Interview with Catherine Hackendorn Sheldrick, 1984 March 28 [audio](part 1)

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  • Menstruation and puberty; Little sister's illness; Birth and death
    Partial Transcript: Bennett: We were interrupted at the end of the tape three weeks ago and I'm going to try to bring you back when we were talking about a very personal subject which was menstruation. Would you describe how you personally took care of your "Birdseyes."

    Sheldrick: That's a good name for it now, isn't it? I had no -- you just simply washed them as you would any other ordinary dirty thing, And soak them in cold water. Rinse them out and rub with yellow soap, usually Fels Naptha, I don't know of anything else that would be on the market at that time and that would have to be it. Then you put them on and boiled them and they got nice and white as possible, You'd fold them up and put them in the drawer. That's all there was to it until the next time you needed them.

    Bennett: And you took care of your own personal ones?

    Sheldrick: Sure.

    Bennett: We were surprised that as girls you didn't discuss this.

    Sheldrick: No, we just did note I don't remember the girls at school discussing it, either.

    Bennett: Do you think it was the Victorian times?

    Sheldrick: It may have been the trend of the times. It's strange that you wouldn't because, after all, it was something that was going to last a big part of your life.

    Bennett: I guess the next subject would be childbirth. Do you remember the births of your brothers and sisters?

    Sheldrick: I can remember the day -- not the day -- I can remember the morning after my little sister was born and we didn't even know my mother was pregnant. No idea. She was the cutest thing you ever saw in your life. We just thought she was -- well she did drop from Heaven as far as we were concerned. And she never was what you would call very healthy. Not like the rest of use Then she developed this St. Vitus dance and my oldest brother carried her around for months because the doctor -- Dr. Spear was the doctor -- and he said the medicine that he had to give her would be hard on her heart and that she would have to be kept very quiet and no exercise of any kind. And we used to feed her and my brother would carry her around and carry her up to bed and bring her down in the morning. Just like a toy.

    Bennett: Did they have a midwife?

    Sheldrick: Yes, there were midwife in the neighborhood. Her name was Mrs. Roberts. And we hated her with a vengeance. She loved Hack of course, there would be something wrong with anybody that didn't love Hack. And she loved Hack but I don't think she cared about the rest of us at all. We paddled our own canoe, And my grandmother would come in, you know, and she had a violent temper. You know, that poor old lady died and not one of us was sorry. Wasn't that the most uncharitable thing?

    Bennett: You were probably afraid of her.

    Sheldrick: Afraid of our life. She would crack you, you know, but my mother liked her because she kept us in tow. She knew that if Mrs. Roberts were there, we would be just the way she would do it herself. My mother -- glory be to John -- I don't know what you would have to do for her to crack you. But she would.

    Bennett: Was she the only midwife?

    Sheldrick: She went to everybody as far as I know.

    Bennett: Did she live close by?

    Sheldrick: She lived on Breck's Lane and we lived along the Brandywine. And she would stay, I guess, maybe eight or 10 days. She was a good housekeeper. She was a good cook. She took care of us. Saw that nothing happened to us, but -- oh -- such a manner.

    Bennett: Where did you children think the babies came from? Did the stork bring them?

    Sheldrick: It wasn't mentioned.

    Bennett: Same way with menstruation, then. Undiscussed subject.

    Sheldrick: Yes.

    Bennett: Then, let's talk about death.

    Sheldrick: Oh, death, I'd rather skip that subject. I don't know too much about -- I never saw anyone die until I saw my grandmother when she died. That was in 1925 that my grandmother died.

    Bennett: You don't remember anyone along the Brandywine, then, that --

    Sheldrick: Oh, I would know they were dead, but I never saw anyone die. My mother and father would go to wakes and funerals, but we children rarely went. I can remember going to my grandfather's funeral. I wouldn't tell you now what year he died, maybe 1912, and going in the cab and it was drawn by two horses. And the driver sat up outside the cab and I can remember my mother and father and the boys, of course, they were older, but they were pallbearers, the boys, That was sort of a custom in our family that if anybody died, the boys would be -: my brothers and Uncle Gene's boys and Uncle Lou's son to be the pallbearers. I can remember that very well, and I can remember the bell tolling as we came up Montchanin Road, he was buried in the lower St. Joseph's Cemetery. Someday I'll take you up there.

    Bennett: Was the hearse enclosed?

    Sheldrick: It was an enclosed hearse and it was quite an ornate thing. It was all glassed in all the way around, and I can remember the horses had plumes on the harness. And you could see the flowers and things, and if it was a child, the hearse was white I can remember that. Now, why can I remember those things and I can't remember where I put the sugar bowl.

    Bennett: You remember everything remarkably well. What about the flowers? They were not like we have today?

    Sheldrick: Yes, very much like they are today. More of a bouquet than a spray.

    Bennett: Was there a community spirit whereby the ladies brought food into the house?

    Sheldrick: Everybody came. People that you wouldn't think would think about you, of course, you were always friends with everybody, but when anyone would die, I can remember my mother -- she'd be getting this ready and that ready to take to them. And it would be always something to eat. Maybe she would bake bread or boil a ham. Roast a piece of beef. Something like that, and there were always the canning business. And she would send you down with a box to the basement and you would get out whatever -- she would tell you what to get -- and that would also go.

    Bennett: Not just one thing. You would take a lot of things.

    Sheldrick: Yeah.

    Bennett: Do you have any feeling -- Let's say a mother died as opposed to a father?

    Sheldrick: Yes, I remember when Mrs. Kindbeiter died. She left I don't know how many children -- five or six -- and my mother cried for a week. And I can remember it was an awfully sad thing because she was such a nice lady. It was just a sad thing. Then her sister just moved right into the house and raised those children. There were no questions asked. It wasn't a question of whether-- of what are you going to do with them. Her sister moved into the house. Her sister wasn't married and took over those children like they were her own and they loved her.

    Bennett: You mentioned about Kindbeiter's still. Can you tell me where Kindbeiter's still was?

    Sheldrick: When you came down Rising Sun Hill and went over what the bridge is now, you went straight up. That turn wasn't there then. You know, that goes around the Experimental Station. You come down Rising Sun Hill, through the bridge and up Kindbeiter's Hill, Just straight up, You came down Kindbeiter's Hill on the sled and went into the bridge. That was some hill. I'm telling you. You got a nice ride on then, then to think you had to walk back up again. I just can't imagine kids doing that these days. They might ride down if they were going down, but they certainly wouldn't walk back up.
    Synopsis:
    Keywords: Birdseye fabric; Birth; Death; Fels Naptha; Funerals; Hearses; Kindbeiter's Hill; Menstruation; Puberty; St. Vitus dance
  • Toys and games
    Partial Transcript: Bennett: Today it's not safe. I'd like to change the subject so let's talk about other things you did and I understand you played marbles.

