Voices of the Ozarks – Wilma Reed

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Wilma Reed.

I was born March the 3rd, 1932.

I was born at Juliet, Missouri.

Who were your parents?

Clarence and Caroline Fireball.

What about grandparents?

My grandparents on my dad’s side was Emerson and Tampa.

T-E-M-P-A. Fireball.

And then my mother’s side was Noah and Talitha.

I don’t know how to spell that.


And what do you remember about growing up in Juliet?

Well, it was very, very country, you know.

And my first remembrance was, you know, of course, everybody lived out in the country, you know, and all that.

But we lived in a place and I didn’t ever know it that then.

And I don’t know if people called that then, but in the later years, they called it Fireball Haller, you know.

And, of course, we walked to school all the time.

And it was a little house that wasn’t very big.

And there was a barn and then a wonderful spring that we got our water from.

And it was just so good.

And back then, a lot of people, and we did, other people did too, but they had what they called a spring house because we didn’t have refrigerators and all of that.

So my dad built that.

And this spring was really, it was really a strong spring, you know, a lot of water.

And there was a little creek or a little area of water that runs in the spring.

And dad built that spring house over that water and put a door on it.

And so that’s where we, when we take our milk, we had the old stone jars, you know, like that, you know what that’s like.

And we’d put the milk in that and set that down in that water and it would come running about like it run all the time.

And it was very cold.

And that’s where we kept our milk and butter.

And sometimes if my mom would do a chicken to have for Sunday while she’d dress it out and put it there and put it in a container, cover it and take it over there and put it in that cold water, you know.

And then that creek run all the way down and it would, it went into, which was quite a long ways, but it went way down to where it run in the San Francis River.

Of course, it got much bigger than that because, you know, it started up there.

There was a creek there.

And then this, this water from the spring run into the bigger creek, you know, cause it was a creek that was ready.

And then the spring run into that and stuff.

So when you say you had a spring, did it just bubble up out of the ground?

Well, the way this one was, uh, yes, yes.

Like there was a, up behind it was a little, not a mountain or anything, but little hill, you know, it’s kind of like that.

And it kind of went across and this was kind of a little build up behind that spring.

And the spring just was there, you know, and it started its way down, you know, into the other spring, the one that had come way down from the hills and went all the way down to the big river and all of that.

But anyway, yes, it was, I don’t know how long it had been there.

It was there when we was there and stuff and all, but anyway, it was very, very good.

Now I’ll tell this little, little story.

Of course, you know, we, we never did, maybe our ice cream was mostly in the winter when it snowed and we’d go get, you know, make it as nice, but this, this is another part from the spring.

Like I said, we took their, the milk over there and you know, cream rises on milk, you know, just like that.

Well, we never did.

Of course, mom, she made us cookies and sardum cakes and stuff, but anyway, and I was the one that had done this.

And me and my brother that’s next to me, whenever we have blackberries, we always pick blackberries, you know, mom made a lot of jelly and canned blackberries and stuff.

So we’d pick us some blackberries and I would go over there and get some of that cream off of that milk, bring it back and I would get some sugar out of the house and we had us a little ice cream with berries and cream.

But anyway, and so that’s kind of the story on the spring, you know, and stuff.

How many were in your family?

Well, at that time, not in the whole, I’ll just tell you this and then, and then right at the time we were talking about, but the whole family, there was, there was 12 and I’m the oldest of the family, but the last little boy, you know, didn’t survive when he was born and stuff, but there was 11 living and there’s, they’re all, we’re all still here except one brother that passed away.

But at that time when we lived up there, there was, when we lived up there two different times, we lived there when I was really small and there was about probably four of us at that time and then we had moved in another place and then we moved back there and back when we moved back there, there was quite a few more, you know, and stuff and all, let’s see, there was probably, at one time there was six when we were living there and stuff.

But anyway, that’s kind of about that time, like I said, and we bought, we walked back and forth to school, which was quite a ways.

We went all over that hill and down to over, what it would like, the sea highway that goes through there now over that way, you know, and stuff, but it was, it was a highway, it was a school, a duet school and we walked that, you know, and whenever I first started the school and then the next year, my brother, he was, he was two years younger than I am, you know, brother next to me and so they didn’t want me to go by myself, so I don’t think he was really age-wise to go yet, but they let him go with me to walk with me until it started getting cooler weather and he didn’t do that anymore, but I still don’t know how we survived it because it was a long ways over there, you know, and stuff and, and all.

So you were five?

No, like, no, you had these six to start, but my brother was five, but they let him go just a little bit when school started in September.

See, it used to start much later than it does now, you know, and all.

For just to walk with me, you know, for company, go over there and stuff, but he didn’t go over, it started getting a little cooler weather-wise, you know, and back then it wouldn’t have been long because, you know, it’s different what time-wise, like it is now and stuff, but, but anyway, we managed.

You know, it’s awfully young to be walking the school.

It was, you know, I have one son and I, I couldn’t, I couldn’t have done that, I couldn’t have sent him out, but that’s just the way people lived, you know, all the whole family’s, you know, and some of them had, at that, at that time, had maybe a couple of brothers or sisters that went with them, you know, stuff, maybe, whatever.

But you were the oldest.

I was the oldest, so that’s where it was.

You had no cousins or any other neighbors?

We did, I did have cousins, but, but they, they weren’t a long ways away, but they were a good little way as far as what we’re talking about, you know, and all.

There was a family that, their name was Club, and they lived good long ways down, but they went to the same school, you know.

So when it got a little bit older, why we walked down to where we connected with them at this other roadway, you know, and, and they were much older than we were, you know, and, and I remember this, one of the boys, I’m not sure his name, I know one of them was named Charles, but the other one was older.

