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William H. Berge Oral History Center

Interview with Lula Hale Perry

November 1, 1981 (1982oh034)

Conducted by Anna Perry

Transcribed by Laurie Wilcox

SEVERAL TAPE STOPS AND STARTS. THERE IS A CONVERSATION IN THE BACKGROUND THROUGHOUT THE INTERVIEW. BECAUSE BOTH WOMEN HAVE THE SAME LAST NAME I HAVE LISTED THEM BY THERE FIRST NAMES. THE INTERVIEWER AND NARRATOR TALK OVER EACH OTHER A LOT. INTERVIEW ENDS ABRUPTLY.

Anna Perry: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Lula Hale Perry housewife, by Anna Perry, student of oral history for the Oral History Center of Eastern Kentucky University. The interview was conducted at Indian Creek Kentucky on November the first 1981 at 5pm.

[Tape on/off background noise]

ANNA: Lula thank you for letting me tape this interview. And first what's your full name?

LULA HALE PERRY: What?

ANNA: Your full name.

LULA: Lula Hale Perry.

ANNA: Hale is your maiden name?

LULA: Umhm yeah um hum

ANNA: What, what was your parent's names?

LULA: Thomas and Currie. Camille was her name but they called her Currie. It was 1:00Thomas and Camille Hale.

ANNA: And what was her name before she got married?

LULA: Tuttle

ANNA: Huttle?

LULA: Tuttle Tuttle

ANNA: Can you spell that?

LULA: T-U-T-T-L-E

ANNA: Okay thank you. Camille.

LULA: Um hum.

ANNA: Do you mind telling me when you was born?

LULA: 1907. Not a bit.

ANNA: Where were you born?

LULA: In Laurel county.

ANNA: Were you born in like London or out in the country?

LULA: Out in the country.

ANNA: Uh, when were you married?

LULA: Uh, February the seventeenth 28, 1928

ANNA: And who did you marry?

LULA: Roy Perry.

ANNA: How did you meet Roy?

LULA: Well our sisters married brothers. My sister and his sister married 2:00brothers. And we got together that way. They both married Clarks.

ANNA: Okay, okay so you, you. . .

LULA: Just met, you know, I'd be.

ANNA: Through.

LULA: Yeah through our, through our sisters husbands, I guess you'd say.

ANNA: Which one of the sisters married them?

LULA: Kitty married Vestal Clark and his sister Della married Walter Clark.

ANNA: Um hum. Ah what was Roy doing when you met him?

LULA: Working in the mines at Twila Kentucky.

ANNA: Did you know that you'd be living up there when you when?

LULA: Yeah we married on Friday, went up there on Sunday and lived there eighteen years. And come out with five kids.

ANNA: Had, had you ever been around the coal camp before?

LULA: Never. Just through them you know, going through. No I'd never been in a coal camp.

ANNA: So you got married on what Friday and?

LULA: On Friday and went up there on Friday, ah went up there on Sunday and 3:00stayed there 18 years.

ANNA: What, did Roy already have a house for you when?

LULA: No. No we ah stayed with his brother for eight weeks. Boarded with them for eight weeks. And then we got us--we couldn't get it was during the rush, rush, you know everything is rushing up there. It was three big mining camps up there. And we had to go to housekeeping in two rooms at Wallins Creek. We just, we just went to housekeeping in two rooms and lived there till December and then moved in a house, you know, on, on ah, but we never owned a house there, we just lived up there.

ANNA: Well when you, when you moved in the house was it, was it at Twila or Wallins creek?

LULA: I, ah, we moved in the house at Wallins creek but he worked at Twila. Creech Coal Company.

ANNA: Did you ever live at Twila or did you always live in?

LULA: No we lived, we lived ah about half way between the Creech's and Wallins. 4:00Just a little place they called Louisville, you know, they just nicknamed it. Yeah. This, it was just nicknamed Louisville.

ANNA: How long did you say you were up there?

LULA: Eighteen years, I believe that's about right I hope we both tell the same.

ANNA: [mumbling] [unclear] I want you to. Ah about what time did Roy leave going to work every morning?

LULA: Oh, anywhere from, we got up at four o'clock and we work, had a wood stove then, and we'd, he'd build a fire in the stove and I'd get up and get breakfast eat. And about 6 he'd leave the house about six o'clock.

ANNA: How did he get to work?

LULA: Ah he rode a taxi. They'd come by the house and picked him up. He had a certain taxi driver come by each morning picks, picked him up.

ANNA: Um hum. Did you have any children?

LULA: Oh we come out of there with, ah, we come of there with seven.

ANNA: Yeah that's right you said that.

LULA: Yeah.

ANNA: But they were all born.

LULA: All born up there except Carolyn. We had one after we moved here in 5:00McCreary County. Carol was born here.

ANNA: Uh, when was, when was the first?

LULA: Well, let's see we was married thirteen months and two days when our first boy was born and then in thirteen more months we had another one. [Laughing] So.

ANNA: I didn't know that. Uh, where were, where were they born? Were they born at home or in a hospital?

LULA: No, I had all my children at home, didn't have any of them in the hospital.

ANNA: Did you have a doctor. . .

LULA: Had a camp doctor, a good one.

ANNA: Um Hum. Do you remember what his name was?

LULA: Uh, Paynter. Doctor C. C. Paynter. P-A-Y-N-T-E-R.

ANNA: Y-N?

LULA: P-A-Y-N-T-E-R. Um hum.

ANNA: Okay, that's different. Uh, what did you ah, did you go see the doctor when you found out you was pregnant?

LULA: No, I never did have to go to the doctor. I always knew pretty well when I was pregnant and when I wasn't. [laughing]

ANNA: Well when it got sort of close.

LULA: Oh yeah, he checked, and he checked me occasionally, you know, 6:00thr--between the first and first and then the, that whole. Yeah I'd get checked occasionally. My blood pressure and things like that.

ANNA: The first one. That first one, can you remember what it was like when you went into labor?

LULA: Oh it was terrible, it was terrible. I was in labor eighteen hours. My mother was there and she walked the floor with me. [laughing]

ANNA: Was the doctor there or?

LULA: No. No we didn't get him, well he come and he examined me and he said it's going to be quite awhile and said I'll be back. So he come back in plenty of time for you know the baby. He knew it. He always have a much harder, worse time with the first one so he. But he did get back in time to, you know, take care of me.

ANNA: Well did you have any kind of like medication or anything?

LULA: No nothing. I was real healthy. Young and strong and healthy.

ANNA: Well when the, I always wondered this, when the baby was born, okay, you were in bed right?

LULA: Um hum.

ANNA: And you had--what did they do. I mean did they wash the baby or?

LULA: Well yeah. We had a , we had a , well his mother was there and then there 7:00was one of the neighbor women and they just took it on a blanket and washed it and did what has to be done to a new born baby. Then out it in the bed with me.

ANNA: Did you have water in the house.

LULA: No, no we didn't, we didn't have water in the house.

ANNA: Did you have like a pump right outside the door?

LULA: Oh yeah, just outside the backdoor?

ANNA: So, then you.

LULA: It was pretty handy.

ANNA: So you had to heat water?

LULA: Oh, it was pretty handy to get. But you had to heat it yourself. You didn't have no, no running water in the house. Never did have, you know, while we lived there.

