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Interview with Ethel Weathers and Elaine Ford

Weathers, Ethel J
Ford, Elaine
Bailey, Kim
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Childhood adventures
Ethel J. Weathers talks about her life growing up in Harrisburg, NC, her family, and her church activities.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Kim Bailey interviewed Charlotte, NC residents to collect various stories for a project at UNC Charlotte.
KB (Kim Bailey): All right, I'm here with Miss Elaine Ford, and Reverend Davis' mother-in-law, \\ Ethel\\.
EW (Ethel Weathers): \\ Ethel Weathers. \\
KB: Weathers. [Laugh] Ladies, tell me about yourselves, about growing up. You two are sisters. How many of, how many children were there in your family?
EF (Elaine Ford): 10.
KB: 10?
EW: Eight girls and two boys.
KB: And what, um, number were you Miss Weathers?
EW: Let's see, two, third oldest.
KB: Third oldest?
EW: Mm-hmm.
KB: OK. And you are number? Miss Ford.
EF: [Laugh] I was number 10. I was.
KB: Oh, you the baby. [Laughter] I'm a baby, too, so.
EF: Well bless your heart. [Laughter]
KB: So how do you two get along?
EF: Great.
KB: That's \\ good. \\
EW: \\ Great. \\
KB: That's good. I see you two are close. [Laugh][Laughter]
EW: We are. The whole 10 of us were close.
KB: That's good.
EF: Believe it or not, we really were.
KB: So you never got into a lot of fights and all that?
EW: Amongst ourselves but no one else. [Laughs]
KB: Oh, OK, that's good, 'cause.
EW: At a young age when we were growing up.
KB: Really? Ganging up is not good. [Laugh] So, [laugh] that's good, so tell me about your household. What did you all do for fun growing up and? [Laugh]
EF: Pitched horseshoes, played ball, you know, had ball games, things like that.
KB: OK. Did you, um, grow up on a farm?
EW: Yeah.
KB: OK. What did you all farm?
EW: Well, um, what? Cotton.
EF: Cotton.
EW: Cotton and corn and most sold corn, you know, for the hogs or something like that.
KB: Uh-huh, OK.
EW: Now we, we were more like tenants.
KB: Uh-huh.
EW: We was on someone else's farm but that's what we did on the farm for him.
KB: Uh-huh. OK.
EW: And for ourselves.
KB: And so you kept some of it for yourselves?
EW: \\ Yeah. \\
KB: \\ Well, \\ yeah, um, I was talking to Mr. George about, um, he was talking about the Depression and all that stuff.
EW: Mm-hmm, Mm-hmm.
KB: And, uh, you all are younger than him of course, but, um, I was wondering if you all could remember some of the things, hard times or anything growing up? Did you all have any struggles?
EW: Well the only thing that ( ) say I can say and I'm truthfully saying it-.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EW: -We did not have any kind of struggle whatever, our parents, you know, thank the Lord for that.
KB: [Laugh] That's good.
EW: Uh-huh. So we didn't, we didn't, we really didn't have no struggles. We can hardly say one day we went hungry.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EW: One day we didn't have clothes enough, we can't say that.
KB: That's good with 10 children, wow. I have to admire some parents like \\ that \\ [laugh].
EW: \\ Well, \\ I do, too. See, I had three and I say to myself, it wasn't a struggle to me when I had the three but I'll say Mama and those, they made everything went well, I'll say, I just can't see it.
EF: \\ Yeah. \\
EW: \\ But \\ they did. \\ They did well \\ for all of us.
KB: \\ That's good. \\
KB: That's really good. And where were your thoughts, Miss Ford? [Laugh]
EF: When we were raised, uh, we always had a garden and we raised our food and we would, uh, help with the gardening.
KB: Uh-huh.
EF: Prepare the food and everything.
KB: Oh so you learned how to cook early, too?
EF: Oh, yeah. [Laughter]
KB: Now did you cook well or was it as good as your mother's cooking or?
EW: Mine wasn't. [Laughter] I guess I did well enough to get by. [Laugh]
KB: Exactly. [laugh] That's all that matters. It didn't kill anybody right?
EW: No didn't kill him. [Laughter]
KB: And how about your cooking?
EF: Well, well pretty good I, I think.
