Interview with Jean Corr, 2016 July 9

Material Information

Interview with Jean Corr, 2016 July 9
Corr, Jean ( Interviewee )
Taylor, Jessica ( Interviewer )
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
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Oral history interview


Subjects / Keywords:
Tidewater Main Street Development Project
Family history
Rural life
Fairfield Foundation
Spatial Coverage:
United States of America -- Virginia -- Gloucester


Jean Corr discusses Gloucester Courthouse's Main Street and Gloucester High School, as well as her relationship with her husband Harry.
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To access audio version of this interview, click the Downloads tab at the top of the page.

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UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
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UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license:
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TMP 110 Jean Corr 7-9-2016 ( SPOHP )


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The Foundation for The Gator N ation 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 correct ions to transcripts will be reviewed and processed on a case by case basis. Oral history interview 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 or i ginal oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim d ocument of it. The transcript is 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. Th e draft trans cript can also later undergo a final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and format I nterviewees can also provide their own spelli ng corrections SPOHP transcribers refer to the Merriam progr am specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information about SPOHP, visit or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168.


TMP 110 Interviewee: Jean Corr Interviewer: Jessica Taylor Date: July 9, 2016 T: This is Jessica Taylor on July 9, 2016, and we are in Gloucester, Virginia. Ma'am, can you please state your full name? C: Leola Jean Hogg e Corr. T: Oh. And when were you born? C: June the twenty ninth, 1934. T: And where were you born? C: In Gloucester and in my grandparents' home near Ware Church. T: Did you have a doctor present? C: Yes. T: Which one? C: It was Dr. Tabb, T a b b. Harry Tabb was the doctor. T: Okay. And what were your parents' names and occupations? C: My father was Melvin Ri chard Hogg e and he worked for a wholesale grocery company. But he was quite an entrepreneur and did several other things. He was the co manager and owner of the business of a skating rink, and he also was co manager and owner of a mill that ground wheat C ow Creek Mill. So he was always trying to make a better life for his family. My mother is Leola Ollie Brown Hogg e and she is almost a hundred and two and is in the assisted living at Gloucester House.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 2 T: She's a Brown? C: Uh huh. T: Where was her family f rom? C: Both of my parents a re from Gloucester, and I'm one of the few people in Gloucester who's both are my parents are from Gloucester and my husband, too. All born here. T: Wow. That's wonderful. What part of Gloucester would you consider where the f amily is from? C: Well, my father's family is from Dog Town, which is Hayes, in Hayes. My mother's family is from right around Ware Church, which is the area known as Wan, W a n. It's supposed to be Ware but whoever sent the application in for a post offic e didn't write very clearly so Ware Post Office became Wan Post Office. [Laughter] C: And we lived at the foot of the hill whe re the people were all buried in Ware Church, and our spring for our wa surprised we've all lived so long. T: Seriously, wow. So when did you first come to Gloucester Courthouse? C: My mother and father we built a house next door to my grandmother in the Wan area, and then when I was a sophomore in high school we built a big house with three bedrooms a nd two baths, and moved to the Courthouse. T: So it was exciting for your parents?


TMP 110; Corr; Page 3 C: Yes it was exciting. And we just sold it las t year when my mom had to go in to assisted living. T: So what year was the house built? C: I believe it was [19]46. T: [19]46, okay. And that's on Main Street? C: Maybe it was [19]48. No, it's on Lewis Avenue. T: Lewis Avenue, okay. So what was how old were you when that transition happened? C: I think I was fourteen, so it must've been [19]48. T: That's a good time for remembering. So what was the transition like for you living in C: Terrific, because I got to walk to school, which was so sophisticated. [Laughter] I didn't have to ride the school bus. So walking to school was really a privilege, especially it was a gre at privilege because I got to walk home in the afternoon and stop at Morgan's Drugstore, where everybody stopped, and have a C oke or a soda, and they let you read all of the magazines and all of the comics free as long as you sat in the booth and behaved y ourself. So it was quite an afternoon gathering every day, all the Courthouse kids. T: Wow. So who else went to the drugstore, like who would you see there? C: All of my buddies: Mary Dunn, the Morgan s, who owned the drugstore. A lot of people worked there when they were in high school so I'd see people who


TMP 110; Corr; Page 4 worked. My aunt worked there, Jean Brown, and so all the workers' boyfriends came were there. And lots of people just came by to have a cool drink because nobody's house was air conditioned. So going to the drugstore was a destination. T: Yeah. What was the menu like? You said they had cool drinks. Did they have sandwiches, too? C: Yes, though I never had enough money to do that, because I think my allowance was fifty cents. So I was pretty much limited to ten cents a day. T: Here. C: Oh, I was very limited in how much I had to spend because my allowance was fifty cents a week. I had to spread that over seven days. So usually I only had maybe five cents to spend. So the re was usually a lime or lemon C oke. T: How do you make that? Or was it so ld as lime or lemon C oke? C: Yes, yes. It was just a Coke with lime, with a lime wedge. T: Oh. Oh, okay. C: Uh huh. Or a lemon wedge. T: Did they have anything special or particular? C: Oh my gosh, my favorite thing was a chocolate soda. I never had no chocolate soda with vanilla ice cream. It was absolutely terrific. When Morgan's Drugstore went out of business I never had another one. [Laughter] T: Really?


TMP 110; Corr; Page 5 C: It was terrific, but I could n't afford that very often. But I babysat and made things and sold them, and I worked for my father. We'd shine shoes and do things to make money. T: Well, that's wonderful. So when you babysat for people, would you babysit in the Courthouse area? C: Yes. Usually, though sometimes I w ould yes, it was usually the C ourthouse. T: Which families did you babysit for? C: Oh, I babysat for m y Aunt and Uncle Bill and Louise Rowe, and I babysat for somebody named Tom Turner. I've really forgotten. T: That's okay. C: Sometimes I babysat for my brother and got paid for it. T: Oh, so you had siblings? C: Yes, I have a sister and a brother. T: Are they older? C: No, younger. I'm the oldest. T: Oh, okay. Okay. C: They both live in Gloucester T: What did you guys do for fun?


