Interview with Blanche MacAdoo Yetter, 1985 February 19 [audio](part 1)

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  • Visit to Hagley Museum and Library; fire at the Swamp Lily Club
    Keywords: Alexis I. du Pont School; Bob Blakeley; Diamond Bridge; Du Pont, S. Hallock (Samuel Hallock), 1901-1974; Faith Betty Lattamous; Florence MacAdoo; Grace Toy Ferguson; Hagley Museum and Library; Kennett Square, Pennsylvania; Leto Family; Martina Lawless; Squirrel Run; Swamp Lily Club; Swamp Lily Room
    Transcript: Wagner: This is Blanche MacAdoo Yetter, 129 Commonwealth Boulevard, Claymont, and this is our third time together.

    Yetter: Yes it is.

    Wagner: Tell me this again.

    Yetter: Well, I thought everything was nicely arranged and the tables were lovely and everything was so nice. But I was so disappointed in Squirrel Run when they took us up there. Of course all the houses are gone and weed had overgrown everything. The only thing I could recognize was Diamond Bridge, and that's where the bus turned around to go back. Right. Then I was disappointed that there weren't more people that I would call "up the creekers". Now, I thought when I went there, I doubt if I'll know many people, but I thought, well, I'll know Grace Toy, and she would be Grace Toy Ferguson. When we got in the bus, somebody said about Grace Ferguson, and she was opposite us, and Billy was on the center aisle, my son. And Grace had a colored woman with her, a nurse. And I looked over at her and I said, that couldn't be Grace, she was a tall, thin, slim girl, and this was a heavy— set woman. I said to Billy, "Well, I'm sure I would know Grace Toy, lean over there and tell them." She tapped the colored woman on the arm and said this is my mother over here and she said she knew Grace Toy when they went to Alexis I. du Pont School. And you tell her that this is Blanche MacAdoo over here. And Grace said, well that name sounds sort of familiar. And I said, well tell Grace that she was in high school with my sister, in Alexis I du Pont High School in the class, when my sister was in high school, Florence MacAdoo. Oh, yes, she said, you were Florence's little sister. [Laughter] Well, there was three years and a half difference in our ages, so that's what Grace said. And then when we were inside at the table, they started to call the names and there were very few names sounded familiar to me.

    Wagner: What about Martina Lawless, was that name familiar to you at all?

    Yetter: Well, yes, but I wouldn't have known her if she was there, I wouldn't have known her. 'Course she was up in St. Joseph's and we didn't see so much of her, but I knew who she was. 'Course I knew the people from Kennett Square, Letos, I knew the Letos and I talked to them. And I did speak to Edmund [Dubenny?] as I went out, but he was having trouble talking or something, I don't know whether he knew what I said to him, so I didn't tarry, because he just wasn't thinking right or something, you know. So I just kept on going, but I recognized him, I would have recognized him anyhow. And then they read all of these names out. But most of those people, I think, came up Squirrel Run in the First World War.

    Wagner: What about Faith Betty Lattamous, did you know her at all?

    Yetter: Well, I would have known her when she was a child, but I've lost track of her and I wouldn't have known her even when they called the name, I didn't recognize the name then. So there were very few people there that I recognized. So I was disappointed, and Squirrel Run only had about two Italian families in Squirrel Run when I was growing up. And most of those names were Italian names. But, of course, that would have been the next generation.

    Wagner: That's right.

    Yetter: That wouldn't have been what we called the old timers, you know, in the early 1900's.

    Wagner: So, you did recognize, that was my first thing, Diamond Bridge? When you told me before, Diamond Bridge did not have any side rails on it, but it does now, did you notice it had side rails.

    Yetter: I thought maybe they had put some side rails in, but it didn't when I was there.

    Wagner: I've been up in Squirrel Run, one foot bridge remains, the other one has fallen in. They didn't take you out — I was trying to think what time of year I was in Squirrel Run, it was...the leaves were not on the trees, so it maybe was early November, I was there.

    Yetter: Or September...

    Wagner: The party, the gathering, was in September, right, but I was up in Squirrel Run later than that.

    Yetter: Oh, were you. You could see more.

    Wagner: Could see - when the leaves were off the trees you could see more.

    Yetter: The foot bridge was way up in Squirrel Run - that had been a tree and they just leveled it off to make a walk like, and they had side rails on that, but that was only a foot bridge. And then, of course, there was a better bridge...

    Wagner: One down stream.

    Yetter: Better built bridge — the carpenters built a bridge, when they put the steps up to go to Christ Church, and that was up along the fence, the Hagley fence. That was wide, I mean maybe four foot wide or something, you know. You could have gone across with a cart or something like that you know. Wouldn't have been big enough for a horse and wagon to go across, but it was wide, probably about four foot wide.

    Wagner: Right. And all that's left up there are foundations of the houses. Just foundations, everything else is gone. Do you recall a big house up at the, I guess it's the north end of Squirrel Run? There's a stone house that still remains.

    Yetter: Yes, Hallock du Pont kept that for some of his trophies or something, yes. That was in the gardens, that's what we called it — where everybody had a plot.

    Wagner: Have you ever heard of anything called the Swamp Lily Club?

    Yetter: Yes. ...the night it burnt down.

    Wagner: Oh, what can you tell me about it?

    Yetter: I saw the man that burnt it. [laughter] You know, there were three barns that burnt that night. I was very young then, hadn't been in Squirrel Run very long. And the row of houses we were in, we had moved in like in March, and ,it seems like those barns were burnt...that would have been, I was probably six, I don't know, maybe six. But when they said that the DuPont barns were on fire, all the men, and most of the people, run up to see the DuPont barn that was burning. And after they got up there, then some of them came home and, well, they wouldn't take me because I was small, so Mrs. Donohue who lived next door, and she was out front and my grandmother said would you keep Blanche until we come back, she's too little to take up there. So she and I were out front and this man come down on the hill, he was tall, I can picture him today, tall, thin and wore a cap and some sort of a short jacket, and we were the center house and we had a barn, well a little house that you put your things in like storage, in front - right across the street in front of us that was a deep place down into the Run. And he went right down that deep place where we would have never gone down there yourself, we crossed the Run many a time, but we would go further down where it was gradually sloped, but that was quite a deep slope, and that's where he went down. And Mrs. Donohue said to him, “ What barn's burning?” And he didn't make any answer — he just kept going. And then the people came back to go to bed - it must have been evening, I don't know, and the next thing we were all in in the house when I heard some woman hollerin' "The Swamp Lily Room's on fire." And that was a barn in Squirrel Run. And the Swamp Lily Room was — a butcher kept his horse and wagons and things on the first floor. And you see, every- thing was like on a bank in Squirrel Run, you know. And she was hollerin' "The Swamp Lily Room's on Fire." So everybody out again. I guess I was still kept in the house. Everyone went up to that and then the next thing right in front of us, across the Run, was Bob Blakeley's stable, right in the center of Squirrel Run there. And the next thing, that was in flames. So I figure, the man that set the du Pont barn on fire, came down and set the Swamp Lily on fire and then come down and crossed the Run right to Bob Blakeley's and then disappeared. But you know, those people were caught.

    Wagner: They were caught.

    Yetter: Yes. there were...

    Wagner: They weren't neighbors doing anything...

    Yetter: No, but they were somebody who had been fired, and they were mad at du Ponts. Of course, du Ponts owned all the barns. There was two brothers and a sister in it, and I think the brothers were sent to...out to the workhouse, I mean I think they told me, but I guess I wasn't reading the paper in those days, I was too young, but my mother told me that they were put in jail. And I'm sure it was that man that had just come across there and he didn't make Mrs. Donohue any answer when she said, "What is on fire up there, we could see the sky lit up?" It was a dark night. He just never...he was just going as fast as he could, runnin' like. And to go down the steep hill, it was almost like this, where he went down. So he wasn't too familiar with the banks there along Squirrel Run.

    Wagner: Or else he was in a terrible hurry.

    Yetter: He was in a hurry or he would have answered her. But isn't it funny how something just gets in the back of a child's mind when they are small.

    Wagner: Oh, stays right with them.

    Yetter: That's just as plain to me, that man, I think if he crossed down there today I would recognize him.
  • Origin of the Swamp Lily Club name; balls held at the Swamp Lily Club; going to Sunday School
    Keywords: Alfred I du Pont's band; balls; Breck's Lane; Breck's Mill; dances; Henry Clay; music; parties; Squirrel Run; Sunday School; Swamp Lily Club; Tancopanican Band; twelve trees
    Transcript: Wagner: Why did they call it the Swamp Lily Club?

    Yetter: Oh, I don't know.

    Wagner: You were way up the hill...

    Yetter: I started to tell you, well it was almost, it was almost the center, it was right up from Diamond Bridge, just right up - not a hundred, two hundred yards up from Diamond Bridge. I don't know, maybe it was swampy at the time they built it, I don't know. But, I started to tell you the butcher had his horses and wagons in the first floor, and the second floor was the ballroom like, of that day. They didn't have Breck's Mill at that time, I guess, because that's where all the dances were held. Because my mother, my grandmother told me about my mother and father led the ball one time - they would pick a couple. And they led the ball one time, and an aunt of mine came with roses, must have been June, and they sewed little sprigs of roses all over her dress.

    Wagner: Pretty.

    Yetter: And that was her gown - maybe it was just a dress she had and they put the roses on to decorate it. You didn't go out and buy an evening gown in those days, you know. And my mother and father led the ball that year. But that's where they had any big dances, at the Swamp Lily Room.

    Wagner: Well, now, this ball was a very special occasion, it was held every year?

    Yetter: Just once a year, yes. And it was just neighborhood, you see, everyone from up around Henry Clay, up around the creek, as they called it.

    Wagner: Did you get special invitations or just set a date and had the ball?

    Yetter: I don't know, because you see, the barn's burnt down and I didn't get to anything following up on the Swamp Lily Room. But my father's sister was one of the best dancers up there, she was considered one of the best dancers and she won prizes for dancing there. So evidently they gave prizes that night. I don't know whether they had a dinner or just the dance, probably dancing. Lemonade and cake...

