Alan Waffle, Yvonnie Hill and Ruth Archer Interview

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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GEORGE STONEY: -- [felt?] --

ALAN WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: That’s the one thing that, uh, when we come in -- “What are you doing?” “We’re doing a history of textiles.” “Oh, you’re talking about --

WAFFLE: Loray Mill.

STONEY: -- the -- the -- the strike, ’29, at Loray Mill.”

WAFFLE: Well that one is sort of a natural, um, reaction, I guess, on people’s parts because it was such, um, a highly charged, you know, emotional time. Um, you have, you know, blood spilled -- um, so you c-- s-- it’s -- has stood out in many people’s --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- memories, you know, as -- as sort of the real bad -- something --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- to remember or real bad something to --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- not remember. Um, our investigations would run along the same lines as yours. Um, I know when I first came here about 16 years ago, I would ask those questions. “Um, we don’t talk about that.”

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: Um, same thing with, um -- um -- it’s not textile-related -- a woman, 1:00um -- last woman hanged, I think, in the State of North Carolina, was hanged in Gaston County.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: And when I started asking them questions about that, just from a historical perspective, “Mm, we don’t talk about that.”

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: You know, it’s -- it’s -- it’s bad. It’s -- it’s -- it leaves a bad taste --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- in people’s mouths and they want to remember the happy news. Um, historians are not looking for just the happy news. They’re --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- looking for the news, you know, blemishes and -- and otherwise.

STONEY: How do you explain that to -- uh, to local people, that it’s important to get the full story?

WAFFLE: Um, you have to develop a rapport. Um, that’s done over, you know, a long period of time, or perhaps just an instant like with somebody, the -- the chemical something --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- that clicks, uh, to convince them that the whole story’s important and the details are important, not just the big picture, uh, and that it’s helpful to have some things to back it up, be it diaries or documents, um -- uh, photographs, that type of thing. And, um, if you choose t-- t-- if you’re part-- it particularly helps if you’re not taking a 2:00one-sided view of the thing.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: Um, broad brush approach and, um -- um -- and equal treatment, you know, on both sides, which is --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- what the museum has to do. Um, if we choose to take one or the other side, then we are not only killing -- cutting our own throat, but we’re off-- you know, we’re offending part of our community.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: And we’re here for the whole community. So the whole process, um, the whole picture, you know, is important.

STONEY: We were at -- uh, over at the Loray Mill the other day.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: The commissioner arranged for us to go in and we had as our guide a man whose father was part of the 100 men who were the very strong anti-union people.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: And the -- and the Loray Mill -- we also had with us Ernest Moore, who was a very strong pro-union person. And --

WAFFLE: (inaudible).

STONEY: -- uh, his father had been president of the union. And as we walked around the old Loray Mill, they had a -- a very interesting conversation, which I’m sure you’re going to --

WAFFLE: Good. Look forward to --

STONEY: -- like to see.

WAFFLE: Look forward to seeing that. That will be good.

3:00

STONEY: What are your plans for, uh, Loray Mill?

WAFFLE: Well, the, um, Preservation C-- Gaston County Preservation Commission’s been working with, um, Chamber of Commerce and Firestone right now to see if we can develop, um, at least a -- a viable plan to -- to delay demolition, um, while, um, perhaps another buyer could be found for the -- for the site. It’s a important site, um, historically, as well as architecturally, and not just for, you know, Gastonia, uh, or, uh, Gaston County, but, you know, for the region, or historically, um, for -- for -- for a broader range than that.

STONEY: [It was?] one time it was s-- the largest, uh, mill under one roof.

WAFFLE: Under the one roof, yes. And s-- and so it has important f-- you know, for the state and -- and -- and beyond that. Um, Preservation North Carolina was down just a couple of weeks ago, uh, and we’re in discussions. And they will have to see what develops from that. Um, it’s been put on the local register and the national register because it is an important site. It is a lot 4:00of architecture for somebody to take care of. Um, you know, instant thought is, oh, just make it the textile museum. Well, it takes a lot of money folks.

STONEY: (laughs)

WAFFLE: Let’s -- let’s have it. Glad to. Um, but -- but the -- the l-- the hard and -- and -- and cold facts are it takes money to renovate, operate, and maintain. And, uh, if a proper deal -- whatever you want to call it -- can get struck with Firestone, um th-- or perhaps they would be amenable to another owner having that portion of the property, and Firestone keeping up the other portion of the property if -- if they can, um, coexist, um, without tripping over each other’s toes or getting into --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- tax problems, um, perhaps something could be viable. Um, this is not as concentrated a population area as the Northeast, where f-- hmm, textile mills have been turned into, um, condominiums, and elderly housing, and shopping malls, and such. Um, and we have our full complement of that already with new construction. So it’s -- it’ll be an interesting question as time --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- goes on.

STONEY: I’m sure your committee is --

5:00

WAFFLE: Yeah. I mean, --

STONEY: (laughs)

WAFFLE: -- everybody here in b-- the Pr-- Preservation Commission and the museum, uh, as well as museum staff are all looking at this with a certain, um, anxiety and anticipation, sort of mixed, both in that. Um, one of my favorite sites in Gastonia is coming f-- from the west to the east on Garrison Boulevard at night with that building lit up. Um, it just screams 'power.'

STONEY: (laughs)

WAFFLE: Um, and whether that’s, um, political, or social, or economic, or mechanical --

STONEY: (laughs)

WAFFLE: -- you know, it’s all right there, --

STONEY: Yeah.

WAFFLE: -- particularly in the dark with all those green windows, you know, lit up at night. It’s a r-- it’s a real interesting site, and sort of says, “Welcome home.”

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: It’s, um, a twist on seeing the church spire.

STONEY: Yeah, yeah.

WAFFLE: Um, or -- or a, um -- a [campinilion?] in Europe, but it’s along the same sort of lines.

STONEY: And, of course, uh, you don’t see that in most of the old mills because they’ve been bricked up and air conditioned --

WAFFLE: Yeah.

STONEY: -- and so forth, and that’s --

WAFFLE: Yeah.

STONEY: -- i-- is -- is rather special.

WAFFLE: Yeah. It’s not necessarily a pure architecture piece --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- yet from 1901.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: But it’s -- it’s pretty close.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: You know, pretty close to that.

6:00

STONEY: Let me show you some pictures, uh, that we have --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- here. Um -- uh, Mrs. Hill, you’ll be interested in seeing, too, I think, uh, (coughs) from the period that we’re concentrating on. Uh, Jamie, is it OK to close that?

JAMIE: Yeah, because I’m rolling [on while it does this?] (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

STONEY: Oh, OK. (overlapping dialogue; inaudible). Thank you. I was waiting for (inaudible).

WAFFLE: Yeah. Was it --

JAMIE: Big hot spot behind you.

STONEY: Yeah. (laughs) The -- this is -- this is the Labor Day parade in 1934. That was the first big Labor Day parade here.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: And -- do you --

WAFFLE: (inaudible) Old Matthew’s Belt building there. And [Efert’s?] next door, and Woolworth’s, all of which are, of course, gone.

HILL: The big -- is that the -- no, that’s not the clock, is it?

WAFFLE: That’s Mr. [Bansleen?]’s son. The clock is up here by the bank, --

HILL: Oh, OK.

WAFFLE: -- which is --

STONEY: Is --

WAFFLE: -- now in Charlotte, actually.

HILL: Yeah, I’ve read about that.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

7:00

STONEY: Here’s another, (inaudible), [this?] -- taken from the same vantage point with, uh, Ranlo.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: We talked to a young m-- uh, we talked to a man who, as a young man, played the drums --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- at the head of the -- of this parade.

WAFFLE: Mm. OK.

STONEY: [And we?] have that recording. We also talked with Mr. Moore and he f-- we have some movies of this.

WAFFLE: Oh, OK. Good.

STONEY: And he found his father in our footage.

