You only got one pair of shoes a year

Posted by | September 21, 2012

So we lived at a . . . we was renting off of a . . . some people that owned a . . . a lumberyard there. So on Friday evening I went out to this man that run . . . owned it and run it there, him and his brother. I said . . . I said, “I’d like . . . I’d like to have a job. I liked to work tomorrow,” you know, on Saturday. He said, “What could you do?” I said, “Well, I believe I could do a whole lot.” I said, “I’d do it right smart.”

And he said, “Well, you come out in the morning.” I . . . I went out the next morning and they had a big boxcar . . . boxcar load of lumber. Just big two by eigh-. . . sixes, eights, tens, you know. They just had room to shove me up in the top of it to start poking it out, you know? He had two men working on the ground.

Doris Ulmann PhotographSo I shoved that out to them boys that day and they . . . they . . . men they were, and they stacked it and all like that. I went in that evening and he . . . he told me to come in. He said, “Clarence,” he said, “what are you going to do with this money?” I said, “Well,”–Mr. Frye was his name–I said, “I’m going to buy me a pair of shoes.” He said to his secretary, he said, “Write him a check for two dollars and a quarter.”

And he gave me a check for two and a quarter. He said, “Now, Clarence, don’t say nothing about this.” He said, “My men out there, on-. . . I only pay them a dollar and half a day,” see. That was back in the hard times. That was during the Depression, and I took the check and gave it to my mother. We lived right there close. She went to town, bought me a pair of shoes for two dollars and nineteen cents, and that was . . . you know, you only got one pair a year, you know. And so we lived . . . we lived there.

Clarence R. Wells,
b. 1911
interviewed July 16, 1991
Family Farm Oral History Project
University of Kentucky/ ID ff122_3.1

source: http://tinyurl.com/25p45j

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