Rose Slayton Interview 1

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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[silence]

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[silence; driving by residential area, industrial building in background]

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[silence; driving under bridge, and industrial area (mill?); residential area]

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[silence; driving by residential area; large building (school?)]

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[silence; driving by residential area]

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[silence; driving by residential area]

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[silence; driving by residential area and railroad tracks]

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[silence; driving by railroad tracks, industrial buildings in background]

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[silence; driving by residential area]

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[silence; driving by residential area]

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[silence; driving by residential area; slows down to film a sign in front of a house - text illegible]

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[silence; driving by same residential area as in minute 3:00]

14:00

[silence; car pulls into driveway of a house]

[14:19 audio content begins]

F1: Hello. How are you doing?

M: Look who we have here.

GEORGE STONEY: This is my son James. This is Mrs. Slayton.

JAMES STONEY: I’ve got a chair right here that’s just perfect for me.

STONEY: You grew up in this village, did you?

ROSE SLAYTON: No, I was 18 years old when I lived here, moved here. Eighteen.

STONEY: Where’d you move from?

SLAYTON: Over at Ranlo. Over at Ranlo. From over at Ranlo.

STONEY: What was life like here?

SLAYTON: What it was like here? Well, it was just like it was at the other 15:00places, where you worked in the mill. We’ve been - we’ve been living here - I don’t know, I never did have too much to do with people who lived here. And I don’t know many people here at all since they sold this village (inaudible).

STONEY: But you sure got a pretty place now.

SLAYTON: Oh well, it’s OK for me, I reckon. What time I live.

STONEY: Yeah. We were wondering about - you were talking the other day about Mr. Dilling.

SLAYTON: Marshall?

STONEY: Yeah.

SLAYTON: He’s dead. He lived over on New Hope Road.

16:00

STONEY: What was it like living here when Mr. Dilling was in charge?

SLAYTON: Well, it was kinda rough. Russell could tell you all about him. I tell you, he was kinda like a dictator [as far as I was concerned?].

STONEY: Kinda like a dictator?

SLAYTON: Yeah. He’d have you in the office, you know, if things didn’t go right. But after he left here, well, this other man, he came here, he was superintendent. He was a fine fellow (inaudible).

STONEY: I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if we got inside, because I’m afraid the cars are going to be too much, too noisy for us.

SLAYTON: My picture won’t be on the paper or something, will it?

STONEY: Not on a paper, no.

17:00

SLAYTON: No, no. I don’t -

STONEY: What we’re doing is, we’re making a film for public television, and so I think if we can -

SLAYTON: My name wouldn’t be on it, would it?

STONEY: Well, that’s up to you.

SLAYTON: No. No way.

STONEY: But what we’d like to do is get away from the noise of the street here. Shall we go inside?

SLAYTON: Yeah.

STONEY: OK, we’ll do that, then. I know it’s nice out here, but I’m just afraid that the noise is going to be too much for us. OK. We will want to get a picture of your garden and so forth a little later, OK? Why don’t we go back to - would you mind if we sit in the kitchen here?

SLAYTON: It’s OK.

STONEY: Oh, you’ve got such a nice place here.

18:00

SLAYTON: (inaudible) sent me some tomatoes down here.

STONEY: I’m just going to cut off the fan for a little while, because it makes noise for us.

SLAYTON: No, I never did like for my picture to be (inaudible).

STONEY: Did you ever work in the mill?

SLAYTON: Yes. You know, I told you about it.

STONEY: Tell me about it again.

SLAYTON: ‘Bout how much I get? Course now, I worked over here for 30 years and then, but I worked in the mills before, and I told you about me getting $36 a month pension, didn’t I? Thirty-six thirty. For 30 years, what now. I got that check yesterday.

19:00

STONEY: Would it pay for your telephone bill?

SLAYTON: It didn’t this month, because my brother-in-law down yonder, he’d been sick, you know, and [Jo’s?] husband had been sick, and I’d call and ask about him.