    Sheldrick: Oh, marbles were fun. Boys and girls played marbles, you couldn't pick it up and throw it like you would a bowling ball. You had to hold your knuckles down and go that way and push it out with your thumb.

    Bennett: No, it was round. Would you describe the game.

    Sheldrick: Well, everybody puts so many marbles in, you'd put three marbles in or maybe somebody would say to put four in, Or put two in, never a definite number. Then, you shot them out with what they called: The Man. The Man was usually glass and it was much bigger than the regular marbles. Sometimes the boys would have those -- what do they call those –

    Bennett: Commies?

    Sheldrick: They used them in a motor.

    Bennett: Ball bearings?

    Sheldrick: Ball bearings, yes. They would go when you hit them with that. And then, if you played another game, you put a circle around the circle about -- maybe – two foot or so out. Then you played how many times it would take to hit them out of this big ring. If you knocked one marble out with one shot, that marble was yours. If it went out of the middle circle into the big circle -- sometimes you would knock it out of the big circle -- well, then that marble was yours. You kept it, and then it would have -- you'd have to take another shot and if it didn't go out, you took another shot and the one that got it out with the least number of shots, it was their marble, just like playing golf.

    Bennett: It's your hole, But there were no par course Just marbles for the bag.

    Bennett: The marbles that you put in the center -- were they the same only smaller?

    Sheldrick: No. They were the same as -- you used the same size marble for the middle as well as shooting it out. It would be the same size. They were all the same size other than the Man you shot with.

    Bennett: And the Man that you shot with, was he the Commie?

    Bennett: No, The Commie -- it was a short -- I guess it may have been a localism, I don't know, But, you just called them Commies so "Let's play Commies Like --

    Sheldrick: Like, “ Let's play marbles," it was another name for a marble.

    Bennett: Yeah. It was another name for a marbles. How about clay marbles? Did you have any clay marbles?

    Sheldrick: Yes. Most of them were clay, rather than glass. You had no glass marbles at all; they were all clay And they would break and chip, the same as-- well, you can imagine.

    Bennett: Wasn't it cheating if you used a ball bearing?

    Sheldrick: Not if it was agreeable to everybody, that wouldn't be cheating, It was cheating if you didn't knuckle down. Knuckle down tight to the ground, they'd say, and you had to hold your knuckle on the ground and then shoot the man. And they'd say, "Knuckle down," and if you didn't knuckle down, that was cheating.

    Bennett: Did you lose a turn?

    Sheldrick: No. They wouldn't let you shoot until you did.

    Bennett: How did you go from turn to turn? Rotate?

    Sheldrick: Yes. You would take your turn, then I would follow you, two, three, four -- not often more than four played and you knew when it was your turn.

    Bennett: I thought maybe you shot until you got out of the ring.

    Sheldrick: Oh, no. Took turns. You made up your rules as you went.

    Bennett: When you played the game with the two circles, about what were the sizes of the circles?

    Sheldrick: I would say they would be at least three, four feet in diameter.

    Bennett: And the center circle?

    Sheldrick: The center circle would be about 8, 10,12 inches around.

    Bennett: How did you make the circle?

    Sheldrick: You just drew it with a stick on the ground in the dirt.

    Bennett: Did you smooth the dirt?

    Sheldrick: Just get a stick and draw it around. And --

    Bennett: Have it smooth first?

    Sheldrick: Not particularly, If there were any stones in the way, you'd remove them, but I can't remember being that fussy.

    Bennett: Did the boys mind playing with the girls?

    Sheldrick: Oh, no. The boys would play with the girls. They didn't seem to mind, until they started chasing the girls, then they were different, Nobody played marbles then. That was put away in camphor, I suppose. I don't know.

    Bennett: What other games?

    Sheldrick: Oh, hide-and-seek, Pussy wants a corner. Did you ever play pussy wants a corner?

    Bennett: No.

    Sheldrick: You played pussy wants a corner and you would go to -- say -- pussy wants a corner and then you would say, "I'm not home," Or something to that effect. Then, she would have to go to the next corner. But in the meantime, you would change corners with someone else and if she caught you changing corners, then you had to go around pussy wants a corner, Then you'd say, "Next door neighbor." That was it, “ Pussy wants a corner," "Next door neighbor" and you went over to the other girl, And then these two would decide to change. But if she caught you -- if she got to the corner before you, then you had to say, "Pussy wants a corner," We had a lot of fun, We thought it was fun and what you don't know don't hurt you.

    Bennett: About how many would play that?

    Sheldrick: There would be four corners and the girl in the middle -- five, Had to have five to play.

    Bennett: Any other games?

    Sheldrick: I don't know, Hide and seek, any number could play that, I don't know of any other. We jumped rope, Any number could jump that. When you skipped, if you didn't jump quick enough, then it was your turn to turn the rope. That was always popular,

    Bennett: Did you play Double Dutch?

    Sheldrick: Double Dutch and Double French, Double Dutch was two -- you turned them in; and French you turned out. That was not easy. I don't know where it came from. And when you played Double Dutch, you had two pieces of rope and you turned them in, and when you played Double French, it was just the opposite way. And you had to jump up and down double.

    Bennett: The boys didn't jump rope?

    Sheldrick: Oh, no.

    Bennett: The girls could play marbles, the boys didn't jump rope.

    Sheldrick: The boys would play hide-and-seek with us.

    Bennett: Would they play Pussy wants a corner?

    Sheldrick: No, The boys said that was a little tame for them.

    Bennett: Did you play dolls?

    Sheldrick: Oh, yes, yes. Played dolls.

    Bennett: With your friends?

    Sheldrick: Yes. We'd get magazines and watercolors and we'd change the contours and the trimmings on the hats. Didn't you ever do that? You got the Ladies Home Journal, There were a magazine called the "Delineator" And they also sold patterns. Like you do now, buy a Vogue or McCall or Butterick, but they had Delineator patterns. And there were pages and pages of these different patterns, with a number. And if you saw something you liked, you wrote that down and if you were going to make a dress or whatever, then you went in to town and you bought the pattern and material. And then there'd be stories in them, very few ads. It breaks my heart to pay $1.50 for a magazine and read how good Campbell's soup is. And it isn't. There's more advertising, I don't like that. You're buying and paying all that money for those magazines. You'd get the magazine for 10 or 15 cents.

