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Interview with a Native Alabamian: My Grandmother's Story

Updated on April 29, 2012
The Leeds Cement Factory
The Leeds Cement Factory

Mary Annie Dorough-

My name is Mary Annie Dorough. I grew up in Cahaba Valley around 4 miles from Leeds, Alabama. My daddy’s name was Joseph M. Dorough and my mother’s name is Alvie Otera McDanel and I had two brothers; one younger brother and one older brother. We were very close all three of us. Then the hard times came. All my cousins lived close together within a quarter mile around one another. We all seemed like brothers and sisters, we didn’t know any different. We met at grandmother’s house, Grandma Dorough’s house, every weekend and my daddy and my two brothers went every day. The house still stands there it’s been remolded and all my of life I wanted to go back and live at Grandma Dorough’s house because that’s where I stayed all the time and I think sometime’s now I would like to go back there.

Sarah Wade-

Where is that at?

M.A.D.-

It’s over on 119 and all the cousins built their houses and all the aunts and uncles built their houses right around my mother and daddy’s house and then several of the cousins built their houses here so we’ve always been close together. There were around 22 grandchildren and you can imagine how hard that was on my grandmother and granddaddy for us comin’ there every weekend and stay the whole weekend. And most all of the children were born at grandma’s house in what we called the back room. And we all went to the same church, Mount Hebron Baptist Church, and we had an Auntie that lived with us, lived there with grandma and grandpa. A black Auntie and she took care of all of us children and she went to church with us every Sunday morning she went with grandma and grandpa to church, and she sat behind the heater and now you can imagine some black person sitting behind a heater today and she was happy to get to go to church and my youngest brother made the remark to her one day something about Jesus being white, his name was Donald, and she said to Donald,” how do you know that Jesus is white? Because I would say that we was a black person! “

And we all got along good and most of us everybody in my family has died except for one cousin. I have one cousin living, she’s in the nursing home and I will soon be 92 and the rest of them are all gone but we were just like brothers and sisters we didn’t know any different because we just lived together. I would stay with an Aunt’s house one Friday night and then her daughter would come over to my house the next Friday night and the other cousins would come to the same house and we’d all play and stay together. Then on Saturday we mostly met at my mom’s house, if we weren’t going to grandmother’s house. There was an old sink hole back behind momma and daddy’s house and we all played down in that sink hole. I had one cousin, she was the policeman, and she was a sight, and I had another that was something else and we would of course get into trouble sometimes, we’d smoke vines you know those old grape vines that grew out in the woods, we’d smoke them. I guess we were as rough as are kid’s today although there wasn’t any dope smoking going on, and then some nights we would go up to Aunt Lealer’s and spend the night and Uncle Sam was a great believer in taking some kind of medicine on Friday nights to work your system out so you would be ready for school and church the next week. So when we went to their house on Friday night we would have to take a big pill, and of course we hated to take that pill, but if you stayed with Aunt Lealer and Uncle Sam you’d have to take that pill.

And then every afternoon my brothers and I, daddy would take us back behind grandma’s fishing. There was a big creek that run back behind their house and we loved to go to grandma’s she had a large house and she had an upstairs and we loved the upstairs and she kept cookies under the stairs in the closet, gingerbread cookies and teacake cookies. Then she had an old wood stove didn’t have any coal back in them days you had to get out and cut wood, she had a wood stove and it had something on the side of it that would heat water I don’t know exactly what they called it and every morning for breakfast everybody marveled at what a beautiful complexion grandma had and why she had beautiful complexion is because she would go to that hot water tank at the side of the stove and get her a cup of hot water and that’s what she drank every morning was that hot water and then at night mother would be ready and she would go with her back over to grandma’s and grandpa’s house and grandma had a great big old chifferobe in what we call the den now it was just a sitting room at that time and in that chifferobe she kept her candy. It was peppermint sticks, peppermint candy, back in those days that’s about all you had. She wore an apron and Don and James and I would see her reach down in that apron pocket and get that little key out and walk over to the chifferobe and we knew what was going to happen she was going to get us a stick of that candy and break it in three pieces and that’s what we usually had for our surprise.

He always wanted James to sit on his knee so he could jump him up and down then holler “Boo” at him. Scare him to death and make him fall of the knee you know and he had a mustache he was a short fat man, he made a good grandpa and he had a little car and I remember grandma fussin’ at him all the time about his little car because when we would go over there on Sunday he’d take the teenagers riding. I never remember riding in it because there were several that were a lot older than me, teenagers, he would take two of them ridin’ at the same time. They had a little rumble seat on the back of it. I think that’s what they called it, a rumble seat and then they would come back and he would take two more ridin’. Grandma said that’s where their money was going to buy gas to take the teenagers ridin’. Lord I don’t know Sarah we had the best time though, you don’t find that now days, you don’ t even find brothers and sisters that know where they are a lot of people now don’t know where their brothers are, they don’t know where their sisters are and at that time when we were growin’ up we were all right there together, so it was just a big family for us.