ANNA: Did you live in the same house all the time you lived there?

LULA: No we lived one house eleven years and then we moved up in the camp and lived the rest of the time while we was there.

ANNA: Ah, How about the house up in the camp did it?

LULA: It didn't have running water either. Just a, just a pump. That's all, none of the camp houses had running water.

ANNA: Well I guess Roy got pretty dirty in the mines.

8:00

LULA: Oh yeah, he'd always have to bath. We'd go--I'd have his bath water ready when he'd come in and he'd take a bath. And out his old bath clothes, he'd hang them up next to, I mean, his work clothes. And then he'd get up the next morning and go back to work and put them back on again.

ANNA: How in the world did you ever get his clothes clean?

LULA: Well, you really didn't have to get them clean you just got the coal dust out of them. You didn't have, you know you didn't get them clean like you would a pillowcase or something like that. We just had to get their, wash out the stove, mining dust is all.

ANNA: Just get the worst of it out?

LULA: Just get the worst of it, that's all, that's all he--I had a washer from ah,

ANNA: Oh did you?

LULA: Yeah I had a washer it was, ah, it had a motor, you know, it had a, a, it was a gasoline motor washer. So I just threw them in there. Then after it got done washing them I'd just wash the washer out and go back to the usual.

ANNA: When did you get the washer did you get?

LULA: Oh no I had four kids before I had the washer. I had, Jean was a baby when 9:00I got a washer. So I didn't get a washer right off. I washed on the board. It was rough I'll tell you that. In Harlan it was pretty rough but we was rough but we was young. You know we spent a lot of good years there. And there's a lot of good people in Harlan. There's a lot of mean ones too but ah, but they were some wonderful people, I hated to [loud laughing in the background] -- I hated to [laughing] I hated to leave Harlan; there was some really wonderful people.

ANNA: When you lived, when you lived in the county, ah, I guess you had neighbors, of course, right?

LULA: Oh yeah on each side, on each side of the house. The house, camp house are all close, you know.

ANNA: How about when you lived at, Louisville is that where

LULA: Yeah.

ANNA: Did you have close neighbors there?

LULA: No, not, not, we had sort of a little farm and he raised all kinds of you 10:00now garden stuff and corn, and everything like that. Along the house was, oh I'd say, I'm no judge of feet or anything like that, but it was in hollering distance, you know.

ANNA: Yeah.

LULA: It wasn't real close though. But when we lived in the camp there was houses on each side.

ANNA: Well did you ever get lonesome when you was out there?

LULA: Well not really I didn't have time. After I first had my first baby you know, it wasn't long then after another one come along and then I just kept you know. . .

ANNA: You were busy.

LULA: I had to wash, [laughing] and iron and cook and all that sort of thing. But I was young and healthy and didn't mind a bit.

ANNA: Tell me about a just--you'd get up at 4 o'clock.

LULA: Four o'clock, um hm.

ANNA: And just tell me about a day.

LULA: Well as a usual day I'd get up, I mean before the kids got old enough to go to school, I'd get them all up and feed them their breakfast and go milk and put the milk away, and just you know straighten the house and. I washed about two days a week, I had too with so many kids you know.

ANNA: Yeah.

LULA: Then after they all got in school, I mean the younger ones got in, the 11:00older ones got in school I would, ah, wash them and get them all ready to go to school. They'd come home for their lunch and I didn't have much time between breakfast and dinner. Had to get their dinner ready for them, you know.

ANNA: Yeah.

LULA: And ah they'd come home for their lunch and it wasn't long till he was in for supper. So I didn't, I didn't have no time to spare, I kept going. [laughing] I just about had too.

ANNA: You didn't have time to get lonesome.

LULA: No. Lord no I didn't have no time for that.

ANNA: Did you always have a cow when you was up there?

LULA: Yeah we always had a cow and chickens. Killed two big hogs every year. So we didn't live bad at all. It was during the depression, we really married in the depression.

ANNA: Yeah that's right.

LULA: But yeah we did. But ah, I tell you we managed just we just--we both worked, we both worked. We had to.

ANNA: Yeah.

LULA: And I canned. He'd pick berries and I'd can them. We'd buy appels and can. 12:00I count as high as a thousand corks lots of summers. You know, and them we had kids enough to eat it. You know. Every, few--just ever--well there was thirteen months between our two first ones and I waited about a year and a half between the rest of the, and you know it wasn't long we had a great big bunch of kids. [Laughing] And it takes quite a bit to feed children. And he didn't make much, Roy didn't make much, two and three dollars a day. That's all he made and we had to manage, he had to do a lot of figuring.

ANNA: Yeah

LULA: You know.

ANNA: Let's see. Roy had been working in the mines when union came along.

LULA: Oh yeah, he, ah, he, he was a, he was a, he'd been, he worked in the mine two years before I went up there. And then he helped organize the union. Roy did.

ANNA: Did you ever get scared when he was. . .

LULA: Oh heavens yeah. I'd b--when he'd leave the house I wouldn't know whether I'd see him anymore or not, you know.

ANNA: Yeah.

LULA: There was fighting and killing oh lots of people got killed.

ANNA: Um Hm. I've heard talk some about it but you know not that much.

LULA: It was pretty rough that part of it. I didn't like that at all but you know outside of that we, we had a pretty nice time in Harlan. We went to Sunday school and church. I had a good old Pastor, and you know.

ANNA: Do you remember his name?

LULA: Ah, ah, Vineyard, John Vineyard. Brother John Vineyard.

ANNA: And was the church right there in the community?

LULA: Yeah. Yeah, we helped build it. Kentenie Baptist was the name of it. 13:00K-E-N-T-E-N-I-E , K-E-N-T-E-N-I-E, Kentenie Baptist church. Still there.

ANNA: Do you know how to spell his last name?

LULA: V-I-N-E-Y-A-R-D. Preacher John Vineyard, he preached up there. He was a good old man.

ANNA: Uh. You said you all helped build the church. Did you work on it or?

[TALKING OVER EACH OTHER]

LULA: The I mean the, no. The members donated $5 a month out of their paycheck, every month all the members of the church, you know. In fact we organized the church and Brother Vineyard helped us. And when we paid his salary he didn't take it he would put It right back in the church, till we got. And a year from the day we built the church we dedicated it to God because we paid for it. In that length of time we paid for it.

ANNA: About what year would that be?

LULA: Well lets see. I declare I can't hardly remember.

ANNA: You remember about how long you had been there?

14:00

LULA: Yeah.

ANNA: How old the kids were?

LULA: Let's see June was a baby.

ANNA: Well when was she born?

LULA: Well honey, I can't remember.

ANNA: Which one is she of your kids?

LULA: She's the fifth one.

ANNA: So it would have been say 35, 38?

LULA: Yeah closer to 40. Yeah late thirties or early forties somewhere along there. I really don't know exactly.

ANNA: Yeah well.

LULA: I'm not too much on dates.

ANNA: I'm not either it don't matter exactly I was just wondering about.

LULA: No not really. It was either the late thirties or the early forties.

ANNA: Well before you got the church built where did you hold service?

