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The Foundation for The Gator Nation An Equal Opportunity Institution Samuel Proctor Oral History Program College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Director : Dr. Paul Ortiz Office Manager : Tamarra Jenkins 241 Pugh Hall Digital Humanities Coordinator : Deborah Hendrix PO Box 115215 Gainesville, FL 32611 352 392 7168 35 2 846 1983 Fax The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) was founded by Dr. Samuel Proctor at the University of Florida in 1967. Its original projects were collections centered around Florida history with the purpose of preserving eyewitness acc ounts of economic, social, political, religious and intellectual life in Florida and the South. In the 45 years since its inception, SPOHP has collected over 5,000 interviews in its archives. Transcribed interviews are available through SPOHP for use by research scholars, students, journalists, and other interested groups. Material is frequently used for theses, dissertations, articles, books, documentaries, museum displays, and a variety of other public uses. As standard oral history practice dictates, S POHP recommends that researchers refer to both the transcript and audio of an interview when conducting their work. A selection of interviews are available online here through the UF Digital Collections and the UF Smathers Library system. Suggested corrections to transcripts will be reviewed and processed on a case by case basis. Oral history int erview t ranscripts available on the UF Digital Collections may be in draft or final format. SPOHP transcribers create interview transcripts by listen ing to the ori ginal oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim d ocument of it. The transcript i s written with careful attention to reflect original grammar and word choice of each interviewee; s ubjective or editorial changes are not made to their speech. The draft trans cript can also later undergo a final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and form at I nterviewees can also provide their own spelli ng corrections SPOHP transcribers refer to the Merriam program specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information abo ut SPOHP, visit http://oral.history.ufl.edu or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168. May 2015
TMP 049 Interviewee: Henry Easton Interviewer: Jes Baldeweg Rau and Ellie Portillo Date: October 23, 2014 B: Rau. P: B: E: Henry. B: Henry Easton, I apologize . we are with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program from the University of Florida, and if you could state your name and spell it for the recording. E: My name is Henry you want my middle name too? B: E: Hen ry E. Easton. S H E N R Y E the middle name and Easton; E A S T O N. B: Fantastic. And today is October 23 rd asking some P: at Christ Church Parish. B: And just general info rmation about yourself like your birthplace, when you were born . P: I was born Ma rch 26, 1945 at Revis, Virginia. I was born upstairs in my so I s what my parents told. I moved just a mile or two from my birth place when I was n ineteen months old I understand until about seventeen.
TMP 049; Easton; Page 2 And that area is known as I was between Churchville, Virginia and Warner, Virginia you had two post offices is a lot at Churchville. And I spent most of my time there until . 2005. Believe it or not, 2005 I retired from teaching at Middlesex High School in Saluda, and it put up a new house on the same birth [laughter] P: You said you grew up there, did and then you taught did you do to school in that area as well? E: I got my education right in Virginia in Middlesex here. The elementary school was called M o unt Zion School and the church was Mount Zion Church right across the road, but I me and my cousin we used to walk to school, to the elementary school, we went think that was the grades one through . one through four . might be five, one through five. Six and seven grade we went to another school called Union Shallow in . six and seven grade there. In Union Shallow we went to St. Clair Walker he live in just outside of Ku Klux I guess is in Ku Colonel we want me to go further? B: Well it seems that you got most of your education in this relative region? E: Oh yes. B: So being a teacher now, what would you say is the biggest difference receiving an education here and now being on the end of that?