WAFFLE: Aww.

STONEY: Yeah.

HELFAND: Would h-- have you ever seen those kind of pictures before?

WAFFLE: No, I haven’t -- I have -- I haven’t seen those. I mean, I’ve seen other film footage --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- of -- of different, um, town events, but not related to this particular parade.

STONEY: Now here is Albert Hinson, who was one of the local, uh, union leaders, uh, in -- in front of the Parkdale Mill.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: And again, we have motion picture footage of this, as well. And we are looking for -- somebody called us up after our story appeared in the --

WAFFLE: The pa--.

STONEY: -- Charlotte Observer to tell us that he had seen that news real stuff 8:00in a local theater. So --

WAFFLE: Movietone News type of thing?

STONEY: That’s right. Yes.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: Here, we were just with, uh -- uh, Rosa Mae -- what was her l--?

HILL: Murphy.

STONEY: Rosa Murphy --

WAFFLE: Murphy.

STONEY: -- yesterday. And she recognized her local.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

YVONNIE HILL: Oh, wow.

STONEY: She was secretary of that local.

WAFFLE: Secretary of the local (inaudible).

STONEY: [And that?] -- yeah -- uh, during -- during that time.

JUDITH HELFAND: W-- what do you think of all of this, Mrs. Hill?

WAFFLE: Bring back memories, I guess?

HILL: Some.

STONEY: Well --

HILL: Not too interested in the union.

STONEY: You should tell him what --

WAFFLE: (laughs)

STONEY: -- uh, what you told us. You know, -- where -- where you went during this time.

HILL: Well, when the -- when the -- strike -- uh, everybody went on strike, they closed down the mills, my two brothers, and -- and their wives, and my husband, and myself went to the mountains w-- my mother owned a, um -- a house up there where we moved out of a house, so you can call it, I guess, cabin. And we camped out up there for three weeks and come back when the strike was over.

9:00

WAFFLE: Get out of the heat, literally.

HILL: Yeah. Yeah.

WAFFLE: (laughs)

STONEY: Well, tell him about the bed. That’s the --

HILL: Ah.

STONEY: -- best story. That’s the best story.

HILL: Oh, lord. Well, we had this one room, and we were all newly married, hadn’t been married a year, none of us. And we had, um, this, um, room and -- and we all were sharing the same room. And we had a co-cola, not a co-cola bottle, or some kind of a bottle with an -- with, um, some yarn in it. That was our only light we had at night. And the -- and there was only one bed in -- in the -- in the room, and -- and the -- we each one took time about -- a couple sleeping in the bed and the other slept on the pallets on the floor. And the -- wasn’t -- wasn’t long until nobody wanted the bed because they found out this big, old hump right in the middle of it --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

HILL: -- is impossible to get any sleep in it. So we all slept on the floor after we’d all [three, four?] -- [we had?] tried it out.

WAFFLE: Nothing like a pallet on the floor.

HILL: [Whoa?]. It’s better than that bed. I can remember that bed yet.

STONEY: What he did -- what we did was to get her to read that section out of the --

WAFFLE: In the diary?

10:00

STONEY: Out of the diary, yes. That’s -- would be an interesting, uh, kind of public performance, wouldn’t it?

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

HILL: We dug potatoes to have something to eat, and the boys trimmed the apple trees, and we had a gard-- uh, orchard, and they -- they did that. And all us girls got out and hunted for some taters somewhere to --

WAFFLE: Did your --

HILL: -- eat off of.

WAFFLE: Did your family start from the -- the mountains?

HILL: Yes.

WAFFLE: And -- and --

HILL: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- came down to --

HILL: Yes. Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- work in the mill? So you all sort of just went back home for a while?

HILL: Yep.

WAFFLE: OK.

HILL: (inaudible) before mother sold the, um, property.

STONEY: Now here’s a -- here’s a s-- a film. Uh, that’s when the National Guard were guarding the --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- Loray Mill and [we?] were able to match this shot with a shot over at the mill. T-- we found this -- these arches here.

WAFFLE: It’s the same shot that’s on the cover of our architectural heritage book, --

STONEY: Uh-huh.

WAFFLE: -- The History of the Architecture in Gaston County.

STONEY: So you’re able to match that. Now what we’re looking for are -- we’re looking for some people who are in the National Guard at that time. Uh, 11:00so far we haven’t, uh -- haven’t found any. And it’s not going to be quite as easy as we think because they -- they always brought National Guard [when?] -- uh, [when?] -- from other places.

WAFFLE: M-- [the?] -- yeah. So it’s going to be tracking down out of state or cross-state (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

STONEY: No, not -- not out of state, but --

WAFFLE: OK.

STONEY: -- f-- other -- these are North Carolina --

WAFFLE: OK.

STONEY: -- guardsmen. And thank goodness, the Charlotte Observer -- we’ve gone through that pretty carefully -- tells where each of the Guard units started from --

WAFFLE: OK.

STONEY: -- so that we can get that, I think.

HELFAND: Have you seen pictures of the National Guard before, Alan?

STONEY: Yes.

WAFFLE: (inaudible) one or t-- (inaudible).

STONEY: Yeah.

WAFFLE: OK.

STONEY: This was over in -- in, uh, Belmont, where --

WAFFLE: Ooh, OK.

STONEY: -- the fella was --

WAFFLE: Action photos.

STONEY: -- the fella was --

WAFFLE: Nice.

STONEY: -- stabbed. Do you remember? They r-- uh, ran in -- into the house and bayonet, bayonetted --

HILL: Do you want to see this, Ruth?

STONEY: Yes. Come on down.

12:00

HILL: We weren’t -- we were in the mountains at the time [of that?]. We heard about it that day.

STONEY: I bet you did. (laughs) She’s saying they had walked, what, two mi--?

HILL: A mile down the mountain and a mile back up the mountain to get news from home every -- about --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

HILL: -- every day. (laughs) Because we were so worried about our people.

STONEY: But think about having a mail system at that time. It was so a--

WAFFLE: Yeah.

STONEY: They were so --

HILL: [What?] --

STONEY: -- reliable. (laughter)

WAFFLE: As opposed to turning on something like, you know, CNN, or some [get-you?] --

STONEY: Yeah.

WAFFLE: -- worldwide --

HILL: Yeah.

WAFFLE: -- coverage of the Persian --

HILL: We didn’t even have a radio then.

WAFFLE: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

STONEY: This is a big, uh, meeting in Charlotte, just before the strike started. Did you have any idea that there were this many people involved?

HILL: No.

STONEY: All you knew was, uh, d-- what was happening --

HILL: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- in your own mill?

HILL: Right.

STONEY: That’s --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: I’m sure this happened to m-- so many people.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

HILL: And I can remember they came around in trucks, and then would try to 13:00coerce the people, [um?] -- them to join in a union. And, uh -- and threats was made and everything else. And then, later on, when they -- when the mill started back up, some of them owners didn’t start right back up when -- when we stopped. So my brother-in-law said, “Well, why don’t we get them trucks and go around, start them up? They stopped them off. They can go around and start them up.”

WAFFLE: They were probably a little apprehensive. Yeah, in terms of talking about people being -- uh, great quantities of --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- of people and being all over, um, when I first came to -- to the county about 15 years ago, this came up in discussion. And a woman mentioned it to her mother, said, “W-- w-- a f-- former employee of mine --“ And her mother had worked in the mills, I think, in Kannapolis. And she said, “You know, people will talk about Gastonia, but honey, that was everywhere. It was all over.”

HILL: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: You know, it wasn’t just in Gastonia. The mills shut down, or there were strikes and problems in -- dot, dot, dot -- she just sort of rattled off a -- a shopping list of cities. And, um, so it was my first introduction and an immediate view that it was broader range than just, you know, local.

STONEY: Well, now the extraordinary thing is that you, as a historian, had so 14:00little knowledge of this event. I just wondered if there’s any --

WAFFLE: I’m an art historian.