Of course Aunt May lost her husband but everybody pitched in and helped. She had four kids, most had about four kids a piece. The oldest boys were Travis and Fred and their daddy died when they were just real small kids and they never lived down here in the valley with us. Aunt…I can’t remember what her name was…she married again and carried the boys off but they always came back to grandma’s on Sundays, and they played the guitar and sang. And we always had Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa’s. And all the Aunt’s would make something for the women, it was usually a dish towel. Then would get a dish towel or a pillowcase which was made out of a flower sack now; it wasn’t made out of no linen material and then for the men they would all get handkerchiefs that was all about you could buy back in them days, was a handkerchief, the men got handkerchiefs.

And it would be a tree, it took up almost all of the room in the front bedroom and it went to the ceiling , great big tree, and everybody had their main Christmas at Grandma’s house you didn’t have no tree at your house, it was all at Grandma’s house. And daddy had a job so he was able to buy a few firecrackers and buy a few sparklers and some of those things they would set off to make the pretty fire in the sky and we really enjoyed that. And we always had a “Santy Claus (Santa Claus) and I found out that his name was Mr. Crumpton later on I found out that it was my husband’s grandfather and he’d come on Christmas Eve and my daddy would take him to the back room and had a suit there for him to put on and he’d be Santy Claus, and he was the best Santy Claus I’ve ever saw in my life. He could give that little chuckle you know and laugh just like a Santy Claus, “Ho, Ho, Ho” and everybody got a gift, all the men got a gift and all the kids got a gift. One year I got a little baby doll, and I think that that was the best Christmas I ever had. And we’d eat supper there and then we’d go home. We always had a great Christmas.

And my daddy when he was still at home and I think he was around 30 years old he talked my grandmother and granddaddy into adopt a boy. The boy was eleven years old. His name was Webb, Uncle Webb. And my daddy raised him at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s and we didn’t know any difference we thought that he was one of the brothers until we all got up to about fourteen-fifteen years old and mother and daddy told us that he wasn’t our real uncle and James Lee just went into a spasm. He cried and jumped up and down, “I know he is my real Uncle!” He wouldn’t have it! And they grew up with us and we didn’t know any difference with their kids; their kids were just like real cousins. And I guess that’s about all I know.

We had a hard time, my daddy had a job and if it hadn’t of been for my daddy having a job I don’t know what all the rest of them would have done, because when they got sick, daddy helped ‘em out. But one thing they all had was a big garden, everybody raised everything to eat. We had beans, we had pork, we had chicken, makes you wonder ‘bout what little money they made on the side what they did with it because we had everything. Course we weren’t havin’ to pay all kind of this insurance that you pay now, Sarah. But they did have a hard time. Uncle Sell worked at the cement plant not for long and Uncle Alvin worked at the cement plant not long, now my grandpa he worked there before he retired and my daddy worked there until he retired. So we think a lot of the cement plant we have here in Leeds.

S.W.-

Tell me a little about High School and on, and meeting granddaddy

M.A.D.-

I finished up down here at a country school in the valley put in six years down there. Went to Leeds High School for my seventh year and got up there and realized that we didn’t know anymore coming out or not near as much as the other kids that had gone to school at Leeds all their life. It was hard for us! ‘Cause it was just a little country school, we didn’t have the extra things that the Leeds school had and it was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done, was leavin’ that country school and they finally closed the country school and it was the best thing that could have happened and they moved the teachers to the Leeds school.

S.W.-

What about granddaddy, you said had found out the Santa Claus was actually his grandfather, how did you meet him and so on?

M.A.D.-

The grandpa, Gene’s grandpa, lived down in the valley, close to the Mount Hebron church and back in those days everybody went to Mount Hebron Church and now there was two more churches around here, down further, but nobody had a car. There must have been five cars in the valley when we were growin’ up and if one of them passed we knew who it was because it had that different sound, the motor did, and then I can remember having PTA at Mount Hebron and one woman came to the PTA in a wagon. She’d pick up her children after PTA and they would go back home in that wagon and there were several wagons when we went to Mount Hebron Church. They’d come to church in the wagon. And mother would always put my youngest brother, brought him a pallet you know out of a quilt and put it under the bench and he slept there on that pallet and he became to know the Lord when he was five years old and I remember him going down the aisle, shakin’ the preacher’s hand, and told the preacher that he wanted to join the church. Well the preacher thought he was too young and he just sent him back. Well that went on til he was about seven years old and he went up there and told the preacher, “I’ve come up here to join the church,” and the preacher let him join the church that day after he’d been going up there several Sundays to join the church and he did turn out to be a grand person.

Don was a good person, he raised two adopted children and two of their own and as far as I can remember they always had an extra child there at their house, raisin’. I don’t know how many children they raised.

S.W.-

I know that you eloped; do you want to talk about that?

