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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Carrie Lee Gerringer, August 11, 1979. Interview H-0077. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Lack of knowledge about birth control methods

Gerringer notes that it was common for married couples in her community to have many children. Gerringer explains that she wasn't aware of any birth control methods, but had she been, she would have used them. Moreover, she notes that when she was married at the age of sixteen, she had very little knowledge of sex and pregnancy. Her lack of knowledge, she believes, was not uncommon for women like her.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Carrie Lee Gerringer, August 11, 1979. Interview H-0077. 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

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:
, 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] not. But it's the truth, every bit of it. I didn't know.
DOUGLAS DENATALE:
You had to just learn it on your own.
CARRIE LEE GERRINGER:
Just learn. Ask the neighbors after I got 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.