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Title: Oral History Interview with Carrie Lee Gerringer, August 11, 1979. Interview H-0077. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Gerringer, Carrie Lee , interviewee
Interview conducted by DeNatale, Douglas
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Mike Millner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 212 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-07-21, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Carrie Lee Gerringer, August 11, 1979. Interview H-0077. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0077)
Author: Douglas DeNatale
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Carrie Lee Gerringer, August 11, 1979. Interview H-0077. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0077)
Author: Carrie Lee Gerringer
Description: 195 Mb
Description: 54 p.
Note: Interview conducted on August 11, 1979, by Douglas DeNatale; recorded in Bynum, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Jean Houston.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Carrie Lee Gerringer, August 11, 1979.
Interview H-0077. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Gerringer, Carrie Lee , interviewee


Interview Participants

    CARRIE LEE GERRINGER, interviewee
    IRENE PERRY, interviewee
    DOUGLAS DeNATALE, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Where was your family originally from, Mrs. Gerringer?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Burlington. We moved here in September when I was seventeen years old.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So that was fifty-four years ago.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
1923 or '4. Somewhere along in there. I was married in '25, I think.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What made your family move to Bynum?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Just because it was a better job here [unknown] . [Laughter] That's all the excuse I can say.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did your parents work in the mill?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, my mother did. My mother and father parted when I was just little, and she married again, and her and her second husband went to work down here when we come here that September.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So she had married already before she moved here?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, for the last time.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When you lived in Burlington, was she working in a mill there?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, the Glen Raven, about halfway between Burlington and Elon College, built a big cotton mill. I think the Gants owned it [unknown] .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about your grandparents? Do you remember them at all?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, I remember them good. My grandmother, Mama's mother, died when I was fourteen years old, and my granddaddy lived to be ninety-eight. He died about thirty years ago, I guess.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did your grandparents come from Burlington, also?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
In a way. I was born in Greensboro, and they moved to Burlington when I was about ten years old. And from then on we stayed there till I moved here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Where was your family originally from?

Page 2
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, I don't know. I think Mama said that my daddy come from Spencer, North Carolina, if you know where that's at. I don't. He's been dead for years and years. He was dead seven or eight years before I ever knowed he was dead.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you ever know your father?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, because he came to see me when my last child was born. He would be about thirty-six if he'd lived. He's dead. He died when he was sixteen years old.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
That's your son?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. Of leukemia. And that's the last time I ever saw him [her father]. Mama was already married again when I seen him. She's been married to her last husband, I reckon, for forty-five years, maybe.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How old were you when your parents left each other?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, I've got two brothers. One was two years older than I am—he's dead—and our youngest brother is sixty-eight years old, or will be the twenty-fifth of September. And I was, I imagine, about three and a half or four years old when they parted. He was just a little boy about a year and a half old when they parted.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So you really didn't know your father when you were growing up?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, I didn't. [unknown] Had enough talk about him, but that's not like seeing him. I seen him a few times before the last time I seen him, but, I don't know, it didn't seem like he was my daddy, because we never had been with him. And didn't none of us like him no way, so we didn't take up no time with him. I reckon we should have, maybe. There's always two sides to everything. When you get older you can see all of this,

Page 3
but back then we was young, and since Mama took us to raise, well. . . . And he never did help her none. She had to work. She worked up there in Glen Raven Mill, weaving. And that's the first mill I ever worked at.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You worked at Glen Raven?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. I went there when I was fourteen years old. We worked five days and a half, ten hours, and just made five dollars and a half a week. [Laughter] Wasn't that something?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What did you do with the money that you earned?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Mama would take it all but fifty cents.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
She left you fifty cents?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
That was quite a lot, though, then.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, it amounted to right small. We felt like it wasn't right, but we didn't say nothing; we knowed better. You know children back then; they didn't argue with their parents like they do now.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What if you needed something, would your mother get you . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, she would get it for us if she could. But she had three young'uns to raise.
But we stayed with Grandma Hill and Granddaddy Hill till she died; she died when I was fourteen. And then Mama just left my granddaddy, and he went with another. . . . He had ten children, seven girls and three boys. And all of them's dead; ain't a one of them living.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
These are all your mother's brothers and sisters.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They're every one dead. She was the youngest one living, and she was ninety-two when she died. About that big around; I bet she didn't weigh [Laughter] a hundred pounds. But, boy, she was a spunky

Page 4
girl. [Laughter] She'd let you know she was around there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did your father work in a mill?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't know what he done. He told us he worked on the railroad, a brakeman or something like that. That's all I know, just what he said.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How old were you when your mother remarried?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I think they married in June, and we moved here in September. I was seventeen, I reckon. Sixteen or seventeen, something like that. I think I was seventeen, though, because we moved here in September, and I was married in January.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about your stepfather? Was he working in the mill, also?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. He was in the Army just before they got married. You know, World War II[I?], I think it was. He was younger than my mother. I believe the paper said seventy-two—but I thought he was older than that—which I didn't know, and I don't think he did, because his grandma raised him, and I don't think she kept up with much. But he was a good stepdaddy. He was always good to us.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So they met in Burlington?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did they move to Bynum?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't even know. I don't know whether they was out of a job; it just seems like a dream. But we had some friends here, the Snyders. You know Ollie Stamper over yonder, Juanita Cooper that married Kenneth Cooper?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I've heard of them, I think.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They moved here first, and we knowed them before they moved

Page 5
here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were they also from Burlington?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. They moved over yonder where Florence Cooper lives, and we boarded with them till that house right up there got empty, and then we moved in it. [unknown] And I don't remember whether they was out of a job or just moved because. . . . And Clyde Stamper, Parnell's daddy, we knowed him and all of them. And some way or another, we come on down here to visit, [unknown] was done moved.
[Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you know whether your mother and your stepfather had jobs here already before they moved here?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't even know. They had a job when they moved, but when they come to see about the job I don't think they had none. But they give them one, and then we moved. Mr. Manly Durham was the bossman down there. He's dead.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So they both left jobs in Burlington to come to Bynum?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I told you I don't know whether they was out of a job or what, but I think we visited, and some way or another. . . . Mrs. Snyder's oldest boy—he's dead now—was the winding room boss down here, and I went to work for him. And Mama went to work in the spinning room, and my stepdaddy wrapping yarn out there in the yarn place. But that's about all I [unknown] know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did people do that a lot? Did they move around from place to place?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, always have. But they don't do it too bad here [unknown] . There's somebody moving in over there. I don't know who they are. They was over there a while ago with a little old pickup truck or

Page 6
something, putting something in there. I think he said he went to school up here at Chapel Hill.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, a young fellow?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, he don't look too young [Laughter] , says myself. Now are you putting that down? I don't know; he might be younger than he looks. [Laughter] He'll kill me. Because I don't even know him.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How do you feel about that, people moving into the village?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't care. I like friends. New ones sometimes are better than old. And sometimes old ones are the best; you don't know which.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So you went to work at fourteen. What were you doing in Glen Raven?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Spinning. I started off learning to spin. But when we come here, I went to winding.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you learn to spin? Did they give you the job first and teach you?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I reckon Mama got it for me. I don't even remember. [unknown] Roger Gant gave me my job. We knowed him all our life. You was supposed to weigh ninety pounds at fourteen, and I didn't weigh but eighty-four. But he let me go, because he said he knowed I was fourteen, because he'd knowed me all my life.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When you say you were supposed to weigh ninety pounds [unknown] ?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
To get a job. That had to go on your record.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, really. So they let you work in spite of that.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. [Laughter] And it took a long time. I didn't weigh