STONEY: Oh, OK. (laughter)

WAFFLE: I have inherited history.

STONEY: OK. All right. Got it.

WAFFLE: Um, I c-- I came as the --

STONEY: That --

WAFFLE: -- the art person and --

STONEY: Yeah.

WAFFLE: -- um, because of the small staff, --

STONEY: Yep.

WAFFLE: -- you par--

STONEY: Yep.

WAFFLE: -- you pick up --

STONEY: Yep.

WAFFLE: -- the history.

STONEY: Yep. But in truth, uh, it’s -- it’s an event that happened. We find fully reported in the papers. It certainly wasn’t any secret at the time.

WAFFLE: Yeah.

STONEY: But since then, there’s been so little talk about it.

WAFFLE: True.

STONEY: That’s why -- one of the reasons why we are doing this movie, to try to fill out that story.

WAFFLE: Well, it’s obviously laid a lot of groundwork for, um, the labor movement as it is today. I mean, --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- obviously, there was more to, um, labor movement than coal mines of West Virginia and steel mills of, uh, Pennsylvania.

STONEY: Mm-hmm. And so do you think that your museum will be getting interested in -- in, uh, labors action here.

WAFFLE: Sure. That is part of our focus.

STONEY: W-- wasn’t there something about a ballot box [that?] --

15:00

WAFFLE: We have in our collection a ballot box from the recent vote at, um, the Loray, now Firestone. Um, one of our good friends works there and he was gathering things for the museum. And we have -- when they finally did pass -- you know, it was that monumental thing that made it to the news media -- um, union goes into, you know, the Loray site. And we have one of the cardboard ballot boxes in our collection, um, which is good to have, -- w-- a documentation, again, of -- of what occurs. And it’s kind of an ironic piece, I guess.

STONEY: (laughs)

WAFFLE: Um, on the one hand, you know, we have, um, elements of the mill, back in the days when the f-- the -- the strong fight prevented it. And then, um, some 50 years later, you know, [one?] --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- the pieces that -- if, when the -- when the unionization went through. You’re an honorary curator for your efforts.

STONEY: (laughs) Thank you.

WAFFLE: Um, yeah. If -- if people don’t turn over to their local historical society or their regional museum, and just say, well, this is trash, and pitch it, um, let us make that decision, please. Um, we’re better equipped or -- or 16:00trained to make those decisions as to what would be good to document history. Even curators and -- and, um, museum directors make error, but will more than likely err on the side of collection than the garbage heap. Um, so --

STONEY: Could you list some of the things that you might be interested in?

WAFFLE: Um, we’re interested in photographs. We’re interested in family, um, personal histories, like, um, Ms. Hill’s diaries, um, letters, um, stationery from the mills, um, business records and archival materials from the mills. A lot of people would say, well, what’s -- what’s the use in an invoice? Well, it shows us what a certain cost was, in terms of -- of business history. Um, any payroll schedules, um, advertising --

STONEY: Do you -- for example, do you have any of your old pay envelopes?

HILL: I’ve got, uh, a year supply of my husband’s, but I -- I didn’t run across them when I was hunting --

WAFFLE: We’d like it.

HILL: -- all this.

WAFFLE: We’d like it.

HILL: Uh --

17:00

WAFFLE: Um, because when we talk about how people are -- were paid at the mill, we could show a couple of example.

HILL: I’ll have to take a search warrant to find them.

WAFFLE: Well, we’ll get you one. Um, but those are the sorts of things, [like?] --

HILL: I mean, I (inaudible) [search?] (inaudible) --

WAFFLE: We’ll -- we’ll [give it to?] -- oh, I know. I know.

HILL: (laughter)

WAFFLE: We’ll still get you one because, uh, we are interested in that sort of thing because it documents what a man in Gaston County in the year, you know, 19-whatever --

HILL: Hey, there’s a little envelope with cash, you know.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm. Well, see, we have an envelope or two from back at the turn of the century from the Mountain Island Mill, which was the first mill in the county. At that time it was another company but in the same structure. And it showed that the pay envelope included the father and the sons that worked. So sons’ was put in father’s envelope and given to father, and then he might give them a nickel or something like that to go buy candy. The rest of it went to maintain the household. Um, that was sort of standard procedure.

STONEY: Somebody showed us one the other day with just that on it.

WAFFLE: OK.

STONEY: His three --

WAFFLE: (inaudible)

STONEY: -- brothers --

HILL: Hmm.

STONEY: -- and himself.

HILL: Uh --

STONEY: And it -- his -- even though his father wasn’t working, the father got the envelope.

WAFFLE: The father got the envelope. Exactly.

HILL: Well, they went to work before they was 14 years old.

WAFFLE: Yeah.

STONEY: Yeah. (inaudible) --

18:00

HILL: [You’re not?] supposed to be able to work till 14, but before that law come in, a lot of them went to work 9, 10 years old.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm. Well, like -- but that’s the sort of -- I mean, those are the -- the types of things, as well as, um, promotional about, um, the various mills.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: Um, giveaways like keychains, and that type of thing. The whole gamut, you know, textile machinery, but our limited space sort of g-- keeps that a little prohibitive. Um, artifacts on life in the -- in the mill villages. Um, baseball teams, and the bands, and there were, um, a battle of the bands, as it were, between the various towns’, um, bands, to see who was the best, much like the softball, um --

RUTH ARCHER: (inaudible) --

WAFFLE: -- competition.

ARCHER: -- baseball team.

WAFFLE: OK. Exactly. That’s the -- the baseball teams and the softball teams and all that.

HILL: I didn’t bring it with me.

WAFFLE: That type of stuff. It -- because it shows there’s more to life than just going to work, but it’s all confined within the -- the -- the realm of the mill village. You had a house, you grew vegetables out back, some people m-- would keep, you know, a little [hog?] or two because they were tied to the 19:00-- to the earth, and many -- you know, the southerners, particularly -- um, I noticed with -- with -- with great interest one time, in a lecture, about, um, architecture, the difference in the two-families and the three-families up North and the individual family houses --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- in the South, where the southerners wanted to have ‘my land,’ --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- even just to put a small garden plot, whereas in the North, that was never a concern. So --

STONEY: Did you have garden plots?

HILL: Oh, yeah.

ARCHER: Oh, yes.

WAFFLE: (laughter) (inaudible) so you could always have -- you know, make your own fresh vegetables --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- and that type of thing. Um, so we can see the -- the -- whole, um, village as a composite of where they went to work, where they lived, a community hall or memorial hall, whatever, for recreation and education, because libraries would be started there. Um, and it forms a whole city. Much like Gaston County’s towns today, there’s a real independent spirit amongst -- there’s 14 towns, independent towns in the county, and that independent spirit developed 20:00from a mill, started off in the woods somewhere that had nothing around it so they had to build a village to provide housing for the workers. So this mill and its village became a town, versus this one, versus this one, versus this one. So the natural competition that stemmed from American, um, business goes all the way down to the roots of America in this --

STONEY: (laughs)

WAFFLE: -- sense, uh, in that each town in Gaston County has a s-- a sense of pride, um, based, um, in fact, on early, um, business with the mills, developing the mill village.

HILL: We raised and butchered our own hogs, too, and -- and cured our own meat. That’s in my diary, as well.

STONEY: Mm-hmm. (inaudible).

HILL: Come hog killing day el-- everybody’d gather around to help.

WAFFLE: Well, so a lot of that -- these -- this stems from an agrarian background that ended up being supplemented, almost, by industrial.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: Um, it was hard to make it in the mountains, and a lot -- I mention that because a lot of the Gaston County textile workers were brought down from mountains --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

21:00

WAFFLE: -- as a -- a quick source of -- of labor.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: Uh, but they had an agrarian background and maintained the gardens --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- and the -- the hogs and the chickens. Um, but for that cash currency, --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- you went to work in the mills.