Anyway, he was tall, thin person, and he put my brother up on his shoulders, right on his shoulders.

Anyway, that’s kind of, kind of school.

Yeah, it was a different time.


And the old school houses were so cold, I tell you, they were, because they had a big old, well, it was, I don’t know if you got, it was a big stove, it’s a big thing, and it had a metal thing around it, you know, and it was in the back of the school.

Well, the teacher had to go there early in the morning and build that fire, you know, and I remember when, when I got there, I was just nearly frozen.

I didn’t get warm until about noontime, you know, and stuff, but, but we were all in the same position as for us, because everybody had to walk, you know, all the kids had to walk, so we was all cold when we got there.

What kind of outside clothing did you have, like boots or wool coats?

No, no.


No, we just had, well, what I had, and I can, I can remember, I can feel it like today, and I didn’t like them things because they looked terrible, but, but these socks we had, and they come up, you pull up above your knees, and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard, ever heard this, I know you’ve heard the, you know, the word and what I mean, but we’d have garters, they’d make us garters out of a piece of elastic, you know, that’s two stitched together, and you put that on and that held your sock up, because they weren’t, they weren’t like they are now, that they would kind of stay up on their own, you know, they’d just fall down if you didn’t have a garter, you know.

Were they wool or cotton?

They were just cotton, just cotton.

And what kind of shoes?

Just plain little old lace-up shoes, you know, I never did have a pair of boots whenever I was a kid, my brothers probably did in later life, they probably did, but I never did have, and stuff, and I didn’t, I think I was probably about maybe nine or ten years old, and I can remember it to today, and all I ever had to wear was a little short jacket, that’s all I had, and of course back then the girls just wore little cotton dresses, you know, they wasn’t, nobody wore any pants or anything like that, legors, anything, it’s just little cotton dresses, and I just had this little short coat, and finally I was about that age, and my dad, he, I can, I can see it yet, I don’t remember who he was working at, but anyway, we had to be some, had to be in a town somewhere, some place where they could buy that, and he brought me a blue coat, and it come down below my knees, and it was a heavy coat, oh it was so good, it just, it felt so good, you know, and stuff, you don’t forget things like that, yeah.

And scar, did you have a little scar?

No, no, I didn’t have scar.

Your hat?

I might have had a little pull-down cap at some time, but you know, I don’t, I don’t remember it, you know, but I might have, I might have had one.

Well now sometimes for Christmas, of course we didn’t get much for Christmas, because you know, there wasn’t much money, but sometimes we’d get gloves for Christmas, and sometimes probably the caps I’m talking about, you know, I do remember the gloves, I don’t remember the cap, you know, but, but you know, back then they, they give you the, they had to have fruit, and you’d get some, an apple and an orange, you know, and we’d hang our socks some more, you know, and we’d get the apple and orange, and like I said, maybe gloves, or I don’t even know if they had mittens, I remember mine was gloves, you know, and stuff, but.

Now did you wear a sweater under your coat?

No, I don’t remember having a sweater, no, no, no, I really.

It had to be really cold.

Oh, I was cold.

I’m imagining you going into this school, and it was probably not a really well insulated building.

Oh no, no, if you ever, if you ever, it’s still down there, that school building down at Juliet, it’s still there, you know, no, it was, no, there was no insulation or anything, and there was wind all around it, you know, and I like that, but.

So it probably wasn’t even that warm, even with the fire.

It wasn’t, you know, and the teacher, she had, had, she or whoever was teaching, well they had to keep it going.

Now sometimes maybe the older boys, I can’t remember doing this, that see them do it, but sometimes the older boys might have wooded, you know, put the wood in through the day, but you know, but somebody had to do it, you know.

How was the wood supplied?

Did someone from the community?

They would have had to, yes, because see, they were, they were a lot of sawmills in the areas back then.

That’s where a lot of people worked, the men worked, was mills, and so I’m just saying that that’s, that’s what it would, some of them cut the wood, or of course everybody burned wood.

That’s how everybody heated their house, and what they cooked with was wood, so somebody in the neighborhood or someone had to, had to, and of course, you know, it was a big old stove, big old thing like that, you know, so I had to cut it to fit that, I guess, and all that.

So somebody provided?

Yeah, they would have had to, yeah.

I don’t remember anything about that.

I just remember it was there, and they took care of it.

I don’t know who brought it or anything and stuff, but like I said, there was quite a few mills, you know, in surrounding areas and stuff.

Did you have water in the school?

No, out there, and I don’t know, it might still be there, but I don’t know.

I was down there about two or three years ago, but it was just, it’s raining so hard, like it was poured out of buckets and you couldn’t hardly see anything, but anyway, it was a pump, and it was on a found, it was on a concrete about from here to here, and it was one of the big pumps up like this and got a big handle on it, and that’s where we got the water there for at school.

Outside the building?

Outside, oh yeah.

That would have frozen, right?

Well, not as long as it was, you see, the well was deep so it wouldn’t freeze in there, but now if you pump it up and let it sit outside on a bucket or something, it’d freeze, you know, and stuff, but I can remember seeing, especially the older boys, you know, that it was something for them to do to get out there and pump water, you know, and stuff, but no, once it was out of the well, it would freeze and stuff, you know.

Yeah, it was a kind of a trying time, but at the time, you just did it.

Yeah, it’s what everybody did.

It was the normal thing.

Oh yeah, yeah, and see, a lot of the kids lived way up the highway, you know, and they had, they walked to school too, and then some of them that lived down the road, we just come through the woods and come out to where the school was, but some of them lived down and up, and then some of the others lived back up in the other part of the, on the side of the highway, up in the countryside too, you know, and stuff, you know, so.

