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William H. Berge Oral History Center

Interview with Juanita Ritchie

January 28, 1981(1981 OH 095)

Conducted by William H. Berge

Transcribed by Laurie Wilcox

WILLIAM BERGE: The following is an unrehearsed taped interview with Mrs. Juanita 1:00 Cooper Ritchie at Whitely City, Kentucky. The interview is conducted by William Berge of the Oral History Center at Eastern Kentucky University. The interview was conducted in Miss. Ritchie's home in Whitley City on January 28, 1981 at 10:30 am.


WILLIAM BERGE: I like to thank you for letting us come down here; I know it's a imposition to come into somebodies house early in the morning and take away their morning from them, but if you don't would you start by you telling me your name, and where you were born, and when you were born if you don't mind, a lot of times women won't tell me that, some men don't either, but sometimes they refuse to tell me, but if you would it would be nice because we would have some sort of a time frame for discussion.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well, it's certainly no imposition um this is something that needs to be done and I didn't look forward to doing this take.


JUANITA RITCHIE: But somebody has to do it.

WILLIAM BERGE: I think so.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And it's so much easier to sit back and let other people do it. Well, my name is Juanita Cooper Ritchie. I was born at Exodus.


JUANITA RITCHIE: With the post office of Fidelty uh the post office was Shoopman.

WILLIAM BERGE: Spell that.

JUANITA RITCHIE: S-H-O-O-P-M-A-N. The mining camp was Fidelty.

WILLIAM BERGE: You didn't live right in Fidelty you lived in Exodus?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I was born in Exodus uh my first recollection is that we lived 2:00 on a mountain between Fidelty and Coup, two mining camps.

WILLIAM BERGE: I know about where you're talking about. Now when you were born where were, you had a large family, you in that family?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I was number eight of eleven

WILLIAM BERGE: And were your uh and were your uh older brothers or sisters you had both older than you.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, there were two sisters, uh five brothers, and then I, two more sisters, and a brother.

WILLIAM BERGE: What year were you born?


WILLIAM BERGE: 1923 and what year was your youngest brother born?


WILLIAM BERGE: About how much younger is he then you?

JUANITA RITCHIE: About six years.

WILLIAM BERGE: And how much--

JUANITA RITCHIE: The younger brother uh is dead.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Does that make since?

WILLIAM BERGE: He was younger than you, and how about your oldest brother and 3:00 sister. How old were they?


WILLIAM BERGE: How much older where they then you, or you when they rather?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh eighteen to twenty years.

WILLIAM BERGE: So that was a long family.

JUANITA RITCHIE: These are all off the top questions.

WILLIAM BERGE: I understand I was trying--


WILLIAM BERGE: Trying to understand weather it was a long family or as well as a large family.

JUANITA RITCHIE: It was a long continues series.

WILLIAM BERGE: Same mother and father?


WILLIAM BERGE: Oh, well that's really incredible.


WILLIAM BERGE: You all are family than with that kind of situation. Alright so you were born there, and how long did you live where you were born after you were born?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't recall. Um my first uh real memory must have been six years old.

WILLIAM BERGE: Were you still living at Exodus?


WILLIAM BERGE: Where were you then?

JUANITA RITCHIE: We were living on the mountain top uh I don't know. I don't 4:00 think it has a name. It was just on the ridge.

WILLIAM BERGE: Uh was, what kind of a place where you living in? Was it your families own place or was it a?

JUANITA RITCHIE: It was my father's own place; we've always had our own place.

WILLIAM BERGE: In other words you never lived in a company house?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No we didn't.

WILLIAM BERGE: Uh huh. What did your father do?

JUANITA RITCHIE: He worked uh from the time I can remember. Uh he worked in the mines for the Stern Coal Mining Company.

WILLIAM BERGE: He worked for the Sterns Company. Down in there, Mrs. Richie, where you all lived about what percentage of the people lived in company housing and what percentage lived in housing like you did?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well uh most of the people lived in uh company houses, because they were people from I don't know. They just came from different sections. I think most of them were probably from the county, but I'm not sure about that.

WILLIAM BERGE: They came in there to work, and your father was sort of the [unclear] of it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes he was. Um my mother and father were both born in the county.


WILLIAM BERGE: In that general area of the county?


WILLIAM BERGE: Do you know?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well the general area yes.

WILLIAM BERGE: What was your father's name?


WILLIAM BERGE: Frank Cooper, and what was your mother's maiden name?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Her name was Kizzie Wayne Chester.





WILLIAM BERGE: Kizzie, was that the women's name in [unclear] they didn't spell it that way

JUANITA RITCHIE: I waited for you to ask that, because--

WILLIAM BERGE: Well they don't spell it that way, I think. But that's.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't know they may have.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's a pretty name I've never heard it before.

JUANITA RITCHIE: But that's the only time I have heard it in that since. Those two names.

WILLIAM BERGE: that's the only time I have. Did she name any of her daughter's Kizzie?


WILLIAM BERGE: That's too bad.

JUANITA RITCHIE: When she named me Juanita there was a school teacher and I was 6:00 named for the school teacher. The school teacher boarded with them.

WILLIAM BERGE: She did board with them?


WILLIAM BERGE: What school did that teacher teach in?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't know, when my mother tells me stories it's always the um New River behind McGregory place uh No Business places that I don't really know.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where did you go to school Juanita?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well Fidelty uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you start in first grade at Fidelty or?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I believe we had a primer, a primary you know it would be called. I went from um until the middle of my sophomore year and that was after the Fidelty mine was uh --

WILLIAM BERGE: Worked out.


WILLIAM BERGE: Did the Fidelty school, did it go through high school? Did it go through twelve grades?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, yes there was a high school.


WILLIAM BERGE: When did they close that high school? You went to Co-Op after they closed that high school?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh there was a two year high school at Co-Op after they closed ours. It seems that I don't really know the financial support. I don't know what the financial support of the school was. I don't know whether it was so much dependent on money from the Stern Company. I do know that there was a deduction.

WILLIAM BERGE: seventy-five cents [unclear].

JUANITA RITCHIE: from them miner's pay.

WILLIAM BERGE: For the school?

JUANITA RITCHIE: And I don't for what purpose. I don't know whether that was so 8:00 that we would have the extra month of school or whether that was the support of the school. Whether the company uh paid anything into I don't know.

WILLIAM BERGE: Now people are unclear about this. I always ask people that I talk to down here, there haven't been too many, whether or not the school was owned by the company or was it a county school. Some people say, no they were county schools, and then somebody else would say

JUANITA RITCHIE: It was a county school as far as I know.

WILLIAM BERGE: But then with the--

JUANITA RITCHIE: Cause the county school superintendent was the one in charge right.

WILLIAM BERGE: We, we talked to a man last night who said they were they had seventy-five cents taken from their pay.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh there was--

WILLIAM BERGE: To keep the school open those last months or two.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh there was the money deducted for the school and for the doctor.

WILLIAM BERGE: That was what they told us to, and a person like your father, even though he didn't live in the coal camp company town, he had the some deduction?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, but also the same benefits. We went to the school and uh when we were sick we went to the doctors for whatever.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where was the doctor you went to? Was he in Fidelty or Co-Op?


JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, he had his office in Fidelty.

WILLIAM BERGE: Who was it? Do you remember the names of any of them?

JUANITA RITCHIE: There was Dr. Foster, Dr. Floyd, and Dr. Cooper. You would say Cooper. I was Cooper when I was up North and I'm Cooper here.

WILLIAM BERGE: Uh was uh where were these men from? Do you have any idea? Did you know that much about them?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, Dr. Cooper was a cousin. He was from the Tennessee area, I believe. I've heard that he attended Vanderveer and I don't know what else.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you know where the other two were from, Floyd and?


WILLIAM BERGE: Okay, it was amazing the number of doctors they had in this general area then.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well these, these weren't all simultaneous.

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh I know, I mean but like when there was one in Fidelty there 10:00 was one else with at the same time. There would be two doctors in one general area.

JUANITA RITCHIE: They were company doctors that, I don't know whether there was a company doctor at each mining camp or not.

WILLIAM BERGE: No, but some of them had them. Like I know one time, there was the same doctor, at [unclear] and there was one at Cooperative and they were fairly close. But, I know all of them didn't have them just the main towns seems like Fidelty, one of the big towns, and probably Cooperative and [unclear] cause those were three that I know did have a doctor. Did these doctors did they travel to see you or did you go see them?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Um they traveled. There was uh one case when uh the baby 11:00 brother contracted [unclear] and the doctor could not get there cause there's soon enough because there's a limit, to physical endurance. And uh when he.

WILLIAM BERGE: Was there and epidemic then? At that time, do you remember?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't think was. I don't remember. I don't think there was. This was an isolated case. And we were living up on the ridge at that time not in town.

WILLIAM BERGE: How far would that have been Fidelty itself, do you remember?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't know uh I walked to school as a toddler.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh not more than that.

WILLIAM BERGE: So what did he do? Come to your house then? That doctor.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, yes he came and uh the oh the serum uh he didn't have the 12:00 what he needed for the vaccination he called Sterns for it to be sent down. By the time he got it, it was probably too late. And also uh I've heard from older people in my family who know it better that uh the serum was out of date when he got it.

WILLIAM BERGE: This probably is uh the kind of thing that might have happen in a lot of rural areas anyway.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, yes this is just another of your many stories that you will be getting.

WILLIAM BERGE: But that's what you remember, how old were you when this happened? Do you remember?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Nine perhaps.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you remember how old he was?

JUANITA RITCHIE: He was four and I was nine or ten.


WILLIAM BERGE: So this would have been a vivid memory for you.

JUANITA RITCHIE: It was probably a vivid memory.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you remember when you started, started your first day of school?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't remember the first day.

WILLIAM BERGE: You don't? Do you remember your first year at all?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, I remember Margret Mackamerel.

WILLIAM BERGE: Was that your teacher?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, straight from England.


JUANITA RITCHIE: And she would say the three [imitating accent] bears instead of bears.

