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Title: Oral History Interview with Flake and Nellie Meyers, August 11, 1979. Interview H-0133. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Meyers, Flake, interviewee
Author: Meyers, Nellie, interviewee
Interview conducted by Dilley, Patty
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 Steve Weiss Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 264 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.
2006-09-04, Mike Millner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Flake and Nellie Meyers, August 11, 1979. Interview H-0133. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0133)
Author: Patty Dilley
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Flake and Nellie Meyers, August 11, 1979. Interview H-0133. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, 1974-1980. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0133)
Author: Flake and Nellie Meyers
Description: 218 Mb
Description: 60 p.
Note: Interview conducted on August 11, 1979, by Patty Dilley; recorded in Hickory, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
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.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Flake and Nellie Meyers, August 11, 1979.
Interview H-0133. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Meyers, Flake, interviewee
Meyers, Nellie, interviewee


Interview Participants

    FLAKE MEYERS, interviewee
    NELLIE MEYERS, interviewee
    PATTY DILLEY, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
PATTY DILLEY:
. . .where you were born?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I was born in Rowan County, Salisbury. We lived there until I was three years old, and then we moved up to Iredell County near Mooresville. Then from there we moved up here in Catawba County. Been living here ever since. Lived over in Vale section till 1961 we came over here, wasn't it?
NELLIE MEYERS:
We have three homes. Just out there are the homes we built.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Decided to sell out and move closer to town. I drove back and forth to work for years. It was in the . . .
PATTY DILLEY:
Country?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, we did. I'm a country boy. [Laughter]
NELLIE MEYERS:
It was two or three miles you walked through the snow every winter to meet your relatives.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Couldn't get gas, you know, way back in there much, and we'd pool rides. You would go through the snow about three miles to get to the ride. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Were your parents farmers?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, they was farmers. And he made furniture; there's where I got into it. He had a little furniture shop out in the country. He made all kinds of furniture, chairs and what they called kitchen safes back then. Those cupboards; there was tin up the doors with those little holes punched in.
PATTY DILLEY:
Pie safes.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Called kitchen cupboards. He made lots of them, and then he made a few coffins. They didn't call them caskets back then; coffins, you know, back in them days.
PATTY DILLEY:
Where did he learn how to do that?

Page 2
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's the reason I learned how to make furniture; my father trained me up. We'd go in the woods and cut our timber and haul it in and dry it and make it into furniture. That was when I was at High Point.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did he learn how to do that?
FLAKE MEYERS:
From his father. His father made old wooden clocks. They was interesting.
PATTY DILLEY:
This was a family skill handed down?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, that's right.
PATTY DILLEY:
I hadn't talked to anybody before that was like that.
FLAKE MEYERS:
My grandfather was a clockmaker.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was he from Germany, perhaps?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, his folks were German, but he was born and raised here in the United States. His father was from Germany, and his grandmothers were Dutch.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why did you decide to leave home and go to High Point?
FLAKE MEYERS:
We was kind of poor folks, and we couldn't kind of make ends meet. My grandfather lived at High Point, and so I stayed with them and worked over there. And I worked there for several years, and I came back to Hickory and worked at Hickory and boarded over there at Hickory. My folks lived out there in the Vale section, and I'd go home about every month [unclear].
PATTY DILLEY:
When you first went to High Point, what plant did you work in there?
FLAKE MEYERS:
The Alma Furniture Company. Then I left there and went to the Columbia Furniture Company.
PATTY DILLEY:
What was your first job?
FLAKE MEYERS:
My first job was running a tenon machine.
PATTY DILLEY:
Can you describe that to me?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Like this here, if this post is mortised out, you know, holes cut in there, and then you cut a tenon to fit it in there and put glue on it