    Wagner: What kind of music...lemonade and cake? That's alright.

    Yetter: That is usually what all the parties had in those days, lemonade and cake. What kind of musicians, who played?

    Yetter: Well just neighborhood, they would pick up somebody who played a violin and things like that.

    Wagner: Do you know the names of any of the songs?

    Yetter: No.

    Wagner: Don't recall hearing any of the songs?

    Yetter: I wouldn't have heard any of those. But no doubt, Mr. Jones, who was down by the Long Row, well he lived in one of the first du Pont houses there now - that's where he lived, and he was a violinist. I imagine he played for a lot of them, and just men that played. They would get together, in fact, Mr. Alfred I. kind of had a band one time up on his lawn, when he lived on Breck's Lane.

    Wagner: Yes, but I understand that was quite large and a lot of the workers performed.

    Yetter: Oh yes, that was a big affair that he had, but he wouldn't have been to any of these other dances. But I think that some of the men in that group, because I think my father played the cymbals in Alfred I.'s band, so... on.

    Wagner: I would think that Mr. Alfred I. would be the kind that would just drop in on some of those dances. Did he never...

    Yetter: Oh, he was out on the lawn when th practiced up there, and we would all go up on Breck's Lane and hang...we didn't go in on his lawn. You just wouldn't have trespassed on du Pont's property at that time if you were just a working person. But we would all go up there and listen to the band, that's why, I guess, he had it outside. I mean he was generous in a way, he would give where the most people benefited by his money I think. And I think that's why he built that Alfred I. Institute and left the money there, because his money would do more good.

    Wagner: For more people.

    Yetter: To more people, yes.

    Wagner: What else...I didn't realize that Squirrel Run was so close to the Sunday School until I had, or what they call the Sunday School, until I had been up there when no leaves were on the trees.

    Yetter: Well, you had to walk up the hill and across the field, and there was a bunch of trees that they called...the twelve trees. If we were going to meet someone, we would say, well, we'll meet you up at the twelve trees or something. It was sort of a little bunch of trees in the center of the field that they hadn't cut down, I don't know why they had never cut those down. Because, of course DuPont's didn't believe in cutting a tree down. They never cut a tree down. If it was dead, you were allowed to take the wood and cut it up and take it home. But you weren't allowed to cut a live tree down, and no one ever attempted to cut it because that was the law there.

    Wagner: That was the rule.
  • Using the trolley to get around the Wilmington area; market on King Street; Breck's Mill as a spot for entertainment
    Keywords: 17th Street Wilmington, Delaware; 19th Street, Wilmington Delaware; Breck's Mill; Delaware Avenue, Wilmington Delaware; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Irenee), 1864-1935; electric trolleys; horse-drawn trolleys; Market on King Street, Wilmington Delaware; Pennsylvania Avenue, Wilmington Delaware; Peoples Railway Company (Wilmington, Del.); Rising Sun Line; Street-railroads; Westover Hills, Wilmington Delaware
    Transcript: Wagner: Trolleys, you've read in the newspaper they are going to put trolleys back downtown, did you see that?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Wagner: When you came out from Wilmington to go to Squirrel Run, where did you catch the trolley?

    Yetter: Up on Rising Sun Hill, which would be 19th Street I suppose it would be. Nineteenth Street run out...

    Wagner: Rising Sun Hill - all right, you walked from Squirrel Run up to 19th Street up to Rising Sun Lane.

    Yetter: But that wasn't the trolley that you see in the picture. The one you see in the picture was before, when they used the horse.

    Wagner: The horse— drawn trolley, right.

    Yetter: But you see, in my days, they were electric.

    Wagner: The electric trolley. Now, the electric trolleys did not come down into Henry Clay and into the village, they just rode along Pennsylvania Avenue, is that right?

    Wagner: They came out 17th Street and down a block, down two blocks it would have been, to 19th and they set there for a while. And that's where everybody knew what time to go, maybe it was every hour or something, I don't remember that part. And then they would go in 19th Street, past Mt. Salem Church, and then I don't know whether it turned and went out onto Delaware Avenue there, made a little turn down there some place, down in the Highlands, and went on into town. The Rising Sun car, you see, was a different line, it was the People's Railway that built the Rising Sun Line.

    Wagner: Okay. Was this part of the railway that went down under the avenue and the little train station over there at what's Westover Hills now?

    Yetter: No. The trolley didn't go out that far until later years. No, I think it came out 17th Street, straight out 17th to Rising Sun Lane.

    Wagner: Then you always walked from Squirrel Run over to Rising Sun Lane?

    Yetter: Rising Sun to get the car

    Wagner: There was no transportation as such.

    Yetter: No.

    Wagner: No taxi cabs?

    Yetter: The women went to market Wednesdays and Saturdays, brought the heavy baskets and sometimes we kids had to meet them. They would help carry the baskets home.

    Wagner: Now this was the market down on King Street?

    Yetter: Down on King Street.

    Wagner: The peddlers didn't come out? You didn't have any peddlers come out to the village?

    Yetter: No. In the spring of the year fish men came out and that was all, but I don't remember of anybody ever come with fresh vegetables or anything. Not when I was little. And the stores didn't handle fresh vegetables.

    Wagner: What about in the wintertime, where would the women market? Would they go in town on Wednesdays and Saturdays?

    Yetter: Well, they would still go in town. You see, most of them canned things, that's where the people canned tomatoes and anything they could get a hold of all summer, they just canned, and then they had this stuff to depend on in wintertime. And otherwise you could buy canned peas and corn or something like that in the grocery store. Not a large variety of anything, but peas and corn I know, 'cause I know our Christmas dinner always had peas and corn [laughter] and mashed potatoes. We didn't have sweet potatoes for Christmas then like we do now.

    Wagner: Right. Now you said Breck's Mill was not a gathering place in your day? What was it?

    Yetter: No. Well, I don't know what originally it was - it must have been built for a mill at sometime, I don't know, I don't remember anything about that.

    Wagner: It was built for a mill.

    Yetter: But they had the flood water gates there, which they would flood the little race to run the mill, so I don't know what was there before that. The only thing I could remember hey said my father and Mr. Alfred I. were working down in the basement there. And Mr. Alfred, he was a smart man, and he was experimenting, something with the black powder. And they had something in front of them and blew up and burnt my father's face and burnt his beard off and my mother said he never had to shave. There would be a little bit of hair come back...

    Wagner: That was the scar...

    Yetter: It struck him right where he would have a beard and mustache. He never had to shave, she said, back toward his ears. There would be hair that he would shave a little bit.

    Wagner: Sideburns [laughter]

    Yetter: Now they'd be good and long. He'd be in style.

    Wagner: That's right. Breck's Mill became a gathering place later, that must have been past your time. Maybe during the war or something, I don't know. Now there may have been some entertainment upstairs because I've heard my sister say something about my mother taking her to an entertainment, but I never was to that entertainment — I never was there. So, it might have been when I was too small to take. Someone must have put on some sort of a show or entertainment.
  • Sewing for fun and work; lemons and lemonade; hanging Christmas stockings; Christmas trees; cats and dogs
    Keywords: cats; cedar trees; Christmas stocking; Christmas trees; dogs; embroidery; lemonade; Lippencott's department store; mice; sewing; Twaddell family
    Transcript: Wagner: Okay. Now you sewed.

    Yetter: Yes.

    Wagner: Did you ever do any needlework for fun? You were too busy working. [Laughter]

    Yetter: Well, I went to work very young you see, but I did go up to St. Joseph's on Saturday morning and take embroidery lessons when I was maybe 12 or 13. Costs us five cents to go and there were two Sisters there, Sister Sproutus and Sister Cadoulphus. They were very sweet. And we were there for an hour and they taught us to do embroidery work. But they would go into Lippencott's and buy the things, stamped, centerpieces and things, and I think I still have the centerpiece, it's pretty well worn, but I think I still have it some place. And bring it out, and we would pay them for it, but it was only five cents that they charged us to come to the sewing class. That's where I started to sew.

    Wagner: And they taught you the different stitches?

    Yetter: Yes, because I remember her telling me, now this is a catch stitch, and when you go home your mother will probably ask you when do you get the dog stitch. She was joking, you know, and I could always remember her saying that to me.

    Wagner: You remember French knots and other stitches that you had to be taught all of that?

    Yetter: Yes, she taught us all of that.

    Wagner: And Russian couching and

    Yetter: Well, she didn't go into anything that deep, I think at that time. Just your basics. Basic training is what she gave us. Then they would mount things on a big pink cardboard or something and have an exhibition. And you would invite your parents to come and... Well, it was just open to the public then.

    Wagner: Back to the dance at the Swamp Lily - you said they would have refreshments like cookies and lemonade, wasn't lemonade...

    Yetter: Lemonade - they squeezed their lemons, you didn't have...

    Wagner: Lemons were easy to get?

    Yetter: Yes. They were inexpensive at that time, so somebody .l would just - well, of course, at Beacom's House any time they had a party there, Miss Beacom just squeezed a couple dozen lemons and made a sponge cake and that was always refreshments at her house.

    Wagner: Sounds right good to me. I thought lemons were rather - I thought citrus fruit was rather exotic. But I guess they - did they - it wasn't grown in the area, it had to be purchased?

    Yetter: Oh no, it had to come from Florida or California, even in those days, you know. But lemons were about the only thing, well 'course in winter we would get some oranges, we didn't have oranges every day like we have today. Because you always had one in our stocking and that was a treat - an apple and an orange and popcorn in your stocking at Christmas. We hung two stocking up.

    Wagner: Two?

    Yetter: Yeah, so we go that one, there was a little five cent horn in the top of it, and if there was any special little thing it would be in there and the other stocking had some coal and wood in it because if you'd been bad, that's what you got. [laughter] And I always got some wood in one stocking and something nice in the other.

    Wagner: But no big thing at the Christmas tree and lots of packages?