Page 7
but ninety-two when I got married.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, no. [Laughter]
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
That's right. To look at me now you wouldn't believe it, but it was so. There comes one of my daughters. I've got five.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You've got five children?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Six. Well, the one's dead. He lived to be sixteen years old. I had five girls and one boy.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Well, if you went to work at fourteen, that was really young. Did you have to leave school to do that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. But I was always good with books. I was pretty well on up there. I was in the tenth grade. Didn't have but three little rooms, where I went to school. And the principal was my teacher. And when the other teacher was out, they'd put me [unknown] .
[INTERRUPTION: DAUGHTER IRENE ENTERS]
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, I can't introduce you, because I don't know him, but this is my daughter, Irene Perry. He's getting a history of our life. [Laughter]
IRENE PERRY:
No comment. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
We were talking about when your mother went to work in Burlington.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
The Glen Raven Mill, when I was fourteen. My husband went to work when he was eleven years old.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was he from Bynum?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
He was from Gibsonville.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you and your husband meet?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, he left up there and come down here. His brother was already here working, and so he got him a job down here, and so he

Page 8
went to work down here. And that's the first time I ever saw him, when I went down there and went to work. We had three dates and got married. Everybody said, "Oh, you won't never make it. You won't never make it." [Laughter] We made it fifty-some years. Some of it was tough, but we made it. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What happened when you went to work? Did you go to school any more after you started working?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. I was always good in my books, and I skipped a grade or two, and [Laughter] that's the way I got to the tenth grade.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did your parents feel about that? Did they want you to go to school?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They didn't care. I think education wasn't as important as it is now. If it was, I didn't understand it or know about it.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you feel about it?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I didn't care. It didn't matter to me. I liked to go to school, but I knowed there had to be a living made. I had that much sense, so it didn't matter to me. I knowed I had enough to get by. There's an old saying, "There's more educated people walking the streets than there is ham(?) and [unknown] ." Now you can put that down if you want to. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Really.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Now you can believe that or not. Them educated ones, they think they're too good to take just an ordinary job, you know, like I would do. And anybody that ain't got too much education has got sense enough to know he's going to have to take something.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Education doesn't always give you sense, does it?

Page 9
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. I got all I need.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Okay.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you happen to go to work in the winding room when you came to Bynum?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Clayton Snyder was the bossman down there. That's Mrs. [unclear] brother. And he was bossman down in the winding room, and he wanted to know if I wanted to go to work. Said he needed some help. I told him yes, I'd go to work. And off and on for fifty-some years, I was down there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You worked as a winder all that time?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
[unknown] Someone told me that when you were working as a spinner, when you caught up with your work you could take a break, leave your work in the machine [unknown] ?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, you can. You used to could a-winding, but they'll stop off now about twice a day for them to go out and get them a sandwich or a drink out there. They have little old vending machine things out there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What about the winding machines? Could you just leave them?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
You could when they was the old winders, but after they put these new ones in, you have to stop them [unknown] go. Because they'd get in such a mess.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So the winding machines when you first started working . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Those old ones, down in that old basement down at the mill

Page 10
when I first come there.
[INTERRUPTION]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When did the new winding machines come in? Do you remember that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I think it was about 1960 when they put them in, '59 or '60.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
To go back to Burlington, do you remember anything in particular from your childhood? What sort of games did you play as a child?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I didn't play no games. My mama'd look at me, and I'd set down. Nor my brothers either. We didn't play much. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did they make you work in the home?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes. I done most of the cooking. I'd stand in a chair and make up bread and cook.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How young were you when you started cooking?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, about eight or nine years old.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You really started working early.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes. Every one of us had our jobs to do. And me and them two boys would stay at the house until we went to work. My oldest brother went to work first. He was fourteen. And I went when I was fourteen, and the next one went when he was fourteen. [Laughter] But by that time, though, you had to be about sixteen when you went to work.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you cook all of the meals for your family?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, not all of them. I just helped and cooked. . . . See, they worked ten hours a day, and they let them off an hour to come to dinner. I'd have to have dinner on the table. And for supper, if there was anything left, we used that, or fixed a little something else. Sometimes I'd do it, and sometimes Mama would. She'd be mad if I didn't, though. And [unknown] everything. Because when you work

Page 11
ten hours, you don't feel like [unknown] . I've got that much sense. [Laughter] But I've been cooking a long time.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did your whole family get together for meals?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. Just me and her and them two boys. That's all the family we had after Grandma Hill died. We was all living together then, which I had to do more then, in a way, than I did when we went out to ourself. Because Grandma was old, and she'd set around and tell me what to do.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was she able to help with the chores?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, she helped some when she was able. But they always had cows and hogs and chickens and all that to mess with.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Is this while you were living in Burlington?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. Up there at Glen Raven. It's about two miles on the other side of Burlington, about halfway between there and Elon College. [unknown] big [unknown] there. There's a little shopping center right there, and then you turn off, go down there about three-quarters of a mile, maybe a mile. And that's where Mama and them had a home, her and my stepdaddy, after they went back up there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And you kept cows?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
My granddaddy did. He kept anything that would make a living. He was one of them sharp ones. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What did your granddaddy do?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
He didn't do nothing. He worked out there in the dye room a long time till he retired. He raised everything we'd eat, just about.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you know what his father did?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, I don't know nothing about that. I know he had a brother, but he's dead, too. Grandfather used to tell his brother had twenty-two

Page 12
young'uns, but I don't know whether he did or not. He said him and Aunt Mary married when she was eleven years old, and they had four sets of twins.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Four sets of twins. My gosh.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They had to run away to get married. And he said, you know, there used to be these old stiles in pastures? Said she was too little, she couldn't get over it, so he just picked her up and throwed her over. [Laughter] Said she wasn't as big as nothing. But whether that was so or not, I don't know. But that's what Grandpa used to tell.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember any other stories [unknown] family?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, not many. He was an old banjo picker. He'd get him a drink, and he'd pick that banjo and go around where they'd have these here dances or something, old-timey barn dances and such as that. He played.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I'm really interested in that. Did he play with a bunch of people?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. I think there was four or five of them, but I don't even know. It's been so long ago.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there anyone else in your family that was musical? Did anybody else in your family play an instrument?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, only Mama's sister married a man. I don't know whether he was a music teacher or what he was, but he had ten children, too, and every one of them could sing, and he played the piano and the cornet, and one of the boys played a guitar. They really had a time. I remember him trying to make me learn, and if I'd had any sense I would have, but I didn't want to set down that long. [Laughter] I can remember him trying to make. . . . You know, people back then would make young'uns mind a lot better than they do now. If they'd tell them to do something, well, they had to do it. But these here

Page 13
grandyoung'uns, I can look at them and I'll set down. Or they can look at me and I'll set down, whichever way you want to look.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So your parents were pretty strict with you.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, they always were. My husband was the only man I ever went with, and I don't know whether she knowed it or not. I wouldn't say we had a date; I'd just say we talked. [Laughter] I just put it like that.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was it a surprise to your parents when you told them you were going to get married?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. I don't know. They might have, but she didn't say much about it. She signed for me to get married; she had to.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What did you do on your dates? What did people do around here?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
We went to the neighbors' house. I walked over to the Snyders' a time or two after we moved over here, and I'd meet him over there. But I couldn't let him walk me home, because I knowed she'd find it out. And now, by the time they're ten years old, they're trying to court. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about your children? Were you strict with them?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Pretty much, but not that strict. I understood a lot of it. I don't know whether Mama did or not. They was brought up like that, you know, to be so strict with them.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you feel about the way that you . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Then I don't think I thought too much about it. But after I got married myself and had children and they got grown, I figured if you could trust them, maybe they'd do better or something. I wasn't as strict as Mama was, noways. By the time they was old enough, they