TMP 110; Corr; Page 6 C: Well, when I was a child we our most fun was we had string houses. There were little woods between my grandmother's house and ours, and we would take string and make houses, little doors, little rooms. And we had just a whole life living in our little houses each of us had a house. It was my three uncles, my aunt, my sister, there were six of us. And we had bowling al ley made that we would use croqu et balls and cans filled with dirt. We would hire ourselves out as secretaries, I can't remember what the boys had to what correspondence needed doing, but we did it. We made play money ours elves. We had one monopoly game; we couldn't afford to lose the money. We played a lot of softball. We played a lot of horses hoes. We played a lot of croquet We played all day long. And when the boys had things to do for their father, which was a little farm, we all helped so they could hurry up and play. T: So when did you first learn to drive? C: At fifteen. T: Who taught you? C: My father. T: Your father. What kind of vehicle did he teach you on? C: It was a Chevrolet, that's all he ever had. It was a Chevrolet, but what particular thing I don't know. But he taught me to parallel park by standing out in the road and said, if you don't do this right you' ll kill me. [Laughter]


TMP 110; Corr; Page 7 T: Wow. C: That was the only time I had ever parallel parked, and then I went on and took the test and did it. And it was really funny because you didn't have Route 64 then, and all the traffic out of Norfolk, just carloads and carlo ads of sailors came through every Friday, and it was a Friday afternoon, and they had t o all go around the court green. T here was no bypass. And so here came these carloads of sailors, a nd I'm this fifteen year old ga l trying to parallel park holding up al l these guys trying to g et to Baltimore and Washington and points north. But I did it. T: Did you ever interact with the sailors that were coming through at any point? C: No, unh uh. They were zooming through. We did interact with soldiers from World War I I in the skating rink that my father was managing and then later on had owned the business with another man. So soldiers and sailors would come there and we would meet them. T: So how old would you have been at that not very old? C: Fifteen. Well, I was let's see. That would be after the war that I would meet them, because there were some still stationed in the are a at Yorktown, and there was a Coast G uard station in Mathews. So even though the war was over. Because I think I was ten when the war was ov er. Eleven, eleven. T: But they came to the skating rink?


TMP 110; Corr; Page 8 C: Yes, they came to the skating rink. And we would see convoys go by. And I read in the paper the other day that they actually had convoys that marched to Mathews, but I never saw that. We were rig ht on Route 14. But we saw plenty of convoys of all sorts of equipment and men. T: Do you remember what the war was like on Main Street? C: B ecause my father sold wholesale groceries he had to exchange he had to receive stamps for all the food that he sold. So this was one way my sister and I made money was that when he would come home with all the stamps, we would fill them, all the sheets out, with the various kinds of stamps of things that he had so ld. And during the war we did many things. Collecti ng scrap iron, we would go through the woods and search for scrap iron, and we would go to people's houses and ask for if they had any scrap iron we could collect for the war effort. Everyth ing was done for the duration. T hat was what everybody said in Glo ucester. For the duration, meaning until the war was over. And I would lie awake at night and hear my parents talk about, y ou know, what we will do for the duration. Any my mom and dad both plane spotted which meant going to one of the higher spots. W e went to Church H ill next to Ware Church and my mother and my father would spot planes and call in to Richmond for every plane they saw. T: Wow. That's incredible. C: And there was lots and lots of emphasis all during that first five or six years in school on buying savings bonds and having a victory garden, and we all had


TMP 110; Corr; Page 9 gardens. But I think we would've had gardens even if it hadn't been for the war. But we certainly had everybody had gardens. Working in the gardens, what every man did when he came home in the afternoon. T hey all headed to the garden. T: Wow. Do you remember where you were when you heard that the war was over? C: Yes. My dog had just gotten killed out on the road, and that was the day that the war was over. But I have a really strong memo ry of when we dropped the atomic bomb, because I was staying with my grandparents, and my grandfather always listened to the news after supper. I was horribly sunburnt lying under the dining room table listening to the news with my grandfather when we hear d the news. And my grandfather did not really, even though he was extremely intelligent, really it was difficult for him to really understand what had happened. I guess it must've been difficult for everybody. And I remember being so anxious until my fathe r came to get me on Saturday, so anxious to talk to my father to find out what really what it meant. What was an atomic bomb, you know? Of course, there was just radio. Y ou couldn't see or understand what had happened. But I remember being very anxious t o talk to my father. T: What did he say to you? C: That's funny because I don't remember. That was several days later he came to get us. But I must've been very satisfied with what he said. But he mainly I knew he could explain it to me. T: Yeah, absolut ely. So, as a teenager, did you drive your dad's car places?