    Bennett: You said you painted or colored the dolls, Do you mean like paper dolls? You would change the contour of the -- you would make your own hats?

    Sheldrick: You would paint in watercolors -- you know Change the costume on the model in the— It would be in the magazine book with different colors. And we played checkers and casino and dominoes. All those things.

    Bennett: More winter games.

    Sheldrick: Yes.
    Synopsis:
    Keywords: Butterick; Casino; Checkers; Clothes Patterns; dolls; Dominoes; Double Dutch; Double French; Games; Hide-and-seek; Jump ropes; Marbles; McCall; Paper dolls; Pussy wants a corner; Recreation; Toys; Vogue (Magazine); Watercolor paints
  • Father's outhouse design; Dealing with ice on the Brandywine Creek; Visiting Philadelphia and Wanamaker's department store
    Partial Transcript: Sheldrick: Yes.

    Bennett: Let’ s talk about your father. You mentioned that he designed the outhouse.

    Sheldrick: We were talking about that at Mary Newell's Saturday night. We went over to see Mary and Joe, When Mary was up with her girls and we went up to see and we were talking about it. Mary said, "How did you ever stand walking up that hill?" Well, what else was there to do-- You either did or didn't.

    Bennett: You said that your dad had the lower seat.

    Sheldrick: The lower seat. Well, Mary thought that was the funniest thing she ever heard. She laughed about it. But it was a whole foot lower than the other one.

    Bennett: Did he build the entire outhouse or did he just design the interior?

    Sheldrick: When we needed a new one, he built it. And kept in repair.

    Bennett: That was his responsibility?

    Sheldrick: No. He just accepted it. My father was one of those kind of men, when anything needed to be done, he done it. No matter what it was. He used to make fishing rods – all those things.

    Bennett: You said he made a diving board.

    Sheldrick: He made a diving board every summer. Every summer we got a new diving board. Well, this time of year there would be ice on the crick and it would wash it away.

    Bennett: Where would he put the diving board?

    Sheldrick: The same place -- right down in front of our house. The Minnie that I told you.-- Minnie was the only diving board above or below the dam, Everybody used the diving board. It would be washed away by the flood. You can imagine the crick would rise, you know, everything went ahead of it.

    Bennett: In the winter when the ice went down the crick you mentioned to me last week and we lost it on the tape about the ice that got into the kitchen. Tell me about that.

    Sheldrick: I can remember, my father would go down and help move the things out of the kitchen. You knew when this time of year would come it was getting warm and the ice would break. Well, the length of the Brandywine you can imagine where it would be coming from. And then this big cake of ice -- I can remember going into the kitchen and this big cake of ice was in there. You'd think it wouldn't thaw until the fourth of July. I often wonder how it got in the door. Let alone when it would melt. Of course, everything went. Everything went. Every year. And, you know, people living like that, I can't imagine anybody. See, we lived up on the bank. We didn't get any of that.

    Bennett: Then they had to maneuver this ice out of the kitchen. Your brother helped with that?

    Sheldrick: I can't remember, I wasn't there. They either broke it up and took it out or it melted. Oh, it couldn't. They'd have to. And that kitchen -- the mud would be there. Sediment would be in the bottom. The carpet and everything would come up. They'd take that up before. They knew about when it would come. They could tell by the weather. Just like the Indians. They'd put their ear to the ground and know what's coming. That's the way they lived. Isn't it -- and yet they lived there for years. That alone would drive me out.

    Bennett: What was their name?

    Sheldrick: Clerkin. Felix worked at the Experimental Station and I don't know where -- there were two girls, Kate and Mary. I couldn't tell you where they worked. Kate and Mary -- they worked, but I can't remember where -- or if I ever knew. And then they had one brother, Patrick, and he went to live in Philadelphia and he drove the trolley.

    Bennett: He was a motorman on the trolley car in Philadelphia.

    Sheldrick: You don't remember trolley cars?

    Bennett: I do.

    Sheldrick: I can remember going up to Philadelphia to see my aunt with my mother and father; Riding on the trolley car. She spent a good bit of her youth down in South Philadelphia. Down at St. Gabriel's and St. Clements. I can remember St. Gabriel's and I was a little girl. I can remember that as well, it was near St, Agnes Hospital, It's on Broad Street. Down further, Towards Wilmington further. Of course, if you go through City Hall, then you go on up past the Cathedral. Used to walk that with her, too, Oh, I used to love to go to Philadelphia, I just to love to go to Wanamaker'so We didn't have anything like that in Wilmington, you know, and if you would want anything, you'd go in there and you'd see so many you wouldn't know just which one you wanted when you got there. But, my mother would take us up and meet sister. She knew Philadelphia. She taught in Philadelphia more than 50 years – the different parish schools. Now, what's next?

    Bennett: In Wanamaker's -- do you remember the Eagle?

    Sheldrick: Oh, yes, I met sister at the Eagle when I got to be a big girl and was able to go up by myself, Now, you tell Catherine I'll meet her at the Eagle and for her to wait for me because I never know what's going on in the Convent Saturday morning and as soon as I could get away – I would go up, I guess around nine o'clock. Leave Wilmington on the train around nine o'clock and I'd walk, of course, then it was nothing to walk from Broad Street Station into Wanamaker's. And she knew one of the detectives in Wanamaker's, her name was Carney. Now, how is it that I can remember that? I get mad at myself for not remembering what I did yesterday, And sometimes she would came over and talk to me and tell me that Sister would be along in a little while, Then she would go on about her business. But she went from store to store, She wasn't always in Wanamaker's, maybe she would go to Wanamaker's today and to Lit Brothers tomorrow and Snellenburg's, Strawbridge and Clothier. They had a store detective at that time, they used to have floorwalkers. But he would go around all dressed up with a carnation in his lapel, You knew he was a floorwalker, but I think he was more for information than anything else, and supervision.
    Synopsis:
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Clerkin family; Ice; Outhouses; Philadelphia; Snellenburg's department store; St. Agnes Hospital (Philadelphia, Pa.); Strawbridge and Clothier department store; Street-railroads; Trolleys; Wanamaker's department store; Winter
  • Riding on trains; Clothing and handbags
    Partial Transcript: Bennett: Shall we come back to Wilmington?

    Sheldrick: Yes, let's come back on the next train.

    Bennett: Were the trains fun? Describe a train ride.

    Sheldrick: It wasn't nearly as fast as now. And you hated to go on a local, It seemed to me that there were very few express trains. That stopped in Wilmington, They would come from Baltimore and go straight through, Some of them did stop and then you would get on, It took longer to go to Philadelphia then than it does now, Just like any ordinary train, You know, what always fascinated me was the towels on the back of the seats, You don't see that any more, There would be a white towel on the back of the seat, where your head would rest, And I supposed they would be changed often because they were always clean.