Page 14
wanted to work down here. And every one of them winding. [Laughter] But the last of them, now, she didn't work down there. She ain't going to work down there. She worked in Rose's dimestore a long time.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
The one up in Chapel Hill?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
She ain't at Chapel Hill anymore. She's moved to Siler City.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Why were people so strict back then?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I'll be damned if I know. I ain't never understood it. And they didn't never set down and talk with their children like they do now. Now me and my girls, when we get together, we just have a good time, talking and laughing, but I hardly remember Mama ever laughing. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Really?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
With us. No.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What did you talk about when you were having meals together [unknown] ?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Probably nothing. Not much. Yes, we had to be quiet, or you got up and left the table. You didn't get nothing else to eat, either, till the next meal.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What did you do if you had a problem or there was something that you wanted to talk about?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Kept it to yourself. I never asked Mama much, because I figured she didn't know much more than I did. Not as much, I don't reckon, because I don't think she. . . . Which Mama could read and write, and nobody couldn't fool her, hardly, about math. She could squeeze a dollar till it hollered like a ten-dollar bill. [Laughter] Oh, she was

Page 15
stingy. If I wanted anything, I'd ask my stepdaddy—I wouldn't ask Mama—because I knowed I'd be more apt to get it.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You'd go to your stepfather?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was he as strict as your mother?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, he wasn't strict. He didn't try to make us do nothing. He just told her that it was up to her; it was her young'uns. But he was always good to us. If we wanted anything or needed anything, if he had it he'd give it. I don't know what made Mama like that. Which I've thought about a lot. I didn't pay no attention to it, because I just thought it was a way of life. But now, I've thought about it lots. I don't know whether something happened that made her like that.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did she treat you differently than other people? I mean, were other people this strict?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
She was always ill [unknown] .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
She was ill?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Pretty ill. And where she lived, there was people as close as these houses right here, and she didn't even know their names, and lived there fifty years or more.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Really? Up in Burlington?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. I don't know what made my mother like that. If somebody'd go across her yard that lived in the next house, she'd say, "Who was that?" I'd say, "That's Mrs. Sykes."
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

Page 16
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
But they never did say what was wrong. [unclear] always thought maybe she had a cancer, but they said she didn't, so I don't know what she had. They said she had a . . . your intestines grow together, stopped up or something. What do you call it? There's some kind of big name for it, but I can't think of it.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Intestinal blockage.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, some kind of blockage, and they undone that, and she never did get over it.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How long was she sick?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Not long. I'd say four or five months.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did she have any problem when you were a child?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, not that I know of. She was always in pretty good health. She was little, but she was always in good health.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you have friends among the other children in Burlington?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Not much. No. We'd set around and read. The woman lived next door one time asked Mama, "Don't you get tired of these three young'uns setting here reading all the time?" She said, "Well, when they're setting there reading, I know where they're at." So that was her answer.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you read because you wanted to?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, I love reading. I read now all the time. Read everything I can get a-hold of. I say I reckon I was lucky to be seventy-one and could read and do my own work. I'm lucky. At least I think I am.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
[unknown] Oh, yes. My grandmother is about eighty-eight now, and she's still getting around and still loves to read.

Page 17
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, I love to read. One of my neighbors up there said it's a wonder I had any eyes; that's all I done, is set and read. I thought, well, when I was reading I wouldn't bother nobody. I might be stretching my eyes, but. . . . [Laughter] I don't think so. They haven't bothered me.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So you had three dates with your husband before you married. Is that unusual?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I reckon it could have been. I don't know. I didn't know to think about it then.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Why did you decide to get married?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't know, hardly. He went back to Gibsonville from here, and we went up to my aunt's. My granddaddy was sick; that's where he died. And he come out there. I'd just been with him once or tweice here. And he come down there one Saturday. He said, "Don't go back to Bynum." I said, "Well, I have to. I've got to work." He said, "Well, let's get married that Saturday, and then you won't have to go back." [Laughter] So that's what we done. I reckon it was four or five months after that we come back down here and went back to work down there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So you got married and you went up to Gibsonville, and did you stay out in Gibsonville?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, I had two children while I was there. Stayed there about a year and a half, two years.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What did your husband do?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
He was a doffer, a good one. He doffed in the cotton mill down here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
He was a good one?

Page 18
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. He was the best one they ever had down there, I reckon. Said he was; I don't know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What makes a good doffer?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Just being fast. You have to be fast with your hands.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You have to get the bobbins right . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Off and put an empty one on. And he could really that thing. Well, he started when he was eleven years old a-doffing, and he doffed all of his life.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about his parents? Was his family all from Gibsonville?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, Whitsett, just a little bit out in I call it the country from Gibsonville. But I guess he always said he was from Gibsonville, so that's the way it was. That's where he worked, out there in a mill. Do you know Dr. Westmoreland over here? We used to live on his daddy's place. About forty-two or three years ago, we lived there about eight months.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was that when you first came back to Bynum?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. We come back here two or three times; we'd go back up there, and we'd come down here and go back up there. I couldn't tell you the different times.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Really? How come?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't know. [Laughter] If he'd take a notion to move, he'd move. He wouldn't ask no odds. And I didn't ask none, either.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Would he get tired of where he was working?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I think he'd go back up there where his people is, and he'd get it in his mind he wanted to go back, and we'd go back. And by the time we stayed up there a month or two, we'd come back here and stay

Page 19
a month or two. We just kept the road hot for a while, and then we settled down. We been here straight, I reckon, about thirty-six years, and not move. But we were just back and forth, back and forth, from one place to the other.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How was he able to get a job?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
If you're a good hand, you can get a job. Man, you can get a job anywhere.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You mean, he would just walk in and say, "Well, I'm back"?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Half the time, he'd just come down here visiting, and the bossman seen him. He'd say, "You calling in Monday?" Bill said, "Yes, I'll be right there." [Laughter] So that's the way we'd do.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you live with your relatives when you moved?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, we moved back here in one of these houses. We've lived in every house around here. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Really?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. We lived in that house three times, right there. I lived there first before I was married, and two times after that, and that one up there, I lived in it two times, and the one they tore down, two or three times, and that one over yonder on the corner, and that one that burnt down up here, and the one up yonder where [unclear] lives there. We lived in every one around here, just about. And that one Jennie White lives in up there, we lived in it twice. We just moved from one place to another until about thirty-six years ago. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And how did that work? He would go in to the boss and say, "Well, I'm coming in. Do you have a place . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Half the time, he didn't ask; they just asked him. If they

Page 20
ever seen him, they would say, "Come on back in." And they'd tell me the same thing.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So you were working, too?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. I'd stay home long enough to have a young'un, and by the time he was six weeks old, I was back at work.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did your husband feel about that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
He didn't care.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
He wanted you to work?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
He didn't care whether I worked or not. He said I could do as I wanted to. [Laughter] So I done as I wanted to. I never [unknown] . After the two oldest girls got big enough, it wasn't no problem much. But whenever they were little, he'd work one shift and me one to tend our young; then we wouldn't have to hire nobody. We never have, all of our life, as much as we worked, ever hired anybody to tend to our young'uns. He worked the third shift sometimes and me the first, and sometimes I'd work the second and he'd work the first, and that's the way it would go. He would tend the young'uns when they came home.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you arrange that with the mill?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They didn't care. They'd let us do any way, but good.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You just went down and said, "I want to work the second shift," and they said. . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. They'd let you do whatever you could to get to work. But we was real lucky.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was your husband a good housekeeper?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, Lord, he was a better housekeeper than me. I didn't