TMP 110; Corr; Page 10 C: Yes. T: Where did you go for fun? C: The first place that I ever drove the car more than just to the d rugstore, that was only two blocks was D ad let me use the car to take the cheerleaders which I was one of, to take the cheerleaders to a football game. I remember driving up Route 17 because I think it was like Middlesex High School we were going to. I think it was Saluda then. I remember being aware of the coloration of the trees, which I had never noticed in my entire life. I have always thought that that was kind of an epiphany for me because I was sort of grown up, noticing something outside of myself while I was driving these gals because my dad had impressed upon me so much my big res ponsibility with those girls in the car. But I do remember thinking, I've never seen trees this beautiful before. [Laughter] T: Wow. C: It was a growing up moment. T: That's wonderful. So you were a cheerleader? C: Yes. T: You were at Gloucester High Scho ol? C: It was Botetourt. T: Botetourt. C: And ou r class is coming in two weeks. T hey're coming here for lunch at twelve o'clock in two weeks, and it's our sixty fifth reunion.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 11 T: Wow. That's wonderful. What was it like going to high school there? C: Well, I liked school a lot, and Harry and I already knew each other and we were both in the same class. So we just did everything. We played in every sport, Harry played in every sport. If I couldn't play I kept the I was the manager and kept the score, things like that. Or I was a cheerleader. We didn't have to study very hard, though we had a few good teachers. But we both wanted to learn and tried to learn. And because we were in so many sports we were gone like a couple nights a week on a bus, which is one of the most fun things about high school. My granddaughter just graduated from a private school in Washington and I feel so sorry for her because they never got to do all the fun things that we country bumpkins did, which was twice a week once a week in football season and twice a we ek in basketball and softball w e all got on a bus and tooled off to who knows where. [Laughter] I mean, I often wonder how the heck we ever did any homework. But that was so much fun And we sang a million songs on the bus. And really, everybody from Botetourt must've had a backlog of three hundred songs, because we sang. T: Like what kind of songs did you sing? Like what genre? C: A mix: country, movies, some songs from movies. Just all sorts of old songs. Like : when you we re sweet, when you were sweet sixteen. And Down By the Old Mill Stream and all, things like that. Just all the songs that our parents knew. T: That's wonderful. Wow.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 12 C: In fact, at our reunion we're going to try to sing two of the girls are sisters, and they used to play the guitar all through school. The days that Grace and Rebecca brought their guitar to school was so much fun. And they would sing a lot of songs for us. So we've asked them to do it for us that Saturday. So we're planning a sing a long. T: That's so wonderful. Wow. As a class, or as like fellow high schoolers, outside of games, what did you do for fun? C: Well, we dated in a very much more organized way than people do now. I mean, my husband and I dated two, three times a we ek, plus going to games. So I don't know how the heck we ever studied. But it was very unusual if you didn't have a date Friday and Saturday. Everybody usually most people dated, went to the movie. It was much more and you went as a couple, sometimes y ou double dated. T: When did you meet Harry? C: Well, his grandfather was the minister of our church. So I remember him from the time that he was standing on the pew beside his mother. So he was about two or three. T: Wow. C: So I remembered him. And then he moved here when he was in the third grade. So he was seven or eight. T: When did you start dating?


TMP 110; Corr; Page 13 C: Well, we liked each other then. We used to hold hand s under the spelling book. [Laughter] I'll call you your words okay. We dated other people but we always sorta had in the back of our minds that we loved each other. So then we dated all through college and got engaged our junior year and then we were married in [19]55. So we've been married sixty one years. T: That's incredible. So where did he take y ou on dates? How did he ask you out? C: You know, he'd say, would you like to go out Friday night? Even though we'd been going out for years, it was always official. Would you like to go out with me tomorrow night? And then lots of times we would drive w e would go out on Sunday afternoons and just drive around Mathews. We loved just we'd take a map and go to all the little places on the water. A lot of our activities were connected to church, because we all went to the same Baptist church. T: Which one' s that? C: Newington, we went to Newington Baptist Church. We sang in the choir, so we always went there on Thursday nights. I don't know when we ever did any homework. Thursday night we went to choir, Sunday night we went to church, and then sometimes the church would have other activities, too. T: Okay, okay. Was there any kind of courtship ritual around parents? Like, here are my parents I guess all your parents knew each other? C: They all knew each other, yes, very well. And his mother directed the c hoir and my dad was in the choir and his dad was a deacon, my dad was a deacon. Oh, yes, they knew each other really, really, really well.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 14 T: So they were supportive of C: Yes, because we've always liked each other even when we were in elementary school. T: Okay. C: But there was a lot of that. You know, many of our people in our class had a long time girlfriend or boyfriend. T: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. What did you decide to do after high school? C: I went to James Madison. T: Did Harry go to James C: He went to Virginia Tech. T: Virginia Tech, okay. So you're not that far apart? I guess it's the west side C: No, we were like two hundred miles, I guess. T: Oh, geez. C: It was a four hour ride. So, you know, I only went like maybe once a year down there, maybe twice. Once for a football game, and then my husband played in the band, so it was lots of fun to go to the football games. He still gets together with his band friends. He just had brunch with them recently. And then he would come up to it was Madison College, he would come up a couple of times a year. But we came home, whenever we came home we were always in so that was a big help. But we wrote nearly every day for four years.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 15 T: Really? C: Uh huh. T: What did you write about? C: What was happening at the time, you know, not we didn't ponder the meaning of life too often. It was more what's happening, what you're doing, what are your plans, what your family's doing, and mutual friends. Mostly just what you were doing. T: Yeah. So, before you left for college, do you remember anything about holidays like Halloween or Christmas or Easter? C: Oh, Christmas was a huge thing even though we always felt like we were rich even though really the truth was we were not at all. I mean, we thought w e were though so that's all that counts. But because we lived next door to my grandparents, my grandparents had eleven children. My mother was the oldest. So there were many of our aunts and uncles lived next door. In fact, I have an aunt who's younger t han I am. You know, we just interacted with them a lot. And they had a lot less than we did, so we always felt like we were very we had anything we needed and anything we wanted. We just didn't want a lot of stuff we couldn't have, if you know what I mea n. I mean, I would never have dreamed of wanting a car or anything like that, you know. T: Yeah. So what would you get