TMP 049; Easton; Page 3 E: I guess they . was a lot of differences . when I receiving an education computers were not in the picture and we . during the elementary days until high school I think my first school was one, two . four months school. And it was kind of lazy you look forwa rd to moving from one side of the classroom to the next side for a grade, and that continued until you in the fifth grade. Then it was real exciting, wow you we going to move them to sixth and seventh grade in another school, and then high school we had ei ght through twelve. And that was exciting, changing classes and all that, and then when I became a teacher I said, well it started out with mainly I guess you could say I was a science teacher. So we did our own experiments, we used the environmental to tr y and make life interesting and . but the basis was your textbook, your homework, it was a lot of lecture. I used to try to change from that, but I found out that I still believe a certain percent of lectures is necessary for the students whereas as I got along towards the end of my career as a teacher the thing was computers. And they were pushing, you need to use the computer to excite the kids and I guess there is some truth to that because kids use computers to communicate to people too much. And so we started using computers, and then me not coming from a it. And then I find out that I had to deal with the computers so . took computer classes in every week our school was our school was giving you another compute ral e and my homework was taking
TMP 049; Easton; Page 4 I never wanted to, well I wanted to but I always try to figure, well how does this work? rry about how it works, just do what you have to do and I go t to be able to use a computer quite well. I guess the computer is the biggest difference when I was being taught and me teaching, I went through a lot of computer stuff as a biology major and an earth science major. At the high schools [inaudible 7:55] sc with the earth science and a lot, but I was a biology major originally and we used about cruelty to animals and thi ngs like that, but not too much about the dissection went from actually hands on to you look at a computer and see about the dissection and then the kids get tested on the dissection of the frog so they missed out on the hands the so the computers were more involved in the I guess the I would say more involved in the still that way. Many chemicals that we used we had to take out of the storage roo m because [inaudible 9:04] about chemicals that were toxic and dangerous to the environment so we really cleaned out our laboratory when I was in the high school. Lots of things we had like mercury was definitely taken out and I guess before there was more knowledge about mercury. We used to pull a little bit out and take pennies and rub it in the mercury and all come out shining, you know the nickels and so. We realized that was a problem and most everybody did it.
TMP 049; Easton; Page 5 And just some things that we used to do l ike hands I guess that would be the basic difference, everything is kind of computerized and you got ind of thing. P: you see all these differences now but back when you began to teach or thought about teaching. E: Yeah, that was a difficult choice. I first started when I was in high school we had three years to be undecided about what we wanted to do in life On your fourth your senior year you had to tell your advisor what you plan to do when you graduate, a nd I think that should come back into play these days because you can get a sense of what they want to do or try. And the funny thing about it, I was to tell me something tentatively. So when I came to Roseville I wanted to be a professional race car driver! B: [laughter] P: [laughter] E: I thought about it for a long time and that was interested in. And at the time I was a bit serious about pursuing that and by the time she finished laying me out through a whole class period, I said maybe I have to find something to tell her and I thought about it. What am I good at? And so I
TMP 049; Easton; Page 6 science teacher. So when I went into my senior year I tell my advisors they said, have you decide, and I said yes. She said, nothing silly, a nd I said well yeah. So she said, well what do you want to do? I said when I gr aduate this year, so I missed another class period because she was she kept [inaudible 12:36] and crazy, but I made a good choice. Then when I graduated from high school, you k now how you about it and I was sitting on the steps at my home and I said, you know I really need to decide serious 13:11] be a science teacher, so I went to school and my old science teacher was a professor Northwood State and he I stayed with him a couple hours and he talked and told he was kind of happy. I was happy he was a biology teacher I went that route and I came out with a biology degree and I came back, got a job back here in the county [inaudible 13:51]. I would not want to teach anywhere else except Middlesex if I were going to teach. And I had a couple other jobs too before teaching, I was analyzed [inaudible 14:06] chemical for about a year, and got married. And I decided I got a job at the Northwood Heal th Department. And I was a sanitarium [inaudible 14:28 14:30], we can just call it health ins couple of years and then once I started a family I wanted to raise my kids here, Newells rather than Northwood. My wife and I moved back [inaudible 14:54
TMP 049; Easton; Page 7 14:55] Middlesex and I got a job teaching here. She later on, she got a job a year after me because we both had a job in the same school at the high school, but at that times le 15:17]. So she got a job at the Rappahannock Community College here and she worked there it was in 62, the president of the college and she was responsible for printing out the program and everything, taking dictation for him. And then after a year she went back to I end up teaching, and I actually like teaching, I like working with kids and keeping them off track s in terms of trying to figure me out, you always get a good response from them. When I came to class each year when I get a new group of students I so I would tell, I sa know who I am. I used to tel make me mad, and they looked at me, and wow. And I said, well as long I keep to do next. I just enjoy it, I have not an y regrets on teaching. I enjoy the kids all the way until I was retired in 2005, but my goal was when I get sixty years old time for somebody else to take this
