Interview with Ella Fitzharris, 1985 October 4 [audio](part 1)
- Cigars and description of delivery wagons; activities after school at the Hagley Community House in the former Breck's MillKeywords: cigars; coal wagons; crocheting; delivery wagons; dump wagon; DuPont Experimental Station; Fabrikoid; Hagley basketball team; Hagley Community House; hockey coach; horse (gymnastics); Irish lace; Mount Vernon basketball team; player piano; Tower Hill School; Women hockey playersTranscript: Lotter: This is Marge Lotter, the date is October 4, 1985, I'm on my way into Wilmington to interview Ella Fitzharris this morning. [pause] I had a couple questions, things that we had talked about the last time that I just wanted to get a little clearer in my mind. You mentioned your father smoked cigars, and I didn't ask you what brand?
Fitzharris: What kind - I really don't know.
Lotter: You don't?
Fitzharris: Oh I - I don't know whether it would be Bold or not. I remember taking...
Lotter: Was that a brand of cigar?
Fitzharris: I'm not too sure, but I remember - used to wear the paper rings, you know, off the cigars?
Lotter: Oh, yes.
Fitzharris: But I can't remember just what they - seems to be it was Bold, maybe it wasn't.
Lotter: U-huh. Also you were talking about wagons - delivery wagons. What did they look like, could you describe one?
Fitzharris: Well - they were drawn by one horse and some of them had - in the front was like one seat and in the back, there were different sizes, but most of the ones that came through there would just hold a few things. They weren't real big, like two or three milk cans, and things like that, you know. Milkman used to deliver through there.
Lotter: I see - this was an open wagon?
Fitzharris: Yeah, had those flaps down like - I don't know what they would be made of - Fabrikoid and they could roll them up and have little hooks...
Lotter: Oh, I see, I see.
Fitzharris: You know the one up - isn't there one like a stage coach up in Hagley?
Fitzharris: Well similar to that, not real big, but similar to that, not as plush as that, the seats, you know, weren't as plush as that one.
Lotter: Now, they were painted, the wagons?
Fitzharris: They were all black to my knowledge.
Lotter: Black, u-huh.
Fitzharris: I think they had yellow wheels, yellow wooden wheels, you know, and then the metal on the outside, the rim, you know. But it seemed like they were so high to get up to, had like a little metal step to get up into it.
Lotter: Yes, u-huh. And you were also talking about a dump wagon, could you describe it?
Fitzharris: Oh [laughs] that was just an open wagon and it was drawn by two horses and then the driver set up quite high and he had a lever that he could push and the bottom would open like that, you know, separate the bottom of the truck, or the wagon, you know.
Lotter: Oh, the bottom would actually open?
Fitzharris: It would open - when he pressed the lever, why it would just open like that, and the things would fall out and then he could close it up again.
Lotter: I see. So he couldn't really dump a very big load at one time?
Fitzharris: No, no. And the coal wagons that went to the Experimental Station, they were just drawn by one big work horse, and it was just wooden sides and a seat for one man, and then they had just boards in the back and they'd take the boards out and dump it, you know, the thing would go up just a little bit, and the coal would fall out. They took coal from Rising Sun up underneath the railroad bridge to the Experimental Station. There was one man that did that all day long.
Lotter: Yes, I think you mentioned him, yes.
Fitzharris: Mr. Louie, yeah. But it was just a black, just a black one.
Lotter: Now how did they make the back of the truck rise up, do you know, was there a lever...
Fitzharris: I don't know - I think it was also some sort of a lever. Well, it wouldn't be like an automatic thing today, but I think it was some kind of a lever they could push in the wagon, it would go up just a - wouldn't go up very high, it would be on a slant. There were just two wheels on the wagon.
Lotter: Oh, there were?
Fitzharris: Yeah, not four, just two.
Lotter: I see.
Fitzharris: Just a regular dump wagon.
Lotter: How large a wagon would this be?
Fitzharris: I have no idea what it would hold, but I would say it was like - the coal was like coke, you know, if I recall, maybe half a ton, you know, in the wagon. But they'd go up to the rail - the cars - back and forth, back and forth, they used to...
Lotter: They were DuPont Company wagons?
Fitzharris: Yes, there was just one I think that did it, this one man, black man that did it. [pause]
Lotter: Do you remember popcorn at all?
Fitzharris: No I can't say that I do. That's one thing that I don't like.
Lotter: [Laughs] You never popped corn at home?
Fitzharris: Oh no, no, we never did that. But I guess they had it in the stores, I don't know, but to this day I think that's terrible.
Lotter: How about Irish lace?
Fitzharris: Well, I don't remember seeing too much. My Mother had a box of all different things for trimmings and all, but I - I've seen Irish lace, but whether she had it, I don't know. I can still picture the flowers on it, you know, how it was raised?
Fitzharris: You know what it looks like?
Lotter: Yes, yes.
Fitzharris: But - Mrs. Ferraro, the seamstress, she had rolls of it, different - all kinds of laces, you know.
Lotter: Ch did she? How about your grand - either one of your grandmothers?
Fitzharris: I don't know about Mother's mother, but I don't think Grandmother Farren, Nanna, I don't think she did sew, I don't think she did. She was more busy taking care of, you know, as a midwife and taking care of children and things like that.
Lotter: Yes, yes. How about crocheting?
Fitzharris: Oh there's a lot of crocheting in the house, but I don't know who did it, all the doilies and whatnot, you know. Every house had them, lace even on the edge of pillow cases and things like that.
Lotter: Oh, really?
Fitzharris: Yeah, Mrs. Ferraro, she used to do it continuously, she had real wide lace, you know. And I never liked that [laughs].
Lotter: How about on the backs of chairs and the arms of chairs, do you remember...
Fitzharris: Well, I can't remember in our house having it, but I - I remember a lot of pillows, like embroidery work - pillows here and there, all over the furniture you know, some was real pretty and some of them were amateur, you know. I remember trying it several times.
Lotter: Did you - who taught you?
Fitzharris: At the Hagley Community House, Miss Bubb.
Lotter: Ch, did - u-huh. Is that where most of the girls learned how to crochet, or were they taught at home?
Fitzharris: Well, I think some were taught at home, but most of us went over to the Club - the Community House - that's where we learned.
Lotter: Do you ever remember making a sachet or potpourri?
Fitzharris: No, but I do remember making beads. I think I told you that before, didn't I?
Lotter: Yes you did, yes, out of paper.
Fitzharris: Out of catalogs, you know the - and also, they had what they used for price tickets in some of the stores, like a round cardboard disk with metal around them?
Fitzharris: And the ladies over at the Community House, they showed us how to paint those and we used to put flowers on top of those, make necklaces out of them, you know.
Lotter: Oh, that would be pretty.
Fitzharris: I don't know where they got their ideas - they really taught us a lot over there. We didn't appreciate it I don't think, like we should have. We could have probably learned a whole lot more, but you know we'd be anxious to get up to the gym or watch the boys playing pool and things like that, you know. But it was really a nice place, too bad they had to close it up.
Lotter: Yes, it is, it really is. And the gym was where in that building?
Fitzharris: On the third floor.
Lotter: On the third floor.
Fitzharris: They also had shows there, plays...
Fitzharris: And they had a stage they could open up, it was back up against the wall and they could lower it.
Lotter: And that was on the third floor also?
Fitzharris: Third floor, the stage was towards Hagey's.
Lotter: Oh, I see, okay.
Fitzharris: They had Christmas parties there.
Lotter: Oh, did they?
Fitzharris: Yeah, used to give us candy and things like that, you know, taught us to sing Christmas carols. But they really did a lot in the short time that we could spend there, you know.
Lotter: They must have.
Fitzharris: They were just dedicated ladies I think, you know, they just enjoyed that. Neither one of them were ever married and - that takes a lot of patience.
Lotter: It certainly does. What kind of things did you play in the gym?
Fitzharris: Well, we had the rings come down, you know, and do somersault and we had horse, used to - and then they had the bars we used to straddle. It was quite nice.
Lotter: I see - mostly gymnastics?
Fitzharris: Yeah, and had the regular thick mats, you know, if we fell. It was fun.
Lotter: And what was the second floor used for?
Fitzharris: Well, they had a piano there and a pool table and I don't know what else. But then down in the basement where they have the things now, that's where we learned to cook and sew, down in there. I think the middle floor was more of - well, we weren't allowed in there too much, you know, they had the piano there and they used to allow us - they had a player piano and of course we used to run in there, as kids will do, you know. I don't think we were really supposed to be in there too much, but they never - nobody ever got spanked or any thing like that, they would just talk to us. Those ladies were fantastic.
Lotter: They must have been.
Fitzharris: It was Miss Bubb and Miss Bradford I think, and then the lady that taught the gym, her name was Miss Baldwin, and she taught at Tower Hill School for a long, long time.
Lotter: Oh, is that right?
Fitzharris: Yeah, she taught them - she was a hockey coach there; she was very thin. I don't know whether she was from Canada or not, but she was really marvelous - great hockey player. She played for years and years up at Tower Hill School.
Lotter: Did she instruct the boys also?
Fitzharris: No, I don't think so. I don't know who taught the boys on their basketball and things like that, I can't remember that. But I know they had a team. One team was Hagley, and there was another team around there - Mount Vernon, and I don't know who coached Mount Vernon, but I know Hagley had their own team. I suppose up at Hagley, up at the Museum, I would think there would be some pictures of the Hagley basketball team.
Lotter: I would think there probably would.
Fitzharris: I think so, 'cause all the men there - Mr. Logan, Mr. Biddle and all those men - 'cause everybody seemed to have had a man that played and had a picture, you know, of the team. I can't remember the...
Lotter: This building, was it in use almost every afternoon then?
Fitzharris: Yes. And it was nice when we come home from school, it would be nice and warm in there 'cause we could stop off there, because as I told you, I lived all the way across the Brandywine, and coming from St. Joseph's and being real cold, it was very helpful to go in there and get warm and then go home.
Lotter: I bet it was, sure. So you were allowed, then, to stop and stay for a while before you went home for dinner. Did you have chores to do before dinner?
