If I couldn’t talk I’d bust

Posted by | June 25, 2013

“Yes, I am working on a part time job as cook, but you don’t need to ask what I’m doing the rest of the time. What don’t I do? I get up early and sometimes wash out clothes or clean house. You’d be surprised at the dirt these roomers bring in; they never think of wiping their feet on the mat. My mammy gets dinner ready for the girls when they come home from the mill, but she won’t wash up the dishes. She leaves them for me to wash when I come home.

“And then the family expect me to get supper. Sometimes I find my mammy and my youngest sister–they always sleep together and are just like twins–layin’ on the bed waitin’ for me to git ‘em somethin’ to eat. After supper me and another sister go out and work the garden until dark. So you see I don’t have time to git lonesome.

photo by Doris Ulmann

“I hardly get time to go to church either. My family was Lutherans in the old days, but there ain’t no Lutheran church here and we are all mixed up; we go to different churches–when we go at all.

“One of my sisters bought a good second-hand auto and we sometimes spend Sunday visiting our relations in the country. They always have plenty to eat, and I like a change of vittles sometimes. And it’s good for sore eyes to see somebody else wash the dishes.

“One church we don’t go to is the one down there by the mill. They have lively times down there, they tell me. When I go to church, I want it to be like a real church, and when I go to the movies I want somethin’ else.

“I’d go to church oftener if I had the right kind of clothes; but when I have a nice dress I may not have a good hat or decent shoes, and when I have a good hat and shoes maybe I haven’t a nice dress. I don’t care very much about clothes, but I like to look as decent as anybody else. So I go to church when I feel like it and when I have respectable clothes; and it’s nobody’s business but my own.”

Miss Ophelia Mull
Brevard, N.C.
Interviewed June 26, 1939
American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940

Related Posts: “First thing we got rid of were the oil lamps” (NC oral history)
“A good room cost $1.50 a night and a corner room $3″ (NC oral history)
“Leo Finkelstein. Pawnbroker. Mensch.” (NC oral history)
“All our folks was farmers” (NC oral history)

Ophelia+Mull Brevard+NC Lutherans appalachia appalachian+culture appalachian+history history+of+appalachia

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