    Yetter: No. We had cedar trees. We went cut them, when the bunch would go up before Christmas and cut your bothered us. up to Mt. Lebanon and up on a Saturday morn- own tree.

    Wagner: There were plenty of trees?

    Yetter: There were plenty of cedar trees, see cedar trees spread, the roots spread and I don't know whether Twaddell's owned the place at the time, but nobody every chased us. And everybody would go up and bring down a tree and we'd bring a tree ten foot tall. And it was so heavy two of them had to carry it and when you got home you were all in and it was too tall for your ceiling and you had to out half of it away. We didn't know to stand up and get a tree a certain height, so we just picked up a nice, big tree and carried it home.

    Wagner: And you had enough help to carry it home?

    Yetter: Well, there was always two or three to carry the trees. And the boys and girls would always go together, there would be a bunch of us go. That's nice. I know it was a day's outing. That's right. We had no money to spend so you had to make your- it was fun.

    Wagner: Now you'd get arrested for vandalizing wouldn't you? You certainly would, yes. Did you have — the houses

    Wagner: Did you have any I wanted to ask you about mice. The houses were open, you were out in the woods. trouble with mice? Rodents.

    Yetter: Well, I don't know - everyone had a cat, so I guess the cats kept the mice out. Okay, that would take care of it. Everyone kept a cat at that time, and most people had a dog, but the dog was kept outside, it was never in the house. There was a dog box, but the dog slept out in it and it wasn't in the house. Unless the boy would sneak it in, you know, and then get put out.
  • Changes in weather; Irish stew recipe; homemade wine and beer; sauerkraut with the Hackendorn family; storing preserved foods; the families of Squirrel Run
    Keywords: basements; Cheney family; coal; dandelion wine; Free Park; Gaino family; Hackendorn family; Irish stew; Krauss family; lamb; meat; mutton; Potts family; recipes; restaurant; sauerkraut; screen doors; snow; Squirrel Run; summer; window screens; winter
    Transcript: Wagner: This last, this winter we had that one bitter cold Sunday. All right, I'm going round about way to get this. Were winter's colder when...

    Yetter: That reminded me of the winters we had.

    Wagner: That's the way it was?

    Yetter: And those heavy snows — and they would blow and drift and we would try to go out and get in the largest drifts there was, just to play in it. We didn't know to stay out of the drifts — we walked into them.

    Wagner: But then you got all wet and you had to go in and hang your clothes up.

    Yetter: Hang your clothes around the stove - some place back of the stove to dry — get your dry clothes on again. But that was a cold day. It was a cold winter.

    Wagner: How about insects in the summer - you didn't have screens in your windows, or did you?

    Yetter: Oh, yes, we had screens, but they were sliding screens you put in, just half screens. They didn't have them measured or made for the windows in those days, we just had sliding screens. And we had screen doors, and we had fly paper inside.

    Wagner: And the mosquitoes didn't bother you when you sat out after supper?

    Yetter: Well, after dark I guess they would, 'cause they always liked me [laughs] they would eat me.

    Wagner: Eat you alive and then you'd run inside. Now, they didn't have snow removal. No. Each person did his own?

    Yetter: Each family got out with a shovel and made paths.

    Wagner: You didn't have to worry about getting the car started?

    Yetter: We had no cars. You see, and there were very few horses and wagon came up, and if it was a snowstorm nobody would get through with a wagon unless you were out of coal, they would try to get up to you. But most of the people laid their coal in ahead of time, and of course a ton of coal lasted a good many weeks. If they couldn't lay it in the fall, which they never, at least my grandmother never had enough money to lay it in ahead and she would just buy a ton at a time. They always brought it when she - there was only one telephone at the store - grocery store, and they'd call in and say that Mrs. Billingsley needed coal, could they get a ton up to her. And they would get it up to her in a day or two.

    Wagner: And if not, the neighbors would take care of you?

    Yetter: Well, the men would go out and chop wood and use more wood than coal to heat the house up. And you only had one stove going. And of course, if you had two rooms, like a living room and kitchen - they usually had a parlor stove they called it, a parlor in those days, they would maybe start that late in the afternoon if the family was going to be home that night to sit around, but otherwise it didn't burn all the time, in the parlor.

    Wagner: Just the kitchen, you kept the kitchen going?

    Yetter: Just the kitchen - no heat upstairs at all [laughter]

    Wagner: That makes you get up and get dressed in a hurry.

    Yetter: You got dressed in a hurry all right.

    Wagner: Now, I believe the Museum people called you about the fi g Irish stew recipe, is that right?

    Yetter: Yes, they did.

    Wagner: And what did you tell them?

    Yetter: I said, well you know that real Irish stew isn't made with beef. She said what's it made with? I said, with lamb. I said we used lamb in our country, but it's mutton that they use in Ireland and England, because they could raise their own sheep, you see. And the sheep would just graze on the hill and they wouldn't feed them all the summer, see, they wouldn't have to feed them very much and I guess people could afford to raise a couple of sheep. They couldn't afford, everyone couldn't afford a cow in Ireland, so that's why they used the mutton or lamb for making the stew. And I, of course, no doubt you thought it was beef that you made an Irish stew.

    Wagner: Right. That's the only Irish stew that I know.

    Yetter: That's beef stew. Well, really, I didn't know until I had a restaurant. See, I had a restaurant for 45 years and I had different chefs and they all told me that it was made with lamb, so they knew because they had been trained for so many years ahead of me. So they knew what they were talking about.

    Wagner: Well, you know, up at the Gibbons House now on certain days we make Irish stew with lamb. Well, that's what she told me when she called me.

    Yetter: Did she?

    Wagner: Yes, we make it now and it turned out real well.

    Yetter: So she said, what did you put in it. I said, well they didn't have much to put in other than onion and potatoes and if they had carrots. Because, you see, you could raise carrots and they would keep a long while in winter because they would have a cold place to keep them where they wouldn't freeze, I guess. But that would be all, I said, course if we were doing it now, we throw a little parsley or something in to add to it, but I'm sure they didn't have green parsley all the year round.

    Wagner: I'd fling in some thyme and some....[laughter]

    Yetter: Well, whatever you... Whatever you had... Flavors you like.

    Wagner: I think we pretty well went over last time the wine and the beer. Did people make homemade wine, that you know of?

    Yetter: Well, some people made dandelion wine when the Italians came around - they made - but the Irish never made wine.

    Wagner: They never bothered with grapes and making wine?

    Yetter: No. No. And the few French families, they made wine.

    Wagner: Do you remember any of the French families?

    Yetter: Yes. Oh, my Hagley book around here - well you know the front picture on the Hagley book. I intend to read this over again. Now this is the Gaino family, and I think someplace I read where it's in Squirrel Run. That picture is Squirrel Run, that's Free Park. And it was the first house from the church which Cheney's lived in later years. But the Hackendorn family lived there in my day, because how I knew, my best girl friend was their granddaughter. She lived - her name was Potts and she lived there, the third house down in Freepark. And these people made their own sauerkraut and every time they had sauerkraut, they knew I loved it, they had me up for dinner. Grandmom and Grandpop Hackendorn, we called them Grandmom and Grandpop. And the grapevine, I remember that grapevine so well, because they had a porch like this, then there was a kitchen on this side, built on. And then they had this one big room here, and I think a little bedroom back there, and then they had a couple bedrooms upstairs. Now, I think the Gaino family was there before the Hackendorns because I think I remember - the only Gaino that I knew was Big Tom, I bet that that would have been that big fellow there. And Big Tom lived in Squirrel Run later years after he got married. He married somebody by the name of Rose. Their name was Gaino, Big Tom we called him, Big Tom Gaino.

    Wagner: Where did they make the sauerkraut — the Hackendorns made the sauerkraut, right? Where did they make it - inside or outside? Where did they keep the kegs with the kraut in it?

    Yetter: Oh, down the cellar, they all had a cellar.

    Wagner: Didn't it stink?

    Yetter: No. [laughs] No, but they would...well now, they had a big garden and they raised a lot of cabbage. And then they grated it - they had a - I can remember it, a board would be twice as long as that book, and a knife across it like, and...

    Wagner: Cabbage slicer.

    Yetter: I can remember seeing them do that. Then they put it in crocks and a layer of salt. I don't know whether it was regular table salt or something a little heavier, maybe, I don't know. Then the cabbage and all. And then at the top they put a clean, white cloth over it and a big, really a board, and then a great big rock to hold it down.

    Wagner: Right — to weight it down.

    Yetter: And they would make that in the fall of the year and then they would have it all winter, see, then when they wanted sauerkraut for dinner, they had to lift their big rock out and take a pan down. I've done this, pulled the sauerkraut out and put it in the pan with this girl that I run around with when her grandmom would send us down the cellar to get it. And it was so cold - was worse than ice water - it was terrible cold.

    Waagners: Well, the cellars just have been good food keepers then, well of course they were below ground.

    Yetter:Well, all of the houses didn't have cellars though, I don't think they built many cellars, but that house had a cellar in it. And I think that's where she made her sauerkraut. And they made wine and they made it down the cellar. They always had grape wine. And she used to make one that I liked and she would always give me some of that — was raspberry vinegar. And it was delicious, but that wasn't an alcoholic, I don't think, drink. Because she'd buy a bucket of raspberries in the market and bring them home and white vinegar and sugar. I don't know what the proportions because I wasn't interested when she'd be making it, I just know that's what she put in it. And then she would put it into quart bottles and if she had company or something she'd give them a little piece of cake or homemade bread and a little glass of raspberry vinegar. But it didn't taste like vinegar because it had the raspberry flavor and the sugar in to sweeten.

    Wagner: But it was a little tart, right? On the tart side?

    Yetter: Well, a little, a little I think it must have been, but I always liked that. But the grape wine, you see, that was ferment. But they always made that. Now that was just the French families done that, I think mostly. I don't think the Italians made wine in those days, I don't remember. Course maybe I wasn't in their house as much as I would have been in the Hackendorn's house.

    Wagner: They didn't seem to have any Germans up there, did they? They had the French and the Italians and the...