EW: She could beat me. [Laugh]
KB: She could beat you? [Laugh]
EF: Well, I was the last one at home so, uh, I got more of the training.
KB: Yeah. Better training, \\ one on one. \\
EF: \\ Mm-hmm, yeah. \\
KB: Yeah, I got you. Now did either of you go to Bellfonte or both of you?
EF: \\ Elementary, both. \\
KB: \\ OK. \\ Now how was that?
EF: Great. [Laugh]
EW: [Laugh] Awful. The only thing I think, at that time we went to Bellfonte School, we had to walk.
KB: Uh-huh.
EW: Yeah, \\ but we made it. \\
KB: \\ Was that like a five-mile walk \\ or something?
EW: Yeah. And as far as it was, we had to walk twice a day, \\ go over there and go back. \\
KB: \\ Oh. \\ Well, you stayed in \\ shape. \\ [Laugh]
EW: \\ But we made it. \\ We sure did. [Laughter]
KB: And what did you all do at school?
EW: [Laugh] Well, the usual thing, get out for recess and I would say we'd play ball or whatever we could do for recreation.
KB: Mm-hmm. Do you remember any of your classmates or teachers or anything, Miss Ford?
EF: Well, I didn't go to Bellfonte.
KB: \\ Oh, you didn't? \\
EF: \\ We \\ had moved when I, you know, got old enough to go to school.
KB: Oh, OK.
EF: So I went to Oak Grove School.
KB: Oak Grove?
EF: Uh-huh.
KB: That's in Charlotte?
EF: No.
KB: That's still in Harrisburg?
EF: Uh-Huh.
EF: Yeah.
KB: And how was Oak Grove?
EF: It was great. It was back when we had, uh, I think five classes in one room.
KB: \\ Oh. \\
EF: \\ You know, \\ the teachers had, you know, just two teachers to the school.
KB: Um.
EF: And, uh, we had, I think about four in each, well, not quite four I reckon,'cause it went up to the, seventh grade.
KB: To seventh grade.
EF: Mm-hmm.
KB: OK. And then after, um, Oak Grove you went to?
EF: The Shankletown.
KB: Shankletown?
EF: Uh-huh.
KB: Hmm. Now \\ that's still \\ that's still around, isn't it?
EF: \\That's elementary. \\
KB: I know I've seen the name somewhere.
EF: Yeah, but it's not a school now.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EF: So from Shankletown I went to Logan.
KB: OK. So \\ you still ended \\ up going to Logan.
EF: \\ And graduated. \\
EF: Uh-huh.
KB: OK. And you went to Logan after Bellfonte?
EW: Yeah, but I didn't go but a half a semester.
KB: \\ Oh, OK. \\
EW: \\ And we moved \\ from Cabarrus County to Mecklenburg County so I had to go to, it was Clear Creek, but the name is JH Gunn School in Charlotte.
KB: OK. Is, was that a high school?
EW: Well finally it was a high school. I finished in the 11th grade.
KB: Now, is, did you still go to school when they finished with 11th grade when you graduated after 11th grade?
EW: 11th grade is far I graduated.
KB: Uh-huh.
EW: That's far as high school was at that \\ time. \\
KB: \\ OK. \\
EW: But I think they moved it up, you know, the next year.
KB: \\ To 12. \\
EW: \\ But anyway. \\
KB: Uh-huh.
EW: 11 grade was far as was graduated.
EW: Uh-huh.
KB: OK. And did either of you do, what did you do after graduation? [Pause]
EW: We went home. [Laughter] Got a public job and worked for a while and soon got married.
KB: OK. How old were you when you got married?
EW: Twenty-two I think it was. But after I finished school I went to Ohio and stayed a year and half and when I came back is when I got married.
KB: Who was in Ohio? [Laugh]
EW: Well uh, I had, had a cousin whatever we call an aunt but, uh, it was a cousin on my mother's side.
KB: \\ Oh, OK. \\
EW: \\ I could have \\ stayed long. Supposed to have been gone to stay but had never been away from [laugh] home.
KB: Yeah. That's how my mother was.
EW: Oh?
KB: She went to Philadelphia and it was just a little \\ too big. \\
EW: \\ Well, I \\ made myself stay out there because Mama told me we had never been anywhere and she figured I wasn't to going to stay.
KB: \\ Yeah. \\
EW: \\ So I made \\ myself stay a year and a half and I came back home.