So you weren’t necessarily walking the road to get to school?

No, we just, we just come through the woods.

Mr. Crow flies.


Well, there was two ways that we could come, and we knew both of them, you know, and stuff, but anyway, they was, it was, they, well, all the roads were rough, you know, because if anyone had a car, it was one of them things that set up like that on the, you know what I’m talking about, you know, about cars and stuff, or maybe an old truck, and a lot of people just had wagons, you know, it rode horses and had mules, and they pulled wagons and stuff, and I remember, like, we’d go somewhere or something, and in the winter, you know, Dad had this fixed wagon and put some straw in it, and Mom would heat some bricks and put, put them on a quilt and put them in that straw, and we’d sit in that straw and go and put quilts over it, you know.


You know, we think about, you know, this time of year in the fall, people do hay rides for fun, but for you, that was not fun, it was just the way you got around.

That’s why we, that’s why we went.




When you were young, did you, as kids, did you often, like, I think back to my childhood, one of our favorite things to do was to play in the woods.


Were the woods a place where you would go out and play and spend days?

Well, I tell you, I tell you, well, now, now, I didn’t do this, but my brothers did, and of course, they had to make a lot of the things they played with, you know, so they’d make them sleds, and there was an incline, it’s not a mountain, but it was a small hill, it was back up that way from the house, the garden was here, and down here was the bar and all that, and they’d make them a sled, and they, that’s what they’d do in winter when it snowed, but in the winter, I mean, in the summer, this creek that I’m talking about, it was really nice, it was a nice creek and stuff, and we’d play in that creek, you know, and now, I didn’t do this, but my brothers did, they’d take a, an old burlap sack, you know, people had them a lot back then, you know, burlap, and they knew how to do this, and they’d take them a stick that was strong enough, they’d make them a minnow’s thing, and they’d get, you know, how creeks are, they’re like this, and then they’re small, you know, how they are out in the woods like that, and they’d get to a smaller part of that, that’s where they put their, their things that’s just going to catch their minnows in.

For bait?

Yeah, and then, and they, they wouldn’t be big fish in there, but they would be small perch farther down where the water was deeper, you know, it would, the minnows would be up where it was shallow, and then where it was deeper, you know, and stuff, why they’d be small perch, but they, they weren’t any big fish, it was just, it was something for them to do, you know, stuff, you know.

I want to go back to the school, did you have paper, ink, pencils?

Well, what we got, what we got, our, our, our parents, you know, we would get a, what they called a tablet, and you know, it was this, well it was about like this square, and maybe about, about that long, but we got one of them when we started school, and a pencil, a lead pencil, a usually yellow one, you know, we still see them, I think, and stuff, but that’s what we got, and that’s what we took to school, and that’s, that’s all we had, you know, and of course, when we fused up, you know, they’d get us another one, and stuff, but the only thing that was in the school that I remember was, of course, they had the blackboard, that was, that, that down there, and I don’t know how in other schools, I know they’re somewhere, but this was, like when you walked in, it was at the far end of the building, across the wall, that was the blackboard, and then there was an old-fashioned, well, you can’t call it a library, it was just kind of something like that, only it was, it went all the way to the floor, it didn’t, wasn’t that modern, it was just an old-fashioned thing, and it had books in it, and I guess I was born to like to read, and I, and the teacher would let me go up there and get me a book, and you know what, my favorite books were, I can’t remember that, but it was about fairy stories, you know, and I think I know why I related to them, because everything was so neat, you know, when things, these little, they had things, it wasn’t like fortune-telling stuff, not like that, it was just stories about little things and all that, but I, but she’d let me go, and she’d let me take it back to my seat, and she’d let me read it, you know, and stuff, but anyway, I liked that from then on and stuff, and then our desk back then was sometimes they’d be two, most times they’d be two students at each desk, you know, and of course there was a seat, and then it seems to me like that they did have some, they just had one seat, you know, but I’m not really sure, and then on the right-hand side of the school, like I said, there was a lot of windows and stuff, and of course the teacher, she had a wooden desk and all that kind of stuff, but there was a big long wooden bench, and when we’d have certain classes, you know, of course it was all grades from one to the eight, you know, back then, and we’d have certain classes, we’d all have to, in that class, we had to go up and sit on that bench, and that’s where she would ask our questions and all that kind of stuff, but we had to go up and sit on that bench and stuff, anyway that was school.

And how far in school did you go?

Did you graduate in high school?

No, I got to ninth grade, and I never did know how this happened, and I’ve never thought about it until this last few years.

That, of course, like being the older, older in the family and a girl, you learn how to do a lot of stuff, you learn to take care of kids, you learn, I could cook a full meal whenever I was 11 years old, you know, but anyway getting back to what you asked, of course it’s all people we knew, but Dad, he got me a job going, well it was one family, and they’d had a new baby, and I went and stayed with Emma Week, or I guess it might have been longer than that, because women, you know, they, it was different then, and it was on birds and all that kind of stuff, but anyway, and I took care of the rest of the kids and took cooking and took care of them, and then he got another job to stay with another family, and they was three, I think, and her husband was in military at that time, and she was living alone, and then another family, and they had, at that time they had one child, so I stayed there with them, I mean they were farmers and stuff, but then, and like I said, and I never did see any money, and my mom didn’t get, she didn’t get out and go anywhere except she’d go to church and we’d visit our family, grandparents, so I know she had no way to get out and connect and make that connection for that, so I started working when I was pretty early, you know, and stuff.

So it almost sounds like you would go and stay and be with the kids and help with households.