LULA: Well they didn't have any Baptist and we was Baptist so we just didn't go to church. Well I mean they had them at Wallins and they had them at Creech's but we didn't have a car at that time so we just didn't go to church till we organized one of our own.

ANNA: And where was it located?

LULA: Right at ah, let's see up well at Louisville, you know.

15:00

ANNA: Yeah. In other words really close to where

LULA: Close to where we lived. Just right up on the hill above where we lived.

ANNA: You said your washing machine had a gasoline.

LULA: Gasoline motor.

ANNA: Did you, did you have electricity?

LULA: No we didn't have no not when we lived where we lived eleven years. We didn't have no electric but you know it washed real good I bought a barn new one. I mean gasoline one. But I had four children before I even bought it so I've done a lot of work in my time [laughing] I had to.

ANNA: Did you have coal stoves or fireplaces or both?

LULA: Yeah we had coal stove. Burnt coal we got coal at the mines where he worked.

ANNA: Well did you all just lay the fire in the mornings, did you all just make the fire in the mornings or did you just bank it up at night?

LULA: Well we'd bank it at night in the winter and then in the morning we didn't 16:00have any in the fireplace because he built a fire in the cook stove. We burned coal and wood both in the cook stove. I'd get up and get breakfast and get him off to work. Then my days work would start. About that time the children would start began getting up, you know.

ANNA: What king of light did you use?

LULA: Light?

ANNA: Uh huh.

LULA: Lamp. Plain coal oil lamp. For eleven years we did that.

ANNA: Do you remember how many you had to?

LULA: Well I think we had about one for each room because I know we had mantels and we'd leave the lamps sitting on the mantels and then we'd go in there and we'd light the one that was in the room, you know.

ANNA: How many rooms did you have in your house?

LULA: Four. Four, we had two bedrooms and uh , well for a while we used both bedrooms then we finally , just uh used, put a living room suit in one of the rooms and put the beds all in one room. They was big rooms, and so. We didn't have a living room for quite a while when we lived there.

ANNA: Could you estimate about how big one of those rooms would be?

LULA: Well I'd say about like, about like 14 by 14. Fourteen by sixteen I think really. Fourteen by sixteen yeah Something like that. Something like this.

ANNA: They don't make[unclear] .When they build houses now. . . .

17:00

LULA: Oh you have to back out. [laughing]

ANNA: Were your children sick much?

LULA: No not really just the, you know, measles and mumps and the childhood diseases, whooping cough and things like that. But no they was all healthy. We'd had no cripple and no, you know nothing, no serious sickness.

ANNA: Well when, when somebody got sick did you take them like to the doctors?

LULA: Oh yeah we'd take them to the doctor, well no he'd come. He'd come if you'd send him word by somebody. Why he'd stop at the house. He had to go right by to go on to Harlan. He always went to Harlan every day because he had patients in the hospital in Harlan. And he'd come right by our house so if one of them got sick and you know too bad to take to the doctors office why he'd stop by. He'd stop by sometimes and I'd take them to the office sometimes, we do it both ways.

ANNA: Did you pay the doctor yourself or did?

LULA: So much a month they cut him so much a month they cut him through the 18:00office. So much a month. And he's a good doctor.

ANNA: Health care type?

LULA: Well yeah. I guess something on that order.

ANNA: Well would that pay did you have anything that would not pay some if you had to go to the hospital?

LULA: Yeah oh yeah they had hospital. See Roy got hurt and stayed in the hospital 67 days. And they paid every bit of that. The mine, the miners carried that, you see. It was compensation I think they called it or something like that.

ANNA: Now tell me about when Roy got hurt.

LULA: Well I was pregnant with Joy and I was sick, hadn't set up all day in 19:00three weeks. And when the ambulance went down to the house they'd come and told some of the neighbors. They'd, you know, I wasn't well and so they come and told some of the neighbors and made two or three of them come in. And I, somebody said the ambulance was going down. And of course naturally I wanted to go and look out. I couldn't see it so far I couldn't tell who was in there so then in a few minutes somebody come in and said well we might as well tell you Mrs. Perry, said your husband's got hurt. And I said bad? And they said no, they said, he just got a hip broke. And you know it kind of consoled me a little bit then but he was hurt worse than that. He had his pelvis bone broke and his leg, and hip and. Well, he never was able to work anymore after that. He stayed 67 days in the hospital.

ANNA: Where was he in the hospital?

LULA: At Pineville.

ANNA: They took him

LULA: Um hm they took him. Well if they got hurt pretty bad they took them to Pineville. If they wasn't hurt too bad they'd take them to Harlan. Cause Pineville is much bigger, more equipped, you know they was better equipped. [cough -- Anna] To take care of people like that.

ANNA: Well after, what year would that be?

LULA: Well I'd have to study again.

ANNA: About about.

LULA: That was ah, about, it was in the forties.

ANNA: So well when he got out of the hospital did he go back to?

LULA: No he didn't go back to work, we moved here. We had to move down here because he couldn't work and ah.

ANNA: Well did you move right away?

LULA: No we stayed there a year. Well the church there and everybody begged us 20:00to stay. They hated us to leave because the church was small you know and we both, I taught ad Sunday school class and he was, he'd lead prayer meeting and things like that. And they kept begging us to stay [unclear] and so we stayed on for a year. Now we moved here in 45. And we've been here ever since. Children all went to school here in McCreary County and they're all scattered about and gone.

ANNA: Did any of them start school up there?

LULA: Oh yeah, yeah they all, the older ones all went to school, the boys was ready for high school when we moved here. Well they went to school here from September, I mean from July till September to get kind of renewed up and they took their test and started the high school together. They started school together.

ANNA: Which two would this be?

LULA: Jim and Arils. You know, you know Arils?

ANNA: Yeah. Ah, [unclear] did they go to, was they, did they go to school in Creech's or in Wallins Creek?

LULA: They went to Creech's, they went to Creechs and caught the bus.

ANNA: Do you remember how many rooms that school had?

21:00

LULA: Well two, they had two. And two teachers. They had the big grades in one room and ah.

ANNA: Do you remember any of the teachers names?

LULA: Yes Joe Long and Rose Long. Joe Long was the principal and Rose Long was his wife. She taught the little grades and he taught the bigger grades. They're both dead now.

ANNA: And this would be what, the forties?

LULA: Well yeah.

ANNA: Or late thirties?

LULA: Yeah and early forties. Cause we moved here in forty-five and they was going to school when we moved.

ANNA: [pause] Well let's see you said you didn't have electricity so you didn't have a radio would you?

LULA: No. No. Yeah we had a battery, had a battery radio, yeah. we had a battery 22:00radio, and all the neighbors gang in because we was the only one on the camp that all among, in that little, it wasn't a camp it was just a private homes but they'd all come in on Saturday night because we was the only one that had the radio.

ANNA: What did you listen to?

LULA: Grand Ole Opry. [laughing ] till it went off. Always.

ANNA: Let's see you didn't live in a company house then except.

LULA: Not at that time, no. But we did move, we lived there eleven years and then the last seven years we moved, we moved up in town. We was living in the camp when we moved, when he got hurt.

ANNA: So then when he got hurt you didn't have to move out of the house?

LULA: No. No.

ANNA: They wanted you to stay?