    Yetter: Well, these people, wherever they came from, the grand- father and the grandmom, the original Mr., they must have been someplace on the border because they were between Germans and French. And I don't know whether they were more French or more German, but they made the sauerkraut.

    Wagner: They had the sauerkraut and the wine.

    Yetter: So I don't know where they came from. Because you see the Germans would be to the north and I think and the French to the south or something in France. Then of course they lost part of their country — different ones mixed them up, but they were from the old timers, you know.

    Wagner: Did you recognize any of the other pictures, any of the people in the other pictures in the book?

    Yetter: Well the Krauss family, I knew them. Of course I went to - one of the Krauss' was one of my Sunday School teachers in Greenhill. Mabel Krauss, and Dorothy was in our class, and of course the younger girls went to du Pont School, you see. They were all a little bit older, maybe Dorothy wasn't much older than me, but she was the youngest of the family. But I recognized all of them. Well, I wouldn't have known their father because I guess he was dead, but I knew the mother and all of the children. But I didn't think I'd recognize many people even in that.

    Wagner: Why, I think you did pretty well. [laughter]

    Yetter: But I still feel as though this was, this was - course I know they're not going to change this book because I'm telling you...

    Wagner: No, but I think it's a good idea, if you think there's some discrepancy, you should say so.

    Yetter: But the one we called Big Tom, it would be the biggest boy there. Now that would be a big man and he would be a big man. Course you see, they did have big families.

    Wagner: Oh, they seemed to do that.

    Yetter: Yes, I always this would have been, because, that looks - he had red hair like.

    Wagner: Oh, that's how you remember?

    Yetter: It looks like he should have red hair. Now this fellow looks like he had black hair. And that's what I think would have been Tom. And as we said, I didn't know him up there because, you see, the Hackendorns were there in my day. But we moved down into Squirrel Run into the Carpenter block. And he married Rose somebody, because - Rose Gaino we called them. And that would have been Big Tom.
  • Yards and lawns; skirts and dresses; grandmother's daily routine; church and Sunday School; fraudulent musical instrument salesman; popular music
    Keywords: church; dresses; fraud; laundry; lawns; music; petticoats; popular music; skirts; Sunday School; theft
    Transcript: Wagner: Now, you didn't have lawns - I don't hear of anybody having to cut a lawn.

    Yetter: No, nobody had to cut a lawn. Well, one family in, almost close to Diamond Bridge there, how I remember that - there was a grocery store there and then old Uncle Davey we called him, Uncle Davey MacAdoo, lived in the next house, and then Harkins, I guess, lived in the back and they had a white fence. And we used to tease this old Uncle Davey of mine, the children. And I remember my Uncle Davey hollerin, "Harkins, go up to your whitewashed fence and your green lawn." [Laughter] And Danny Harkins was one of the boys. And that's how I know he had a lawn, but I think they were the only ones to have a lawn. I don't suppose they had a lawn mower, probably out it by hand.

    Wagner: You mean scissors? Or clippers?

    Yetter: They just had a small yard.

    Wagner: And they did put a fence around it?

    Yetter: Yes, a whitewashed fence — that's how I remember it, _a whitewashed fence, and the green lawn.

    Wagner: When it thawed out in the spring, did the mud ever keep anybody home? Or did you go anyhow?

    Yetter: Had to wade through it I guess.

    Wagner: Lifted your skirts and marched on your way.

    Yetter: Well, I guess I didn't have long skirts then - the women wore two and three petticoats, you know, and great big full skirts, and they did wear long dresses in those days.

    Wagner: Wasn't laundering a terrible problem, or didn't you care so much...

    Yetter: I don't know when they ever washed those, but I can remember if they were going to go out in the cold weather they would go and put another petticoat on. You know, just half slips, half petticoats - they didn't have slips like we have. And they would just put another petticoat on.

    Wagner: And you can't wash wool.

    Yetter: Well, I suppose they had to wash them someday, I don't remember anything about the washing of them. I don't know.

    Yetter: Wouldn't things get a little gamey?

    Yetter: No, I don't think so. But now my grandmother never seemed to go out and she wore wash dresses all the time, I don't remember her having a wool skirt. She maybe had one black silk dress hanging up in the closet and if she had to go to a funeral or something — she didn't go to church.

    Wagner: She didn't?

    Yetter: No. she was good enough Christian, but she didn't go to church in those days. I guess she had too much work to do staying home, by the time she fed the children break- fast and got the family out, it was time to start the next meal.

    Wagner: Start the lunch.

    Yetter: Taking care of the fire and stove and things. I don't remember her going to church. There weren't too many women went to church in those days, unless they were Catholics and they all went to early Mass, the women did.

    Wagner: I thought it was the women who kept the church going?

    Yetter: Well, they probably turned out to help with suppers and things like that where they made money for it.

    Wagner: But not for Sunday...

    Yetter: Everyone - they all sent their children to Sunday School. They did get the children all off to Sunday School.

    Wagner: Now did the children stay for church service after Sunday School?

    Yetter: No, not too many of them unless the parents were there and they made them stay. But we never, when I was growing up I never stayed for church. We went to Sunday School, and I think Sunday School was nine o'clock. And then we were out by ten and church must have started at ten— thirty in those days, I don't remember.

    Wagner: Did you ever get allowances?

    Yetter: No. You got a quarter on the Fourth of July.

    Wagner: And something in your stocking at Christmas?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Wagner: You did what you were told without expecting payment.

    Yetter: That's right, if someone asked you to go to the store, they'd give you a penny and you thought you were well off, if they gave you a penny.

    Wagner: Well, you were, in essence, weren't you?

    Yetter: At least you had money in your pocket.

    Wager: That's right. Now, you say you didn't take music lessons, you didn't play an instrument?

    Yetter: No. When someone came around and sold a, I don't know what it was, some sort of a mandolin or something, and they paid a dollar down or something, and they were supposed to pay so much a month, and my mother ordered that because she thought we could learn to play it. And it was a fraud, and he sold a lot of them up around Henry Clay and all, and nobody ever heard tell of him after giving him the first dollar down on it. And a dollar was a good bit for my mother because she was working for a living, you know, trying to keep my sister and I, well, my grandmother and grandfather raised us really, but kept my mother working. She went out nursing and she got five dollars a week.

    Wagner: Well that was — well I know she worked hard for that five dollars a week.

    Yetter: She done the washing and ironing and cooking for the people.

    Wagner: But that's the way, when you went into the home.

    Yetter: Yes, the nurse did everything. The nurse did everything, and she got five dollars a week. So you see, I suppose it kept that much to try to keep me in shoes. I wore a lot of shoes out - I run all the time.

    Wagner: Now you said when they put the band together up at the Swamp Lily Club, they used local people.

    Yetter: Local people, yes... They usually had a fiddle player, right, a violinist. How about harmonica, would they have... Oh, yes, a lot of men played the harmonica, because you could buy them in the five and ten cents store, and a lot of men had those. So I don't know, because I was never at one of those dances, but I know that it would be local.

    Wagner: Now, you say when you went up to Beacom's, they always had a piano.

    Yetter: Yes, they were the only ones had a piano. How about guitars, do you recall anybody playing... No, I don't remember much about that. Some of the people had violins I know.

    Wagner: Banjos?

    Yetter: They might have had that, I don't know whether they had banjos. Somebody had a horn once in a while and I suppose they would have been the ones to have been in Mr. Alfred I.'s band, you see.

    Wagner: What about popular songs of the day, do you recall any titles?

    Yetter: No, the first one that I ever remember learning was "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree".

    Wagner: Oh, really.

    Yetter: It was the first song I ever learned. I learned the little hymns in Sunday School.

    Wagner: "Jesus Loves Me".
  • Pickling; children's games; bocce and croquet
    Keywords: bocce; chow chow; croquet; football; jump rope; pickling; Run Sheepie Run; tag
    Transcript: Wagner: Back to - we were talking sauerkraut — people put up pickles?

    Yetter: No.

    Wagner: Not much pickling?

    Yetter: No, I don't think so, you could buy those in the grocery store, because they had barrels of them. Now I mean barrels three foot high or so, not just little stumpy barrels, big, tall barrels. And they must have kept all winter, they just lifted the lid off, and if you wanted one you went and picked it up out of it and took it yourself.

    Wagner: Chow— chow, did the ladies put up chow— chow?

    Yetter: Yes, my grandmother made chow— chow, so did my mother. We used to ask my mother to put plenty of lima beans in it because she made the best chow-chow.

    Wagner: They put, I guess, the usual, corn and the carrots and the lima beans and whatever else was...

    Yetter: And mustard and curry powder I think went in that, I think that was one of the things my mother - celery.

    Wagner: Did they make sweet chow— chow, or did they make it tangy?

    Yetter: They made it tangy, hot and sour like,hot, sour and sweet, like, altogether. It was very tasty.

    Wagner: Something to light up your life [laughter].

    Yetter: Somebody — some man brought me a quart from Lancaster last winter and I still, well, you know a quart jar...

    Wagner: A quart will last a while.

    Yetter: And one person eating it - I still have so much in there but it keeps. I keep it in the refrigerator, but it was very good, but it wasn't as good as my mother made. [laughs]

    Wagner: Now, children's games, we know you played jacks on top of the...and we know that you all went swimming...and swinging, you always had swings...

    Yetter: Yes.

    Wagner: What else did you have, can you think of some other exotic games you had?

    Yetter: Well, the boys would stuff a sugar bag with leaves and have it for a football.

    Wagner: Really?

    Yetter: Yes, they didn't have a bought football. Well, I think occasionally somebody would kill pigs, would have a bladder and blow it up, you know, dry it and blow it up or something, but the boys mostly took a sugar bag, sugar came in five and ten— pound bags in those days, cloth bags, and they would stuff them hard, tie it up.

    Wagner: Tie it up or have somebody sew it up?

    Yetter: Tie it up. Well, I don't know what they had to do. it with leaves, I just remember that. ball with that. They stuffed They played foot—

    Wagner: When you say football, do you mean soccer, or like the football we know?