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, that one place that I went, and it was in wintertime, and of course we didn’t have any water in that house either, and we’d go, and there was three little boys, and it was just so cold, and we had to build fires in the old, oh it was bad and stuff, but anyway, I’m still here.

So you could cook a full meal on a wood stove.

Oh yes, a wood stove, yes.

That’s even more difficult.

I remember the first time that my mother, she, and this was kind of the same with most families, not everybody did of course, but we had the old iron cookware, the old skillets, and pots, you know what I’m talking about.

Heavy stuff.

Yes, it was, and my mom most times, except the day she did laundry, and that day we had pancakes for lunch, and she’d make them, because I never did make pancakes, but anyway, I mean then I didn’t, and she put, she put on that big old pot, and it would be dry beans, you know, and of course she had a garden, and when it got to where she was doing the garden, she was out in the garden and doing the garden and stuff, so then I’d finish up the meal.

I remember the first time I made cornbread, of course she didn’t go over the recipe or anything, and I just remember seeing her do it.

Well, long story, by the time I got all my batter mixed up, I just had corn, corn batter in everything.

I had this pan, this pan, I don’t know if it’s 15, I don’t remember about that, but anyway, but that was my first time at cornbread, anyway.


Yeah, it was…

Yeah, it had bugged how cooking would be different back then, because everything, of course, was from scratch, so it took longer.

It was not nearly as convenient as we found it.

Oh no, no, and you had to go carry, you had to go carry, we hadn’t carried buckets of water from the spring, you know, we had a place in the kitchen, and that’s where we set the, and the stove we had back then, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that, you probably haven’t done all this, but they had what they call a reservoir on the side, and you could, you fill that with water, and you know, as long as you had water, as long as you had heat in the cook stove, you had warm water, and then they always had a tea kettle, and it had water in it, you know, and stuff.

So you used the spring to keep things cool, and I imagine that was mostly in the spring and the summer.

In the wintertime, what did you do to keep things cool?

Would you put it on a porch in a box, or what kind of things did you do in the winter to keep things?

Well, now, like, if you had any kind of, well, if that’s, you know, if it was pretty good size family, you didn’t have too many leftover things, and if it was like the beans or anything, they didn’t matter, and of course, anything like the breads or, you know, biscuits and stuff, but I can’t really remember, like I said, now in the summertime, of course, we’d take stuff over there, you know, and when, but see, the houses got really cold in the winter, because all you had is just a little heater in one room.

Right, so you could leave it in the kitchen?

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, yeah, because, I mean, it was, it was very cold in the house, you know.

It’s so easy to forget that.

Yeah, because, now, if you had a really big, back then, not some people might have, but some people had coals, you know, they burned coal, but I don’t know if anybody out in the country who I lived did, but I know one family that lived here in town, they, and those, they were big and heavy, and they would hold heat most of the night, and if you wanted to, you’d get up and put more in, and you’d have heat, but the little old heaters that we had when I was growing up, they, they were not heavy, and they didn’t, they didn’t hold heat, and once the fire was gone, the heat was gone, you know.

Were these wood stoves?


And then, could you, could you also, if you had a certain brand, heat the coal in the same stove as what you burned wood?

Well, I, I don’t know, we never did that down there, but now this is just my thought.

I would think to do coal, you’d have to have a heavier stove, you know.

Cast iron.

Yeah, I would think so, you know.

I think there were coal stoves that were specific for that.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but, but then some other stoves were heavier, just like the regular, they’re called heating stoves, and they were heavier, you know, but some of them, like one we had up there, the one I’m talking about, that was so cold.


I mean, it was, it was just, it didn’t have much weight to it, you know, it was, you know, it, once the heat inside was gone, it was pretty well gone too.

It didn’t hold.

It didn’t hold any heat.

So you, you had all these wood stoves in every room?

No, we only had one.



And it was often in the kitchen where you cooked as well, right?

Well, no, they had another one in another room.

Back then, they didn’t call them living rooms, they called them the front room, because usually in the house, it was, it was, that was the room you seen first, and the room you went in, you know, and then you had the cook stove, and you had another heater in there, and some of the houses, older houses, bigger homes, they had fireplaces, you know, and stuff.

And then sometimes people would have a fireplace, and then maybe in another room, they’d have a wood stove.

And of course, they always had the cooking stove, you know, they always had to have that, because that’s the only way you cook anything and stuff, you know, but anyway.

So in the winter, I’m guessing that you layered on your, as many clothes as you probably kept clothes on all the time at school and at home.


When you went to sleep.


It probably was a struggle to ever feel warm.

And yes, and I can remember that sometimes we have so many, now we didn’t do it, because we didn’t have that many, but people used to have feather beds, you know, they had, and they were warm, and they were much warmer, because it kind of would move around, you know, because they were very light and all of that, everything.

But I can remember sometimes, I couldn’t hardly turn over, I had to make covers on me.

Oh, right.

You know.

Now did you have, you had a lot of siblings, did you all share rooms, I imagine?

Well, there’s one place that I’m talking about, there’s other places too, but one we’re talking about.

My mom and dad, they had a full-size bed in this room, they called the front room.

Well, they slept there.

And then we had another room that was from, kind of that way from, it was all connected, but from the kitchen.

And at that time, I slept with three little ones, didn’t get much sleep sometimes either.

But anyway, and then I had two brothers, and they slept in the same room, and a bed over there, you know, and stuff going, you know, it just, it just depended on the size of the family, and how much room they had, and what they did, and everything, and stuff, you know.

I imagine it would be easier to stay warmer if you were sharing them.

Well, yeah, yeah.