STONEY: When did you first start working in mills?

SLAYTON: When I was 14.

STONEY: What did you make then?

SLAYTON: We didn’t make nothing much then. You didn’t make anything when you go in the - when they train you, you know, you didn’t make anything.

STONEY: Do you remember what your first paycheck, or did you get -

SLAYTON: No, I don’t remember. Wasn’t much.

STONEY: Was it cash?

SLAYTON: Cash. They used to pay up over here in cash, then they started paying with checks.

STONEY: What did you do in the mill?

SLAYTON: Wind. You know that’s where they - when you get through with it 20:00there, then ship to where it was going.

STONEY: What was it like in the mill?

SLAYTON: Well, it used to be hot, before the air conditioning. Used to be hot. I wouldn’t advise nobody to go in the mills to work. Of course they make lots more now than they did whenever I worked. Then I remember making about six dollars a week, I can remember that.

STONEY: Do you remember what happened when Roosevelt got elected?

SLAYTON: Yes, went on eight hours. Eight hours.

STONEY: What’d that feel like?

SLAYTON: Felt like he was making lots of money. (laughs)

STONEY: Did that last for long?

21:00

SLAYTON: You know what? They used to, they wouldn’t let a woman work but eight hours. But now they can work 24 if they want to. See, that law’s been killed.

STONEY: Now, when you worked in the mill, after the -- after Roosevelt came in, it cut from 12 hours or 11 hours, I guess, to 8.

SLAYTON: Yes. So we had the eight, that’s right. I know my husband back then, I know he didn’t get no raise because he was making $12 a week, five days a week. Wasn’t that awful, back then?

STONEY: Do you know why he didn’t get a raise?

SLAYTON: Well, see, he was making $12; 32½ cents an hour wouldn’t be quite that much, would it? 22:00Or would it be that much?

STONEY: What kind of work did he do?

SLAYTON: Well, let’s see. He doffed then, but in his later years he put down machinery, overhauled machinery, and he made good.

STONEY: Was he a loom fixer, then?

SLAYTON: No. He didn’t work for the looms, he didn’t do that.

STONEY: Well, one of the things when the New Deal came in and they had the - remember something called the Blue Eagle?

SLAYTON: I remember something about that. What was that about?

STONEY: Well, the government said that, to try to straighten out the cotton textile business, they were going to set up certain rules that every manufacturer had to live up to. So they were limiting the number of hours they could run, about 80 hours a week for their machinery. They had to pay a minimum 23:00of $11, and they couldn’t work anybody more than eight hours a day.

SLAYTON: Forty hours a week, wasn’t it?

STONEY: That's right. And, but there was one other provision that said that they had a right to form a union, and that was one of them that none of them listened to very much.

SLAYTON: No, they didn’t like that. They didn’t like that. That’s when Albert Hinson, and he lost his job.

STONEY: Albert Hinson lost his job.

SLAYTON: Yeah.

STONEY: Do you remember Albert Hinson?

SLAYTON: Yeah, I remember him well.

STONEY: Tell us about him.

SLAYTON: Well, he worked over here, and they lived here in this house. Then, after he left here, I don’t remember much about him. He did come to church up there where we were (inaudible), and I asked my friend about that, and she said she didn’t know where them boys were. 24:00She’s the one that told me their names.

STONEY: We’re trying to find his children. Did we show you a picture of Albert Hinson?

SLAYTON: Yes.

STONEY: We also have some movies of Albert Hinson talking.

SLAYTON: Have you?

STONEY: Would you like to see them?

SLAYTON: Yes.

STONEY: OK, in a few minutes we’ll hook up - do you have a VCR here?

SLAYTON: No.