M.A.D.-

Well Gene and I had been going together, I guess a couple of years and I told him, I said, “I know my momma and daddy are going to throw a fit if we get married , and I know your mother well enough that I know she’s is going to have two fits .” So we decided that we would just get secretly married. So Gene had been giving me some money, he had a job, makin’ a quarter an hour I think was what he was making and he had been giving me some money to put in the savings jar. Well I had it in my bedroom. I had my own bedroom. So mom found the money and she got it in her sneakin’ head that we were GOING to get married, so when he got off from work that day, she said I’m going to take you up there and we’re going to find out the truth about this. So I had to tell her that yes we were ALREADY married. Well you can imagine what happened then; she started screaming, hollerin’, and throwing her arms up, “We’re going right now to the cement plant to pick him up,” she was talking about Gene so we got him and my cousin was staying with me, her name was Mildred Moore, she was living with us, she got in the car, and we all went up to the Moore’s and that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and Gene too was to tell his mother that we were already married because Gene was working and he was help supportin’ the Moore family it was hard on them. So that night we came on back home to Aunt Dee and Uncle Roy’s and told them and Don went first he walked through the field and he went up there hollerin’ and screamin’ and throwing his arms and hands up hollering, “Aunt Dee we’ve lost her, we’ve lost her!” Aunt Dee said, “Who?” and he said, “Ann, she’s gone she got married she’s gone!” and he was crying…they all cried; made me feel like something else you know with all of them crying and hollerin’ and hoopin’. So it was a big thing but Gene and I had a good marriage we were married for 56 years.

S.W.-

How long were you married before everyone found out?

M.A.D.-

We were married for three weeks before they knew it; see we were secretly married for three weeks. Back in them days it was something else to get secret married and I was the only girl in the family and they thought you know I would have a good wedding and all. All that was blown apart

We really did we had a good life. We ended up having a service station, that’s what Gene wanted. And I worked there with him and the kids all worked there awhile, but they didn’t like it I can tell you!

S.W.-

I’m trying to think of events that you would remember. Were you upset when Elvis died? Did that affect you at all?

M.A.D.-

Everybody was upset! There’s no need in lying about Elvis, everybody loved Elvis, now I wasn’t fanatic like some of them but it was a shock and I couldn’t believe that he died the time of death he did I really wouldn’t have that, no, no. but everybody knows how it turned out but everybody loved Elvis and I believe Elvis was a good man! I really do! And I really believe down deep that he wanted to go back to his religious singing, he just never did make it back, but I really believe that’s what he wanted to do.

S.W.-

Do you remember where you were when J.F.K was shot?

M.A.D.-

Oh yeah I was sitting on my couch in the den and it was one of the biggest shocks I ever had in my life. I was holding Jo in my arms and there was a lady here selling me a set of science books, some kind of books, encyclopedias, selling those and it flashed on the TV, you know we had TV at that time. That was a big shock. It’s still a big shock to people and their just now telling things that hadn’t been told and I don’t know if you knew it or not Sarah but their daughter is beginning to let some things out, some stories about them that’s never been told.

S.W.-

How long were you and Gene married before you had your first child? Before you had Beck.

M.A.D.-

We were married close to two years.

S.W.-

Do you have any good stories from when they all them were growing up? Or ones that you would like to talk about?

M.A.D.-

Well they were just like any other kids. John the oldest boy always was the coach of the football team and they played football here every day of the world. Summertime, wintertime, anytime they’s in my front yard playing football and he was the coach and of course he had his own rules. Right quick as the ball game was over him and Mike ended up with a fight every afternoon. EVERY afternoon. That Mike and John were brothers. But of course by bed time they were all over it and made up you know or at least until the next day, but a lot of times in the summertime we would have a man come down here and throw chicken fertilizer over the yard and I remember John coming in one day coming up the hill from school, “Oh Mike she’s done it again she’s thrown that chicken fertilizer of that yard!” and it smelled to high heavens! Every kid around here, boy, came up here in the afternoon to play football and I was really shocked when John turned out not to be a football coach I just knew that was what John would be! But he went into Alfa Insurance Company made good money and did good; married and had one son. Now he’s having boys!

S.W.-

When did you start work and what kind of places did you work?

M.A.D.-

I worked at a stove foundry for a couple years, mother worked there and I went to work with her, so we worked over there and we really enjoyed it and we had a good time and my cousin went over there and she worked there and then when the children got up larger. Jo was about four years old but I could sit her in nursery school or something. I went to work with the service station, Gene and I worked there. Then I worked at the watch factory for twenty five years.

S.W.-

Is that still around?

M.A.D.-

No it closed. It fact the year that I quit working it closed that same year. I got called back but Gene was already sick and I never did go back, but it really closed that same year that I quit. But it was a good place to work, it was something that the United States didn’t have; it was the only place in the United States where you could call in the morning order a certain kind of watch and it would be put out that afternoon. We worked for Sears we worked for that, what was it called, Timex, we worked for several good companies.

S.W.-

Kind of going back to the childhood stories; I’ve heard some good ones over the years so could you tell the story about going into the tunnel

M.A.D.-

Yes. My daddy had told me one thing that children don’t never do, don’t never do! Said you can go over to the tunnel which I guess was about oh four or five miles away. “You can go over there but don’t never go through it.” He said, “one time me and Webb, that was the boy they had adopted, we went over there and we got right down in the middle of it of the tunnel and a train came and we had to lie flat down on our stomachs” and somehow or another they pulled their legs way out where the train you know wouldn’t chop them off. And he said, “It’s the awfulest feeling knowing the train is running over you and you’re trying to keep from getting run over.” Well I listened to that and I heard that, but when I went over there it was too tempting we had to try it James and I and I have to tell you that was the scaredest I’ve ever been in my life Sarah. It was the fastest I’ve ever run in my life was through that tunnel and I never went back through it again. And Mother and Daddy didn’t know we went through it but we did. And that’s over there where John Henry died, the man that beat on the iron until he died. A lot of people didn’t think that John Henry died over there but he died over there. It’s been proven now but for years they tried to make it out that he had died in Virginia but he died right over there at that tunnel beating on that iron.