STONEY: I wonder -- uh, I’d like to have Ms. Hill -- Mrs. Hill explain to you her -- her -- how her family got from the mountains down, and how her -- she particularly did. And I’m -- would like to move from this setting.

WAFFLE: [OK?].

STONEY: Do you have a few minutes --

WAFFLE: Sure.

STONEY: -- for her?

WAFFLE: Sure.

STONEY: And d-- would you --?

(break in audio)

HELFAND: George --

STONEY: Monroe. Yeah?

HELFAND: We’re talking about the best place to go upstairs.

STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: The Homemade, Handmade is where that room with the quilts, but (inaudible) --

WAFFLE: Well, what’s your [preference?], (inaudible)?

HELFAND: (inaudible) [use your office?], I assume.

WAFFLE: It looks like hell. I didn’t know that --

(break in audio)

HILL: (inaudible)

WAFFLE: Yeah.

HELFAND: (inaudible)

HILL: (inaudible)

22:00

HELFAND: George, could you take this (inaudible) [with me?]? I just want to show you something.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

(break in audio)

JAMIE STONEY: I like to shoot and go home. You know what I mean? (inaudible).

STONEY: What, uh --?

WAFFLE: [You didn’t want to do this?]?

STONEY: Oh, yes, but, uh, I just want you to have them in your hands as you come in.

WAFFLE: Oh.

STONEY: Because you had them in your hands downstairs.

WAFFLE: Oh, OK.

STONEY: That’s (inaudible).

F2: Hello.

WAFFLE: We’re going right in here, ladies.

HILL: Well, if I’d looked up and saw you, I’d have known where to go. (laughter) Where do you want me to sit?

STONEY: Can you sit (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)?

JAMIE: Wherever you’re comfortable, ma’am.

STONEY: OK, and do you want to sit on the other side over there?

ARCHER: I’d rather sit outside.

JAMIE: Well, your input is needed. OK.

STONEY: So just get her to show you the diaries and explain about them.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: And maybe read [just?] some from them.

23:00

ARCHER: Whoops.

STONEY: And again, you might explain why they are so important.

HILL: I started keeping this diary 19 and 34. Because you notice, it’s a five-year diary and this -- well, now some of them’s just one page, but this goes across this way. And then next year goes here. Next year, here. And you get into five years that way.

WAFFLE: Oh, OK.

HILL: They come down this way.

WAFFLE: So it’s the same day for each page. (inaudible).

HILL: Yeah. Uh-huh. And I wrote in them every -- either I wrote in them that night or the next morning. And I do have some, uh -- uh, in other words, my husband’s name was Johnny, and -- and -- and rather than write ‘Johnny’ out a hundred times, I put a J for him. “Came home this morning. Ed and Ernest --” That’s my brother and brother in law. “-- went to Gastonia and got my number for my car.” And that’s George, [yes?]. “G and I went to 24:00town tonight but the stores were closed. Went to the show and it was good.” And I didn’t have the name of that show. (laughter) And [that list?] -- uh, that’s -- it’s repetitious, but yet there’s new stuff, too. And you’ll notice, uh, I was sick a lot, of course, with my polio background, that’s nothing unusual.

WAFFLE: Well, these are good because it records on a day-to-day basis, um, what went on in Gaston County. And in this case, particularly in your life, it gives us a focus of -- um, a personal touch of one person’s activities, um, in the mills, at home, uh, in the business environment, shopping, um, going to the movies, going to the store, that sort of thing.

HILL: Skating rink.

WAFFLE: Yeah, OK. (laughter)

HILL: My husband [was?] (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

WAFFLE: It gives us -- gives us a broad, full picture on all of that.

HILL: And here’s where a payday, I drawed a dollar and 52 cents. That was 19 and -- and, uh --

WAFFLE: For how days --

HILL: -- 46.

WAFFLE: -- [of work?]?

HILL: I suspect that was just for two days and a half or three days, probably 25:00three. A-- and I’d have to go back and see each state (inaudible).

WAFFLE: Those are eight-hour days? Ten-hour days?

HILL: No, those -- uh, we were on six hours a day, --

WAFFLE: Six-hour days.

HILL: -- I think, at that time.

WAFFLE: So that’s a little less than 10 cents an hour.

HILL: Mm-hmm. Ten cents an hour, back then, was good pay. Now, here I drawed, uh, 10 dollars and 92 cents. Uh --

WAFFLE: A lot of overtime or is this --

HILL: Oh.

WAFFLE: -- a different year with --?

HILL: Well, uh, I -- uh, d-- if you -- if you spun or wound -- well, if you spun, you just got a regular wages by the hour. But I spool more than anything else and I got paid by production.

WAFFLE: Production. OK.

HILL: And I’m not bragging, but I was pretty good.

WAFFLE: Good on production. OK.

HILL: And, uh -- and I did make more than the average person made. But -- but that’s, uh, some amount of --

WAFFLE: So you worked in the mill until ’51, or did you quit --

HILL: Um --

WAFFLE: -- keeping the diary? Or do we --

HILL: I --

WAFFLE: -- have some lost? Or --

26:00

HILL: I quit keeping the diary, um, but I -- I didn’t work until ’51. I quit before ’51, went to work for the Merchants Association in Belmont. And, uh, worked myself up to the secretary of that. And then I went on to be the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce when it switched over to the Chamber of Commerce. In the meantime, I took a lot of correspondence courses and ended up with bookkeeper and I did income tax for 30 years, I guess.

WAFFLE: Do we have that in here, as well?

HILL: No.

WAFFLE: Your correspondence courses and your work with the other --

HILL: The correspondence courses, I think, are in here.

WAFFLE: OK. That just sort of --

HILL: I’m not sure.

WAFFLE: -- gives us a -- a complete and full picture of --

HILL: Yeah.

WAFFLE: -- of what you did working in the mills, as well as --

HILL: Yeah. It’s in there --

WAFFLE: -- (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

HILL: -- several times where I studied all day or I typed all -- half the night, and things like that’s in there.

STONEY: Uh, you haven’t mentioned your church work. Is that recorded?

27:00

HILL: Um, some of it is. Uh, my husband, uh, attended church more than I did because w-- I was physically exhausted, and sometimes on Sunday I -- [I am?] -- but usually, we were at church every Wednesday night and every Sunday night. But he went on Sunday mornings, but I usually didn’t go on Sunday morning. And now I taught -- later on, I taught Sunday school for several years, 15 or 20 years.

STONEY: Maybe you could tell us, um, how you got out of the mountains.

HILL: Well, my -- my daddy w-- worked on the road or the railroads, building 'em -- he was away from home a lot. And Mom -- we, uh -- I had older brothers and sisters, and the only way they could go past the -- we had a little f-- schoolhouse where they went from the first to the sixth grade, and that’s about it. And -- uh, everybody in the same room. And, uh, Mama wanted us to have a better education than that. And so first, my oldest sister -- sent her, uh, to Waynesville to stay with some of my kinfolks to go to school there to get 28:00a [letter education?] and she come back and talked to her then. And, uh, then when, um -- Mama just took a notion that she wanted to -- just to get us in a better environment, educational environment. And so she decided to, uh, move to Gastonia, the Loray Mills, where we came to originally. And, uh, we, um, lived so far back up in the mountains, till the only way we could get out and bring our stuff out was on a sled. And the old horse named Ed pulled the sled out. And, uh, we went and caught the train. It’s [first train?] -- [and this is in?] -- in the diaries here, somewhere, I think, or it’s in the other one I’ve got it home. But she -- we, um, got on that noisy train and I didn’t like it a bit. And it was dirty and noisy, too. And we come to the Loray Mill right before Christmas. And, of course, we had no money or anything else, and I 29:00never will forget -- and I send them a check every year from this memory -- the Salvation Army gave us kids our Christmas that first year. And then all of the boys went to work in a mill, and my older sister went to work in a mill. And Mama worked a little while. And, uh, my dad wouldn’t come. He wanted to stay in them mountains.