    Yetter: Well, I don't know that they had any real rules, and I don't think the schools had real games or anything in those days. I think du Pont School started football team maybe when I was growing up, but it didn't get into playing with other teams or anything at that time. It grew later years, when they got more people, I guess, around.

    Wagner: Run, Sheepie, Run.

    Yetter: Yes, we did play Run, Sheepie, Run.

    Wagner: And jump rope?

    Yetter: And jump rope - and you played It, when they called It, they would touch you, you know, and you had to run...

    Wagner: And you were It.

    Yetter: And you had to run, you were It, and had to run and then chase the other one and touch them and they were It.

    Wagner: I used to play It, tag, we called it tag.

    Yetter: We called it - It. And if you were tagged, you were It. You were It.

    Wagner: Now, when the Italians came, they brought things like bocce — did they have bocce courts anyplace?

    Yetter: Well, they built a place up in the woods, they cleared, made a clearing and they laid trees on the side and made it smooth, smoothed it off. And they played bocce, bocce, they called it. "Bucce," they didn't say bocce, they called it bocce. And they would say "A, la, la bocce ball".

    Wagner: You'd go up and watch?

    Yetter: Yes, we would go watch them. And then, the Beacoms had a croquet set, they had more than the rest of us. Their family was usually able to get them things...

    Wagner: How were they so affluent? Well, they were so generous with everybody, that we could go up and say, "May we borrow the croquet set?" And we would go up, then, and would play in the daytime on the bocce ground because it was smooth and we could play there, you see. And then the men would play in the evenings, bocce, in the summertime, or even in winter they played up there if it was dry and cool- clear.

    Wagner: You didn't get fussed at for making holes in the bocce court?

    Yetter:: No. Because, you see, they were only little wires...

    Wagner: And you would smooth them...

    Yetter: No, they were only little wires that you stuck down in the ground - they never complained to us. But the men kept it smoothed off, and that's why we went up because it was a nice place to play. And they must have taken some trees out and made a clearance, like, around and then laid some trees around the side you could sit on those - the ones laying on the ground - you could use for a chair to sit down.

    Wagner: And croquet can get very heated, you know.

    Yetter: Well, I guess we just didn't have too strict rules with ours when we played, you know.

    Wagner: You didn't play out throat croquet? No, no. Didn't play for keeps.

    Yetter: But Beacom's were the only ones had a set of that. And they didn't mind if anyone borrowed it?

    Yetter: No. And Mrs. Beacom would be a person that would go around to a rummage sale and maybe she picked it up at some place like that, I don't know whether it was a brand new set or not. But they were very generous with everyone.

    Wagner: They didn't mind all the kids back and forth and in and out?

    Yetter: No, they could pile in their house anytime.
  • Sewing machines; curriculum at du Pont's school; DuPont workers' village floor plans
    Keywords: floor plans; Free Park; Henry Clay (Del. : Village); school curriculum; sewing; sewing machines; Squirrel Run
    Transcript: Wagner: Sewing machine — when did you — you were a seamstress, when did you get your first mechanical sewing machine?

    Yetter: My mother had a sewing machine, treadle. it was a treadle, foot...

    Wagner: Singer.

    Yetter: Singer sewing machine. And I was maybe ten years old when I had diphtheria, and I took it just before Christmas because I was supposed to be in a play and I couldn't go in and I was sick. And when I came downstairs, my mother taught me how to run the sewing machine. Then I started making dolls clothes on the sewing machine. And then we had that sewing machine until I was 18 years old, and my mother had married again then, and my step— father bought me a new Singer machine. And I think with trading in the old one, Singer machine, this was still a treadle he bought me, I think it costs $75.00 for a Singer sewing machine - with the trade-in.

    Wagner: That's expensive.

    Yetter: Well, he was a good stepfather to buy that for me.

    Wagner: That's right.

    Yetter: I thought it was a wonderful thing and of course then I begin to try to sew things myself before I went to learn dressmaking. And then we had sewing teacher in du Pont School. We did have a music teacher came in once a week - a sewing teacher come in once a week and an art teacher came in once a week. So, of course, I didn't like my music teacher, but I loved the sewing teacher and I loved the art teacher because she thought I'd done such beautiful work and I loved her.

    Wagner: Well, this was quite - the school curriculum was quite well rounded for...

    Yetter: I think it was.

    Wagner: You had the basics and you had a taste of the arts.

    Yetter: Yes.

    Wagner: Was that unusual, or was...

    Yetter: Well, I mean that was a big school in those days that we knew, because the Catholic school wouldn't have had that. They may have taught some little thing, the Sisters, whatever they could, along with — 'course theirs were mostly religion, they got reading, writing and arithmetic and religion - that's what they got there. And a lot of them stayed there until after they were confirmed and then they would come to the du Pont School.

    Wagner: To the public... Sewing machines - where was the sewing machine located - where did your mother keep the sewing machine?

    Yetter: In the kitchen.

    Wagner: Right in the kitchen?

    Yetter: See, we didn't have any rooms. No one had more than two rooms on the first floor. And the kitchen, dining room and living room was all one, and then they had another back room without any heat in it. You had tables back there and you'd eat there in the summertime, you know.

    Wagner: Did they call that the shed, or was that just the back room?

    Yetter: No. That was the back room that was cold because, you see, we were on the side of the hill and then, where my grand- mother was, there was a small place in back of that — couldn't have been three foot wide, I think, where they put their potatoes. And my grandmother kept jars of tomatoes and stuff back there. But that was, it always smelt like watermelons, if you know what I mean. It was a dampness back there, but you see, it was in the side of the hill and that's why it was cold all the time.

    Wagner: Well, they couldn't call it a root cellar, but it was like a root...

    Yetter: Well, I think today they would call it a root cellar I think, because that's where the potatoes would be put.

    Wagner: Now the shed — the back room was not built into the hill, it was just —

    Yetter: Yes.

    Wagner: It was built into the hill?

    Yetter: It was built into the hill and it was concrete.

    Wagner: And it was cool.

    Yetter: And it was cool - the one wall was very cool because it was back against it. But it was large enough to have a table and chairs and one end it would have shelves and things where you could store things. But it didn't have a back door there. Now to begin with, when DuPont's built those houses, they were all double — the double means that there were six rooms, two, four, six — the first floor had two of this big front room and then this back room and one bedroom upstairs — the stairway went up to the front bedroom — that was one family.

    Wagner: Okay.

    Yetter: Then back of that bedroom would have been the kitchen for the other family and that's why they had a road in back of each, they had a road in front of it and a road in back of it, because, you see, there was half of the family lived in the back half and the other half in the front half. So, then the people...

    Wagner: Now that was so for Squirrel Run?

    Yetter: Yes, that was Squirrel Run, now I don't...

    Wagner: And how about Free Park?

    Yetter: No, Free Park were mostly one family, that was built later I think, I don't know when it was built, but it would have been later than Squirrel Run. But Squirrel Run didn't have cellars, because you see, they dug into the side of the hill.

    Wagner: How about down in Henry Clay, were they double houses? Or single?

    Yetter: Well, there could have been, I don't remember them, whether they were double or single. I guess they were mostly single, I don't really know about that. But Squirrel Run were double, and that's where they had the roads - a road in back, because then the people who lived in the back had one room on this back road which was their everything. And then on the third floor they had two bedrooms, you see, so that gave them three rooms to each family. And I suppose as the families grew larger, that's when they must have made them into one house and gave them six rooms. You see, two, four six, two on each floor. I think the families had grown, when they were first married they didn't have children and the first babies slept in the bedroom with the mother and father until they were good size, you know, and then as the families grew, I guess they had to give the people more room. And in one or two places, I think, they built another room on the side or something, in a couple of the places up there. But that's, the houses were - well, sort of apartment style, I guess, maybe that's where they got the apartments from in later years.

    Wagner: Condos like, maybe?

    Yetter: Condominiums, yes, I suppose so. Because my grandmother, 'course had six rooms, you see, because she had two on each floor.
  • Working; animals and hunting; window coverings; lighting and lamps; dangers of walking at night; taking care of the kitchen stove and chimney
    Keywords: chimney; coal; curtains; danger; draperies; lamps; lanterns; muskrats; night; rabbits; shutters; squirrels; stove; wood; work; work schedules
    Transcript: Wagner: Now, your mother worked out of necessity - she had to go to work. You worked all your life — outside the home?

    Yetter: Yes.

    Wagner: You were ahead of you time?

    Yetter: Yes. I suppose so. Well, see I left school when I was fifteen. Because I knew my mother couldn't send me to college, so there wasn't any going ahead then. Of course because I was a good sewer, then I was always interested in art that I could be drawing things all the time. I used to decorate the blackboards and things at school, for the holidays, you know, they would give us so many blackboards. One year I put reindeer and the horses all across - I was in the fifth grade, I think — and they gave me three or four blackboards to do it, so I had the rein— deer and the sleigh and all, I spent a week or more drawing it. Got out of lessons, I guess, I don't know.

    Wagner: That's why you volunteered.

    Yetter: I didn't volunteer, they just asked me to do it - would I do it, and I did it. And whatever holidays came along, we would decorate the blackboards, so I always had a black- board to do. And I loved that.

    Wagner: I just think - they say women's lib - what does that mean to you? You were an early woman's libber, you realize...

    Yetter: I guess so, I guess so.

    Wagner: You worked, you had a family.

    Yetter: Yep. I. You did it all. A. And now they tell me, people work forty hours and get their pension, and they think they've done a lot. I said, I worked sixty hours, or sixty years, not forty years, I meant forty and sixty years. I worked for sixty years.

    Wagner: And seven days a week.

    Yetter: Yes, seven days a week. No wonder my knees are worn out.

    Wagner: That's right - you've paid your dues I think. You said that they had cats, and usually had outside dog - did anyone you know keep rabbits for eating?

    Yetter: No.

    Wagner: No.

    Yetter: The men went gunning in the fall — they all had a shot- gun, most every house had a shotgun and they went gunning, and that's when we had rabbits.