S.W.-

What other kind of mischief did you and James Lee get into?

M.A.D.-

All kind that you could think of. I think the biggest thing we pulled was going down to grandma and grandpa’s and getting in to things down there, cause we were there so much! We were there alls of the time. And after there became more cars in the valley it got to where we would put a string across the road and then we would put a newspaper and put the newspaper over the string, do you know what I’m talking about? And let it hang down and then we’d tie it to a tree. There was a tree on each side of the road. We would tie the cords to the trees when we’d see a car coming, well the car would get right up close you know and they didn’t know what in the world and sometimes we’d set fire to it right in front of them and we got into a lot of trouble about that, but it was fun!

And we would play hide and go seek and they would tell us not to and that we couldn’t play it and I know we got into that front bedroom…daddy had bought a piano and it was in that front bedroom and we got into that front bedroom and there was linoleum in there not like now days it was something hard and stiff all away around it and we would tie our eyes up put a handkerchief over our eyes and we would play hide and go seek. Well we had been told we couldn’t do that but we did it anyway and one night we were in there playing and Johnny Nichols one of my older cousins, she was the one that was leading us and she put these blindfolds on all of us and I fell on the edge of that linoleum and cut my chin and if you look you can still see the scar right across there; it may be hidden but it’s there and Johnny said, “Oh don’t tell ‘em don’t tell ‘em let’s go to the kitchen right quick and I know what will help it and what we can do” Well we got in there and she got the salt box and she poured that thing full of salt and I thought I would die. Blood just a gushing out, but I never did tell mother and daddy and I’m sure it needed at least five or six stitches, because I’ve still got the scar now.

Grandma and Grandpa had a nice house for them days you know and on the back they had this great big room that they called the bathroom and we had an old tub in there and we would get our bathes in that tub and they had a privy down at the back and we would go down there to use the bathroom and they had high steps in the back and what I loved better than anything was the creek that runned through their backyard, beautiful creek, it’s still there it’s the Cahaba creek, the little Cahaba creek and it runs into Lake Purdy.

S.W.-

Would you like to talk about World War II?

M.A.D.-

I was up at Mr. and Mrs. Moore’s, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law’s house and it came on the radio that Pearl Harbor been bombed and that all those people been killed. Gene was in Irondale working at a service station and he sold beer over there and he came in that afternoon and he was tellin’ how upset all the people were over there and he said one man came in and said, “Pearl Harbor’s been bombed!” and I can remember Gene saying to this man, “Where in the hell is Pearl Harbor? I’ve never heard of it!” and I don’t guess I had I don’t remember! But everybody was really shook up about it and I hope we never have to live through one like that it was awful we’d go to bed at night and if we heard an airplane coming over We’d get up and look and see we all thought we were going to be bombed ya know? You never got a good night’s sleep and all the young men out of Leeds most all of them went to the service, there weren’t any men around. The women had to take charge, they had to be the boss, that was all of the beginning of women working was when the war was on, because they had to go to work and I stayed up at the Moore’s most of the time. And Granny Moore lost her brother on D-Day. That was…the best that I can remember was July.

Then my sister-in-law, Olene lost her husband that following December. And we had already lost…Mr. Moore had just lost his daddy and it was sad times seemed like everyone was getting killed or dying. Ray had to leave and go to the service, that was Gene’s brother.

Gene didn’t go to the service because he worked at Childersburg at the powder plant. Some of the other men in town worked at the powder plant and it took them about an hour to go to work, they went on the bus and the highway back then over the mountain to Childersburg wasn’t paved and they had to ride that bus and most of the time it would get stuck and they would have to get out a push the bus and he worked what they called the swing shift, three different shifts, and he made good money working down there and that’s where we got our start, we saved some saving funds by him working down there but later on he got called into the service.

He went to Birmingham. He caught the bus to join the Army, went to Atlanta, spent the night, with all the boys that had joined and been called and they had a pillow fight and Gene said that was all there was to him being in the Army because the next day the war was over and he came back home! And that was the happiest day of my life!

But it was, it was bad. When Jim wrote Olene a letter and said “Dear don’t worry about me.” I’ve got the letter now. “Don’t worry about me I’m in a train that’s where I live and I’m safe but their really fighting here right now but I’ll be alright because I’m on the train.” That very night, he wrote that letter that day, they bombed the train and he burned up in the train. And Mrs. Moore’s brother got killed that same year on D-Day when he got off the ship and was gunned down right there in the water on D-Day with thousands and thousands of other boys. It was hard and you couldn’t get any sugar, you couldn’t buy sugar, you couldn’t buy tires for your car and the men that could work had a time getting to work because you couldn’t buy tires! I guess the service had to have all the tires you know for airplanes and different things and I had a good friend tell me, a couple of years ago, that when we got in this war, we didn’t have a decent airplane. So how in the world we ever one this war I do not know because they had to make airplanes and build airplanes after this war started. Now I know he was telling me the truth because that’s what he was in, the Air Force and he was help building planes so we’d have planes. That was J.T. Rogers. And that was the hardest time of our lives going through the war years and I remember…let’s see…Dess was in the hospital at Leeds and me and Olene was sitting down there with her she was there beside us, that’s my other sister-in-law and we were sitting with her and we heard all these sirens blowing and fire trucks coming down the middle of Leeds, and people waving their hands and arms, and the war was over! They were yelling, “The war is over! The war is over!” That was a wonderful day!

