Interview with Blanche MacAdoo Yetter, 1984 July 25 [audio]

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  • Location of worker gardens at Hagley Yard; growing potatoes; keeping animals out of the gardens; more on growing potatoes
    Keywords: gardens; Hagley; potatoes; Squirrel Run
    Transcript: Perkins: Today is Wednesday, July 25, 1984, and my name is Karen Perkins and I am about to interview a Mrs. Blanche MacAdoo Yetter. And today we're going to talk about vegetable gardens and ornamental gardening near the Hagley Yards.

    Yetter: Do you have to pin anything on me? No, that's alright.

    Perkins: So you said you lived in Squirrel Run?

    Yetter: Yes, I lived in Squirrel Run, that's where I lived.

    Perkins: I was talking to someone yesterday and they were describing what the Village looked like and where the gardens were located in relation to the houses. What do you remember about that?

    Yetter: Well, all the houses didn't have a garden. At Squirrel Run, most of the people that wanted a garden had one, but it was up in a field, not at their own back door, it was up in a field. The du Pont's evidently had plowed it up and marked it off into plots - squares — I don't know how many feet they were, but not too large.

    Perkins: Do you know about how many, can you remember about how many — give an estimate of how big it would be?

    Yetter: Well, maybe it was fifty or sixty feet, it wasn't too large.

    Perkins: Were they rectangular, square?

    Yetter: Well, I think maybe they were more rectangular. You see the men done that by hand. Now if it had been a big field, they couldn't have done it by hand.

    Perkins: They dug the soil by hand?

    Yetter: They dug the soil by hand. And they got up there early in the spring and I suppose they put whatever phosphate or manure they had and put on it, then they would dig it up and get their potatoes in early.

    Perkins: Do you remember when they would plant their potatoes? Was there any sort of sign or date that they went by?

    Yetter: I don't know when they planted them, but they were figuring on getting them in early because they had the first meal on the Fourth of July, new potatoes. Everybody looked forward to having the new potatoes on the Fourth of July.

    Perkins: At the picnic did they have them?

    Yetter: No, this would have been at home, you cooked your dinner at home. There was a picnic on the Fourth of July, but this was for your own dinner, and everyone was proud when they could dig a few potatoes and have new potatoes for the Fourth of July.

    Perkins: I'll bet you that was a real treat to have those.

    Yetter: It was a treat.

    Perkins: Do you remember about how far these plots were from the homes, how far would you have to walk to go to your garden?

    Yetter: Oh, not too far really, maybe two blocks, two city blocks.

    Perkins: Was it up the hill above?

    Yetter: Yes, up the hill a little bit. 'Cause Squirrel Run was in a hollow, and they was up the grade a little.

    Perkins: Did you dad have a vegetable garden?

    Yetter: Well my Dad didn't, but my Grandfather did.

    Perkins: Was that up with the others, up in that plot?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Perkins: Did they have a name for that?

    Yetter: No, you just called it up at the gardens.

    Perkins: Up the gardens.

    Yetter: Up at the gardens. If you wasn't aware of where they were, they were up in the gardens — working up in the gardens.

    Perkins: So your grandfather had a garden up there?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Perkins: Did he have a fence around it?

    Yetter: No, no there was just a walk in between each one. I suppose when the grass grew and they just walked in between, they divided the lots.

    Perkins:How did he keep animals out of there — rabbits or groundhogs or deer?

    Yetter: Well they didn't, they didn't. Do you remember what they used to grow there, what vegetables? Well, potatoes.

    Wagner: Do you remember what they looked like - were they round, were they long, were they lumpy, smooth?

    Yetter: I don't remember what they looked like — a potato is a potato to me [laughs]. I don't think they had the variety we have today, but they saved their old potatoes that had gone to seed. You've seen potatoes with the sprouts on them?

    Perkins: Yes. I'm talking with my hands. Well the sprouts - and they would cut those potatoes with sprouts on and plant those sprouts and that was their seeds.

    Perkins: When would they cut that, cut the potatoes?

    Yetter: Well early in the spring when they were ready to plant them.

    Perkins: Did they let them dry off before they'd plant them, or just cut them and stick them in the ground?

    Yetter: No, I don't think so. I don't remember that part.

    Perkins: Did you help do that?

    Yetter: No I didn't, because I didn't have to do much around the house, but I suppose maybe some of the children might have. I can remember my Grandmother and Grandfather cutting them together, and that was their seed potatoes.

    Perkins: Where would they cut them?

    Yetter: In the kitchen.

    Perkins: In the kitchen just put them in baskets or...

    Yetter: Yes, just bring a dishpan full in at a time and cut them up and then he would put them in a basket ready to take up to the gardens. And he'd have the ground already plowed, so then all you had to do is dig a hole and drop the potatoes.

    Perkins: When he planted his potatoes, would he hill up the soil or would it just be level?

    Yetter: Well, he maybe hilled them a little later when they started to grow, because he'd have to weed them and I think he would take a hoe and maybe pull some soil up around them at that time.
  • Growing turnips, cabbages, onions, peas, pumpkins, squash, and beans
    Keywords: beans; beets; cabbage; Halloween; Jack-o-lanterns; onions; peas; pumpkins; turnips
    Transcript: Perkins: What other vegetables do you remember?

    Yetter: Well, cabbage. Later in the fall, turnips, and they would sow the turnips, what you call sowing. You know what sow the turnips is?

    Perkins: No.

    Yetter: When you take a handful — throw them.

    Perkins: Broadcast them?

    Yetter: Broadcast them, you know, broadcast them.

    Perkins: So they weren't in a straight row then, they were in a patch?

    Yetter: No, the turnips just grew every place and then you had them way into the winter, 'til the ground froze so hard you couldn't dig them, maybe they would dig some and take them in, put them in their — well they didn't have cellars. None of the houses had cellars, or basements as you'd call them today - cellars is what they called them. Either they had a little back room or they had a shed or something they kept things in. But none of the houses had cellars in those days.

    Perkins: Do you remember what the turnips looked like?

    Yetter: Well, they were always purple and white. I don't remember ever seeing these yellow ones.

    Perkins: What would the inside look like - was it white or yellow flesh?

    Yetter: White.

    Perkins: White, okay.

    Yetter: And they were delicious because we children would go up and squeak while we were stealing them, and I swore nobody cared. And we'd peel them with our teeth and eat the inside, like you would an apple.

    Perkins: How big were they, how big would they get?

    Yetter: Not too large, maybe two inches or so.

    Perkins: Okay. And the cabbages, do you remember what shape they were - were they round or were they flattened or did they have a pointed top to them?

    Yetter: They would grow very big around. Sometimes late in the fall you'd see them almost as big around as a dinner plate, but they would be more flat on the top I think. I suppose they had a name, but I never knew what the name was.

    Perkins: Well that helps out, to know that they were flattened rather than...

    Yetter: They were flat on the top, because we kids would go sit on them. You know, like as if it was a stool?

    Perkins: Yeah (laughs).

    Perkins: What about spring crop of cabbage, did your grandfather ever plant them in the spring?

    Yetter: No, I didn't think they had any early cabbage, it seemed to be more later in the season. And of course onion sets, they always put those in the 17th day of March, St. Patrick's Day.

    Perkins: Okay, okay. Would they plant the potatoes before that or after that, do you remember?

    Yetter: I think maybe a little after that because it was too cold then for those. Some people put a few peas in, but peas weren't a very good crop.