Fitzharris: I can't remember when I was going to the Club, I can't - whether there was somebody Dad had come in at that time or not, I just don't remember that.
Lotter: How old were you when you...
Fitzharris: My Mother died, I was...
Lotter: ...went to the Community Center?
Fitzharris: My Mother died when I was seven and I think, I'm not sure, but I think I was about nine, but you became an Intermediate at twelve, and you could go after dinner, providing somebody would take you, but I was just going to be an Intermediate when the Club closed, so I didn't get to go. I don't think my sister went that much either because Dad didn't want us out at night, you know.
Lotter: Yeah, I didn't realize they had anything at night.
- Local wine making and taverns; her mother baking cakes for St. Joseph's suppers; mourning customs; her sister getting tuberculosis and being treated at the Emily Bissell InstituteKeywords: black veils; Brandywine Sanatorium; covered bride; Emily Bissell Institute (Wilmington, Del.); home brewing; Irish wakes; Joe Valentine; Mourning customs; root beer; Saint Joseph on the Brandywine; sanatoriums; St. Patrick's Day; taverns; tuberculosis; wineTranscript: Lotter: How about wine, was wine homemade?
Fitzharris: A lot of people made it, my Dad never made it, and I don't think my Grandmother's people, I don't they did either - Italian people made it - a lot of Italians, and there were quite a few Italians around there at the time in Squirrel Run, you know, they made it. But I don't remember...
Lotter: Do you remember anyone in the Walker's Bank area?
Fitzharris: One Italian man that lived in the barn. I don't know what his - what his name was, but they used to call him Joe Valentine, whether that was his name or not, I don't know, but he lived in the barn and he made wine all the time. In fact, he used to give his horse wine.
Lotter: Oh, is that right [laughs]. Could you buy wine anywhere in the village?
Fitzharris: I don't know whether the local pub, taverns had it or not, I don't really know.
Lotter: Mostly beer and whiskey?
Fitzharris: Yeah, beer and whiskey. From what I understand, there was several of those around there. I think there was at least three right there in the valley. There was one at the top of Rising Sun and one halfway down Rising Sun and there was Jeff Blakeley and Sam Frizzell, they used to run that one, then there was a Dougherty at the top of the hill. And then my cousin, Pat Dougherty, he had the one down along the Brandywine.
Lotter: Yes, yes.
Fitzharris: But I don't know whether - oh, and there was one up near St. Joseph's Church, the Lawless family had that.
Lotter: Oh, yes.
Fitzharris: At the corner of - it was Barley Mill and Montchanin Road, 'course there's nothing there now.
Lotter: No, no.
Fitzharris: But that was another one.
Lotter: Well, there were quite a few in the area. How about beer, do you remember anyone making beer at home?
Fitzharris: I remember my sister's mother, that family making beer, but I don't remember, like anyone right along the Brandywine, I don't remember them making it. They lived on Rising Sun Lane. 'Course now understand, they may have, but I of course wasn't interested and didn't know anything about that. But I would think they did. They all made root beer I know, everybody made root beer.
Lotter: Oh, is that right?
Fitzharris: Oh, you could hear bottles popping all the time.
Lotter: How about any other alcoholic beverages?
Fitzharris: I don't know of any. We never had much - I know my Father would drink and all, like sociable, but I don't ever remember seeing any whiskey or wine in our house. As I say, it could have been there and I didn't see it, but I don't remember it.
Lotter: How about families working together - do you remember any quilting bees or people working together to do canning or gardening?
Fitzharris: No, I just remember like my Mother and aunts doing their own, not getting together, just talking about it to one another, you know, but I don't think they - as far as getting together and doing it all at once, I don't think they did. 'Course they used to have suppers at St. Joseph's and they used to - everybody would bring a covered dish and go up there, you know, one trying to outdo the other making cakes and things like that. Not bragging, but I understand my Mother was one of the best cake makers.
Lotter: Oh, is that right?
Fitzharris: Yeah, she didn't belong to the church, but she, you know, she did bake, but she didn't pass that on to me,
Lotter: What was your favorite cake that she made?
Fitzharris: I remember a chocolate cake an awful lot, but like if they had bakes or suppers up there, she was always making some kind of a cake and then she'd - well they have tube cakes today, she'd have a square and she'd put a piece of cardboard over it and ice it over it, but she'd always put a prize in there and they were supposed to guess and whoever - it was so much a chance, you know - and whoever would guess what it was, well they'd get the cake, but they made a lot of money, I think. She was the originator, I think, of that and made a lot of money. St. Patrick's Day, I remember my aunt talking one time, she put an Irishman's hat in there, and you'd think everybody would think of that, but nobody thought about it, so they just sold the cake. Because I remember my family all talking about that.
Lotter: That was a clever idea. How about when someone died - did families come together to help?
Fitzharris: Everybody seemed to rush in, as far as I know, there was one family up there, the lady used to always go in and dress the body, wash it, you know, and prepare it. And then they had their viewing at the home, and of course if you were Irish, that was an Irish all-night affair you know, eating and drinking, but they all worked together for something like that. And I can remember ladies wearing veils, and they used to borrow them. They had - oh, they were huge veils and they would put them over the crown of the hat, you know, and down the front and down the back, long black hat - not hat pins, just long straight pins, you know. I remember Mrs. Bonner she had the most veils, and she used to loan them to everybody.
Lotter: Oh, is that right? Now these would come down almost shoulder length?
Fitzharris: Oh yeah, sometimes further. They were like a net and then some of them were, oh two inches maybe of a satin border around, and some had flowers in it.
Lotter: Oh yes.
Fitzharris: But Mrs. Bonner would always go in and help people, you know, well if the house needed cleaning or she'd help with the cooking, but she always took her veils in case somebody needed a veil.
Lotter: Oh, that was nice.
Fitzharris: Yeah, really a good point. She was a nice person. That's her family that lived across there - my cousins.
Lotter: Oh, I see.
Fitzharris: The one I go around with - they lived up at the Brandywine too. But she was really a nice person.
Lotter: Did most of the people dress in black?
Fitzharris: Oh yes. For quite a while I think, several months.
Lotter: Is that right?
Fitzharris: 'Course ladies in those days wore black for dress most of the time anyway.
Lotter: So they all had a good black outfit?
Fitzharris: Yeah - black gloves and the black hats. Of course everybody had hats then, you know, the white shirtwaist. I liked those styles. I was saying the other day, I wish they'd come back. They said what would you do with all that kind of a skirt, but I thought they always looked nice.
Fitzharris: The high necks and the pins and all.
Lotter: What about crime in that area?
Fitzharris: I don't know of any, I really don't. Probably - I'm sure there was, but we never were afraid to go any place, you never hear of anybody attacking people, not in my time. Because the men used to sit along that road there, when it was a covered bridge by the Experimental Station, you know, and they'd sit on that wall and some of them would be drinking, but we'd come past, we were never afraid of them. They'd just speak to us and never bother us.
Lotter: Do you remember any police?
Fitzharris: No, I don't really. There again, there may have been, but I don't remember any.
Lotter: What do you remember about tuberculosis?
Fitzharris: Well, I didn't know a whole lot about it, but my girlfriend's brother had it - brother-in-law I guess was, but he had it and he died, but I had a sister that had it and she was in the sanatorium for - well, she was in bed 33 month, but she was completely cured. And then she had - after she was completely cured, she was well for a long time, but then she had a stroke and that's what killed her. Oh, that was an ordeal that I would rather not remember. Everything had to boiled, all her clothes. And when she came home from the Emily Bissell Institute you know, she come home for a weekend and everything had to be boiled, the silverware and anything, you know. I can remember being eighteen years old and what a chore, you know, to have to do all that. After all, she had two children and they had to be checked all the time and we had to be checked because we were in contact with her. But every week going out to the Brandywine Sanatorium, getting off at the Cedars and walking up to that hospital, that's a long way, we didn't have a car. But, well, it paid off, I mean, anybody would do it for me too, I'm sure...
Lotter: Oh, certainly.
Fitzharris: But when you're eighteen years old, seventeen, eighteen, and have to run a house and, you know, do that kind of stuff, you sort of got disgusted at times.
Lotter: Yeah - I'm sure, I'm sure. Do you remember a lot of tuberculosis?
Fitzharris: Well the only three people I know - there was a man lived - his name was [Hallop?], and he lived up on Barley Mill Lane above Hallock du Pont's entrance - you know that little white house that sits there?
Fitzharris: Well, there was a man lived there and his mother and father built an outdoor room and he was out there in the cold - 'course they figured the cold weather, you know, that people with tuberculosis, that's what they had to have, plenty of fresh air. And he slept out there and as I say, my girlfriend's brother-in-law my sister, that's about all I knew that had it.
- Her mother's wooden bicycle; furnishings in the kitchen and living room in their house near Walker's BanksKeywords: bathing; cane seats; closets; cook stove; couches; drop-leaf tables; grass matting; kerosene stove; kitchen chairs; kitchen furniture; Morris chair; printed carpets; settee; tea wagon; wash stands; wash tubs; window shadesTranscript: Lotter: Did you ever have a bicycle?
Fitzharris: No, but I rode many a one - friends that all had them.
Lotter: How about your sister or your brother?
Fitzharris: No, I don't think any of us ever had one. My Mother had one, but we never rode it. 'Cause it was really an old-time one, it was in the attic. I don't know what ever happened to it, but the spokes, not the spokes - what do you call it, the thing that goes down and holds the front wheel on?
Lotter: Oh, the frame?
Fitzharris: Yeah, frame - that was wood, and the wheels were wooden. I remember it being up in the attic, but I think before she got married, I think she used to ride it a lot. I think my Dad just kept it as a relic, like, you know. But after we left over there, I don't know what ever happened to it.
Lotter: Oh, that would really be something to have.
Fitzharris: I would, yeah.
Lotter: You never remember her riding it?
Fitzharris: No. I don't know whether she did after, you know, she had a family. There's so much that I wish I did know that I don't, but when you're seven, you know, you just don't remember too much.
Lotter: That's right - no, no you don't.
Fitzharris: Then you're not exactly envious, but when you see other children have mothers and fathers, you know sometimes you...