    Wagner: That was a treat.

    Yetter: We had stewed rabbits and fried rabbits, or they would kill squirrels.

    Wagner: Is that any good?

    Yetter: Eat squirrels

    Wagner: Is that alright?

    Yetter: Well, people eat muskrats...

    Wagner: Well, I guess you're right.

    Yetter: I never eat muskrats, but when I was little, I'd eat squirrels.

    Wagner: Okay, same thing [laughter].

    Yetter: But you see in those days you didn't get fresh meat every day.

    Wagner: And you didn't keep chickens, or did you?

    Yetter: Well, some people had chickens...

    Wagner: But that was for eggs?

    Yetter: We never had very many - Granny would set a couple hens or something in - by the time they grew up to fryers, she'd cook them, I guess. She probably needed them for food.

    Wagner: Well, when they get so old, you can only stew them anyhow. Now, you didn't have cows? Did anyone...

    Yetter: Well, maybe here and there, some of them tell me that their mothers had cows at one time, but no one had a cow that I knew of in my...

    Wagner: In your - up Squirrel Run?

    Yetter: In my days - the 1900's.

    Wagner: Now, we talked about funerals last time - you said that the funeral directors handed out clay pipes. Back to window shades - shutters — curtains - you had screens in the summertime.

    Yetter: Yes.

    Wagner: Shutters?

    Yetter: The houses mostly had shutters on them because if it was a bad storm, they would close them and lock them.

    Wagner: Oh, you'd run out and close the shutters?

    Yetter: Well, you could have pulled them in from inside and locked them if it was going to be a very bad storm and terrible windy, they would close them to keep the heat in.

    Wagner: Window shades - just pull— down shades?

    Yetter: Yes, pull-down shades. curtains, but you didn't have curtains, draperies. Well, maybe your parlor had lace fancy curtains or-

    Wagner: Did the kitchen have curtains?

    Yetter: Well, I guess the mothers made some little half curtains or something, we didn't have tie-backs or anything, just little half curtains, we had around our house.

    Wagner: Okay - and lights.

    Yetter: Oil.

    Wagner: And lamps.

    Yetter: Lamps.

    Wagner: Did you have any outdoor lights, like...

    Yetter: No, we had a lantern when you had to go up to the toilet, or out to the privy, as we called it. Okay. You had a candle or the lantern that you took up there.

    Wagner: Well, was that an oil lantern, or did you just...

    Yetter: That was oil. That was oil.

    Wagner: Oil lamp - and you kept that where, beside the door? Where did you...

    Yetter: Probably some place close by, I don't remember, maybe it was just setting on the porch because you certainly had to go to the toilet sometime in the evening.

    Wagner: Sometime — yeah, before you retired.

    Yetter: Before you retired.

    Wagner: Were you scared to go up...

    Yetter: No.

    Wagner: It wasn't that far away...

    Yetter: You weren't afraid in those days. There wasn't any rape going on that you heard tell of, you know, and you just weren't afraid of anything. I never knew what it was to be afraid.

    Wagner: Nobody treading around in the woods back of the house.

    Yetter: No, well, there would be some nut sometime occasionally and you were just warned not to go near those people or something, you know. But I didn't — at that time I wouldn't have known the danger.

    Wagner: Gone anyhow.

    Yetter: I mean, in later years, my sister told me about one man up there that used to hide in the bushes and when the... now this wouldn't happen to me because, you see, my sister was three and a half years older, but when her group would go along, he would be in the bushes and exposing himself.

    Wagner: Oh, for heavens sakes.

    Yetter: And, then I heard that some of these Bonner girls that lived up in Free Park, they would get off the bus and one of them would never go home alone, they always had to go two and three because there was a man up in the hill would chase them to grab them, you know, but they were fast enough so they could run away. Well, I didn't know the danger of anything in those days, I just remember them talking about it. Then in later years my sister told me about this one man, and I said, "Well, I didn't like the man anyhow."

    Wagner: Give him wide berth. Now the kitchen stove, you said it burned both wood and coal.

    Yetter: We used wood all summer and coal in winter.

    Wagner: What about cleaning the stove, did they...

    Yetter: Well, they had to take the ashes out every day.

    Wagner: Right, but you didn't worry about lamp blacking the stove, or spring cleaning the stove?

    Yetter: Oh, yes, they had stove polish that they used once a week to polish, and then in the daytime they just took something and rubbed it off to make it shine and look clean.

    Wagner: What about cleaning chimneys - didn't the chimney have to...

    Yetter: Well, the man of the house done that and the way they would do it, I can remember that, they'd take a small cedar tree, or a branch maybe, it would have been, I thought it was a small tree, probably a branch, and someone would get up on the top and have it on a rope and somebody would be downstairs. And there was an opening, like, downstairs, back of your stove with doors on it. Originally I think it had been a place to cook, and one would be downstairs and they would just pull that up and down and then the soot would all be down there and they would dig — lift that up and take it outdoors, and then it would be clean for the year, so they probably done that in the spring of the year.

    Wagner: Chimney sweep. What did they do with soot - where did they dump that?

    Yetter: Just took it out on the side of the hill and dumped it.

    Wagner: And dumped it.

    Yetter: That's where you took your garbage, out on the side of the hill and threw it, and if the cats and dogs ate - you didn't have leftovers on your table, 'cause you were made to clean your plate up, I guess. But the dogs and cats ate what food you had and other things you just took out on the hill and it dried up and went away, I guess.

    Wagner: And no rodents, no - you don't recall?

    Yetter: I don't remember much about rats or anything, I know mice would come in in the fall - they would — my grand- mother would set a mouse trap and catch them, catch two or three mice, maybe, but we didn't have them all the time.

    Wagner: See, nowadays garbage is a big problem, what to do with it and where to put it.

    Yetter: They carried that off and I suppose if they had a garden near their home, maybe one or two of the families had a little plot right close that they could plant little things, maybe, like radishes and onions and lettuce or something, they would probably put some garbage out there and then dig it under, which would make fertilizer for them, they might have done something like - but other— wise I think they just threw it up on the side of the hill. And it just dried up and went away. It wasn't piled up deep or anything.

    Wagner: Yes.

    Yetter: And of course we didn't have the fresh vegetables then like we have today, so you didn't have a lot all year around — garbage — you didn't have a can full of garbage every day like we would.

    Wagner: Yes, and you saved your jars, use them again. 'cause you were going to

    Wagner: Saved the jars because...You didn't have any cardboard boxes...

    Yetter: No, you didn't have all that paper.
  • Keeping the house clean; going to work at 15 years old; mattresses and pillows
    Keywords: Barlow's Mill; beds; bedwarmers; Breck's Mill; cleanliness; dressmaking; Gamble's Mill; Hodgson Bros. woolen mill; mattresses; oilcloth; tablecloth; work
    Transcript: Wagner: Do you remember things like doormats, foot scrapers?

    Yetter: No, we always had an old piece of carpet outside to wipe your feet on before you come in, but I don't remember anything about foot scrapers.

    Wagner: And when your mother scrubbed floors, what did she put down 'til the floor dried - you stayed off the floor — or did she, what did she spread down to keep your...

    Yetter: Well, she always had a couple lengths of carpet, you see they sewed carpet rags, and had carpet woven, and they always had a few strips of, maybe the old carpet or something. Well, of course, I think my grandmother had linoleum on the floor when I was little, but some of the people put rag carpet down in winter. I don't know whether they had rag carpets in the bedrooms then or not, I forget, because my grandmother used to put straw matting, they called it - m-a-t-t— i— n-g, down in summer and left this heavy rag carpet. But I think down in the kitchen she had linoleum, or oilcloth in those days, it wasn't linoleum, oilcloth, 'cause they just bought a length and put it down their self.

    Wagner: Would she get new oilcloth every spring, or just use that until it wore out?

    Yetter: Use it until it wore clear out.

    Wagner: What kind of tablecloth - did she have oilcloth?

    Yetter: She used oilcloth tablecloths and you had a linen cloth put on Sunday, or if you had company. But then when you washed the dishes, you just washed the top of the table every time you washed the dishes, and dried it.

    Wagner: Suits me [laughs]. have lawn furniture? You didn't have lawns, you didn't

    Yetter: No.

    Wagner: Didn't have to worry about that? Now you started to work at age 15 - did other young people start out that early working?

    Yetter: Yes, they would start around my age. Of course, I think they started in the mills before they were 16 in those days. And people who didn't learn a trade or something, like I would, went to the woolen mills, across from Breck's Mill, you know, that was, well it was Hudson's Mill in my day. And I think my mother said she worked there when she was young, and I think it was called Walker's Mills.

    Wagner: Walker's Bank, they call it now.

    Yetter: And then — Gamble - not Gamble's, what was Mrs. Gamble's name? It was Hudson's in my day. Barlow's Mill, I think the original, my mother spoke of Walker's, and then it was Barlow's, and I guess when my mother worked then in Barlow's Mills, and then after that it was Hudson's. I don't know whether they spelled that Hudson, H-u-t-s-o-n, or Hodgson, it seemed like there was a "g" in their name. 33 Later years they went in Wilmington, up around 15th or 16th and French Street, or someplace, or Walnut. They had a woolen mill in there, they made woolen yarns.

    Wagner: Now did she do - did she put in a full workday, or just piece work...

    Yetter: No I think she put in full days. She put in full days. I think they used to work from seven in the morning until six at night.

    Wagner: Oh my goodness.

    Yetter: And I don't know whether they worked all day Saturday or half a day Saturday. And I don't suppose they had very much money at the end of the week.

    Wagner: No, I'm sure. Now, when the young people started - were you allowed to keep the money you made, or did you have to give it to your family?

    Yetter: Well, I worked six months for nothing, when you went to learn your trade, so I didn't get anything. And, I think then she maybe started me with $2.50 a week, and I worked, I must have stayed with her a year or more, and she finally gave me $3.50 and I'd been the highest paid girl she ever had. This woman that I learned - Mrs. Miles — and she only took one person at a time, and then when you would be through, if somebody else wanted to learn their trade, they would come.