Page 3
and then drive a nail in the back side to hold it till you pull it apart.
PATTY DILLEY:
So a tenon machine would drill a hole in it?
FLAKE MEYERS:
The post had a mortise in it. Then you'd cut a tenon on it to put in that mortise there, and that'd hold it together, you see. I've got a little shop down yonder I make furniture. I ought to bring that table in here and show it to you, but. . .
PATTY DILLEY:
We can go out and look at it then after.
FLAKE MEYERS:
I don't have much down there.
NELLIE MEYERS:
He don't have many tools to work with.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Then I went to Hickory Chair Company. I run a shaper over there, shape up that post. Throw them out like this. Then from that I run a cutoff saw. Then when I went to Conover, I done a little of everything all over the shop. I was kind of the main man around there. And we made school desks, and we made kitchen safes there. They made them by the hundreds there. And hickory sticks for cotton mills, and all kinds of cotton mill supplies. And chicken coops.
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes, I had heard all that.
FLAKE MEYERS:
I done a little of everything. Then the plant growed; it got a lot of big machinery in there, and they put me as assistant foreman there for quite a while. Then finally they sold out and went to Hickory. Worked there at Conover for years.
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes, they had sold out to Broyhill.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, that's right.
PATTY DILLEY:
When you were working at High Point, how did you learn to do that first job?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Well, it wasn't hard for me to do it. The foremanwent in and showed me how, and I went ahead and done it. I couldn't set it up too good

Page 4
for a while, and there was a mechanic that come in and set it up for me. But it wasn't long till I got onto it.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you didn't have any kind of training period.
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, I just learnt the hard way.
PATTY DILLEY:
Just while you were working.
NELLIE MEYERS:
He worked with a lot of machinery, but didn't get hurt on it.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's amazing.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, that's right. I've got all of my fingers. How much do you think I made a day there, ten hours?
PATTY DILLEY:
I don't know.
FLAKE MEYERS:
A dollar and a thin dime a day. [Laughter] That's what they always said.
PATTY DILLEY:
What year was this when you first went to High Point?
FLAKE MEYERS:
1913.
PATTY DILLEY:
How old were you then?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Sixteen.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you go with anybody over there to High Point?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, I just stayed with my grandfather and grandmother.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Walked to work.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did they work at the furniture plants there?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No. He was kind of a wealthy fellow. He had lots of houses he rented out. Of course, he didn't get too much out of it, but he didn't work for them.
PATTY DILLEY:
This isn't the grandfather that was the clockmaker.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, he made the clocks.
NELLIE MEYERS:
He made the baskets, too, didn't he?

Page 5
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, I worked in a basket factory over there, tobacco warehouse baskets, and I nailed them together.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was this while you were in High Point?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. A lot of times on Saturday I wouldn't be working at the furniture plant, and I went with him to make these basket things.
PATTY DILLEY:
Would your father sell the furniture he made just to local people?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, yes, he would have to write his orders down, he had so many come in.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were most of the people from around that area?
FLAKE MEYERS:
All around in the country, neighbors, good friends. They'd come from a distance when they found out he made furniture. He sold quite a lot of it.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you didn't have any trouble finding a job when you got to High Point?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No. My grandfather went with me, and I remember he said, "Could you give my son-in-law [grandson] a job? He's a young boy, and he's trying to start out and would like to have a job." "Yes, we'll try him. Bring him in." So the next day I went in and went to work. A dollar and a dime a day.
PATTY DILLEY:
Gosh. How long did you stay there in High Point?
FLAKE MEYERS:
About two years and a half.
PATTY DILLEY:
And then you came to Hickory?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I come to Hickory.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why did you decide to come to Hickory?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I got tired of High Point. I wanted to come home and be at home with my folks.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was there a difference in the towns?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, a lot. That's a large town, High Point is, but Hickory back in . . .