    Bennett: Did you get cinders in your eyes?

    Sheldrick: Oh, yes, in the summertime. And you'd think it was never going to get better. In the summertime the windows would be open -- this was before air conditioning, And you would get cinders in your eyes, yes. You would have to be very careful, And dirty hands, The windowsills would be sooty.

    Bennett: Did you wear your best clothes?

    Sheldrick: Oh, yes, You got all dressed up. I mean dressed up, your Sunday clothes, Well, it was just not heard of; even to go down town on Saturday afternoon, you would get all dressed up, And I don't know but what the young people aren't just as well off the way they are, At least they are comfortable, We'd keep those shoes on if they killed us, I can remember when bloomers first came out, you wore a skirt over them -- play ball in them, with a middy blouse. You know what a middy blouse is, like a sailor's jacket, With a sailor collar, Just like the sailors wore. We called them a middy blouse. They had navy blue collars with stars on them and you wore a black tie -- just like the sailors did. You wore those with your bloomers and you wore a pleated skirt over the bloomers, If you were going to play ball, We used to go over to Baynard's Stadium and that was a long way from home, walk over there and play ball. Then you took off your skirt and played in your bloomers.

    Bennett: They came out when you were a young girl?

    Sheldrick: When I was about 16 or 17,

    Bennett: I guess I have a picture of these in my mind, Tell me about bloomers and were they elastic?

    Sheldrick: No. They had a band around them and the buttoned. There were elastic in the bottom of the legs and they were real full. You'd think they were a skirt. They were as wide as the skirts would be, not quite as wide as a skirt would be. If you wore them for underwear -- like underpanties -- they weren't that full because they would come to your knee and had an elastic in them.

    Bennett: Was the fabric a different fabric for bloomers?

    Sheldrick: Yes, it was black sateen, cotton.

    Bennett: And what kind of stockings did you wear?

    Sheldrick: Long, black stockings, And high shoes, Well, your Sunday shoes would be buttoned. Your everyday shoes were laced. If you got a pair of Sunday shoes, they were usually buttoned if you got them for Sunday.

    Bennett: Like a Mary Jane? The heel, you mean?

    Sheldrick: No. The high-top shoe, the high-buttoned shoe and some of them would be cloth tops and others would be kid tops. They called it kid -- the leather. And it was a different texture than the bottom. Sometimes the bottom would be patent leather -- the bottom of the shoe and the top would be either cloth or kid, as they called it. And they were buttoned. And it would be the same material laced. You would lace them. Then you had a buttonhook and you buttoned them up with a buttonhook.

    Sheldrick: How many buttons?

    Bennett: Oh, I imagine 12 or 14.

    Sheldrick: They come up at least on or above your ankle.

    Bennett: Could you have done it without a buttonhook?-

    Sheldrick: You could do it, yes. It depended on the size of the buttons, but not as well. You could do it but not as well as you could with a buttonhook. And when you bought a pair of shoes you got a buttonhook given to you, And if they were low shoes like Mary James or oxfords, or something like that, they wrapped a shoe horn up with them.

    Bennett: That's where that custom has come from because I've gotten shoehorns but never any buttonhooks. How about hats, did you wear hats with these costumes?

    Sheldrick: Not -- We tied our hair with a bandana usually, You wore a hat when you got dressed up, I can remember going to school -- my mother used to knit these hats for us and they had a cape that came down around our neck and down on to our shoulders. We called them hoods, And had a bow of ribbon up here. Why, I don't know. And she would knit -- not knit, crochet -- she would crochet one of those in an evening. To keep the air out, keep you warm. And the ribbon was for decoration, usually red. Almost always red, Like when our kids were little, I didn't knit anything but red mittens so that when they lost one, they had another red one. Well, you bought a hank of wool and it would make several pairs.

    Bennett: Did you carry a handbag?

    Sheldrick: Not particular, just according to where you were going, not like they do now. They carry a handbag for everything, no, If you went to play ball, you carried your glove, or maybe a little change purse. Your bloomers had a pocket in them and you'd put your change purse in your pocket. Or just put the change in your pocket. And -- no -- I don't remember having a handbag until I was maybe 14 or 15.

    Bennett: What did you carry in it?

    Sheldrick: You carried your money and your handkerchief and your rosary, took it to church and put your rosary in it.

    Bennett: And that would be it? No make-up or anything, a comb?

    Sheldrick: No, no. You combed your hair. I had long hair and my mother braided it and it would be combed in the morning, take it down and brush it at night and put it up in one braid and that was it. But, no, you weren't always combing your hair like they are now, They brush and brush, Your hair was combed in the morning and that was it. You went to school, Didn't need it, It was all tight and it would be plaited -- so tight you could hardly close your eyes, Pulled back so tight. But that’ s how it was then it was just living. Everything was in the course of living and it was really fun. It was a nice way to live, I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but I think the young people now have a good time in their own way, but I do think they're letting the good things of life pass them by, Insofar as their way of living. Everything is done in such a hurry, Every- thing -- you know -- maybe I'm wrong.

    Bennett: I guess it's progress and TV and communications.

    Sheldrick: And, we would sit for an hour after dinner and talk, who does that anymore? Nobody, and then the boys would get up one at a time if they were going anywhere and the girls -- if you were going out, you excused yourself and left, but nobody sits anymore. You'd go out to dinner -- which wasn't that often -- you would sit and talk after you ate, But now they rush in and eat – on the run.
    Synopsis:
    Keywords: Baynard's Stadium (Wilmington, Del.); Bloomers; Clothing; Handbags; Railroads; Trains
  • Toy's Tavern and the William Penn Hotel
    Partial Transcript: Bennett: Let's talk about -- you told me about Toy's Tavern -- about the hotel that you --

    Sheldrick: Yes, The William Penn Hotel. Well, it wasn't anything any different, Now, I'm wrong there -- the saloon part, you know, it was just like every other. But at one time it was a hotel, And there were different rooms. The tavern was on the first -- it was built on the side of the hill -- on the first floor was just the tavern and the back room. And then, what was it I said to my grandmother – - “ Where the ladies sat," And she answered, "If they were ladies, they wouldn't sit there," And then, you went up these stairs and it was in a hallway – and you went up these stairs and then there were a big dining room, I would say it was almost as big as this downstairs, square, in area. Oh, it would be wider than this and not quite as long, And that is torn down now. Then you went -- there were a very small kitchen in back of that and between the kitchen and the dining room was a stairway to the third floor. And in the third floor was quite a large hall and there were two great, big bedrooms up there. I imagine they would hold at least six single beds. Whether they had six in them, I don't think at that time there was such a thing as a private room, unless it would be these small bedrooms off the dining room. Going back to the front of the place. And there were two bedrooms on each side of that hallway, And then you went out on to this porch but there were no steps from the porch down to the ground, you had to come through the hotel, or the house and to go outside, Or you could go outside from the third floor.