TMP 110; Corr; Page 16 C: Oh, Christmas was fantastic. I was the first grandchild on both sides, so everybody my mother once told me that her grandparents h ad never had a Christmas tree until I was born. And then because they had a grandchild they wanted to have a Christmas tree, which I never knew that. But it was my father was just such a generous, generous person. Everything he had he wanted to share and give away. And at Christmastime he just showered us w ith I remember one time I loved to read I got ten books. Ten books, and a little set of bookends. And other things, too. It was fantastic. And we always went to my grandmother's house for lunch, a nd all the family came for that. We exchanged presents, but the presents were never the importan t thing. My grandmother's lunch! S he was a wonderful cook. And then we came home a nd went to my other grandparent s for supper, and all of the eleven children a nd their families came to that. So it was just a fabulous family time. T: That's wonderful. So do you remember the Christmas trees on Main Street with the bulbs on them? C: Yes. My children sold those. We grew a lot this whole front field in this area we grew little Christmas trees, and my kids would dig them up and my boy, my son would dig them up, my oldest son, and my daughter and her cousin would go to all the stores and say, would you like to have a Christmas tree? In a pot, it would be a red or a green pot. They would tell them if they did. So the boys would dig all the pots dig all the plants and the girls would negotiate the sales and then they'd deliver them like right after Thanksgiving, or sometime around Thanksgiving they would deliver the trees.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 17 T: Wow. I had no idea. C: My children, they did a lot of moneymaking ac tivities. My husband was big in to knowing how to do things, and so was I. T: Wow. What was Main Street like before they started doing the Christmas trees out there? For Christmas did they do anything special? C: have competitions about drawing maybe that was Christmas. I thought they used to do it at Halloween. And maybe Christmas later, they used to do Christmas decorations with soap on the windows. It was terrific. There were so many artistic people in Gloucester. And I can't remember whether it was limited to students or whether everybody could decorate them. But they were really terrific, and I used to hate it when they would take it off because it was such a nice addition. T: Wow. Were there contests? Someone told me one time C: Yes. It was a contest and you would get the, you know, who had the best t at Hallow een we didn't do a thing. We never heard of trick or treating. But we would all just all the children between the ages oh, of maybe like old enough to be away from your parents, so maybe nine or ten and up to maybe, I don't know, fourteen or fifteen. And we would just trek through the Courthouse. I remember we used to put cans on our feet and you just stomp with cans on your feet and you sounded like something out of outer space walking down the sidewalk. The only thing people did was


TMP 110; Corr; Page 18 occasio nally maybe some teacher they didn't like, they might put toilet paper on the tree or something. That was about the worst thing I ever heard of. T: I heard earlier that someone told me that they used to bombard Gloucester Courthouse from the outlying are as to trick or treat later on. Was that the case? C: Oh, yes. Yes. My mother and father lived on Lewis Avenue and there was a period of time, and I don't know when it was because it was after I went away to college, so it must've been after [19]55. I don't know, but my mother and father would people would come from all around, they'd park at the end of the street, and then le t just hordes of children trick or treat. I mean, my mom and dad would have two hundred children come to the door, and they lived on this dead end road in a little town. It was really bad. It got to be bad when my dad died. My dad loved it. But after my dad died it was too much for my mother. It was upsetting to her to have all these people ringing the doorbell, you know, and all that T: Why did your father like it? C: Oh, he was so gregarious. You know, he just loved seeing the children. He would've loved it if they'd done it once a week. [Laughter] C: And my mother would've loved it if they never did it. T: Opposites attract. Do you remember dances in the Botetourt Hotel? C: No, I'm too young for that. T: Okay.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 19 C: At eighty two, I'm too young for that. T: You'd be surprised some of the people we talk to. C: Oh, really? T: Yeah. C: Well, n o. By the time I actually never went into that building until the county bought it. T: Really? C: And my father was on the b oard of supervisors at the time when they did buy it. I t was a great buy It was a great thing to do, great addition to the village. It just anchored the vil lage. And it was used so much. Y ou know, the board of supervisors was meeting there then. It was just used so much. That was the first time I had ever been in it was after the county bought it. I mean, I had no reason to ever go. T: That makes sense. Do you remember the C alvin Hotel? C: Yes, and I don't think I ever went in there either. But, you know, we ate at home seven days a week. Occasionall y, when we would go to Richmond our big thing was to go to Richmond and spend the night at the Richmond Hotel, and go to the L oew's Theater, and the organ would rise up out of the p it, and an organist named Eddie Eddie somebody would play, and you'd follow the bouncing ball, and we all loved to sing so we would sing. We just loved doing that. We' d go up and shop at Thalhimers and Miller and Rhoads, the two big department stores


TMP 110; Corr; Page 20 in Richmond, and then spend the night at the Richmond Hotel. And I remember it was the first time I ever had spoon bread, which I fell in love with. But my father just loved to do things, but we didn't have enough money to go on vacations. But we didn't miss it because nobody else we knew went on vacation either. My dad was more into having fun experiences all the time rather than saving up all your money to have one big fling. T: Yeah. That's smart. Do you remember going to the Texaco station at all? The one on the corner? C: Oh, yes, because we walked to the movie, and the movie is well, it's in the same area where the one is now. And so we would walk to the movie we would go there. It was such a cute spot because they had this darling little building outside that looked like a bathhouse, and possibly might have been. I forgot when it was moved there, where it came from. But it was an attractive little room and it had two little bathrooms in it. You wo uldn't think of it as being attractive but it was. And quite often we would stop there and we would walk to the movie. T: Uh huh. C: But I went to the movie like three times a week. When did I ever do anything with all the stuff I did ? But I went to the movie two, three times a week because my I had a friend, my little boyfriend in the first grade, his father owned it. And so whenever I would go to the movie they'd say, don't let her pay, she's Jimmy's girlfriend. So I went to the movie three times a w eek until I started dating at fifteen. And I never had to pay.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 21 T: Do you remember anything particular about the I know you just go to watch movies, but did anything happen? Was there any one movie you remember or anything like that? C: Well, I remember a movie I didn't see but my parents did, which was going to Richmond to see Gone with t he Wind And they brought back a wonderful, wonderful booklet, a picture book that went with it. Oh my gosh. It was years I had memorized all those pictures, and it wa s years before I ever saw it. I think I was at James Madison and we had a movie club, and I went and saw Gone with t he Wind and it was the first time I had ever seen it. But I really from all those pictures that were in the book that my dad had bought. T : Wow. So, at the Texaco station, do you remember anyone that worked there? C: Yes. W ell, of course the Browns owned it. It was Mr. Brown that owned it. And my father went there every day because he had to turn in the orders from the previous day and so h e would meet the truck drivers that were going up to my unc le was one of the truck drivers. T hey were going up to West Point to load the load to be delivered, and he would give them the orders to fill. So they met there every day, and that's where we alw ays went to get gas. But my mother said that when she and my father, in fact, when he first got out of high school in fact, that's where my mom and dad met. My father, when he had gotten out of high school, had started workin g for an electrician. T his was maybe 1931 or [193]2, and they were wi ring. H e was wiring the building, the Texaco service station, and my mom and her cousin were walking home from school. And he spoke to them and asked them if they'd like a ride. Of course, my mother said no. So ev ery day