STONEY: We do, so we’ll hook it up in a few minutes. But now, we know - you see, we’ve got a lot of documents. Let me show you. I’ll get the documents. Just a moment, let me get them. Judy here, who is a really terrific research worker, went to Washington, and she found a lot of these documents, you see, about the NRA and this news here about Albert Hinson. And they say that he got 25:00fired -

SLAYTON: Yeah.

STONEY: - but they said he got fired because he’d been drinking.

SLAYTON: (laughs) I guess he did.

STONEY: Did he drink?

SLAYTON: I think he did. I think he did. I think that’s what was wrong with him that day we came up here. But now, he wasn’t no drunk. He wasn’t no drunk.

STONEY: But there was a - they tell us also about the superintendent here named Mr. Dilling.

SLAYTON: Yeah, Marshall Dilling.

STONEY: Tell us about him.

SLAYTON: Well, I just didn’t like him, tell you the truth. I just didn’t care much about him.

STONEY: Why not?

SLAYTON: Well, he tried to tend to your business, that’s it. Like I told you about - like these people over here, I told you the other day about him making 26:00them move because they was -- welfare was gonna help them some. And see, people didn’t get to work but about two days a week, and things like that.

STONEY: What about the church?

SLAYTON: Well, he run the church too. He run the mill and he run the church. But I don’t think nobody much runs it now, because not many goes down there.

STONEY: What would he do in the church?

SLAYTON: He was the - I think he - I never did go down there. I’ve been down there a couple of times, you know, when someone died. He was the superintendent of Sunday school, and I think he tried to be the preacher. (laughs) He’s dead, and his wife’s dead.

STONEY: Now, in the document here, which comes from the U.S. Department of 27:00Labor, it says here, “Superintendent states he’s very anxious to keep drinking out of the company village.”

SLAYTON: Yeah.

STONEY: “He’s a pronounced prohibitionist and seems to be a man of extremely conservative and narrow views.”

SLAYTON: And he didn’t allow dogs here, and he didn’t allow chickens, he didn’t allow that.

STONEY: You couldn’t have a chicken.

SLAYTON: Couldn’t have chickens, and you couldn’t have dogs.

STONEY: Also it says, “We learned from an outsider that he’s called King Dilling.”

SLAYTON: (laughs) You know, I never will forget when the war was going on, somebody went and put a notice up over on the mill and says, well, Hitler’s not coming over here for Marshall Dilling won’t leave. (laughs) I remember 28:00that. Did Russell tell you anything like this?

STONEY: Oh yes, oh yes. Well, his wife told us even more. She told us that he wouldn’t even let them climb trees.

SLAYTON: No. That’s right. If he caught children climbing trees, and somebody going along to see them, go over and tell him, he’d have the parents in the office. I know my husband and him got into it one time. He said he never did bother me no more when I got through telling him what I thought of him. He says, Oh, you’re letting your temper run away with you. You’re letting your temper run away with you.

STONEY: Well, it goes on to say his - “He has a marked inclination against 29:00union bargaining, and altogether gave the impression of being an exceedingly tight and hard-dealing man. I learned that he built a church for the employees and required them to pay 25 cents a month apiece for its maintenance.”

SLAYTON: Now, 50 cent, 50 cent. I know this man living over here, he gave him 50 cent, but he didn’t go down there.

STONEY: So he paid the 50 cents but didn’t go to church.

SLAYTON: Well, what he wanted, see, to have money to support the church, I guess. That old man never (inaudible) (laughs).

STONEY: Well, it’s all - it’s right here in the document from the National Archives. But -

SLAYTON: Where did you get all that?

30:00

STONEY: Judy got it. Judy, tell us where you got it.

JUDITH HELFAND: In Washington, D.C., at the National Archives. For every bit of legislation that was ever put out, there’s an archive that holds all of that information, and basically what happened was, mill workers all over the country who believed in the NRA and who wanted to see that the mills abided by the textile code and the eight-hour day and the 40-hour week, they basically wrote in when they felt like - that the mill wasn’t doing good by those codes and that the mill wasn’t abiding by them. So thousands of workers wrote letters in, particularly after the big strike, because so many of them were discriminated against.