LULA: No they they everybody wanted us to stay. They begged us to stay on. They even offered him, told him if he'd stay on they'd fix him up a, you know, something like a night watching job or something. But he, he wanted to come down here so that's where we come to.

ANNA: He wanted to come back home.

LULA: Yeah [laughing] So we moved here in 45 wasn't it Dad?

ROY PERRY: What?

LULA: [laughing] He don't remember.

ANNA: So the owners didn't make people move out of the house?

LULA: Not really no they was real good. Creech's was good to all their men. No we they didn't [unclear].

ANNA: Do you remember how much the rent was for the house?

LULA: I think it was nine.

23:00

ROY: It finally come down to five dollars a month.

LULA: I mean now when we lived in camp. It was nine dollars a month wasn't it?

ROY: Yeah.

LULA: nine dollars a month, and they cut, they cut it through the office. We didn't have to pay it you see. I mean they just cut it through his statement.

ANNA: Did you have electricity?

LULA: Oh yeah then we did.

ROY: [unclear] half every two weeks.

ANNA: Do you remember how many houses there were about?

LULA: Well around us I'd roughly say there was.

ROY: Three or four hundred.

LULA: I mean not right where we lived.

ROY: Oh no. No

LULA: There was forty or forty-five I guess, where we lived.

ANNA: In the whole camp?

LULA: Oh in the whole camp I guess there was. They worked six hundred men didn't they?

ROY: Six or seven hundred men. There was four or five hundred houses.

LULA: Six or seven, yeah there was four or five hundred houses. They worked six hundred men there where we lived.

ANNA: Were ah, somebody say something about the Ford mines, were they working when you were up there?

LULA: They, they was between us, where we lived yeah he didn't work for them but they was up there.

ANNA: They had their own houses and stuff?

LULA: Yeah they had, that wasn't, that wasn't a Creech camp that was a Ford camp.

24:00

ANNA: Yeah so you didn't have that much to do with them?

LULA: No not really we didn't you know we didn't have occasion to go over in their camp nor them come to us.

ANNA: What kind of stores and things did you have at Creech's?

LULA: They had a big commissary. And they had anything in the world you'd want but everything was extremely high, you know.

ANNA: Was, did it cost more at that store than if you , say, went to Wallins?

LULA: Yeah , yeah it did but uh we used scrip. And you know, we'd go to draw scrip and trade at the company store. But we didn't have to but we just did. They, they actually wanted you to, you know. So we traded at the company store and it was awfully high.

ANNA: Uh huh. What was it because it was closer?

LULA: No it was really farther away but ah, well they didn't come out and say 25:00that you got to trade at the company store but they left the impression that you that you'd, you know, if you worked for us you're going to trade with us. I mean something on that order. They didn't enforce it or anything but that's the impression that we got. [laughing] That if you work in our mines you're going to trade at our store, so that's what we did. We'd just go draw scrip and trade each day.

ANNA: What sort of thing did you buy? I mean you said had a calf so you didn't have to buy milk?

LULA: Oh we had we had our own milking. I sold enough milk and butter to run the table, you know. And that helped out a lot. But I just ah, we, in the summer time we'd buy meat and things. In the winter we had our own meat but in, you know just the usual. Lard and.

ANNA: Salt

LULA: You know things that made it to cook with mostly.

ANNA: You said you sold milk and butter?

LULA: Yeah.

ANNA: Did you sell eggs?

LULA: Yeah. Sold eggs and milk and butter.

ANNA: Well did you sell it like at Creechs?

LULA: No just around, just some people around would come and get it. I had regular customers. They'd come in you know and buy it. And I wouldn't I didn't have to deliver it or anything.

ANNA: So was it. Was it mostly people in camp or people.

LULA: Yeah it was people in around where we lived.

ANNA: So everybody didn't have a like calf or.

LULA: No hm um. No a lot of people wouldn't fool with a cow but see we had all 26:00these kids and you just couldn't buy milk for. We always kept a cow when we had the kids. For the children we always had a cow. And we had chickens and eggs and butter and all that sort of things.

ANNA: Well who milked, who milked the cow ?

LULA: Both. Both of us. Sometimes he would and sometimes I, they didn't work good. They just worked two or three days a week, so the days he was off he milked and when he and he worked I milked.

ANNA: Oh so he didn't work everyday?

LULA: Oh no, they didn't work regular. No they didn't work regular at Creech's that's the reason , you know, never could get ahead. Never could get nothing ahead. We ate seven days and only work three or four [laughing]. So

ANNA: So he would, he would help, did you always give the, did you churn?

LULA: Oh yeah, churned and made butter. We had an ice box, I don't know if 27:00you've ever seen one or not but you had, you hung out your ice card for 50 pound, or 100 pound or 75 pound or 25 pound and whatever you hung that out the iceman would bring that and put it in your icebox. And you'd put your milk in there and keep it. We didn't have no electric. We didn't have no refrigerator.

ANNA: How often did the iceman come?

LULA: Every other day. We'd get fifty pound every other day and that kept everything good and cold.

ANNA: Do you remember how much it cost?

LULA: I think fifteen cents; I believe it was what fifty pounds was.

ANNA: Fifty pounds was?

LULA: I think fifty pound of ice costs fifteen cents. And It's always leave it on top of a if I wasn't in my house. Well it was a man we knew real well and he just come and put it in there and get the. I think it was fifteen, I'm almost sure it was fifteen cents. Everything was cheap but there wasn't much money stirring, you know.

ANNA: Well yeah during the depression.

LULA: I know it right in the depression that's for sure. But we lived much better than a lot of people because a lot of people had as much family as we had and had no cow and no chickens and just got the same amount of work Roy did so they couldn't, you know they just couldn't buy.

ANNA: Well did he work jus three or four days a week the whole time he was up 28:00there or were there times when he worked more and . . .

LULA: Well in the winter he'd get more work. Sometimes he'd get five days a week. But never six, he never did get six days.

ANNA : Not the whole time he worked?

LULA: No never did. In the winter time he'd work about four and five days a week but in the summer time they'd cut down. A lot of times I'd known them to work as much as one day a week. One day a week and then.

ANNA: It's sort of hard to make it.

LULA: Oh it was hard to. You know we had to manage, we had to manage. I could sew, I had my own sewing machine I bought my own sewing machine. Back then when you got cow feeds you got print sacks and I kept my kids just dressed to kill, you know if these print sacks.

ANNA: My grandmother use to do that.

LULA: Yeah we'd always get print sacks. Where we traded they would match them up, you know. And I'd make there little panties and dresses and things. And I kept them all, it was a job but I kept them clean. A lot better than I could this day and time. [laughing]

ANNA: Was, was it hard keeping kids clean in a coal mining camp?

LULA: Well we didn't live close to the mines; there wasn't no dust or nothing 29:00you know. No just about like living in the country. No it wasn't too hard. I'd always make them, we didn't have a bathroom of course but they'd always wash their feet and their face and hands before they went to bed and that saved bed clothing. And I know one of the neighbors was like Carolyn said since we moved here said she come up and said Momma can I go to bed tonight without washing my feet. [laughing] I said I always made them wash their feet because it saves so much washing you know. And it only takes a minute to wash off their feet. And you know you get in on a clean white sheet with your feet it ain't long before it ain't white anymore. [laughing]

ANNA: Um hm. What did you all do for entertainment up there?