    Bennett: You could go outside but only on to the porch.

    Sheldrick: On to the porch.

    Bennett: But you couldn't go out on to the ground.

    Sheldrick: Not in the front of the house. But you could in the back and that's where the pump was. The water pump in the winter that would be frozen and then you had to wait for the water to boil to pour it down and thaw the pump. When you pump, so much water stays in what they called a bucket and the bucket was leather. And it would go down and pick up that water and come out the spout. Then you pumped, as long as you would pump, that thing would go up and down and the water would come out. Well, in the wintertime, if you weren't using it – like overnight -- nobody pumping water, well, then it froze. So, you had that thing on the top of it -- it looked like a -- We were interrupted when I was telling you about the thawing out of the pump. Well, then, of course, the hot water allowed you to pump some more all day. But, see, the pump would be in use all day. There would be somebody going back and forth to the pump all the time and it didn't have time to freeze.

    Bennett: Who was responsible for the hot water? The first person?

    Sheldrick: The first person up in the morning. You went out with the water. Usually -- not usually, always, always, the water would be brought in and kept in the house in buckets. And the water would be kept in that and then it was there in the morning. My mother would fill the tea kettle and keep it on the stove. When you got up in the morning, the water would be pretty warm; not boiling, but warm, and she'd put the drafts on the stove and the water would boil and out you would go and get some more water.

    Bennett: You shared the pump?

    Sheldrick: We shared the pump with the Toys and then Daugherty moved in after that, And then the people on the other side. Their name was Norris. There was Norris and Daughertys and ourselves and my grandmother. There were four houses there to share the pump.

    Bennett: Let's go back in the house. And when it was the William Penn Hotel, at what time was that?

    Sheldrick: That may have been before 1900, It would be the William Penn Hotel because I can remember being a little girl and going in there with Aunt Mamie. In the house, they lived in the Hotel -- they didn't use the third floor at all. There were absolutely nothing up there. Then they lived on the first floor where they had the kitchen, the dining room and three -- one, two, three bedrooms and a trunk room -- four bedrooms and a trunk room.

    Bennett: About the size of this?

    Sheldrick: Oh, the second floor would be bigger than this house would be.

    Bennett: About 30 feet?

    Sheldrick: Easy. Yes, I imagine it would be about 30 feet. But they were big rooms. The bedrooms had double beds in them and a bureau and a washstand and chairs and what have you. Just like everybody else's. But I imagine it was Toy's furniture and they moved out and Aunt Mamie -- we called him Pat, but we called her Aunt Mamie, I don't know how that happened. And then it was their furniture. One of these bedrooms at the front was what they called their parlor. They had three bedrooms furnished and a parlor, one of them would be a parlor. And that was on the porch. You would go out of this parlor on to the porch. I wish we had a picture of that. I don't know where it would be, I'm going to ask Elizabeth Bonner and Mary if they have any pictures. Aunt Mamie was their father's sister. Their name was Bonner. And then it Was Aunt Mamie, Aunt Rose and Aunt Annie and all those people were their father's family. They lived in Free Park and they tore some of those houses down in Free Park, and they built a house down along the Brandywine and it's that red brick house on the left -- it sits back -- I don't know who lives back there now.

    Bennett: On Main Street?

    Sheldrick: Yes. They remodeled the front of it. That's where Bonners lived at that time. But, you're talking about the decorations in Toys Tavern. They were like cabinets -- very much like -- only much larger than our kitchen cabinets. And they were all glass, three sides around were glass, and they had these owls and I don't know what else, I can remember the owls -- they were so ugly and they were sitting on branches -- or standing on branches. You know how owls do I guess some taxidermist had done them at the time, and there would be some little ones -- like maybe a robin. They were colorful, I can remember that I don't think they were just plain sparrows, or anything like that. But, I can remember the owls and there may have been eagles. I wouldn't know that. But you know how things are -- the things that make an impression on you when you're little. I can remember the chairs. They were those captain's chairs, you know. In the bar, And there were tables in the bar. Anytime I was ever in that bar there were no customers there, It would be like maybe after closing time or maybe on Sunday, Something like that. And they would sit at these tables. Who was it said they got their lunch and a glass of beer for five cents, And yet, Toys made money, Now, how?

    Bennett: Well, beer and sandwich, and they got rent for that a month?

    Sheldrick: I suppose enough people spent a nickel for that.

    Bennett: But, also, they owned your house. What was the rent, 3.50?

    Sheldrick: $3,50 a month, yes.

    Bennett: Well, I guess the taproom business was a good business.

    Sheldrick: During the First World War it was a good business because they cashed the men's checks. But, you know, I often think of the way they ran that saloon. If anybody came in and had any sign of drink at all, they weren't served. And Pat tended bar and they'd stand at the bar and he would just pass them, He wouldn't sell them any more. They had enough. Pat Daugherty. And if a man came in, he wouldn't sell him that much, either. He wouldn't sell him enough that he would be drunk, He just wouldn't do it. Pat himself -- and so was Aunt Mamie -- very conscientious people, they had -- I can remember Pat saying, "No man is going out of my place drunk," to his wife and children.

    Bennett: He had a code of ethics.

    Sheldrick: Yes, That was his philosophy, And it was good. But, during the War, the men would stop on their way home and he wouldn't let them charge anything, either, If they didn't have the money, he'd give it to them without -- you know -- on the house, Not too often. And I don't suppose he would do it with everybody, either, but he knew who he was dealing with. And as a general rule, the same people would come all the time, The idea of going to this one and that one -- well, he had his customers and Blakeleys had their customers.

    Bennett: The sign that you saw that said William Penn Hotel, where was that sign?