Now the war they had before that, what war was that? World War I? Right?

S.W.-

Yes ma’am

M.A.D.-

Well I’ve heard Jim DeShazo talk about that and mother and them lived here on this back road back by Jim DeShazo and he said mother…they were out in the sweet potater patch…picking up sweet potaters and mother came out to go to the mailbox on 119, and when she was at the mailbox the mailman told her that the war was over, that was the first war and my daddy was in the service at that time and she went back through the field took her ole hat off and waved it like that, her ole straw hat, yelling out in the field tellin’ them that the war was over, now that was the first war, it was bad but of course I don’t know too much about it but I can remember Jim DeShazo tellin’ the community down here that the war was over that the postman had told ‘em.

S.W.-

Do you remember anything about Vietnam?

M.A.D.-

Oh it was bad, it was bad, that was a bad war and I don’t know how in the world those boys came through that one. I don’t know too much about it, Sarah, but I just know it was bad.

S.W.-

You didn’t know anyone that went off to Vietnam?

M.A.D.-

Not really, not somebody close. Not any of our people. But there was a lot of our people killed in the second war. Yeah, injured. A lot of Leeds boys were killed, two or three boys I went to high school with were killed. Sad. Sad. And you think about that, I worried about Gene day and night because one little match down there at that powder plant would have blowed the whole thing up! They checked those men, and women worked down there, they checked them real good, every morning when they came in that plant. Because if they would have one match Kathy (Aunt who was present in room) and struck that match it would have blown the whole thing up!

Kathy Moore-

He worked down in the powder at the powder plants?

M.A.D.-

Where the powder was being made for the guns and everything. So it was dangerous him working there, very dangerous. He was some kind of boss down there I don’t know over several men.

S.W.-

I can’t think of too much else to ask, but if you can think of anything you would like to talk about.

M.A.D.-

I can’t think of nothing right now Sarah. I’ve lived a long life I know that. Everybody my age is gone! I don’t know of anybody I could go to and talk to, now I’ve got a couple of friends in the nursing home but I never see ‘em

--We had a break here and she decided she wanted to speak on her church life—

M.A.D.-

My mother and daddy believed in going to church and when I was growing up everybody went to church, they walked, most of them walked from four or five miles to church we were lucky enough to have a car but us kids didn’t ride to church we walked and let the older people that could ride in the car and I was ‘round fifteen or sixteen years when brother Mack, no I must have been younger than that, ‘round twelve or thirteen when brother Mack, good preacher come to Mount Hebron and preach he would leave but he’d come back every once and while and come back and preach again. So one time he was running a revival at Mount Hebron. Back then they always had revivals at churches. And there’d be a crowd there, the church would be full on Sunday and every night. The middle place would be full and each side would be full of people. And one night we were having church and brother Mack he had really talked to us young people and I was fifteen I believe and he come’d down of the pulpit he started preaching from behind the pulpit and then he came on down to the first step, there are two steps there at the church, he came down to the second step, then he came down and he got up on the bench on the front row and he stood on that bench and he started to REALLY preach, he had the Bible in his hand and he was holding up his other hand and he was really telling us what would happen if we didn’t believe in God and accept him. Well when he got through preaching, I am sure, the best I can remember there was at least sixteen or seventeen maybe twenty people that went up to tell Mack that they wanted to accept the Lord that night so he came to me and he asked me and I said, “Oh yes I’ll believe in Jesus and I want to accept Jesus right now!” So then the next morning it was a Sunday and he wanted to know who all wanted to be baptized, and he was expecting a whole bunch to be baptized and I don’t know why but I didn’t want to do that, I don’t know whether I was scared or what so I didn’t get baptized, but the rest of ‘em did!

So years went on and went on and we moved to Leeds and one Sunday morning I had been to church at the hard shell church, that’s the Primitive Baptist, well I decided right then I didn’t want to join that church! But I decided I better get somewhere and join, so I decided I wasn’t going to join the church but I decided I really wanted to be baptized. This is a long story of my Christian life! So I called brother Mack and he said we would all gather down at the baptizing place there and I’ll baptize you! Well I told Granny Moore that I didn’t have anything decent to be baptized in, she said, “Ann, Dess..” that was my sister-in-law, “she’s got a brand new dress and I’ll see about if she’ll let you get baptized in her brand new dress!” and I said, “I don’t think she will Granny” but Granny talked her into it. So I went down there and Brother Mack baptized me in that old cold creek water and we had a crowd…it must have been on a Sunday afternoon, and the banks were just full of people and they sang, “Shall We Gather at the River” I was the only one baptized, everybody else had been baptized. Well years walked on and walked on and I thought, ‘Well here I am and I’ve never joined a church, what am I going to do about that?’