    Perkins: Why is that?

    Yetter: Well you only get one helping off them, you don't get very many peas off of them. So few people would buy seeds and plant peas and they would be planted on St. Patrick's Day, the same day as the onions.

    Perkins: Were those peas sweet or were they more starchy when you ate them?

    Yetter: Oh they were sweet, they were delicious.

    Perkins: Do you remember how tall the vines were — were they bushy or were they climbing, would they climb up?

    Yetter: No, they would fall over, they never fastened them up, unless they stuck a stick or little branch under them, they didn't tie them up, no.

    Perkins: What other vegetables do you remember?

    Yetter: Well, they didn't grow too many, there wasn't — I never heard tell of squash or anything like that when I was little. But in the fall some of them might put a pumpkin in, just to have pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving or pumpkin for Halloween.

    Perkins; Was that real popular to have Jack-O— Lanterns at Halloween?

    Yetter: Yes, yes. But the thing is, we didn't plant them, but the du Pont's, I think, planted them in among their corn fields. They planted them in among their corn fields and they grew up and then you could always go up and steal one, as we always thought we were stealing I'm sure it wasn't really stealing in those days.

    Perkins: Okay what about beets, did you grow beets?

    Yetter: Maybe some of the people did, not too many. It wasn't a popular vegetable.

    Perkins: What about beans, do you remember what kind?

    Yetter: Well I guess there are certain beans — string beans, I think they did grow string beans. And then some of them would grow lima beans and put them in - bush lima beans at that time they had tall. Lima beans and had to put up poles.

    Perkins: Do you remember where they got the poles?

    Yetter: Well, out of the woods. Do you remember how tall they were? Oh, they were taller than a man.

    Perkins: About how much taller than a man?

    Yetter: Well, they'd be six or seven foot tall.

    Perkins: Okay — did they just put them in a line straight up or would they make a little teepee out of them? Did they bend them over and put them like a teepee or were they straight and in a line?

    Yetter: I don't know, I guess they just had them straight in a line, and they just grew up the straight stick.

    Perkins: Would there be one plant for each pole?

    Yetter: Well no, they always put two or three beans down because sometimes they didn't come up, so they always planted two or three beans to a hill - they called it a hill. Was it raised like a little hill?

    Perkins: Yeah, u— huh, Do you ever remember them tying the sticks, the stakes together with string in between?

    Yetter: Yes sometimes some of them did, anyone that was a real fusty person, they'd have a garden close to home, but up in the gardens they didn't do too much of that.

    Perkins: What about the string beans, did they grow those on poles, or were they bush?

    Yetter: No, the string beans were short, they just grew in rows.
  • Growing celery; buying carrots and eggplants; growing radishes; growing and canning tomatoes
    Keywords: asparagus; canning; carrots; celery; corn; cucumbers; eggplant; hot peppers; hucksters; lettuce; onions; radishes; sweet peppers; tomatoes
    Transcript: Perkins: What about celery, do you remember them growing celery?

    Yetter: Not very many, maybe one man would grow celery and in the fall he would dig it all up and make a mound and bury it in the soil, and then it would stay there until Thanksgiving and Christmas, then he'd have fresh celery. And he would have to — before the winter got froze too bad, he would go and have to get it out of there. But not many bothered with celery.

    Perkins: What about carrots?

    Yetter: Well, I don't know about carrots because we had carrots in soup and I hated them. But I never remember my Mother cooking — my Grandmother raised us — I don't remember her cooking a dish of carrots.

    Perkins: Okay - what about corn, did they grow corn up there?

    Yetter: No, they didn't have room for corn, they weren't large enough, the gardens weren't large enough to grow corn.

    Perkins: What about asparagus?

    Yetter: No, there was no such a thing as asparagus — rich people, wealthy people had it in their gardens, but we never had that.

    Perkins: What about eggplant, did you ever grow that?

    Yetter: Well, no, but there used to be hucksters they called them, come around with a wagon and I think that's where maybe my Grandmother would get a bunch of carrots and eggplants or something off him. He would come maybe once a week around with a horse and wagon. But they didn't grow them at that time.

    Perkins: What about cucumbers?

    Yetter: No, didn't know much about cucumbers even.

    Perkins: Lettuce?

    Yetter: Well, everyone would have a little lettuce - some— times put them among their flowers.

    Perkins: They did around their house?

    Yetter: U-huh, because it didn't take up much room and it didn't last long. Yeah

    Perkins: What about — would you plant the lettuce in rows or would they do that like the turnips — you know, a little patch?

    Yetter: I think they would make it more of a little patch.

    Perkins: Okay was it leaf lettuce or head lettuce?

    Yetter: Leaf, just leaf lettuce.

    Perkins: Okay, was it green?

    Yetter: We never had any head lettuce — light green. Light green color — okay.

    Perkins: And you said onions. What about peppers? We didn't use peppers in those days like they do today. The Italians, when they came up, they begin to grow some peppers, but I think they mostly grew hot peppers. Hot peppers. But as far as the sweet peppers go, we didn't use sweet peppers in our cooking like we do today.

    Perkins: What about rhubarb, did you ever grow rhubarb?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: Or radishes?

    Yetter: Well, radishes, yes - that was two things my Grandmother bought, lettuce and radishes. And she would plant them right up close to the house.

    Perkins: In a little patch?

    Yetter: U-huh.

    Perkins: Do you remember what those radishes looked like?

    Yetter: Little round red ones.

    Perkins: Little round red — did they have any white on them?

    Yetter: White and red, yes, I think maybe the bottom was white and the top red.

    Perkins: Okay, and how big were they, do you remember?

    Yetter: Oh, they weren't very large, the size of a nickel maybe.

    Perkins: Okay — spinach?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: No spinach, okay, and you said no squash.

    Yetter: You grew up without spinach in those days.

    Perkins: What about tomatoes, did you plant any tomatoes?

    Yetter: And of course tomatoes was everyone pretty near had a few tomato plants, whether they had a garden or not.

    Perkins: Where would they put them if they didn't have a garden?

    Yetter: Well, in around their house someplace, they always had a little yard around the house, and they could always put a few tomato plants in.

    Perkins: Did they stake them up?

    Yetter: I don't know that they did, I guess they just grew on the ground.

    Perkins: Okay, what kind of tomatoes would they grow?

    Yetter: Well I don't think they had any special name.

    Perkins: Were they just round, red tomatoes?

    Yetter: Just round, red tomatoes and limp. Late in the season there would be farmers come in with loads of tomatoes and I think they were like twenty— five cents a basket. And then my Grandmother would buy so many baskets and can them for the winter, but she bought those.

    Perkins: What would she make out of them in the wintertime?

    Yetter: Well, she would can them whole, and she had a boiler, wash boiler, and she would — Oh I can see her putting the jars in there and she'd have to boil them so many hours, or something, I don't remember, 'cause I didn't stay around watching her, it was a hot job.

    Perkins: Yeah, canning is a hot job.

    Yetter: But she would put a lot of tomatoes up so she'd have them for the wintertime.

    Perkins: But she just served them out of a can, or would she make sauce out of them?

    Yetter: No, she would stew them and she'd put a little onion, sugar and salt and pepper, and a little bit of thickening, and use them as a vegetable.

    Perkins: What would the thickening be, flour?

    Yetter: Flour.

    Perkins: Do you remember anybody growing cherry tomatoes?

    Yetter: There was no such a thing as cherry tomatoes in those days.