Lotter: That must be hard, I'm sure it is.
Fitzharris: It's kinda hard, yeah.
Lotter: A few questions on how your house was furnished. Let's start with the kitchen.
Fitzharris: Well, it had about four or five chairs I remember and the table was drop-leaf to save space, you could open two leaves on each side, you know. And they had a shelf and on the shelf would be a box of those long matches, and a mirror, some sort of a small mirror, and a clock. And then there was a - well they had the old-time closets like they have up in the Gibbons House, that's where they kept the pots and pans you know.
Lotter: M-huh - you mean like a built-in cupboard?
Fitzharris: Yeah, it had shelves at the top and then an open space and then two drawers and then two doors. The pans were in the bottom, and dish towels and linens were in the drawers. And then - I don't know what - I guess things maybe that they kept sugar or flour in, there were some sort of cannisters there, I don't know just what they were, I remember on the shelf part, you know. And then the doors were solid, you know you put your dishes in there, but they were solid, you couldn't see through. And we had the cook stove, like the Gibbons House, and then we also had a kerosene stove that we did our summer cooking on.
Lotter: Where was that located in the room?
Fitzharris: Well, like the kitchen - the big stove would be here and it would be across the room from it, be real close you know. And I think sometimes when it - maybe if the fire wasn't as hot, in the wintertime too, you know, if you couldn't catch it up, you wanted to cook, you used the oil in the wintertime, but mostly we used the big cook stove.
Lotter: Did you keep your cook stove, did you bank it at night?
Fitzharris: Oh yeah - Dad did that. Once in a while it would go out, you know, but they were either too hot or too cold. Sometimes those kitchens could get so hot.
Lotter: I bet they would.
Fitzharris: I remember opening - when we used to open the kitchen door, and then 'course right - was like a little hallway and then this would be like the dining room and sort of sitting room combined, and we also had a stove in there. But when both of those stoves were going sometimes - whew, Lord deliver us [laughs].
Lotter: How about a sink, did you have a sink in the kitchen?
Fitzharris: Oh no.
Lotter: No sink of any kind?
Fitzharris: Not when I was a child, after Mother died, no they had buckets of water and tables, you know.
Lotter: I see, but no dry sink?
Fitzharris: No, it was like a table, a small table, just so big and it had a bucket - two buckets of water on there and a basin.
Lotter: I see. So dishes - that's where dishes were washed?
Fitzharris: Dishes were washed.
Lotter: Now what about in the morning when you got up, where did you wash?
Fitzharris: In the kitchen.
Lotter: You used the same buckets?
Fitzharris: Well no, we had - for the dishes there like big blue pans and then for getting washed, there were smaller ones. But I don't know, we took baths, we didn't have a bathtub, but we were clean [laughs].
Lotter: Where did you bathe?
Fitzharris: In the kitchen, everything was done in the kitchen. Nobody was around, you had to take turns, you know.
Lotter: U-huh, u-huh. So it was more like a sponge bath?
Fitzharris: Yeah. Sometimes in the summertime they had those big tubs, you know, we used to use wash tubs...
Lotter: Oh, did you?
Fitzharris: Dad would carry the water and we'd use that. I must have been...
Lotter: But not in the wintertime?
Fitzharris: Not in the big tubs, no, I don't think so. But they had - I think when we got older, they had these wash stands - they also have one of them up in the Gibbons House I think, with the big pitcher and water.
Lotter: Yes, yes, right.
Fitzharris: I remember getting washed there when I got older, but I'm just talking about when I was real small. When you come to think about it, carrying all that water - and it wasn't like going out front, it was down the road.
Lotter: That would have been a job. Now do you remember several people using the same bath water?
Fitzharris: No, no I don't remember that. I don't think we did, I really don't. 'Course in the summertime we were in the Brandywine all the time. Three times a day, you know. That water in the Brandywine wasn't dirty, it wasn't clean all the time, but it wasn't - now it gets so stagnant looking, it's like a film on it all the time.
Lotter: Yes, yes. You mentioned chairs and a table, what were they made out of?
Fitzharris: Well, a lot of the chairs now are just wooden chairs with a design in the back - I think they have those in the Gibbons House too, don't they?
Lotter: Oak chairs were they?
Fitzharris: The kitchen chairs, yeah.
Lotter: I don't recall any with a design in the back, they do have a couple oak chairs, they have painted chairs in there.
Fitzharris: Well these were oak and they had like the - there was a solid board across the top, and they were carved and then they had two rungs atop of them, two posts like at the top. But I think most everybody had that sort of type. And then in the bedroom they had cane seats like they have now, you know, just the rungs in the back, but they were cane. That I would love to have now, a couple of those, put up - I don't know what happened to them either.
Lotter: Yeah, that was a shame. What was your living room/dining room furnished like?
Fitzharris: Well, in the wintertime it had a stove - where they put the stove in the summertime, I don't know, but it wasn't there, probably in the shed. And they had a - well, sort of a round table, wasn't a - I guess Mother must have put her - like we would use a tea wagon, there was a small one of those and then there was a big, a great big square dining room table with, you know, what I want to say - like a pedestal, you know, and the dining room chairs. They had sort of a padded seat, but the backs weren't - they were just regular wood rungs, you know. But it was some sort of material on the seats, I don't know what they were, but they could change them often, you know, you just take the seat of the chair out and put new colors in. And Dad had what they call a Morris chair - have you ever heard of one of those?
Lotter: I have, but I'm not familiar with it, I've never seen one.
Fitzharris: Well, it's a wooden chair, similar to that, but in the back it was open and had separate cushions, the front and the top and the bottom and then there was a rod run across the bottom, you could lower the chair back as far as you wanted, almost to a sleeping position.
Lotter: I see.
Fitzharris: But that's what they called a Morris...
Lotter: Similar to our recliners today?
Fitzharris: Yes, u-huh, about the same idea, but they had like a curtain rod, wasn't a curtain rod, but this rod would go across, it was heavy, and you could, there little digits there, like a niche where you could put the - up straight or all the way back. And then they also had what they called a couch, it was a - well you could sleep on it, but it came up, the end, like this end would be up, like pillows, but the bottom would be straight, and they were always like throw pillows - throw covers over them with the fancy pillows, you know. 'Course if you wanted to rest, you just took the pillows off because there wouldn't be enough room.
Fitzharris: And other people would have a settee - I suppose you know what a settee is?
Fitzharris: Wooden with the feather bed...
Lotter: Oh yes, yes.
Fitzharris: My Grandmother, she had one with the feather bed and it was blue check, she had that in her kitchen.
Lotter: I see.
Fitzharris: Oh everybody was tired would just go in there and rest, you know. I can remember like my Uncle Pete - we didn't have one like that, but I remember Uncle Pete used to come home from work and he would be resting on that, you know.
Lotter: U-huh, u-huh.
Fitzharris: That's another thing you'd pay a price for today, one of those settees.
Lotter: Oh yes, I'm sure you would. Now the Morris chair, did that have a foot rest also?
Fitzharris: No, it was just - just would be like this. It was like a - and they were all done in like a heavy, well it was heavier than a velvet, but on that type, you know, it was brocaded like - the whole thing. Ours was green. And then we had pictures here and there, and just a regular rug on the floor with the bare floors around the edge, you know.
Lotter: Was this a plain carpet or was it a printed carpet?
Fitzharris: Printed, all colors. And then in the summertime they used to put grass ones down, like a matting rug, you know.
Lotter: And the other carpet was taken up?
Fitzharris: Well, now there again, see, I mean I wasn't that observing, I don't know what they did with that, you know, but they would take it up. And they just had regular glass curtains and shades, oil lamps.
Lotter: What color were the shades?
Fitzharris: Window shades - all green, dark green. Some people in later years, I remember, had white on the inside and green on the outside. That's about all I remember.
- Living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture; placement of the flour barrel in the kitchenKeywords: Alexis I. du Pont School; bedroom furniture; breadbox; chifforobe; doilies; flour barrel; homework; horsehair furniture; night stands; oil lamps; sewing machine; tablecloths; wallpaper; washstand; winding stairsTranscript: Lotter: Were the walls painted or papered?
Fitzharris: Some were - the kitchen was painted or whitewashed, I don't know what you call it, but the bedrooms and the dining room/living room, they were all papered. I think my parents used to do their own wallpapering.
Lotter: Did they?
Fitzharris: Yeah, then they used a border, you know, on the wallpaper too - that's coming back I understand.
Lotter: Yes it is, oh yes. Did they use mostly plain papers or were these...
Fitzharris: Some were - I think most of them - they weren't really a smooth paper because the walls were so rough, you know, they couldn't use a real smooth paper. Same way up on Breck's Lane, I had to use the textured wallpaper because the walls were rough. I think what it was, they were whitewashed and painted and papered and - you know - and you could never get them smooth, course you could have plastered them and had them done right, but that's the way everybody used colored paper.
Lotter: U-huh - anything else you remember about the living room?
Fitzharris: M-m-m, that's about all - I remember we always had a white tablecloth on the dining room table, a white damask, I don't know why they did, I guess everybody did, I don't know, but I remember having - seeing white damask tablecloth.
Lotter: Was the dining room table at one end of the room?
Fitzharris: No, right in the middle of the floor.
Lotter: Oh, it was?
Fitzharris: M-huh, they were big dining rooms.
Lotter: I see, and the rest of the furniture was just against the walls?
Fitzharris: Yeah, like the - you'd come in off the porch, there would be a door with a window in the door, and then a window with a deep sill, about like so. And then along the solid wall, that's were the couch would be. The dining room table was in the middle of the floor, and the stove would be on the opposite side from the couch. The Morris chair was next to the couch, right next to the stove, and then there was this - I don't know what name you called it, but it was a window opened in, like two doors, and then when you opened that, it went back into the ground and they kept their cold things, in summertime they had flowers and different things in there, but on the ground, I mean up - you go in the back, you know, you'd go in off the back, there would be these glass - well just like if you took that window out and laid it flat to make a hot house, you know, so I meant at night they had the drop shutters that would go over top of that, and in the wintertime we had that 'too, but that's what let light in, you know, into the dining room because the dining room was built right in against the wall, right against the ground, in the ground, you know. Same way with the kitchen, but the kitchen, it was a separate room. The rest of the house was solid, but this was just like a kitchen added on and way up near the edge of it, they had a window and it was just above the ground.