    Wagner: Now you lived with her, or you lived...

    Yetter: No, I lived at home — my mother had gotten married at that time, and she lived on Dupont Street and that's where this woman lived, on Dupont Street.

    Wagner: Now, you took your money home and gave it to your mother?

    Yetter: Well, she didn't take any of my money, I

    Wagner: She let you...

    Yetter: She had a sideboard with a, and a pitcher up on the - and I just brought my money down when I earned my money and put it in that, nobody bothered it. [laughs] But I kept myself, I guess, she didn't charge me board or anything, and I suppose maybe I bought something in the house if I wanted to get something for her.

    Wagner: Oh, I'm sure you did.

    Yetter: I imagine I bought little things, I don't remember. You wouldn't have too much to do anything with.

    Wagner: But I was just - you know some families were in need and all the children went out to work and brought...

    Yetter: Yes, and the oldest one had to give their pay up, you see. Of course, with me being with my grandmother, and my mother working, I - until then - and when she got married, you see she didn't need to give it up, and then my grandmother got sick and died, so I just had my own money for whatever I wanted.

    Wagner: I think we talked about most of this last time. Let's see, mattresses and pillows, were they inner springs, do you recall inner springs?

    Yetter: No - no inner springs, they were mattresses.

    Wagner: They weren't corn husk mattresses or anything...

    Yetter: Well, they weren't that, but I think the people in the country made corn husks where they had corn, but we never had that.

    Wagner: You just had the cotton mattresses.

    Yetter: We had cotton mattresses, or flocks, I think they called them. And the flocks were lumpy and you had to take your hands, like kneading bread, to smooth them out every morning when you made the bed.

    Wagner: Pick them up and shake them around a little.

    Yetter: Grab them by the handfuls and work them around until you got them all level again. Got into bed and made a hole in it again, I guess, at night.

    Wagner: Snuggle in there, huh?

    Wagner: We talked about food was preserved. You don't recall any herb gardens or anything for flavoring?

    Yetter: No, no.

    Wagner: And, bed warmers, do you recall having...would you heat bricks downstairs and take them up with you?

    Yetter: My grandmother, well they had, I forget what kind irons they called it — they had iron handles and she always kept those on the back of the stove. And my grandmother would take them up hot, when we were getting ready to go to bed, and she would run it all over the bed, you know, to warm the bed.

    Wagner: Oh, that's all right. Flat irons.

    Yetter: Flat irons, I guess, she called them.

    Wagner: That's the only kind, the irons you keep on the back of the stove - warm up the bed.

    Yetter: I suppose maybe after she ironed them and the heat went out of them a little bit, and maybe she just left them at the foot of the bed. Bring 'em down next morning. Bring them downstairs in the morning.
  • Liquor and taverns; drunk uncle; smoking; home perfumes
    Keywords: Duke's Mixture; liquor; Reading Railroad; rose geranium; sweet smelling shrub; taverns
    Transcript: Wagner: Says liquor - there were plenty of taverns in the area?

    Yetter: Yes, But I don't think there were as many people drinking in those days, because the young people didn't drink.

    Wagner: They didn't?

    Yetter: No.

    Wagner: It wasn't the thing to do?

    Yetter: It wasn't the thing to do in those days — that they were older people. And, of course, I think the men didn't drink so much unless it would be the end of the week, because they were working, and such long hours. As I say, they worked from seven in the morning until six at night, and when they came home tired, and ate their dinner, they sit down.

    Wagner: And when you sit down, your eyes come...

    Yetter: And read the paper and then went to bed at eight o'clock, so they didn't go out drinking at night.

    Wagner: Do you ever recall a neighborhood drunk, one character in the neighborhood...there is usually...

    Yetter: Oh, yes, we always had that, in fact I had an uncle that, well, he worked on the Reading Railroad, I think, all summer, and then he got laid off in the fall. He'd go back to Bancroft's, and they took him back every fall, and he worked all winter there and he got paid — he must have worked night work because he would come home Saturday morning and he would pay us board, my grandmother, and he used to get my sister and I, my sister would press his pants and put the crease back, and he always wanted his cuffs pressed with a crease here. Well thats, of course I thought I was helping him, maybe he only gave it to me 'cause he would give me ten cents for doing that. He must have paid my sister ten cents or a quarter for putting the crease in his pants, so he got dressed up and he went away and he spent the rest of his money and he would come home drunk on Saturday night. And I remember one Saturday — he loved the children and whenever he come up the street there was always somebody hanging on his hand talking to him. He told them stories and he - I think I was twelve years old before I knew there wasn't a Rock Candy Mountain. Cigarette trees and soda water fountains, he used to tell me this so much that I believed him, and I think he told all the children in the neighborhood and they all loved him. This one day it was snowing big flakes and he was coming up the street singing "In The Good Old Summertime" and two or three children hanging on his hands. And then he'd come home and go to bed and...

    Wagner: Sleep it off.

    Yetter: Sleep it off, then Sunday he was broke, so he had no more money for the rest of the week. If he owed anybody anything he paid it before he left.

    Wagner: Before he drank it up.

    Yetter: Yes.

    Wagner: Did women smoke?

    Yetter: No.

    Wagner: Never ever?

    Yetter: No, I was grown up, I think I maybe was - even when I got married, when I saw someone smoking - I was kind of shocked. 'Course I was married on my nineteenth birthday, and I was shocked when I saw women smoking, I didn't think they would do that. 'Course there wasn't many cigarettes in those days, 'cause I had one uncle, my mother's youngest brother, he would smoke Duke's Mixture, because when he wasn't quite sixteen, I think, you couldn't buy it if you weren't sixteen, in the stores. And it was a little cloth bag, and he would have the money, I guess it was only ten cents or something, and he would get me to go in the store and buy it for him, and see they would sell it to me where they wouldn't sell it to him. And he had papers, and they rolled their own and made cigarettes. And that's what he smoked, but I don't think there was any packaged cigarettes at that time. And most of the men smoked either cigars or pipes, mostly pipes, mostly pipes. 'Course some chewed tobacco.

    Wagner: Where did they spit, did they...

    Yetter: They had a spittoon they called it, or cuspidor they call it now, they had a spittoon that they spit in. If they were outdoors they just spit on the ground anyplace.

    Wagner: Over the porch rail...

    Yetter: Yes.

    Wagner: We've done a lot of this. Crocheting - did you ever crochet?

    Yetter: No, I didn't like to crochet.

    Wagner: How about knitting?

    Yetter: No I never knit, never did.

    Wagner: Just liked to sew?

    Yetter: I Just liked to sew. I wanted to see what I was getting done right then. The other seemed slow to me.

    Wagner: What about - we have making sachet or potpourri, to make the house smell good.

    Yetter: No, my grandmother used to — do you know what a shrub is? A sweet smelling shrub?

    Wagner: No, I don't.

    Yetter: An outdoor plant — bush - well it has little brown flowers like it would be, about the size of the end of your finger and she would take a handful of those and tie them in a piece of cloth and put them in the bureau drawers and they would be smell — or she always had rose geranium.

    Wagner: Oh, yeah.

    Yetter: You know what rose geranium is, well that's quite fragrant and she would take the leaves off that and Crush them And put them, tie them in a little cloth and put them in with our underclothes and things in the bureau drawers, she would do that. And she also put - she made apple jelly and she would put a leaf of that in the glass and then pour the hot jelly in on it.

    Wagner: Oh, that's pretty.

    Yetter: And that would be a nice flavor along with your apple jelly, it would give it a little flavor, a little different.

    Wagner: Perfume for the house, well that would be the- the cooking would be perfume enough, wouldn't it. If you baked bread, that would be...

    Yetter: Well, she baked bread twice a week.

    Wagner: And I take it, women didn't drink, alcoholic beverage, well...Not very much. Not like the men. No, no.

    Wagner: A little sip of wine once in a while?

    Yetter: Well, we didn't have it in our house, so I didn't see much of it.
  • Diseases and cures; bathrooms and bathing; colors; flooding on the Brandywine Creek
    Keywords: bathing; Brandywine Creek; Breck's Mill; diphtheria; floods; Hagley Powder Yard; Henry Clay (Del. : Village); measles; mumps; mustard water; pneumonia; Pulp Keg mill; tuberculosis; wall painting; wallpaper; whooping cough
    Transcript: Wagner: Now, what were the diseases of the day besides, I know tuberculosis killed a lot of people. Now diphtheria, was that epidemic every once in a while?

    Yetter: It was an epidemic, I think, because when I had it there was about two or three at the time that had it and my mother thought that — Liz McLaughlin and I both took it at one time and we both had been around the Pulp Keg. Now the Pulp Keg today, I think, is the Hall of Records.

    Wagner: Right there at the - yes.

    Yetter: They called it the Pulp Keg years, when I was little. And they had barrels and bags and things came out from stores, like scraps of papers and things that they ground up, I guess. And we would go over, and there would be little short pieces of ribbon, like and end of a bolt, and we would gather those up to make dolls clothes and things. And we would roust around there and my mother felt it was as though all of those dirty things we picked up the germs. I don't know what it was, but we both had diphtheria at the same time.

    Wagner: How about whooping cough?

    Yetter: Well, there was always whooping cough, and my sister and I never had it, and my children never had it.

    Wagner: Oh, really? How about the ordinary things like measles and mumps?

    Yetter: Oh, well everybody in the neighborhood had that, measles and mumps, yes.

    Wagner: And pneumonia?

    Yetter: Well, I guess they did have it. Maybe some of the people died with it in those days, I don't know, but I guess when you got a cold, you put your feet in mustard water, and put to bed and hot lemonade, and if they had whiskey in the house, put a little whiskey in that, and put you in bed and sweat it out - that's what they would do to you.

    Wagner: But you couldn't afford to lose any time from work?

    Yetter: Well, if you were sick in bed, you had to lose time.

    Wagner: You had to lose time.