LULA: Well, Roy had a hillbilly band, the Burk Brothers B-U-R-K. And of course 30:00his brother Raymond picked the banjo. And we had lots of music sessions, you know. The Burk Brothers and Raymond Rye played. There was always something going on. And then on Saturday nights we'd listen to the Grande Ole Opry. And then we went to church and Sunday school on Sunday, so there was never a dull moment really. There was always something going on.

ANNA: Did you have a car?

LULA: No. No we never had a car till we moved here. You'd, you'd get a taxi either to Creech's or to Wallins for a dime.

[INTERRUPTION]

LULA: They all them wildcat strikes. They just the men would come out their selves. It wasn't the whole union would call them out they just take a notion and want more money and they'd come out on a strike. And when they'd all call them together they'd maybe give them a 85 cent raise and they'd all go back. Then it wouldn't be two weeks they'd all cut them back again so. That didn't really do, you know. We'd save up a little money and have maybe three or four hundred dollars, and that was a fortune then you know. And then they'd come to on a strike and it would take every bit.

ANNA: That's what I was gong to ask.

LULA: Yeah.

ANNA: But of course a wildcat strike you wouldn't get anything.

LULA: Not a thing in the world. Not a thing. And they, you know, Roy of course 31:00he was working if it was summer time he'd work in his garden and his crop and things that way. But no we didn't get nothing off the union because the union, it was just the men that come out the union didn't call them. Now when the union called them out, and they have a few times, they'd would get, you'd get, you know. They'd give you a check or food or something. You know the union would always say whenever they call them out.

ANNA: That's what I. Did, did they mostly give them money to buy food or just give them food?

LULA: Sometimes, well they'd give you vouchers, you know. And you could take them to any store you wanted to and most of the time we'd take ours to Wallins creek because, you know, you didn't trade much with the company store when you wasn't working for them. [laughing]

ANNA: When you were on strike?

LULA: You wouldn't have been very welcome. [laughing]

ANNA: Who worked in the company store, did they, was it company men or?

LULA: No not really they was, um, the, the dry good clerk was named Orville Williams, Orville Williams.

ANNA: So they had different clerks for different areas?

32:00

LULA: Oh yeah different clerks in different areas. And the store manager was, ah, let's see, Earl Winters was the store manager.

ANNA: W-I-N-T-E-R-S?

LULA: W-I-N-T-E-R-S, Earl Winters. Miss Winters was the postmaster; his wife was the post mistress.

ANNA: Well did they, they had that right in the store?

LULA: Oh yeah. The post office was down underneath, you know. Let's see I can't remember. There was a Sperlock boy that was one of the butchers the clerks in the meat department but I can't remember his name. And then there was a boy called Granny Williams that was the delivery boy. He's dead now. Granny Williams they called him but it was a boy. He got around so feeble I think's the reason they called him Granny.

ANNA: So.

LULA: But he, he was the delivery boy, you know.

33:00

ANNA: Yeah

LULA: And I can't hardly think of none of the rest of their names.

ANNA: It was a big place then?

LULA: Oh yeah they delivered. And Ceff Bird was the man that hauled the coal. He's dead too of course Ceff Bird.

ANNA: Ceff how do you spell that?

LULA: Uh, Lord I couldn't [laughing].

ANNA: I'll still add it.

LULA: Well. C-E-F-F I guess. I, I really don't know.

ANNA: Me either.

LULA: He delivered coal, in a wagon of all things. He delivered coal to the houses you know.

ANNA: With a horse?

LULA: Yeah horses. Like you go up to the coal and you go to, uh, the scrip store and you say I want a coal order. Well they'd bring your coal right on that evening. And then they'd cut it through the office, you know. They cut Roy threw the office and you didn't have to pay nothing with cash at the company store. They cut everything you know. The rent and all things.

ANNA: So you got your coal from them too?

34:00

LULA: Oh yeah but you had to pay. You had to pay but they delivered it. Now Ceff, Ceff Bird is the one that, yeah. I [unclear].

ANNA: [unclear] [shuffling papers] [humming] Did you have any movies, anything like that up there?

LULA: Oh yeah we liked to go to the theater. We had a theater in Wallins Creek. We went quite often. Yeah. We saw some good movies down there. Silent movies of course, you know.

ANNA: Really?

LULA: Silent movies.

ANNA: Can you remember a name of any them ?

LULA: Well, ah Hong Kong, that big ape you know.

ANNA: Oh yeah.

LULA: I believe it was, King Kong, King Kong

ANNA: King Kong.

LULA: Yeah that was one of them. And um, I can remember Alice Fay in something 35:00but I can't remember what she played in. It's been a long time you know. But yeah they had a good, they had a good theater there, good movies. We'd go maybe once a week or some thing like that.

ANNA: Would you take a taxi?

LULA: Yeah, take a taxi and one back. They'd always line up and pick up the people as they come out of the. . . .

ANNA: About how often did the taxi run?

LULA: Oh they they I guess they was about fifteen taxi's on the road and they was constantly one going by. You didn't have to wait you know. Most of the time by the time you got over to the road they was there waiting.

ANNA: Well did they deliver mail or did you pick up?

LULA: No, we picked up our own mail. We picked up our mail at the commissary. It was underneath the commissary, the post office was.

ANNA: Did you ever have any problem with your kids trying to, trying to play around the mines or anything?

LULA: Hm um. We never lived that close to the mines.

ANNA: You moved up into the camp were you still?

LULA: Yeah. Yeah we was a long ways from the from the mines. We didn't, no they 36:00never, you know they never did, was around the mines none in their life. Near the tipple or nothing.

ANNA: Did you ever go up and watch and see what they was doing up there?

LULA: No. No they never allowed no women up there. They said it was bad luck for a woman to go in around the mines. They were never allowed no women.

ANNA: [unclear] sort of superstitious than . . .

LULA: Super--well they said every time a woman went in the mine someone got killed and so Roy never did you know he never did mention. Raymond never mentioned Bonnie going so me and Bonnie done pretty well we stayed pretty--we was like sisters, just exactly. I thought as much of Bonnie as a sister I had. And I believe she felt the same thing, felt the same about me.

ANNA: What did your kids do to play?

LULA: Well they got out and played hopscotch and ball. We had a field kind of like, neighbor kids would gather in and play ball and pitch horseshoes and just what the average kid does.

ANNA: Did they have any any kind of ball team or anything at the school?

LULA: Well the bigger ones did, yeah the bigger boys. But our boys never did 37:00join up because they was only just about fourteen or fifteen when we moved here. They never had any, you know I mean they never was in any basketball or anything like that.

ANNA: But the school had it?

LULA: Yeah they played. Yeah, yeah, but they played ah, you know--we can make some fresh coffee [unclear]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah I put another pot on. Herman wasn't a piece of this pumpkin pie.

LULA: This is [unclear] I'm sorry.

TAPE TURNED OFF

ANNA: Could you tell me about a Christmas at Creech's?

LULA: Oh we had a nice Christmas. The company give every kid you had a great big 38:00bag of candy and apples, they give us a treat, and they delivered it. Oh Christmas's, and we'd catch a taxi and go to Harlan and you could get a, a three pound fruit cake for a dollar. Three pound for a dollar, and we'd get two. We'd get a dark one and, they was Jane, Jane Parker and we'd get.