Well we came out from Mount Hebron and we built Valley View and all the rest of them that had come from Mount Hebron, they had already joined Mount Hebron so they moved their letter to Valley View, but there I was, I never had joined a church! So I don’t know how long it was until I finally joined Valley View, there I was takin’ my time accepting Jesus, and then I took my time about being baptized, then I took my time bout joining the church. So I have a long Christian life, but I still feel like I want to go back to Mount Hebron and joining Mount Hebron, because that’s where I found the Lord. That’s my home. That’s my home spot. How about that Kathy?

K.M.-

I like that story. I’ve never heard that before.

M.A.D.-

No I don’t think you have either.

K.M.-

Remember when we went on that ride that one day we went on that high mountain you showed me the creek you were baptized in

M.A.D.-

Oh yes! That creek is still running down there! I know that the baptism is nice and it’s good but I still have a good feeling about going to that creek and getting baptized in that creek. They called it the baptizing hole, that’s what they called it!

S.W.-

Where’s it at?

M.A.D.-

You don’t know where the baptizing hole is, Sarah? I’ll have to tell you where!

K.M.-

We can take a drive down there tomorrow.

M.A.D.-

Yeah it’s down below the church. It’s right below the bridge where I was baptized and they sang, “Shall We Gather at the River” It was sweet as it could be.

Gene never did join the church. You know you didn’t have to join the church to go, but I never did understand why he didn’t want to join the church.

S.W.-

Didn’t you say that he was born Primitive Baptist?

M.A.D.-

Yeah I think he was torn between Baptist and Primitive Baptist.

K.M.-

Tell a little bit about Primitive Baptist. A lot of people don’t know anything about it

M.A.D.-

Well they have good belief or they hope that can they use that word h-o-p-e how much in sermons, “we hope…” you know “We hope we’re going to go to heaven,”

S.W.-

How is it different from regular Baptist?

M.A.D.-

That’s the biggest belief right there. Hoping and hope, “hope we’re going to make it, hope we’re going”

S.W.-

They didn’t use any music or anything did they?

M.A.D.-

They don’t believe in music and I went to that the church a year, Becky went to it all her life, what we called the Primitive Baptist, and you will never find any better people in your life than the Primitive Baptists, they just don’t believe like I do. Granddaddy Moore thought he would make me be a…what was so funny about him he didn’t even belong to the church himself but he wanted me to join the Primitive Baptist Church. Did you know he didn’t belong, Becky? No but Granny did, but Granddaddy never did join the church, but he really believed in it. He wanted me to join it, he wanted me to go there and we went, when Becky was little, we went to the Primitive Baptist church.

One Sunday they were going to have foot washing and I thought, I’m not much on this, I believe I’ll just leave, I care nothing about this, well I stayed. And that was the biggest bravest thing I ever did was the foot washing there wasn’t a dry eye there. Everybody was crying, everybody went over and hugged one ‘nother and you would see one woman go up and she would take her towel and go over to the other lady and wash her feet. Have you ever been to a foot washin’?

S.W.-

Yes ma’am.

M.A.D.-

You have?

S.W.-

Yes ma’am.

M.A.D.-

Where’d you go to one, Sarah?

S.W.-

There was one we did when I was in high school at the…it wasn’t at the church that I attended, but it was at another youth group I went to and we did it. It probably wasn’t the same as the one you went to.

M.A.D.-

It was one of the saddest occasions I’ve ever been to.

S.W.-

What made it so sad?

M.A.D.-

Well everyone was cryin’ but I don’t really know why, Sarah. I just think it was such a touchin’ thing to see somebody get up out of their chair and go over and wash somebody else’s feet. Now the men was sittin’ on one side during that, and the women were on the other side. And that’s usually the way they’d sit on Sunday mornings. The women sat on one side and the men the other side. But we went to that church the whole time Becky was growing. Not only that one, we went everywhere to lots of different Primitive Baptists churches over in Georgia and down below Birmingham and Becky always went with us. She went more than I did, because they carried her you know. And they always had four or five preachers on those big meeting days. And have you ever been to their preaching?

S.W.-

No ma’am.

M.A.D.-

You know they don’t talk, they sing it all. They sing it all. They don’t talk, they sing it all. The words. It’ different, everything is different. But they are good people, and they CAN COOK.

Now they baptize in the creek. I don’t think they do now, but they did when I was growin’ up. And they will turn you out of church. If you don’t, you know, do right. Gene had an uncle they turned out of church and to me it was the saddest thing that I’ve ever seen.

S.W.-

What did he do?

M.A.D.-

He was making whiskey and they had asked him to stop! And he didn’t stop it! And they said, his name is Lon, and they told him, “You know Lon, you’re not doin’ right and according to the Bible we can’t keep you, so you’ll have to leave.” And he came and he was called to go to the Baptist church and he joined the Baptist church. But he was broken hearted because they turned him out of church.

S.W.-

Well my goodness.

M.A.D.-

I don’t believe in that, Sarah. Him and her both, his wife, left that church but she didn’t want to leave the church but they both left and went to the Baptist church in Moody and it was the Moody preacher that came and saw him and talked to him and told him they could come to his church.

It was sad. But now they turned some people out years ago at Mount Hebron church, my daddy had a cousin they turned out for making whiskey and for dancing! He had dances in his house and they turned him out of church for havin’ dances.

S.W.-

What kind of dances would he have at his house?

M.A.D.-

What kind of what?

