We would have to just do everwhat she wanted us to do

Posted by | July 21, 2017

“Well, of course, we had to help with the housework, all . . . we had to do the sweeping and the dishwashing and the scrubbing of floors. We . . . we just had wood floors, no . . . with no paint on ‘em, no nothing on ‘em, and . . . and we scrubbed those with . . . with the lye soap and . . . and . . . and, of course, swept ‘em with a broom. You didn’t have any vacuum cleaners or anything of that nature. We’d all pitch in. Sometimes even . . . I mean, the boys, I’m s-. . . remember them helping scrub the . . porches and things and, you know.

“But the chores of girls were to . . . of course, we had to go draw water from the well and . . . and bring it in. We had to . . . Mother always did the milking, but we had to h-. . . I remember we’d have to “bug the beans.” You’d go out and pick the bean bugs off the beans. And you’d go out and you’d pull weeds out of the onions. You’d…I mean, all kids did that. We would have to just do everwhat she wanted us to do, which was anything a child could do, I guess, that would make it a little easier for them as parents.

“Dad worked in the field, we’d have to carry him water to drink, and if he was far away where it would interrupt his work a lot, we’d take his lunch to him. Mother’d cook and put it in…well, we’d carry it in buckets, you know, as in…things she’d get lids on…that would keep the…from getting it dirty or spilling it. But most of the time he was close enough that he’d come in and eat. But I remember carrying his dinner up on that hill to where he would be so far back hoeing corn.

Kentucky girl listens to radio“I’d walk up to my Grandmother Frazier’s every day at noontime. My brother and sister, if we could get all of our jobs done, why, Mother’d let us go up there and listen to “The Midday Merry-Go-Round” which was a comedy-type show out of Knoxville. Minnie Pearl was on it, and you’ve heard of Minnie Pearl, and all of her comic . . . comics. And she would . . . and then there was Rod Brassfield. And I remember all those . . . now I’ve forgotten ‘em, but . . . but we’d just sit there and listen and laugh.”

Florene Smith
b. 1929
interviewed May 30, 1991
Whitesburg, Kentucky

University of Kentucky Oral History Program
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Elizabeth Albert, Interviewer


related post: “You would wear yourself down winding it up”

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