Lotter: Oh, I see.
Fitzharris: But, oh the ceilings were high, very high, very high. Then they had the winding stairs. I don't think our stairs were as steep as the Gibbons House, I think they were - I don't know, we had high ceilings, but they just wound up, those steps, they really got to me because I'm older now, with the eyes not so good - could be that.
Lotter: But you did have a similar type stairway?
Fitzharris: Yeah, oh they were all winding.
Lotter: Well, I suspect that took up less space.
Fitzharris: Then when you went on the second floor, see there was a back door and you could walk right out into the yard in the back, just like the Gibbons House.
Lotter: M-huh. Now, on the second floor, you said your parents had a bedroom on the second floor, did that take up the whole second floor?
Fitzharris: Well, that was a - the whole second floor, it was a huge room.
Lotter: It must have been.
Fitzharris: They had double bed, dresser, chifforobe, little tables beside the bed, you know, and a - what we would call now, I guess, a love seat - it was covered in horsehair, black, you know, and a rocking chair to match that - and a washstand. And then a real deep closet. That was the whole...
Lotter: So you did have an actual closet built in?
Fitzharris: Yeah. But that's about all. In the back was a door and the one window. And the window would overlook this thing that went into the dining room. You had to be careful and you couldn't walk up there, you know, because the glass, if you ever fell through that it would be just - but there was flowers in the back yard.
Lotter: Did your parents ever sit up in the bedroom then? Do you ever remember them using the settee?
Fitzharris: Well, I guess when we were - I don't know what they used it for, but most of the time in the evenings - well of course we sat out on the porch or we had a thing beside the porch, and then maybe when we went to bed, they went up there, I don't know. But there again, I'm missing a lot, you know, I can't remember.
Lotter: In the evening, after dinner in the wintertime, where would they sit, in the kitchen or in the living room?
Fitzharris: Well I can't - in the combination, this living room/dining room - I can't remember too much of Mother and Dad doing that, I mean as I say, I was so young when she died, but I remember Dad helping us with our homework and everything, it was in this sitting room/living room combined. We had to do all our homework there. But if it was something like - if he was hearing us, we'd be in there, but if it was like doing arithmetic or something we had to do on our own, we'd go out to the kitchen table.
Lotter: I see, but otherwise you did it at the dining room table?
Fitzharris: Whichever was the most comfortable, wasn't too hot, you know, or too cold.
Lotter: U-huh. When you had company, how many people could you seat around the dining room table?
Fitzharris: Oh, it seemed like when our front door opened, everybody was there. I remember when Mother cooked, that was her big thing on Sunday, having company over for dinner. 'Course we children, we had to wait until the grownups ate, you know, then we were served. But there must have been ten or twelve anyway, because they had these big leaves, you know, you could open up. I guess that was why the dining room table was in the middle of the floor, too, because you could extend it.
Lotter: Was there a light over the table?
Fitzharris: I can't remember that. I know we had oil lamps here and there, but I can't tell it, I really don't know. A lot of people had those that you could pull down, whether we had one, I don't remember. I was sort of stupid.
Lotter: I think you remember a lot. How about your bedroom, you and your sister shared a room?
Fitzharris: Well, we had one of these real old fashioned - I'd give a mint to have one now - wooden bed and it was all carved at the top, like a mahogany bed, you know, and of course it had the spring and the mattress and the feather bed, that I didn't like, and we also had a washstand with a pitcher, and there was a stove in our room, and I guess a couple chairs with the cane seats, one for her and one for me. I remember I sat on one by the window, that's where I - I guess that's where our clothes were, I don't know. Mine was nearest the closet. And then my brother, his bed was in the back room. His was iron and brass. I saw one on television the other day, if I recall it looked very much like it - they were giving a prize on Wheel of Fortune, you know, the bottom came sort of bowed around and that was all brass and the rest of it was white iron. And he had a - oh a great big chifforobe or something to keep his clothes in, he didn't have a closet in his room, but he had this big thing to keep his clothes in - and it had a bureau. And we had a lot of these little tables like that he made at Alexis I. School, and I don't know who made them before, like for night stands, you know, things like that. 'Course Mother had in her room, I remember she had a tall table and it was all carved, about so big, they had their clock and whatnot on it, you know. But there again, they all had to have these doilies on them, you know, with the lace.
Lotter: Did your mother ever have a sewing table?
Fitzharris: No, I don't know if she had a sewing - she had a sewing machine. She used to cut out her patterns I think, on the kitchen table.
Lotter: Where did she keep her sewing supplies, do you remember?
Fitzharris: No, I don't. I don't really know. She'd have to have some place 'cause she did so much sewing.
Lotter: That's right.
Fitzharris: I don't really know, I know in the dining room/living room combined, we had a very deep closet, it went under the stairway, and it could be in there. It had shelves in it, it might have been in there. There again, I don't know.
Lotter: I think you mentioned when we talked before too, about flour being kept in a big wooden barrel all the time with a cover, where was that in the kitchen?
Fitzharris: Big barrel with a cover around it - that would be near the closet, back by the wall. See the kitchen would be against the wall, too - or the ground, you know. And they had round wooden tops on them and then they had like a curtain around it. Checked gingham or flowered, whatever. I guess whatever they had, you know, extra material.
Lotter: Was there just the one barrel or did you keep anything else in a barrel in the kitchen?
Fitzharris: Not that I remember, but the barrels were, you know, I don't know how many bushel.
Lotter: I have no idea, but I know they were huge.
Fitzharris: They were real tall and like that, but sugar and things like that, I don't know. But we had a breadbox, I remember a metal breadbox, but I don't know of some of the other things.
Lotter: I think we discussed the attic - I think that about covers the whole house - am I right?
Fitzharris: Well, the potatoes were kept in the attic, I think I told you that.
Lotter: Yes, that's right.
- Neighbors taking in boarders; wallpaper and house repairs; her grandmother and others quilting; square dancing at Breck's MillKeywords: Breck's Mill; darning socks; families; house repairs; paint; picket fences; playing cards; quilting frame; quilts; square dancing; Talley-Ho; wallpaperTranscript: Lotter: Did your family ever have any boarders?
Fitzharris: No, we didn't.
Lotter: Do you remember neighbors taking in boarders?
Fitzharris: 0h, a lot of people did, yeah. No, we would not have had the room, you know. Oh, I remember a lot of other people, like the Irish people would come over and have a relative here and they would stay with them. My husband's people lived down in St. Anne's Parish, they weren't powder workers or anything, but his mother had a boarding house.
Lotter: Oh, is that right?
Fitzharris: Yes, she had a - they had a big house - down where those apartments are down in Kentmere? She had a big - from what I understand, I never saw it, but I remember my husband talking about it - it was a big three-story house and a lot of the Irish people came over and would say - well that's a good boarding house and they'd go there until they got established and get married, you know, but there was quite a few of them.
Lotter: So these people were not all relatives then?
Fitzharris: No, not all of them, just to give them a start after they got over here. They'd come to New York and they would come down to Wilmington, you know, but we never had boarders. I don't think Grandmother Farren or any of them ever had either.
Lotter: Do you remember what color your wallpaper was?
Fitzharris: I remember one in the dining room was sort of a tan and it had great big flowers, it also had a border around the top. But I guess...
Lotter: What did you have in the bedroom?
Fitzharris: They were just generally striped flowers, you know, like a stripe and then a little tiny flower. Something like they use today.
Lotter: Do you remember any specific colors?
Fitzharris: Pinks I think, I'm not sure. I would say mostly the neutral, you know. Not that they were so conscious of color and all, but they had white bedspreads then, most everybody had a white bedspread so most anything would go. White covered doilies and bureau scarves and things like that - white curtains.
Lotter: Now, if something had to be repaired in the house, who did it?
Fitzharris: [Laughs] Pop I guess, I don't really know. My mother was very handy, I know she could wallpaper and paint and things like that. But I guess just the regular hard work, I guess my Dad did.
Lotter: Do you ever remember him calling in or having someone else come in and do any repair work?
Fitzharris: M-huh, maybe they did, but I don't remember. I think men then all - well they didn't have the money and I think they just had to learn to do it themselves.
Lotter: Do you ever remember any of the men working in a group to do a big project for someone - say the roof needed fixing or something like that?
Fitzharris: No, I think, I'm not sure, but I think the Company took care of that. See the houses, the employees of the DuPont Company, they had the houses, and I assumed that they did it.
Lotter: I would think they would, too, any big repairs.
Fitzharris: 'Course nobody owned their home then, only the Bonners. I mean over where Dobbs live on Henry Clay now, they built that house and they lived there, the Bonner family. But most everybody else just rented.
Lotter: Do you remember if the Company provided the paint to do the painting or...
Fitzharris: No, I don't think so. I think my Dad bought the paint, I really do think that, but I think any big thing, the Company would do. Like the Company put in fences and we started to have mailboxes and things like that, they did that. So, I'm sure that they did all the other repairs.
Lotter: Where were the fences?
Fitzharris: Out in front of the house. I remember when we were real small, they had white picket fences. But then in later years, they had the wire fences, you know the, about how high, and the gates to match, you know, and then in our front yard, we had hedge on one part of the yard and the fence on the other.
Lotter: So almost everyone's yard was fenced off?
Fitzharris: Yeah, m-huh.
Lotter: Why do you think they fenced all the yards?
Fitzharris: Keep the kids in I guess [laughs], I don't know, really, but when you figure, that was close to the Brandywine.
Lotter: Yes it was, that's right.
Fitzharris: So I kind of have an idea it was for that reason. In the back, most of the houses down where we lived, they run into the bank, but they didn't need a fence back there, but I assume that that's what it was. 'Course when you were told then, "You don't go out the gate." - you don't go out the gate. It's not now, take a chance, you know.
Lotter: That's right, that's right. Did most families, or most couples have children?