WAFFLE: (laughs)

HILL: But finally, he decided to stay and we moved from Loray to the Rex. Every time there’d be a -- the mills were very competitive and they’d raise five cent an hour, and draw a bunch of workers from the other mills, you know, back then. And every time there -- one would find out there’s pay at five cent more somewhere else, why, we moved if we got a house. So we ended up the Eagle, and there we stayed. Uh, from then on, we didn’t -- didn’t move anymore until she -- I moved out when I got married and built my house and she -- she built her house and moved out.

STONEY: What was special about the Eagle? Why did you stay there?

30:00

HILL: The environment and the -- and the -- the people, and the people you worked for. It was just a -- it was just more family than -- than the other mills, just, oh, there’s a lot of difference.

STONEY: Uh, d-- you knew the owners and the supervisors, didn’t you?

HILL: Well, uh, you always, of course, were in close touch with your supervisors every day. And the owners, we didn’t socialize with them, by no means, but we, uh, certainly could speak to them on the street, or if we had a gripe or anything, we -- we were at liberty to go to their office and talk with them. And we knew we could do that. And they would come through the mill and speak to every hand in the mill as they come down through the mill. They were that kind of people.

STONEY: And you had mentioned the -- the other day about a club that you had.

HILL: We had a Ladies Faithful Aid club, which, um, Mrs. Stowe -- one of the Mrs. Stowes -- I’ve forgotten which one -- helped us to organize. And we, uh -- uh -- uh, met once a month, and we saw to the help -- to the -- uh, anybody 31:00that needed help, anywhere at all -- say a man was out of work a week. Well, you live from week to week, because you didn’t have enough money to do anything else. And, uh, we would, uh, say, on Monday nights, when we met, well, so-and-so needs help, we’ll pound him Wednesday. Wednesday’s payday. And you know what I mean by pound.

WAFFLE: (inaudible).

HILL: Well, he didn’t know. (laughter) I had to explain it to him.

WAFFLE: Oh, OK. Yeah.

HILL: (laughter) But, anyway, we would pound --

STONEY: Well, you better ex-- explain it.

HILL: (laughter) We would pound him, which meant buying something and taking it to him, whether there’s a pound or more than a pound, --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

HILL: -- but at least a pound, we’d try to get, of anything. So we would do that. And -- and, uh, the company [that backed us?], they’d build us -- uh, give us a little house for us to meet in and keep some supplies if we have any. And [some of?] --

STONEY: Now, we have some snapshots of that clubhouse and, uh, one or two of their exhibits. They’re very tiny, poor pictures.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

32:00

STONEY: Now, would they be of interest to you? People --

WAFFLE: Sure.

STONEY: -- say, the snapshots, who’s going to be interested in them?

WAFFLE: Plenty of people. You can also blow up a snapshot, um, make it easier to see. You know, um, with -- with good camera work, you can make a very small snapshot into a mural for illustration, you know, back behind the walls. But, yeah. That’s the sort of stuff we’re interested in.

STONEY: Uh, now, again, could you describe how you might use that kind of material in an exhibition?

WAFFLE: Um, the photographs would be used either backdrop or specific illustration, depending on the type of photograph that it is, um, to -- to give the visual element, um, which is just as important as a 3D element or the written copy, uh, in museum exhibit. It’s one thing to read about what was going on. It’s another thing to see it. And then, if you’ve got an object that was used at the time, um, if you’re going to talk about spinning, there’s words that talk about it. And there’s a photograph of a spinning 33:00frame, and it’s nice to have, you know, a bobbin or a spool that actually illustrates what was there at the time. So it -- you know, it combines all the components in museum exhibitions.

HILL: Oh, excuse me, but I have to take a pill at 3:30.

WAFFLE: (inaudible) [drink?].

HILL: My heart.

WAFFLE: Exactly.

M: [Let me get out?] --

M: [OK?].

M: -- [here?]. OK.

(break in audio)

WAFFLE: I don’t know. Somebody else (inaudible).

STONEY: You say drinking was one of the family habits?

HILL: No. We didn’t have too much drinking at the Eagle Mill. We had some but --

STONEY: What would happen if, uh, somebody had been drinking in the mill?

HILL: Well, I suspect they’d -- they’d be fired. I -- I don’t remember -- ever remember an instance of anybody going in the mill drunk.

F4: Are you talking about drinking on the job?

STONEY: No, in -- in the village, itself.

F4: Oh, no. Well, we had some of that. People just ignore them till they got sober, and loved them, I reckon.

34:00

STONEY: So there wasn’t, uh --

F4: No, we didn’t --

STONEY: We know that in some places they -- they were -- had a very strict prohibition in the -- in the mills.

HILL: It wasn’t that (inaudible).

STONEY: But do you remember when -- when the prohibition came in in the mills?

HILL: No, no.

STONEY: It’s happened about, uh -- when does prohib-- uh, prohibition here, uh, came before the -- the, uh --

WAFFLE: Prohibition here was in the nineteenth century.

STONEY: That’s what I thought. Yeah.

WAFFLE: Yeah.

F4: (inaudible).

WAFFLE: Well, see, there was a lot of, um, money made off of whiskey in Gaston County back in the nineteenth century, um, called the Ban-Our-Whiskey County. Um, and then when prohibition came in, all the corn growers moved to South Carolina because they couldn’t -- (laughter) they couldn’t make use of their product. And so, um, there was -- there was -- there’s been a talk that -- that some people wanted a prohibition put in their town to keep the mill workers from getting drunk, um, to make sure that they would show up at work at -- at regular hours. Um, I don’t know whether that’s true or not.

STONEY: Hmm.

35:00

WAFFLE: It’s sort of legendary.

HILL: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: But, um, North Carolina’s prohibition predated --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- um, the general -- the general prohibition by a good number of years.

STONEY: What about the music, uh -- uh, Mrs. Hill? Could you [talk us?] about the music around the -- the village?

HILL: Well, uh, the -- we had several that was talented as far as guitar, and banjo, and ukulele. And they’d get together and, uh -- and put on a little show, you know, and people would come, and gather around, and sing. Just different people’s houses, or just -- just [anyway?]. We used to -- we just done anything to have a little fun on Saturday night or Friday night.

F4: Cook a chicken. (laughter) My daddy’s chicken, usually.

HILL: (laughs) Yeah. (inaudible).

F4: He’d get up the next morning and say, “Well, we [got?] -- [took?] again last night.” My sister, she’d just laugh because she knowed who eat the chicken. (laughs)

HILL: (inaudible) chicken.

WAFFLE: Was your father -- your father kept a lot of chickens?

F4: Oh, yeah.

WAFFLE: Oh.

HILL: Everybody did, --

F4: Yeah.

HILL: -- just about.

STONEY: Uh, you had fighting cocks there in -- in, uh, The Eagle, didn’t you?

36:00

HILL: Not to my knowledge.

F4: Not that I remember.

STONEY: Ah-ha.

F4: Not where we were. (laughter)

HILL: I don’t remem--

STONEY: I’ve heard some tales.

HILL: I don’t remember that. I don’t remember anything about that.

F4: Must’ve been somewhere else. (laughs)

HELFAND: Did Mrs. Hill read you a typical day in, uh, in her life?

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

STONEY: Maybe we f-- could select, uh, one or two others. I’m just curious about, uh, entries that you might try.

HELFAND: Nineteen thirty-four?

STONEY: Yeah.

HILL: That’s when I was (inaudible) was 1934. This is, um, 31st of January. “Such bad weather. Sat around all day until work time. Today is payday. [They’ll draw?] eight dollars and 80 cents. Maybe I can sort of get out, straightened out this week." Can you imagine? And then it rained all day, the next day, and I worked six hours. Same old thing. "I’m kept busy answering questions about me and Johnny.” We hadn’t gotten married yet. “But 37:00we’re not telling anything.” Oh, we did get married on January 28th, and this is February the 1st, and we kept it a secret three weeks.

