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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Kathryn Killian and Blanche Bolick, December 12, 1979. Interview H-0131. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Rejecting characterization as an old maid for marrying after age eighteen

Killian and Bolick describe the courtship rituals of their adolescence. Young men and women met in groups and married young. Killian was unique, she remembers, considered an old maid because she married well after her eighteenth birthday. She says she was not bothered by her peers' teasing.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Kathryn Killian and Blanche Bolick, December 12, 1979. Interview H-0131. 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

JACQUELYN HALL:
Tell me about courting. When did that start? When did you start having serious boyfriends coming around?
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
How old were you?
BLANCHE BOLICK:
I don't remember. [laughter]
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
It was so different, again I'll say it was so different because we—I don't know what other people did—but we didn't date alone. With the man I married, I'll bet I didn't date with him alone over a dozen times. We were always with someone else. And that's the way it was from the time I started dating. We never thought about dating alone. It was always at least another couple, or usually it was as many couples as could be in the car. And we would pile up. I mean we would sit on the laps, because there were very few people who had cars and you just didn't one couple go in a car.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was the man that you married the first serious boyfriend, or had there been some other boyfriends before him?
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
Oh-h-h-h, I had different ones. You know how you get crushes, several, but there was nothing to it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did you start going out with him?
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
About a year before we got married. I got married in 1937. I started dating him in '36, the early part of '36. We got married—no, about the middle of '36—we got married in December of '37.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did it come about that you decided this was the person you were going to marry?
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
Well, he just kept coming around, and I just kept wanting him to. [laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember when he asked you to marry him?
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
No, I don't remember. I don't even remember if I told him I would marry him the first time he asked me, I don't remember that. But we got married. Went to the preacher's house and we got married.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You got married in the preacher's house?
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
Up here in Conover.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So how old were you then?
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
Twenty-one and he was twenty-three. I was an old maid. I was considered an old maid when I got married. Back then if you weren't married by the time you were eighteen you were an old maid.
BLANCHE BOLICK:
Twenty-five, wasn't it?
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
Who?
BLANCHE BOLICK:
An old maid.
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
No, but back then, when we were growing up, if you wasn't married by eighteen…don't you remember how Charles and Owen teased me? "Ain't you never gonna get married? Ain't you never gonna get married!"
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you worried about that?
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
No [laughter].
JACQUELYN HALL:
You didn't think you were an old maid?
KATHRYN KILLIAN:
No.