TMP 110; Corr; Page 22 for a few days he would ask them if they'd like a ride, and finally they, after having talked with him for several days, he did take them home. And that was how they met. And then their first date, which I thought was so sweet, my grandfathe r would not let my mom go out. T he boy had to come there and stay there for the evening. And when my dad came he brought picture albums to entertain my mom, which I always thought was sweet. He wasn't waiting for her to entertain him. But it was always the Texa co service station was a place that you saw lots of people because many people stopped there in the morning, got gas, or stopped there in the afternoon. But it was more men than women. really recall too many but M om told me that people would go t here and park. L ike on Sunday afternoon, her neighbors would go up there and park and just see everybody It was entertainment, watch everybody go by the intersection. T: Who wer e their neighbors? They were fro m C: It was Helen Foster and her husband. I' ve forgotten what the married name, but they're the Foster's that lived across the street. And she said they'd go up and park there and j ust watch people go by, like an Easter parade. T: Wow. Did you shop at any of the businesses, besides Morgan's, like ha bitually? C: Yes. Martin's store was the place where we stopped. And usually it was on Saturday and the Courthouse was jammed crammed with people. I mean, people would shop just about everybody, I don't know why. I think it was because most people only h ad one car, and the men took the car from Monday to Friday, so the


TMP 110; Corr; Page 23 only day you had to take it to go get groceries was Saturday. So the Courthouse was a happening place. T: Wow. I had never thought of that, but you're absolutely right. Wow. I'd always wondered why. C: Well, it was true of us. So I guess it was true of lots of other people. T: So Martin's, was that that was the grocery store, right? C: Yes. T: Okay. C: And it was right next to Morgan's Drugstore. And then Gray's Drugstore was across th e street, and the post office. So T: Did you ever go to Gray's? C: No, we really very rarely ever did. You sort of had an allegiance to one or the other. Even though Turner Gray is one of my person that I love who's the son of and I loved Mrs. Gray. But we always had gone to Morga n's, and, of course, the Morgan s had four kids that were all just a little bit older than we were. So that was a big draw for us. So we always went to Morgan's. T: This is a weird question, but the furniture store, the Tri County Furniture store? C: Yes. T: Did you ever go in there?


TMP 110; Corr; Page 24 C: Oh, yes. Many times. And my s ister was married to the guy who owns it. So I went in there a lot. But I went there a lot when I was a kid because my best friend, Mary Dunn' s mom was the bo okkeeper there. So quite often we would walk over there and check in with her and let her know all was well. My friend was a latchkey kid, so she would go home from school and her mama didn't go home until about 5:30. So often we would walk over there. And lots of stuff was bought there. In fact, my favorite piece of furniture right now when I got a knee replacement, is a small recliner and I got it at Calvin at Tri County. Gosh, I wish he'd get inspired to fix it up. T: For sure. Do you remember becau se no one really remembers anything about it because it's kind of a place you go if you like need a specific thing. C: Uh huh. T: Do you remember anything about what the interior looked like when it was a furniture store? C: It's always been and it still is a furniture store. It's just a big cavern. And upstairs really I wish someb ody would buy it and turn it in to apartments, because it's a great spot just across the street from the fresh veggies, fresh fruit. And the floor upstairs it seems to me is wo oden, but it's just a huge cavern of a place. I think it'd make a great apartments for retired people. T: Yeah. That would be nice. Do you have any memories of where the Arts on Main building is now? C: No, because I think it was a car dealership, and we a lways bought Chevrolets.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 25 T: You're Chevrolet people? C: Uh huh. T: Okay. C: I mean, my father did. So really, you know, since I had never bought a vehicle myself, I never had any reason to go in there. But I do remember when the children were in high schoo l they used to build their homecoming floats, and we used to build them in that area. We used to build floats because it was a big, high area where they used to do car repairs, I guess. T: Huh. That's really interesting. Did you all do anything for homecom ing or prom or anything like that? C: Oh my gosh, yes. Prom was fantastic. If we had pictures of it now I would probably roll on the floor laughing, but I thought it was the height of sophistication and elegance. [Laughter] But we decorated with crepe pa per. We decorated the gym, which was the worst looking thing, it was just this little completely raw, not a bit of finished interior in thi s a picture in the paper showing the prom, and it was like little strings of twisted crepe paper, like maybe three strings, and my vision was that it was completely covered in gorgeous color. [Laughter] And I looked at that and I thought, that was a decoration? And it was my year the three little twists. W e thought it was terrific. We dec orate the gym, and the whole week we decorate the gym. The junior class would decorate for the seniors. And so we would spend time runnin g to the store to get more crepe paper. Oh, they would have a theme. I remember one year it was


