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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ethelene McCabe Allen, May 21, 2006. Interview C-0316. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Family's leisure activities

Allen offers an overview of the different types of activities her family enjoyed for purposes of leisure. In so doing, she discusses the centrality of the radio and addresses activities such as dancing, music, and reading.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ethelene McCabe Allen, May 21, 2006. Interview C-0316. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What did he do for leisure? Did he have leisure time? ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: Listened to the radio. Sit and listen to the radio.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Sit and listen to the radio. Do you remember if he had a favorite program on the radio? ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: I don't remember programs.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did he like music most of all? ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: Well, now, we did listen to that Grand Ole Opry thing a lot, country music, when that was on. I can't remember.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
That's okay. ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: I remember one that - a mystery that they played. There were some soap operas on the radio that mama liked to listen to when we were in the pack house sorting tobacco, getting it ready for the market, she would - there was certain shows she liked to hear. Daddy would listen to them too. Young Widow Brown. [Laughter] I don't recall the names of all of them.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
That's okay. ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: I didn't pay them any attention.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
She liked the soap operas and I recall she still liked the soap operas when they went to TV. We would sit shelling peas and she would want to watch the soap operas. But he liked the Grand Ole Opry. Were there any comic routines he liked? ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: Well mama liked it too. I don't remember the comic routines. There were some of course, but I don't remember.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Did he sing at all around the - ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: Oh he played a harmonica. He didn't sing, I don't recall ever hearing him sing, but he played a harmonica and he could do a really good job of it. He had his little – he called it a breath harp. He'd pull it out of his pocket or in a drawer wherever he kept it. He would play it once in a while but he wasn't into it that much we'd have to ask him to and he could do that freight train sound with it. Blow the whistle like the freight train. He could do a lot – he had some musical talent. And he could dance. He danced some out there at that place. That's one thing mama didn't like. She didn't dance.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
The grill? ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: She didn't dance. Course I think he danced with some woman one night. She didn't like that at all. [Laughter] Which it was just a dance, but you know, mama was serious about things like that. She didn't like that.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
So he was a good dancer. ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: Yeah, he could dance. Kevin got some of his talents from daddy, I think.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And Kevin's my younger brother, your youngest child. ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: He's very talented in a lot of ways. He can dance, he can draw pictures, he's good with math. He was in the math – not super bowl was it – what was it.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
I don't remember. ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: Some kind of math competition that he was a member of.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
And your dad was good at math, too. ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: And both my parents read well. They didn't have any problem. They had used their time in school and learned a lot. They weren't ignorant, you know, they knew a lot for - and they continued to read.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
What did your dad read? ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: Well he read newspapers. He always subscribed to a newspaper.
BARBARA C. ALLEN:
Which newspaper was it? Do you remember ETHELENE McCABE ALLEN: I remember the Goldsboro News Argus and probably the Smithfield Herald back then. Those kinds of papers. The local paper. Whatever was delivered in that area. I don't recall if he – he might have got the News and Observer part of the time.