So a feather bed, is that the bottom mattress that you lie on top of?

Yeah, well, you usually put, you had a mattress, and then you put the feather bed on top of it, you know, and stuff.

And sometimes…

Would it cover you?


Well, you laid on it, but now some people did.

I remember my husband talking about some in his family, I don’t know if he did, but they put a feather bed over, you know, and of course that would be warm, and stuff, you know.

But some people back in those days, they would make what they called straw beds, and they would take it like a, well, just it had to be like a big envelope the size of your bed, you had to sew it together, and leave it open.

And they would, or they would take the shucks off a corn, and dry them, and they would fill them full of that.

And then, of course, in springtime you had to get rid of it, and all of that, and everything.

But, yeah, people…

So you make a seasonal bed that would help keep you warm, and insulate, and give it some softness, but then you’d change it out every year.


And there was a special fabric, wasn’t there, called mattress ticking, so that nothing could, you know, come out?

Yeah, it was heavy, kind of a striped, you know, you know, I didn’t remember just what they called it, but yeah, kind of striped, like that.

But, and you know, the women, that was one of the things that they, well, they had to too, but even some of the older ladies, they still like to do that, and do a good job.

They made a lot of quilts, you know, and they would quilt them, and then some of them would tack them, what they called, tack them, you know, and they had frames, and they put them in that, and instead of, you could go with, maybe ever, well, maybe like that, and tack it, you know.

That would be faster.

Yes, yes.

Now for the cotton, you know, now when you want to do some quilting, it’s a big batting, but did you just put little bits of cotton in, because you didn’t have the big, you know, one big piece?

You know, I, now my grandmother, she, she quilted a lot, and I just don’t remember much about the cotton.

I really, I really, I remember seeing the quilts in the frames, and sometimes they’d set them on a little thing, like a, oh well, if I can think of it, kind of horses, and I want them looking at, well you could say, the men would put stuff, yeah, and one down here, one here, and they’d lay the frame on that, and then, and then the quilting frame had it on the side, where you can roll it like that, as you quilt, you know, like that, and then they had that, and then they would, some of the quilting frames, they would hang them from the ceiling, and then when they was ready to quilt, they’d lay them down, you know, stuff, you know, but I just don’t, I just don’t remember much about the quilting.

Now my grandmother, she, she, they had sheep, and she would spin out wool, wool batting, yeah, and stuff.

Now I’m not saying that she used that in her quilts all the time, I don’t know, but I remember her having them up a lot, and seeing, working on them, and all like that, and stuff.

So you mostly got your quilts from your grandmother?

Well, no, well, everyone, everyone made their quilts, you know, and now this, this is coming for up, up in years later, and at one time, and I don’t know what organization it was, or anything, but they would, they would go to people’s houses, and, and make quilts, but it was a group of people, it was, I don’t know if it was a county thing, or a state thing, but anyway, they would, it’d be a group of the women, I guess the men might go to, but they’d go, and they’d all work on a quilt all that day, and then maybe next week, they’d all go to another place, and do a quilt, and stuff, you know.

Now I didn’t, nothing like that, but I had an aunt, and well, we lived in that area too, at one time, out at, at Weston Town, but anyway, I remember them doing that one time, and stuff, so anyway, it’s kind of, kind of the way things were.



So, thank you, you, as you got older, what did you do after school?

Like how, at what point did you leave home, or did you stay home for a while?

Well, I didn’t stay home very long, because my grandparents, on my dad’s side, far off, they, they lived, they lived up, not, moved up not too far, but out to where the city lake is out there, a little house.

So, I came up here, and I got a job, the first job I ever had, and you know the building, you know, and it was at rest, you know, up in town, before they moved the new, the new, oh, resale, they moved it up there, next to the corner, where the pawn shop is, that’s what I’m talking about.

Okay, the first job I ever had, there was a restaurant in there, of course, when you work in the restaurant, I don’t know how it was back now, but anyway, first job, you went in the kitchen, well, I went in the kitchen, and I was, started washing dishes, well, I was back there about a week.

Now, this is, this is kind of scary, it was to me, but anyway, not that part of it, but I wasn’t back there very long, they said, well, you need to go out and work in the front.

I said, okay, so I thought I was just gonna do table stuff, and pretty soon, said, well, you should do the whole thing, everything out here.

Well, I don’t know if you can imagine it, but I never did, I mean, I knew what money was, but I never had any, so never had to deal with it, see, and back then, the over registers, they didn’t tell you what change to give, and I thought the first time I ever went to make change, I thought, I’m gonna do this.

Well, I started it the wrong way, see, you start from the bottom and go to the top, well, I was starting from the top, it didn’t take me long to figure that out, you know, I was, I was, I guess, 15, yeah, that’s 15, and then I worked there for a while, and then, and I don’t know, and now where the pawn shop is now, that used to be the lobby of the hotel, see, that’s hotel stuff, you know, buses were running, people came and stayed, all that kind of stuff.

Well, Frank Jeffrey and Mary, they, they had a donut shop in the corner, I mean, in the end of the building, next to the corner, were all the windows, yeah.

Well, then I went to work in there, and he would come up, and he made the, he had a great big thing that made the dough, and then it went into another thing, and he cut out the dough, they was fresh made every morning, yeah, and they was, it was just, it was like a bar, but it wasn’t a bar, but stools, you know, it’s counters and stools, it went all around like that, and all the desk work for the, for the hotel, it was back there, see, but anyway, I worked there for a good while, and we were really busy, they, they were good donuts, dude, and he, he made them, and he’d put, they were all like the cake donuts, but he’d put different icings on them and stuff, but he done all that, and then I just worked the counter and registered and served them, you know, and stuff.