    Perkins: Sometimes they have yellow tomatoes, did you remember anybody that had yellow tomatoes?

    Yetter: Yes, once in a great while you would hear tell of somebody having a yellow tomato.

    Perkins: Do you remember what shape they would be, the yellow?

    Yetter: The yellow tomato that I have seen when I was growing would have been the same as a red tomato.

    Perkins: Okay, a round one, alright. What about watermelon, did anybody grow watermelon?

    Yetter: No.
  • Buying seeds and onion sets for the garden; manure based fertilizer; slapping lime; whitewashing the family home; pests and insects in her grandfather's garden
    Keywords: chickens; dusts; King Street, Wilmington, Delaware; lime; manure; onions; organizing a garden; potato bugs; seeds; sprays
    Transcript: Perkins: Do you remember where your Grandfather got his seeds from and his onion sets?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: Do you remember him starting plants earlier?

    Yetter: No, he didn't start anything.

    Perkins: He would just plant everything by seed except for the onion sets?

    Yetter: Well maybe somebody would start tomato plants or something and he would buy them by the dozen, or maybe if someone went to Wilmington, there was always a market on King Street, and buy them by the dozen, and bring them out.

    Perkins: Was that where the farmers put their stands up themselves?

    Yetter: The farmers had stands on King Street.

    Perkins: And they would sell plants, young plants?

    Yetter: Yeah.

    Perkins: Do you remember what kind of plants they would sell, what they would start — you've mentioned tomatoes, they would start tomatoes, do you remember any other plant that they would put in the garden as plants rather than planting them as seeds?

    Yetter: No, maybe they might have had peppers, I don't remember that because we didn't use them, and I didn't know much about them.

    Perkins: Okay. And you said that you felt that people would use manure, but you don't remember anything specific about that - where they would get their manure?

    Yetter: Well some of them had chickens and they saved the chicken manure and used that. Where would they save it.

    Perkins: Would they just put it on the garden as they got it out of the house, or would they put it in a pile and then put it on all at once?

    Yetter: Well, I think they mostly put it in a pile, and then when the spring came, then they would dig it up and take and spread it around their yard.

    Perkins: Okay. Do you remember people using lime on the gardens?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Perkins: What would they use that for?

    Yetter: That was to sweeten the soil. My Grandmother slapped her own lime.

    Perkins: What does that mean?

    Yetter: Slap it, you buy it dry, powdered, and she had a big, old wash boiler and she'd put that in and put water in, and she had a big, long stick and she kept stirring and stirring it. I can remember it kind of fizzed up or something, I know she'd kind of stand back from it. And she whitewashed her house always for Fourth of July - the whole house outside. That had to be done for Fourth of July.

    Perkins: Did she have a fence around the house?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Perkins: Did she whitewash that also?

    Yetter: Yes, she whitewashed the fence too.

    Perkins: What about chicken houses?

    Yetter: Well, some of the people had chicken houses, not too many. And the chicken house that we would have, we'd use it, you didn't have chickens, you could store things in it, put wood in it, keep your wood in it.

    Perkins: But your Grandmother wouldn't whitewash — did you have a chicken house?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Perkins: She wouldn't whitewash that?

    Yetter: No, because that was back on the hill further.

    Perkins: What about an outhouse, was that ever whitewashed?

    Yetter: Oh yes, that was whitewashed, yes always.

    Perkins: So everything was whitewashed once a year for the Fourth of July.

    Yetter: Yes, for the Fourth of July, uh— huh.

    Perkins: Do you ever remember any insects in your Grandfather's garden?

    Yetter: Well, there was always potato bugs, they sprayed for those.

    Perkins: Do you remember what he sprayed, what he did for them?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: Do you remember what it was, was it a dust or was it a liquid spray?

    Yetter: A dust, I think it was a dust he used.

    Perkins: Do you remember what color it was?

    Yetter: I don't know whether it was green or not, I don't remember that.

    Perkins: How did he apply it?

    Yetter: Well, the thing — you pumped it like and it sprayed. It would be a cylinder like, had this stuff and you - it had a pump handle on it.

    Perkins: And so it would just have clouds of dust coming out and then it would settle on the plants? Clouds of dust, u-huh.

    Perkins: Okay. Potato bugs — was that for potato bugs, that dust?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Perkins: Do you remember him putting it on anything else other than the potatoes?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: The cabbage or tomatoes or anything? How many potatoes would your grandfather plant, about how much of the garden would that take up?

    Yetter: Oh, very - no one planted very much, just one little row or something, to have for Fourth of July, because DuPont's sold potatoes. DuPont's had farms and they planted acres and acres and then in the summer they came around and took your order, what you wanted, whether you wanted - they would have three sizes, the small potatoes, the medium and then baking potatoes. And you would order how many bushel you needed for the winter. I don't remember what my Grandmother bought, but six or eight bushels she would have, that she would buy off them.

    Perkins: So she just grew her potatoes for new potatoes?

    Yetter: Yes, that would be all, just so they would have some for the Fourth of July. They didn't have room to grow potatoes, it was small plots.

    Perkins: Do you remember how your grandfather watered his garden?

    Yetter: Well he didn't unless he carried a bucket up with him, he probably, when he set a tomato plant, he probably took it up for a couple of times and watered it, but that's all.

    Perkins: Was that a real long distance between the pump and the garden?

    Yetter: Yeah.

    Perkins: The stakes that your grandfather used to tie up his beans, did they have branches on them, or were they straight?

    Yetter: Well, he would strip them.

    Perkins: He would strip all the branches off, okay. What sorts of tools did he use in the garden?

    Yetter: Shovel, and a rake and hoe, I suppose.

    Perkins: How did he get his rows straight, do you remember how he marked out his row?

    Yetter: Well, I think they had a rope that they would tie at one end of the garden and then up at the other.

    Perkins: What would they tie it to?

    Yetter: Well, they would — each end would have a big nail or something and they'd push it down in the ground and then stretch it down, they would go by that.

    Perkins: Okay, he'd just hoe along that line?

    Yetter: Yeah, u-huh.

    Perkins: Did he mark his rows after be planted them with any- thing, to show him where he had planted?

    Yetter: No, I don't think so.
  • Help in the family garden plot; keeping animals away from the garden; storing vegetables; houses at Squirrel Run; flowers
    Keywords: bragging; floor plans; gardening; help; houses; outhouses; potatoes; scarecrows; sheds; Squirrel Run; storage; tomatoes
    Transcript: Perkins: Okay. Who helped your grandfather in his garden?

    Yetter: Well, if they had boys, they were supposed to help, but you know the boys generally disappear when there's work to be done. Same as the boys of today [laughs].

    Perkins: Did you ever help him - did you help him out in the garden?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: Did your grandfather ever use anything to scare animals away our of his garden, like a scarecrow or any sort of...

    Yetter: Well, people used to put a scarecrow up sometimes you know. Put a stick up and put an old coat or hat on it or something, for a scarecrow. I don't know — everyone didn't do that, just once in a while some- body would put it up. I don't think the birds even bothered with that too much.

    Perkins: Do you remember any other sorts of devices that they would use to scare things away - anything else they would put up?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: Was your grandfather proud of his garden, would he take people to see it or would he brag about it?

    Yetter: Well, they would always brag about their potatoes that they had for Fourth of July, that's all I remember them bragging about.

    Perkins: I think nowadays people brag about their tomatoes more than they do about potatoes — who had the first ripe tomato.