Fitzharris: I don't know of anybody that didn't - not on our side anyway, everybody had them - one to seven. Very few one in a family. I was just thinking that that other day, I think every family that I knew had at least five.
Lotter: Is that right - so there were a lot of children.
Fitzharris: And that way, you could never lie about your age because you had a cousin that was either a year older or a year younger, you know.
Lotter: That's right. Do you remember your mother or your grandmother darning socks?
Fitzharris: I remember Grandmother Farren doing it, but I'm sure my Mother must have done it because she, you know, she sewed and everything. I just imagine she did, but I can't remember that.
Lotter: How about any quilt making, can you remember...
Fitzharris: She was making a quilt when she died, from what I understand. I remember seeing it. It was all shades of yellow. [tape is switched]...patches, you know, and then take it to her to be quilted.
Lotter: I see, and then she would put it together into a quilt.
Fitzharris: She had a quilting frame and she just kept it in this one tiny room. The house is still there, the one when you go under the railroad bridge, it's empty now, on the right-hand side, sort of an odd green, right along the railroad?
Lotter: I can't picture it offhand, I'll have to look next time I go by.
Fitzharris: Well when you go up - come past Hagey's and go up Rising Sun, its on the right - it's been idle about a year I guess, but she had this one. Well there's three rooms in that house, there was a fairly large kitchen and a living room, but then this other room, I don't know why they ever made it so small, it was just big enough - she had her quilting frame and a chair in there. And people would bring things to her, she's from Pennsylvania. She's a very good quilter. Everybody had quilts though. I imagine that all the ladies, some other ladies must have had it, that's when I got older I remember this woman, but I'm sure Grandmother Farren - cause everybody had quilts on their beds, so one woman couldn't do all the quilting.
Lotter: I wouldn't think so.
Fitzharris: Maybe they had a class that I didn't know about or something, you know. Oh, I think those quilts are beautiful.
Lotter: Oh, they are. Now, were they used as spreads or was there a spread over the quilt?
Fitzharris: Generally, and I don't know if everybody did, but I remember ours was folded up at the bottom of the bed. Then they were thrown over, whether they - I think they took the spreads off at night. They were those heavy white things, you know. And I know later on my sister and I, when we had the quilts in the wintertime, we didn't have a spread, didn't put the spread on the bed, we just put the quilt. There again, I don't know what happened to all those quilts. And our dishes and lots of things, you know. 'Course when different people coming in doing this and doing that, you couldn't say who took or anything, you know. I remember my sister asking my Dad one time, "Wonder where this was?" He said, "I don't know." And that was all that was said, so I don't know.
Lotter: Did anyone do any square dancing?
Fitzharris: Oh, they did that in Breck's Mill.
Lotter: Did they?
Fitzharris: Yes - I don't know how they got out there, but they used to go out to Talley-Ho, too, they did a lot of square dancing out there. I had a cousin, her name was Bonner, but she was the wife of this man that had this tavern - Pat Dougherty - she and a man by the name of Hardwick, they were supposed to be the best square dancers in the Brandywine. Mary Dougherty and Bob Hardwick. 'Course they never - they didn't go together or anything - Bob never got married, but Mary did, but they say they were - and I remember my Mother and Father used to dance. I mean I was told they did. That and playing cards, I guess that's about all the recreation they had, you know.
Lotter: Do you remember any round dancing as opposed to square dancing?
Fitzharris: No - I don't really know.
Lotter: How about anybody dancing a jig?
Fitzharris: Oh yes, and the man playing the fiddle, you know.
- First memories of automobile rides; picnics, beaches, and making ice cream; textiles, ironing, and laundryKeywords: babysitting; boiler; coleslaw; damask; Deemers Beach; Diamond Ice and Coal Company; Dodge automobiles; ice cream; ice wagons; ironing board; Irons (Pressing); Laundry; movies; Oilcloth; pianos; picnics; Pierce Arrow automobiles; Riverview Beach; Street-railroads; trolleys; washboardTranscript: Lotter: What about your first car ride?
Fitzharris: You mean an automobile?
Fitzharris: I don't know whether that was in a Pierce Arrow - a friend of my aunt used to come out from Van Buren Street - he had a Pierce Arrow and it was really something. He had a beard and a...
Lotter: A goatee?
Fitzharris: Yeah, real heavy - nice looking old man, and then right after that my Uncle bought a car. Think he had a Dodge, I think they were the first two cars I ever had a ride in. We didn't have a car for a long time.
Lotter: Do you remember where you went on your first car ride?
Fitzharris: No, just around the Brandywine I think, up the Kennett Pike and back you know.
Lotter: As a child, were there any ways that you could do to earn money?
Fitzharris: No - I used to babysit for one family, but I guess I was about twelve years old and I only did it for two or three days - I mean two or three different times - but I don't remember making money other than that.
Lotter: Did you get an allowance of any kind?
Fitzharris: Money we got - we didn't get a weekly allowance, but if something came up, they'd give us money. We never had money at our disposal all the time, you know. But like if we were going for a walk and it was a hot day, you'd have money to buy ice cream or something like that. And there again, a lot of people went in to the movies. We never went to the movies a whole lot, went in to Market Street, you know. Not like they do today - I mean kids can go to the movies whenever they want, you know, but we didn't. I sound like I'm the old poor mouth, I don't mean to be like that.
Lotter: No, you sound like you had your fun right there. I don't imagine that many people went in to Wilmington.
Fitzharris: No, and I remember when the carfare was a nickel. And, oh, we'd get on the trolley at Rising Sun and ride up to Buck Road, oh that was really a fantastic ride [laughs].
Lotter: Do you remember going on - taking any vacation?
Fitzharris: Not to stay overnight, but we went to Riverview and Deemers Beach, up on the boat, you know?
Lotter: Oh yes.
Fitzharris: We'd get on the trolley and ride to Fourth Street and get another trolley and ride down to the wharf and go up on the boat - go to Riverview, have a picnic dinner, and then come back. And then other things like St. Joseph's picnic once a year. We just had our own fun, just around you know. Never went to stay all night any place.
Lotter: Did your father get any vacation time?
Fitzharris: I don't really know, I don't believe they did.
Lotter: You don't remember him being at home or having a day off?
Fitzharris: No, just on - I think they only worked five days a week - and Saturday and Sunday, no I don't remember him being home any other time. As I say, there again, he may have, you know, but I just don't remember. If my sister were living, she could tell you so much. She's three years older, she could really have schooled you on a lot of things.
Lotter: When you went on picnics, what kind of food do you recall?
Fitzharris: I remember potato salad and ham and everybody had coleslaw, pickles and always had ice cream. I don't know how they kept the ice cream cold.
Lotter: I wouldn't either.
Fitzharris: But they used to have the old fashioned - I guess they must have taken those with them.
Lotter: Maybe so.
Fitzharris: Probably everybody made their own, then had plenty of ice on it. But there again, that was an ordeal to get the ice, to put it in.
Lotter: I imagine it was.
Fitzharris: I remember one time, well Dad made ice cream every Sunday, but I remember in the wintertime he made it simply because the creek had been frozen over and it broke and came up on the shore and I remember Dad going down and getting that ice to make ice cream in the wintertime. Oh, when that would break - one time it was so strong it broke the head gates, you know, the ice was real thick. When that creek would freeze across, it would be maybe eight or nine inches thick, you know. I remember playing on it in the wintertime, up on the banks.
Lotter: Oh, I'm sure, yeah.
Fitzharris: We used to play along the banks.
Lotter: Now in the summertime when you made ice cream, where did he get the ice?
Fitzharris: Well I think - they used to come down, like Mother and Father would go in town and come out on the trolley, but then later on they had ice wagons come through, you know, and...
Lotter: Prior to that they had to go to Wilmington?
Fitzharris: I remember - wherever they got it - Diamond Ice someplace, I don't know, but I remember my brother helping my Mother, just vaguely now, carrying a big piece of ice home.
Lotter: I see.
Fitzharris: But then when the ice wagons came along, why I think they came through maybe twice a week, and you could get 25 - 50 - 75 and 100 I think, cut, you know. 'Course that's when they get that old saying, "Hop on ice wagon" - to get the chips you know?
Lotter: Oh yes.
Fitzharris: We used to do that and put it in a glass to have lemonade or something like that you know [laughs].
Lotter: What about music lessons, did you ever have music lessons?
Fitzharris: Nobody in our family did.
Lotter: How about any of the other children in the area?
Fitzharris: Not too many of them I can remember. People had pianos, but I can't remember any girls or boys taking piano lessons, not until they got older on their own, you know. They had an orchestra in the Brandywine, but I don't know where they got their lessons for that, I don't know where they went to learn to play the piano - whether their parents taught them or what.
Lotter: What about your table in the kitchen, what kind of a cloth did you have on it?
Lotter: Do you remember what color?
Fitzharris: It was - well, sometimes they had a figure on it and they were wiped so much they always ended up being white. Around the edges there might be a border, but when you figure washing those dishes three times a day on that, it didn't take long for the pattern to go off. So I think in later years everybody just got the plain white.
Lotter: U-huh, u-huh. And you said you always remembered a white cloth on the table in the dining room. What kind of a cloth was it?
Fitzharris: White damask, cotton damask.
Lotter: Oh, it was. That must have been a job to launder.
Fitzharris: Right, especially when you had to do it with the old irons, you know, heat the irons on the stove, make sure they weren't black. I never had to do that, but you know, if you have - sometimes your stove would smoke a little bit and you - but everybody, I remember, had beautiful white damask tablecloths. And they didn't have paper napkins then either, they had to - I don't know how the ladies ever got their work done.
Lotter: I don't either.
Fitzharris: Washing, ironing, scrubbing - no electric cleaners and things like that. I just don't know how they did it.
Lotter: It must have been a job.
Fitzharris: It just kills us when we have to - I remember when my son was going to Salesianum, I had to wash and iron and starch white shirts. If I had to do that now I think it would kill me.
Lotter: Where did your mother keep her ironing board?
Fitzharris: Back of this cabinet in the - beside this cabinet near the flour barrel, you know. There again it didn't have a stand, it was on a table onto a chair. They didn't have - and they had thick pads on them. I think they must've, when their blankets got old, they used that for padding.