You said Mary Jeffrey, was it, was she from New York?

You know, I don’t know, I know his mom and dad was here because they lived, well, you know where the bank is, where there used to be houses down there, like near your bank down that way when you go down, they used to be homes down in there, and that’s where, that’s where his mom and dad lived, but I don’t know where Mary originally was from, I really don’t know that and stuff.

Did she go to St.


Well, she might have, I just don’t remember about the church thing much, I mean, you know.

So that would have been the late 40s that you were working there?


Okay, and I’m sorry, where did you say you were, did you, you were, so had your family moved from Jewett or you were staying with your?

I was staying with my grandparents.

Grandparents, okay, they were up here.

Yeah, yeah, they were up here, yeah, and then later on they, they moved and they moved, well, it’s not there now, but you know, for the Skaggs’s store, it’s here in town, it used to be.


Okay, they lived right across the street from there, you know.

On North Main?

Uh-huh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

So you stayed with them and worked, and did any of your other siblings do the same thing, where they would come up and stay with your grandparents and get a job in town or just you?

No, no, they, well, now my brother that’s next to me, he stayed with my other grandparents for a while, he didn’t stay very long and stuff, but no, I worked, I guess, about four or five places here in Trinidad.


It was a busy town back then.



Imagine a hotel with a donut shop.

Oh yeah, it was neat, you know, like a, a trailway, what was the other bus company?

Trailway was one, and they come up West Main, you know, that way, and they’d park that side, you know, this dirt on West Main, and that’s where they let people, you know, get out and whatever they do, change buses and stuff.

Would that have been Greyhound?

Greyhound was the other one, yes, Greyhound.



So at that point here, I’m imagining you, you’re 15, you’re working at this place, doing everything, and what did you do at that point?

Did you have any friends?

Well, I didn’t have too many.

I had one lady that I knew, and I’m sorry to say I can’t even remember her name now, but anyway, not very much, because I just went to work, and I walked all the time, walking back and forth to work and stuff.

Did they have the movie theater you have at that point?

Yes, they did.

And did you do the everything?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I remember the first time I ever went to a movie.

And I remember, I remember this well.

It’s kind of hard to visualize that now here in town, but at the end of the war, you could not have hardly put another person in downtown Frederictown.

That night, the town was literally packed with people, packed, you couldn’t hardly move, and everybody was so happy.

It was just, you know, I’m telling you, it was like an explosion, you know.

I don’t mean that, I mean, with as much as was going on.

Yeah, like a celebration.

Yes, yeah, people so, because so many people had, you know, a lot of people had lost sons in the war, and some of them coming home, some of them still not home yet, but they would be and stuff.

We all see the famous pictures of, that were taken in New York when the war, when peace was, but when you stop and think that happened in every country, every time across the country, people were out doing.

Oh yeah, every time across the country, yes, yes, yeah.

And you remember that?

Oh yeah, and they were blowing the horns, and people had, you know, and stuff.

It was just a lot of activity and noise and stuff, you know.

I remember that and stuff.

But anyway, then I went and I went to, and probably people who mentioned this before, then I went to work for, it is where the Pizza Hut is now, and there was a store there named Federated Store, Federated Store, and some people with the name of Andrea Anos on that store.

So my grandma, she said, we went up there.

Anyway, they gave me a job, and I worked there for a good while and stuff, and anyway, walked back and forth to work and stuff and all, and I really don’t, I really don’t know why I left.

I never was fired from any place, but I really don’t know why I left.

But then, right next door there then, where the alleyway goes through there, right next there, there was a store, the name of P.


Hirsch and Company, and I worked there for a long time, you know, and stuff.

What did they sell at Federated?

They sold very good clothing.

They went to St.

Louis and bought their stock.

I don’t mean that they never ordered anything, but they had everything on the right-hand side of the store.

They had a men’s department.

They had everything from socks to hats, did it, and it was good stuff.

It was not cheap stuff, and then on the other side was a fabric on the other side, and then on the right-hand side in the back was a shoe department, and then on the other side in the back was ladies ready to wear, and then right in the middle was the, you know, where they’d done the, not office work, but, you know, where you went to pay, like check out and stuff.

It was in the middle of the store and stuff, but yeah, they’d done it.

They’d done a good business there, and they had, I think they had, I think they had four children, but I remember two and three of them, but I remember they was younger boy and a girl and stuff, but anyway.

How did you meet your husband?

Well, I was living with my other grandma that she lived up on Ismailamont, and so anyway, this neighbor of hers, I was over there, and I don’t really know how this came about, but anyway, his family was related to this neighbor of my grandma, and so I guess, because sometimes I’d go with this neighbor’s house, you know, and stuff, and so I don’t know why I was over there, but I was over there, so him and his mother and dad, and I think it was a sister, the baby of the family, she wasn’t a baby, but anyway, I think the two of them, two younger ones, and then my husband, he was, you know, had served at Air Force.

He was a tail gunner on a plant, so anyway, of course, he was out of all that.

Well, they came to visit, so that’s where we met, and so about six or eight months later, we was married.

So anyway, it’s kind of the story.

Well, did you keep your job?

No, I didn’t.

No, sometimes I wish I had, but I didn’t, but he never, I finally did work years later, but he never did want me to work.

Well, I’ll tell you where we, let me tell you, okay, you know where the, I think it’s Maple Street, I think it’s Maple, you know where the old library used to be here, well, that street down through there, and anyway, there was a big old house down there, and I can see the lady, she’s an older lady, well anyway, we rented an upstairs apartment, you know, so then they had a furniture store down here, it’s kind of across from the jail house, I can’t remember the name of it, but they had a lot of furniture, so that’s where we went and bought our furniture.