TMP 049; Easton; Page 8 computer aid and go out Some of the things that are different from what I got, I homework for two weeks because we are going on a vacation and sometimes I was a week ahead it would have been better if they had just told me give them more assignments in two weeks because sometimes I had really this really decide basically on a solid point what I wanted to do in the next two weeks, maybe two or three days ahead. So I just I see some of the kids that I knew all the time I guess [inaudible 18:37] and sometimes they run up to you in the supermarket and we run into each other. But we never had any real, really serious problems there, or student go home to tell . tell the parents their side and not what the real deal is, but maybe once or twice in life teaching. But overall I enjoy it, and I knew most of the [inaudible 19:08] cause I knew what to put down all the got closer to retirement, there were a lot of people whose kids ran school that I where they lived and whatever. We meet the parent sometimes doing PTA meetings and things like that, watching how the ones when I was taught, I guess it was a little life was faster in the faster lane and when I was being taught it was it s own . learning, I guess factual things and a lot of edict about what you sh ould do in life, your mannerism, setting goals, that kind of thing
TMP 049; Easton; Page 9 charming from [inaudible 20:22], ask anything else. B: ng? E: I taught for thirty four years B: Thirty four years. So looking back when you started teaching as opposed to now, you already touched on the technological differences since then, but outside that what would you say is the biggest difference from wh en you started to today? E: I would say in my perspective the biggest difference was I guess lack of . we had a lot of started. I t was more of a parent teacher relationsh ip, students had more respect for teachers, and as the years went through that one [inaudible 21:31]. You know they ome in and one kid just looking through my desk and I said, what are you doing? Listen well, through your locker or your bag, we got our reports here, we need to separate on I make a joke of it, hey if you see the sign, drop it. [laughter] And you know we much say so really on discipline things. And I also I guess when I went to stayed in that class until he decided to quit or whatever because they were
TMP 049; Easton; Page 10 having problems everywhere els unless they were totally handicapped and had to go to maybe a special school school. And that was it, there was not extensiv e, I guess, concern about special retired, I noticed that special ed. was a big thing and God great help the students as much as you can. Along with the special hel p you also count hands in terms of maybe getting keeping control of your class, and I was thinking well they should all be in special classes, which they were, but then they said [inaudible 24:16]. Put the students with special problems in your to maintain a class because you have the kid has so much, the special ed. kids had so much privilege power. Okay if we had a child rewarded to just the term th ey have now . autistic. Sometimes autistic kids are smart but then they want to get in the shoe boxes, scoot around in the corner somewhere and you have to kind of let them do it that because they are acting out on whatever. And if you have a classroom thing you understand you have a lot mor e responsibility then sometimes you he take home and whatever, and it just overwhelms you a little bit And finally, I
TMP 049; Easton; Page 11 made things a lot better where you had someone who could work with the student. One time we had a problem and then the student may not have liked the aid, and the special need is still a big have been different from t he earlier years of teaching. And some of it, I tried to get the student to special ed. student the benefit of the doubt for everything, but sometimes they cross the line where they knew that they were doing things wrong and they did it because they had th ey knew that nothing was going to watch you for a few minutes. They usually settle on back i n and . but they I saw a lot of teac do. I guess that was the biggest part in my later part of teaching is wondering what I do here to make sure we can integrate everybody into the classr oom and [inaudible 27:48] about S.O.Ls or [inaudible 27:50]. I guess that was the third role of things just to give you a little more pressure. W you k student to pass their S.O.L you might have a little talking to. But, I complained to teacher and I had over fifty percent of my class was special ed. I only had a few regular students and
TMP 049; Easton; Page 12 can intern one, give them all the attention that they need and teach the classes. the S.O.L scores because assessment. The reading problem, I got to deal with it. Somebody needs to try to get them ready to read and so [inaudible 29:12] so those were problems that I encountered in the later years. Fortunately after that I only had I think all my kids passed their S.O.Ls and when I had this big class of special ed. students, a student came to me from, I guess what do you call it special schools [inaudible 29:40] in Boston to your and they came in for the S.O.L and I had like one or two that took the S.O.Ls after I finished [inaudible 29:53], dropped my S.O.L down one below the standard, that happened one year and after that I think I said, you know we need to do something, and I always pushed for it. Every stude nts special, but if they need help, give them the help they need until they can get to the point where they can read or whatever, but it was a thing if they that was the onl y year I had that I spent a lot of extra time of thinking of doing it and stay they had one or two days a week where kids could come in and they would bused home, stay after school f or help on S.O.L or whatever. So I think the probably the biggest difference I see when I was in a lot later years then when I
TMP 049; Easton; Page 13 was in my beginning years. I guess, when was it, mayb into like a lot of things you slapping yourself, oh, computers now? Ouch! Special eds? Owe. And then you got and then discipline is hard to d iscipline, not that little bit they usually have the upper hand because of [inaudible 32: d say, j ust love patting and [inaudible 32:48 You should be able to talk to your child, your student. You should be able to go to a pare I guess up until eight, nine, ten Christian years, you just saw that kind of thing going on more and more in the late years. So when I P: Do you see that type influence from maybe those students that had more wealthier families in Middlesex specifically or just in the general in the teaching world? E: Talked to colleagues and a lot of them had that problem too, but I guess saw it in
TMP 049; Easton; Page 14 parent that you got to watch out. You may have a little battle until you prove yourself if a parent comes in and jumps you just I had good principals and superintendents when I was there, I guess they P: So I know you also mentioned that you if you ever taught you would want to teach in Middlesex? E: Yeah, I alwa ys felt that I should give back to the county where I got my education. P: Could you maybe talk about what that experience was like growing up in Middlesex and why you wanted to come back? E: Well one thing, I like Middlesex. I always liked the rural areas I never wanted to German and I just felt that this would be something that I could contribute to I just felt I should give my services to the county where I was educated. B: So being in this community for so long we already discussed the changes what changes have you seen in the community in general? E: Changes are slow, but our population has grown. We have two stop lights in the county now.