WILLIAM BERGE: [unclear]

JUANITA RITCHIE: [imitating accent] bears.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did she teach you how to say oil or did you say [imitating accent] oil?


WILLIAM BERGE: I bet she had, that was probably and experience for her to, wasn't it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Um yes I think that it probably was and perhaps very lonely experience for her.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where did she live, did you know?

JUANITA RITCHIE: She lived at Sterns and.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did she take the train every day?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, and uh someone told me latter, who knew her personally. 14:00 That she came from England her father was with the Sterns Company, an engineer I believe he said.

WILLIAM BERGE: Was she, what kind of a looking woman was she?




WILLIAM BERGE: And she was young?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes. I remember she was looking quite [unclear].

WILLIAM BERGE: Typically, how long did she stay do you remember? How long did you have her for a teacher?

JUANITA RITCHIE: First, second and third I did those in two years. They uh

WILLIAM BERGE: They moved you along.

JUANITA RITCHIE: They moved you along if you could move to balance the load I presume.

WILLIAM BERGE: What kind of a school was it in terms of the set up? Was it a one room school a two year school do you remember?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Um in the beginning first through fourth were in room.

WILLIAM BERGE: And then there was probably one fifth through eight, was it?


WILLIAM BERGE: So there were two rooms and two rooms in high school uh do you.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, it was all in one building.

WILLIAM BERGE: But I mean the set up as far as the classroom is concerned would have been one room for first through fourth.


WILLIAM BERGE: And one room for fifth through eighth.


WILLIAM BERGE: What were the, what do you remember from that kind of learning uh being in the room with let's say people at four levels. Was it an interesting thing or--? Course that's all you knew so.

JUANITA RITCHIE: But I had no basis of comparison uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: In retrospect how do you feel about your early education?

JUANITA RITCHIE: We were darn fortunate to have it. Uh and this is like a pioneer talking I was just a delayed pioneer.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah sure, it's an interesting phenomenon though. Do you feel good about that kind of education?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I feel good about the school because it was the brightest thing 16:00 I can remember.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you like school?


WILLIAM BERGE: Did you like all your teachers while you were there?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't remember one that I violently dislike, no.

WILLIAM BERGE: Besides the--

JUANITA RITCHIE: I liked most of them.

WILLIAM BERGE: The first one you mentioned was Mrs. Mackamerel?


WILLIAM BERGE: In addition to her who were some of your teachers that you remember vividly?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Fourth grade Thelma Tramal.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where was she from?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh she was from um this area. She was from out of the holler, the Sterns are kind of. Pine Nut probably.

WILLIAM BERGE: So this high country up in here?


WILLIAM BERGE: Okay, who else? Do you remember any of the others?

JUANITA RITCHIE: [unclear] from sixth grade are quite hazy. Uh there were some changes. Some people didn't stay through the year and uh there were quite a few substitute. I can give you names um.

WILLIAM BERGE: [unclear]



WILLIAM BERGE: When was your first mean teacher?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I think those are the ones I don't remember to well, I'm sorry. That would tell your psychologist something.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's the way my students would treat me. You know that fat guy what was is name again?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I remember one that was quite authoritative uh.

Unknown person: [Speaking unclear]

WILLIAM BERGE: In retrospect do you do you figure you were short changed or not?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No I don't I uh. In my working life the thing that I needed to 18:00 do most was to fallow my husband around the country and secretarial work was the easy answer and I staked up quite well among the secretaries.

WILLIAM BERGE: People your own age from different backgrounds?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh as far as earning of living if that's what we're talking about.

WILLIAM BERGE: Mrs. Ritchie, I always here people who went to one room or two room schools talk about one of the things they remember most vividly and also the most oh uh enjoyment was the experience of being helped by older students and helping younger students. Do you remember that?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't, I don't think there was that uh in my group. I hear that two, I read this.

WILLIAM BERGE: But you don't think of that as being particularly uh it wasn't happening in your situation. Of course you listened to the other classes being taught.


WILLIAM BERGE: Is that; did that help students like you accelerate you think? 19:00 Were you more accelerated than your--

JUANITA RITCHIE: I think perhaps it did, but I also think the thing that helped most was the fact that my mother had a fourth grade education and in the early.

WILLIAM BERGE: That was something than wasn't it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: We did our reading at home and our spelling and um not so much arithmetic. I don't know if that helped or hindered I counted on my fingers for until I was out of college.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did your mother really like education?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh it was right next to religion and you know how important religion is.

WILLIAM BERGE: She really, she really loved it. Was your father as big into it as she was?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh he was supportive but uh I don't think it was, I don't think 20:00 he ever would have emphasized it that we go, but he was quite supportive of the schools. And uh he was quite vocal.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you have any friends in those days who probably didn't have as much positive influence about education from their home as you and your brothers and sisters did?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh yeas, I think we had an unusual upbringing [unclear].

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you notice and difference between what you and your brothers 21:00 and sisters have done and what some of those children from those families have done? I've noticed for instance, and I hate to put words in anybody's mouth cause this is exactly what I'm not supposed to be doing. I have noticed that certain families, not everybody in the family, but say a roughly large family a great number of the men, the people in that family as they got older all went to college or got into professions or something. While in another family in the next house none of them uh went anywhere to school after they were--


WILLIAM BERGE: Say tenth grade or [unclear].

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well I don't think there were that many people from that area who went to college simply because there wasn't money available for college.

WILLIAM BERGE: You went to college?


WILLIAM BERGE: Where'd you go?



JUANITA RITCHIE: And that's what I'm coming to.

WILLIAM BERGE: What will do if you don't mind instead of like doing this chronologically we're going to talk about education for a while, and then we're going to go back and talk about some other things. Is that alright you?

[Talking at the same time]

JUANITA RITCHIE: Alright, you lead it and I'll uh

WILLIAM BERGE: [unclear] You do it and I'll stay with you It doesn't make any difference to

JUANITA RITCHIE: [unclear] I'll stay on the subject as well as I can, uh.

[End of Talking at the same time]

WILLIAM BERGE: So you stayed there through tenth grade, second year of high school.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, and then, and then, okay the mining stopped. The first time I had any inkling that somebody pays for education uh Mr. Gilary, the superintendent at the school, came to visit and when he came it was always a big experience.

WILLIAM BERGE: He came to visit your house?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh to the school.

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh to the school, okay.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And I can see him standing at the chalk board with his chalk and it caused so much per pupil and there are so many pupils the school has to go, and that was a black day at Fidelty.

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh I'll bet. Some of the older boys were happy as dogs probably, and you girls were crying.

JUANITA RITCHIE: No it was the.

WILLIAM BERGE: it hurt everybody?

JUANITA RITCHIE: It was a death in uh a death in our family.

WILLIAM BERGE: And you were in your second year of high school?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, right then.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you have any inkling of this before? Was there any talk that the school was going to close before he came?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I had none that I remember rather uh my I doubt that my parents did.


WILLIAM BERGE: Now he announced this to the school children or the parents, or both?

JUANITA RITCHIE: To the school children. Well we were high school age.

WILLIAM BERGE: It must have been dramatic though.

JUANITA RITCHIE: It still is, because the, we uh dad oh I have to go back.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's okay, you'll be good.

JUANITA RITCHIE: We were living on the ridge when I left you. I was in fifth grade when we uh, after my younger brother's death, our house burned. My dad decided that this is not the place to live. So he bought uh I think what had once been a company house. I'm not sure.

WILLIAM BERGE: Down in Fidelty?

JUANITA RITCHIE: People here refer to it as down below Fidelty.

WILLIAM BERGE: Okay. I know where you're talking about.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Not in the camp, that was a different space. It was status to 24:00 live in the mining camp. Uh but we owned our house down below the mining camp, down below Fidelty. Uh alright then we went to school in Fidelty, the education continues. Until sophomore, then when the school was done uh the decision was to sell the house. Meanwhile, my dad had been fired by the Sterns Company uh before the mine was closed. So we sold the house and uh moved to Pine Nut he had a sister living there.

WILLIAM BERGE: Now was that the last you all lived down there in the holler?


WILLIAM BERGE: Okay and you were like in tenth grade, the second year of high school?



WILLIAM BERGE: So you would have been gone anyway from there probably, no the school closing was part of--

JUANITA RITCHIE: The school closing was our reason for leaving.

WILLIAM BERGE: Okay, okay.

JUANITA RITCHIE: So Pine Nut was an independent school and at this time I went to high school at Pine Nut for a year and a half, and then there was a political thing.

WILLIAM BERGE: Which has always been great in this county.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And uh, voters decided to dispose of the independent school and put it into the county system.

WILLIAM BERGE: Now what year did you tell me you were born again?


WILLIAM BERGE: 23, so this would have been in the 30s?



WILLIAM BERGE: About 35 or something like that? I don't know maybe latter then that. That would be about 41 or

JUANITA RITCHIE: 30, Thirty-eightish.

WILLIAM BERGE: Maybe latter than that then that maybe. You were young when you graduated high school.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes I was sixteen.

WILLIAM BERGE: Sixteen. So it would be about 38 or 39.

JUANITA RITCHIE: About 38, 39.

WILLIAM BERGE: Can I guess what you did next? Did you go to Foundation School at Berea or what?


WILLIAM BERGE: Oh, what did you do then?

JUANITA RITCHIE: We were bused. We were bused.




JUANITA RITCHIE: To McCrery County High School.

WILLIAM BERGE: McCrery County High School.


WILLIAM BERGE: So you went to three high schools in.

JUANITA RITCHIE: That's right. Uh

WILLIAM BERGE: Here I'll just turn this off. When you noticed like you were in 27:00 the three schools in a matter of two years.


WILLIAM BERGE: You went down to Fidelty School, you came to Pine Nut, and you went to McCrery County High School.


WILLIAM BERGE: If you had to rate them, how would you rate them?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I would rate, let's see, the county school had the best teachers.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Not the best teachers. Pine Nut, the Harmens were super.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah I worked with him at Eastern.

