Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Gladys and Glenn Hollar, February 26, 1980. Interview H-0128. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Recollections of an impoverished rural childhood

Glenn Hollar describes his upbringing in this excerpt. His recollections create a vivid image of an impoverished rural childhood, sharing a drafty log cabin with eight other siblings.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Gladys and Glenn Hollar, February 26, 1980. Interview H-0128. 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

When I grew up my mother, she'd rent pastures out for cotton. And hoe it and pick the cotton for a third of it, to buy clothes with for the kids. And my daddy, what little he made in the shop, would take in what he made, too. He was in the shop then.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Your mother would do what?
GLENN HOLLAR:
She'd rent maybe two or three acres, whatever she felt she could work, and hoe it. And then we'd plant it and plow it and everything, but she'd hoe it. And we picked the cotton, and we'd sell it. She'd get a third of whatever it brung. That's how we'd buy our clothes and things to go to school. There was nine of us. We'll, there was eleven; there was two dead, but there was nine still living. As we'd get a little bigger and the other ones come along, we'd tend to them while she was working in the field. around in the dirt; even dirt can feel good to little ones. If we tried to go through it now, we'd never make it. And I know out here, one brother popped his hand on the stove one time and burned it. We had an awful time with him. You had to put up with what you could get a-hold of. We lived out here in a log house, and we had a little stairway that went up. Me and my oldest brother slept up there in the wind. The mud between the logs was old, and it'd drop out, you know, dry. I woke up more than one time with snow on the bed. But I was still warm. You'd get up and go down them stairs with your pants in your hand, just might near freeze. And head for the kitchen stove, get right back in the corner where you'd stay warm. You'd walk to school. We went to school out here, this old schoolhouse. A path come up through the pasture back through there. You walked everywhere you went, in snow, and you didn't miss a day; you'd go every day. And then I got out here I went to work, and I'd walk to work. That was every day.