KB: \\ Well, that was a long \\ time to stay though.
EW: \\ All by myself. \\ Yeah. But I enjoyed it out there but one thing about it, it was cold, \\ boy. \\
KB: \\ I bet. \\
EW: And the weather [laugh] when it snowed or there was something like ice on the ground whatever, whatever. But it was cold but we made it.
KB: Mm-hmm. \\ And you enjoyed yourself. \\
EW: \\ And after I came back home \\ I don't see how I did make as cold as it was out there but we made it. [Laugh]
KB: That's good. And what did you do after high school?
EF: I got a job and worked some years.
KB: \\ OK. \\
EF: \\ And then \\ I married.
KB: OK. And you were how old when you got married?
EF: Nineteen.
KB: Um. [Laughter] You young people getting married. I tell you. [Laughter] And how, how long were you married, have you been married?
EF: Well, my first marriage was twenty years.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EF: And I had three children.
KB: Oh, wow.
EF: So after that, my second marriage, I've been married twenty-six years.
KB: Oh, wow.
EF: But no children there.
KB: Oh, OK. [Laughter] I'm sure you don't miss having any children.
EF: No.
KB: Three was enough, huh? [Laugh]
EF: That's right. That's right.
KB: And you've already told me you have three children, too. OK. Did uh, all of y'alls children here, in Harrisburg or in NC or?
EW: Well, my baby boy. He has his second wife.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EW: But, uh, he, he has made his home in, um, [Codoor], South Carolina.
KB: Humph, I've never heard of it.
EW: And the older boy, he lives in Charlotte.
EW: Mm-hmm.
KB: OK. And then of course \\ your daughter lives. \\
EW: \\ And the daughter, \\ and my daughter lives, she's in Charlotte, too. You know who that is.
KB: Yes, I met her Sunday, as a matter of fact.
EW: Uh-huh.
KB: OK. And they must have gotten married recently in the last 10 or so years?
EW: I would say, right?
EF: Yeah, well, less than 10, I \\ believe. \\
KB: \\ Yeah. \\
EW: My daughter was, this was, that was her second marriage, \\ too. \\
KB: \\ Mm-hmm. \\
EW: To Dr. Davis.
EW: Her first husband had a massive heart attack and died.
KB: Oh. Hmm. And your children live? [Laugh]
EF: In North Carolina.
KB: Yeah? All in \\ North Carolina? \\
EF: \\ Two, \\ two have come home.
KB: Oh, OK. [Laugh]
EF: And one in, uh, in Monroe.
KB: Monroe? OK. And how do like having your children around? Either of you.
EW: Great.
EF: Yeah. [Laughter]
EW: Mine's grown, you know. Well hers is too, but still.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EW: But I say it's just good to have them all around. It's not like it was when I was raising them.
KB: Yeah, yeah. Of course, yeah. Do they have grandchildren? I mean do you have grandchildren? How many grandchildren?
EW: Six.
KB: [Laugh] She acts like they're your grandchildren. [Laughter]
EW: ( ). [Laughter] Oh well, I was trying to get mixed, uh, great-grands in there \\ too. \\
KB: \\ Oh you have \\ great-grandchildren, too?
EW: \\ Three. \\
EF: \\ Two. \\ Right? Three. Tab have two.
EW: Huh?
EF: Tab have two and Tonya have one.
EW: Three.
KB: Oh, wow.
EF: Three great \\ grandchildren. \\
KB: \\ I would have never guessed. \\
EW: Mm-hmm. Well, Shay, Shay would be what? Great, great, great?
KB: Oh. [Laugh]
EF: Well, Shay is a great-grand, you have four great-grands.
KB: So four great-grandchildren.
EF: Mm-hmm.
KB: Wowee. And you have how many? [Laugh] \\ Grands? \\
EF: \\ Well, \\ uh, counting my husband's grands-.
KB: Uh-uh.
EF: -We have sixteen grands.
KB: Wow.
EF: And three great-grands.
KB: Um-hum. So you have a house full when family reunion comes around, huh?
EF: I will, yes.
KB: I bet, I bet. Is everybody coming home for homecoming next week?
EF: I don't think so.
EW: I don't know, I don't think so either 'cause Larry, the baby boy lives in South Carolina and well, they're both truck drivers. The one, they live in Charlotte working for UPS, and the other work for a company named TIVO, on the road, and so-.
