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Interview

Mary Scarlett Jones

11/9/03

Conducted by Joe Liles

Part 2

 

My older brother, Levi, he worked at what they called the Southern Power Plant.  As they grew up on the farm, it seemed like they wanted to get away from the farm.  I don’t remember at what age Levi left.  After the Southern Power Plant, he went north.  My older sister, Sadie, she got married at a young age.  I do remember her early courtship.  After she got married, she left the cabin.

 

My parents always left the older ones in charge of the younger ones.  I remember my brother, Levi, being with us more than Sadie.  He would always correct us when my dad and mother wasn’t there.  The younger ones had to mind the older ones.  That’s what we did.

 

A long time ago, there was an old man around here that cleaned out outhouses.  Now, he lived in Hickstown.  We called him George Pratt.  His wife was Babe Pratt.  They said she made soap.  When his kids were bad, they say that he pushed their heads down into the barrel that he used to clean out the outhouses, and that was the last of them.  Then, it was said that she made soap out of them.  My sister who was 4 ý years younger that I am, and about 2 ý years younger that James, she was a little bit more spoiled than the rest of us.  She had gotten away with so many things.  We finally told her that Uncle George Pratt was going to get her and put her in one those barrels and then his wife was going to make soap out of her.  I think that calmed her down a little bit. 

 

My brother, Odell, when he got older, he learned to cut hair.  In the shanty, he would cut hair.  That’s one way he could make some extra change.

 

All of us children had something to do.  My older sister, Sadie, she would help with the cooking, or my mother would leave the cooking completely up to her while she would do other little jobs.  Our parents had a contract along with our neighbors in sewing sacks, the sacks that you pack tobacco in.  I would turn the sacks, and the older ones would string the sacks.  I was doing this when I was six or seven years old.  I did learn how to tie the sacks.  That was a way we had to get a little change.  My mother would work her part of the contract and then a neighbor would work their part.  We would all get together.  We were not making that much money.  I would hear ‘em say something about five dollars or ten dollars.

 

We all had our own chores.  Some of the boys would cut wood.  We girls would pick up wood chips that could be used in starting the fires, and we would bring in stove wood.  We had a fireplace in the kitchen where we could sit around the fire if we wanted to.  We had a rack up there where you could hang a pot and boil beef or pork or whatever.  You could do this without even making a fire in the stove.  The stove had about four eyes.  I don’t remember that stove having a warmer.  We had a good size table in the kitchen that always had milk jugs on it.  We always had cows.  We had a straight up and down churn.  When we got old enough to keep our hands clean, we would churn.  I remember going up and down, up and down with that churn.  My mother would always ask us to see if the butter was coming to the top.  She taught us how to open the churn and take a paddle, or a big spoon or what not, and see how the butter was coming along.  We all had a job.

 

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