    Yetter: Lose time, but I think they would start with a cold in the beginning and not let it get ahead of them. And if they didn't feel good, they wouldn't go out and expose their self anymore to it, that it was really serious when they did get it, you know.

    Wagner: Well, would your job be saved for you, if you missed some time?

    Yetter: Oh, yes, if you were sick, they would — DuPont's were fair when it came to things like that - they were fair.

    Wagner: Bathing - you didn't have bathrooms as we know them today?

    Yetter: We didn't have bathtubs.

    Wagner: And you took a bath once a week whether you needed it or not?

    Yetter: You took it in the wash tub.

    Wagner: In the shed in the summertime, or...

    Yetter: Back of the stove in wintertime after everyone went to bed, you took your turn to get your bath. Or you had a large basin and a pitcher in the upstairs is where you got most of your bathing in the wintertime, right in your bedroom. You know - what the big pitcher...

    Wagner: The pitcher and the basin, right.

    Yetter: People use them for decoration nowadays.

    Wagner: Collector's items, now.

    Yetter: Yes, collector's items, well that's what they had, everybody upstairs. And otherwise, you had a basin in the kitchen and you washed your face and hands every morning right there - down in the kitchen - and a roller towel — everyone used the same towel.

    Wagner: Oh.

    Yetter: It was a roller towel.

    Wagner: I never gave that a thought.

    Yetter: Well, it was on the kitchen door and it would have been - must have been two yards of material - linen, and every day your mother or grandmother would take it down and put a clean towel up and everybody came and washed their face and dried it right there. And there were two buckets of water on the table in the kitchen with dippers in them and we all drank out of the same dipper and we never got hoof and mouth disease. [laughter]. We must have been immune to everything.

    Wagner: Good stock, right?

    Yetter: I guess so.

    Wagner: Do you remember what color the houses were painted inside - do you remember wall colors?

    Yetter: I think everything seemed to be gray - the DuPont's painted. I think most everything was gray - just kind of a light gray.

    Wagner: No bright colors, you don't recall?

    Yetter: No, no.

    Wagner: Do you recall wallpaper?

    Yetter: Well - and the people done their own papering, or somebody in the neighborhood would do it. Or neighbors would come in and help you do it. They used wallpaper, but I don't remember any real paperhangers, maybe people who had a little more money paid to have it done, but we never did, I guess my grandmother and some of them, two or three of them got together and papered, 'cause I know my mother papered until she was too old to do anything.

    Wagner: Have you tried it? It's awful [laughter]

    Yetter: One time - my mother lived on a farm out at Fair Hill — William du Pont bought it later, and she didn't think she house cleaned unless she got new wallpaper on one room and she had six rooms that she had to paper and then her kitchen was, well, paneled or something, I don't know, she didn't paper that. And we would go down on a Sunday and we'd get the wallpaper book out to pick out what kind of paper we wanted her to put on the different - she always kept a room for my sister and a room for me - after we got married, she said, well, the pink room was mine and the blue room was sis's. If we ever had to come home, we had a bedroom to come to. So, every housecleaning time she papered one room - whether it needed it or not, she put paper - and she done it - so this one year I said I'll come down and help you. Well, I got under that paper and every time I put it up, it'd come down over me [laughter] well, I wasn't a bit of help to her.

    Wagner: It is awful, isn't it?

    Yetter: I couldn't imagine - I thought all you did was slap it up on the wall.

    Wagner: That's not the way it works.

    Yetter: It was on my head most of the time.

    Wagner: So now we paint the ceilings and just paper the walls.

    Yetter: Well, the only thing, years ago whitewashed the ceilings and then, as I say, the woodwork was painted gray, I think, that's all I remember in any body's house — just a pale gray, light gray.

    Wagner: Now, DuPont supplied the paint?

    Yetter: Yes, now maybe, I don't know whether they sent painters to do it, I don't remember seeing them, or whether they gave the men the paint and they done it. Maybe they gave each one — if they wanted their house painted — maybe they gave them the paint and let them do it their— self.

    Wagner: Tablecloths - oilcloths - you said when company came you put the good tablecloths on?

    Yetter: Yes, she had the linen tablecloth.

    Wagner: Did you have good silver and good dishes, or you just...

    Yetter: No, I don't think we did, no I think we just had - well I guess maybe black or brown handled dishes — knives and forks - no, I don't think my grandmother had silver.

    Wagner: Did the Brandywine — well, Squirrel Run is farther up - did the Brandywine ever flood? Do you recall any floods?

    Yetter: Yes, every spring they had floods. And they finally put that stone wall down there from Hagley gate to the Breck's Mill. When I was real small, that wall wasn't up there, I kinda remember them putting that wall up. Even after that, there was a few houses down Henry Clay further that the first floor, that they were building on the creek side of the road, and their houses would get flooded on the first floor, the downstairs. I remember that. And, of course then, the other side from Hagley, there was a road along there, on to, down as far as the woolen mill and that was for the people that lived up in - what did they call it? I must have forgotten — it was four or five houses up the road further, back in the woods right across from the powder mills. I know the name of that place and can't think of it right now, but anyhow, they couldn't get through that road, if they wanted to get out, they had to go up through the woods along the hill and come out over further.

    Wagner: The whole road would be under water? water

    Wagner: The whole road would be under because, you see, with the wall on Hagley side, it drew the water on the other of the road, so when it flooded in the spring, no one could get through there for maybe weeks.

    Wagner: I thought Creek Road was the road that ran right along the Brandywine on the Hagley side - that was Creek Road.

    Yetter: Creek Road?

    Wagner: U-huh.

    Yetter: I never heard it called Creek Road.

    Wagner: What was it called?

    Yetter: I don't know that they had any name for that.

    Wagner: It was just the "Road", huh?

    Yetter: The Road, that's all, I think, that's all.
  • More diseases and cures; accents and foreign languages; recipes; Sundays
    Keywords: aches; cancer; colds; cookbooks; family recipes; foreign languages; mustard plaster; Sunday dinner
    Transcript: Wagner: And then it asks here, did you ever hear the custom of putting a piece of turf on the fireplace mantle for good luck?

    Yetter: No, that must have been in Ireland when they had turf, we didn't have turf in our house.

    Wagner: Or peet, huh? You were talking about when you catch cold - this is home remedies for illness - now you sweated it out, you had a cup of hot tea and you'd sweat out the sickness?

    Yetter: Yes, and a cold in the chest, it was a mustard plaster made for you. Or if you had a pain in your back and kidneys, you got a mustard plaster on it. And that was made with flour, lard and dried mustard and they spread it on a piece of flannel and then put that on your back. Then every once in a while your mother would look at it to see if you were getting too red or if it would burn you if it stayed on too long. And then if it was getting red, they'd have to take it off - and then they'd put it back after awhile again, but warm it up each time they put it back. That must have been for kidney disease or something, 'cause it would go across the small of your back.

    Wagner: How about cancer...

    Yetter: If you had this congestion, they put that mustard plaster on your chest.

    Wagner: How about cancer, was that prevalent — did anyone speak of cancer - do you recall?

    Yetter: No - maybe they died with it and didn't know they had it. I. Didn't know it, right.

    Wagner: What about accents and foreign languages - the foreigners in the neighborhood — the newcomers were the Italians - did they talk funny?

    Yetter: U-huh — of course they didn't speak English when they first came.

    Wagner: Not even a little bit?

    Yetter: No - they would have to learn when they came here.

    Wagner: And the children would go right to school with the American children?

    Yetter: Yes, and then they would learn - and they'd come home and teach their parents, you know, how to speak English.

    Wagner: And nobody made fun of them?

    Yetter: No. I guess we were so used to the Irish we didn't notice the way they talked, just used to them.

    Wagner: This says recipe books - what recipes - did your mother . have favorite recipes — did she write them down - did she get them from her mother?

    Yetter: Well, they usually had some pickling things that they had a recipe written down, but I think most of it was in their head - they would just go ahead and beat up a cake without following any recipes, which I still do a lot of the time.

    Wagner: Do you?

    Yetter: My daughter - course my daughter took Home Ec. in college, and she said, Mother, how could you teach anybody to do anything the way you do it? And she said because you have to measure things — I said that wasn't the way I learned [laughter].

    Wagner: Just fling it in there. Now, were the daily meals elaborate — like meat, potatoes, salad and dessert?

    Yetter: No, we didn't have salad, we had, maybe, coleslaw on Sunday when you had a big roast of beef or something. And you had potatoes every meal for dinner, because then we used to have - like Sunday would be one o'clock, the big meal...

    Wagner: After church.

    Yetter: After church, you came home and then your grandmother or mother would have the dinner ready and I think that's why they didn't go to church. She, maybe, would make dessert on Saturday, make a couple pies or something, or cake on Saturday to have on Sunday, but other than coleslaw, we never had any salads all year round. But in summer, if you had a little bit of lettuce in your back yard, maybe they would make a little dressing and put it on that.

    Wagner: Now, Sunday supper, what did you do - just eat leftovers...

    Yetter: Well, they would just have cold roast beef or something. Now, at Mrs. Beacom's house, she always had a big pan of baked beans and the cold roast beef, and anybody that would drop in, they could stay for dinner at her house.

    Wagner: All right.

    Yetter: The beans would be hot and the meat would be cold. Cold.

    Wagner: Sandwich - did you make sandwich? Not at all. No sandwich?

    Yetter: I didn't know there was such a thing as sandwiches, other than to pack a lunch to go to school until I was married. And my mother, until the day she died, wouldn't make a sandwich. If you had ham and cheese to make a sandwich for lunch, she put that on her plate and cut it and ate it, but she never made sandwiches.

    Wagner: Didn't fold it up in a piece of bread?

    Yetter: She never ate a sandwich — she ate it with a knife and fork.

    Wagner: Now, when you did laundry - you stood the - I don't mean you, your mom - stood the pans on the bench and she had, did laundry.

    Yetter: She heated the water with a wood fire in the kitchen - she washed in the kitchen in winter, of course, and outside on the porch or at the side of the porch in the summer — she would have a bench out there.