JUANITA RITCHIE: The Harmens were super, and the Harmens uh gave me more encouragement and help uh to go on then uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: Who went to the school at Sterns? What kind of people were at the Sterns High School, there at the high school in Sterns?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh the people who lived there.

WILLIAM BERGE: So no body from other area went into Sterns. Like did any of the people--

JUANITA RITCHIE: Not that I know of.

WILLIAM BERGE: Nobody got on the train let's say down at Fidelty or Co-Op, [unclear], they went to the county high school?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh no. That was. No, no.

WILLIAM BERGE: They didn't want to go to school with those hired hands anyway?


JUANITA RITCHIE: And uh there was quite a rivalry between Sterns.

WILLIAM BERGE: Sure, sure.

[UNKOWN INTERVIEWER]: Did they make people in the school county closed down, did many people that you know or was your family unusual in that regard?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well at the time the school closed um so many people had already gone because there was no work.

WILLIAM BERGE: Were the mines absolutely closed at that time?

JUANITA RITCHIE: The mine was closed at that time. My father lost his job before the mine closed, but that's beside the point. We're talking about the schools.

WILLIAM BERGE: Let's stay on the schools now. So you came and you graduated from McCreary County high school.




WILLIAM BERGE: 40, okay. Then what did you do?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh I applied when I was a senior for admission to Berea.

WILLIAM BERGE: Now had any of your brothers and sister gone to college?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No, I was the first in our family.


WILLIAM BERGE: Did any of them ever graduate from high school?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, um the ones to whom high school was available. Two uh didn't uh go beyond eighth grade. But the rest of us were high school graduates.

WILLIAM BERGE: The rest of you did, okay. So you applied to Berea.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And I was advised to stay home a mature for a year.

WILLIAM BERGE: Because you were 16? Just turning 17?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right, and uh reapplied.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did they, did they test you or anything?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, well it was the--

WILLIAM BERGE: Interview you or anything?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No they didn't, I supposed they uh took based on the letter of 30:00 application and uh the scores, uh the test scores.

WILLIAM BERGE: Course they had a real problem there were people from all over this part of the state applying and they only had so many slots.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right, they had fired too many applications and they could accept only so many uh I think my high school uh you know the, oh what is it the college entrance exam. Expect I didn't know I was taking the college entrance exam I was just taking a test that you have to take uh to graduate from high school. Uh general education, general knowledge I did not do well on. I scored high on the English and Math. But uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: But just the kind of thing you would learn living in a broader community you didn't know?


WILLIAM BERGE: That's essentially it, isn't it?


WILLIAM BERGE: The thing, the three R type things you did alright.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right the skills.

WILLIAM BERGE: Alright now, so you, what did you do that year?

JUANITA RITCHIE: oh this is uh where the Harmons were.


[Tape stops]

WILLIAM BERGE: Harmons came to be a big help to you.


WILLIAM BERGE: That's the National Youth Administration?



JUANITA RITCHIE: Um, he needed somebody to do his clerical work. So I worked in their home uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's where you learned to follow your husband around and be a secretary, didn't you?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well that was the beginning. Uh I couldn't type uh I really didn't have the money to pay the lab fee to take typing in high school. So he suggested that I go to McCrery County and take, have the typing class, and then come back to his house and work my number of hours uh at a desk in their living room with a typewriter that was in his office.


JUANITA RITCHIE: I did that and uh of course at that time we were not living at 32:00 Pine Nut, we were living down at Bethel and it was a trip to get up there, and where do you go to lunch? Well I had lunch with them.

WILLIAM BERGE: That was nice.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Mr. Harmon was usually uh out traveling and uh Mrs. Harmon and her mother and her daughter were there and it was a very nice experience for me to be in their home.

WILLIAM BERGE: It was a good year for you then?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, well it wasn't a good year.

WILLIAM BERGE: In that respects?

JUANITA RITCHIE: But that is what I remember of that year. It was uh nice.

WILLIAM BERGE: And that's what I meant in about in a good year in the sense of the experience you had working in their homes talking with those people.


WILLIAM BERGE: And that kind of thing.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And uh seeing and uh hearing the conversation with the visitors who came through many from the Eastern. It was..

WILLIAM BERGE: The people that Mr. Harmon knew Mrs. Harmon.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Mrs. Harmon's friends uh um there.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you remember any of them?



WILLIAM BERGE: That would be hard to remember.

JUANITA RITCHIE: No not really, because I was doing my work and this was background.

WILLIAM BERGE: Sort of [unclear]

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right, my ears to the wind. And uh I think they were mostly educators and --

WILLIAM BERGE: Classmates and things like that?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh and also religious uh I don't know if they were a missionary or what. But anyway there was uh education and there was the Christen Religion in the background while I was working their daughter was practicing piano. So I learned something more than the guitar and the banjo.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you remember, and speaking of musical instruments today, where there anybody down in here that played Dulcimer?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No, not that I know.

WILLIAM BERGE: Has anyone ever asked if you were one of those Ritchie from Kentucky?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, of course my husband is the Ritchie he was from Iowa.


WILLIAM BERGE: Well you know that if they knew you were from Kentucky and they heard the name Ritchie they might associate you with [unclear]

JUANITA RITCHIE: Quite often they do.

WILLIAM BERGE: Alright now so, you stayed out of school a year?

JUANITA RITCHIE: A year, I reapplied at Berea and I went through, back up. There was uh, Berea had opportunity schools.

WILLIAM BERGE: What where were they? I've never heard of that before.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, you go there for a week or two weeks, alright the Harmons 35:00 knew about this and they suggested that I go. I didn't know these resources were available, but through them I found out. So while I was there for that two weeks I went in and talked with uh the admissions office and they said. I took the test again; I doubled my score on general knowledge and I was accepted for that year.

WILLIAM BERGE: And how long did you stay for the following year?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I went as a half day student and stayed two years. Then uh I decided that I went with the idea of teaching. Everybody wanted to be a teacher, because teaching was status and uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: And some of the people you had admired had been teachers too.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, they were my heroes. Uh now after two years this was uh takes us up to about 42, 43. Aright there was a complete lack of teachers.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Right, everybody had gone.


WILLIAM BERGE: Some of the men to the...

JUANITA RITCHIE: To the service and uh some to factories where they could make money. So I had the chance to try teaching, and I thought it was the smart thing to do to try it. Plus I needed some money to go back as a full time student.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where did you teach?


WILLIAM BERGE: Where's that?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I couldn't find it if I had to. You continue off Williamsburg Street.


JUANITA RITCHIE: In that direction, it's just back in the woods.

WILLIAM BERGE: How long did you stay there?


WILLIAM BERGE: Did you like it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: [Laughing] couldn't stand it. I, I--

WILLIAM BERGE: It was a bad experience?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I couldn't believe uh I had never been in a one room school, I 37:00 couldn't believe not only the lack of the cooperation of parents.

WILLIAM BERGE: So you were just 19 when you started?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I was 19. I was not really a qualified teacher. I was a teacher with a permit. A special permit.

WILLIAM BERGE: You were hardly a woman of the world by any means.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Not even, oh not even. I wanted to teach I thought all kids wanted to learn and they didn't. Uh I meet resistance from parents and--

WILLIAM BERGE: Was that the end of your desire to be a teacher? A lot people, that happens to a lot of people I believe.

JUANITA RITCHIE: But it's well that I found out that I didn't have the temperament.

WILLIAM BERGE: Of course, you might have had the temperament in a different uh environment.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well that would be easy kind of thought to say I could, but I don't know.

WILLIAM BERGE: So then what did you do after that four months? You, you quite 38:00 you job I guess?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I went to Oak Ridge.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, and uh worked for two and a half years.

WILLIAM BERGE: How did you find out about Oak Ridge?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh my sister had in the meantime gone to [unclear] Business College.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where was that?

JUANITA RITCHIE: In Knoxville. And she worked there when she got out of Business College and she was there and uh I went, I followed her.

WILLIAM BERGE: Who'd you work for then?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Eastmen uh Kodak had a government contract there, and I worked in the plant.

WILLIAM BERGE: And those were exceptional jobs than for people from where you 39:00 were from weren't they? Those jobs they had down there.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh the job I had required a high school education and uh it was clean work.

WILLIAM BERGE: The pay was also really good, wasn't it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh the pay was good uh for the time it was much better than teaching. I was making eighty dollars a month teaching uh I had to buy my own supplies.

WILLIAM BERGE: eighty dollars a month for teaching in 43.

JUANITA RITCHIE: and uh I had to live in with the family where I taught. I had to share a bed with my one eighth grader, a girl.

WILLIAM BERGE: Well at least it was a girl [laughing]

JUANITA RITCHIE: Good to point that out.

WILLIAM BERGE: I was going to say, "what was his name" but I didn't I was afraid--

JUANITA RITCHIE: Because this is a different era [laughing] [unclear].

WILLIAM BERGE: So how much did you make when you went to Oak Ridge, do you remember?

JUANITA RITCHIE: A dollar and hour.

WILLIAM BERGE: Wow that was great.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh it was terrific.

WILLIAM BERGE: You more than doubled your salary.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And my social life.



JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh it was a mecca uh for people from all over. Brains from MIT, North Western--

WILLIAM BERGE: You met all kinds of people.


WILLIAM BERGE: People you never knew existed?


WILLIAM BERGE: Now how long did you stay in Oak Ridge?

JUANITA RITCHIE: UH two and a half years until the war was over and Eastmen was uh to really beginning to uh--


JUANITA RITCHIE: Faze out but uh I was ready to go before I lost my job, I doubt that I was replaced.

WILLIAM BERGE: so what did you do then?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I went back to Berea and--

WILLIAM BERGE: And you were 21, and you had seen the world you had been everywhere?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I was old compared to the kids on campus. I majored in English and uh minored in Business Administration.

WILLIAM BERGE: How long did you stay in Berea then?


JUANITA RITCHIE: I graduated uh in 47.



WILLIAM BERGE: Then what did you do?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I had three ways a choice of three ways I could go. I could have gone to uh was it Kingston or Kingsport?