    Sheldrick: Up in the loft they called it. And Aunt Mamie had gotten our boys to go up there to see what was up there. They had lived there for ages and ages and nobody ever went to the loft and I don't know how she come to get the idea of going up there. And they had a ladder and put it up. It was an opening in the ceiling. And they went up and John and Hack went up in that and handed these things down. But, I can remember at the time and it was just a square of wood -- long enough for William Penn Hotel. And for years, the iron arm came out of the house from the outside wall of the house where it hung on that sign. And it was on both sides. William Penn Hotel was on both sides. And this board, hung, I suppose on there. I don't ever remember seeing it hung. But, you can see the arm hanging down. Somebody had taken it down and put it up in the attic. And there were butter molds. When they made their own butter. I can remember one of them had wheat on it. But, I can't remember anything else that they brought down. But I remember that sign and I remember those butter molds. There may have been something else. But maybe I came in when they were working on it and I came in at that time. It did make an impression.
    Synopsis:
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Butter molds; Free Park (Del.: Village); Toy's Tavern; William Penn Hotel
  • The local barber; The du Pont Gun Club; Childhood friends
    Partial Transcript: Bennett: You told me about Mr. Connelly.

    Sheldrick: Mr. Connelly was the barber. He was born and raised down around Elkton. His brother came up and he had a barber shop at Delaware Avenue and DuPont, next to the Logan House. And Mr. Connelly was much younger than his brother and he learned barbering with his brother. And then after that -- he worked with the brother -- and then after that, he came up and opened -- I don't know who owned the barbershop at that time or who ran it. I believe his name was Rowe -- Dick Rowe. I have that in mind. But, Mr. Connelly took over that barbershop and he was there for years. He kept the barbershop and he married a girl that lived across from the barbershop, her name was Irene Clark. And years later, their daughter married my husband's brother. We kept things in the family. They had several children. They had three and she died of T.B. And when she died, he lived with her father. Her mother -- Irene's mother had died. And they lived with Mr. Clark and then Frank Clark got married and his wife went there to live. So Virgie took over the house. She was the housekeeper and she raised the two Connelly children -- three Connelly children. One of them died quite young. And she raised Marie and John. Mr. Connelly was a nice guy. He came down the back way with his brother from the B& amp; O. And one of the Toy girls was standing in the back of the house and said, "Come on through this way," And I guess they were coming to see her father, And she took him in the third story, down to the second story -- and then down to the bar. I guess Mr. Toy was in the bar. Sunday morning the bar was scrubbed. Every Sunday morning it was scrubbed. However, he said to his brother, 'How far are we underground?" And Tom said to him, "You're not underground at all. Push the curtain aside and you can see," So, when he look out, here was the street, He said it was the funniest thing he ever saw. See, the houses were built on the hill, It is funny. He was never used to anything like that.

    Bennett: We talked about the DuPont Gun Club.

    Sheldrick: That was built during the First World War, I'm pretty sure, maybe just before the First World War.

    Bennett: And you mentioned a time when they had a big to-do for a week.

    Sheldrick: Yes, I don't know what the occasion was. Mrs. She was the lady that shot the Indian's head, Just shot, shot, shot until it was all outlined. It was some sort of -- it might have been -- would you say a small convention or meeting or some exhibition or something. But, they brought her. She was another Annie Oakley, and her husband was with her. She had a revolver, She was shooting a revolver, The rest of them were trapshooting, Mostly, Well, that's what it was It was the DuPont Gunning Club, And people that worked for DuPont belonged and then during -- I supposed it was during the First World War when they built another club on the same ground. It was a country club -- DuPont Country Club -- and then they went from along the crick -- from along the top of the hill there -- they had tore that down -- and tore the gunning club down -- to extend the Experimental Station and that's when they put the turn in the road when you didn't go up Rising Sun Hill, But, that was after the First World War -- after that was done, But, it was during the First World War -- before the First World War, I guess, because we were just little -- well, half-grown girls, maybe, twelve or 14, We were able to go up by ourselves to this affair that was going on. I can remember they had a big tent. They had lunch counters -- all in a tent, But, one end of that club had like bleachers -- well, very much only on a smaller scale -- like you would sit at the racetrack, And just look out at all these people, And the pits then were out in the field and the boys sat in there and put these clay pigeons on them, There were things that they pulled, The man would holler, "Pull," that was doing the shooting and they would pull this lever, but it was quite big, and it would hit the clay pigeon and it would fly out and they shot it.

    Bennett: And what did Mrs. Tapperon do?

    Sheldrick: She was sort of an exhibitionist, you know. I can remember her shooting and throwing things up in the air and shooting them. But, I never forgot her shooting, This thing was sitting on a table of some sort and I can remember that it had a wooden frame around it and it would In like tin or zinc or something like that on both sides and when she shot through, it made a hole in one end and out the other -- in one side and out the other. And when she was finished, they picked it up and turned it around, And then everybody could see that it was an Indian's head, Feathers, and headdress, and everything, I never saw anything like it before nor have I seen anything like it since.

    Bennett: How long did it take her to do this?

    Sheldrick: I would say maybe five minutes. As fast as they were loading the revolver she was shooting. She looked to me like she wasn't breathing.

    Bennett: What age person was she?

    Sheldrick: She was quite young, yes. Well, according to my age now she was quite young. I imagine she must have been 25. I don't think more than 25.

    Bennett: What happened to the Indians?

    Sheldrick: I don't know what happened to those.

    Bennett: Didn't you say that it hung for awhile?

    Sheldrick: It hung for a while in the Club, but I don't know what ever happened to it after that, but, only one of them hung in the club, I don't know what happened to the other one, It hung on the side of the -- oh, that was a beautiful fireplace. It was all gray stone and it went from the floor half-way up to the ceiling, Just a beautiful fireplace and that's where it hung. And after the War, they closed it up and it was idle for a good little while. But, it was idle before the First World War because Batemans came up from Washington during the First World War. And lived in it.

    Bennett: That's when you got to know Batemans?

    Sheldrick: Yes. The morning and she came out and she went with us and that was it. And we were friends until she died. That's the way. When you made friends – the friends that you made when you were quite young, the friendship went on and on.