Page 21
have to worry about. . . . He was a good cook, too. He could do me about anything. He wouldn't wash dishes; that was one thing you couldn't get him to do. [Laughter] And bake bread. Now, he didn't like that. But outside of that, he could just cook anything. And that was a blessing, because he could have one meal done, and me one, you know, while we was a-changing shifts. And when he cooked, he used light bread or rolls or something. By the time my oldest girl. . . . Now that was the one next to the oldest, that one there? Now every one I've got's a good cook, just like me. I ain't bragging, but I figure I am a good cook; I've been at it long enough. And they all are good cooks, too, all five of them. By the time they could be knee-high to a grasshopper, I put them to work. [Laughter] And it seemed like they enjoyed it. And we washed clothes, just rub them on a washboard with our hands. Oh! Maybe a hundred diapers at a time. You know, there wasn't no Pampers like there are now. And I had two babies at a time, sometimes three, wearing diapers. And I mean, I'd work down here and come home, and me and them girls would wash them clothes, rub them on a washboard.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Wow.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They all know what to do, I tell you that. [Laughter] They're all good cooks.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you want to work?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, I'd rather be at work than be at the house, anytime. But I've thought about it lots of times, if I hadn't had no children, I wonder if I'd have wanted to work. I've thought about it, you know. You know, sometimes you can't understand what your reasoning was. But when they was little and growing up, I'd rather be at the mill, somehow

Page 22
or another.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did people have a lot of children then?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, there was more children than you could shake a stick at then. Now there ain't many of them.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did people just have children as a matter of course?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. Nearly everybody around here had about as many as I did. There was a few didn't ever have none, but they made out like they couldn't have them, so, I don't know what their excuse was. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there birth control?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Not as I know of. I didn't know anything about it if there was. If I had, I probably would have used it myself. Not that I don't love my children, but just so many, and I think it's better to have one or two that you can keep going and do the best you can by them, than have so many. But we was lucky; they always had plenty to eat and things to wear.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did other women in town or did your mother tell you about . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Children?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
About children and how she carried them?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
[unknown] , no. She never let nobody talk about it, I don't think. And I didn't know no more than a two-year-old young'un knows when I got married. I didn't know nothing. I was dumb as an ox. You putting all that down? [Laughter] You better not put all that on that thing. [Laughter] [unknown] not. But it's the truth, every bit of it. [unknown] I didn't know [unknown] .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You had to just learn it on your own.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Just learn [unknown] . Ask the neighbors after I got

Page 23
married.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Would people talk about that sort sort of thing?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Not much. I think they was about as dumb as I was, a whole lot of them.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When you were going to have a child, did you have it in your own home?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I had all six of mine at home.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Really?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, sir. And like to died with every one of them. And now they've got to go to the hospital and have everything. I never seen a doctor with nary a one of them till I got ready to have them. And you know, now they've got to go every week or two. That's the way my daughters was, you know. I said, "Well, by golly, I never went with nary a one of them, and you're still here and I'm still here." [Laughter] But I don't know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You mean you only saw the doctor when you were having the baby?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, I'd see him about two or three weeks. . . . Well, I wouldn't see him; Pa, my husband, would go tell him that we wanted him.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Really.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
That I was looking, and he would say okay. Old Doctor Walker. Boy, he was something. [Laughter] In Burlington. Two or three of them was born in Burlington. Let's see. I had three born at Gibsonville, and one in Alamance County at Glen Raven, and one here up yonder in that house where Jimmy and Gail live. In fact, four of mine was born in Gibsonville, and one in Alamance County, and one in Chatham.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I've heard that some of the women in Bynum used to come and help deliver the babies.

Page 24
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They'd call in a neighbor to be there with the doctor, you know. I've been at several here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you have a woman come in to help you?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
My husband and the doctor. That's all. When the baby'd be born, after it was born they'd wrap him up, you know. Then they'd go to the next house and give him to the neighbor, and she'd clean him up, fix him.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Really.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
She [unknown] sit on the bed a [unknown] times and changed my baby when he was little. My husband's sister used to, she had two or three, and there wasn't even nobody in the house but her. And she had ten, and every one of them's alive but one. He fell in a bed of hot coal, and it killed him. And that night she was pregnant and had another young'un on the night he was buried. I think she had about four—and they lived way out in the country—and he'd get out and go to find the doctor, and by the time he would go there and get back, she'd done had the young'un. Setting up in the bed with it in arms, two or three of them. She's dead now.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What did people do when they got sick? Did they call a doctor if they got sick?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, they had to be mighty sick if they did. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What would they do? Would they doctor themselves?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. I'd doctor my young'uns. All I could. If I seen I couldn't get them better, I'd finally get somebody [unknown] .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you learn to do that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, I don't know. I reckon it just comes natural to women.

Page 25
Don't you reckon it does?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you use any home remedies?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, anything that would come along.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What sort of things?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
One of my daughters, the third one, she had the measles and pneumonia, and the doctor checked her. He's dead now; he used to live at Pittsboro. He come over here several times. I lived up yonder at that corner where they tore that house down. And he said she wouldn't live through the night. But me and Mrs. Ida Smith and Louise Durham—she's dead now—got to putting. . . . They come and spent the night with me, and we set there all night long and put tar jackets with Vicks pneumonia salve and everything. We put it all on the little old jackets we had made with Vicks, and we just kept putting them on and putting them on and keeping her warm, and doggone if she didn't come out of there. She got to vomiting, and she'd vomit up things that long, just like it come out of a boil. But she got to getting better after she let them out. He said she wouldn't live through the night, but she's still here. She's forty-nine years old, be fifty in September.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I've heard of Ida Smith.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, Lord, she was a good old woman. She knowed more about young'uns than any doctor. She sure was good. If any of mine got really sick around here, I'd get her, as long as she lived. Me and her and [unclear]; she was good, her daughter. But we'd all doctor them and do the best we could, and they'd finally come out of it, if it was anything real serious. But that's the worst I've ever had one of my young'uns to be sick.

Page 26
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How come Ida Smith knew so much about it?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Lord, I don't know where she got it. She never did have but two children. I don't know how come. I never did see her oldest boy. He never did stay around here. Somebody said that they didn't come around much. I don't know what was the matter. But she was good with the young'uns. Where she'd learned it, I don't know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about the money that you and your husband made in the mill? Did you and your husband decide together how you were going to spend your money?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. He generally let me do most of the paying bills and such as that. He didn't like to mess with it. He'd just take so much and give me the rest of his'n, and I'd take mine, and put it together and pay bills.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were you able to save any money?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. Not much. Once in a while we'd have a little bit. But we had all them young'uns, and they'd get married and leave their husband and come back with two or three young'uns. We had as high as thirteen here at one time. It took everything we could break and scrape to feed them. And they'd finally get married again and take them away, and the first thing I know, here come another one with three or four. [Laughter] Just all the time till the last seven or eight years. I don't think any of them's been back to stay since I retired. I retired when I was sixty-five. In a way, I retired when I was sixty-two, because I'd just work a week and be off a week. But that helped out a whole lot. No, we never have saved nothing to amount to nothing.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you have a car?