KB: On \\ the road? \\
EW: \\ So I can't say, \\ well, I mean driving.
KB: \\ Mm-hmm.\\
EW: \\ Uh-huh. \\ Well, I call that 'on the road' 'cause-.
KB: Mm-hmm. \\ OK. \\
EW: Mm-hmm. \\ So, other, \\ other than that I can't say but I'd like to have them here but I can't say whether they all be here.
KB: Aw. So what do you all do at church? What, are you in any activities such as the choir or usher board or \\ missionary? \\
EW: \\ Well I'm on the senior choir. \\
KB: Oh, OK. I heard about the choir.
EW: Oh, really? [Laugh]
KB: Is just the best, I've heard [laugh] I didn't get to hear much singing on Sunday, yesterday when I went \\ but-. \\
EW: \\ Yeah. \\ Come back again then.
KB: Oh, I'll be there next Sunday.
EW: Well, I don't, [laugh] well, the choir won't be singing.
KB: Oh.
EW: We, we just sing the first Sunday.
KB: Oh, OK.
EW: But I don't how they're going to have it set up.
EF: He said all choirs was going to sing at homecoming.
EW: Oh, did he?
EF: Uh-huh.
EW: OK. Well, I guess we're going to sing. [Laughter]
KB: You didn't know you had to work, did you?
EW: Come back, just come back whenever you feel like it and you'll catch us and we'll do the best we can.
KB: I will be there.
KB: I will be there.
KB: And do you sing on the choir, too or?
EF: No.
KB: You an usher or \\ deaconess? \\
EF: \\ I'm an usher \\ and I'm an elder.
KB: Oh, really?
EF: And, uh, work on the Kitchen Committee.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EF: And-.
KB: So, yeah, you really can cook. [Laughter]
EW: She's younger than me. I did that when I was younger and did more than I was doing now. [Laugh]
KB: Yeah. [Laugh] Well, they trust you to cook at church so- [laugh].
EF: Oh, I've been on the Kitchen Committee, oh, I don't know, maybe twenty years or more.
KB: Wow. Twenty years?
EF: Uh-huh.
KB: That's a while. [Laugh] You must like cooking, too.
EW: [Laugh]
EF: Well, I like, you know, helping and doing what we have to do.
KB: Mm-hmm. OK and you're a lot more quiet than your sister.
EF: Uh-huh.
KB: Why is that?
EF: I don't know. I've always been bashful.
KB: Really?
EF: Uh-huh.
KB: I couldn't tell on the phone. [Laughter] I really couldn't tell. [Laughter] I thought why isn't she talking as much as she was? [Laughter] And that's odd too, with you being the youngest that you're being quiet.
EF: Well, see they all spoiled me.
KB: Oh. I see.
EF: [Laugh] \\ I was spoiled. \\
KB: \\ You didn't have to talk \\ [Laughter] You just got it, huh? [Laughter] I see, I see. [laugh] So is there anything else you all wanted to talk about? Whether it's your family life or life now, how you feel about things going on in the world today or any stories your family told you growing up, your parents told you about, um, family or any kind of fairy tales or anything they told you growing up?
EF: [Pause] You know how that goes, you think of something after-.
KB: Yeah, after it's mentioned. [Laughter] Well you know I'll be back to interview again. [Laughter]
EF: Well, and uh, in our church now we really appreciate Reverend Davis. We just love him.
KB: Tell me about y'alls relationship with Reverend Davis.
EW: [Laugh]
EF: We've spoiled him.
KB: Oh, you have? [laugh]. OK. Let's get the juice. [laugh] What's the dirt on Reverend Davis?
EF: That we always buy him, uh, peanut bars.
KB: Peanut bars? \\ He likes peanut bars? \\
EF: \\ He looks forward \\ to peanut bars.
EW: Elaine, she going to tell him that and-.
EF: [Laugh]
EW: Well he'll, once hear the voice he'll know who told on him. [Laughter]
KB: That's true. That's true. [Laughter]
EF: That is, you know, we enjoy him and we love him.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EW: I'm just happy the good Lord put him my life, in my family.
EF: That's right.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EW: 'Cause I have said many a days since, since they got married, if anyone had told me years back that there would be a minister in our family, I would not have believed it.