TMP 110; Corr; Page 26 silhouettes. Now, that was a really artistic class. Have you met Betty Jean Deal up at the museum? T: Yes, I interviewed her. C: She was the one I think that did the silhouettes. Because she's very artistic. And that year was every year we couldn 't wait to go see what it was. I t was kind of a secret what it was. But funny, I don't remember what the year we did it, what it was. T: Where did you get your dress? C: My mother made it. T: Your mother made it? C: Yes. T: What'd it look like? C: W ell, when I was a senior, it was a str apless white. It was organdy over some sort of soft shiny material, it was white organdy over that. And then when I went to college she made a red and white sash that I put on for a little change. But just about everything I had my mom made. T: Wow. That 's so wonderful. C: But the biggest th ing when you went to Botetourt and Achilles too, I think, I can't really speak for them w as M ay Day. May Day was fabulous. Ah! Every class in the school would do something, some dance or something to entertain. We' d have a queen and a court, some two or three people from each class would


TMP 110; Corr; Page 27 be the court. It was a really, really big thing and exciting. All the high schools did it. So the day of homecoming would start morning. An d sometimes we would even walk I remember the yea r that I was in the first grade. I wonder if the war had started then. No, that was in second grade. The wa r had started and we all rode on jeeps, all the little girls that were little princesses rode on j eeps down the that was pretty exciting. T: This was May Day, right? C: Yes. We rode down through the Courthouse in a parade but then we came back and had the big thing. The funny part is I remember nothing about the it all took part where in front of where now Botetourt Element ary, that was a nice big lawn. I t doesn't seem like it would be but it was. It was a nice big lawn and the ste ps on the high school sloped up maybe fifteen steps. So the court stood on those steps and the queen was at the top. And this huge lawn, and sometimes like one year we did something about Cinderella. I was the fairy godmother. I attempted to dance around with a wa nd. It must've been the dumbest looking thing but we thought it was terrific. [Laughter] T: Were you ever May Queen? Do you get to try out C: No, no. But I was in the court. T: That's wonderful.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 28 C: No. Let's see, my sister was May Queen. Who was May Queen in our year? Lily Mae W alker She's lovely. Lily Mae W alker was the May Queen. T: How do they decide who th e May Queen is? C: You know, I don't know. I think maybe it might've been a vote by the senior class. I sort of think that might be what it was b ecause I remember one year that they had a bunch of sophisticated athletic stars, and everyone thought that one of the three or four of them would be the May Queen. I mean, really, if you go by what had happened in the past she would've been, any of them would've been. Ther e were like three or four great looking gals, basketball stars. Just stars all, from beginni ng to end of school. But the class went for someone totally different. And it was the biggest sh ock. S ort of a big thing. It was a big deal. But she was lovely. T: [Laughter] Wow. My goodness. So you didn't have homecoming? Like, it was in lieu of May Day? C: Yes, we did have homecoming. T: Okay. C: But homecoming was nothing to compare with May Day. May Day involved the whole school, from the elementary right on up to everybody. All the elementary students, or many of them, participated. When it got to t he high school I don't really remember too much about who did that, but there were lots of little dances and little productions and little plays. People dressed in costumes and stuff like that. But homecoming w as, you know, we just had a six man football team, and hardly anybody came. We didn't have any stands or anything. If you wanted to


TMP 110; Corr; Page 29 watch the game you stood on the side. So hardly anybody came. So football wasn't a big deal. T: Okay. That makes sense. C: But we did have homecoming, because Mary Dunn was the homecoming queen in my class. T: So your best friend was homecoming queen? C: Yes. T: That's wonderful. Did you all get married here? C: Yes. T: At the church, Newington ? C: Yes, we were married there and the T: Okay. C: In fact, the rehearsal d inner was here in this house in 1955. Harry's mother had fried chicken. It was a very nice dinner. All of our college friends, it was mostly our college friends and my sister and his sister. H e had twin sisters. It was very sweet. And I had all the dresses made up in Harrisonburg, some gal made all the dresses because I could have them all fitted up there. T: So this was when you were still in college? C: No, we had both graduated. T: Okay.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 30 C: And my husband had taken a job with Southern States, and I had t aken a job with the city of Richmond teaching. Then h e had been in the ROTC in college and he unexpectedly had to go into the service. We had already gotten an apartment, and signed contracts and everything. But two days we were married on July the secon d, and on the fifth he had to report to Fort Eustis. So we were only married three days. T: So remind me the year you got married again? C: [19]55. T: So this was Korea? No, this was later. C: Yeah. Well, let me think. It was after Korea. T here wasn't real ly anything active right then b ecause Eisenhower had sort of settled that in like [19]54? So there really was no active Harry did go into the service and he was sent to Japan. I finished my teaching the first year we were married we didn't live togethe r. He was in the service, I had signed a contract in Richmond. I n those days there was a serious shortage of teachers, so you when you signed a contract you went. So I lived in Richm ond and he lived in Washington. And then he went to Japan and then I foll owed. We lived there, the second year we were married we lived in Japan. T: Wow. But that would've been fun. C: Oh, it was fantastic. It was just fantastic. We just had a fabulous time. I had fabulous kids I taught while I was there. And we had so much fre e time because we taught like nine to twelve and one to three, so we had lunch hour. I went to