SLAYTON: That was up at the Loray Mill.

HELFAND: No, the - well, the other big strike -

SLAYTON: The big strike (inaudible) other ones.

HELFAND: The general strike, sorry. The big strike was in ’29, and then there was the general strike in ’34.

31:00

STONEY: Did you know a fellow named R.C. Thomas?

SLAYTON: No.

STONEY: He seemed to have been one of the people who helped the people in the mill to put in protests like this. I think he had something to do with the union. And this was a protest put in on November the 15th, 1934. “This man - These men are being held out of work because the superintendent says that they were guilty of violence,” during the strike, “but there was none, and the company is trying to put these men out of the company houses.” Do you recall any people who had to leave the village?

SLAYTON: No, but I do remember, you know, them firing Albert and some more. I remember that.

STONEY: What happened to him after that?

SLAYTON: I reckon they went somewhere else and got them a job. But I will say, he was a mean old feller.

32:00

STONEY: Mr. Dilling?

SLAYTON: Yeah, I'd say he was.

STONEY: Where did he live?

SLAYTON: You mean now? He’s dead. Before he - well, it used to be a white house over in front of that mill over there? So they tore it down and he bought him a house on New Hope Road. And his son lived in it, but he’s married now and he’s selling it.

STONEY: So they’re all gone and spread out.

SLAYTON: Yeah. And the old man’s wife’s dead too. And Marshall Junior, his wife’s dead, but he’s married again.

STONEY: Well, you’ve - what’s kept you in the village here?

SLAYTON: Because I worked over here and I could just walk, and we didn’t have a car. I never did like it here, but I’m still here. I believe I’ll stay here till I die. I know my daughter in Greensboro, they have a nice home, and I 33:00told her, I said, “Well, I always wanted one. I didn’t make the money to buy one.” She said, “Mama, that’s home to me,” and said, “I’m not ashamed to tell nobody where I was born and was brought up.”

STONEY: Was the - when you were growing up, was there any kind of feeling of difference between you and this mill village and the people in town?

SLAYTON: No.

STONEY: Where’d you do your shopping?

SLAYTON: Mostly at Belk’s.

STONEY: Now, we’ve heard in some other places, I know in Georgia we’ve met people who’ve said that they were kind of ashamed to be connected with the cotton mills, so when they went into town, they always got dressed up and everything.

SLAYTON: Well, I always dress up, makes no difference where I go. If I go shopping, I go to my doctor, I always put on the best I have.

34:00

STONEY: Did you ever hear the term “linthead”?

SLAYTON: Yes. Yeah. I’ve heard that. But I never was called that.

STONEY: Why?

SLAYTON: I never was called that.

STONEY: How does it make you feel?

SLAYTON: Well, I don’t know what I’d say to somebody who called me that. I don’t know. I don’t know. But I tell you, some of the finest people I know's worked in mills.

STONEY: Well, we’ve - we’ve been seeing a lot of them who lived through it, and I must say that they’re living very well and seem - all church people and all of that. Do you still go to the same church here?

SLAYTON: I hadn’t been in quite a while. I got other things wrong with me besides the - you know, my leg. But my daughter and her husband, and my sisters, 35:00they all go. But I’ve been thinking if - like I told Dr. Albright, if I get better, I says, I’m going to start back.

STONEY: Now, you’ve lived here - so you lived in this house how long?

SLAYTON: Let’s see, 58 years. I think it’s 58 years. But we’ve lived here longer than that. Sixty-two. Sixty-two years. But then, after my husband, after he got a car, he got him a job at other places, other mills, making more. That’s whenever he started, you know, putting down machinery, overhauling machinery.

36:00

STONEY: But you just kept on -

SLAYTON: I just stayed on over here. See, I could walk to work. But I couldn’t do that no more, even if I was able, because I’d be afraid.