Fitzharris: Not like they have today. But you never see any scorch marks on them. I remember when I first started out, I used to scorch the board more than I...
Lotter: I'm sure it's a trick to getting those irons just heated just right.
Fitzharris: Yeah, I mean I think they had maybe two, and I remember years ago they were just the iron irons, but then later on they had the wooden handles on the irons, you know, but I think they were easier to work with than to have a pot holder to have to lift that hot iron off the stove and iron with that. I don't know how they did it.
Lotter: I don't either.
Fitzharris: And wash on the washboard. We were up at Ridge Road is it shopping center up in Pennsylvania?
Lotter: On 202?
Fitzharris: All those little shops.
Fitzharris: And we were going through and I said, "Oh look at that!" They had a tin tub and a washboard there and I said, "Can you imagine anybody wanting one of those?" And my girlfriend said, "No, I can't." I said, "I can't either." A lot of things you'd like to have, but I certainly wouldn't want to have an old washboard.
Lotter: No, I'm sure that brings back a lot of memories. Now did your mother do all of her own washing?
Fitzharris: Oh yes - big boiler on the stove and boil them you know, and a big stick to stir the white clothes. And then I don't know, I don't remember this, but I remember the tub, but I can't remember getting the boiler off the stove, you know, they must have put that in the washtub to use the water, you know, to wash the other clothes, but I can't remember seeing that. And that would be a dangerous thing, too.
Lotter: I would think it would.
Fitzharris: But everybody boiled their white clothes then. There are a lot of things that I just wish I knew.
Lotter: Yes, well I think you remember an awful lot.
- Getting Dutch bob haircuts; riding on the milk wagon over the covered bridge; amusement parks and circuses; the artist, Mr. Rowe; flooding on the BrandywineKeywords: "snapper" boys' haircut; amusement parks; artists; barbershop; boats; Brandywine Springs Park; circus; crew cuts; Dutch bob; floods; haircuts; kewpie dolls; merry-go-round; Riverview Beach; scenic railway; Shellpot Park; straw; toboggans; wagon rides; Wawaset ParkTranscript: Lotter: You said, you mentioned earlier that your aunt took care of your hair after your mother died. Where did you get your hair cut?
Fitzharris: Village barbershop there this side of Hagey's where those houses were done over you know, in that - right next to where the tavern used to be, Dougherty, my cousin, Pat Dougherty, had the tavern. Well, there was like a little room off from that. Big enough for one chair and a bench and newspapers piled sky high for people to read, you know. And they had a round oil stove and they used to keep a kettle on that for the hot water, you know, like when men shaved, they put the white - the hot towels on their faces. But men, women, everybody - 'course the mothers, women didn't go in there I don't think, 'cause they all wore their hair long. But the children and the men went for haircuts there.
Lotter: And what style were the girls' hair? How was it cut?
Lotter: Just bobbed?
Fitzharris: And then some of them too, instead of having the bangs, they'd just have it - like a part here and pulled over with a barrette on the top, you know.
Lotter: Yes, u-huh. How about the boys, how was their hair cut?
Fitzharris: Well, just like men did, about ten years ago, sometimes they used to say that when they were real small they'd put a bowl on their head and cut around it you know. But most boys had just the short sideburns, then of course later in life, remember when they had the crew cuts?
Lotter: Oh yes.
Fitzharris: They had that for the summertime - when they were real small. They used to call them snappers.
Lotter: Oh, I never heard it called that.
Fitzharris: Yeah they used to - I remember my Uncle used to cut the hair for the children around there and he'd just take the shears - the clippers and go all over their head, you know, that was a snapper. 'Course that would last all summer, by the time school started it would have grown in again, you know.
Lotter: Now did your uncle just cut boys' hair, or did he...
Fitzharris: Yes, just about three or four families around there that didn't have the money to go someplace to have it done. I guess haircuts then were about twenty-five cents, but that was a lot of money.
Lotter: I imagine it was. Do you remember any sleigh rides?
Fitzharris: No, but I remember toboggans, riding in toboggans down all those hills.
Lotter: U-huh - how about wagon rides?
Fitzharris: Oh yes, we used to go [laughs] the milkman used to take us for a ride on the wagon while he was delivering milk, just in front of the houses, no place else. And we used to think it was great if he'd take us over the bridge, it was as far as Hagey's, you'd have to get out there and come back, and he run the horse over and all - the boards, you know, all those boards would rattle. They had a big sign on the outside of the bridge. They had a big sign on the outside of the bridge "Walk your horses over this bridge, under penalty of the law", five dollars if you were caught running...
Lotter: Oh, is that right?
Fitzharris: Yeah, five dollars - great big sign.
Lotter: Who was around to enforce that?
Fitzharris: That's what I don't - that's what I say, there was no police, I don't know who would do that, whether it would be the employees from the Experimental Station - 'course that was called the Lower Yard then, it wasn't Experimental Station.
Lotter: How about camping, did anyone do any camping?
Fitzharris: Not unless the kids, I mean they didn't have camps like they have now, unless some of the kids would have a tent or - mostly it would be like a sheet and make a tent and go out in the back field. The boys used to do that, but the girls didn't.
Lotter: Did they? How about amusement parks?
Fitzharris: Shellpot and Brandywine Springs. That was a long ride to Brandywine Springs.
Lotter: I bet it was.
Fitzharris: Do you know where it is now?
Lotter: Yes I do.
Fitzharris: You would get on the trolley, like at the bottom of Breck's Lane and go down through the woods and you went in the City, I don't know, around Sixth Street someplace, then you would get a bus, I mean a trolley, and go out to Brandywine Springs. How it went, I don't know, but I know we used to get it. We mostly went to Shellpot because that wasn't quite so far, that was where Sears is, you know out there.
Lotter: Yes, yes.
Fitzharris: But that was the main one we went to - Shellpot. That would be a whole day's...
Lotter: What kind of rides do you remember?
Fitzharris: I remember like a scenic railway, merry-go-round, and boats, they had the boats - that's about all I guess. Then they had chances on different things, kewpie dolls were the prizes most of the time, you know.
Lotter: Oh yes. What about - you mentioned about going to Riverview Beach, do you remember any other beaches?
Fitzharris: No, there was excursions, like the grocers had the excursions to Riverview. Man that had the grocery store, Gregg?
Lotter: Oh yes.
Fitzharris: He used to get the tickets for us and then everybody would go. And of course Alfred I. du Pont, he used to take the men and their wives on a boat trip once a year. And I don't know whether that just went to Riverview or where, but he would have them all lined up and take pictures of them. My Dad never went, but I remember quite a few of the people that did.
Lotter: U-huh. Do you remember any circuses or carnivals?
Fitzharris: No, but I remember before - what's that place - Wawaset Park?
Fitzharris: Before that was built, I remember I went to a circus there, my Dad took me. And I thought it was fantastic. Now this seems stupid, but I thought it was fantastic because they had containers of milk and that's where I had my first straw. I'll never forget that, drinking milk through that. Can you imagine that, how things stick to you?
Lotter: That's right, they do.
Fitzharris: But then right after that...
Lotter: Made a big impression.
Fitzharris: And after that they started to build the houses there, what year that was, I don't know, but I remember going down there with my Dad to the circus.
Lotter: What do you remember about the circus, anything?
Fitzharris: I just remember a lot of horses there, but that's about it. But the thing that - I just can't get over that thing that stuck with me about the straw, drinking off it. 'Cause we just drank out of a glass, you know.
Lotter: Do you remember any talented people in your community?
Fitzharris: Not really, only the people who played the banjos and things like that, but I don't remember - well Mr. Rowe, Mr. Rowe was an artist and he...
Lotter: Oh, was he?
Fitzharris: He worked for Alfred I. du Pont, and he used to paint pictures. I don't know whether I told you this before or not, but they had a buffet with a mirror, and he used to always paint a Christmas scene...
Lotter: I think you did, yes.
Fitzharris: On that with a sleigh and all, and he had painted it and he died, I think two days after Christmas, and the family wanted to take the scene off before the funeral, but Mrs. Rowe said no, he would like to have it that way if he were living so I remember seeing that scene. But other than that, I can't remember any other artists. As I say, there probably were, but I...
Lotter: Anybody else - you mentioned Mrs. Ferraro, I certainly think she was talented as far as sewing...
Fitzharris: Oh, dressmaking, yes.
Lotter: Do you remember...
Fitzharris: Crocheting - I know during the war, the first war a lot of the women taught the girls to knit and they knit sweaters, you know, for the boys. And other ladies would wrap bandages, things like that, but I don't remember much other than that.
Lotter: Anyone else talented, maybe musically or any other...
Fitzharris: Not that I - I think a lot of people up around there thought they could sing, but [laughs] they would sound good under water.
Lotter: The houses that were rented from DuPont, were any of those furnished?
Fitzharris: I don't think so, they may have been, but I don't think so.
Lotter: How about, did the stove come with the house?
Fitzharris: No, I'm sure they bought that, too. Because when anybody moved in, the houses were always completely empty, that I can remember. 'Cause we used to go through some of the houses, like if somebody moved out, you know, but there was never anything in there.
Lotter: Do you remember any floods?
Fitzharris: Oh, lots of them, don't ask me the years because I don't know, but I remember when the Brandywine would flood on the opposite side from Hagley - opposite side from the Museum - it would go way up into that woods, over the road.
Lotter: Oh really?
Fitzharris: Oh definitely. Because there was friends of ours used to live up there and the men used to go up there at night, coming from work, and I don't know how he ever would see his way. You know, the road would be flooded and he'd be walking in the woods to get home, 'cause there was no lights. I don't know whether he had a flashlight or a lantern or what, but he went up there. Oh, that Brandywine used to flood terrible. We used to like to watch all the things come down, you know, the trees and - I don't know this to be a fact, but I do know that I've heard my Dad tell about it - those houses that aren't there now, where C.I.D. House is, you know?
Fitzharris: Well there was a row of houses above that, they were always flooded and that's why they built that wall, you know, the wall that runs along there?