    Bennett: Was it mostly the girls that lived right there? Now, you said Josie Toomey was your friend because she was --

    Sheldrick: Josie Thompson. She was my friend. She lived across from Hagee's. And we lived on the opposite side of the road and she would come over to our house. I, in turn, would go over to her place. But, I can remember feeling so awfully bad for Josie all the time because she didn't have a mother. It seemed to -- I don't know what it was. It always done something to me, you know, but she had one wonderful father. He was as strict as he could be, but he was kind. He had a kindness about him.
    Synopsis:
    Keywords: Barbers; Du Pont Gun Club(Wilmington, Del.); DuPont Country Club (Wilmington, Del.); Elkton, Maryland; Hagee's tavern; hunting; Social clubs; World War (1914-1918)
  • Childhood friends; Social functions at Breck's Mill; Irish folk sayings; Weddings and engagements
    Partial Transcript: Bennett: Did you have friends from other areas as well, or was it mostly right there along --

    Sheldrick: Mostly right there along the crick. Then after Mary Daugherty and Mary Hill and Josie, they went to St. Anne's for commercial and I went to Goldey's and I met girls at Goldey's that I used to bring out and they met girls from St. Anne's and they brought them up the crick, like on Sunday afternoon. So, we got to be very friendly. They would have parties and we would be invited to them. And when we had parties up the crick, we would invite them to the party. Things like that. They used to come to the dances at Breck's Mill. And when Mary Daugherty went to work for DuPont, and then she changed jobs, and she was for years down at the Board of Harbors Commission and she was down there until she retired. And Josie, of course, got married and raised her family. Mary never married. I never held that against her, either. She was a nice person. And Auntie Ann got married and she moved to Washington. I never called her anything but Ann, but when our girls were little, they called her Auntie Ann. Auntie Ann and Uncle Jim. And it was Aunt Josie and Aunt Mary Kelly. Then we used to go to Rockland. We didn't go to Rockland until -- oh, we used to go up there to canoe with the boys on Sunday afternoon. We got in with these girls. Of course, my mother knew their mother for years before that. The Monigle girls -- and they used to come down to our house. Down the crick, and then they moved into town.

    Bennett: What kind of functions did you attend at Breck's Mill?

    Sheldrick: Dances, mostly.

    Bennett: Any local bands or how --

    Sheldrick: It would be Bill Carney's Orchestra, you know the orchestra I was telling you about. And I can't think of who else. Wilkinson. Paul Wilkinson, his name was. But mostly Bill Carney. Somebody that somebody else knew. You'd get them for the whole evening for five dollars.

    Bennett: That's changed, too. What other kind of functions did they have at Breck's?

    Sheldrick: The boys played basketball. We had -- oh, my dear, Moses had nothing on some of those boys. We had a boy that played basketball on the Hagley team and his name was Tony Biddle. Poor Tony died young. He was murdered. If Tony got the ball, the rest of them could forget it. He could do anything with it. And the boys all played. It was called Hagley. And they played all the teams from town. They played Bronson and Parkside -- the different church clubs in town -- they would come out to Breck's Mill to play basketball. But that was about it. Just the basketball games. It was the community house for quite a few years. We went down there for gym and all those kinds of things.

    Bennett: Did you ever have a shower down there?

    Sheldrick: A shower -- no. They had bathtubs if you wanted to get in them.

    Bennett: Oh, it was bathtubs. I thought it was showers.

    Sheldrick: I never saw a shower there. There may have been. I'm not saying they weren't. They were bathtubs. The boys would use them after the games and all. Now there may have been, you know. I could take your word for it because it would be down on the lower floor, you know. You know, when you went in to the first floor and went up those steps and in the front door, that was a hall and you went downstairs and upstairs. So there was very little time we ever spent below ground. That is, as far as I was concerned. I can't remember the other girls going down. I know the boys used to go down there after the games to change their clothes. They'd come from Philadelphia to play basketball. They had -- really, you know, the coach's name was Logan. Chandler Logan. And he was he coach. There were quite a few. Auntie Ann's brother, Jerome, played on it. He was very good. Jennie Toomey's brother-in-law played on it. Dan Toomey. Oh, I don't know. I'd have to think who else. Paul Gallagher played. Our Bud played for awhile. But, Bud never cared -- like our Chris. Chris never cared for basketball. He plays football and baseball. Bud played football but never cared too much for basketball. But, these boys were really good; I mean good. Not like -- Marianne said, "The food's not bad, but bad bad." But these were good, good. That's what Marianne said about the food at college. It's bad, bad. You don't get any worse than that.

    Bennett: How about some of the sayings that you had in your family. Tell me some of those.

    Sheldrick: Oh, they were mostly Irish things that my grandmother said. "If you're born to be hung, you'll never drown." If it was a nice day, she'd say, "Good wash day, good wind in it." And a great favorite was, "Just leave that until again." If' she didn't want you to do something just at that time, she'd say, "Leave that until again." What else did she used to say. I can't think. She had -- But, if anybody got married – this used to tickle me to death. I don't know what it will do to you. If any girl was going to get married, that she thought she wasn't marrying somebody that wasn't just right, she'd say, "Oh, I think she's driving her pigs to a bad market." That used to tickle me to death. And you know, nine times out of 10 she'd be right.

    Bennett: She was wise. Is this your grandmother Lawless?

    Sheldrick: Yes. Oh, my grandmother Hackendorn -- spoke French and German. And somebody always had to straighten you out as to what she said. And she was better than my grandfather. My grandfather spoke very little English and he spoke French and German.

    Bennett: Did you learn French and German from this at all?

    Sheldrick: No. A few words now and then. We were very foolish there -- we didn't learn from them. But my father would talk to them in German and in French.

    Bennett: When you mentioned weddings -- how about -- did you start a trousseau when you were going to be married? Were there engagements?

    Sheldrick: Of course. And then, usually your mother would make things.

    Bennett: Would you make them also?

    Sheldrick: She would make -- their mothers would make them. Now, when I was married, mine were bought before I was married. I had sheets and pillowcases and towels and guest towels and tea towels. I still have tea towels that I had before I was married. I'll show them to you. And, no showers. Very, very few showers. I had a shower for Auntie Ann when Auntie Ann was married. She was 21; I was 20 when Auntie Ann was married, and that was very young at that time. People didn't get married that young at that time.

    Bennett: Why didn't they have showers? Was it a new idea?

    Sheldrick: It was evidently a new idea, you know. But if my mother -- now when Mary Hill got her ring – when Frank gave her her diamond ring and when Uncle Jim gave Auntie Ann hers, my mother would buy me a gift to give them. Like an engagement gift. And it was usually linen of some kind. To add to the hope chest. And you bought the toweling by the yard -- linen toweling. And you made them yourself. I'll show you. It was just those things that you gathered up. Here they are. That's what they looked like. We sewed the little tab on them to hang them up.

    Bennett: So, how old are they? They were for you when you were married.

    Sheldrick: Well, they'd be 50 years old. But, it doesn't mean that I've been using them all this time because I have bought others. But, these were made on the sewing machine. But some would be sewn by hand and then you'd put the tab on to hang it up on a little hook or something. I think I had a dozen at the time. Now, that got that way in the drawer.

    Bennett: Mildew or something.