TMP 049; Easton; Page 15 B & P: [laughter] E: The traffic lights. There are a few things that are another way to say it I guess you would say progress is being made in the county because we have mo re different population of people, they demand other things, more things, which pushes the county forward. We have this food line store up in Saluda. That was a big, a big, big push I mean there was a war to get that store up here and so you know once it got there people who complaining, love it too, they go to the store. e getting a few more businesses . things are, I guess you could used to be. Some places in this county now you can go to and find the same B & P: [laughter] E: B: oticed. E: food. Some things are just increasing all we have here. I guess, a car surrounding areas of making progress in a lot of things. There small but their showing a big increase for what it used to be. And I got a feeling that in the future about that because the re are a lot of things juicy in Middlesex. Actually . not
TMP 049; Easton; Page 16 the first week in November but I guess the second four week in November something called the Urbana Oyster Festival, it brings l ike a hundred and some thousand people, maybe a hundred and eighty thousand people come into that little town. And a lot of people get to see some of the area, and they just buy, they say I like eople in real estate [laughter], hey show you around somewhere and buy things. And people just kind of like the area, many people who want to get away from the hustle and bustle and they say, jeez this is a nice area now. Our taxes our gradually going up, but at least still on the cheap end I would say. When I say the cheap end, rate. B: What was that festival? E: Urbana Oyster Festival. B: Okay, and what is that include? E: and tons of vendors from all over, but they basically push oysters. You know you oyster fritter s, a nd fried oysters, and st county and a lot of people get the [inaudible 41:02] set on this county. So kind of
TMP 049; Easton; Page 17 selling [inaudible 41:12] tourism is good to me. increase in there because we got a lot of things to actually show pe ople that we big deal . you know, to our farm, a big farms, see what goes on, that kind of P: Would you say that locals as yourself go t o the Oyster Festival and things that the county puts on, or is it more just for tourists? E: their friends re union thing. And then many of us, when that day comes we P: And what would you say that locals do in the community se nse that come together? Do you have of sort of like a Fall festivals, or is there anything like that E: For the community we have, well a lot of church activities. The would put on like I that have they put on haunted Sunday; singing group or whatever, along with church e arly in the morning. But erent civil organizations sponsor, sometimes churches sponsors those on Saturdays. We have, well you know fishing of course is a big deal when the fishing season
TMP 049; Easton; Page 18 people go fishing. They also have people a lot of people have boats that they captain of and t hey carry out fishing [inaudible 43:55] and that kind of thing. You know a lot still go on in terms of leaving out of county for to see something else I guess, a lot of things. But many times you find good deals right here because the merchants are getting Friday, whatever you got to do and . what else . and dealing with lower laxation, people sitting on their own. It all depends on who you know, some people do a lot of entertainment in their own house or something with their friends, could be weekend, week day, sing sometimes, but it depends on there will be a song like your own little group that we have. But overall . I guess it was just kind of really, really special that we just say, you got to like . the Oyster Festival, th kind of really attention drawn because so many people come in here and been as usual. And people go where they have to go or do what they want to do, B: Really? E: Yeah, I ride with some of my neighbors. We get together and we just ride somewhere, you know it might be y, but this is my relaxation when you get two or three brothers and you really ride all over the
TMP 049; Easton; Page 19 county, or ride when you down the lower in here and go cross that white stone bridge or whatever. Going around Tappahannock, Virgi nia, make a circle and be happy sit there and talk a little bit and everybody shoot someone and then on their merry way. Some of us are originally I still got my race car. I do have one Mustang, 88 Mustang. B: Looks like you lived out your childhood dream after all. E: [inaudible 47:09] Every now and then I take it out and she would blow it up but [inaudible 47:18] B & P: [laughte r] E: [inaudible 47:21 47:23] cars too so, sometimes we go to ride to ride for a little bit. And just take a half hour and we go and ride somewhere and come on back. Mostly after you take a ride, you talking a little bit and you then you go about your busi B: outside attention that would bring in tourism. Would you also the histor ical relevance of this region would also bring in a lot of attention? E: Oh yeah.