Page 27
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, we never have had a car. No, that's one thing we never put no money into.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you get around?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, we got there. When we got ready to go, the neighbors or my children, their husbands had cars. My oldest daughter lives right over yonder. They've got a truck and a car and . . . one of the expensive trucks, you know. [Laughter] I don't know what you call it. She's told me about a dozen times, and I can't remember what the name of it is.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You moved to Bynum in the 1920's. Was there electricity where you lived back then?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, they had electricity up here. But I can remember when I didn't have it. When I was living at the Westmoreland place, we didn't have no electricity, and no water in the house. We had to tote it from up there at Mr. John's.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were you working at the mill when you were living . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, I wasn't working then. I was pregnant. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
That's enough work [unknown] .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, I was pregnant with my fourth girl.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was your husband working in the mill then?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, he was working at Gibsonville then. And he'd work for Mr. John. They farmed, and he'd help them out. Anything he could to make a living, especially when I was out and wasn't working, too.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Your husband?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Lord, yes, he'd work two jobs most of the time all his life. And then he lived to be seventy-three. He sure could work. He

Page 28
was a painter. He'd paint five or six hours every morning and go in down here at three o'clock and work till eleven.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Where did he paint?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
He painted every house around here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was he painting for the people that lived in the houses or . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, for the company. Mr. John London's. [unknown] This was before he ever sold this. He sold all this to the Housing Authority or something or other. But before that, John got him and [unknown] Hearn up here, and I think there was three or four of them that painted all these houses. And they painted all over Chapel Hill, Durham, Pittsboro.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
This is while he . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
While he worked down here. And sometimes after he come down here, if he hadn't went to work, he'd go to work for [unknown] a partner or somebody in town. He wouldn't be out of no job; he was too good a hand. He really could paint, or doff either.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
In the mill, since he was such a good doffer, did people look up to him?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, no, I don't think so. [Laughter] Well, John London always thought a lot of Bill. I went over there right after Bill died, and he just hugged me and cried. Mr. John London; you know him.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I've heard of him, but I haven't met him.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
He just loved Bill to death. He sent flowers when he died. I don't know whether he went over there to the funeral home or not. I couldn't say that. But after he died, I went over there to cash the check that I got from the insurance. And they didn't want to do it, and I asked John would he do it. And he said, heck, yes, he'd do it. So

Page 29
he was putting his arms around my neck, and you could see the tears in his eyes. He said his good friend's gone, ain't he? I said, "Yes, it sure is." He really liked Bill. . . . John London's a good man. You don't never see him but what he ain't patting me on the head or something or other.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
He really took care of people in the mills.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, he loved everybody over here, it seemed like. Well, I reckon there was some of them, maybe, he didn't think as much of as the others, but he thought a lot of his hands, And everybody liked him, because he was good to his hands. John London was a good man.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What sort of things would he do for you?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, anything if he thought you wanted it done. I don't know nothing that's special, but he was just good to the hands. He didn't push them or nothing. He was always friendly with them. A whole lot of bossmen or people that owned the mill don't even know their hands. But he did; he knowed everybody.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How many different mills have you worked in in your life?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I worked in four different mills.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Which of those mills was the best place to work?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Right down here. I'd rather work here than anywhere I was ever at.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was it because of the way that John London treated you?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, he was good to us. You know, a lot of places you work, they're always after you or want to get more and get more and get more, but he wasn't. And Mr. Arthur London, his daddy, he used to walk through the mill and pat us all on the back. They're all just as good

Page 30
as they can be, all the Londons. I don't know too much about Will. He's dead now. I didn't know too much about him, but John and Mr. Arthur I did know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember what it was like when you first came and went to work down in the mill here? How did people treat you when you first came?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Fine. They were really friendly. They always have been here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about in Burlington?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, they was friendly enough, but I don't know, I'd just rather work here than anywhere I ever worked. I worked in Gibsonville a few weeks. I said I'd worked at four mills; I worked in five. I worked at Siler City about eight weeks, and I couldn't stand that. The hardest job I ever had.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Really? Why?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I was a-winding down there, but they was old, way-back-yonder winders when I was down there. My youngest would have been thirty-eight if he'd lived, and he was old enough to go to school. It was about thirty-one or -two years ago. But that was an awful job.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How come?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't know. You know, winders use knotters to tie knots. And the last hands they put in there, they'd put the sorriest knotters they had for them. And half the time they wouldn't tie; you'd have to stop and do it with your fingers, and you never could get nothing a-going. You know, getting them ahead. I was on the third shift. And the first and second shift had their own knotters. Down here, all three shifts used the same knotters. Now I had one that I'd used for the last

Page 31
thirty years, when I quit.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You mean your knotter would be used by somebody else?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. I was on the second shift. The one that was on first shift used it, and I used it, and then the third shift used it. See, we all three used the same knotter. That's the way it is [unknown] . There ain't no knotters. Yes, they've got two or three on that one old winder down there. But in Siler City they would lock up all the good ones that the first and second had, and the third just had to do the best they could, and you never could do nothing. Well, I told Bill, [unknown] "I'll tell you one thing: I am not going to . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
. . . were no jobs. You know that house up on that hill up there, the old Carter place it used to be?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
On the hill on the other side of [unknown] ?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, on the right up there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Up towards where all the Durhams live?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. Way across the river yonder. That new house is built up there. We moved there, and it was an old house, and me and him, neither one didn't have a job, and all them six young'uns. And he said, "Well, here we are. We got plenty to eat." And we paid our rent for six months; it wasn't but five dollars a month then. And he said, "Well, we've got a place to stay and plenty to eat." I said, "Yes."
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you have plenty to eat if you didn't have a job?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, you see, we just moved. We got our money out of the mills. See, we had two weeks behind, so we got about three

Page 32
hundred dollars. And so we had plenty to eat and enough money to get us a blanket [unknown] . [Laughter] And we come on over, and we moved on Saturday. And on Sunday we had so much company [unknown] everybody in Bynum was over there. [Laughter] And so on Monday morning Bill said, "Now I'll be damned if I can stand this." That's the very words he said. He said, "I can't stand this with no job. I'm going across the river and see what I can find out." And he went over there and he stayed about two hours, and he come back. He said, "Well, I got me a job." I said, "You have." He said, "Yes, at about nine o'clock." Well, that was about eight-thirty. About nine o'clock, Will Tripp—he watches down here on Saturday and Sunday now; he was bossman down there—come over after Bill, to go to work down here. He said, "I might put you to work for good. But you can work today for Mrs. Mann." [unknown] So I went on in, and when I got off at three o'clock I walked over yonder to Mr. Donald Johnson's. That old house we lived in belonged to him. So I stopped over there. Me and Minnie, his daughter, walked home from the mill. And I just sat down up there with her. You know that house up on the hill?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Across the river?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, up on the hill, the old house sitting up there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Up towards where Mr. Hearn lives, up that way?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, on your right. You know, this little cinder block house sits down there? Well, right up there is another house sits up there. We walked on up there, and me and her was setting on the porch, and here come Clyde Rigsbee [unknown] me to go on the second shift. He said, "Now I'm going to give you a job." I said, "Well, Will said he might give me one on daytime." He says, "I don't give a you-know-what. You're going back. You ain't got nothing much to do this evening." I said, "No, I bet I ain't."

Page 33
So I turned around and got in the car and went on back with him. And he put me on, and Mr. Coy Durham—he was the bossman down over there—he come around, and he said, "What are you doing down here?" I said, "I'm at work, What business is it of yours?" He said, "Well, I was going to put you on in a day or two." I said, "Yeah, I figured you would." On the first shift.
I couldn't stand him nohow. I was so glad I got the second and didn't have to work for him. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I'm confused here. Are you saying that the supervisors of the different shifts were the ones who decided who went to work on their shifts?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So it wasn't John London who decided whether or not you got a job?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They might have talked to him. Now I don't know about that. You know, before they come after me. But they'd decide about who they wanted to take, I think. I don't know if they still do [unknown] or not, but they did then.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And you'd rather work for . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Clyde than Will Tripp. Don't put that on, or he'll kill me. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Why is that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Clyde's just better to you. He's good natured. But I went back in that day and had to work like a dog. I said, "I thought you wasn't going to work me hard, you said." He said, "Well, I'm sorry. One of them got off sick, and it left a bunch of bobbins to wind." I said, "Well, it don't make no difference. I've got to stay down here till eleven o'clock anyway." [Laughter] So he give me a job, and I stayed on there from then on till I quit.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was that right after you left Siler City?