ANNA: [unclear] still get.

LULA: Well I bet there not anymore. Well we'd get two because you know we'd eat all through Christmas, you know. The company give us so much candy and stuff we really didn't have to buy much. They'd bring them big old grocery bags full of apples and candy and bananas and nuts and every child got that, and their parents, each one. We had wonderful Christmas's.

ANNA: Did you even buy Christmas tree or go out and cut one?

LULA: We'd cut one, used to cut one. Because we lived on this place and the woman that we rented from told us "Now just use it like it's your own" so he's always go out and cut us a tree and put a stand on it you know. And we had some wonderful times. Actually we spent the best part of our life up there in Creech's camp. We was young you know and.

ANNA: Did, did you put store bought ornaments on the tree or did you rather make them?

LULA: Well we strung some popcorn and I put tinsel, you know. And we didn't have 39:00no electric and I was always afraid of burning the tree with eh other lights, so we really didn't have it lit up too much. [laughing]

ANNA: How about when you moved into the camp did you have?

LULA: Oh yeah we had, yeah we had. I remember our church then give the treat. The church give us a treat and then the company give us the treat. So we had candy and everything on the place.

ANNA: Did they have ah did the church or the school put on a Christmas plays?

LULA: Oh yeah, yeah always. I know we put on the last year we was there us women put on a, a real nice Christmas. It was angel up there and we was all the wicked women and we went with. Well one had a whiskey bottle, you know we was trying to get them all on our side and she wouldn't she just stared straight ahead. It was a wonderful play. Last Christmas there.

ANNA: Was there much drinking that went on up in the?

LULA: Oh yeah. You could find that type if you was out looking for them, you 40:00know. If you were looking for trouble you could find it but we didn't associate with that kind of people. We took our kids to church and Sunday school and we stayed away from the bad guys.

ANNA: And there's just as many that didn't drink?

LULA: They was, yeah, more. Really more. There was a lot of good people in Harlan. I hated to leave Harlan, you know if he could have worked up there right on we'd probably been there today . I hated to leave it, I really did.

ANNA: Did you ever met with, was there any really big accidents or anything in the mines while you were there?

LULA: Well yeah there was several people got killed. His buddy, Roy's buddy got killed in the mines and him right by him nearly. Yeah there was several people that got killed.

ANNA: What happened?

LULA: Rock fell. I guess he done told you about that.

ANNA: Uh.

ROY: No. I've not told her.

LULA: Well its ah, Carl Hensley. Carl or Car?

ROY: Carl.

LULA: Carl Hensley got killed.

ANNA: Did you tell me that?

LULA: Right by the, the, Roy was right with him. Did Roy ever tell you that?

ANNA: What happened?

LULA: Well yeah there was. . .

41:00

ROY: He come in that night.

LULA: He come in that night and was kind of depressed like and I said what in the worlds wrong and he said my best friend got killed tonight. And of course he didn't die right then but along the way to the hospital. And then there was a Jack Chambers too got killed up there.

ROY: He was working with Raymond.

LULA: He was working with Raymond at that time.

ANNA: Did, ah did you hear what happened to him?

LULA: Well, I . . .

ROY: He got killed with the motor.

LULA: Got killed with the motor, the motor.

ROY: Motor ran over.

LULA: Motor run over him. Well oh there was a lot of accidents. And then there was lots of people shot people. There was a man killed right in front of our gate one night. Another man shot him.

ROY: Oh yeah.

ANNA: Was you home?

LULA: We was right home and heard the shot but we didn't know what it was till the next morning.

ANNA: Or you didn't go out?

LULA: No it we didn't live real close. It was, you know like a ways over the road. We heard--the but there was always somebody's getting shot.

ROY: Do you want me to finish that?

TAPE TURNED OFF

ROY: Well

LULA: He knows more about it than I do.

ROY: About two or three weeks before that that's when our first child was born 42:00and there come a flash flood in the front of the hollow and almost washed our house away. And they had to come in and carry her and the baby out in a cot, to higher ground. And I heard the shots that night and get up and see what it was. And it was our neighbor and he said we got to get out of here everything is washing away. So they brought a cot, four or five men, and we packed her out. Well it went on about three weeks after that and a man ah, been fox hunting take his hounds out in the mountain, and it come a rain that night and rained him out. And he started walking home and got right in front of our gate and a man come down the road in a car and passed him up. Was mad at him and just shot him and killed him there. And the shot waked me up and I told her. I said, 'you reckon there's another flood?' And I got up and went to the door and couldn't see no water but there was a car over on the shoulder down the road. And the next morning why, people would stop by and look you know, and the next morning 43:00was stop on looking on I went, the next morning was Sunday morning. And I went down there to see what was wrong and they said that George Lee killed Bill Fultz that night. Right in front of our gate. Big tall lug.

LULA: It happened real often. Just got killed. Just well never a week passed that somebody got killed.

ANNA: You was telling me about having your kids you forgot to tell me about being-having to leave the house. [laughing]

LULA: [laughing] Well I never thought about that. I'd though you was wanting the most important things.

ANNA: No I want everything.

LULA: Everything huh. Well when Jen was three days old and it come that flood and the men. The neighbor men built a cot and carried me out. My mother was there and she carried the baby out. And of course she . . .

ROY: Mad [unclear].

LULA: When she hit that water sounded just like horse wading through a creek you know. Carried up to higher ground and the next day the water went down and they brought me home.

ANNA: Was there many flash floods like that up there?

LULA: No that was the only one we ever had. The only one.

ANNA: Was there much water around?

LULA: No, not really. That had been an old creek bed where we lived and it had 44:00broke, it had broke through and come down and come right under our house.

ROY: They changed the road when they put the railroad in there. Changed the highway.

LULA: Changed the highway, you know.

ANNA: Oh I know. We was talking about accidents in the mines, how--when an accident happened and you women a lot times didn't even know about it.

LULA: Didn't know until we'd see the ambulance. They'd call the ambulance. I mean we didn't know how it was or anything and everybody would run out and somebody would tell us, you know. I know when he got hurt they come in, there was some women, there was there whenever they went down with him and I couldn't see, he. They say he raised up and looked towards the house as he passed. And, and then Miss, one of my neighbors come in, Miss Harrison. And she said Mrs. Perry we might as well tell you said Roy got hurt. But he's not hurt bad now, said just his leg broke. And I thought you know, that couldn't be right. And it didn't bother me too much at the time. And then afterwards you know I found out then.

ANNA: So they didn't have a big, like a whistle or anything when some body got hurt?

45:00

ROY: No.

LULA: No not really. Just had , you know.

ANNA: In movies you always see that.

LULA: Oh yeah, yeah. An emergency things that way, yeah. I know what you mean.

ANNA: Did they, did you ever have a, was there a telephone in the camp? And I mean.

LULA: No I don't think so, was there. Well down there part.

ROY: Just at the company.

LULA: Just the company, and I think the commissary, the store, had a you know, they kept in touch with the outside world. Like they could call an ambulance from Pineville. Nobody, no house didn't have none.

ANNA: So if you needed the doctor why you'd just send after him .

