you ever catch anything?

    Ferguson: Sure. Minnows. My kids used to catch minnows and they'd bring them in and I'd have to cook them. About that big. They'd stand there and wait until I cooked them.

    Johnson: Did they ever take ice out of the Brandywine to use in the icebox?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: Did you ever make a pillow out of chicken feathers?

    Ferguson: No. My mother did, I guess.

    Johnson: Did you have to save the feathers?

    Ferguson: Yeah; Sew it by hand.

    Johnson: Did you have bedwarmers? To warm the bed?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: What were they like?

    Ferguson: Bricks. Just bricks.

    Johnson: Did you heat them on the coal stove?

    Ferguson: Yeah. And then take it up and wrap it up and put it in the bed.

    Johnson: Do you remember anybody playing bocce?

    Ferguson: Anybody playing what?

    Johnson: Playing bocce. It was an Italian ball game.

    Ferguson: Bouggi, we called it.

    Johnson: Did you ever watch that.

    Ferguson: Yes. Italian people played it.

    Johnson: Where did they play?

    Ferguson: Up at Squirrel Run, up where the dance floor was.

    Johnson: When you would see them play, would you go up especially?

    Ferguson: Well, we'd just go up and see them. We never bothered them.

    Johnson: Was it just men who played?

    Ferguson: Yeah, men.

    Johnson: Did your mother wear a hat in the wintertime to keep warm?

    Ferguson: Oh, sure.

    Johnson: Was it different from the hat she wore to church?

    Ferguson: Oh, yes.

    Johnson: What was it like?

    Ferguson: Oh, just a hat to wear over her head -- like a tam-o-shanter.

    Johnson: Would she knit that out of wool?

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: Would she wear that when she went to the store?

    Ferguson: Yes.

    Johnson: Did you have to shovel the sidewalk when you were little?

    Ferguson: Sure, we had to.

    Johnson: Did your mother ever do it or just you?

    Ferguson: Mother would do it or we would do it.

    Johnson: Did the neighbors help each other out when there was trouble?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. If you were sick, they'd all be in to see you. Not now.

    Johnson: What would they do? Would they bring you something to eat?

    Ferguson: Yes. Something to eat or something to drink.

    Johnson: Do you remember anybody specifically who came?

    Ferguson: No. Long time ago.

    Johnson: Do you remember what kind of tablecloth your mother would have had in the kitchen?

    Ferguson: Oh, no, just white.

    Johnson: Do you remember how she did the ironing?

    Ferguson: On the stove, an old iron, hold on to it with a rag. A big, heavy rag, and then she'd iron. Put it on the stove and get it hot. Then it would get cold and she'd put it back again. She had a couple things; she had two.

    Johnson: Did she use starch?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Then they used to come with wooden handles on them -- on the iron.

    Johnson: That must have been an improvement.

    Ferguson: Yeah.

  • The fireplace; Washing clothes; Wearing her cousin's dress; Questions about oral history and recording equipment
    Keywords: Clothes; Dresses; Fireplaces; Flour sacks; Flowers; Good luck charms; Ice; Laundry; Shoes; Tools; Underwear
    Transcript: Johnson: Are you tired? Do you want to get up?

    Ferguson: No. I'm tired today. Awful tired.

    Johnson: It's kind of a dark day. Did they have fireplaces in the houses?

    Ferguson: Yeah. Not where we lived. They used to have them, though. Big logs of wood would be in there. The old trees.

    Johnson: Did you ever hear of putting a piece of turf on the fireplace mantle for good luck?

    Ferguson: Piece of steak?

    Johnson: Turf. That you would dig out of the earth.

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: Did you have to boil your clothes?

    Ferguson: Sure. In a big boiler.

    Johnson: Did your mother do that every Monday or did she have different times to do it?

    Ferguson: Wash them and then put them in a boiler. Then take them out and rinse them and then hang them out.

    Johnson: All in one day.

    Ferguson: Did people have as many clothes then as they do now?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Did they have a closet in the house?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: In the summertime did you have ice to put in your drink? If you had lemonade, would you chip the ice?

    Ferguson: If we had it, yeah.

    Johnson: Did you ever have trouble with the ice man not coming?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. Everybody would be out waiting for him.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything about underwear? What underwear was like when you were little?

    Ferguson: It would be fleece lined. Heavy. Nothing like we have now.

    Johnson: Well, I think it was more comfortable when you didn't have heat in the house.

    Ferguson: Yea.

    Johnson: Did your mother ever make anything for you out of a flour sack?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah.

    Johnson: Would that be for summertime?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: Did you go barefoot in the summertime?

    Ferguson: Always. All summer long.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything about tools that hey would have kept in the house? Tools to work outdoors. Did they have a lawnmower or a shovel to dig in the garden?

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. We didn't have no lawnmower. We had a sickle to cut with.

    Johnson: Did you grow flowers at that house?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: And what would they be like?

    Ferguson: Oh, I don't know.

    Johnson: Did anybody have roses?

    Ferguson: Yeah, roses.

    Johnson: Do you remember anything about your dresses when you were little?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: I remember you said that one time you wore your cousin's dress and you didn't want to take it off.

    Ferguson: Yeah. When I went to a funeral. My cousin's.

    Johnson: Which cousin was that?

    Ferguson: Red with a little yoke here and ecru. I wouldn't take the damn thing off and I run out in the field then. Catherine after me.

    Johnson: I guess you liked the dress.

    Ferguson: Oh, yeah. Never had one like it.

    Johnson: Do you remember any other dresses that you did have that you liked?

    Ferguson: No.

    Johnson: Well, I think I've asked you just about everything. And I will get you a book just like this. And if I can't get one, I'll give you this one.

    Ferguson: I'd like to have it.

    Voice: If you can, get the transcripts and I'm quite sure the grandchildren have a recorder or something.

    Johnson: I think they would like to hear it.

    Ferguson: Is that a recording?

    Johnson: It's a tape recording what we say.

    Voice: We enjoyed you very much, Mrs. Johnson.

    Johnson: Well, I enjoyed being here. Thank you for your help. I'll leave it running because sometimes people say something very interesting just as you're going out the door.

    Ferguson: Now, where do you have to go?

    Johnson: I'm going home.

    Ferguson: Where do you live, hon?

    Johnson: I live in Wycliff. That's north of Wilmington. By Exit 9.

    Voice: Do you remember anything else about up the Crick that you want to tell?

    Ferguson: No.

    Voice: Were your shoes high-top or low cut?

    Ferguson: Low. And then got high ones. If you were big, you got high ones.

    Johnson: Did they have high heels or low heels?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: How about the heels. Were they high?

    Ferguson: Oh, no. Just regular size.

    Johnson: Did you ever try to make yourself look taller with high heels?

    Ferguson: Yeah.

    Johnson: That's your book. Thank you very much for talking to me. I appreciate your telling me about these things and so does the Museum.