TMP 049; Easton; Page 20 B: And then is there any sort of historical connection that you, your family has, or E: Yes. A lot of people a re sometimes talk with older people who have been here, tell me about things, how it used to be and slowing down, some Banner used to talk to a gentleman there . he had a whole lot of property in Ban ner interesting to him so he sold it off, but he had a lot of property in Banner These, I guess historical parts of the wars, who stopped where when they had the Civil Larry Chunning he works at the Sentinel office gathered a lot of information in that. We have a lot of history in terms of a slaves that were here and how they of us would go through the what do you call it the historical society meeting [inaudible 49:59 50:02]. Anyhow I would get to the computer and they roll along and dig back on your family history and who your relatives are, like . I forget her married name but she was Doctor daughter. He is a dentist here in the county, only black dentist in the county. Well he used to tell me I used to go down and get my tooth pulled and get history, Carolina, and he said no. Your family had a really big farm down here and he was telling me all ab out it and I met an aunt of mine way down the line and she wanted to take me down there and unfortunately she passed before we had the
TMP 049; Easton; Page 21 history. You know, sometimes you get aroun d people that was kind of interesting. And every time I go to get my tooth pulled or my family, the concern there. My [inaudible 51:44 ] Easton, but if I go to Sunbury, North Carolina I have to try to find a Eason, E A S O N, Eason. My grea t great his name to Easton with a t on it and so all of us in this area are Easton and go to we are related, but they end up becoming the same they said, well my folks came from Sunbury, North Carolina, and I said, yo my relatives did too. Then I asked my father about it and he wanted to go down there, always cut and go If you want [inaudible 52:44] go and get things done, people pass away and you That husband, his mother was an Eason. And we got together a nd you know I never really put it down to you know get some real facts about it, we just talked about it. We get a lot of history around here about your family and there was . like re born, you know like I was telling you of? That works prett y well too, older people, you get a lot of the information, and I know I did [laughter] You
TMP 049; Easton; Page 22 know my grandmother used to tell me about we had something called . I trade [inaudible 54:11 54:12] and she was telling me about it and I going to pass me some [i naudible 54:16] it does look like one. down. Where I lived at after I moved on seventeenth, then behind our property you know I used to always hear about going to the poor house? Well, sure enough I [inaudible 54:36] section of property called the poor house making There was a the pillow and people went there and they car where they stayed. I said, wow that was interesting. My father told me about that and several other people and my cousin and I we used to go back there till the thing disappeared. If I had known about how important history w as, I probably would of taken some pictures and prove them all that there was poor house back another place s buried where in [inaudible 55:46]. You always can find something here in this county to [inaudible 55:51 55:52], we have a lot of [inaudible 55:56] shells here from ancient rivers and [inaudible 56:02] you always find them sometimes in the woods. It shows that that area was filled with water, I guess by me liking earth forth effort and comes up wit when that happened or not some of the things .