LULA: Oh yeah, yeah. It was only two miles to where the doctor's office was. It was two miles to Wallins and two miles to Creech's and we lived about half way between the two between the two places. We never had a bit of trouble getting the doctor, even when my kids was born.

ANNA: Was the doctors office in the commissary. . .

ROY: No.

ANNA: And the school close together or were they scattered?

ROY: [unclear]

LULA: They was, they was pretty close together but they wasn't in the same building .

ROY: Private building.

LULA: The doctor had his own private. It was a camp house, you know. He had it 46:00converted it into a doctors office. And you had the waiting room and then you know all the medicine and things in the back room.

[Talking at the Same time]

ANNA: Well did he live--

LULA: He lived in a camp house

ANNA: like say upstairs or in?

LULA: No he lived in a camp house up on the hill above the st-- you could even go up to the house and get him if you wanted him. He was good to come to us. He always come every time. He said that when we sent for him, he knew we needed him because we didn't just send every time one stumped its toe or something like that you know. So he was always good to us. I always liked old Doc Paynter.

ANNA: What did you do like when one of your kids was sick but not really sick enough for the doctor? Say they cut themselves.

LULA: Well , well I'd bandage them up and take a taxi and take them to him. And 47:00then whenever one, like you know, like if they had ah. Well our oldest son had meningitis and the doctor stopped everyday, every morning. And one morning he come before daylight. He got uneasy about it and he said he thought he was going to die. He told us after that you know. But he c--he pulled him through it. And uh so then you know, he they. He was always good to come always had.

ANNA: So you had good medical care?

LULA: Oh yeah we was covered with insurance. I mean when he was in the hospital 67 days it didn't cost us a penny.

ROY: We paid our own hospital.

LULA: They paid it. See he paid it.

ROY: They cut us so much every month.

LULA: Just something like Blue Cross or something. Only we paid it through the company you know.

ANNA: Yeah that's really good though not to...

LULA: Oh yeah.

ANNA: Not to cost anything.

LULA: Back then, I know it. It didn't cost one dime, not one dime. I could have gone to the hospital when the kids was born but I didn't want to.

ROY: At that time nobody went.

LULA: You know at that time they maybe had been born before I got there. [laughing]

ROY: Nobody went.

LULA: So I didn't. Nobody went. Nobody went they'd have just thought I was big headed or something you know if I'd . . .

ANNA: About how far is it to Harlan?

LULA: Eight mile. Eight mile and it was about twenty to Pineville I guess. Wasn't it?

ROY: Yeah was something like that.

LULA: About twenty miles to Pineville and eight miles to Harlan. We did a lot of 48:00our Christmas shopping and things in Harlan. That's where we bought the three pound cakes for a dollar. [laughing]

ANNA: [mumbling] Did you ah, did you do much baking?

LULA: Oh yeah, yeah. Baked a lot.

ANNA: What did you usually fix for breakfast just tell me about that ?

LULA: Well, eggs and bacon and biscuits and, I always made biscuits. My kids can't never remember eating toast when they was little. Just the usual. I always had plenty of jellies and jams and preserves and all things like that.

ANNA: And this you had what a coal stove?

LULA: Um hm coal stove. All those years cooked on a coal stove.

ANNA: Was it well ah, well people call it lunch, I still call it dinner.

LULA: Yeah. Well I do to.

ANNA: Did you fix sandwiches or--

LULA: No, I had a hot lunch every day. If I just had beans maybe left over from 49:00the night before maybe I might fix them a bologna sandwich and then heat the beans up for them, you know. I never liked for them to eat a cold lunch.

ROY: She always had supper ready.

LULA: I always had supper when they come in. And when he come in, I always had supper ready to put up on the table.

ANNA: You spent most of your day cooking?

LULA: Oh I spent more time in the kitchen than any other room in the house. [laughing]

ANNA: How did you wash your dishes when you didn't have water and?

LULA: Well just, ah, I just took two dish pans and one I washed and put a towel out on the table, a good bath towel you know. And I'd wash in one and rinse in the other one and drain them right on that. And sometimes I'd dry them and sometimes they'd be dry by the time I got all of them washed.

ANNA: You, how did you iron?

LULA: A stove iron. Stove irons. Stove irons, and that wasn't funny either.

ANNA: How does that work?

LULA: Well you have to heat them on the stove. I always had three and a lot of times you'd have a white garment and have it almost ironed , you'd come down, you'd get a streak of soot on it, you know, and then oh you'd feel like screaming then.

ANNA: And how long did you do that Lula?

LULA: Eleven years. We lived in that house eleven years and never did have no 50:00electric. And then when we moved up in the camp you see by then we we had electric. We, I got the iron. But we had a washer there, because I had the gasoline washer you know but I didn't have a iron.

ANNA: Did you just take it with you when you went to the camp?

LULA: Yeah. We moved it here. But we got an electric motor when we were up in the camp and just set the gasoline motor back. And then when we moved here we moved it right down here with us. And he had it fixed, my uncle in Corbin, John Mullins, fixed it and we put it in and used it. We lived here eleven years without electric, right here in this house. So we lived most of our lives without electric. [laughing] Oh we had lots of rough times. We've had lots of good times too. We had our ups and downs and , but we've been very lucky we've raised all the children to be grown. None of them foolish crippled or, well they're sort of silly [laughing] but that, that's to be expected. [laughter ]

ANNA: You did lots of canning when you were up there.

LULA: Oh yeah.

ANNA: Did you have like a pressure cooker or?

LULA: No hm um. Just an open dishpan. I don't think there was pressure cookers 51:00at that time. That's been 54 years, it will be 54 years in February. See we had our 50th wedding--well I shouldn't talk about that here I guess, but we had our 50th anniversary. And that's been four .

ANNA: Yeah that's been four years.

LULA: Yeah four years and in feb--in March.

ANNA: Did you--you said Roy used to get out and pick berries. Did you work in the garden or pick berries or anything or were you too busy in the house?

LULA: No I canned. I always got my jars sterilized, washed and sterilized and 52:00everything ready. And then when he come in he'd be give out so I'd look at the berries and wash them and can them and. I had a shelf, he built and a kind of a built in shelf. And I'd always caned like I've got [unclear] every year. I mean I've canned in gallon jugs, be. I really have, I've canned in gallon jugs. You go to putting five or six children around the table and then they always had company. Our children has always had company. They felt free to bring their friends anytime they wanted to bring them. And do yet, they bring there [ laughing] yeah that's right.

ANNA: Do you remember how much Roy was making when he got hurt? Was he paid by the hour or week ?

LULA: Well, no, they paid by the ton. They got so much a ton. It's just kind of according, well he was making little more at that time. Oh, roughly I'd say five dollars a day, about all he made.

ANNA: And this would have been in 44 about?

LULA: Yeah, yeah. Well maybe a little bit more then that I don't really know. But I tell you, you know, it kind of run on what he'd load. Maybe one day he'd make five dollars and the next day he's make seven. And the next day four. But on the average it was five or six dollars a day. But the rent was cheap and you know everything so. Had to be we couldn't have got by.

ANNA: Well when you lived in the company house in the camp did you pay the electricity or was that part of the rent?

LULA: It was, it was run through, they cut it through, you know with his bill. It come out on his statements.