STONEY: Why?

SLAYTON: Oh, somebody might knock you in the head. I heard some shooting last night. I don’t know where it was.

STONEY: Well, back in the ’30s, particularly around the time of this big strike that we’re talking about, we’ve heard a lot of people talk about the stretch-out. What do they mean by that?

SLAYTON: Stretch-out? Give you more work to do, put more work on you and less - same pay. That's - do that.

STONEY: Did that happen to you?

SLAYTON: Well, I always was on production, on production, and some was on the hour, you know, by the hour.

STONEY: Did you ever hear of something called the [Beado?] system?

SLAYTON: No.

37:00

STONEY: That was the system that they used in some plants, where they clocked you.

SLAYTON: They clock them over here now, but they didn’t back when I worked, they didn’t clock me.

STONEY: The woman who was describing it the other day said that they clock you when you took a drink, they clock you when you went to the restroom, they clocked you when you ate, all of that.

SLAYTON: Well now, they clock them over here when they go in at mornings. That’s when they do that. But now they have, you know, so many minutes to eat their lunch. Breaks, they have breaks. But back then you didn’t, you'd just eat when you had a chance.

HELFAND: Excuse me, I’m getting some static.

STONEY: OK, just if you can - [Interruption] What do you mean you were on production?

38:00

SLAYTON: That means you get paid for what you do. You made more money on production than you did by the hour.

JAMES STONEY: So you’re paid by the piece or by the running foot or by the amount, rather than just an hourly flat?

SLAYTON: Well, some was by the pound. Some was pound, and they’d doff this off, you know, and put it in a box, a frame of it, and then pay so much for that, 13 and 14 cent. (laughs) Now Russell, he run twisters, then he was something like a little section head one time.

STONEY: He must have been a kind of timid guy, because he didn’t marry until he was 39.

39:00

SLAYTON: Well lord, I don’t reckon nobody wanted him. (laughs) But he was a good person, I will say that.

STONEY: He was talking about the baseball team.

SLAYTON: Yeah, they had a base - my husband used to play baseball. He used to play with the team.

STONEY: Did that give him some privileges?

SLAYTON: No, they just played. They just liked to play. But most all the mills back then had, you know, ball teams.

STONEY: Did you go to all the games?

SLAYTON: No. I never did go to any of them.

STONEY: Why not?

SLAYTON: I never did care much about baseball.

STONEY: What did you do for amusement?

SLAYTON: Stay at home and work. And tend to my three children.

40:00

STONEY: Now, you had three children and you also worked full time in the mill.

SLAYTON: Yes.

STONEY: How did you manage that?

SLAYTON: Well, see, he worked at mornings. He worked 10 hours a day. And I had somebody to, you know, take care of him when I went to work, you see, till he got home.

STONEY: Who was that person?

SLAYTON: Well, Cleo [Angeli?] was one of them, then I had a black woman, had a black woman.

STONEY: So the black - did the black women work in the mills?

SLAYTON: Not then. I never did work with black people. I never did work with black people.

STONEY: But you did have one coming in to your house -

SLAYTON: Yeah, she stayed here till my husband got home, you know. She lived down yonder, you know, they had a place down yonder for the blacks to live. Some of the men worked over here in the warehouse, the black men.

41:00

JAMES STONEY: What shift were you on?

SLAYTON: Second. Second shift.

STONEY: So your husband was on the first and you were on the second. Now, some people tell us that they didn’t have to have babysitters, that neighbors looked after their children.

SLAYTON: Yeah, lots of people did. Some women, you know, worked like second and first, they’d have somebody watch them, like neighbors.

STONEY: One of the things that puzzles me a bit looking back on it, just like in my own family, my father’s mother - my father’s father had 14 children, and he had four children. I guess about the same thing happened - what did your 42:00grandparents have?