KB: Really? Now why is that?
EW: Well, I just, just didn't think. Well, I just didn't think it would be a minister in my life.
KB: Is it that you didn't think about?
EW: Just didn't think about, \\ that's it. \\
KB: \\ Yeah. \\
EW: \\ Just didn't think about. \\
KB: \\ OK. \\ And how has it been having a \\ minister? \\
EW: \\ Great. \\
KB: Have you changed the way [laugh] you act around him? [Laughter]
EW: I'm [laugh] my kids are a mess and they pick at me all the time and I'm trying to work him in that way-.
KB: \\ Uh-huh.\\
EW: \\ -So he'll feel \\ like, well, he's part of the family, but I want him to feel like he can just tease me and \\ do whatever. \\
KB: \\ Uh-huh. \\ \\He doesn't do that? \\
EW: \\ He doesn't take \\ anything real serious.
EW: He does some, he's beginning to get into that but, messing not like I would like, but he's working on it.
KB: Yeah.
EW: Yeah.
KB: OK. I understand how that is. You have a certain vibe in your family and somebody else comes in and you want them to have that vibe too, but it takes a little while.
EW: Yeah. Now, yeah, just like I say, I want him to feel like he don't have to be, what? What, what's the word I want to say?
KB: Uh.
EW: Just because I'm his mother-in-law, \\ he don't have to-. \\
KB: \\ Oh, yeah. \\
EW: -You know?
KB: Yeah, act a certain because, yeah.
EW: Just treat you like anybody else.
EW: Yeah. Yeah.
EW: And we all treat each, each other nice, so I just want him to feel like, just feel free like my boys do, \\ you know. \\
KB: \\ Mm-hmm. \\
EW: Picking after me and doing things like that. He'd do the same thing, feel like he can do me the same way. Even if I'm Mom.
KB: Yeah.
EW: Do the same way. [Laugh]
KB: Yeah. I understand. [Laugh] Make him feel comfortable and-.
EW: Mm-hmm.
KB: -You can act like you, too.
EW: Yeah, yeah. He's getting there.
KB: Yeah?
EW: Yeah. [Laugh]
KB: OK. Now I was talking to Miss, um, Zenobia on Friday.
EW: Mm-hmm.
KB: About, um, how she felt about Dr. Davis and everything and, uh, she was talking about how he can feel his way around the church and he knows everything better than everybody else. [Laugh]
EW: \\ Yeah. \\
EF: \\ Uh-huh. \\
KB: But she said sometimes she's afraid that he's going to fall off of that, um, pulpit. [Laugh]
EW: She told him that one time they had something, it hasn't been too awfully long ago-.
KB: \\ Mm-hmm. \\
EW: \\ -That she \\ was telling about how we loved him and whatever say, "But you just scare me to death [laugh] sometimes 'cause I'm just afraid you're going to walk off of the stage."
KB: Mm-hmm.
EW: But, uh, I don't know what he said but anyway he said uh, the good Lord was guiding him-.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EW: -And was with him. She didn't have to worry about that.
KB: Yeah. OK. Any more thoughts or feelings that you wanted to express?
EW: No. I don't know of any, not right now, I think I have expressed them all. [Laughter]
KB: Yes, you are a character, I must say. [Laughter] She must have been the jokester in the family. [Laughter]
EF: Yes, she always has to carry on. [Laughter]
KB: I believe it. Well, thank you ladies for sitting down and talking to, with me. I've enjoyed it.
EW: We've enjoyed talking with you. It seems like we've been knowing you all the time.
KB: I try, I try. I, I get comfortable anyway, I like to talk. That's why I do this, so-. [Laugh]
EW: As long as I'm, now I don't talk too much. It's like, just like I say now, somebody will say whatever conversation, whatever, whatever, whatever, I can talk.
KB: Mm-hmm.
EW: But if I've got to keep the conversation going myself-.
KB: Yeah, yeah. I don't like that either.
EW: -I'll soon run out. [Laugh]
KB: Well I feel, I tend to feel like I'm talking too much if ends up being like that but-.
EW: Uh-huh.
KB: -Yeah, I like to talk. I'm not a phone person though, I'm a face-to-face person \\ more so. \\
EW: \\ Mm-hmm. \\
KB: But thank you very much.
EW: Well thank you, too.
EF: You're welcome, too.