TMP 110; Corr; Page 31 the officer's club for lunch with all the other gals. It was really great. And we did a lot of touring. The army or air force provided all sorts of bus trips and things like that Train trips. It was a great way to have your first year of marriage, which was really, in essence, was. T: When did you come back to Gloucester? C: We were only there a year. And then we came back, and Harry interviewed all across the U. S. as we came back. We drove, bought a car in California and drove across the United States sightseeing and job interviewing. He had setup to interview in Peoria Illinois with Allis Chalmers or John Deere, and someplace in Milwaukee, I've forgotten who th at was. He was an agricultural engineer. So we went down through the Great Basin and then came up to I think Milwaukee and then traveled across and hit the other interviews. But by the time we got home we were ready to stay on the east coast. We lived in Virginia Beach, Norfolk area for fifteen years. And then when Harry's father, Harry's father was out putting we had a baby on Saturday and on Sunday maybe we had the baby on Friday. On Friday, and on Monday Harry's father went out to put a flag on the mailbox. T here was a young man he had looking for him, and he was standing in the road and he got killed by a car. Somebody going through the cross through, and it came in to our lane and struck Mr. Corr in a freak accident. So he was killed, and so th at precipitated our move back to Gloucester. But we had been gone for fifteen years. T: Wow. How did the Cold War affect life in Gloucester? Maybe it didn't, you know, just thought maybe


TMP 110; Corr; Page 32 C: We weren't living here then, so I can't really say. Because we w ere gone from [19]55 to [19]72 or [197]3. T: Okay. C: But for most people it was something black hanging over things. It was a dark lining to everything. There was a sense that bad things could happen. T: And while you were gone, the schools integrated, right? C: Yes. T: Did integration change any of the ways that people interacted in Gloucester Courthouse? C: I can't say because we weren't here during the early but I know it did happen peacefully. I do remember that one time in high school there was so me hint that there might be an attempt at integration, and we came out of lunch and there were some men, white men, standing around the flagpole with guns. That was extremely shocking and upsetting. But it was a one time thing and I can't even remember exa ctly what precipitated that. But I think it was just the mere hint tha t there would be an attempt at it. B ut when the time came they did it very wisely. I mean, as far as getting it done peacefully. F r om the point of view of African Americans it was a slo w process, because I think they started like in the first grade a nd then began to integrate slowly B ut then I don't know at w hat point. I didn't really see that. I, myself, was the recipient of a lot of what was going on because I was teaching in Virgini a Beach and the Norfolk schools closed. So the


TMP 110; Corr; Page 33 Virginia Beach schools were inundated with everybody fleeing out of Norfolk. It was ridiculous. But anyway T: I can't believe that. C: My sister has some stories. She used to substitute in the school sys tem. In general, I would say she only saw one teacher who wouldn't let a black child use the play equipment. I mean, it just makes you a nd this was like second grade. I mean, if anybody w ell, anyway. T: Yeah. C: I don't really know because I wasn't her e. T: When you were here, do you remember any of the black owned businesses, like Watkins Florist? C: Yes, yes, yes. Harriet Watkins, uh huh. She had a motel back there. T: She did! Do you know about the motel? C: Yes. T: Can you tell me about it? No one e lse knows about it. C: I don't know anything except that it was back there. She was a well known business woman in the county. She was well respec ted. There are a lot of African Americans who were well known. One guy's name Prophet, and I think his name was Prophet Brown. But everybody knew his name, his name was just a key name in Gloucester. There were many things he did well. If you wanted certain things done call Prophet Brown.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 34 T: Like what? C: Oh, like there's things like if something went wrong wi th your lock. Or one of the Brown s, I don't know if it was Isaiah Brown, were terrific in landscaping. Or if you wanted certain plants they knew where to get certain plants. They were skilled in if you we re killing hogs, there were certain black people w ho were terrific at killing hogs. And if you had problems with things you called them. Now, we didn't have help in our house, but Harry's family did. They had a black lady who lived over on the other side of where the water tank is, and she walked over ev ery day and worked. She worked for Harry's mother every day. T: Wow. Do you remember the names of either that woman or the people that would come kill hogs, by any chance? C: Come do w hat? T: Come kill hogs? C: No, unh uh. T: Okay. C: Now my mom, t hat's s omething she might've remembered but I doubt it. Unh uh. T: Okay. So there was the Watkins Florist. Was there a place called the Wagon Wheel? C: Oh, yes, the Wagon Wheel. But the big place was right here. Oh gosh, what was the name of that place? Now, Harr y will tell him. If he didn't get it you should call Harry on the telephone. But when you pass the school there was a roadhouse,


TMP 110; Corr; Page 35 it's not very far I mean, it's physically not much further. It was just enough to park a car in as far from the road as that table. And it's white, a white building. And it's deserted now. But it was the hot place of Gloucester County. I mean, if you went by there on a Friday or Saturday, the cars were parked down both sides of the road. I mean, it was packed in there. Oh, what was that guy's name? I taught his granddaughter. T: What went on, was it like bands and drinking or ? C: Oh, yes. Yes. And people who knew and well known names today. You know, we'd know them then but we know them now. Oh, what the heck was that guy's name? Want me to go ask Harry? T: Oh, sure. If you'd like to. C: T: Okay. C: Because it was one of the most famous places in Gloucester. It's right on 17. It was before the Wagon Wheel. [Break in recording] C: Is it back on? T: It's back on right now. C: Walter Stokes. Honey, that was the hotspot of Gloucester. I mean, there's nothing that white people had to compare to it. I mean, it was just a happening place where people just se emed to have a wonderful time. And then later, the


TMP 110; Corr; Page 36 Wagon Wheel was built. But from the time I was a kid, Walter Stokes was the place, that if you ever went by on a Friday or Saturday night you knew something was go ing on because it was so packed! Have you interviewed many African Americans? T: That's kind of the issue. Yeah. C: Well, what is the issue? T: Oh, it's just hard to gain an inroad, you know? C: Oh, I wonder if I can th ink of you know, Bessie Clem ents mon s might b e able to tell you some African Americans. Think of who in the world it could be. Who could be we have some African Americans at our church, which is Abingdon Episcopal. I don't know if they're from Gloucester. Well, anyway, that was a really hot spot. And then, of course, the Wagon Wh eel. T: So what was the difference between the two? C: Well, Walter Stokes was the earliest by far, because I don't know when that was built. It was always there as far as I know. But I remember when they built the Wagon Wheel. It was some entrepreneur, bl ack entrepreneur. Harry would know that, who developed a lot of stuff right in that area because he had that movie theater across the road that's a church now. T: It's not T.C. Walker? C: No, no, no, no, this is a black entrepreneur who just he built the Wagon Wheel and then there were other there was a black church across the road which is