STONEY: Why did you keep it a secret?

HILL: Well, (laughs) his mother, uh, didn’t want him to marry, and my people didn’t want people to marry him. And we married. Spent 35 wonderful years together.

STONEY: Well, let’s talk about something that’s not so pleasant, and that is about your polio, if you don’t mind. You talked about your mother, and the horse, and so forth.

HILL: Yeah, well, (clears throat) we lived back -- and [as I said?] a while ago -- way back in the mountains. And, uh, I got sick and, uh, they didn’t know what was wrong with me. And I was three years old. That was in 1918. And, uh, the polio -- that’s the first polio epidemic come through North Carolina was in 1918. And I was the only one in the family that had it. And, uh, I -- when 38:00-- when I got better from being sick, after about four or five weeks, why, I couldn’t walk. And then I got to where I could walk with my hands on my knees, and I walked that way for a good, long while. And Mama took a notion that, uh -- the country -- comp -- uh, we had a doctor that the Daddy -- where Daddy works, uh, the company doctor, but she decided that she wanted to take me to a doctor in town. So she rode, uh, horseback and took me to Waynesville to a doctor. And, of course, he didn’t know what was wrong with me and he put me in high-top shoes. And, uh, that helped very little. And I, from -- from that -- fr om that time, until I was 14 years old, I suffered intensely, and couldn’t -- I could walk, but, uh, I never could have much balance or 39:00anything. And then in 19 and, uh -- when I was 14 years old, why, I went to the orthopedic hospital and had several surgeries and [just?] had a lot of corrective surgeries since then, and I’ve done real good. Seventy-seven --

F4: [Tell them how?] --

HILL: Seventy-seven years old and still living after I give up three or four time.

F4: Tell them how far it is from your home to Asheville so they’ll know how far she rode the horse.

HILL: Um, I don’t know how far it is from -- from -- she went to Waynesville. I mean --

F4: I mean Waynesville. Yeah.

HILL: I don’t know how far from the -- our old home it was.

F4: Well, just estimate it.

HILL: It was 15 or 20 miles. At least 20. But she rode me horseback to take me to the doctor. Old Ned. (laughter)

F4: What’d you do with him when you pulled a -- when he pulled the sled out? Just let somebody have him?

40:00

HILL: I don’t know what we done with that horse. We left him there to somebody. But we got the train and come to Gastonia, anyway. And I don’t know [what?] --

STONEY: Now, was -- was there a company recruiter who came up and talked with you?

HILL: No. We had a friend -- uh, one of the boys met this man, I don’t know where -- my brothers. And his name was Clark, too. We were Clarks. And -- and he, uh -- uh, was redheaded, and [we?] called him Red Clark. And he worked at the Loray. And he was telling my brothers about how much money he made. And so they got to talking to Mama, and then she talked to him. And he’s the one that helped us to come, and to get settled, and to get work and everything. And we lost touch with him. Later on, I -- I wished a lot of times that we had kept in touch with him, but we did lose touch with him. But that’s how come us to come. We come on a -- on the urging of a friend of, uh, the boys.

41:00

STONEY: I’m interested in this business of your moving from mill to mill when you could get five cents more. We’ve read about that, but you are the first person who’s ever been able to explain it. Could you talk a little bit about that?

HILL: Well, we were at the Loray and we heard the Rex was paying so much more -- I don’t know how much more. I just used five cents. It could be 10. I don’t know. And, uh -- and, uh -- they had a house open, so Mama ups us, all the young ’uns, and here we go, and we move. And while we lived at the Rex, my dad finally decided to come down and join us. We all [got the bed with the measles?], and Mama got word to him, here he come. And, uh, then, from that -- from there, I think we went to a mill in Mount Holly, the Adrian in Mount Holly. And we stayed there several years. And, uh, from there, then, we went to the Eagle and, uh, [when?] we had one more move in there, but I can’t remember 42:00what the mill was now. But, um, when we got to the Eagle, we kind of planted.

STONEY: Now, you had experience, then, with a lot of different mills.

HILL: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: And with a l--

HILL: Well, I didn’t work in the mill --

STONEY: Yeah.

HILL: -- at that time.

STONEY: [Right?].

HILL: I was too young. I went to work in the E-- Eagle after -- we’d been there a couple years before I went to work.

STONEY: What about your schooling there?

HILL: Well, I got to go to high s-- I got to go to school on -- uh, up through the eighth grade, and I had to go to the hospital. And I was in the hospital a year. And, of course, I lost -- I couldn’t keep up with my grades when I come back. And -- and so I just quit school. And -- and then, uh, took these courses at home, after I got married.

STONEY: [Now?], you were telling me in the car a story that I want you to tell, uh, my friend here about, uh, when the -- when the strikers were -- when the union was feeding the strikers, could you tell him --

HILL: [Yeah?].

43:00

STONEY: -- that story?

HILL: (laughter)

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

HILL: The, um, back -- uh -- uh -- uh, the -- uh, the Stowe Mercantile was open. You know, that was kind of a f--

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

HILL: -- country s-- c-- uh, company store. But not everybody had credit with them. And finally, it got to where you just -- nobody could hardly get anything from them because they didn’t know how long the strike was going to last --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

HILL: -- and they couldn’t afford to keep up the whole thing.

WAFFLE: [Thing?].

HILL: And so, um, they, uh -- the people that had joined a union got onto the union about giving the hel-- s-- some help. And so this, um, man that lived, um, uh, there on the Eagle, he was a real heavy man. They called him Puffy. Uh, and he, uh, joined a union. And so when it’d come out that there’s going -- give them some food, he was -- he had a family. He had three girls and a boy. And he needed -- of course, he needed some help. And so he, uh, went down to the hall where they told them all to meet down there, and they’d give 44:00out the food. So he went in. As he went by, they handed him a little bag of one pound of rice. And he said, “Is that it?” And they said, “Yeah, that’s it.” And he just tore the bag open, and throwed it up, and says, “Well, you can just keep that. I don’t want that.”

WAFFLE: (laughs)

HILL: Only he used some words that I’m not using.

WAFFLE: (laughs)

HILL: But to hear that’s the way the union treated the people after -- after they got them -- I’m a anti-union. I guess you often --

WAFFLE: (inaudible).

HILL: -- [go there?].

WAFFLE: (inaudible) [through there?]. Well, I imagine that probably, um, --

F2: [Hmm?].

WAFFLE: -- gave them, um, a little reason to think twice after they found out that’s how it was going to actually operate.

F4: I think that’s the reason there wasn’t ever any union in the mills in -- in Belmont.

F4: [I know that?].

WAFFLE: There wasn’t -- there wasn’t as much follow-through on the --

HILL: Mm-hmm.

F4: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- um, promises or the hubs or something like that.

F4: Yeah. Everybody got disillusioned with it after all that trouble they had and everything. Black eye on us.

45:00

STONEY: Black eye -- uh, black eye on the -- on the community would y-- s-- you say?

HILL: Uh, yeah. The c-- mm-- cause of all that publicity we got on about the -- the killings and the -- and the way they were doing and they were just disgusting to me.

STONEY: What happened to -- between the people who were in the union and the people who were not in the union afterwards?

HILL: Well, afterwards, they come back to g-- but it took a while, because I know one of our very best friends was a -- was union and he -- uh, he come to our house many times and -- trying to just, uh, almost coerce us into joining till I got disgusted with him and asked him not to come back to the house again. But later on, we -- we regained our friendship.

HELFAND: Mr. Waffle, --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: -- is this part of the history that you’re going to be able to include in the museum, the photographs that we talked about and --

WAFFLE: Sure. Exactly. We’ll --

HELFAND: -- the strike in ’34, for instance?

