Work and play in a farming community
Norman remembers work and play on the farm. Even after a day of factory work, she had to help around the farm. She helped her father with his modest tobacco crop, gathered food for livestock, and pulled corn. Corn shuckings brought the community together—after sharing the work they might share supper and start up a square dance.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Icy Norman, April 6 and 30, 1979. Interview H-0036. 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
- MARY MURPHY:
What kind of crops did you grow on the farm?
- ICY NORMAN:
We growed corn and all of our vegetables. We didn't raise no
tobacco. My daddy would plant one row in the back for chewing tobacco.
That's all the tobacco he would plant. We'd have
wheat, we'd have rye. When we gathered all of our corn,
we'd cut them tops—now I was working in the shoe
factory then, Dewey was, too. Barney wasn't there, he was
somewhere in Roanoke. Me and him, we'd work until six
o'clock. We'd come home and mama would have supper
on the table. That's the only time my daddy would let me wear
a pair of overalls, would be when I was cutting tops or pulling fodder.
He'd let me wear a pair of Barney's overalls and
tie them around the ankles on account of snakes. Me and Dewey we would
come in at six o'clock. Well, in the fall of the year at six
o'clock, it's dark. We'd go out there
and cut tops and tie them tops and pull fodder by the moonlight until
eleven or twelve o'clock by a night. To take care of our
fodder and stuff for the cows and horses. Then we'd go pull
the corn. Then we'd have a corn shucking. Now,
that's when you'd have a good time.
They'd have a pile of corn bigger than this house.
They'd shuck that corn. The mothers would always cook dinner,
if it was dinnertime. At supper-time another neighbor would cook supper.
Then after the corn shucking they'd give us young people a
dance. That was a lot of fun. Then they'd have quilting.
People would gather and have quilting at different houses. It would be
the same way. They'd cook a big dinner, a big supper. And
after that was through, the eating and everything, they'd
pull everything back and the young people would have a little square
- MARY MURPHY:
Who would play the music?
- ICY NORMAN:
Different ones would make music. My daddy never would let no dancing
going on. But he never did care us having a little party, a sociable
party. Back then, if we both went to a dance. You had a fellow and me
had a fellow. Teenage girls usually have them a partner. Like you and
your partner and me and my partner. We went over here to this house,
they was going to have a little dance there. They wouldn't
have it at the same place every week.