SLAYTON: How many children? I don’t exactly know. Let’s see. I think my dad’s parents, I think they had three girls and four boys. I think that’s how many they had. Then my mother, they had two, and four girls.

STONEY: Six in the family. And you had?

SLAYTON: Three.

STONEY: Three. So you had just less than half what your parents had.

SLAYTON: Yes, yes. But they all lived out on a farm.

STONEY: Why do you think that people had fewer children when they moved into the mills?

SLAYTON: (laughs) They learned how. Protection. But you know, people don’t 43:00have many children any more. They don’t have many children. One of my daughters in Greensboro has got three, and my daughter that lives here has got one, and my son had one. They say they can’t educate them.

STONEY: I asked that because when the manufacturers first recruited families to work in the mills, they used to go up in the mountains and look for big families, and then move them in, and they got - if they had four children of working age, they’d get a four- or five-room house. If there were fewer of them, they’d get smaller houses.

SLAYTON: Yes, that’s right.

44:00

STONEY: Did that happen to your family?

SLAYTON: No. Now, I know Ron said he went to work when he was nine years old.

STONEY: Your husband?

SLAYTON: Yeah.

STONEY: Nine years old.

SLAYTON: Nine years old. You know, that was awful, wasn’t it? That was awful. But you know, he could read, he could read better than I could. He could read, and he was good on arithmetic.

STONEY: How did he learn that?

SLAYTON: He had a book, and he went to night school, so. But you know, if times had come again like it was back in Hoover days, wouldn’t it be awful?

STONEY: It kind of feels like it now. Doesn’t it?

SLAYTON: Yes, it does. Yes, it does. If something’s not done, it’s gonna be 45:00worse for people who’s in debt with homes.

STONEY: That’s one of my worries now. But you remember when Albert Hinson was around here.

SLAYTON: Yes, I remember.

STONEY: In the early ’30s.

SLAYTON: Now, he was - he was older than my husband, Albert Hinson was. I’m most sure he was.

STONEY: They were trying to form a union.

SLAYTON: Yeah.

STONEY: Did you hear anything about that?

SLAYTON: Well, I knew when they’d go up here and have a meeting, you know. We never was in that, never was in that.

STONEY: You and your husband.

SLAYTON: Yes.

STONEY: Why not?

SLAYTON: I don’t know. You know, I always thought it might cause trouble, and I didn’t want to be where it was trouble. But now I think the union’s a good 46:00thing, if it’s carried out right. I really do. But that’s like it was up yon at [Warren Swazey’s?]. They was gonna have a union up there, and they told them they’d go back to Ohio, so they shut it down and went back.

STONEY: Did Mr. Dilling warn you against the union?

SLAYTON: No, he didn’t say nothing, but he’d find out that you went, he’d let you off.

STONEY: How could he find out if you went?

SLAYTON: Tattletales. (laughs) You know, it’s always somebody that want to tell something. It’s like I was telling you about children, you know, climbing trees. He’d have them in the office, see somebody. He had pimps, that’s what he had, pimps.

47:00

STONEY: And everybody knew who they were?

SLAYTON: The pimps? Well, there was some of them the boss men, some of them was the boss men.

STONEY: Well, that’s enough to make anybody afraid to go to a meeting.

SLAYTON: Yes, that’s right. And I remember they had a little store up here, and they had books over here at the mill, you know, that you could go and get a book and buy a few groceries. I think they was $5 books, I think that’s what they was. And you know the mills didn’t run but a couple days a week back then.

STONEY: So you bought a book of tickets from the -

SLAYTON: Yeah, you could get them over at the mill office. My husband never would get one, I reckon he had too much pride about his [self?]. But I know lots 48:00of people did.

STONEY: We’ve been looking for some of those books.

SLAYTON: Them there books?

STONEY: Do you happen to have any around?

SLAYTON: No, I don’t - see, you’d take them up there and they’d tear it out, tear it out. There wasn’t no A&P’s and Harris Teeters and Winn Dixies and Bi-Los back then.