So you lived, it was Maple Street, but was it going towards Saline Creek?

Was it going north?

No, no, like, okay, okay, you know where they, where they fixed a new place down there, next to the fire department, where they fixed that and it’s all leveled, you know, okay, okay, well the house I’m talking, is that street, well you know where the laundromat is down there, the laundromat down from there, it was down a little past the laundromat, is the house I’m talking about.

So your college, college?

Yeah, college goes this way, and this is this one, okay, yeah, and so we we rented that apartment there.

Is it still there?

No, the house is gone, okay, yeah, no, the house is gone and stuff, and then later on we rented an apartment right down on the corner from that, and this man, he was, there’s a, there’s a, there’s a proper name for this, but he, he was a glass blower, I don’t, I don’t know, I know there’s a proper name for that, but that’s what, and it was fascinating, he had a little shop out there, and he could take that glass, and it was just amazing to me, he could do that and he could make stuff out of it, and he’d put colors in stuff, and they’d make color, and in a way it’s just him and his wife, and they, they lived on one side and we lived on the other side and stuff, yeah.

So that would have been probably in the 50s?

Yeah, because we was married in 1950, yeah, yeah, and my husband, and of course, I just done a lot of stuff when I was home, I mean, I could hang wallpaper, and I just do stuff, and so the kitchen needed some attention, and she said, she said, well, if you want to paper the kitchen, you know, people paper back then, she said, if you want to paper the kitchen, she said, you know, we’ll just let that go on your rent, I said, okay, I said, Charles, that’s when I said, Charles, I said, do you think about paper, oh yeah, I’ll help you do it, well, back then you painted the ceiling, one person had to get back here, hold that, while you got up here, and you walked back, and you’d press your hands and put the paper, the paper, the ceiling, and you had to put the, put the paste on first, yes, but you had to be really careful with everybody, and both persons did, well, we didn’t much want he get hold of it, I thought, he don’t know what he’s talking about, let alone doing it, so that, did it fall down on you, yeah, because he didn’t know what to do with, of course, when you got your hands, you got wet paper, they’re gonna go through pretty soon, unless you get them on a wall, but anyway, that didn’t work out, was paper, wallpaper, cheaper than painting, you know, I really don’t know about that, I really don’t know, I just know people did it a lot, you know, and stuff, and everything, because like, back when I was, like, when I was living there, 12 years old, down there, in that place that’s talking about, down in the country, well, me and my dad, we paid paper, that had whole house, you know, with wallpaper, and stuff, well, I know it’s a better insulator, yeah, yeah, yeah, people used to put newspapers, right, on their walls for insulation, and that was really good, that was a good thing, yeah, you know, I lived in an old house in Memphis, yeah, the oldest part of the house had been, they used newspapers, yes, and then did they paper over the newspaper, yeah, well, it’s one place where I stand back, we first lived, that one little bedroom, that’s what it was papered with, was newspaper, that’s where I learned about cool cigarettes, I learned to spell, you know, and there was this light would come through, you know, in this, from this other room, and I could look up there, and okay, yeah, because it would have what it was, needed to have a spelling, how you spell it, you know, and stuff, and I look up there, yeah, and there’s Camel cigarettes, Camel, there’s Camel, a lot of dads, oh goodness, yeah, another time, yeah, yeah, so you were married in 50s, about 50s, yeah, and you had one son, had one son, yeah, he was born in 54, yeah, he just retired about two months ago, yeah, yeah, and my husband, he’s been gone 16 years, I’ve been by myself 16 years and stuff, but anyway, we had done a lot of traveling, he was a very good driver, and he could go anywhere, and he liked to, so we went to a lot of states, and we traveled a lot, and stuff, and everything, and he had, he owned it two different times, it was a service station out on West Main, it was called Zephyr, Zephyr service station, and stuff, and so he owned that two different times, and stuff, but he was about to ask what he did after the war, so he bought a service station, yeah, yeah, and he was a judge here, and I can’t remember what year it was, but it was county, you know, I think they had three or four judges, I think it was, and Mr. Stone was one of them, and I can’t remember who the other one was, and my husband, and at one time, he was chief of police here in town, in probably 19 and 50, Charles, Charles Reed, yeah, he was chief of police, yeah, Charles Daniel, yeah, no, I’ll tell you what it was, you know, you know what Catholic school is, okay, just keep looking to your left, of course, there’s nothing there now, because the building’s down, but it’s right, you know where the IGA store was down there, okay, the station was right here, and the IGA store, here’s West Main, if you want to stop the station, you pull in here, if you want to go down to IGA, you went down that way, because that’s where it was, you know, stuff, yeah, yeah, yeah, do you know when it was torn down?

No, I really, I really don’t, probably so, probably so, the stuff.

I think you said earlier that you had gone back to work later on, where did you go back to work?

Well, I worked, I worked at town, now this was years later, I worked at town and country for about 12 years, yeah, that’s the older store, you know, right, so what’s that?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s country mart now, but back back then it was town, no, I was a checker in the deli, you know, and stuff, back when coffee was 19 or 29 cents a cup, and what is it now, dollars, you know, but, but anyway, yeah, I’ve worked at something most of my life, but, but I, when my, my son went until he, I stayed home until he was 13 years old, and, you know, I wanted to stay home with him, and stuff, and I did that, and stuff.

And you’ve enjoyed reading your whole life?