Page 34
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. I left there on Saturday and went to work Monday. And Bill did, too. He got a job painting with Grady Campbell over here. That was in the summertime, but when fall come. . . . What's-his-name. I don't know who was down there then. I've forgot; it's been so long ago. But he give Bill a job back a-doffing. He said he was lucky, because it was so bad to be out in the cold in the wintertime, you know, painting. It'd be on the outside. But about five or six grand children were there, and one or two of my daughters had come back, and he went and got to painting four or five hours every morning and working down there in the evening. He done that till he retired. And I did, too.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So you had been able to save some money at Siler City?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
We just got a little ahead, you know, what was left when we got our checks. Shoot, no, we ain't never saved nothing.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So in the mill there was a spinning room . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
And a winding room. [unknown] carding rooms upstairs. But when I first went to work here, the old winding room was downstairs in the basement, and the water would get up down there, and we'd just have to stop off. We run by water then instead of electricity like they do now. And if the water was high enough, it run; if if didn't, it stopped. Sometime we'd go down there and work an hour or two and have to go home—till they changed it and put electricity.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
When that happened, did they pay you for the . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. Well, you didn't make but fifteen dollars a week. That's all you made when I first went to work down there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Wow.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
And if you lost any of it, you didn't get that much.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you want the mill to run all the time?

Page 35
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, I wanted to work. Because fifteen dollars don't go far. He was making fifteen, and me fifteen; that was thirty dollars a week for me and him and them children. But back then you could take five dollars and buy as much as you can for fifty now. We didn't ever go hungry; we had plenty to eat.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was there any difference between working in, say, the spinning room or the winding room? Was one job considered better than the other?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, you get a little more pay now in the spinning room down there, in the spinning part. I don't know how much they get; they're raised every once in a while. But I think most of the spinners make four-something. I don't know. It's three-something, I think, in the winding room.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about back when you started? Were spinners making more?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They was making fifteen dollars a week, just like we was. And every job in there, I think. I don't think there was much difference in any of them when we first moved here. But after that one was born that was in here, I think they raised and got up to about nineteen or twenty [unknown] And they just kept on and kept on until it got to where it's at now. But when I started getting Social Security, I didn't get nothing and he didn't, either. I think mine alone was seventy-two dollars. That's all I got, and I had to go and keep a-working. And he did, too. He painted and worked down there as long as he was able. But they've raised it and raised it and raised it, you know, the Social Security, till finally I get a little more now. But I got off of mine and back on his'n when he died, because his'n was a little more than mine.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did the mill have any sort of pension plan back then?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, I wish to the Lord they had. But they wouldn't have it.

Page 36
Somebody asked John how come he didn't do it, [unknown] but I don't know what he said about it. But it never did come up.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Didn't people ever try and start anything like that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't think so. I don't know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were people ever dissatisfied with . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Not as I know of. But, you know, after things got to getting high and people was wanting more, I guess, they might have thought something about it, but I never heared them say nothing about it. They might have. But I didn't think nothing about it. I just took what comed along.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What year was it that you were married in?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
'24 or '5. I think I've got my birth certificate in here. I had to take it up yonder. Let's see when it was. I had to take it up to [unknown] . They can't believe that I'm seventy-one years old. I have to take my birth certificate. Age sixteen when I got married. January tenth, 1925. Guilford County.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were you married in a church?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. We went to the courthouse at Graham and got married.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did your mother come with you when you went?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, she signed for us to get married. [unknown] the written consent of [unknown] mother.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did your family belong to a church here in Bynum?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. I think Mama belonged to a Methodist church, so I joined when I was a young'un. But the church ain't there anymore, so I went [unknown] . Did you want to look at that?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
[unknown] This is your marriage certificate from Burlington and Alamance. [unknown] "the Register of Deeds, January 10, 1925, I"—and that's blank—

Page 37
"having applied to me for a license for the marriage of William Gerringer" . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
He would have been twenty his birthday.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
" [unknown] twenty years old, color white, son of Frederick and Minnie Gerringer, father now living and mother dead, resident of Gibsonville, and Carrie Lee Dean of Glen Raven, age sixteen years, color white, daughter of Dora Oberman and George Dean, father living and mother living." That was your real father.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
"Resident of Glen Raven." And she had to give consent to you, is that right? My goodness.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
And his daddy did, too, because he weren't twenty-one.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, you had to be twenty-one back then?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Eighteen for a girl.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And twenty-one for a man?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
That's really something.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Let's see, 1925. That's. . . .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was it hard for you during the Depression? You kept on working all the time?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, we always kept a-working. We always had a place to stay and plenty to eat, so I didn't worry. [Laughter] I know a lot of them didn't.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did they have to let people in the mill go during the Depression?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. During that time, though, they didn't get much work down here. But my husband would do odd jobs, and he worked over here for

Page 38
a Mr. [unclear] in the country, and he'd give him vegetables. And he raised meat and such, and he'd give Bill maybe a dollar or two and the rest of it in something to eat. And we didn't have to pay but just. . . . I believe to start off, I think it was fifty cents a month for the house. Or sixty; I don't know which it was. We always had plenty to eat.
See, a lot of the men would just sit around and do nothing, just work for a few hours [unknown] down here. Maybe they'd work an hour or two all day, whichever the water held out. But he would get out and work. Lord have mercy.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was the mill still running on water power during the Depression?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, from [unclear].
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember when it switched over to electricity?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, I really don't know.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
In the mill, did people ever play pranks or anything like that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. They didn't have time. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I heard one story about filling a foreman's hat full of water.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They might have done something like that, but I didn't pay no attention to them.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did people ever tell jokes?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, I guess some of them did.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were they jokes about anything in particular?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, I don't think so. I tell you, I hate to say it, but I never was a mixer much. I was kind of like my mama. I'm kind of selfish in some ways, I'll admit it. I never was too sociable with other people.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you have any close friends here?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, I have plenty of friends and neighbors, but there's

Page 39
just a little something standoffish about me. I don't know what it is. Have you ever admitted that?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I'm a little bit like that, too.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I'm a little bit like that, too. I reckon it's the way I was raised. I reckon that had a lot to do with it. Because Mama never was sociable. She didn't allow us to be. I think maybe it's just stuck with me a whole lot. I don't need it. I just . . .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did people in Bynum treat you any differently because you had moved here later?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, no. People here are good. But I never was a visiting person, just from house to house like a lot of people. Which I'm here, and they all know it, and they know I can do anything [unknown] in sickness or something like that, and if there's any way I can help them I'll do it. But I don't see no need of going from house to house taking gossip and talking. You know what I mean. I just wasn't raised like that. I know someone around here said I was the best neighbor they ever had. I said, "Why?" Said, "Well, you don't bother nobody." I said, "That's the best way to be, I reckon." [Laughter] That's enough. I've told you more than I ever told anybody, I reckon. [Laughter] And if you put much of that in that paper, I'll sue you. [Laughter] Just get the highlights. [Laughter] And let the lowlights go. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Some people have talked about working on production. I don't really understand that.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, I guess they pay you a certain amount, but they want you to get a certain production to get that amount. I remember when we had to do that.

Page 40
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did they pay you more if you . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Made more than production? Oh, yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did that work?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, I don't know. They just figured up. They come and got your yarn off of your winder that you done wound. They'd weigh it, and if you made over production, they'd pay you for that. But if you don't get nothing but production, you just get the minimum wage.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did people really try and make more?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes. Lord, I've made many a dollar over production.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were there ever competitions between people trying to make more than the other person?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, I guess there was, but we didn't pay no attention to it. I wouldn't say there was or wasn't—I don't even know—but I have an idea there was. In their mind or heart they probably did, you know, think about it, whether they said it or not. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did how much you were able to produce depend on . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, it was according to how much yarn you had, to come from the spinning room out there. Sometimes you'd have to wait on it, and that would knock you out an awful lot. But I [unknown] I always got over production, not a whole lot but enough to keep ahead.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you ever go to people in the spinning room and complain about . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, no, shoot, I wouldn't. If I got a bad bobbin, I wound it and kept my mouth shut. You just as well do; it don't do no good. I found that out a long time ago. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How's that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
If you complained, sometime they'd only get worse, you know.