STONEY: Was that - was that a company store?

SLAYTON: No, it wasn’t. Mr. Cathay run that store, and he was a fine man

STONEY: Was that that building just up the -

SLAYTON: Yes.

STONEY: The same building?

SLAYTON: The same building. Same building. Russell used to work up there some. But eventually times got better after eight hours come in. That’s what I say, 49:00as the best president done more for poor people.

STONEY: Do you remember hearing Roosevelt on the radio?

SLAYTON: Yes, I remember hearing him.

STONEY: What’d he sound like?

SLAYTON: I don’t remember, but I remember seeing him. But I know he had a ugly wife. (laughs) And you know, I remember when he came through here on a train one time. I remember that. And everybody was out over yonder looking.

STONEY: Did you see him?

SLAYTON: No.

STONEY: Just the train moving.

SLAYTON: Yes.

STONEY: Do you remember his funeral, maybe?

SLAYTON: Yes, I remember something about that, and I remember Kennedy’s.

STONEY: He was going from Warm Springs, that’s where Roosevelt was.

50:00

SLAYTON: Yeah. He was - he had - what was that he had?

STONEY: Polio.

SLAYTON: Polio.

STONEY: It’s amazing that he had that and yet he looked so healthy and -

SLAYTON: Yes, yes.

STONEY: - cheerful all the time.

SLAYTON: Yes, yes. That was a sad time, when he died.

STONEY: Oh my, wasn’t it?

SLAYTON: Same way about President Kennedy. I did cry when he died. I was over in Belmont when I heard that. I just cried. I said, Lord, that was awful.

STONEY: About Mrs. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt.

SLAYTON: Yeah.

STONEY: Did you ever read her column?

SLAYTON: No.

STONEY: She used to write a column called “My Day.”

SLAYTON: “My Day.”

STONEY: Yeah, and this was syndicated, you know, in all kinds of papers around. And she - she took a great interest in working people, and that’s why a lot of 51:00the women, cotton mill women, used to write her. And we’ve just got hundreds and hundreds of letters written by -

SLAYTON: Her.

STONEY: - written to her by people, on tablet paper, you know, kind of. It’s really quite remarkable.

SLAYTON: That’s King Dilling in there. (laughs) That’s what they called him. They called him that. And he’d come in to - step out of his house across the road and he’d come through every morning at 6:00, and if he’d see something, you know, like a bobbin laying on the floor or anything, and you know they used 52:00to take a knife and cut that rope and all, he’d fire you. I know that woman live right over there told me he caught her one morning and said, “Boy, when I got through telling him,” said, “he lit out the door.” (laughs)

STONEY: What did he look like?

SLAYTON: Well, he was a nice-looking feller. He was black-headed, and brown eyes, kind of olive-y skin. And his wife was a sweet woman. But I think he was the first superintendent, you know, to come up here, and he stayed here till after the war, then Mr. Smyre hired this other man.

STONEY: Did you ever know Mr. Smyre?

SLAYTON: Well, I’ve seen him come through the mill a lot. And I still see him over at Kmart’s when I go over there. I know Jewel said she saw him over there 53:00last week. They were good people, them Smyres was.

STONEY: How old was he - is he now?

SLAYTON: No, he’s dead. But now Fred Smyre, his son, is still living, and he’s got a boy. He’s still living. But Fred Smyre’s wife, first wife’s dead, and he married again.

STONEY: But when Mr. Smyre used to come to the - through the factory, your mill, what did you do?

SLAYTON: He was looking for everything he could, that’s what he’d be looking for. He was a bossy old man. I wonder where he is, if he’s bossy. (laughs)

STONEY: You mean Mr. Dilling.

SLAYTON: Yeah. I wonder if he’s bossy.

54:00

STONEY: Are any of his family around still?