S.W.-

Dances. People would just come to his house and have like…

M.A.D.-

I think it was called square dancing, and they would come to his house and he would play the guitar, and they found out about it and they turned him out of church. These days I don’t hear of anybody getting’ turned out of church.

S.W.-

It would make the news wouldn’t it?

M.A.D.-

Yeah that would make the news! The way I look at it, I think that’s the Lord’s job ya know? It’s not ours…the way I see it.

The Primitive church at Leeds, I believe it was at Leeds, it might have been over the mountain, a church over there they turned a PREACHER out of church! Something he’d done I don’t know, it was a secret thing but I don’t know what he did it was something about money, and they turned him out of church!

S.W.-

Talk about some of the changes you’ve seen, obviously cars have changed and technology has changed, what is something that you’ve seen that has fascinated you I guess. Or that you use a lot now!

M.A.D.-

Well I think the best thing we ever had put in a house was a bathroom!

K.M.-

Its true!

M.A.D.-

You agree with me Kathy?

Yeah the bathroom. I’m sure you won’t know what this means, Sarah but I have had people come to our house and they’d start down to the little country toilet and maybe another lady was going with her, Say (nickname), and they’d ask if it was a two hole or a one hole! That would mean did it have two places, you know, to sit or one place to sit. Sears Roebuck did away with their catalog Say was the toilet paper. But you don’t have to put that in there, Sarah! Everybody had a Sears Roebuck catalog in the toilet

And another thing I think wonderful is the waterworks we have now in the house. Goin’ out on a cold back porch drawing water was tiring or going down to the spring and getting the water outta the spring, I remember when we kept ours..milk, Daddy would milk the cow and mother would ya know string it up and fix it and James and I would go to the spring and I would carry some milk and he would carry a gallon and I would carry a gallon. And then when we had our meals we had to go back to the spring and bring the gallon of milk home for the meal. That wasn’t too funny! Then when they started having the ice boxes like Kathy was talking about waller’ go, there’d be a man that come down through the valley and delivered ice. And you would put it in some kind of ice chest and keep your ice until he come back. Wasn’t bad. Course later on we had ‘lectricity, I remember when we got ‘lectricity, I was six years old. We were the first ones in the valley to get ‘lectricity. My mother and daddy were. That was something big. Then we got a radio and everyone would come to the house and listen to the radio. We really had it better than a lot of people, my daddy and my granddaddy always had a job, Sarah.

S.W.-

How old were you when you got your first car? Or your family got your first car?

M.A.D.-

Well I can always remember having a car, we had a Model-T. Daddy had to get out and crank it you know. It had an ole…they called it the crank, and he’d get out there and crank the Model-T, sometimes you’d have to fool with it fifteen or twenty minutes to get it to crank. So we had that and then we went through a Ford. My Daddy was a big “Shiverlay” (Cheverlot) fan. He always had a car. That’s was something…always havin’ a car. Most people had wagons! People went everywhere in the wagons. I can remember going to Birmingham one day in a wagon.

S.W.-

How long did that take?

M.A.D.-

It took several hours! And I remember when Gene and I married in ’39 that they rode in a wagon with cotton and took it to the gin above Odenville and spent the night there and had their cotton ginned. I guess that means getting’ the seed out of it.

S.W.-

Cleaning it out.

M.A.D.-

Uh huh, cleaning it out. And the people there that worked the gin, they fed ‘em their supper and bed them down for the night and then they came back the next day, now that was the first year that Gene and I married they did that. And he even raised wheat! Wheat bread, wheat corn, to make bread out of. Granddaddy was a big believer in wheat bread!

S.W.-

Do you remember when you got your first phone in the house?

M.A.D.-

I remember being at school, working in the office and the secretary left me with the office and I had to answer the phone…it rang and I had to answer it and it scared me to death when I was in the seventh grade. Now I remember that just as good as today! And I guess that was before we had phones.

The first phone I remember having is when we lived in Leeds down on Lover’s Lane at the old Windsor House and it was one of them phones it would ring one time for a party, two times for another party, three times for another party, and four or five times for another party! If your ring was the third ring, you’d have to wait till the third ring! Everybody was lifting up the phone listening to what you were saying! But everybody had a phone by then and Gene and I were livin’ down on Lover’s Lane at that time and that was the first phone I remember us havin’. We didn’t need one when Grandma Mack was living up there on that hill and us kids out there playin’ she’d get on her back porch and holler at mother, “ALVIEEE! The kids are doing this…The kids are doin’ that….I see smoke!” You didn’t need a phone back in them times!

I imagine Kathy has always used a phone. Have you Kathy?

K.M.-

Yes ma’am.

S.W.-

When did you move up to this house?

M.A.D.-

Move up to where?

S.W.-

To this house.

M.A.D.-

We moved to this house…let’s see Sarah, it must’ve been about ’51, was it Kathy. Do you remember Kathy?

K.M.-

Wasn’t Mike…

M.A.D.-

Mike was two years old and he is what 50…

K.M.-

58-59

M.A.D.-

58?

K.M.-

About…

S.W.-

He was born in ’56. Wasn’t he?

M.A.D.-

Do you have that straight Sarah? He was about 2 years old and he is about 58-59

S.W.-

If he as two it must’ve been around ’58 because it’s he 7 years older than mom? Or is he 9 years older than mom?