WILLIAM BERGE: Kingsport, Tennessee

JUANITA RITCHIE: Kingsport, Tennessee with Eastmen um

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh in other words you kept in touch with--

JUANITA RITCHIE: No, interviewer came and talked to uh--

WILLIAM BERGE: Told him you had worked with Eastmen before?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh he talked you know with the labor office and they told him I had worked with Easternmen and he uh interviewed me and uh I could have gone with them. It would have been a secretarial but uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: College graduate secretary.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Because what else would you do with English other than teach or write.

WILLIAM BERGE: Or work in a library. And then what were the other two opportunities?


JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, I believe this was Civil Service, a statistician with the state of Kentucky. There was work in the education uh program then I don't remember the details. It was something you sign a contract to work for so long and uh you could get your masters, and at that time my personal life was uh pretty important too I wanted to not be tied down.

WILLIAM BERGE: Get back with those boys from MIT.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I didn't want to commit myself [unclear] getting married uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: And what was the other opportunity?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Segrums had a secretarial training program in Louisville.

WILLIAM BERGE: That was a good place for a girl from a dry county to go.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And a country bumpkin to mix with Danville, Louisville, and 43:00 Lexington society girls.

WILLIAM BERGE: Which of the three did you take?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, I took Segrums.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you like that one?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No I didn't really.

WILLIAM BERGE: How long did you stay with them?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Um well Segrums had a ruling at that time they didn't publicize it and they didn't want us talking to newspapers about it. They uh hired college graduates, single. When they married uh they were to move on.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Yeah, it uh it was quite a nice environment and a very decent place for young women.

WILLIAM BERGE: You were with the women who were kind of with it, bright young girls and stuff like that.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, yes well people who had different backgrounds. And it was 44:00 really subline ignorance that I would really even go into that. Now I would walk away from it on the run.

WILLIAM BERGE: Sort of like being a Stewardess in a way.


WILLIAM BERGE: But, how long did you stay there?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Um two, two and half years. In the meantime I married my husband.

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh how did you meet him?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I meet him through a roommate.

WILLIAM BERGE: Was he working in Louisville?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh yes. He was--

WILLIAM BERGE: You said he was from Iowa earlier that's why I was wondering.

JUANITA RITCHIE: He had been there for three years so.

WILLIAM BERGE: What kind of work did he do?

JUANITA RITCHIE: He was a, at that time he was a clerk with the FBI.


JUANITA RITCHIE: And he was going to law school at night.

WILLIAM BERGE: At the University of Louisville?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well it's now a part of the University of Louisville. It was the Jefferson School of Law at that time.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah I know the one. So you married, and that would have been the end of your work anyway, whether you decide to marry I guess?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Um, my husband was a student so I was allowed to work uh longer 45:00 uh until he got out of school, and then I took a job with a pink factory in the office.

WILLIAM BERGE: Which pink factory?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Devo Reynolds uh Jones Daphne was the name of it and uh--

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you ever hear of Calaham Pin Company?


WILLIAM BERGE: [unclear] it may have been closed by that time. Okay, how long then, let's just quickly run through some of the things that happened to you subsequently and then I'll come back to Fatality.


WILLIAM BERGE: If you don't mind.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, whatever.

WILLIAM BERGE: Uh how long did you and your husband stay in Louisville after you married? What year did you marry?


WILLIAM BERGE: Okay, then how long did you stay in Louisville?


WILLIAM BERGE: Okay then where'd you go?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh he was transferred to Huton, Montana.

WILLIAM BERGE: And then he stayed with the FBI from there on so we don't have to 46:00 cover that?


WILLIAM BERGE: he retired with the FBI?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh he started with the FBI at age 18. He went to college and he retired after thirty-three years of service.

WILLIAM BERGE: Okay, okay. You so went to Huton, Montana and approximately you stayed there how long?


WILLIAM BERGE: And then where'd you go?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh San Francisco for a year.

WILLIAM BERGE: That was a lot like Fidelty wasn't it, San Francisco?

JUANITA RITCHIE: All I knew about San Francisco was that I worked for Delmonte, for a woman who was a personal manager.

WILLIAM BERGE: Was that the first woman administrator?

JUANITA RITCHIE: First woman administrator that I have ever worked for and the last. Uh not by choice it was uh, I still correspond with her. It was a very nice experience.

WILLIAM BERGE: And then where did you and your husband go after San Francisco?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh Seattle for two years, and there I just stayed home and um--

WILLIAM BERGE: Tried to stay warm? And dry from the dampness?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Dry from the dampness. Um I did some pen ship secretarial work 47:00 there uh from there to Chicago. Which was our way back home.

WILLIAM BERGE: How long did you stay in Chicago then?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Until 77 when my husband retired.

WILLIAM BERGE: You stayed there a long time.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well I, usually the moving around was uh when we were young.

WILLIAM BERGE: Uh huh, and once they got established they stayed there. Of all the places you've lived where did you like it the best?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I can never answer that question because I like some things every place I've ever lived and some things were hard to live with.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Um, it really, we lived at we lived in uh Oak Park, Illinois 48:00 which is the bedroom of Chicago. Um longer, I did not like the big city. But that still after almost four years back here is more real to me as a home--

WILLIAM BERGE: Than this is?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Than this is, because this is like another move. I'm coming back, I start over. Because time well said it you can't come home again, you can but you start over.

WILLIAM BERGE: It's not the same place.

JUANITA RITCHIE: You go back and you start from there.

WILLIAM BERGE: Tell me this now, why'd you come back?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well are, we have one.

WILLIAM BERGE: People always say when somebody moves there on a mission. They, 49:00 it takes two things to make them pull, it's a push and pull. You know whenever you study migrations in people, big migrations in people, use to be interesting you know when I was in grammar school and high school people would say " they came to the new world for this" but you really when everybody moves they move because something attracts them to where they are going, but there's something that pushes them from where they are. There has to be something where you are that tells you not to live there to.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well uh city.

WILLIAM BERGE: Okay, that's the purpose.

JUANITA RITCHIE: That is the push.

WILLIAM BERGE: What's the attraction? Besides the fact that you lived here.

JUANITA RITCHIE: The attraction is that families here.


JUANITA RITCHIE: And it's often good to be back and get reacquainted with family and have some time with my mother before uh she dies, and I never really expected that we would ever really get back.

WILLIAM BERGE: Get back before she did.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Get back, right. She's 96 now.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah because, yeah she had children for many years before you were born and that was an incredible thing.

UNKOWN INTERVIEWER: Do you intended to stay here?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't know were here now. Um I don't know.

WILLIAM BERGE: What do you and your husband do now to get by? You know like what 50:00 do you do? There are a lot of old jokes [unclear] what do you do here? What do you and your husband do now that you're back? Your lives must be so much diffident that they have ever been.

JUANITA RITCHIE: It is, and I don't know what we do. I know that the time goes. I know that we're content right now I don't know how long we'll be content back here, but for now that's all there is. There is--

WILLIAM BERGE: Like what does he do during the day?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well, you'll have to interview him about that [laughing]. Uh he does have hobbies. He's interested in the, oh playing the stock market and there the total free lines with his broker. He, we're both introverted.

WILLIAM BERGE: Does he have any friends here in the county?


WILLIAM BERGE: Men he talks with?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Not really, but uh in the Chicago area his friends through his work had all gone.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah, that had dissipated too probably.

JUANITA RITCHIE: We had one couple left. Cause there was a massive retirement at 51:00 age fifty-five and out. The FBI cleaned house, there was really no one of his friends left basically. Except that one couple, we see them on our way to Iowa. We go back and forth to Iowa his parents live there doing quite nicely by themselves.

WILLIAM BERGE: Have they ever visited you here?


WILLIAM BERGE: [unclear]

JUANITA RITCHIE: They come once a year. Well uh they generally come, and they enjoy my mother and my family uh this, its family.

WILLIAM BERGE: What do you miss in addition, to some of the people, what do you miss here that you and your husband did in Oak Park, in Chicago?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well let' talk about what I miss, he would have to uh--

WILLIAM BERGE: Well I, I really meant you though.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Um I miss uh the freedom of getting on the L and going into the loop whenever I want.

WILLIAM BERGE: Miss walking by people who have never seen you before and will never see you again?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right, the I miss the anonymity but on the other hand I pretty much have anonymity here in McCreary County. I walk over town and I don't see many people I know. Um.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where do you shop?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Through catalogs um I don't really enjoy shopping, I never really.

WILLIAM BERGE: You never were shopper then?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No, I as far as shopping in malls--

WILLIAM BERGE: I know, I know, I know some women who like to do that.

JUANITA RITCHIE: That's right uh a lot of women do and couldn't stand it, well 53:00 we'll go to Lexington to uh Summerset, uh Knoxville.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you ever go out and eat?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh not here, well we do but uh we don't go out to eat just for fun. It's not gourmet here, I miss that. I don't miss it as much now as I did when I first came down oh I wanted Chines food. I wanted real homemade Italian pizza, uh romaine lettuce but uh but I haven't even ordered food now.

WILLIAM BERGE: So do you shop a lot through the mail?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right a lot of catalogues.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you miss, did you ever, did you and your husband go to movies much when you were in Chicago?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh not terribly much. Um my husband was married to his job and 54:00 uh we saw plays. I miss that.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah I would say you probably would.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I had a drama friend who would say "come on let's go" and uh I do mean that, I need someone to say let's do it.

WILLIAM BERGE: Somebody drag you to it, in other words you're not going to be going to Louisville or Lexington by yourself to

JUANITA RITCHIE: To go to a play? No I would not. But I miss Good [unclear] Theater in Chicago.

WILLIAM BERGE: So that's the kind of thing. Alright did you ever feel from the time you left the school down in Fidelty to the time you left Oak Parks and came back here, that you had ever done less than you could've done?


WILLIAM BERGE: If you had a different kind of background?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't know um.

WILLIAM BERGE: In other words, you're not blaming your educational background 55:00 from what you did?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well I don't uh I didn't stack up with the debutants who worked in the same office I did uh in California social, but as far as job, my job was equal. But the social differences well there are social classes.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's just the way it is.