TMP 049; Easton; Page 23 P: Is there any other sort of things that your grandmother, your father used to tell you that stood out would always stay with you? Stories and . E: I guess a little run do wn of the history of the Eastons, you know they used to tell me about his aunts and his uncles and my great grandfather and so on down the line. He used to tease me about being short and my dad said, you have a lot of know very many of them, most of them died out when I was six or seven the interest they had in the harbors. Their used to be a man that his deal was he ma de axe handles . just his they get a lot of stuff that I still look at these old houses with all trimming around the out er edges of the box hand mad trimmings, that was kind of interesting. And I had an uncle in the at the house where I was born in Revis, he made toys. He had a piece of wood that he carved into a boat and he the engine, there was an engine in it that woun d up and it would go across the water bottle or something, old wind up carts, he used those in the store Yeah a lot of stuff and that was I used to preserve it tried to keep it preserved but when my grandmother passed I think her husband or maybe it was the second husband when she passed his people came in and the stuff just disappeared
TMP 049; Easton; Page 24 and heart breaking but oh there was a lot of good history in that house, that kind of stuff. People collect things like knives and pistols, we supply some of the things th grandfather that the barrels is made out of wrap steel. He gave it to me, he said, [inaudible 1:00 :06] old barrel [laughter]. But stuff like that you find talking to on TV, but not my grandmother had a had I dared you to have a double barrel to it [laughter], pearl ha ndle. Some of the st uff of the stuff that was in the house much stuff there I wish I could of gotten, carried up into the museum [inaudible 1:00:54]. P: Your great grandfather was in the military, or army? E: Mmhm, he was in the army. P: What was his rank or what was his role in the army? E: He was a sergeant. We used to put his uniform on as kids, asked him if we could play with it and grandma said yes, make sure you put it b ack and fold it back, and thing you go in and picked up stuff. B: When did he serve? E: t know, he may have been . probably before they had the real big
TMP 049; Easton; Page 25 thing you find in most families, they got something that was left from there great grandparents that t hey have. P: You would say that about this I mean, Middlesex that most families would have something like that? E: Middlesex, yeah. About every family has something that was left from their ancestors. There was guy that I was talking to, he was showing me some pictures, he had some really old pictures of his family when he was I guess when they the photographer put his head under this cloth and hold up the light and shoot the picture, and the frames were immaculate You know how they used to have in the old days, they had the wooden frames that were polished? I es on. I guess just what do you call it? We are sort of a family oriented history [laughter], every family has some history to it all, tell you about all that they could tell you about. Hope this keeps going here, you got a lot? For all the people in the c ounty to tell about their sections, what they did, yeah. P: So I know also that earlier you were talking about how or throughout the interview you were talking about how there is many newer grocery stores, newer places where you can buy things rather than making things, but do you think that here in Middlesex people still prefer or make their own things and sell with each or trade with each other or, is that still kind of a skill people practice?
TMP 049; Easton; Page 26 E: used to make help my mother make quilts, you know it was not a big deal. When the time comes you have you got to make two or three quilts, and the patch quilts. You we always say . any clothing that instead of throwing away the rags cut up for a quilt was going to school. The quilts are about the only thing I know in our family that we actually made People make them now E: sell them on a regular basis. Canning used to be a big deal in this county, still is for some people. People used to sell butter. They had a little [inaudible 1:05:43] woman, little old lady used to t something that somebody would do as a hobby. So mostly, old traditions of canning and doing various things, quilt donate this to the re scue squad or whatever, and they do a really more serious job than my other quilts. B: Could you talk to us a little bit more about your childhood, any notable memories you have from your time here as a child? E: Yeah. I spent most of the time at my grand 17 because I had two cousins over at
TMP 049; Easton; Page 27 P : Sure. B: Absolutely. E: We made our own toys. B: Really? E: Yeah. B: For yourselves to play with? E: Uh n like that, punch a hole in the top and a hole in the bottom side, put a coat hanger through it, then you fill it with sand and put the top back on it. The wire would pul l that all day long. [Laughter] E: imagine we were tractor trailer drivers, so we had sometimes six or eight cans on trailer hangi ng together make, I guess you call them, pop guns. You take a bush that has, I call it pith, in the center, and you hollow that out with a stick that actually fits down through the size of
TMP 049; Easton; Page 28 the stick, you get a stick that size with a knot or something at the end of it, and you take a newspaper and make little wads, and you shove it up in there, and then you shove the rod through there and it makes a big pop sound. [Laugh ter ] That kinda stuff. We messed with junebugs. You ever heard of junebugs? P: Yeah. E: Tie a string on the end. As they fly around, you hold them. [Laughter] People used a lot of cotton for sewing. We always waited for the cotton spools to come out. You notch each end of it, and after you do that, you find the right rubber band, you put a paper clip on one end, then you have a stick on the other end, and you just wind the stick up to wind the band up, let it roll from here to here. [Laughter] Lots of little things w game, played marbles all the time in the summer. Horseshoe, shooting usually Saturday or Sunday we got enough people together at so house. We had softball, that kind of thing. What other toys? Sometimes we would reconstruct toys that our parents had bought us or something. I guess we would glue a nd glue it back together, fix it back. Okay, now they got the toy. That kind of stuff we used to do. Supposedly making clocks they never worked, but they had the face and they could just turn the hand. My mother used to use those clocks to help us learn ho do. I guess I was getting into a little mischief sometimes. There was a local I