    Yetter: Yeah. My son brought me up the first ripe tomato last Sunday of of his vines. He has a few in his backyard.

    Perkins: Where would your grandparents store their vegetables for the winter? You mentioned celery would be stored in a hole that you covered up.

    Yetter: Well, he never grew celery, but the potatoes, there was a small space — see Squirrel Run was built down in the hollow and there evidently had been built a concrete place that would have probably been about three foot wide and the length of the house and it had no windows in it, only a front door that you could get in, and of course the back of it would be on the hill, so I suppose it stayed cold all the time, but didn't freeze, and that's where the potatoes would be put.

    Perkins: Where was that in relation to the house?

    Yetter: Well you had to go out of the house and around to it, you couldn't go in from the house, you had to go out and around in this little door.

    Perkins: Was it alongside the house, did it run alongside the house?

    Yetter: No, it was built along with the house, it was along with the house.

    Perkins: Okay, so it was part of the house.

    Yetter: It was really part of the house.

    Perkins: Was it underneath the house, then?

    Yetter: No, but it was built back against the hill, you see, because it was quite a slope, the hill there.

    Perkins: Okay. Were those houses attached to each other?

    Yetter: Most of them were about three in a row, some were single, but most of th em three in a row. And before my day, there would have been six families in the three houses. I think, I don't know, I'm just surmising this, but they would have had one room downstairs and one room upstairs, and then around to the back of the hill, there'd be another road around there, and that was the bedroom for your house, would be a kitchen for the other house. And then they had a bedroom up over that and another bedroom over this, so they would have two bedrooms and the kitchen. And the other people would only have one room downstairs and one up. And those houses, several of the houses were built that way, but in my days they weren't like that because they turned them all into one house and gave everyone six rooms.

    Perkins: So the houses were built back— to— back then in the beginning?

    Yetter: Well yes, they were built — from the front you wouldn't know the difference, but they had to build a road around back so they could get into the ones around 'back there.

    Perkins: So when you came out on your front porch and looked out, what would you see?

    Yetter: Well, the road came right up the center of Squirrel Run, right in front of our house.

    Perkins: How much of a front yard did you have, then?

    Yetter: Well we had a front porch and then there would be a yard of nine or ten feet I guess.

    Perkins: Before you hit the road?

    Yetter: U— huh, u— huh.

    Perkins: And then what would be across the road?

    Yetter: Well, if it was a center house, there was always a building on the other side for the people to use for storage. And the end houses had a shed — we called them sheds — on the side, the end houses had sheds, but the center house had one across the road.

    Perkins: So the end houses would have the shed attached to the side of their house, is that where it would be?

    Yetter: Yes, but you couldn't go out of the house, you couldn't go from the houses to that, you had to go out the front door and around.

    Perkins: But it was still built onto the side of the house?

    Yetter: It was attached to the house there.

    Perkins: Where was your outhouse?

    Yetter: Well that was up on the side of the hill.

    Perkins: So would that be in back of your house, in back of the house?

    Yetter: No, it would be up toward the side. Now some of the houses would be up on the hill, way up on the hill in back of them.

    Perkins: Did each house have an outhouse, or did you share?

    Yetter: Yes, no, everyone had an outhouse.
  • Flowers at Squirrel Run; trading flowering plants with neighbors
    Keywords: bridal wreath; Chicken Alley; dahlias; Deutzia; flower; forsythia; geraniums; grapes; lilacs; marigolds; nasturtiums; orange blossom; petunias; phlox; roses; wisteria; zinnias
    Transcript: Perkins: Did you plant anything in the yard around the house — flowers or...

    Yetter: Oh, my Grandmother always had, in this little plot out front she had bridal wreath and orange blossoms — planted, came up every year, you know, shrubbery. And then she put flower boxes up on the fence and planted petunias and things in that.

    Perkins: Do you remember what color petunias she used to have?

    Yetter: Just purple and white is all I can remember. I didn't know of any variety in those days, they were just petunias or some of your neighbors gave you plants. They seeded theirself, they were hardy, and they seeded themselves. There weren't any hybrids in those days.

    Perkins: Do you remember any other flowers that they had, that people would plant?

    Yetter: My Grandmother would have, maybe, a few dahlias on the side, by the side fence.

    Perkins: Would they have a number of small blossoms on them, each dahlia plant?

    Yetter: No, they would be nice, full flowers, but not huge like you grow nowadays.

    Perkins: Yeah, but there would be a number of blossoms on each plants?

    Yetter: There would be a number of flowers on each one.

    Perkins: Do you remember what colors?

    Yetter: Hers were always yellows, guess she never got anything but yellow ones, and you see they doubles and she would give a few away, and then save a few and plant them herself.

    Perkins: Did she leave them in the ground year after year?

    Yetter: No, you had to dig them up and bring them inside.

    Perkins: Where would she store them?

    Yetter: Well, she would store them in that back room where she put her potatoes.

    Perkins: And then plant them in the spring again?

    Yetter: U— huh, u— huh.

    Perkins: When would she dig them, do you remember?

    Yetter: Well before frost got them, or after the frost killed the flowers, then you would dig them any time after that.

    Perkins: Remember anything else she would have, or your neighbors had, any other flowering plants?

    Yetter: Shrubs, sweet-smelling shrubs. Some of the neighbors had shrubs and you could smell them.

    Perkins: Do you remember what the flower looked like?

    Yetter: I don't remember the flowers, but the shrub was a little brown thing came on it and it was real smelly and they used to gather them, tie it in a little rag and put them in the bureau drawer.

    Perkins: Did they call them sweet shrubs?

    Yetter: Well, they just called them shrubs, but they were sweet smelling. And they would tie a few in a piece of cloth and put them in their bureau drawers to make their clothes smell nice.

    Perkins: Was that the flower that they would tie in there?

    Yetter: Well maybe that was the flower, I don't know.

    Perkins: But it was a little brown thing?

    Yetter: Yeah, it was brown.

    Perkins: Anything else you remember, any other flowering plants?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: I have a list of plants that were available during that time and I'm just going to read you some of them and see if you remember, if you remember seeing them there.

    Yetter: Well some people would have sunflowers, we never had any sunflowers.

    Perkins: Where would they put them?

    Yetter: Well they would be way back someplace, because they would grow so tall, they would grow eight or ten feet tall you know, they were very tall.

    Perkins: What about forsythia, did anybody ever grow forsythia?

    Yetter: Well I suppose they did, we didn't have any. But orange blossoms seemed to be the main thing, but they all came from Chicken Alley, if you've heard tell of Chicken Alley.

    Perkins: Yeah, I've heard of Chicken Alley.

    Yetter: Well, the du Ponts evidently brought them when they came and planted them around Chicken Alley and they grew wild, almost, in the woods.

    Perkins: I know, there are a lot of them growing wild around the Gibbons House right now.

    Yetter: And people would go up and just dig one and take it home and plant it and then you had orange blossoms all the time.

    Perkins: What about lilacs, do you remember people having lilacs?

    Yetter: Yes, they had lilacs.

    Perkins: What colors were they?

    Yetter: Either purple or white. Down in the office in Squirrel Run they had white ones down there. I don't know whether they are still there or not, but they had white ones down there.

    Perkins: Which color was the most popular, which do you remember seeing most?

    Yetter: Well purple I think purple would have been.

    Perkins: Purple, okay. Do your remember Deutzia, do you remember that?

    Yetter: Deutzia?

    Perkins: It's a shrub.