TMP 110; Corr; Page 37 now I mean a movie theater, I think, and it's now a church. It's a white church. But I've forgotten that guy's name, but Harry knows because he had a little nurser y, too. Plant nursery. You want me to stop and ask him? T: No, no, no. T hat's okay. Can you help me understand, so like Walter Stokes, when did that close? C: T: Okay. Do you remember when the Wagon Wheel was buil t? C: Unh uh. T: But they weren't contemporaneous? C: Yes, yes, yes. T: Oh, they were. Okay. C: I think Walter Stokes was still open when we came back in the [19]70s I don't know when it closed, maybe when he died. I'm just not sure. But if you could find the Stokes you could fi nd but there is a black guy maybe I'll try to find out Can you leave me a phone number? T: Yeah, absolutely. C: Because you really ought to talk to some of the African Americans, because their experience is so different. T: That's true. Do you remember a laundromat down by the Texaco station at all? C: Unh uh.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 38 T: Okay. C: Because we always did our own. T: That makes sense. Yeah, I just heard it was owned by another African American so I just wanted to see. C: Really? No, I n ever knew that. Because I was gone fifteen crucial years in there, you know, when things were popping between [19]55 and [19]70 a lot of things were you know, it was a good time economically. T: Yeah, abs olutely. But in the Courthouse c ircle are we missi ng any big businesses that you would want C: Oh, well, Tucker's Store. T: I was going to ask. Okay. C: Tucker's Store was just the place of my childhood. I can remember going there before Mother's Day and looking at twenty million things and buying a pin k plastic pin that said, Mother. [Laughter] I was so proud of it. It probably cost ten cents. But my mother was very swee t and was delighted with that pin. No, Tucker's was a fun store. But for my age group it was Morgan's Drugstore because that was the bus stopped in front of it and it was just Dr. Morgan was a sweetheart. He was just a l ovely, kind, sweet guy and in fact, I said to my husband the other day, I went to a drugstore for something, and somebody came in and said that their child was throwin g up from heat, and the druggists were l ooked at each other, they said, I would like you to give me something to give them. And I wanted to


TMP 110; Corr; Page 39 say, take that kid to a doctor, if you're throw ing up from heat. And they were still looking blankly and finally t hey said, well, we can't really give you anything. You should call your doctor. I came home and I said to Harry, if that had been Dr. Morgan he would've gone right out and say, now, I think you better call Dr. Tabb. He would've really been comforting. T: Yeah. C : Because I saw the woman. S he came out, she was telling the other lady and they went. So I could tell they didn't feel comforted and they didn't know what to do. T: Yeah. Wow. C: But Dr. Morgan was very comforting. T: Did Dr. Tabb have an office anywhere? C: Yes, it's the house now right on Main and Duval. T: Okay. Did you ever go there? C: Well, his office that was his home, but his office was right behind I t's the little house behind it. Oh, yes, many times. Yes. I remember one time my uncle was keeping us while my mom and dad went to Richmond for the day, and we didn't get to go. And our job was to rake up all the leaves. So we raked up all the leaves and somebody had left a pitchfork in the bottom of one of the leaves, and we were running an d jumping into the piles and I jumped on the pitchfork. My mom and dad came home, they immediately stuffed me in the car to go up and have a tetanus shot.


TMP 110; Corr; Page 40 T: What kind of doctor was he? Was he nice? C: Brusque. T: Brusque. C: Yes. He was brusque. But you d efinitely felt that he knew what he was doing. So he was comforting because you felt like he knew what he was doing. T: Absolutely. There was a black counterpart to Dr. Tabb, right? C: Yes. And there was another doctor, too. Springall, I think that was his name. I could probably think of his name if I tried hard. T: We have it somewhere. I just thought maybe you had met him. C: Bu t I used to see Mr. T.C. W alker. H e used to come in the drugstore with everybody else. I used to see him around quite a bit. T: What was he like? C: He minded his own business when he would come in. I don't really remember him being, you know, particularly gregarious, but everybody respected him very, very much. And when I read his biography, oh my gosh, which I just reread last year, I had so much respect for him and for his father, too. Mr. Tom Walker was a fantastic, hardworking person. The only person I know who really seems to have been able to work as much as he did is Benjamin Franklin. They both had the sort of same ethic: just do everything in the world you possibly can do. T: Do you remember anything


TMP 110; Corr; Page 41 HC: I think that roadhouse was just Walter Stokes. C: I think so, too, Walter Stokes. HC: Just went by his name. C: Harry, who was the guy who did the Wagon Wheel and the black movie theater across the road and he had a little ? HC: Yeah, I know who you're talking about. The guy used to carry in his pocket a roll of a hun dred dollar bills. C: He was an entrepreneur. HC: I don't know if I can remember his name. C: Okay, w ell, remember, she's taping now so only when you think of it. [Laughter] HC: hundred dollar bills. C: Perfectly okay. T: Was there anything else you wanted to talk about on Main Street? Any memories you have? C: Let me think. Well, it was a lot of fun to walk on Main Street because you knew everybody, and everybody knew you. It was just a sweet way of life. T: Beautiful. Thank you. [E nd of interview]


TMP 110; Corr; Page 42 Transcribed by: Patrick Daglaris, August 16, 2016 Audit edited by: Jessica Taylor, August 18, 2016 Final edited by: Patrick Daglaris, October 23, 2016

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