Page 41
Just to spite, I have an idea. I won't say that they did it for spite, but I always figured that was it. So I learnt to not say nothing, because you get along better if you don't.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who did people complain to?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Sometimes they'd complain to the bossman, you know, about them making a sorry bobbin. They'd want to go home. Back then, you know, when you got up, you could go home. But you can't do that now. But back then you could; the doffers could, like my husband. And sometimes they would doff them, lacked that much of being full, and that would hinder a winder, because she didn't have but half a bobbin, you see. If he'd let it get full, it would run and she wouldn't have to do that but just. . . . It would make two times instead of one, just as well say. And the half a bobbin didn't fill up your cone as much as a whole bobbin would. So that was just work over and over and over and over. And at first I have said a few things about it, but I learnt to just take them and [unclear] them.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was this in Bynum that you complained about . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. They had a few doffers that if they wanted to go home pretty early, they would doff them half full. But if you said anything, the next time they'd give you less, so you just as well keep your mouth shut. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were any of them known for doing that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes. I've known my husband to do it. I won't take up for him. I know a lot of times I've said a lot to him about it. I doffed his bobbins a long, long time. But I've said so much to him, sometimes he'd get fretty, and he'd just cut them off just because I

Page 42
said something, so I just finally quit. I said, "Well, just whatever comes in here, I'll wind." [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Were there any "characters" in the mill? Were there people who were sort of famous for anything?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, I don't think so. [unknown] all of us was about the same.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I guess that's about all. I don't want to take too much of your time here.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, I've got to get in there and get my jelly.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Let me just turn this off.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't know what avenue it is.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
This was up in Burlington?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. Have you ever been to Glen Raven?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I have never been to Glen Raven.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't know what street it's on, that new church they built. I joined it when I'd done went to work. I reckon I was fourteen years old. But whether they've still got it or not, I don't know. See, when you join they register it; they put it in a book or something or another, and keep it. But whether they've still got it or not, I don't know. But that's the only time I've ever joined a church.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you remember what your mother's father did?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
He worked in the dye house up there in Glen Raven Mill, and the rest of the time he farmed. You could just say he was a farmer.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did your grandmother work for them?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, she never worked at no public work. She had so many children; she had ten.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about your father's father?

Page 43
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't know nothing about my father's people. And Grandma. . . . Have you got that thing on?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you want me to turn it off?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Sure.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
And then the next mill I worked in was here. We come from Carolina to here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And you went to work in the winding room?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How long were you at Carolina?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, we weren't there long. It might have been eight or ten months, something like that.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And you went to work as a winder in Bynum.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, and then we lived here and went to Siler City, and I worked down there about eight weeks.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
As a winder?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, a winder. Lord. [Laughter] Then we come back here, and I've been here about. . . . I come here when Jackie was eleven months old, this last time, and he would be thirty-nine in December if he'd a-lived. So about thirty-eight years, you'd say, here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So you had a son that died?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, he died when he was sixteen. He had leukemia.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
And was he your youngest son?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. And from then on till I retired—I'd say thirty-eight years, about that—I've been down here. I've been in this house nineteen

Page 44
years. I stopped my moving. [Laughter] I said to my husband the last time we went to work down here, "I'll tell you something. As long as I'm able to work, I'm going to stay right here. I ain't going nowhere else." He said, "Well, me, too." We did, too. [Laughter] I got tired of that moving. And lots of times several things got broke. I had a pretty wardrobe with glass mirrors in it, and that thing fell over in that truck and busted them glasses. I could have. . . . I just felt like crying.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
[unknown] a shame.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
And a lot of things we got broke up like that a-moving. When I come here, I said, "I'm stopping right now." [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
I noticed your chest there. That's a beautiful piece.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, it's an old piece.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Does that go back in your family?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. I've had it about fifty years [unknown], maybe a little longer. I think I had two children. That girl there, she's fifty-one years old. She was about a year old when I got that. It's about fifty-one years old, but it was secondhand when I got it. And I don't know who had it before I did. I bought it at Rhodes Furniture Company in Burlington.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you have any pieces that were your grandparents'?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. Well, Mama had that couch over there. She had it for about fifty years. My stepdad died first. He died about two years before she did. And then when she died we sold the place, and we just divided the furniture because we didn't feel like it was worth selling. Well, she had a whole lot of stuff, but, let's see, I've got an old-timey fan in yonder, and that [the couch?], and a chair that went with it, but

Page 45
I ain't got it now. My daughter's got it. And a lot of cooking things and dishes and glassware. I think that's about all.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Thank you very much. I really appreciate your . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Law, it don't make no difference to me. I'll get through sometime. [Laughter] The Lord willing, I'll have plenty of time.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You don't still go down to the mill, do you?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, I don't think I've been down there since I quit. Because they's so queer down there now, they say. Now I don't know about that.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did you quit before that new company came in?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, I worked for them. I don't know when they come here— I can't even remember—but I know I worked for them a long time. They weren't as good to work for as John.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
A lot of things must have changed when they came.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, they did, after they put them new winders. You know, they got a bunch of new winders and took the old ones out. And that's where the trouble come in. We all had to learn. I was about sixty years old when they changed down there, and I was only about five years, or six, maybe, on a new one. And they give a lot of trouble, and we'd been used to them old winders and it was hard to get used to them new ones. And boy, they would . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Once in a while they'd send and ask me to come work on my day off or something like that. But I quit that. I said, "I'm

Page 46
not going to mess with it anymore. I'm getting too old to get in a hurry like that."
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did the machines really speed up . . .
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes. Lord, they'd just fly, them last ones they put in there.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
What about before then? Did they ever speed them up before then?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, the old ones done pretty good. They really did. But I reckon if the old winders stayed in there, I'd probably been down there till now. But them new ones, they just went so fast, it just took all you could do to keep up with them. You couldn't keep up with them; ain't nobody keep up with them, but some could do better than others.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Am I right in thinking that they've changed the winding machines three times since you started working?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. And the first they was good, and the second they was good, but the third time, oh, boy! They speeded them things up. They was flying.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
The second time, was that the same time the electricity came in?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I don't know for sure. It might have been; I don't know. I can't even remember. Well, they had lights up here on the hill when we come here. I know that. The mill was still on water. But when they changed over, I couldn't tell you. Some of the men might could tell you, you know, that knowed better.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
But it was still on water during the Depression?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I think it was. I know lots of times we had to go back to the house. There weren't nothing to turn it on with. [Laughter] And that was a lot of trouble up this hill, going down there and maybe stay an hour or two and go back. But when there was plenty of water, now it

Page 47
run good, just eight hours. But when it got dry like it is right now, law, you just as well say you ain't going to stay down there long. [Laughter] But we'd go get that hour or two, because we needed it to live on.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
If it was like now, it must have been awfully hot in the mill then, too.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, it was cooler than it is now when they got air conditioning down there. They'd open all them windows back yonder in that new part. It was all windows, which they closed them up now, just stopped them up with brick and this here panelling or something or other. And there ain't no way to see out down there, and no air.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
It was actually cooler back then?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes. If you opened them windows, that air would come through there, mmm-mm. Law, when a good breeze would come through, you'd feel it. [Laughter] We enjoyed it; I did. I liked it. I don't care anything about air conditioning. It's always got a heavy feeling to me. Which I ain't got no lung trouble. I know that, because I've been checked enough that. . . .There's a lot of them down there. . . . My oldest daughter there, she smokes like a stovepipe, and she can't hardly get her breath down there. So I don't know what it is in there. If you stand up here against the wall and look back. . . . You know, they burn their lights all day. And you can just see the dust in the air part.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Is it dusty?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, it's dusty down there. I reckon it still is; it was when I was down there. You'd just get up against the wall and look back through there, and you could just see the dust.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did that ever give people problems?