    Yetter: Yeah, I know what it is, no I never remember that being up there.

    Perkins: What about Wisteria?

    Yetter: Oh yes, there was Wisteria, u— huh, that would grow over in Chicken Alley.

    Perkins: What about grapes, did people grow grapes around their homes?

    Yetter: Yes, u-huh.

    Perkins: Where would they put them?

    Yetter: Usually over the front porch or put it in their front yard, and they would build up a trellis and having it growing right over and made shade right outside your front porch.

    Perkins: What would they do with the fruit?

    Yetter: Well they made jelly or wine.

    Perkins: Did they eat it fresh too?

    Yetter: Yes, not too many people had those.

    Perkins: What about roses, did many people have roses?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: Do you remember people having — growing peonies?

    Yetter: Yes a few would have peonies, not too many.

    Perkins: Do you remember what colors they had?

    Yetter: Well pink's all I remember.

    Perkins: Okay. What about poppies?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: No poppies? What about marigolds?

    Yetter: Well I guess they did have marigolds.

    Perkins: What about bulbs like tulips or daffodils or iris?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: Remember anybody having day lilies?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: You mentioned petunias - hyacinths?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: Phlox?

    Yetter: Yes, some of them had phlox because they were pretty hardy, you could transplant those and give your neighbor some.

    Perkins: Did people do that a lot - did they trade flowers?

    Yetter: Naturally, that's how they got them. Some of your neighbors would say, "I would love to have some of your phlox." And they'd say, "All right, I'll dig you a little clump of them." They'd dig a clump.

    Perkins: What about vegetables, did people trade vegetables very much, give vegetables to one another?

    Yetter: No, because they didn't grow that many of them.

    Perkins: They needed them themselves?

    Yetter: They mostly used them, because most families had families, you know, in those days.

    Perkins: What about nasturtiums, did people grow those?

    Yetter: Well I guess some did.

    Perkins: Geraniums?

    Yetter: Well of course there was always some of those, cause come winter they could lift them and have them inside all year.

    Perkins: Would they keep them in a pot all year?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Perkins: Would they plant them in the ground in the summer, or just put the pot outside?

    Yetter: I guess they put them in the ground in the summer, and then brought them in in the winter and mostly put them in old stew pots - they didn't very often have crocks or pots like from the florist you know, they would put them in some sort of a pot that had a hole in it.

    Perkins: Like a kitchen pot?

    Yetter: Kitchen pot, u-huh.

    Perkins: What about zinnias, do you remember people growing zinnias?

    Yetter: Well I guess some of them zinnias.

    Perkins: Coleus?

    Yetter: No, I don't remember those.
  • Buying herbs; picking wild fruits; her grandfather's gardening tools; making wheelbarrows and sleds in the shops at the Hagley Yard; sheds and storing garden tools
    Keywords: basil; Flexible Flyer; Hagley Yard; hucksters; parsley; peppermint; sleds; thyme; wheelbarrows
    Transcript: Perkins:What about herbs, did people grow herbs — peppermint or thyme or basil?

    Yetter: Well there was peppermint growing wild all the time up around — up there.

    Perkins: Did anybody ever collect it and use it?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: No?

    Yetter: It wasn't popular.

    Perkins:What about any other herbs, do you remember parsley?

    Yetter: Well I guess some of them had parsley, I don't know. But you could buy potherbs for a penny a bunch.

    Perkins: From the hucksters?

    Yetter: From the hucksters, yeah, they were a penny a bunch, so I don't think anybody bothered growing that.

    Perkins:What about wild fruits, did you ever remember people going out and picking, say blackberries or rasp- berries?

    Yetter: Oh yes, they always picked blackberries and make blackberry jelly.

    Perkins: What else - what other fruits can you remember that they would go out and collect?

    Yetter: There were a few cherry trees up around Squirrel Run, but they were — we just called them Black Hearts, they weren't Ox Hearts, they weren't a very large cherry, but you never got any amount of them.

    Perkins: And they were sweet cherries?

    Yetter: Yeah, u-huh.

    Perkins: Would they make anything out of them, or just eat them fresh?

    Yetter: No - well we would just go out and pick them and eat them when we picked, you know, off the trees.

    Perkins: Okay. What about wild strawberries, did anybody ever collect wild strawberries?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins:Do you ever remember huckleberries being around?

    Yetter: No, there was no huckleberries up the creek.

    Perkins:Where did your grandfather learn how to garden?

    Yetter: I guess it just came natural to them.

    Perkins: Do you think they would have learned from their parents?

    Yetter: I suppose they did.

    Perkins:Do you ever remember him saving any of the seeds he had from his vegetables instead of buying them?

    Yetter: No. Always potatoes.

    Perkins: Yeah, he would save the potatoes.

    Yetter: And that was all.

    Perkins: Do you ever remember people having trouble with chickens getting into their gardens?

    Yetter: Well, the chickens weren't close to the gardens.

    Perkins: I guess at Squirrel Run they were...

    Yetter:The chickens were down near the homes, and a lot of people that had chickens had a little fence or something around them. And there weren't too many raised chickens.

    Perkins:Okay. Do you remember your grandfather using a wheel— barrow for his garden?

    Yetter: I guess he did, some of the men had wheelbarrows.

    Perkins: Do you remember what they looked like, can you describe what they looked like?

    Yetter: They would be about the same as they are today.

    Perkins: Would they be metal, the body of them?

    Yetter: Oh I don't know, maybe they would have been wood in those days, no I don't think they were metal, I think they were wood.

    Perkins: Okay, what was the wheel made out of, did it have rubber on it or was it wooden, metal?

    Yetter: No, I imagine they were wood, and then they would put tin around that. I think that's what they - because you see they had a machine shop and a carpenter shop, both in Hagley, and the men worked there and they could take wheels in put things on like that. Of course they used to make sleds in the carpenter shop for the kids.

    Perkins:They did?

    Yetter: And put metal on the bottom, you know, for runners.

    Perkins: Yeah.

    Yetter: This was before Flexible Flyers came out [laughs].

    Perkins: Did they do that on Company time or did they have to do that after hours?

    Yetter: Oh I'm sure - no, I imagine they did that on Company time, and I don't suppose they counted their time in those days you just worked from six to six or some— thing. You worked all day, the du Ponts were satisfied if you worked steady.

    Perkins: Even if you were making sleds for your kids, right?

    Yetter: Yeah, well I don't think they spent too much time — maybe two or three men would do a little bit in between jobs or something like that.

    Perkins: You mentioned they had a shed for storage, is that where they would keep the tools for the garden, in the shed?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Perkins: You said that the middle house had a big building across the street for storage, and then the other houses had sheds?

    Yetter: Yeah.

    Perkins: Did the middle house have a larger building than the two side houses?

    Yetter: No, it was a shed too, it was about the same size.

    Perkins: But it was just located in a different place?

    Yetter: Yes, 'cause they had to have some place to store their things, so they built it right across the road from them.

    Perkins: What was across the road from the end houses?

    Yetter: Well nothing, I don't think, just some unused land there or something, before you come to the next set of houses or something.
  • Replanting and sharing crops; her grandfather smoking a pipe; canning fruits and vegetables; garden planning and walking to and through garden patches
    Keywords: cabbages; canning; garden paths and rows; Mason jars; peaches; tomatoes; turnips
    Transcript: Perkins: Okay. Do you every remember your grandfather planting more than one crop — say if he took his peas out or his neighbor would take his peas out, would they replace that with another crop in the same space?