TMP 049; Easton; Page 29 four cigarettes. The man knew us v ery well and he said, who you getting these grandmamma and find out. He said, you sure? I said, yeah. So we lied and went down the road, went around the side of the h ouse, and we were sitting there passing this cigarette back and forth. Of course, my grandmother caught us and I was in big trouble for a while. Every now and then, we got in trouble like that er pond next to us. J.C. Higgins from Montgomery e That was a big highlight because you always we liked to look forward to the mail because we were looking for those guns to come in. So we came in. some of the basic toys people are playing it. Not too many people have basketball rim. Go to somebody nd hear about a wrestler or get a chance to go see a wrestling match, and we would be in the yard wrestling with each different from today. Everybody had a pocketknife, but it w as like maybe three
TMP 049; Easton; Page 30 inches, sometimes they were longer but we never used them or even thought always for a use rather than violence. You take them to school now, you go to jail. P: Yeah. E: Yeah, but everybody had a pocketknife and it was not a big deal, I think. We with a rifle, let alone shoot at somebody or something. Your privileges for the B B rifle would be gone. My uncle taught us how to shoot, maybe a .410 rifle, a real it was a To nka. Tonka toy? P: Oh. E: Yeah. I think I still have one, a Tonka dump truck. [Laugh ter ] P: Really? E: Sometimes we keep little relics like that. P: Yeah. So it seemed like you ha d a lot of toys. But did you ever, like, help around the house when you were little? Did you have chores and stuff? E: Oh, yeah! We had chores every evening. We would bring in wood, split the even think
TMP 049; Easton; Page 31 about it. We got home from school, my grandmamma always had, like, leftover rolls. Got home from school, go and heat up the rolls, nice and warm, some jelly wood in before dark. Oh, wash days are Mondays. My grandmother had a well that was, I think it was about seventy some feet deep. My mother had blood me and my two cousins and drain the water, and put it out. So we got a bunc h of tubs and put all the water in there so she had water and everything for washing. We had chores like 17 but since I spent most of my time down at milk the we had to do. My older know what to do. I finally got my turn at milking the cow, and I just mm to it. [Laughter] So, they finally let me do it again, and the bucket was full, just about. I can do it grandmother always let me go, but my first cousin got it. Oh, I felt so bad. I said, I getting fussed after, and getting a switch after about it.
TMP 049; Easton; Page 32 But I left the cow alone. No more cows milking. We had a horse, too. I remember my grandmother had, I guess you would call it, fancy horse and buggy. It had the little lights on the side, leather s you know what they look like? The little buttons there? P: Mm hm. E: Really nice. The valence style curtain could pull back and close, little window in the back, regular top convertible, I guess you woul That was the greatest thing, to go for a ride. You could go quite a distance, too. Coming back at night, little lamplights on the side, that was real always look forward to a ride. She had that for, I guess we were five or six. That was really nice, Sunday afternoon ride. That was good. I never bothered the horse either, left him alone, but we had a horse. Matter of fact, during the early My grandfather used to on Sundays, decorate the horse up. He had the little red, looked like feather things. [Laughter] I kinda missed that, when that was gone. That was fun. B: Does your family have any special traditions, during holidays or other special events? E: No. When I was coming up, we a lways had a Thanksgiving dinner, turkey, whatever, stuffing. We still do that, and my grandmother used to do it. My mother did it until they passed. Christmas was special for us. You know, my
TMP 049; Easton; Page 33 traditions but we always had fried oysters on Christmas morning, along with the rest of the trimmings. But a part of breakfast was fried oysters on Christmas gathering for birthdays. My mo ther used to fuss after me in a nice way and my dad, too, he says, I know very well that he knows that there is no Santa Claus. I And they always bought me things. They wanted to give me money and I said, oh, n o. I want to get a gift and sometimes spur of the other for a while, my relatives and cousins, they just all get together and ha ve a nice dinner, and pies a nd homemade ice cream. [Laughter ] B: Oh, wow. E: you had to go to chu rch on Sunday mornings. That was a must. I got a little older, got my license, and hang out kind of late on Saturday night. No sleeping in! [Laughter] Gotta get going! P: What church did your family go to? E: ew up here. My grandfather, he helped purchase land for that church. I think he was a deacon, trustee. I came
TMP 049; Easton; Page 34 up, me and my cousins, I think all of us would have been superintendents of the Sunday school at one time or another I still teach the adult clas s, something I like doing. So I still teach. P: Yeah. E: I think I found my niche going to church. Always wanted to do something in ing something. I like doing things. In my later days, I came back and I taught the [Inaudible 1:26:21] and then the young him, so he recommended me to be the have Easter. Oh, Easter egg hunts! Churches have them, some of the ster egg hunt. We used to have it a long time ago. After we had kids, we started na bring two or three other people. So we have an Easter egg hunt every year. [Laughter] And then a big dinner. My sister in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she comes, brings two grandkids and brings her daughter. Whole line. Sometimes we have a big yard full nine years old, and she was just out there turning things up.