    Sheldrick: There's five there. I think there's some more. I think I have seven left of them. But, that's what you would do. My mother would go to town and buy you something to give to the girl for her hope chest. And when Auntie Ann got her hope chest -- her Uncle Jimmy bought it. It was the biggest thing you ever saw. Looked like the Ark. Mother said, "Well, that's Jimmy. If it came any bigger, he'd buy it, too." He bought her blankets. He worked in the powder yards. Jimmy Haley his name was. And he would go to town himself. He'd get all dressed up and go to town. And he would buy these things for her. And not only for her but for other -- Mrs. McLaughlin's niece lived with them, and when she decided to be married, he done the same thing. He bought blankets and sheets and pillowcases and comforts -- anything that he saw that he thought would be nice he would buy it for them. And then you'd be engaged a year. You would announce your engagement, but you wouldn't be married for a year. Nobody ever got married that I know. They would wait a year. A year's engagement. If you didn't break up in a year, well then it would be O.K.
    Synopsis:
    Keywords: Basketball; Bill Carney's Orchestra; Breck's Mill; Engagements; French language; Friends; German language; Hope chests; Irish ethnicity; Traditions; Washington, D.C.; Weddings
  • Weddings on the Brandywine; Christmas traditions
    Partial Transcript: Bennett: Do you remember weddings?

    Sheldrick: Oh, yes.

    Bennett: Tell me about somebody's wedding.

    Sheldrick: I'm going to tell you about my mother's and father's wedding. When they were married at St. Joseph's. They were married in January. And my mother used to say the 26th of January. And she said, "It was the nicest day that you ever saw." They walked from down along the Brandywine -- she and my father and her bridesmaid and my father's brother was the best man. They walked to St. Joseph's. And all the people -- Their house was ready to move into -- furnished and ready to move into. Then after the wedding, they all walked – guests and my mother and father and the wedding party – all walked down Breck's Lane along the crick to the other side of the Brandywine. And that's where the reception was -- in her house. In the bride's new house. She and my father and Uncle Lou. And my mother's cousin was the bridesmaid and her name was Julia Hayes. She was my grandmother's cousin.

    Bennett: Do you know who prepared the food?

    Sheldrick: My mother didn't wear a white dress. My grandmother prepared the food. And, I suppose the neighbors would help her. I never knew what was on the menu. My mother never talked about that, but she talked about the man that played the violin and dancing. She would tell us about that. "Ma, tell us about the time you got married. And she would tell us these things.

    Bennett: Did they have a wedding cake?

    Sheldrick: Yes, they had a wedding cake. I don't know who made that, either. She talked about the wedding cake.

    Bennett: And they didn't go on a honeymoon?

    Sheldrick: No, you stayed there. But then, the next day my grandmother would prepare plates of fruit. I don't know where this custom came from. But you prepared these plates of fruit and gave them to the neighbors. It would be apples and whatever fruit would be in season. Maybe it wouldn't be anything but apples, I don't know. But she said it would be fruit. But that was done the next day -- after the wedding.

    Bennett: You mean they took them to the neighbors in the area?

    Sheldrick: They were sent some way. I don't know whether my mother and father took them or not. She never said that. But, she just said you would sent the neighbors a plate of fruit the next day. Now, I don't know how many it would be. That was a custom. I don't know whether it was an Irish custom or not. It may have been. I can remember my mother's dress being in a box in the attic and it was what she called dove gray and it was trimmed with pink velvet. She had a bonnet and the bonnet was pink velvet. Mattie -- you know Mattie Ferraro -- she used to tell me -- "And, oh, Catherine, did she look pretty in that." But she was good looking girl. And my father was a good looking man. But, they were married at St. Joseph's.

    Bennett: Well, I guess everybody walked in those days.

    Sheldrick: Yes, you just walked up to the church and were married.

    Bennett: Did the guests go before you came?

    Sheldrick: The guests went to church, just like they do now. And the guests would be in church when the bride and groom came in. And then after that, they'd all walk home together. You know, the customs in those days – My oldest brother now is 85, so --

    Bennett: I have one other thing that I want to be sure to get on the tape -- that Christmas cookie that I have of yours -- you know, the Santa Claus cookie. There was no hole in it and you said it was on the tree. And would you tell me, please --

    Sheldrick: It was tied around its neck with a piece of string. Ribbon, maybe. I guess my mother tied them on first if they were put on the tree. And that's another thing that I never could -- I told you I couldn't get straightened out whose was whose on Christmas morning. How did she know that that's John's? And how did she know that that's Hack's? And how did she know that this is mine. Weren’ t we naive? We believe in Santa Claus with a vengeance.

    Bennett: You wanted to. And you trusted them.

    Sheldrick: You accepted what they said, whether it was so or not. You accepted what they said. You'd never think your mother would tell you a story. You'd never think that.

    Bennett: How old were you when you found out there was no Santa Claus?

    Sheldrick: I think I must have been nine, anyway. Nine or 10.

    Bennett: It wouldn't be that way today.

    Sheldrick: No. I know I was nine or 10.

    Bennett: Well, I think those days were great in that way. Children grow up too soon.

    Sheldrick: When you were children, you done things that were done by children. And then as you got older, you done things that people done when they were older. And this idea now of the girls 16, 17, 18 and along comes along an 80-year old woman in the same dress -- well, that wasn't it. The styles were different for older people and younger people.

    Bennett: In color as well?

    Sheldrick: In color. Length. Long sleeves. And you never saw an older person with a dress on with no sleeves. Never saw a sleeveless dress on anyone unless -- and very few of those. Dresses either had short sleeves or long vsleeves. Rarely you saw a sleeveless dress of any kind. I hadn't thought about that. Like Pierre Ferraro and the lanterns.

    Bennett: Tell me about that.

    Sheldrick: It surprised me that I had forgotten about those lanterns. And you'd leave -- the ones that left along the crick, then you would meet them -- if they lived below the middle of Breck's Lane, they came down Breck's Lane and then up Barley Mill Lane. And the lanterns would be coming down Breck's Lane and they'd be coming down Rising Sun Hill. And then when you got to Squirrel Run, these people -- not crowds -- but a few people would be coming out with their lanterns out of Squirrel Run. When you got up to Montchanin Road, they'd be coming down Montchanin Road with them. There were no lights along there then and there were stones as big as your head hanging around. And you just carried a lantern. This was pretty.

    Bennett: This would be like on their way to church?

    Sheldrick: On their way to church. And then they would put them out and leave them out in the vestibule and everybody knew their own lantern and relit it and off they'd go home. I haven't thought about that in years until I read it in --
    Synopsis:
    Keywords: Christmas; Christmas cookies; Christmas decorations; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church (Wilmington, Del.); Weddings