JUANITA RITCHIE: That's just the way it is.

WILLIAM BERGE: What did you do in Chicago? What kind of work did you do in Chicago? You never told me.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Um secretarial and I made it to executive row and uh at least I did. I don't want to do that anymore.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you see that movie 9 to 5?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No, I don't think...

WILLIAM BERGE: I think you'd like; I think you'd really like it. I think you'd really like it. There's a lot more to that movie than I thought there would be. About women who are very able in business and what happened to them.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well I can tell you two women that I know who achieved 56:00 corporate secretary status uh during World War II when there was a shortage of man power. I saw those women shoved aside in their later years.

WILLIAM BERGE: By people that they really trained?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right, and I always saw two, and I worked for a lot of cooperations.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah, I think women traditionally have trained men to do the jobs that they should be getting.

JUANITA RITCHIE: The lady in the bank over here.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah, yeah.

JUANITA RITCHIE: She uh was the only Moriss, she uh is now a vice president, no 57:00 is she a vice president? Anyway she has an office of her own, but uh she trained three bank presidents would be my impression. This is just something I'm, I'm theorizing this is not fact.

WILLIAM BERGE: I think it's an observation it's probably very vailed. Now let's go back to Fidelty, let's make a complete shift, uh and when I say when I'm talking about Fidelty I'm also talking about the time when you lived on the ridge above Fidelty.


WILLIAM BERGE: What did you do, what did you do you loved school. You got up in the morning and went to school you liked going to school, you came back in the afternoon and then you'd do your chores and you ate your supper, and then on Saturday you didn't go to school on Saturday and on Sunday you didn't go to school. What did you do on Saturday and Sunday and after school? What do you remember of your life?

JUANITA RITCHIE: After school we uh did our homework it was a big family and 58:00 everybody had his own experience with school to talk about um we told sto-, told stories, there was no television we didn't have radio, you've heard this many times I'm sure.

WILLIAM BERGE: I would like to hear it again though if I have. I've never heard it quite like this.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Um we sang uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: What did you sing? What kind of stuff?

JUANITA RITCHIE: [singing] She'll be coming around them mountain when she comes.

WILLIAM BERGE: You, just the kind of songs you'd expected. Did anyone play any music?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No not in our family. We had cousins uh who didn't go to school, who could play the fiddle.

WILLIAM BERGE: Who were some of those? Where they live?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Let's see, I just lived in the other neck of the woods it's all so hazy to me and most places have no names. It was just another part of the forest.

WILLIAM BERGE: But in that general the cousins that you saw.



UNKOWN INTERVIEWER: What kind of stories did you tell? Were they traditional stories or just?


WILLIAM BERGE: Hank, you know that's interesting my grandmother was a great 59:00 ghost story teller. That's what they call it up home was ghost stories instead of Hank Tales, but she was one for scaring your children, she scared her grandchildren with stories, my grandmother did.

UNKOWN INTERVIEWER: my grandmother did that to.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And the children, and the children just the quake and be frightened out of their skulls. Tell me some more tell me some more.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh this is interesting to my sister uh who worked in Knoxville, had a job when she was going to business college. She had a job babysitting uh for a little girl, and she would tell the little girl Hank Tales.


JUANITA RITCHIE: And the little girl would have nightmares. So Glades learned that was part of her education.

WILLIAM BERGE: That, it seems like that was a rural thing to do. Just tell stories that frightened children. It wasn't considered to be a bad thing really.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And the little girl was asking for more and more and more.

WILLIAM BERGE: She loved them probably.

UNKOWN INTERVIEWER: Would they ever use the stories as a forum of to scare 60:00 children out of doing things? Did your parents ever do anything like that?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't remember that they did.

WILLIAM BERGE: They almost seem pointless expect that was kind of the best story to tell.

UNKOWN INTERVIEWER: Just like the scary horror movies are now.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where, who, what were your friends?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Whoever was available, whoever was around.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you have girlfriends though that weren't related to you?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh from school, right.

WILLIAM BERGE: You kept in touch with any of them over the years?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh I talk now with one person I graduated from high school with, she was from a mining camp too. Another one, another mining camp.

WILLIAM BERGE: What happened to her? What happened to her?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh she married a boy who was with the forest service they lived 61:00 uh in West Virginia I believe it was.

WILLIAM BERGE: And she's back here now?

JUANITA RITCHIE: She's back here now; she's a disability retirement [unclear] now.

WILLIAM BERGE: And she's about the only one of those people that you really friendly with now?


WILLIAM BERGE: I don't mean friendly I just mean you talk to.

JUANITA RITCHIE: She is the one I got in contact with first, because we were each other's shadow in high school especially when we came over to Whitley to high school among all the strange people.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Um, there is another that I met uh a couple of times that I will be getting together with, but I'm doing it slowly and I'm back here-


JUANITA RITCHIE: to do whatever.

This is a continuation of the interview with Mrs. Juanita Cooper Ritchie on January 28, 1981.

WILLIAM BERGE: I did, I know when you came back here you just naturally 62:00 developed friendships not go out and try to scare up some people to talk with. This sort of take things as they come, live here, relax.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well I came back to be with family first of all, and anything that uh transpires in the meantime fine, uh but not go out uh looking or uh seeking just whatever comes along in our quite way of life we will reach out for what we want as it unfolds.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you happen to drive around much to see any of Kentucky or do you just sort of stay around here?

JUANITA RITCHIE: We stay around here.

WILLIAM BERGE: Alight now I'm going to go back and talk about what we did at the 63:00 end, your life in uh down in the holler there with the, what did you do when you for young for fun? What did you ever go to parties or dances, or anything like that?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No we were not allowed to go to parties. [unclear]

WILLIAM BERGE: No wonder you took the job at Segers [laughing].

JUANITA RITCHIE: I didn't say that you did [laughing].

WILLIAM BERGE: Did a, did the, did you have, what games did you play? What games do you remember playing when you were a little girl?

JUANITA RITCHIE: As a little girl, hopscotch, among singing games um.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you go to ball games ever?


WILLIAM BERGE: Fidelty had a team?

JUANITA RITCHIE: We lived, well we had a balcony to the baseball diamond and uh 64:00 my brothers played baseball and basketball um.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you ever have a feeling there were more, more for boys than there was for girls? Did that ever occur to you when you were a girl?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No it never occurred to me till; I'll have to think about that they even to agree or disagree right now has, has never really entered my mind.

WILLIAM BERGE: Not even since, you never said "well you know there was more for my brothers to do down there than for me or other girls.

JUANITA RITCHIE: The boys had more freedom uh the boys could uh say a few naughty words and no problem, but uh woe be onto the daughter who uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: In other words there was a double standard in that respect.


WILLIAM BERGE: You just assumed that was the way things were supposed to be? You didn't question or?

JUANITA RITCHIE: That was the way it was.



WILLIAM BERGE: In some ways.


JUANITA RITCHIE: It has developed.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah, in some respects. Uh did the, did you go to church?


WILLIAM BERGE: What kind of church you go to?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Revival type. You're talking about the mining camp?

WILLIAM BERGE: Uh huh, where was it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh the church was held in the school house.

WILLIAM BERGE: Who preached?


WILLIAM BERGE: In other words different people all the time

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right and I don't recall that we ever uh had uh anyone from any seminary down there. It was who ever felt called to preach.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you get excited about that stuff?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh not really. This business--

WILLIAM BERGE: So an impartial observer huh?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh no. I thought there was something wrong with me because there was this call to come to the mourner's bench and I--

WILLIAM BERGE: You never made it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I never really felt, well.


WILLIAM BERGE: Did you ever fake it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Even when I tried it. I faked it.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's, I asked did you ever fake it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I faked it, but.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you feel like you were bad because you didn't do it? Were you ever tied up in knots that way?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I didn't get any great uh large charge.

UNKOWN INTERVIEWER: What was a mourner's bench?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Now this was a long, long time ago.

WILLIAM BERGE: Tell me about that.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I, I have to go a long way back. I've forgotten how old, um well there would be a red hot sermon and then uh with much pounding, motions, and gyrations. Uh if you want to be saved, if you don't want to go straight to hell in others words, uh come on up and be saved and uh you would come to the front of the room get down on your knees and uh the pray was out loud.

WILLIAM BERGE: They'd pray right over you?

JUANITA RITCHIE: They'd pray right over you uh to pray your soul out of uh damnation.


WILLIAM BERGE: For all those evil thoughts you can't. It's a wonder we--


WILLIAM BERGE: We all aren't emotional basket cases. I went through that stuff and some days I thought. It could make you feel so unworthy.


WILLIAM BERGE: I'm talking about my, people your age and my age

JUANITA RITCHIE: You didn't go through this kind of a religious.

WILLIAM BERGE: Not quite the same way you're talking about it was, we were probably like a generation from that were I was raised, but not far. Like my mother probably experienced more like what you did, even though she is considerably older than you are, you know. Theirs just happened about maybe a generation earlier there.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right, and we were latter developing back here.

WILLIAM BERGE: There's a tremendous amount of stress that young people felt that 68:00 didn't feel the things they thought other people were feeling, I thought.

JUANITA RITCHIE: So my next uh the next invitation to come to the Lord that I can remember was the Pin Nut Baptist Church uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you see a big difference between church when you were going to church up here at Pine Mt than down in the holler?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, a small degree among on the Baptist church. It wasn't uh wasn't that much difference uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: They wore a little better clothes, they reverend or preacher, something like that?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, but I don't think at that time I don't think the preacher here was seminary trained uh in the Baptist church.

WILLIAM BERGE: You went to a Baptist church in Pine Nut?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Mmhm and I remember a good sales job, uh they would shake hands 69:00 with the people who did not come forward and beg and plead with them to come. "Won't you come to Him and be saved?" Oh my aunt had me by the arm the preacher followed her, "you'd make a wonderful worker for the Lord".

WILLIAM BERGE: Uh-Hu [laughing].

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh that turned me off, uh flattery yet.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's usually predominate. Tell me this, when you were back there in Fidelty and you did they have a like box suppers and pie suppers within the community?