ANNA: Was it, do you remember, was it separate or was it part of the rent?

53:00

LULA: It was separate. The rent was just rent and then electric, and you know, and the union dues and all that. I've got a lot of them statements right here now. You know it was just well it was pretty good life we was both young and healthy and stout and you know didn't mind working and so. We, we spent some good years in Harlan, we really did.

ANNA: What time did you go to bed at night?

LULA: Well usually, if he worked the next day we usually went to bed around 8:30 or 9. But if he didn't work lots of time we'd set up and listen to radio, you know, way into the night. There was Amos & Andy and all that sort of thing on there, you know. [laughing] And ah.

ANNA: Did you ever, did you ever think about--I know something I wanted to ask you. You'd never been around a coal camp when you married Roy, what did you think about it? What was the first thing you really noticed about the coal camp?

LULA: Well, the dirty men coming in at night, [laughing] black faces and all 54:00like that. We stayed with his brother for eight weeks and we--they was right in the middle of the mining camp, Rowdy's dad you know. We stayed with Sadie and Estil.

ANNA: Oh okay.

LULA: And ah, so I, it was strange to me. They'd come and each one go in its own house just as black as they could be, you know. And I'd just think well how in the world they ever get all that mess off. I had been at my sister's at Black Star but her husband was foreman over the sawmill and he never got dirty like that. So I didn't know too much about miners and all that. But him and Ester we'd always have their water hot and they'd go in the kitchen and take off there I old mine clothes and wash, and I remember they hung them on a nail, to a door that went to the back room. So the kids wouldn't smear against them--

ANNA: Yeah.

LULA: you know because they was dirty and they'd bath and put on their clean clothes and next morning they would get back up and start all over again [laughing].

ANNA: Did Roy usually work days or?

LULA: Days, well he was working nights when he got hurt.

ANNA: He worked at shifts?

LULA: Yeah um hm. Yeah. And he worked on the night shift five years. And so he 55:00got hurt in the evening like. He went to, well I tell you he worked the first night shift. He went on at two and come off about eleven. And but most of the time he worked the day. And he worked for five years, the last five years he was there he worked at night.

ANNA: What's the thing that you remember when you think about Creech's and Harlan. What's the strongest memory, the thing you always think of?

LULA: Well, well some of the good neighbors I had. I had some real good neighbors, I hated to leave them, you know. You get to liking people just like sisters, you know.

ANNA: Do you think that you feel closer to your neighbors in a mining camp than like in a larger town or something?

LULA: Well not really. But, I don't know, we all had the same thing in common. 56:00Our husbands all worked in the mines and we all had kids you know and they'd gang up and. No not really about the same I guess, you know. So I don't guess there'd be very much difference. We've got some good neighbors right here. But as you get older you don't care too much about neighboring, you know. [laughing]

ANNA: Did you , did you women ever help each other out. . .

LULA: Oh yeah.

ANNA: Like one of you had something you had to do and somebody else . . .

LULA: Absolutely.

ANNA: . . . would watch all the kids.

LULA: Yeah we done that lots of times. Me and Mrs. Howard, a special neighbor and I, we'd always. Our kids was closer than anybody else's, I don't; know why but ah like she'd go to Harlan and leave her kids with me. And then I'd go and I'd leave mine with her. So that way we you know we helped each other. Oh yeah we had, there was some awful good people in Harlan, there really was. I liked, hated we had to leave there but.

ANNA: Did you keep your garden when you moved into the camp?

LULA: No, well we had a small one. Just a little dab and a little patch in the 57:00back, we didn't have very much. In camp there wasn't no room you know. I don't think they wanted you to raise a garden much because you could trade at the store, you know if you didn't raise much of a garden.

ANNA: [unclear] [tape malfunction]

LULA: Oh yeah. Yeah, there was always plenty of berries and, them old orchards where we lived up there in the camp they was full of apples. So many people wouldn't even can so that left more for the ones of us that did. I've always canned, oh, ever since well I always helped mother at home, you know.

ANNA: Well do you think that people like you and Roy that canned and had a garden and kept a cow, did you get along better than the ones that didn't?

LULA: Oh yeah we had more to eat. We had a lot more to eat because ah, a lot of people had a family like ours and they'd get in debt in the store they wouldn't let them draw scrip. They'd just maybe allow them one dollar a day. Well you can't feed five or six kids on one dollar a day.

ANNA: Yeah.

LULA: Not very good, you know. No we always had plenty to eat you can tell from 58:00our big old six-foot boys the girls had plenty to eat. We always managed to have plenty to eat. Plenty of fresh milk, eggs and butter, and killed our own hogs.

ANNA: So it just sort of depended on the person what the person wanted to do?

LULA: Well that's right, that's right. A lot of people they didn't, just wasn't going to hit them berries fields and pick berries or anything. But Roy never did care. Ask Truman if he wants some honey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I already done.

ANNA: Did they have toys and things like that in the commissary?

LULA: Oh yeah, but we usually got ours in Harlan because you would get a cut o them. We got the boys a tricycle each in Harlan. Well Creech's Camp was high, the stores was high. What we'd do save all trough the summer and then we'd have a pretty good little, well you could take $100 and get a truck load of stuff back then.

ANNA: Oh my.

LULA: We bought the kids tricycles and girls dolls. And we'd always go when they'd be gone to school or something and bring them back and hide them. We had a big old wardrobe there and Roy would just dare them to get in there [laughing] We had a time keeping them out. But we had, our kids always had a good Christmas.

ANNA: Could you estimate about say, take one item, and figure about how much 59:00more it would cost in the commissary than if you bought it. . .

LULA: Oh I'd say

ANNA: . . . outside?

LULA: Oh I'd say it would be a dollar and a half, maybe two dollars on a toy, in the commissary more than it would be to go to Harlan. Maybe even more than that.

ANNA: Um. Would toys, something like toys cost more you know, be a higher percentage more than outside than say uh flour? If you bought flour in the commissary.

LULA: We never bought flour, hardly ever, in the commissary because it was, it 60:00was. We always traded, there was a little place in Wallins Creek. When we got flour we'd get, like they'd out on sales, we'd get say four bags. You know that would do us quite a while. And it would be, we got good Sunnyfield flour for 39 cents a bag, believe it or not. Thirty-nine cents a bag. And they usually they'd put it on, well about every couple of months. And we'd go down and get four bags. But on the average we'd buy our meats at Creech's because you had come right by store you know. And that way it would save getting out and getting a taxi and a lot of times I was [unclear] you know and didn't like to get out much. And so he'd come right by the store and get our meat and things like that for breakfast, In the summer when we didn't have our own meat. But Creech's they was pretty high on everything.

ANNA: Do you remember who owned the company when . . . . ?

LULA: The Creech Coal Company owned it. a man named George Cre--uh, not George Creech but ah, let's see. I can't remember the old man Creech's name but the boys one was named George, and one was named Ted and one was Grover and one was Robert. I think Robert Creech, maybe was the old man's name, I believe. They owned the company lock, stock and barrel.

ANNA: How long, do you know how long Creech's had a coal mine after?

61:00

LULA: After we left?

ANNA: Uh huh.

LULA: No I wouldn't figure it was too long though because there was working out . . .

END OF INTERVIEW