    Yetter: The only thing I know that he planted late would have been the turnips.

    Perkins: The turnips, and the cabbage, you mentioned they had a late crop of cabbage.

    Yetter: Well the cabbage would probably — started earlier or something, I don't know. Maybe they started cabbage early and then planted it at different times, I don't remember that part.

    Perkins: Okay. You said that the men would dig the garden in the spring. Do you remember what they would do when they dug it, how they would dig?

    Yetter: Well they would dig it and then have to break all those lumps up and take a rake and smooth it off. There was a lot of work to it.

    Perkins: Do you remember people around that area having a lot of gardens, like a garden for each house, or was it a novelty to have a garden?

    Yetter: Well, it was kind of a novelty, maybe, because every family didn't have a garden.

    Perkins: Is that because they didn't have time to take care of it or...

    Yetter: Well, I don't think they had too much time, because like my one Grandfather, who worked in the black powder, and he would work until six o'clock at night, so you see when he came home, he was tired, he'd just sit back in the corner, back of the stove and smoked his pipe. And I can remember when he would stick a — twist a piece of paper up and stick it in the fire and light his pipe, and if a spark went over, you'd see a splash, black powder that was sticking on him.

    Perkins: Really?

    Yetter: U— huh. It wouldn't be enough, but just a little spark.

    Perkins: He didn't clean up before - he didn't clean himself up he went home?

    Yetter: No, he came right home from work and sat down and ate their dinner.

    Perkins: You know, some people have told me that they remember their father or their grandfather sitting out on the porch smoking the pipe and they used to like to sit next to him in the summer because, they said the pipe smoke kept the mosquitoes away. Have you ever heard that?

    Yetter: Well I don't know, it might [laughs].

    Perkins: Okay. There were a number of small stores around that area in the Village. Did the people ever buy vegetables from those stores rather than the hucksters — those small Company stores ever sell vegetables?

    Yetter: I don't think that they sold fresh vegetables. They may have had potatoes or something like that, but I don't remember them having fresh vegetables.

    Perkins: What about seeds, do you remember them carrying seeds?

    Yetter: No, they didn't carry seeds. They had to get their seeds in town someplace.

    Perkins: What about tools?

    Yetter: No, didn't sell tools or any thing like that.

    Perkins: Do you remember how your grandmother would can, what sorts of jars she would use? For her canning?

    Yetter: She used Mason jars, the same as they do today. And they had zinc tops, and a rubber band — rubber rings that you put on.

    Perkins: You couldn't reuse the tops, you had to buy new ones each year, like today?

    Yetter: I don't know whether you could use the tops or not. You couldn't for tomatoes, maybe you could for something that would be sweeter, like peaches or some— things else. Because she used to can peaches.

    Perkins: Where would she get the peaches from?

    Yetter: Well she'd buy them off the farmers, they would bring them around in truckloads.

    Perkins: Would the hucksters bring peaches around anytime?

    Yetter: Well, they would have a few in there.

    Perkins: Not enough to can though?

    Yetter: But the farmers that would come with a whole load when they'd have peaches or tomatoes, they'd have a whole load that they were gonna sell them by the basket, not by the quarter peck, you know. We bought every thing by the quarter peck in those days instead of the pound.

    Perkins: Do you remember them bringing anything around other than tomatoes or peaches?

    Yetter: In the spring of the year the fish man came and they had shad or herring in the spring of the year. That would be like during Lent.

    Perkins: Did the shad have roe — did people buy them for the roe?

    Yetter: Yes, u— huh.

    Perkins: Did your grandfather arrange his garden with rows, in rows, plant his vegetables?

    Yetter: Well I don't know whether...

    Perkins: Paths, how would he get from one place to another walking in his garden? Well, there was just a space left between wide enough to walk on.

    Perkins: In between the gardens?

    Yetter: In between the gardens.

    Perkins: So he wouldn't have another path that would go up in the middle of the garden, he would just walk along the edge and then go through.... Well, they would have a path on each side of every— one's garden, you see.

    Perkins: And then he would just walk down the rows if he wanted to get anywhere?

    Yetter: Yes, just down the rows.
  • Her grandmother making jelly; her grandfather planting method; dangers of starting a fire and the threat of "Big Kate" exploding; picking and preparing vegetables; grandmother doing all of the chores; playing outside as a child
    Keywords: "Big Kate"; childhood; chores; Granogue; Guyencourt; jelly making; planting in rows; playing outside; Wilmington, Delaware; Winterthur
    Transcript: Perkins: Do you remember how your grandmother would make jelly?

    Yetter: Well I guess I didn't watch her too much, I've made jelly myself, so I suppose I made it like my Grandmother did. We made it with sugar, we didn't have pectin in those days.

    Perkins: How did you get the juice out of the fruit?

    Yetter: Well you boiled it and put it through a colander first, then you dripped it though a rag, piece of cloth.

    Perkins: Where did you get the rag from?

    Yetter: Well, any kind, we didn't have a regular straining cloth, we'd take a piece of cheesecloth mostly, cheesecloth, and then hang them, put it in there and let it hang overnight, then the next morning the juice would be all down in the pan below and then you could measure cup for cup, cup of juice, and a cup of sugar, and boiling - you stood there and kept skimming it, taking all that foam off the top until it got— well you dipped in your spoon and went this way and if it hung to your spoon, you knew it was done.

    Perkins: When it was getting thick.

    Yetter: You didn't have thermometers. And if it would hang there, you'd think, well it's gonna jell now, and that's the way you did it.

    Perkins: Where would you hang that bag of fruit?

    Yetter: Well, you could hang it in the doorway or someplace wherever you could get it big enough to hang, or hand it to the light or something in the ceiling, if there was a nail in the ceiling, then put a big pan under it to catch the drip.

    Perkins: So you would hit a nail in someplace and then hang the bag onto that?

    Yetter: Yeah, u— huh-u— huh.

    Perkins: Okay. Do you remember your grandfather having any, I don't know, any superstitions about planting by the moon or anything like that, would he watch the moon?

    Yetter: Well I've heard them say something about it, but I don't think he was superstitious.

    Perkins: Do you remember which way the rows faced in his garden, would they face across the side of the hill or up and down the hill?

    Yetter: Well of course up in the gardens it was pretty flat up there, so I don't know.

    Perkins: It sounds like some people had what they called cold frames to start seeds earlier in the year, do you remember anyone having one?

    Yetter: No, no.

    Perkins: Do you remember people having compost pile where they would throw...

    Yetter: No, they would just throw the things outdoors all year around and they didn't bother saving those things.

    Perkins: What would happen to that, would it rot or would the chickens eat it? Well, the chickens would eat it or it would rot and just go back into the ground.

    Perkins: What did your grandfather do with all the old vines from the plants in his garden?

    Yetter: Well if he had vines or something like that, he would get them altogether and on a day when there was no wind, then he would burn them. But you see when you lived up the creek, you were very careful about burning, because you were always afraid a spark would get over into the powder mill, and that was one thing that we were taught when we were little, never to build fires and never start anything where there would be a blaze. Because they used to tell us if Big Kate ever went off, it would level Wilmington. Now Big Kate, I don't know what they call it today, but it was one of the last mills toward Hagley Museum. I think it probably was the finished powder, maybe when it was getting ready to be shipped out when the trains came in. The trains came in and they loaded on there. But we called it Big Kate.

    Perkins: Why did you call it Big Kate?