WILLIAM BERGE: Now you could go to those I assume?


WILLIAM BERGE: Who was most stern about this religious stuff? Your father or your mother?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh my mother was the disciplinary in the family.

WILLIAM BERGE: She ran the show huh?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh she didn't spare the rod. My father uh I don't recall his 70:00 ever uh administrating any thrashings. But he liked to [unclear]

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you ever uh get involved in social things when you were going to high school? Did you ever go to a dance?

JUANITA RITCHIE: There was no dances.



WILLIAM BERGE: Were you ever a cheerleader or anything like that?


WILLIAM BERGE: Did that ever, did that kind of thing ever appeal to you?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh I, I wished that I uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's what I mean.

JUANITA RITCHIE: That I were as pretty and peppy like the cheerleaders and uh I didn't have the talent. I guess the uh only if I distinguished myself at all, uh if anybody does in high school, uh it was in dramatics.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you like that?

JUANITA RITCHIE:I had to put on a good act, I had to [laughing]

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you ever get on stage? Have you ever been in any dramatics since you've been an adult?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh no uh I did take uh some courses in drama at Berea, but that 71:00 was just an elective. Something.

WILLIAM BERGE: But I mean after you were, after you and your husband were living in Chicago you never got in any plays or?


WILLIAM BERGE: Even though you were interested in drama?




WILLIAM BERGE: You never got involved in a little theater group or?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No I uh I supported them, I attended them.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you ever try to write any fiction?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh I can write uh readable information and I think people do read my letters, because I get feedback from them, but to really sit down and write about this I think it's too much.

WILLIAM BERGE: Too much of an emotional experience?


WILLIAM BERGE: You think you'll never think you'll try it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't know.

WILLIAM BERGE: You're in the perfect position to. [Unclear] the trees.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right. I have the time I have no excuses not to.

WILLIAM BERGE: You can, you can learn how to type so that you can do that.


JUANITA RITCHIE: I type long winded Christmas letters to everybody I correspond with and that's a pretty big witting project.

WILLIAM BERGE: Well, it you know occurred to me while I'm sitting here that you might be a good one to--

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh I did take a pros writing class with uh Mrs. Emily Ann Smith at Berea and she was a tough task masters.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah, I've heard about her.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh she gave me a B, but she says it was an almost A.

WILLIAM BERGE: You were probably so proud of that you couldn't stand it weren't you?

JUANITA RITCHIE: It wasn't an A so uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you ever, did you ever read any fiction about Kentucky since you left?


WILLIAM BERGE: Did you read The Doll Maker?


WILLIAM BERGE: What'd you think of it? Was that a small [unclear] thing for you to read?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh I remember it, I remember it more uh the beginning then 73:00 having to leave than I couldn't really relate to having children.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah that part.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Being responsible for children in the city, because I didn't have children.


JUANITA RITCHIE: But I could relate to the getting there, the having to go, getting there to survive.

WILLIAM BERGE: The uh, when you lived in down in the holler did you uh, where did you get your water? Well I mean--

JUANITA RITCHIE: I'll have to, I'll have to really go back to get that one. Because there were springs, it was always oh yes, fresh mountain springs. We carried it in buckets.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did the girls carry it or did the boys?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I think probably some of both yes it was both uh.

UNKNOWN INTERVIEWER: Did you all specify chores?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes. In fact uh my next older brother and I did quite a bit of 74:00 the water carrying.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did your father and mother keep chickens?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, chickens, gardens--



WILLIAM BERGE: Did you ever how a cow?


WILLIAM BERGE: You had a cow?


WILLIAM BERGE: Who milked the cow?

JUANITA RITCHIE: My mother was the family slave.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did the girls ever help her?


WILLIAM BERGE: Did the boys ever help?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well now in days it would be hard to know what was the girls work and what was the boys work. The boys did outside work the--

WILLIAM BERGE: They carried the wood, they cut the wood?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Cut the wood, uh they uh worked in the garden, took care of and feed the animals.

WILLIAM BERGE: When you were young. I'm going to ask you another question. Uh 75:00 when your brothers and sisters, your older brothers and sisters particularly, when did they leave home? And how they went home?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well let's, let's go down the line.

WILLIAM BERGE: Okay, how about the oldest.

JUANITA RITCHIE: The two older sisters married.

WILLIAM BERGE: How old were they when they married, approximately?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh I would say eighteen, nineteen.

WILLIAM BERGE: Okay. What did they marry? What kind of people?

JUANITA RITCHIE: They married brothers who lived in the next house on the ridge.

WILLIAM BERGE: What did they do when they married? Did they leave then?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No, there husbands were coal miners. They raised their uh. My other sister raised her children complete entirely uh through uh Co-Op. They went through the two years of high school in Co Co-Op.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where did they live all the time?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Where did they live all the time?

WILLIAM BERGE: Well they lived.

JUANITA RITCHIE: They stayed on the ridge uh and later years, after I was away, 76:00 they moved for a while to the camp, Co-Op.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do they still live around here?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Her husband uh he was pulling in the mine, and then there was period when there was no mining here. They went back to Eastern Kentucky. They came back here and he retired and uh then he died uh I'd say about age seventy, uh she lives alone.

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh she's still alive.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes she lives alone in Pine Nut, but she goes to Cincinnati were all of her children are living. The whole family moved.

WILLIAM BERGE: [unclear] so to speak, they're gone.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And they're living close together in Cincinnati.

WILLIAM BERGE: [laughing] In the Kentuckian uh.


JUANITA RITCHIE: She goes back and forth.

WILLIAM BERGE: Okay, and uh so your sisters married young, but they stayed there approximately, generally around the mines for now anyway.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right, uh another sister's husband uh was out of work uh was riding a horse out to see someone who uh who could help him get a job back with the mine. He was crossing the river at [Yamcra?] on a raised road, on a horse, and flood time, drowned. Her, their son is the principal in the old elementary school here. Uh her children, uh daughter works for the Board of Education, secretary, and the others other live elsewhere.

WILLIAM BERGE: Okay, now your bothers how did they leave home?



WILLIAM BERGE: Not leave, like move out of the house, wha--what kind of, what kind of, what kind of junction there that made them leave the house?

JUANITA RITCHIE: The oldest brother uh went to New York to work, my mother had a brother there.

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh so that' how he found. How old was he, do you have any idea, approximately?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh, twenty at the oldest, probably not that old.

WILLIAM BERGE: And the, did they all tend to leave like between eighteen to twenty? Or most of them? This isn't all that important except I'm trying to get a feel for it.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right, no. I, I can't answer these questions because I have to sto--stop and think.

WILLIAM BERGE: Let me ask you--

JUANITA RITCHIE: My other five brothers went to war.

WILLIAM BERGE: Alright so.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I had five brothers, five brothers that went to war.

WILLIAM BERGE: So they joined the service or were drafted, or something like that.


JUANITA RITCHIE: One volunteered; uh the volunteer was the one I was trying to think about. So uh it was at a pretty early age.

WILLIAM BERGE: Okay, was, do you think there was conscious effort on the part of anyone, including yourself when you were young saying "well you know this is all I've ever known but when I can I'm going to get out of here"?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh sure, sure.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you feel that way?


WILLIAM BERGE: When did you, when did you become aware the fact that when you had a chance to leave you would? That's kind of, kind of a hard decision for children to make I know, but a lot of them make it, something better than that.

JUANITA RITCHIE: From the time, well I had an older brother who uh from high 80:00 school went to Business College. And I just didn't really know there was any way for me to do anything like that, and he came home and he said "well Juanita why don't you go to Berea, you could go to Berea?" I doubted I could go to Berea, and that was my consuming passion was to go to Berea.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you, did you feel, did you feel strange about cause you probably had it in the back of your mind when you do that you were never coming back.

JUANITA RITCHIE: No I didn't really. No.

WILLIAM BERGE: Or thought you might come back, but bring what you learned in Berea back with you I guess? In a way you were thinking about teaching.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right. Uh no I thought I'd go to Berea and I'd come back and I would teach, but it didn't work that way.

WILLIAM BERGE: What, when the girls that you were friendly with talked, did you ever talk about doing anything rather besides getting married? What were the aspiration of you and your friends I mean when you were young let's say 12, 13, 14 you have any idea?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh to get married, to get married, and really I didn't change 81:00 that I just wanted a few other things to go with it.

UNKNOWN INTERVIEWER: But it wasn't till you had gone to Berea that you learned about what you could do outside of being married.

JUANITA RITCHIE: That's right.

WILLIAM BERGE: Can you remember the first time you saw a movie?


WILLIAM BERGE: Where was it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: At Sterns. I graduated from the eighth grade one of the teachers, Glena Harmon, Glena Clark Harmon Bell was my teacher, so she brought the eighth grade. We came to Whitely for a commencement exercise, a county wide commencement exercise, so she entertained us quite well. Uh she took us to see uh Genet McDonald and Milton Eddy.


JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't know the.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you think it was wonderful?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh my, oh my, it was fantastic.


WILLIAM BERGE: Did you; were you apart of that visit of coming into Sterns for the Fourth of July stuff that everybody talks about?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, I sold punch boards and earned the money to get to the carnival one time.

WILLIAM BERGE: Was that a big deal?

JUANITA RITCHIE: It was strange uh there's tent shows that the men went in and the women didn't.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you wonder why? [laughing]

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes! [laughing] What's in there?

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you have enough in your basket to join any of the men or boys?


UNKNOWN INTERVIEWER: Your family never went?


WILLIAM BERGE: It wasn't a family excursion like it was for other people.

JUANITA RITCHIE: No uh I came with uh my mother's brother, who was more affluent than we were. They uh they got to Sterns often, the affluent ones got to Sterns.

WILLIAM BERGE: When you were young I'm sure your mother made a lot of your clothes?


WILLIAM BERGE: Your older sister did?

JUANITA RITCHIE: My mother made her clothes and she made for us.