Fitzharris: Because the water would come up and go into those houses and there was two houses below the falls, by Hagley Mill, and my girlfriend lived in there and their kitchen was down on the lower level and the living room would be off the main road. Well they always had to take their furniture out of the kitchen when the flood came along. It would just ruin everything. Those houses are crazy when you think of it - one down, another room up.
Lotter: Yeah, yeah, that's right.
- Mr. Ferraro collecting driftwood during floods on the Brandywine; fires and her father's death; her mother's weekly routine; games and hobbies, including details of baseball games; Mr. Buchanan carving peach stonesKeywords: "gingo stick"; baseball; baseball diamond; Bottomly's store; bucket brigades; checkers; fire company; fireplaces; fires; firewood; Flexible Flyer; Forty Acres; Indian Rock; peach stones; penknife; pinwheels; Rockford Tower; teething rings; tennis balls; wash day; whittling; wooden sledTranscript: Lotter: Do you remember anybody getting wood out of the Brandywine to use?
Fitzharris: Oh yes, Mr. Ferraro had a boat, he used to go out with the boat, water was still high, and get wood, you know and put them along the bank so when the water receded, well then he could go and get it. But he would never seem to be afraid to go out in the boat - he used to stand up with one oar and go along and get the wood.
Lotter: Oh my goodness.
Fitzharris: But that's the only man I remember doing it, but I guess the rest of the people would just - whatever washed up on the shore they would get. Because they used to buy, I remember my Dad used to buy wood, they have a wagon come, I don't know where he bought it from, but some of it would be - I think the small light wood I think they were boxes like from the Experimental Station. And then other - but when he had wood for like logs, I remember having it delivered and it was cut up, so I don't know where that came from. But we didn't use a lot of wood, we had a shed with light wood and heavy wood, but we - when it was cold, we mostly just had a coal fire and that was continuous.
Lotter: In both - in all the stoves, the smaller stoves also?
Lotter: What about fires, do you remember any fires?
Fitzharris: I don't remember any house having a fire until I was about seventeen years old and that was - there again, where the tavern used to be, the row of houses there that aren't there now, between where Mr. Dobbs lives - do you know where he lives?
Lotter: No I'm not sure.
Fitzharris: Well you know where Hagey's is?
Fitzharris: Well then those pretty homes that were all done over, beyond that?
Fitzharris: Well then there was a row of houses between that and the red brick house. Mr. Dobbs lives in that red brick house. And there was a row of houses there and one of the boys was playing with matches and he set that on fire. But that was, I guess I was about seventeen, but that's the only bad fire I remember until we had one when I lived on Rising Sun.
Lotter: Oh did you?
Fitzharris: Yeah - not Rising Sun, Breck's Lane. The house we lived on Breck's Lane, I guess my youngest child was about maybe four, five, and we were out visiting and there was a short in the lamp and it caught fire, burnt the drapes - oh it was a terrible fire. Broke the glass out of the living room windows, the heat was so intense you know. But they're the only two fires I remember.
Lotter: How about any sparks or anything from the wood fires or stove or - do you remember anything?
Fitzharris: No, I remember my Dad used to say, "Keep the lids on the fire." And he was always afraid of sparks. He was - when I was a child, he was afraid of fires. He always had a horror of dying of cancer or being burnt to death - and he burnt to death.
Lotter: Oh, is that right?
Fitzharris: He really did, when he was living with me on Breck's Lane. Sparks from his pipe.
Fitzharris: He had hardening of the arteries, he wouldn't smoke in the house, but he was sitting on the porch and his clothes caught on fire.
Lotter: Oh my goodness.
Fitzharris: That was on a Tuesday night and he was dead by Friday, but he never gained consciousness, he was just burnt. But he always said he was afraid of fire and he had a horror of burning to death.
Lotter: Were there any fire companies around if there was a bad fire?
Fitzharris: I don't know. The only fire company I know was down at the - in the Forty Acres. I guess they just used bucket brigades, that's about all I...
Lotter: Did any of those houses have fireplaces? Did your house have any fireplaces?
Fitzharris: We didn't have any, but quite a few of them did. And I think quite a few of them were - when they tore the houses down, they were uncovered, you know. Like the house there where Judge Schwartz lives, when the man done that house over, there was a fireplace in every room downstairs and one bedroom upstairs, but they were all boarded up. They just uncovered them. But I guess they did because they'd have to have before they had stoves years and years ago.
Lotter: Yes. Well I know in the Gibbons House there's a boarded up fireplace.
Fitzharris: Yeah - not to my knowledge, we didn't have any, because a lot of them had them back of their kitchen stoves, like two iron doors or something like that, but we didn't have that.
Lotter: You mentioned earlier that your mother washed on Monday. Did she have a routine for the rest of the week?
Fitzharris: As far as I know it was wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday and bake on Wednesday, they were the three things, but Thursday and Friday probably was cleaning or sewing, I don't know.
Lotter: I would imagine so.
Fitzharris: But I know everybody washed, oh if it was a cloudy day, you know you couldn't get the clothes out. And from what I understand, they were all crazy to get their wash out first, you know. How people have changed [laughs].
Lotter: All right, if it was a cloudy day, what did she do with the wash?
Fitzharris: I think they had lines on the porch. That protected them some, but I don't think they ever not washed on Monday. They might take a couple days to dry, but I think...
Lotter: Yeah, I would imagine they would. Do you ever remember putting any lines or having a rack or something in the kitchen?
Fitzharris: In the kitchen, I think we did have a wooden rack and I can remember like underwear on that to dry, 'cause years ago they wore that heavy underwear, and if they put that out it would freeze and no matter how - would take a long time. I don't remember any lines or anything like that in the house, but just this little - something like they use today, those metal racks, or wooden racks. In fact I have a metal one I use in my bathtub. It's shaped like a T and you'd be surprised - I can hang twelve garments on each side.
Lotter: Is that right?
Fitzharris: My daughter does my laundry, but I - like blouses and things like that you rinse out yourself, you know.
Lotter: Sure. What was your favorite homemade toy?
Fitzharris: A homemade toy? Well I enjoyed the homemade sled, the wooden sled that my brother made, but I used to like to play marbles and I used to play with dolls, but they weren't homemade. That's about all I guess.
Lotter: Do you remember your father ever making you any toys?
Fitzharris: No, but this I would like to ask somebody some time, did you ever hear, did anybody ever tell you about a gingo stick?
Fitzharris: I'm not sure, but I remember he'd have a stick about twelve inches long and it would be about as thick as a pencil, and he'd cut little ridges in it, and he had on the end of it, like they have - what do you call it - pinwheels, you know those plastic...
Fitzharris: Well, it would be cardboard with a pin on the end of it and he used to - however he could do it, he'd run this pencil up and down this stick and the thing would go around. Well we thought he was a magician, but I think the gist of it was, he would run it up and down and then he would blow. And he'd say "Gingo" and the thing would come this way, and then he'd stop and he said, "I'll make it go the other way." Well, we weren't fast enough, but I think that's what the gingo stick - I remember him doing that.
Lotter: I never heard of that. Your favorite store-bought toy, you mentioned...
Fitzharris: I can't remember going and getting any toy. We had like just Jacks and jump ropes, things like that. As far as a bicycle or any toy like that, we never had it, had a doll, but I can't remember anything else.
Lotter: How about your favorite game?
Fitzharris: I used to like Checkers, oh I used to like Checkers and Old Maids.
Lotter: Oh really?
Fitzharris: Yeah, oh but I really liked Checkers. Used to play pretty good. I'm not bragging, my Dad and I used to play a lot together. My sister, she'd do once in a while, but she never liked that game much. Later on she got interested in cards, well I never did get interested in cards.
Lotter: Oh is that right. What about your favorite outdoor game?
Fitzharris: Hide-and-go-seek, baseball. Oh baseball, I really loved that.
Lotter: I know you did. Did you have any hobbies?
Fitzharris: Well, not too much. I used to like swimming and I used to embroider once in a while, not a whole lot, but never would knit, I couldn't knit. But swimming and baseball, I guess they were the two main things. And taking walks, we used to take long walks.
Lotter: Oh, did you?
Fitzharris: Climb those rocks up at Rockford Tower too, up those Indian rocks. I think if my parents ever knew that they would die. 'Cause they were - those rocks are high, especially that one they called Indian Rock. You go in, you can go into that you know, and come out - oh. I was up there one time with my grandchildren and showing them the rocks. They said, "Boy, I'll bet they're neat." I said, "Oh yeah, but you couldn't go on, 'cause we might fall." I would never dare tell them that I used to climb in there.
Lotter: When you played baseball, where did you play?
Fitzharris: Along the Brandywine in front of Walker's - those houses up Walker's Lane, you know, and then up in the field in back of those where DuPont's had the - DuPont Experimental had a regular baseball team. It was called the Lower Yard then, I think, and they called it DuPont Team, but the girls played ball there, so when the girls weren't playing, then we used it, the diamond. It was quite nice.
Lotter: Yes, oh that would be. Yeah, well now when you played down by the Brandywine, what did you use as bases?
Lotter: Oh, did you?
Fitzharris: Just block them off on the road. Then you'd just maybe get in the middle of a - somebody would be up to bat, and one of the wagons would come through, we'd have to stop.
Lotter: What about your baseball bat - was it homemade or...
Fitzharris: No, some of them, I guess the wealthier people had bats, but I remember at one time we had just a board. We used to - sometimes we had a tennis ball, too - you had a board and you hit a tennis ball, you could really make a home run - by the time it went over the wall and down by the Brandywine, you know. We never had more than two balls at a time, you lost those - the game was over.
Lotter: Where did you get your baseballs and bats from?
Fitzharris: I don't know who - somebody in the neighborhood had them. I think the boys had them.
Lotter: Now where could they be purchased?
Fitzharris: There used to be a toy store in town, I remember Bottomly's. And they had - they'd sell things like sleds. That's where I got my first made sled at Bottomly's - it was on the corner of Sixth and Tatnall, and that was a Flexible Flyer.
Lotter: Yes, I remember you talking about that, yes.
Fitzharris: Oh, I remember that.
Lotter: Did any of the boys whittle - or any of the men?