TMP 049; Easton; Page 35 [ Laughter] E: tradition. P: So do you have your big family gatherings here in Middlesex? E: Some of them, like the traditional ones I told you. P: Okay. E: For the last three ye Thanksgiving and Christmas. But getting older, cook up all this food, and I felt like a caterer carrying it to Pennsylvania or even Delaware and then pack up the junk and bring it back, and not even eat the food year, for a change. Looking forward to it. P: B: Now, with all these traditions, you were saying how you sort of pass them on to your children. E: Well, it seems like they sort of adopted them. [Laughter] B: Yeah, right. E: two, and she sent us a list of what she wants on the menu for Thanksgiving. And we just laughed. [Laughter] I know my wife usually goes right along with what she wants, and our youngest daughter in
TMP 049; Easton; Page 36 South Carolina: Mom, are you gonna have pig feet this year? We gotta have some the holiday stuff. But they j ust keep it going. I said, we that. The older they get, the more they like it. [Laughter] P: B: Do you see any significant differenc e between the way you and even your generation were raised, as opposed to how then you raised your children? E: Oh, yeah. B: Yeah? E: Yeah, I look at my own kids. Well, they go off and on to church. I got one that goes regular, but my oldest daughter, she encourage the kids to attend church. But my granddaughter wants to know, so stayed fifteen gradually mellowing.
TMP 049; Easton; Page 37 P: Sure. E: But I see in general, kids tell parents what to do. [Laughter] Oh, do you feel like going to church today? Or whatever. Oh, what do you want? Do you feel like you e wanted to start dating at fifteen. I said, well, you need to be at least sixteen. And I said, well, your [Laughter] E: The kids coming along. She let her daughter start dating at fifteen and fourteen, me, Mama. No, [inaudible 1:33:14]. [Laughter] E: Oh, well. Gonna see more and more of t hat, and I guess the law has a little something to do with it, too. P: Yeah. B: Yeah. E: I talked to a buddy of mine he lives in Maryland. He was telling me something oh, you gotta be careful how you pu t your hands on your kids now. T child abuse on you. Well, I said, you know, some things are just worth going to jail.
TMP 049; Easton; Page 38 [Laughter] E: B: Were you disciplined in that fashion by your parents? E: Beatings and things like that? B: Sure. E: really, a punishment. I tell you no, and you keep on, you got a little switch now. [Laughter] I think I got the beating mostly because you were told to go out and brea k a switch down and bring it in, it up so much that when she goes to give you a whack and all, it just falls to the floor. [Laughter] So you had t o go get another one, and then you a got a little harsher whacking. [Laughter] E: No, there was always something going on. Thing is now, I got more beatings for it was wro I found that to be a lot, a nd that was when I got beatings for a lot. I was at the barber shop and I hear
TMP 049; Easton; Page 39 finished getting my haircu t so I was standing outside waiting for my father to come. So I see him and get in the truck and go home with him, but a neighbor of mine came by and . he asked me, what was I doing standing out there hanging r. He said, I should give you a good beating, hanging out here like this. I said, no, sir, to do it today. [Laughter] Told my f ather, truck came, he was there, that boy sassed me. I get in the truck and I thought he was gonna maybe beat me, but he guess that was the normal when I was coming up, you know? Somebody see a child doing something, they might give you a spanking. If they felt th at was the way they said I was a spoiled child, I guess my grandmother tried to spoil me, but I never really took it on. And so, there were some people who just felt that I needed to perso n. somebody to give you a good tail got the idea and they stopped giv ing me a little beating about that. My mother, I know, was just doing it, I guess, to appease people. So, you know, a little small anything. B: [Laughter] Yeah. Yeah. E: my childhood.
TMP 049; Easton; Page 40 B: going to bring this to a close. So unless you have any parting words you give to us, we can conclude this interview. E: Yeah. Call me if you have other questions. [Laughter] B: Absolutely. E: Thank you. P: Thank you so much! B: [End of interview ] Tra nscribed by: Jes Baldeweg Rau Audit edited by: Kyle Bridge April 28, 2015 Final edited by: Jessica Taylor