46:00

WAFFLE: Yeah. Um, we only have so much space, so we can -- we can do what we can. Um, since the focus of the museum’s exhibit is to cover all bases as much as possible that the net result of Gaston County today is the product of a lot of different hands, um, and good and bad times and, you know, um, successful and unsuccessful business ventures. Um, it works into it. Um, to f-- to focus, um, on Gaston County without addressing, um, strike issues in ’29 and ’34 is turning your back on a lot of history. Um, and w-- again, we treat things as the f-- it’s part of history. It occurred. Um, not to judge that the strikers were correct and the owners were incorrect, or vice versa. Um, it happened, and here it is. Draw your own conclusions -- um, type of thing without -- without salting the information. Um, it gives us full focus on what Gaston County is.

47:00

STONEY: Now, a museum like this, uh, with a special interest in textiles, I suspect, is going to have exhibits that are -- have to do with one thing, and then another thing, and then other thing, so that --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- at one time, you may have an e--

WAFFLE: Yeah. Again, we’re a very small and growing museum. You know, if I had, you know, 100,000 square feet to deal with it, um, then we could sort of focus, gallery by gallery, on -- on each, um, segmental topic. Um, but the initial exhibit, um, w-- will cover Gaston County’s history, uh, within a limited scope of space.

STONEY: Hmm.

WAFFLE: And, um, so there w-- it will be treated but not, you know, with tremendous amount of detail.

STONEY: Well, one of the things we’re trying to do, um, Mrs. Hill, with this film, is to kind of enlarge people’s idea of what history’s all about. I, [you know?], was born and brought up in the South and when I --

JAMIE: (sneezes) Excuse me.

STONEY: W-- when I was in school, (clears throat) history began with the Fort Sumter and (laughs) ended with Appomattox. And -- and that was about history. 48:00And then, of course, later on, I -- uh, when I went to Chapel Hill, I got a different view of history. But sometimes I think that, uh, Southern history’s a bit like kudzu. It covers -- it kind of covers a lot of things, uh, and it covers more than it reveals.

HILL: That’s the truth. (laughs)

WAFFLE: Hmm.

F4: That’s a nice way to put it.

WAFFLE: Interesting -- interesting observation, I suppose. Um, well, I think all of it --

HILL: We don’t do it intentionally, though, I don’t think.

WAFFLE: No, I think it’s all intertwined, and it just -- I mean, s-- uh, what some people might focus in on as something special, it just becomes second nature and part of, um, vernacular tales and -- and everyday history. Um -- um, it’s much like anything else. Your own backyard is not nearly so interesting to you as to someone else.

HILL: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: And I think that’s probably true with a lot of what has occurred in terms of textile history, as well. [Of?] -- um, that s-- Fort Sumter to Appomattox is still just history in certain places. Um, (laughter) and -- and 49:00will be. You know, --

STONEY: Yeah.

WAFFLE: -- that is -- that is an element of it. You know, we treat it from time to time, but that’s -- you know, that’s not our only --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- our only focus.

STONEY: Is it odd that, uh, so little literature has been written about, uh, tec-- the textiles, uh, village and the textile life. I just know there’s one wonderful book that --

HILL: Hmm.

STONEY: -- that -- called, uh, Like a Family, which came out of Chapel Hill recently.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

STONEY: Uh, it was --

WAFFLE: (inaudible).

STONEY: -- the first one that I knew about.

WAFFLE: Yeah, um, I think it’s still considered recent history.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: Um, and it doesn’t have the passion that a Civil War would have, --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- or the -- or the revolutionary war, something along --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- those lines. Um, it becomes more egalitarian, and therefore, um, somebody would say plebian --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- uh, type of -- of thing. It’s interesting, but it’s not going to have the blockbuster draw --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- that, um, Bang Bang Shoot ’Em Up would have.

STONEY: Yeah.

50:00

WAFFLE: And that’s why you will get focused in on a couple of -- of strike issues that involve, um, bloodshed.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: When as it’s m-- perhaps just as important to see that, in some instances, it worked out between mill workers and mill owners, um, by themselves, without union intervention or, in some cases, union intervention. And it w-- settled without a massive --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- bloodshed. Um, when people can work together and discuss the issues back and forth, um, and come up with resolution, to me, is by far more interesting, um, particularly point by point, than, like, you know, (gunshot sound) oh, --

STONEY: Yeah. Yeah.

WAFFLE: -- good, you know, we settled the issue.

STONEY: Yeah. (laughs)

WAFFLE: Now we can move on.

STONEY: Yeah.

WAFFLE: I mean, yes, there’s instant gratification, uh, at least for one, um, and the issue’s resolved, but perhaps not to the -- to the best of -- of -- of both parties. And, um, by working it back and forth, you get into nuances of personalities and -- and, um, occurrences and things like that. So the -- the whole textile industry -- because it is so intertwined, um, in southern life, 51:00with daily life, um, becomes, um, a very interesting story, uh, that no one has either taken the interest or the time to tell. In some cases, it’s part of everyday life. Um, so -- so why focus in --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- on that? I mean, you don’t talk about doing the dishes and -- and running carpool and stuff like that --

STONEY: (laughs)

WAFFLE: -- today. Um, in time, somebody may. Um, and s-- we just have to have a certain distance to it, you know, to get perspective to say, this bears discussion, you know, this bears investigation.

STONEY: Mm-hmm. Of course, one of the things that’s fascinating to me is the family histories that we’ve been picking up along the way.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: Almost every textile worker family we’ve s-- we’ve met has a big album of family photographs.

WAFFLE: Yeah, well, that makes sense. Americans from -- from Jamestown on have been interested in maintaining, um, visual image, um, because, in some cases, it 52:00recorded family members who had died in early years, uh, but there’s just that sense of family, um, and family history that -- that’s gone through the last, you know, three centuries of American life. Um, and it’s just as important today. I mean, we get blank Christmas photo albums, you know, as -- as a -- as a Christmas gift or birthday, uh, gift to record that. Family’s very important, um, I’m assuming everywhere, but I’m speaking from a -- um, a Southern point of view. Um, and it’s reflected in genealogy studies, as well as, you know, visual studies.

STONEY: Mrs. Hill, do you have a -- do you have a family album of photographs, as well.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm. I’ve got about 12. (laughter)

STONEY: Well, we’d l-- if you don’t mind, we’d like to look at that, and maybe copy some of those photographs, as well, particularly pictures of your father and so we can -- we can document, you see, visually, some of the -- the -- the things you’ve been telling us.

53:00

HILL: I don’t -- I don’t have anything that old, I don’t think.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HILL: And I don’t have real old ones.

STONEY: You -- you don’t have pictures of your --?

HILL: You -- you -- you must have them.

F4: I’ve got a few.

STONEY: Good, well --

F4: But I’d have to hunt and hunt and hunt. (laughs)

STONEY: OK. I’d certainly appreciate it if you would. Now, what -- the way we do that -- and you’d be interested in this -- instead of asking to borrow them, Judy goes around with a copy stand --

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: -- and we copy them in their houses.

F4: Mm-hmm.

STONEY: We found that people are much more willing --

WAFFLE: Oh, sure, --

HILL: Hmm.

WAFFLE: -- because they’re not -- they’re not leaving their, um --

STONEY: That’s right. Yeah.

WAFFLE: -- the confines of home.

F4: [Sure?].

WAFFLE: Yeah. Well, that makes perfectly good sense.

F4: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

WAFFLE: Well, that’s also p-- it’s part of the Southern life or Southern history, when people say, remember who you are.

HILL: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: Well, to remember who you are, you’ve also know who great-great grandpa was and great-grandpa was, and great aunt so-and-so. It all becomes intertwined so that you can flip open a family album and you automatically know that, you know, that’s Aunt Medora and that’s Aunt, you know, um, Mabel, and 54:00this is Uncle [Zarababel?] and -- (laughter) and that sort of stuff, and it was somebody was born and lived, you know, in the 1830s to the 1880s, that -- that sort of thing.