Fitzharris: I don't remember the boys, but there was an old gent, Mr. Buchanan, he was an old powder worker, and he used to carve - he used to get peach stones and carve them and shellac them and make beads out of them. In fact, one time he had a string made, and he just sanded them all down 'til they were natural wood and the children used them for teething rings, which would be healthy.
Lotter: Yes it would, sure.
Fitzharris: But ones he had for the ladies, he shellacked them, they were beautiful.
Lotter: How about the children, did any of the boys carry knives?
Fitzharris: Oh I think every boy in the Creek had a penknife, they were always carving their names in the trees. You go up through the woods, anyplace a peach tree, you'll see lots of initials.
Lotter: I bet.
- Her grandmother, the neighborhood midwife; medicines and drinking habits; hearing Italian language and Irish brogues; garbage pickup and a truck cleaning the outhouses; scrubbing the outhouse with Octagon soapKeywords: black bag; childbirth; chlorine; drinking; Father John's Cough Medicine; Fels Naphtha soap; garbage cans; garbage wagon; Irish brogue; Italian language; Juniper Tar; medicine; midwives; Octagon soap; outhouses; whiskey; white apronsTranscript: Lotter: What about children being born, you mentioned your grandmother was a midwife. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Fitzharris: I don't remember the particulars, but I know she used to go, everybody that had a baby, they'd call Nanna Farren, you know, and she would go there. Sometimes, they would have a doctor, but very few times - most people - she was just a midwife. But as far as the actual, what she did and all, I can't remember, but I know there was one man that was interviewed, I don't know whether you ever talked to him or not, man by the name of Devenney? And he was saying that she delivered all, every one of those boys.
Lotter: Did she?
Fitzharris: Yeah, everyone in the family. I think the father had some kind of illness, I don't know, sickness of some sort, and he didn't make a whole lot of money, but I know Nanna took care of that whole family. But as far as everybody - I know she took care of my brother, he was five years younger than me. I remember her being there and then I remember them telling I had a brother, but what went on, you know, in between, I don't know anything about that.
Lotter: Yeah, yeah.
Fitzharris: But I don't know whether she delivered them there or not, she may have.
Lotter: What did she take with her, did she...
Fitzharris: She had some sort of a black bag, and in the black bag I know was this apron that they haven't found yet, but I don't know what else she had in there.
Lotter: So she wore the white apron?
Fitzharris: White - white apron, see, I guess that was sanitary, it was in the satchel. You know, it was just used for that, because during the day she always used a checked apron, but on Sundays she used an apron, white with lace on the bottom.
Lotter: Oh, did she?
Fitzharris: But that wasn't the kind of apron that she had - I think the one that she had for midwife, if I'm not mistaken, I think it was just a plain muslin, you know, no trimmings or anything. But I don't know whether they used gloves or - I don't know anything about that.
Lotter: Yeah, yeah. Do you ever remember any children being born in the hospital?
Fitzharris: No, not when I was small. I don't know who would be the first person that had a baby. You know then, women had babies, but it wasn't like it is today, it was sort of secret. You didn't know too much about it, you know. Everybody was naive, but now they know everything.
Lotter: When your brother was born, do you remember your mother staying in bed for quite a while after the birth?
Fitzharris: No, the only thing I remember about my brother being born, I remember my Grandmother told me that I had a baby brother and I remember going up and seeing that baby, but after that I don't remember how long my Mother - I think they did stay in bed about ten days then, though. But who took - whether Grandmother came down and took care of her every day or - I just don't know.
Lotter: Do you remember any home remedies for illnesses?
Fitzharris: Father John's Cough Medicine.
Lotter: Is that right.
Fitzharris: Oh, God deliver me [laughs]. And then they had something else they used [pause] Juniper Tar and then they had something else they used with sugar. I can't - for cold, there was something and sugar. But oh, that Father John's Medicine, you had a cold - whew. Oh it was - did you ever hear of it?
Lotter: No, I never have.
Fitzharris: It was about the color of mustard and the consistency I guess of mustard, but it was very smooth and very very sweet when you took it you just shivered 'til it went all the way down. But it did the trick.
Lotter: Did it?
Fitzharris: Yeah, it did the trick. I don't know whether I was just so scared when - that I had to take it, I cured myself or not, but oh, as soon as you got a cold, you had to take that Father John's Medicine. I can almost taste it now.
Lotter: How about anything for sore throats, was there...
Fitzharris: No, I think we just gargled with warm water.
Lotter: Oh, did you?
Fitzharris: With warm water - as far as I know. I don't remember having cough drops when we were small, like they do today.
Lotter: Do you ever remember any special teas for any purpose?
Fitzharris: Tea did you say?
Fitzharris: No, but I remember when the grown-ups got sick, they had a little bit of whiskey, that's whiskey, hot water and sugar, that's what they used to take you know.
Lotter: Oh yes, I've heard of that.
Fitzharris: I think more whiskey than sugar and hot water I think, but the grown-ups had it, we didn't have that. They used to say whiskey cures all ills.
Lotter: Kills the germs I guess.
Fitzharris: Also killed many a family, too, I think, back in those days, you know, drink too much.
Lotter: Is that right?
Lotter: Do you remember a lot of drinking in those days?
Fitzharris: I remember, as I say, those men used to sit on the wall, they used to have their bottles and drink, but they never got out of line or anything. But they would stagger home, you know.
Lotter: Was this something that happened every night or just certain nights?
Fitzharris: Mostly on weekends, see they didn't work on Saturday and Sunday, but when they'd go out in the evening, they would walk a straight line, but when they were coming back, to walk was twice as far because of...I remember one time there was a man, he was drinking like that, and we felt sorry for him, he was a little man, and my cousin and I put him in a wheelbarrow and took him home.
Lotter: Oh, did you?
Fitzharris: And the wheelbarrow was so heavy and he was so heavy, she got one side and I got the other and we wheeled him and everybody was laughing because we took him home and somebody said, "He's not that drunk." So we set the wheelbarrow down and walked away and he got up and walked home just as well. He was putting on the act, he was just a little man, you know, wouldn't do any harm.
Lotter: Do you remember any foreign languages being spoken?
Fitzharris: Only Italian, they would really - I don't know whether they were talking about us or not [laughs]. But a lot of those, you know, they couldn't speak English, but they were all - those Italian people, they were all nice, very nice people. Everybody liked them.
Lotter: And what about any of the Irish, or could they all speak English?
Fitzharris: Well, some of them had a brogue, I think some of them liked to hold the brogue. I think they could speak, but they wanted to hold onto it. My father-in-law was that way, he had a brogue and he was in this country I don't know how many years, but he still - I couldn't half understand him. You know there are people, though, they just don't want to part with it.
Lotter: Yes, oh sure. What about garbage dumps?
Fitzharris: Well, they had garbage cans and then they had this, they had one man that used to come, he had some sort of metal - I don't know how the wagon was made, but they didn't wrap garbage then, they just had the garbage can and they poured it this thing. He took it away, where he took it, I don't know. He was an Italian man, but you used to put your garbage out, like to the front of the gate, by your front gate, and he would come - I don't know where he took it, I really don't. Used to say, "Here comes the garbageman."
Lotter: You had regular cans, you didn't have anything that was in the ground?
Fitzharris: Oh no. I think what they were, they were like oil - oh what do I want to say? Drums, like that, you know, and then I think the men made - well the top they would take off like with a can opener, but I think the men made some kind of a top to put on them. But I don't remember having odor or anything around. I don't know where in the yard we had 'em, but I know they used to put them to the front gate when the garbageman came along.
Lotter: And this was once a week?
Fitzharris: I don't know whether it was once a week or twice a week. But I know the thing was like metal, the truck, but you could see water would drip like, you know, from it. But it never seemed to have any odor or anything. I don't know. How do you people get all these questions?
Lotter: [Laughs] These are all things they want to know about. Wait until you hear the next one. I want to know about cleaning privies.
Fitzharris: Oh Lord, we had to scrub those. And then they had - they had a company come around to clean those.
Lotter: Did they?
Fitzharris: Yeah, I don't know - I don't know who did it, but they used to have some sort of a pump, and they would clean them out. How often they did it, I don't know that either, but they did have sanitary trucks come along and clean them out. And of course everybody scrubbed their own, you know. I just - that's a question I'll have to ask somebody that. I don't know who I can ask though. Maybe Mrs. Toomey would know.
Lotter: Do you remember what kind of a truck they had that came around to pump those out?
Fitzharris: No I can't, but if my memory serves me right, it would be something like an oil truck I think. I'm not too - don't quote me on that, I'm not too sure about that. And there again, I don't know whether the Company - I think the Company paid for it, you know, like they had a certain time for them to come through and clean them - I think, because it wasn't like I would have mine done today, it would be consistent like, you know they start on Monday, they'd go right on down, so I think the Company must have done that.
Lotter: That sounds like that could have been.
Fitzharris: Because they replaced them when they had to be replaced, you know, the outside building.
Lotter: Do you ever remember scrubbing the outhouse?
Fitzharris: Oh I scrubbed them, yeah. Everybody had that job.
Lotter: Is that right?
Fitzharris: The old pine wood would really be white.
Lotter: What did you use to scrub it with"
Fitzharris: Octagon soap if I recall, and a scrubbing brush. Octagon soap did everything you know. And then there was another one - Fels Naphtha.
Lotter: Oh yes.
Fitzharris: I think they still have that, I'm not sure.
Lotter: Yes, they do.
Fitzharris: But they were the two soaps. They used some kind of a chlorine - I didn't do it, but I remember, like my family having chlorine, they must have poured it down in, you know, for the odor of the thing. I don't know. I'd like to get a hold of somebody that knew all these things.
Lotter: Well, every little bit helps. You've helped us an awful lot. Do you remember any disagreements with neighbors?
Fitzharris: Not too much, no they all, more or less, got along. There might be an argument or something, but I don't think anybody didn't speak to people, you know, they were close families and all, but I don't think they - can't remember. 'Course the lady next door to us, Mrs. Roomer, she was - she had a daughter who was a school teacher, and she sort of stayed by herself, but I never thought she was the type to live in that neighborhood, you know, she was a lovely...