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CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes. This lady that lived down here—she was one of my good neighbors—died. And she never smoked nor used tobacco in her life, and her lungs was just beat up.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who was that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Ethel Hearne.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did that happen to a lot of people?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. My daughter's got it bad. She did work out there, but they put her in the card room. It's just as bad. But she says the job's easier on her than the winding. But she said you could see that dust in the card room up there; when she gets home, she can't hardly breathe. She's going to have to do something, I don't know what. All of them smoke but one, our youngest one; she don't smoke. And they've all got a touch of emphysema or something.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did all your children go to work in the mill?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
All of them but the youngest one. She worked around in stores, checking and. . . .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did they all want to go to work in the mill, or did they have to?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
They just wanted to go. See, back then, when my young'uns was little, they could come down there and stay with me as long as they wanted to, when they was ten or twelve years old. And that's where they learnt to wind. They didn't have to learn when they got ready to go to work. They already knowed how. And they are good winders, every one of them. That one lives at Norfolk, now she can beat anybody down there. She is [unknown] . I bet she weighs two-fifty, [unknown] but she is a winder. She sure can work. They're all good winders but the youngest one. Now she never did go down there. She'd come down and help me, but I don't

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think she really wanted to work down there. And I'm glad she didn't.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you feel? Did you want them to go to work in the mill?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I didn't care if they did or didn't. I just felt like they could use their own choice. I didn't make them.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How about school? Did they all go [unknown] school?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, they all got their ninth and tenth grade or something like that. They never did finish high school, nary a one of them.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did you feel about that?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, I'd have loved for them to, but they didn't want to, and I wasn't going to make them. Because if you've got to make a young'un do something like that, he ain't going to learn nothing.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
So they all stayed in Bynum except for your one daughter that went to Norfolk.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Now Patsy, she's in Texas. She lives in Texas, but she's coming back here, I think. She called me the other day and said she'd probably be back here in a week [unknown] . She's been married five times, and she ain't never satisfied. She says she's been married six, but I don't know. [Laughter] So I ain't going to say, but I say five; I know she has five times.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
My goodness. Were they all local fellows?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, one of them was from Arkansas, and his name was Lonnie White. And one of them lives in Calif. . . . Her first husband she married when she was fourteen years old. And she married a soldier. Phillips is his last name, and everybody called him "Phil." And she had one child by him. And she married Lonnie White and had one by him. And them's the only two she had. And then she married. . . . Let's see, who was it she married? [Laughter] She married a William and a Smith and Lonnie and Phil.

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DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
But not all of them were local guys?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, Lonnie is from Arkansas, and Phil was from California, one from Tennessee. Now the Williams lives at Burlington. They live on the same street that church is on; they live right behind it. But she didn't stay with him. He'd been married about five times. I said, "They is a match." They didn't stay together but about six months, and they parted.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did she meet all those fellows from Arkansas and California and all those places?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Well, they was soldiers down here at Fort Bragg.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did she come to move to Texas?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
She said she was going out there and get married, but whether she did or not, I can't tell you. She's just one of them kind, she's never satisfied. I know she's mine, but where she gets it I don't know. She just ain't satisfied with none of them she's ever married. And she's pretty, just as pretty as a doll. I'll say it even if she is mine. But boy, she's tested 'em all. [Laughter] But she is beautiful.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Did a lot of the young people in Bynum do that? I mean did a lot [unknown] ?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, I don't think so. I've got one of her pictures here. I'll show it to you. She's dark-skinned, black as a nigger, near about. And long black hair. There she is. That's when her hair was a little bit shorter. She is beautiful.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Uh-huh, beautiful.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
And this is that one lives at Norfolk; that's her two children.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was her husband from Norfolk?

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CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, she married him here in Bynum. And him and her parted, and she went to Norfolk and he stayed here. And he died up here at Durham.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How did she come to go to Norfolk?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
I really don't know. In a way I do. Now that one that was in here a while ago, her and her husband lived there, and she went out there where they was. And she got her a job in a tent factory, and now she's the boss lady. There she is. I told you she was big as a cow. That was at Norfolk. And that's Pat.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Is this a grandson?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, that's my husband's brother's boy. He got killed in a car wreck.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, dear.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
And that's one of his brothers. And this is the boy that died of mine. . . . And these is all my grandchildren. I ain't got but twenty grandchildren and twenty-two great-grandchildren.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who are these?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
That's May and her husband. And this is Irene that was in here a while ago and her baby boy. And this is Polly's boy. And this one and that one's the same one, but she's six years old there and twenty years old here.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
You've got some good-looking grandchildren.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, I think so. And that's Polly's two young'uns that lives over here. And that's hers; that's the same one as that one, but it don't look like it.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do you ever all get together?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Oh, yes, and Lord, you ought to. . . . There's that pretty one. And this is Patsy's girl; ain't she pretty? And that's

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her husband. They live at Siler City.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who are all these old photographs?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
That's my stepdaddy when he was a baby. And that's me and my oldest brother when we was little. [Laughter] Ain't we pretty?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Oh, yeah. That was back in Burlington?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes. And this is the little boy that's dead. And that's my grandson, and that's one, and that's one. And that's two of my great-grandchildren right there. And there's me and my husband when we just had one child.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Was that in Bynum?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No, Gibsonville. And this is some of the bunch when we have our dinners. And this is some of them. Ain't that . . .
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
That's quite a gathering.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
That's me, and that's all five of my children and two grandchildren, I believe it is. And them's great-grandchildren there. And that's Patsy's daughter, too. And there's Daniele again, the one that lives at Norfolk. [Laughter] And that's my husband's grave.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Is he buried here in Bynum?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Mmm-hm, up yonder at Long Spring. And that's me. And this is my granddaughter and her three children. They're at Raleigh. She's pretty; that's Irene's girl, that one that was in here a while ago.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Who is this here?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
That's my oldest brother, the one that's dead. And that's three of my grandchildren, and all of them are, and them two. I mean, I got them. [Laughter]
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Goodness. Really.

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CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
And that one's my grandchild.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Is that your husband's picture when he was painting?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
That's my husband and Mr. [unclear], yes. And this is the one that lives in Arizona. She's one of my grandchildren. And this is the one that lives lives at Siler. . . . That's Patsy's. And that's Patsy. That's that one of her that you seen was so pretty?
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Right.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Of course, that's when she was younger. And that's Irene, and that's Irene.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
How many of your grandchildren are still around? Did they all stay around Bynum, too?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
No. Some of them's in Norfolk; Daniele's two is out there. They work for her. And Irene's four, one of them's in. . . . Them's Patsy's two. One of Irene's is at Elon College, and one's in Norfolk, and one's in Raleigh, and one's in California. The one's in California, she's trying to get in the movies or something. [unknown] her and her daughter.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Do all your grandchildren stay in pretty close touch?
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Yes, we pretty much do. Now this one, I ain't seen her in about six years. She lives in Arizona. That's Mama when she was young, younger than she was when she died. She's about forty-five there. That's a old picture, Lord have mercy. And these two are Patsy's. And that's Patsy.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Some wonderful pictures here.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
And that's Jeff, the one that stayed here with me most of the time. And that's him and his brother. And this is one of them and her husband; that was right after they was married. She lives down

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here at Farrington.
DOUGLAS DeNATALE:
Well, thank you again.
END OF INTERVIEW