F4: That’s right.

WAFFLE: It’s -- becomes part of history. And so you end up knowing who you are. You have --

STONEY: Hmm.

WAFFLE: -- that whole sense of being, you know, a Smith, a Jones, a -- you know, whatever --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- the family is.

STONEY: Mrs. Hill, this has been a wonderful thing for us. Ju-- just those diaries. (laughs)

HILL: Well, I’m -- I was just on the verge of destroying them, but I’m glad now that I didn’t, because if they can help anyway at all, in any way, that’s just something that I’ve left. I don’t have any children or grandchildren to carry on, so maybe this’ll be something, --

F2: (laughs)

HILL: -- a little something that I’ve left to the world.

WAFFLE: Mm-hmm.

HILL: [And right now?], I’m just so glad that -- that you can use them and -- and --

WAFFLE: Yeah. We’re glad to get them. Appreciate the gift. Look forward to other gifts, too. (laughter) As you climb through -- it’s easy -- it’s easy 55:00for us to say no to something than it is for us to say, golly, we wish we had something. So, again, if you have neighbors who have similar things, just have them give us a call.

STONEY: OK. Thank you.

WAFFLE: I need to --

JAMIE: Let’s just --

WAFFLE: -- get out of here.

JAMIE: -- get 30 seconds of room tone. [If everybody starts?] --

HELFAND: Here, I’ll -- I --

STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: Uh, I’ll -- I got enough quiet. It’s OK.

JAMIE: OK. [Can we?] (inaudible) --

STONEY: Yeah.

JAMIE: -- [anything else?]? [Do we got cutaways?]?

STONEY: OK. Uh, one more thing, out of you, sir, if you can.

WAFFLE: Yeah.

STONEY: I know you have to leave, but I wonder if you could show us that ballot box.

WAFFLE: Let me get [the curators?] (inaudible).

JAMIE: You’re going to do it right here, right?

HELFAND: Would we come in -- could we just go into the room, you think, or (inaudible) --

STONEY: Sure. That’d be the best thing. Just --

F2: -- and just pull it off the shelf (inaudible)?

WAFFLE: You can’t because the mechanics are constantly and I’m not turning off the chemicals back there.

HELFAND: [Oh, sure?].

JAMIE: (inaudible).

HELFAND: Are you still running?

JAMIE: No. (inaudible).

(break in audio)

HILL: [Because?] I didn’t go through and I’m not going to go through them and --

STONEY: OK.

HILL: -- there’s nothing in there that, um -- that would be --

STONEY: Fine.

HILL: -- uh -- uh -- that’s obscene or anything, --

STONEY: Oh, (laughs) I understand.

56:00

HILL: -- in that -- in that order.

STONEY: Yeah, sure.

HILL: It --

STONEY: Yeah.

HILL: -- but there’s, uh, some pretty explicit, --

STONEY: Uh-huh.

HILL: -- uh, [things, too?], personal, but goes in with the --

STONEY: I think, uh, either Judy or I would like, later, to come down to look through them, uh, at a -- you know, another time. But, uh, we’ll -- we’ll leave them here.

HELFAND: I just -- I’m s-- so you -- you’d come home every day and write?

HILL: I’d either write that night, before I go to bed, or the next morning, when I --

HELFAND: Where’d you write it? Where’d you do -- what part of the house?

HILL: Um, usually living room, sometimes the kitchen table.

HELFAND: Were there other people around or you did it alone?

HILL: Just my husband.

STONEY: Did he take an interest in the diaries?

HILL: Yeah. He kept one his-self for a few m-- weeks, but he didn’t -- he didn’t stick to it.

STONEY: (laughs)

HELFAND: Did you save his?

57:00

HILL: Yeah, I got it. His mother lived with us and she didn’t approve of it. She’s [all the time?] fussing at me for sitting --

HELFAND: (inaudible)

HILL: -- for s-- wasting my time --

STONEY: (laughs)

HILL: -- writing every night.

STONEY: My father also kept a diary.

HILL: Did he?

(break in audio)

STONEY: OK.

M: [The passport’s?] supposed to be some more information on that box.

M: OK.

STONEY: Let me get the --

WAFFLE: Anyway, I mean, it’s -- it’s a cardboard box [that’s going to be?] folded down. But this is when they had, um, the vote a couple of years ago, over at the, uh, Firestone Mill, which is housed in origin-- uh, the -- what was the original Loray Mill. And, um, years and years ago, a big fight to keep the mill -- I mean, to keep the mill labor free continued on. I mean, they tried from time to time, and then finally, you know, just a couple of years ago, it actually went through and made, you know, local headlines and local media, you know, coverage on that. So we were glad to add it to the collection. It doesn’t look like a whole lot, but it sure means a whole lot.

58:00

STONEY: Who brought it in?

WAFFLE: Uh, it was a gift from Mr. Passmore who works at Firestone.

JAMIE: Well, that -- that election made national headlines, as well as local.

WAFFLE: OK. Yeah, well, I would expect that it would.

JAMIE: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: So y-- you were telling us one day, did he just -- he called you up, and he was driving by, and he sort of tossed it in your arms? It --

WAFFLE: Hmm, that may have come from one of the other curators (inaudible).

HELFAND: No, no, no.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

HELFAND: Oh, no. I just -- when we met you with the -- with the mayor, you had told us this story about [it?].

WAFFLE: Oh, well they s-- probably just a -- a -- a comment or two, that -- that he would call us up and say, I’ve got some s-- you know, some more things for you all. And it’s -- h-- c-- he’s been on a lookout for us because he knows, uh, that it’s part of our important history to collect. So he’ll say, I have a few things for you. And, you know, it’ll be something like this or, you know, a paper or a photograph or two, you know, that type of thing. We get that from a few of the m-- middle management, um, people with the textile mills around here. Um, --

STONEY: How do you educate them to be alert for that?

59:00

WAFFLE: Um, we do things in the newspapers, uh, our own museum newsletter, as well as our own museum, um, board of trustees. We were just given, uh, a number of interesting photographs, uh, from Parkdale. Um, one of the ladies' -- who’s on our board of trustees -- um, husband is President of Parkdale. And, um, Pam [Warlich?], um, had -- had known we were looking, and so she’s -- went thr-- to the mill and said, “I need some help for the museum. They’re trying to gather things for the textile history, uh, exhibit.” And she brought us by. You know, a number of large views of the mill, and, um --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- aerial views, and that sort of thing, so that’s -- that’s how we work it. Um --

HELFAND: It’s so interesting that -- that he decided that this was part of history, and that you should have this box. (laughs)

WAFFLE: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it w-- it was good that he had, um, that kind of long view. You know, a lot of people would say this is just trash. I mean, let’s face it. It’s just a piece of ripped cardboard. Um, but there’s more emotion and energy and history, you know, behind this piece of c-- of cardboard than there -- there is in some of the, you know, very nice, polished 60:00objects, you know, that are in the museum collection.

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

JAMIE: Most protest signs are pro or con, and [nothing more than?] a piece of cardboard and little bit of ink.

WAFFLE: Exactly. Exactly. But it’s, um, a nice 3D tangible piece of [local history?].

JAMIE: And what it contained was -- what it contained was maybe a little different.

STONEY: Now there -- will there be any formal acknowledgement of these diaries?

WAFFLE: In terms of what? I mean --

STONEY: From the -- from the museum.

WAFFLE: I mean, a letter of -- yeah, there’s --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- contr-- yes, there’s contracts and stuff. That’s all part of standard museum -- we’re accredited -- you know, standard --

STONEY: Mm-hmm.

WAFFLE: -- museum accredited procedure. So, yeah. We’ll have -- we need to get some more information from you before you leave. I have -- my, um, curators are working on the paperwork now.

STONEY: Uh, would you mind if we recorded that?

WAFFLE: Not at all.

STONEY: OK.