K.M.-

Nine.

S.W.-

Then it would have been ’56….Did you build this house?

M.A.D.-

Yeah! Aunt Beth drew the plans. My sister-in-law drew the plans. It was a nice plan for us, we had three kids and then later on in life we had Jo. But there was still plenty of room, here. Becky was gone you see, Becky had already had Ken he was three years old when Jo was born. I had a grandchild that was three when we had Jo.

That was always the girl’s room and the boy’s room. We had plenty room here in the house.

S.W.-

How long did it take to build?

M.A.D.-

It took him one year to build this house! There was four men working, a man and three of his sons that built this house. He also built three other houses in Leeds at the same time, so it took him around a year to finish up. It took him a year to finish this one. And he gave Mike a hammer and Mike used that hammer just like he was a big carpenter! He gave him a hammer…

And I don’t know if the parties and the teas and the birthday parties and showers and prayer meetings that have been at this house. There’s been a little bit of everything! And some dancing going on too!

S.W.-

Would you like to elaborate on that?

M.A.D.-

Well I loved to dance all my life everybody knew that, but I danced more from the time I was 75 to 85 than I had danced in my life. I took line dancing twelve years. And loved it. And I took ballroom dan…I took every kind of dancin’ you can think of. But I didn’t care anything about square dancin’ that was the only thing I didn’t care for. Cause you had to have a partner I guess, and I didn’t have one.

But dancin’ is good for you! Dancin’s good for you! By the time I had ended up my dancin’ most of the people that would be at the dances would be Baptist people. When I was growin’ up you didn’t dance. You didn’t wear shorts either.

S.W.-

I wouldn’t of made it.

M.A.D.-

Well I know it Phys Ed you’re supposed to wear shorts but I didn’t wear shorts. My grandma didn’t want me to wear shorts. Very different now days, Sarah.

S.W.-

Yes ma’am.

M.A.D.-

They’ve got on them shorty shorts now! Which is alright.

Well I don’t know why they wanted you to wear shorts in Phys Ed!

S.W.-

I guess you just get hot or something!

M.A.D.-

I don’t know! But the teacher always demanded that you wear shorts! But the ones I wore were long shorts.

S.W.-

Where did you get all of your clothes from growing up? Did you make them or did you get them from somewhere?

M.A.D.-

I was readin’ the diary last night and my mother made all of my clothes. And I know when I married Gene and seeing Dess go to school, her mother made all her clothes and when my daughter was born, Becky, my mother-in-law made ALL of her clothes. Even her little coats. Nice clothes. Yeah you did your own sewing. I never was much of a sewer though but Granny Moore was. And then in latter years mother learned to sew real good, Kathy that was after you and John were married. She made all of her pants and tops. But now she didn’t when we were growin’ up she didn’t sew very much for me. And if we had anything it would have been out of a sack of chicken feed you know the sack that the chicken feed came in. And the sack that the flour came in.

And of course the mill we did our own mill at home. We raised the corn and we had a mill right close to us over at the Cahaba River and we would go over there, James and me we would take the corn and have it ground through the mill, but we did have to buy the flour. Flour and Sugar were ‘bout the only things we bought! Back when I was growin’ up! Cause you had all your fruits, you had all your vegetables, you had all your meat, you did all your cannin’ and saved everything for the winter. They don’t do that now, Sarah. They’d get outside with a wash pot, and old black wash pot fill it full of water, let the beans boil for four hours! Now not one hour but FOUR hours in that big black wash pot. And if it come up a rain it would scare you to death because that rain, cold rain hit them jars it’d break ‘em! So we’d have to get a piece of tin and put over the pot of hot water, but that’s a long time just to boil beans! I couldn’t imagine havin’ much of the patience to! But they saved us from dyin’! And we always had plenty good canned peaches! Course they might not have been sweet enough because we didn’t have the sugar!

I know when the war was goin’ on one time, mother got a carpenter to come down, him and his son, to come and fix her kitchen floor, I guess she had a new linoleum put in on it and she served them for dinner! She cooked dinner for them that day and she left the sugar jar…bowl, it was in a bowl, sittin’ on the table and that boy that was helping his daddy got every bit of sugar out that bowl and turned it upside down in his plate and ate every bite of it. So we didn’t have any sugar for a week or two!

S.W.-

Goodness! Did you used to lick the sugar off of Don’s gum? Or was it the other way around?

M.A.D.-

No Don licked the sugar! You got that backwards! Daddy brought us a snack every evening of the world! Three penny pieces of candy. Me a penny piece, Don a piece, James Lee a piece. Sometimes he would buy five pieces of chewing gum, that’s how many was in the wrapper. But before we got our piece, Don would lick the sugar off of the chewing gum! And that embarrassed him until the day he died for me to tell that on him but it was the truth! “You’re going to get your chewing gum, but you’ve got to wait until Donce licks the sugar off of it!”

Course Donce was sick when he was three years old, he had blood poison and his little ole leg never did get over it, he limped his whole life from that blood poisoning and he liked to died and he had pneumonia at the same time. We had a registered nurse to come down and stay with him, she was there a month, and you could imagine what that cost my mother and daddy.

S.W.-

Is there anything else or are you good?

M.A.D.-

I think that’s enough

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