SLAYTON: He’s got a boy. Well, he’s got a girl, too, somewhere here.

STONEY: Do you have any idea how we can find them?

SLAYTON: I don’t know what, that girl married a Todd.

STONEY: We’d like to see if we can get a picture of him. Do you have any pictures of the mill? I mean of the people - the shifts, the people that work in the mill?

SLAYTON: No. I had one of - I think over here at Ranlo for Rob’s brother was on it, and I said I would only give that to his daughter.

STONEY: But you don’t have one of the Smyre's mill.

SLAYTON: No.

STONEY: We’d just like to have a picture of Mr. Dilling if we could get it.

SLAYTON: You know, they’d come and make pictures, but I never did want my picture made. I never did. I just never did want my picture made.

55:00

STONEY: OK.

SLAYTON: I said, well, I wasn’t glad I was old, but I was glad I was out of the mills. This girl right here, her mother and daddy wanted her to go to college and went over yonder at Charlotte, stayed over all day long and had everything fixed up over at college, and went two days and didn’t go back. She wanted to be an architect, that’s what she wanted to be. I told her, I said, “You’ll be sorry of that one of these days.” I said, “You’ll be sorry.” I know my granddaughter said, Lord, said she didn’t go long enough to know which place to go when she was over there.

STONEY: Well, it’s a big switch if you’ve just been working and then you start going to school. I know, I teach at New York University, and I can see 56:00students, particularly the young students, they come and it’s pretty - you get pretty mixed up.

SLAYTON: I tell you right now, young people better get a good education or they won’t get no job. They won’t get no job.

STONEY: That’s the truth.

SLAYTON: But all my grandchildren’s got good jobs, and I’m proud of them, proud of every one of them.

STONEY: When you first went into the mills, did they care how much education you had?

SLAYTON: So you write your name. (laughs) They didn’t care for nothing.

STONEY: Just so you could write your name.

SLAYTON: Well, and stay on your job and work. Stay on your job and work. But if my daddy'd lived I'd a never been in a mill. You know, it’s lots of people like that, lots of and lots of people. I imagine that little Russell Clary went 57:00in the mill when he was young.

STONEY: Now, some people have told us how much fun they had working in the mill. What do they mean?

SLAYTON: I don’t know. (laughs) I did - I did hear my husband say one time, he said they’d get into a fight, little old boys in the mill, said they’d get in a fight, and said run each other with a broom. (laughs) I’ve heard him tell that.

STONEY: But you don’t remember it being fun.

SLAYTON: No, no way. No way. You just stayed there and worked all day long, come home at 12, and go back and work till 6. Now, that’s the way it used to be.

STONEY: What would you had rather do?

SLAYTON: If I had it to do over, I’d love to have a greenhouse. I’ve always 58:00said I’d love to have a greenhouse, for I love flowers. I love flowers.

STONEY: Well, you certainly have a beautiful, beautiful garden.

SLAYTON: I know my granddaughter said when she went up into Appalachian and said that professor up there told her, said don’t go in teaching, talking about school teacher, said don’t go into that. Said now teachers has a hard time. I have a friend, well it's [Jane's?] friend, and she comes down here a lot, and she tells about how bad the children are. She teaches the fourth grade. Said they didn’t mind telling you to shut your mouth. You know, that’s awful. That’s something our children never did do.

59:00

STONEY: Well, you could just always say if you don’t be nice, we’ll sic Mr. Dilling on you.

SLAYTON: (laughs) Jane, her two little old children, one’s in the fourth grade and (inaudible) ought to be in the second. When they do anything, she makes them go to their room, makes them go to their room, and tells them stay back there till they can behave theirself. She said they’re not back there but a little bit, they’ll holler out, they say, “We’re gonna behave and be nice.” But she said that she never had, and Jane never had to whip one of them, but they’re good children, they behave theirselves.

JAMES STONEY: Gotta reload.

STONEY: OK.