    Yetter: I don't know what the name of it was [laughs].

    Perkins: So where would your grandfather burn, just to be careful, where would he burn?

    Yetter: Oh just at the side of our yard someplace this side of the hill.

    Perkins: Did he ever burn things inside the garden, like rake a pile together and burn it on the garden plot?

    Yetter: No, I don't think he would have too much up around there, just some old tomato vines or something.

    Perkins: Did he ever plant flowers in his garden — I know you mentioned putting lettuce around the house with radishes?

    Yetter: No, no.

    Perkins: Okay. Do you remember anyone buying commercial fertilizers from Wilmington rather than using manure?

    Yetter: No, I guess I didn't take any interest when I was a little child, what they were doing there.

    Perkins: Who helped your grandfather in his garden, did he do it all himself?

    Yetter: He mostly done it himself.

    Perkins: Did your grandmother ever help him with that?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: Who had the job of like snapping beans and taking the peas out of the pod?

    Yetter: Well, my Grandmother would have that to do.

    Perkins: Okay. So who would pick the vegetables?

    Yetter: Well, there she may have gone up and picked the vegetables, something like that if she wanted for dinner, she would go up and pick or some one of the family would go up and pick them and bring then down.

    Perkins: How come she didn't make you do that?

    Yetter: She didn't make me do anything [laughs]. Maybe that's why I had such a good Grandmother, I had a wonderful Grandmother.

    Perkins: I wish I had a good grandmother, because we have to do that at home.

    Yetter: I didn't have to make beds. In fact when I got married, I didn't know how to make a bed.

    Perkins: Really?

    Yetter: The first morning, I got up to make the bed and I thought, Oh wide end of the sheet go to the top or the bottom, and I thought my husband wouldn't know so I didn't want to act dumb, so I don't know how I put it down, but I made the bed, but I wasn't sure whether the broad hem went to the top of the bed or not.

    Perkins: Why do you think your grandmother didn't ask you to help her?

    Yetter: Well, I had an aunt at home with us most of the time and she helped with the work, you see, and I guess that's why I didn't have to do dishes.

    Perkins: So what did you do, were you playing mostly?

    Yetter: I played - and I was an outdoor girl — I wasn't a Tomboy, but I was an outdoor girl. I have a sister who was an indoor girl, she read books all the time.

    Perkins: What did you do when you were outdoors?

    Yetter: Well [laughs].

    Perkins: Did you climb trees or anything?

    Yetter: Well I wasn't too good at climbing trees.

    Perkins: Did you take walks around?

    Yetter: Oh, we walked miles and miles. We didn't think a thing of walking from Squirrel Run up around - well Winterthur we called it, Granogue, Guyencourt - we wouldn't think a thing of walking up there on Sunday afternoon.

    Perkins: Did you get in trouble for walking on people's property?

    Yetter: No, they didn't care. We used to go up to Henry du Pont's and gather chestnuts and no one ever chased us. They didn't — I guess they knew, they were just all du Pont people there, and that we weren't there to do any harm, we were there gathering chestnut, I don't know, but we never were chased from any place.
  • Gathering, preparing, and eating nuts; meals; canning fruits
    Keywords: bacon flitch; black walnuts; Canning and preserving; choker pears; Halloween; meals; molasses walnut candy; peach; tomatoes; vegetable soup; walnuts
    Transcript: Perkins: Did you ever gather any other kind of nuts - hickory nuts or anything, walnuts?

    Yetter: Yes, we'd gather walnuts in the neighborhood, there was some walnut trees around there.

    Perkins: Black walnuts?

    Yetter: Black walnuts.

    Perkins: Did you have to shell them?

    Yetter: Yeah.

    Perkins: Did your hands get all yellow?

    Yetter: Oh terrible. And you'd take your shoes, you'd have to take your shoe and rub it on the ground and get the shell off and then you had to pick them up, and then they put — some of the boys put a board across the roof on the shed, then you laid the walnuts up there to dry, until the frost hit them, they weren't good until after the frost got them. So whoever gathered the most walnuts, had the most walnuts to eat that winter.

    Perkins: What would you do with the walnuts?

    Yetter: Well you either ate them just as nuts or made molasses candy with walnuts, always for Halloween. We always made molasses candy with walnuts in it for Halloween.

    Perkins: What was that candy like, what did it look like?

    Yetter: It was hard. You would cook it and when it was hard, then when it was hard and dry, you'd just take something and hit it and break it in chunks.

    Perkins: Like brittle, like peanut brittle?

    Yetter: Yes, only it was thicker, what you made at home was thicker. It was delicious in those days, I don't know how it would taste today [laughs].

    Perkins: Do you have a recipe for that?

    Yetter: No we guessed at it, it was just molasses and sugar and butter, and boiled it until it — maybe you had a cup of cold water and you dropped a couple drops in the water, and then feel it, and if it was lumpy, it was cooked, if it was still soft, it wasn't done enough. So that's how you guessed at it.

    Perkins: You ever remember any of the vegetables you mentioned that the Italians used to grow hot peppers do you remember anyone else growing unusual vegetables?

    Yetter: No, I don't remember any others. But there weren't too many Italians when I was growing up. There was only two or three families, so we didn't know too much about their way of life, other than they ate spaghetti all the time, and we weren't used to spaghetti.

    Perkins: What kinds of meals did you have?

    Yetter: Well, one day a week you had vegetable soup, that's all you had was vegetable soup.

    Perkins: Did you have bread with that?

    Yetter: Oh yes, bread and butter and tea. We didn't have dessert, only on the weekends, Sunday we had dessert. Unless there was something, like strawberries in season. Another day we had ham and cabbage, boiled potatoes. Another day we used stew. The butcher came twice a week and you got fresh meat from the butcher, Wednesday and Saturday, so you got a roast for Sunday and then you had the leftovers Monday, and if you didn't, then Tuesday you had something else, you see. But I can just remember ham and cabbage, and when my Grandmother had that in summer, it was so hot.

    Perkins: What sorts of things would you eat for lunch?

    Yetter: Well we had the main meal at noon, and then at night you had whatever was left over from lunchtime, or maybe fried potatoes, or something like that.

    Perkins: What did you call that main meal at lunchtime, did you call it lunch or dinner?

    Yetter: No, we called it dinner. And then you called the later - supper. And night was supper. And supper you didn't have as much for supper, you just had whatever was left over.

    Perkins: What would you have for breakfast?

    Yetter: Well, you weren't allowed to go out without breakfast. Bacon - we didn't have bacon, we had flitch, we called it flitch.

    Perkins: What's that?

    Yetter: You would call it side meat today. Side meat today, I think was bacon in those days, and you would buy it in a piece and cut it and you'd fry that and fry an egg for your breakfast. Or have fried scrapple or fried sausage. My Grandmother, she baked twice a week, and if she run out of bread, she made her bread up the night before, and if she didn't have enough for our breakfast, she got up at four o'clock and she made tiny little rolls. She put them in a pie plate, pie pan, and had them ready and baked by the time we came down to go to school, so that we had our bread before we went to school. And you always had molasses on the table.

    Perkins: To put on the bread?

    Yetter: Yes. And when you were hungry, you went and got a piece of bread and molasses.

    Perkins: I've heard of bread and sugar, you put sugar on bread.

    Yetter: We didn't eat so much sugar, but we ate bread and molasses.

    Perkins: Molasses, humph. Did you say you had a potato every meal, like every dinner?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Perkins: Something with the potato?