WILLIAM BERGE: Do you remember the first time you actually went into a store and bought some clothes?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I remember the first coat that I had that was not made from somebody else's coat.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where did you get it?


WILLIAM BERGE: You get it from a catalogue?


WILLIAM BERGE: You've never gotten away from that either. Here you are back buying from a catalogue.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh it's terrific. I've been through the shopping malls Marshalls fields and uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: My mother buys everything through the telephone.

JUANITA RITCHIE: An Magnen, Sax, I've been in those places where the sales people look at you with a supercilious air and uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you like that coat? Was it a big deal?


WILLIAM BERGE: Did you feel like it was something specials because it was yours first all?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No it wasn't because it was a cheap coat.

WILLIAM BERGE: And you knew it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: And I knew it, and I could see it. I could see the material it was pretty shoty.

WILLIAM BERGE: You had better coats that were made from somebody else's?


JUANITA RITCHIE: From my married sisters.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's something that is something. That's an interesting thing. Uh do you remember the first time, when was, did you ever go to the store for your mother when you were little?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh the boys went to the store because it was a matter of carrying things on the back or uh or going on the horse and carrying things.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where was the store, in Fidelty?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh yes and then uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: What store was it? A company store?

JUANITA RITCHIE: It was a company store uh there were also uh privet stores to there was one at White Oaks Junction.

WILLIAM BERGE: Was there Kids?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Guy Kids Store, and--

WILLIAM BERGE: That still there?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Jeff Kid's Store up toward Bell Farm. I got to go to Jeff Kid's store once.

WILLIAM BERGE: One time what did--

JUANITA RITCHIE: Once that I can remember.

WILLIAM BERGE: What did you go for?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh I just went with an older brother.

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh you weren't?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I just got to go along.


JUANITA RITCHIE: I had to be--


WILLIAM BERGE: Did you father ever bring your whole family to the end of the Whitely, Whitely area.

JUANITA RITCHIE: He brought me to Whitely the year I won the spelling championship and came out to compete. I had my first meal in Helton's restaurant and uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: How old were you then? Do you remember?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Sixth or seventh grade.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's incredible isn't it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I was about sixth grade.

WILLIAM BERGE: As close as that is to here.

JUANITA RITCHIE: It wasn't that close in those days.

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh I know, I know but I'm thinking in just terms of geography.


WILLIAM BERGE: It was an hour and a half trip.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Its mind boggling now.

WILLIAM BERGE: Have you and your husband been back in there recently?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh yes I was back I've been back once a year since we came back. I have a brother who knows where we are who can tell me.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where are you exactly?

JUANITA RITCHIE: The only uh landmark I have is the cemetery.

WILLIAM BERGE: It's incredible how quickly a whole, a whole, community can be erased.



WILLIAM BERGE: It's really phenomenal to me. In fact just the few years I've been in this country that I've been Cooperated maybe seven or eight times in the last fifteen years and every time I've been down there it's been different.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh Whitely is different, well the whole world is different.

WILLIAM BERGE: The world is different.

JUANITA RITCHIE: The whole word is different.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you remember the first time you've heard a radio?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Not the first time.

WILLIAM BERGE: Well do you remember that first time you had a radio? Under a roof belonging to your family.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, that was about 1938.

WILLIAM BERGE: That was a big deal wasn't it? Wasn't that a big deal for you?


WILLIAM BERGE: Do you remember the first time you rode in an automobile?



WILLIAM BERGE: When was that?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh that was uh at Fidelty I was twelve years old.

WILLIAM BERGE: And what was the occasion, do you remember?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh my mother's brother uh bought a car and we got to go for a ride in it.

WILLIAM BERGE: Just up and down the streets that sort of?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I remember the first time it was out of the county.

WILLIAM BERGE: And when was that?


WILLIAM BERGE: What was that for?

JUANITA RITCHIE: It was to go visit an aunt in Robinson.

WILLIAM BERGE: Where is that, Robinson?

JUANITA RITCHIE: It's uh south of [unclear]

WILLIAM BERGE: Like Scot county area?

JUANITA RITCHIE: It was Scot County or south of there.

WILLIAM BERGE: Was that a big thing?


WILLIAM BERGE: What did you listen to on the radio when you got your radio? What 88:00 did you like about it?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh what did we listen to?


JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh what did I listen, I listened to what was turned on.

WILLIAM BERGE: What did you like?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Gabe, well let's see. I remember--

WILLIAM BERGE: Gabriel [unclear]

JUANITA RITCHIE: My dad listened to Gabriel Heater I don't remember anything particular about him except that he was.

WILLIAM BERGE: Its good news tonight.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Quit voluminous in his uh devilry uh preaching, uh religious music, Grand Old Opera, and once in a while there would be some commercials with some nice music in the background.

WILLIAM BERGE: So you liked that?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I well I like it, I like that music then.

WILLIAM BERGE: Did you ever think about dancing or anything like that. Did you sneak in on a dance? Did someone teach you how to dance before you left there or did you?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I never learned the fine art, Archon Ray couldn't even teach 89:00 me. In Louisville I had some classes, so that was a rip off. Yet this was.

UNKNOWN INTERVIEWER: Was your mother from, had she, was she from, this area?

WILLIAM BERGE: She was born and raised.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, uh has never been outside the county.

WILLIAM BERGE: Ninety-five years in McCrery County, interesting. Have you noticed any changes in your mother since your mothers been able to watch television and stuff like that? Has she talked about things she didn't usually talk about?

JUANITA RITCHIE: She uh, she hears what's on television more than I do uh and she talks about the news, and the hostages, and all of the, all of the hype.

WILLIAM BERGE: So in other words your mother's really uh her horizon's been really broaden by televisions.

JUANITA RITCHIE: By television.

WILLIAM BERGE: By television.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Also through I think she liked our doing our homework because 90:00 that broaden her to, as far as she could go with us.

WILLIAM BERGE: She learned from that to?

JUANITA RITCHIE: As far as she could go with us.

UNKNOWN INTERVIEWER: Was she supportive when you went to Berea?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh in a negative kind of way, she said "you'll never make it".

WILLIAM BERGE: Is that right?

JUANITA RITCHIE: And that was the best thing she could have said. I'll show you.

UNKNOWN INTERVIEWER: Did she know what she was doing?

WILLIAM BERGE: Yea, did she do it purposely or not?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't know.

WILLIAM BERGE: She sure put a--


WILLIAM BERGE: She put a bur under your saddle so to speak though, didn't she?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right, she did. And my last memory before I left for Berea I 91:00 was on the back porch washing my face in the morning before I went to the bus. Uh I thought I only had a bus ticket to get there, she came out with five dollars. I don't know what she did with it all to get it or where she got it, or what she needed to spend it for. She said, "if you need to come home you--"

WILLIAM BERGE: Mad money so to speak.

JUANITA RITCHIE: right, "if you don't like it, you can get a ticket back".

WILLIAM BERGE: She probably was a lot more positive feeling about you going to school, than she sounded like.


WILLIAM BERGE: I get the feeling she must.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh yes, yes she was supportive. She was quite proud.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's interesting. Did she go see you graduate.

JUANITA RITCHIE: She never goes uh she goes times I can remember her going 92:00 anywhere would be to visit a sister in recent years in Corbin. She has been here three times uh my sister who uh lives over on court house hill, I don't know probably fewer times than that. We come to her.

WILLIAM BERGE: When you were--

JUANITA RITCHIE: With our Mecca to mom

WILLIAM BERGE: When you were uh young woman and you had gone from here at any junction in your life [pause] any time after you left home and had come back did you ever get the local newspaper?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh no I didn't subscribe to it, but when I would come home uh there would be several issues and I would read every one of them avidly. Uh not that I knew what was going on I couldn't follow the sequence of events.

WILLIAM BERGE: The names, names were different?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh the names were different, but I would always look for the 93:00 familiar ones. Some of them would keep requiring. In fact kept up with the, I always come back to the teachers. I could keep up with whether they were still in the system or whether they had gone elsewhere. Um there was a home ec teacher who did stay, she was my home ec teacher than uh she uh she and her husband were teachers in the system. He was, they were both Berea people, Leonard Stevens and he uh went into the law practice and uh practiced until he died of working himself to death then she went back into the system. So I followed all this through the paper.

WILLIAM BERGE: In uh this question is going to be one of the, you can think 94:00 about it or you can just react to it quickly either one. To what extent do you think the people in the power structure here, that would be the people in both the Sterns Company, political leaders, and school leaders did as a good as they could with the recourse they had to do something for the quality of life for the people who live in this county and to what degree do you think they have or had not they? That's a very complicated thing.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I think I would have to...

WILLIAM BERGE: How do you feel?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I think I would just ask the question that I can answer myself. 95:00 What is there that is here that is visible evidence of what the power structure has done? And what is here has to speak for itself. I don't know that much about the company.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you think that the general feeling when you come here, now let's say that the first time you had ever come to this county had been say been in the 40s or 50, and you came here and looked at it. And then you came back, three or four years ago when you came back, and looked at it.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I'd see a lot of new houses.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you think the county, do you think it looks better now or looked better then? Just from a pure cursory glance.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I think you would have to look all over the United States to answer that question. Uh does the whole United States look better or does it look worse with all this tick tacky housing, uh everything looking alike, or uh the individual houses? It its more, it looks more prosperous?

WILLIAM BERGE: It looks cleaner than you think or dirtier?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I wasn't around the county enough, I was on foot when I lived 96:00 here, so I can't really compare. I think that towns looked more dignified.

WILLIAM BERGE: Than it does now?

JUANITA RITCHIE: There was more dignity to it um there's pounds of used cars is the fact of the USA. Is that just the county or is it the times?

UNKNOWN INTERVIEWER: Do you think that the so called leaders in the community were concerned with this developing community in a clean proper way or?

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you think they were just takers? I guess that's the question we're asking. I don't, I know.

JUANITA RITCHIE: There certainly has been takers. There certainly has been takers. My father uh was in politics, I don't want any part of politics, he was a magistrate for three terms uh he uh was in a race for county judge.