Yeah, well, I don’t enjoy it now, because I got these, I have macular regeneration, and it’s got to before that, well, it’s getting it before that, and I didn’t know this until about two months ago, or maybe even less than that, when I’d look at something that was a straight line, it would start to get a curve in it, so I said something to a lady that knows all about this, she said, oh, that’s what that is, and stuff, but anyway, so reading is a challenge for me, you know, and I used to do a lot of hand work, and stuff like that, and that’s a challenge, too.

You know, anything you do, if it’s a challenge, it’s just a job, it’s not enjoyment, you know, and stuff like that, but I do some, because I’ve got, I’ve got things all over the house, and I hope to become, I mean, a magnifying thing, or something, and stuff, but anyway, but I still do, with two, two happy days a week at the gift shop here in the hospital, yeah, I went, well, I was in that a long, long time ago, when, when the hospital put all this other stuff, but then after my husband died, well, I went back out there, so I’m out there two happy days a week, it gets me out of the house, you know, stuff, you know, so everything’s okay, yeah, and you know what, really, when you get older, if you can, that’s what you need to do, yeah, and you don’t need to be yourself all the time, if you can prevent that, yeah, that’s not a good thing, and you need to find something that you can occupy your mind with, and your, and your time, too, you know, if you can, sometimes you can’t, but if you can, that’s the best thing, yeah, stuff, and I bet you can really count change back, oh my goodness, did you, I’ve got, I got to tell you, because the register we’ve got out there now, it’s just, it’s, it’s a new one, but it’s, it’s not set up to do what all that stuff, a new one does, and so there was an elderly couple, this probably been a year ago, it’s been a few months back, let’s put it that way, and they bought some things, you know, so I don’t know what kind of bill it gave me, I don’t know if it gave me a five or ten, I don’t know what it was now, but probably at least a ten or twenty, because they had brought a few things laying out there, they bought, and snacks and candies and chips and stuff, and so I gave him back the change, and she said, you know, you never see that anymore, I said, well, it’s not people’s fault, I said, the register, it tells them what to do so they don’t have to think about it, and she said, well, I’m going to teach my grandchildren how to do that, I said, well, that’s fine, you know, that’s fine, but I think it’s actually easier, oh yeah, it gets, it’s so confusing, and they’re counting back your change instead of counting what they spent up to the amount of money they gave you.

Yeah, yeah, one thing I’ve learned not to do, and I learned this out of hearties, and I don’t do that, I don’t go out there much, but sometimes, you know, if it’s like a few cents extra, you just, even that out in your mind, but when you give it to them, it confuses them.

Like if it’s $12.05, and you give them a nickel, $20.

Yeah, they’ll see something’s coming up there for them, and you’re giving them this, and they don’t know what to do with what you give them, so I just, I just don’t do that.

Now, how do you get to the hospital?

Do you?

No, I still drive out there, if it’s bad weather or something, well, I take the SMT bus, that’s a wonderful thing, yes.

There’d be so many, especially older ladies, if that wasn’t bad for that, they’d be sitting at home, but they’re, they’re nice people, they’re very good.

Yeah, we interviewed Mr. Osborne.

Oh, yeah.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Well, anything else we can pick up?

I’m sure there’s plenty more that we could.

Oh, well, yeah.

You’ve been fantastic, thank you so much.

Well, I appreciate it, you know, the reason when they asked me first, and that’s still an ongoing process, but I had this dental thing I was trying to deal with, because, you know, I’ve had cancer, and it’s messed things up, and all this kind of stuff, the cancer, the treatment, you know, what that treatment does to your body sometimes, but anyway, and I told him, I said, well, I just can’t make a commitment, because, you know, I’ve got that coming, but then they’ve told me not to do anything for at least a year, so that’s going to come up, because, you know, your immune system is not good, so they don’t want to go messing around and stuff.

So, anyway, and so it’s worked out.

Well, we’re so glad, we were able to make time to do this.

I appreciate it.

We have a very interesting story.


Well, it’s, but it’s like a lot of people lived back in my time, you know, and stuff.

It’s the younger people, like my grand-granddaughters, they wouldn’t know what to do.


That’s part why we try to do this, is so that they can hear these stories and better appreciate what they have, what other people have gone through.


Do you by chance get on the computer at all?

Do you have internet access?

No, I don’t, because my vision, you know, and because, you know, if you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to look back at this.

When you’re doing that, your eyes have to be like this, and I can do that, you know.

This will go on our website, where people can go, and that’s why I asked if you had access, because that’s one way you can listen to it.

At some point, I think we were going to try to burn CDs so that they could be checked out of the library.

Unless you’re wondering if that’s going to happen, but that might happen too.

If you ever wanted to see, if you come and ask, they might be able to give you some CDs from the other people.

Is your son in town?

No, he lives in Park Hills.

Oh, okay.

When you visit, if you tell him to look up on the Ozark Regional Library website, you’ll be on there.

Okay, yeah, they got all that kind of stuff.

And my granddaughter, Amy, of course, you know, she’s into all that, because she worked for a doctor a long time, and an office manager, of course, they have to, you know what, they have to know how to do all that stuff.

But Dan and Debbie, they got all that stuff in their house too.

Yeah, well, let them know that you’re going to be on there.


Yeah, they’ll be able to go and listen, and they can download it.


It’ll probably be about two weeks.

Okay, so that Ozark Regional Library, that’s what they have to put in there.

The website.

And it’ll be right on the front page of the website.

And it says Voices of the Ozarks.

Okay, Voices of the Ozarks.

Okay, okay.

Well, I’ll tell them about that, and they can do what they need to do.

And if they have any trouble, they can just call the library and we can instruct them.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It’s great.

Well, thank you so much.

Well, you’re just very welcome.

You folks are very nice to do this for people.

Thank you.