    Yetter: Always, always potatoes. I think that was the Irish part, I think the Irish always had potatoes.

    Perkins: What did you do with the lettuce, would you eat salads?

    Yetter: Well, my Grandmother used to make — she made a cooked salad dressing with eggs. Or sometimes she made - well now bacon and flitch, she would use the flitch grease and vinegar and sugar. She made that — they called wilted salad, and pour that on the salad and it was wilted. It was real tasty. And then you had that little leaf lettuce, see, you couldn't do much with it so she would have a big bowlful of that and put this hot stuff on which you could eat as a salad. We didn't have individual salads, well maybe Sunday you had coleslaw when you had roast beef and made it.

    Perkins: Did your grandfather dry any of his beans or were they canned?

    Yetter: No, we never had enough to dry. We didn't have a very large plot of ground you know.

    Perkins: Did your grandmother ever can beans?

    Yetter: No.

    Perkins: Okay, so you just would eat them fresh, cooked fresh?

    Yetter: M-huh.

    Perkins: What sorts of things did she can then, you mentioned tomatoes?

    Yetter: Well mostly tomatoes and peaches and sometimes they used to get what they called, called them choker pears. They were like a sickle pear, you know what a sickle pear is?

    Perkins: U— huh.

    Yetter: Well a choker pear used to grow wild up there and they used to can those and you’ d put those up whole with the stem and the butt end and you spiced them with cinnamon. I don't know what else, but there was always stick cinnamon in them. Then when you took them out, you could hold them with the handle and eat it.[Laughs]

    Perkins: Hold onto the stem?

    Yetter: Hold them and use the stem for a handle you know.

    Perkins: So did you have to gather those, the choker pears?

    Yetter: Yes, we could gather those. They would grow on great big trees.

    Perkins: Did you have to climb up into the tree to get them?

    Yetter: Well no, they would fall on the ground.

    Perkins: When they were ripe?
  • Rain barrels and laundry; cakes and pies as Sunday desserts; winter foods; gardens at other worker villages; getting and reading the daily newspaper
    Keywords: Blakeley's grocery; cakes; canned foods; dessert; Evening Journal; Every Evening; Flea Park; Free Park; fruits; Henry Clay (Del. : Village); hucksters; laundry; newspapers; pies; rain barrels; Squirrel Run
    Transcript: Perkins: Do you ever remember people having rain barrels?

    Yetter: Everyone had a rain barrel.

    Perkins: Where was that located?

    Yetter: Well it was right at the end of your porch because you had to fetch the rainwater to have to wash.

    Perkins: Was that rainwater off the roof or was it just...

    Yetter: Yes. And you had a lid on it so that dirt wouldn't get in it. That's what they used to wash the clothes because it was soft and that's what they did for wash water

    Perkins: Would the water come down the gutter into that rain barrel?

    Yetter: Well yes, they had a - well I guess like we do now, a rain spout that it would come down into.

    Perkins: I think I've just about covered all the questions that I have. Do you remember what you used to have for desserts on Sunday?

    Yetter: Pie or cake and peaches.

    Perkins: What kind of pies would you have?

    Yetter: Mostly apple or raisin.

    Perkins: Where would you get the apples?

    Yetter: Well up until late in the fall you could buy apples. Some of them would come on and sell baskets of apples.

    Perkins: Would that be the farmers or would it be the hucksters?

    Yetter: Farmers would come around with that, but the huckster always had apples too.

    Perkins: But not a whole lot?

    Yetter: No, now you'd buy a quarter peck off him, if the farmer came, you bought a basket.

    Perkins: Was the food pretty cheap that you could buy from the hucksters?

    Yetter: Oh yes. I think if I remember, I may not be correct on this, but I think the tomatoes were twenty-five cents a basket. I don't remember...

    Perkins: For a bushel basket?

    Yetter: Well I guess we only had one size basket in those days, I don't think there was two sizes in the market, there was probably only one size.

    Perkins: What about in the wintertime, did your grandparents have to buy a lot of vegetables from the store to make up?

    Yetter: Went into our canned goods, it was all winter and you had canned vegetables - canned tomatoes, corn, peas.

    Perkins: Were they in tins?

    Yetter: Yes, u— huh, u— huh. And dried lima beans.

    Perkins: Where would you buy those?

    Yetter: We always had dried lima beans and then soup beans, they made bean soup.

    Perkins: Would they buy those, or was that from the garden?

    Yetter: No, they would buy those. They never had enough to store, to dry anything.

    Perkins: How would that come, would that come in bags or...

    Yetter: By the pound, by the pound.

    Perkins: Oh, buy it by the pounds. So they did have to buy a lot of vegetables in the winter, just because the ground, you didn't have enough ground?

    Yetter: No, they didn't have enough ground to grow anything.

    Perkins: Do you think if more ground was available, they would have planted it more, or do you think there was a time limitation — they didn't have time to...

    Yetter: Well, everyone didn't have a garden so maybe if du Ponts had — if they had demanded it — maybe du Ponts would have made more gardens. Now the people down the creek, I don't think they had gardens, down around Henry Clay. I don't believe they had any gardens. This is just Squirrel Run I'm speaking of.

    Perkins: Yeah.

    Yetter: And then the people up in Free Park, Flea Park they called it in those days, they all had a backyard, a great big backyard where they planted their vegetables. But only enough for a season, they never had enough to can. So that's about — the boys went shooting for squirrels and rabbits in the season.

    Perkins: Did they ever get deer, any deer?

    Yetter: No, there was no deers up there.

    Perkins: What about in the wintertime, would the butcher still come around in the wintertime?

    Yetter: Yes, they came with the wagon, and he had a scales and his block on the back and he'd open the back of the wagon and you'd go out with your dish pan. He didn't wrap anything, he just slapped it in your dish pan [laughs]. Whatever you bought off of him was it.

    Perkins: Would the hucksters come around in the wintertime?

    Yetter: Not so much, no, it was mostly summer when they came.

    Perkins: So would you have to go to the store, into town?

    Yetter: Well that's when you used your canned vegetables all winter, when you'd go from the grocery store.

    Perkins: Was the grocery store you're talking about in town, or were these the local stores?

    Yetter: No there was a grocery right in Squirrel Run, we had a grocery store.

    Perkins: What was the name of that store?

    Yetter: Well this — Bob Blakeley's when I was little, growing up.

    Perkins: Blakeley's — do you remember - did people get newspapers?

    Yetter: Yeah.

    Perkins: Would they have to go to the store to pick up a newspaper?

    Yetter: No, people served them. A woman, Mrs. Walker, who was a widow woman, her husband had been killed in the powder, she had five children, and her children served the papers around.

    Perkins: Do you remember what paper that was that she would serve?

    Yetter: Well years ago it was Every Evening and Evening Journal, or something, I forget what they were.

    Perkins: Did everybody get a paper?

    Yetter: No, I don't suppose they would.

    Perkins: Do you think most people got papers?

    Yetter: But I think they were only a penny or two at the time. We always had a paper, I don't know whether everyone got one or not.

    Perkins: Who read the paper in the family?

    Yetter: Well I guess we all took turns [laughs]. Whoever got it first.

    Perkins: Okay, well that's about all the questions that I have for you today. I don't want to wear out my welcome here and make you too tired.

    Yetter: Oh, that's alright. My daughter came up from Dover today. [The tape is turned off and then different voices come on and talk about First and Central Church and family members. Interviewer's voice is also different.]