WILLIAM BERGE: You have a county judge here?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes, uh I heard from the ground up equalization of the tax 97:00 structure, only he said equalization of the taxes.

WILLIAM BERGE: Same thing that people are talking about today.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Whether it's happened I don't know.

WILLIAM BERGE: It's an interesting, it's just an interesting [unclear] to make.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I would like to know if uh I would I don't know where to start, but I'd really like to know what taxes were paid.

WILLIAM BERGE: You mean who paid them as it is?

JUANITA RITCHIE: What portion that share of taxes is paid, was paid through out 98:00 money that was and is being earned here, and I don't think you could say there was one villain.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you uh, I know this is again a mixed bag, but do you think McCrery county has suffered or has not suffered because it was sort of a company county?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't know what it would have been without the company; would there have been something else?

WILLIAM BERGE: Well would there have been a county then estranged from the company?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh would uh well whether there was a separate county I don't know if that was good or bad.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah, oh I know I know.

JUANITA RITCHIE: The Company certainly furnished employment, but would it's just I can't answer that.


JUANITA RITCHIE: Would the people have left?

WILLIAM BERGE: I don't know, I don't even know either

JUANITA RITCHIE: Would the people have left?

WILLIAM BERGE: I've often wondered for instance in my own mind and I can't even 99:00 answer it. If there had been a different kind of company here were they were mining down there but they didn't have company towns, would there have been things like doctors? I don't know.


WILLIAM BERGE: I don't know if there were that many people, I don't think there were.

JUANITA RITCHIE: No, no there wouldn't have been I'm sure there wouldn't have been. There certainly weren't teachers. My older brothers and sisters didn't get the education.

WILLIAM BERGE: That you all did?

JUANITA RITCHIE: That some of us did. So I certainly, I won't paint the company black I won't paint it white.

WILLIAM BERGE: It's a mixed bag.

JUANITA RITCHIE: It's a mixed bag. Um.

WILLIAM BERGE: You ever go to the town library?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't see, oh that's uh my salvation when I really feel boxed in over here.

WILLIAM BERGE: Go over a talk to your cousin Velma?

JUANITA RITCHIE: And browse, all the girls over there are really nice. I could become the library bum, but I restrain myself.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's my main contact with the county is through the library. 100:00 Did you go up and look at the pictures?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh yes, uh they had a very nice Sunday afternoon event that was the cultural event.

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh did you go to the main opening?


WILLIAM BERGE: than you saw me there then. I was the one that talked the big fat guy.

JUANITA RITCHIE: This is where I saw you before. This is where I saw you.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah. I didn't remember you of course there were so many people there it was incredible the people that showed up.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right. Well I'm glad to know [laughing]

WILLIAM BERGE: I remember starting to do that though was going to be a problem, because and I was telling her about it. I really like this county, funny thing I have kind of a love hate relationship.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well I think were--


JUANITA RITCHIE: I'm a complete schizophrenic about such a thing.

WILLIAM BERGE: I told her I had never seen a place with so many rivals, 101:00 everybody's afraid of somebody else is going to get credit for doing something. The people in Pine Nut don't want the people in Whitley City to get credit, the people in the Whitley City don't want people in Pine nut to get credit, and the people in Pine Nut and Whitely City don't want people from Sterns to get credit. It's incredible.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And who are these people uh who are uh fostering this?

WILLIAM BERGE: I never, it's hard to put your finger on.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Do you think its McCrery County or do you think it's uh the USA?

WILLIAM BERGE: Well I think.

JUANITA RITCHIE: In the corporate offices that I have worked in.

WILLIAM BERGE: I think it's a little but of all if it, it seems more its, its better defied than here in most places.


WILLIAM BERGE: Because of the company I think, because of the two towns.


WILLIAM BERGE: You know it's really well quite defined here. We had a lot of people just be real nasty to us because we had so many Sterns pictures, but that's just [unclear] pictures.

JUANITA RITCHIE: No! Sterns was the one. Sterns had the facilities the 102:00 photography equipment.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah they had the pictures.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Who could make the pictures.

WILLIAM BERGE: In fact we used a much smaller percentage of the pictures Sterns gave us than all the other pictures in the county given to us.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well I don't think that the pictures of the, that Sterns gave you tell any wonderful story.

WILLIAM BERGE: Oh no, no they don't, but we just. I mean they didn't tell us which ones to use.

JUANITA RITCHIE: No I mean I don't think they, I don't think they give uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: They weren't blowing their horn anything I didn't think, did you?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Well when I look at it when I come back and look at it now I don't know now if I had looked at from having to lived here always maybe I would think they were blowing their horn.

WILLIAM BERGE: But they gave us a cart [unclear] go in there and take anyone's you want, and we tried to take the ones we thought told a story as well as we could find them.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Uh, when you look at the miners, when you look at those faces.


WILLIAM BERGE: Those faces.

JUANITA RITCHIE: It's written.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah it is. That tells a story I think. I think it tells, I think even well it, you don't learn, you don't like to learn the history of this county from those pictures, but you sure get a feeling for it. Don't you?

JUANITA RITCHIE: Yes. I would like uh to see some more of the education.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah we didn't uh.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Not that religion is education.

WILLIAM BERGE: We had surprisingly few pictures though. Uh we had.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Educators didn't respond to your request?

WILLIAM BERGE: That's right and we begged you know.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I wonder why.

WILLIAM BERGE: I don't know. We begged, you know, we had stuff in the paper all the time. We asked, we talked to people. We had a lot of similar pictures like a group of student standing in front of school, but even three or four of those.

JUANITA RITCHIE: That's all you can well space will allow only so much.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah. Now we took the pictures, took more modern picture of 104:00 everything that even resembled education and religion in the county we must have we have pictures of every church in this county, so you must know how many pictures we got of churches and that sort of stuff and schools you know.

JUANITA RITCHIE: In this county where everybody invites you to come to their church, but not to their home.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's right, that's right.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I have yet to have a specific invitation to anybody's home at any level in this county.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you think they're, they're embarrassed for you to see their homes they think you've seen too much and you think that maybe.


WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah, do you maybe think that they maybe think you've been around, and you're kind of a big deal to them now.


WILLIAM BERGE: I know it's just [unclear]

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh I'm just a [unclear] whose made it and continuing to make it, in this uh.

WILLIAM BERGE: I think they might feel a little somehow or another.

UNKNOWN INTERVIEWER: Somewhat intimidated, not by you as a person by the fact that you've been gone and you've seen things that they never will.



WILLIAM BERGE: I wonder. You never know.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't know how fortunate they are.

WILLIAM BERGE: Well Juanita, I want to thank you very much for this and I'm sure there will be a thousand things I'm going to think about after I'm gone that I should have asked you. Can you think of anything I should have asked you that I haven't?

JUANITA RITCHIE: No, you mention that I should write. I go round and round in circles and come out the same door wherein I went who ever said that. I really..

WILLIAM BERGE: It really nice if you would.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I don't have the perspective for it, right now. It might come it might not. I don't want to put a lot of garbage on the market there's too much of that now.

WILLIAM BERGE: But it, it you know there so many people that write about things 106:00 they don't know about some of these things it would be really interesting. Uh I often wondered, I use to live in Delta, Mississippi. When I was in the service my wife and I lived in Mississippi Delta. And we'd drive, this was in the early 50s, we'd drive along and you'd see a young black couple, a man and a woman, they'd be holding hands walking along the Delta road and they'd be carrying one baby and she would be pregnant and I always wondered what do these people think the future hold for them? And I often wondered when you were a little girl walking along the rail road tracks what did you think the future held for you?

JUANITA RITCHIE: I wondered and it looked bleak, uh particularly the year between high school and college.

WILLIAM BERGE: Do you have a feeling a lot of the people you knew, young girls, married the first guy that came down the tracks to get out of there?


WILLIAM BERGE: That's kind of sad.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And I'm not just talking about the holler I'm talking about--.


JUANITA RITCHIE: The mountains.

WILLIAM BERGE: That's what I mean when I say the first guy who came down the 107:00 road, the path, the track, whatever the first ticket out. That's why I'm...

JUANITA RITCHIE: And I think I was quite fortunate I had no proposals.

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah in other words you got.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Nobody asked me

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah you really are lucky in a way.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Right , and I am so grateful.

WILLIAM BERGE: Or You might have been living in the last house in Co-Op.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh I'll say nobody; I'll say nobody [laughing]

WILLIAM BERGE: That you were going to say yes.

JUANITA RITCHIE: No I didn't uh no a lot of uh, I'm sure a lot of women were trapped.

WILLIAM BERGE: I loved to know the number of women who married the first to ticket out and got out. I wonder how many of them stayed married with the man they married that got them out. Now I know.

JUANITA RITCHIE: That would be interesting

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah, I'd love to know.

JUANITA RITCHIE: That's something I haven't thought about.

WILLIAM BERGE: I've noticed that there are more divorces of the women that I 108:00 talked with who married their first ticket out and then got out, than there were with the ones who married their ticket and never go out. You know a lot of girls thought they were marrying their ticket and stayed in the holler the rest of their lives.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And there were more divorces in which case?

WILLIAM BERGE: The ones who left. They got their ticket out.

JUANITA RITCHIE: And then they found there was more. I'll go back to Aunt Leann Smith at Berea [laughing] uh there was a divorce case and um the judge said "what went wrong" "Oh I just lost my taste for Sam" [laughing].

WILLIAM BERGE: Yeah jumped backwards over the broom.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I lost my taste for Sam.

WILLIAM BERGE: I lost my taste for Sam, yeah.


WILLIAM BERGE: Again I want to thank you it has been one of the more delightful mornings I've ever had I guess and.

JUANITA RITCHIE: Oh my aren't you kind.

WILLIAM BERGE: No, it's true though.

JUANITA RITCHIE: I wished you'd come back again and again.

WILLIAM BERGE: I'd like it.

JUANITA RITCHIE:I wish I could give you something [unclear].

WILLIAM BERGE: You did, and if I ever think of anything specific that I need to talk with you about I'll call you is that okay?



[recoding ends]