Page 6
PATTY DILLEY:
Hickory wasn't very big then.
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, not at first. And I knew quite a few people in Hickory, and I decided to come on home. [unknown] Then I got more money here at Hickory than I did at High Point.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you first went to Hickory Manufacturing?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Hickory Chair.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why did you go to that particular plant?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I just don't know. I was out job hunting and happened to start there first, and they give me the job.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you remember a man there, Ralph Bowman?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, yes, sure. He was the superintendent there a while, wasn't he?
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That was after I quit there. Bratt [unclear]Hall was the superintendent when I was there. I don't know whether you knew him or not. He's passed away.
PATTY DILLEY:
I don't know Bratt Hall, but I've talked to Mr. Bowman.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Bowman was the assistant, I think, when I was there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were they good bosses?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, law, yes. They were real good. But you didn't get no breaks like you do now. I worked ten hours a day and had to work right on through. They didn't want you to even have a sandwich or anything with you.
PATTY DILLEY:
You had to really work hard.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, you bet you did.
PATTY DILLEY:
You had to work all ten hours you were there.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. Get an hour for lunch, but go right back. You had to

Page 7
punch out.
PATTY DILLEY:
You had to punch out for lunch.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, when you'd go back in. Ten hours. It seemed I got two dollars and a half there a day. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
What were you doing then?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I run the shaper, band saw, boring machine to bore holes. Like for a pin to. . . .
PATTY DILLEY:
Like for a dowel.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, like for dowel pins. They'd drive dowel pins, and that'd hold a dowel together. If you didn't have this mortised, you see, you'd drill holes in there. Drill holes in this rail, and put about two dowels in there, and the dowels would go into the post there. And that's the way we'd put it together with the chairs.
PATTY DILLEY:
Rather than nailing them together.
FLAKE MEYERS:
After I quit there, I went to the table factory before I went to Conover. It was called Highland Furniture then. I run a big planer down there. Then I kind of got mad at the foreman there, this Henry Clay, so I went down to Conover and worked there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why did you go from Hickory Chair over to the table place?
FLAKE MEYERS:
They offered me more money. I knew the superintendent. I was getting two and a half up there at Hickory Chair, and they started me in at three dollars a day at the table factory.
PATTY DILLEY:
How many years had you been working for Hickory Chair?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Three. I worked at the table factory about a year and a half.
NELLIE MEYERS:
You worked a little at the Century [unclear].
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, I went over had helped them start up, but I didn't like the place. They had a big automatic shaper, a double head, and I run it for six weeks. They offered me a good price if I'd take it up, and Southern Desk down there

Page 8
wanted me to come back over there, and [unknown] they give me a better price than they was giving me, [unknown] so I said I'd come.
PATTY DILLEY:
What was it about that one machine that you didn't like, the big shapers?
FLAKE MEYERS:
That automatic? [unknown] Oh, it had such big forms you had to. . . . Oh, they was a lot bigger than this table and about four inches thick. You'd have to pick them up and lay them down in and bolt them fast. They was big tables. It was a lot bigger table than that table over there. And just run it around and around. And then it was double-headed, and it was aggravating to run, and I just didn't like it. And then I didn't like the boss too good. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
What would be the difference between a boss like that and somebody that you did like to work for?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Well, when you go in, and it seems like you can't please him, and you just think, "I'm not going to stay here; I'm going where they'll treat me better."
PATTY DILLEY:
They appreciate you.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. Where they appreciate you. Well, they would let me stay on there. told them I was going back to Southern Desk, which they gave me more money to come back. [Interruption]
PATTY DILLEY:
So you went from the table place, where you were running that big shaper?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, that was the big planer at the table factory. I run that about a year and a half. And then I heard about Conover, and so I went down there and stayed a couple of years.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you hear?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Different ones were telling me about it. I knew some sanders [unknown] working down there. Left before I did from the table factory

Page 9
and went down there. Said it was such a good place to work, which it was.
PATTY DILLEY:
What would they say about it?
FLAKE MEYERS:
They'd say, "Meyers, why don't you go down to Conover? They have mighty good foremen down there, and I think you'd enjoy working for them. They pay pretty good. Why don't you try it?"
PATTY DILLEY:
So there were people living in Hickory working in Conover?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, quite a few of us. And she had a brother who worked down there, and we was living out in the Vale section at that time. That was too far to drive back and forth [unknown] every day, and so I rode in by bus. That's one of the reasons we moved down here nearer.
PATTY DILLEY:
What was your brother's name?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Logan Workman.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you were a Workman.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. Did you know Scott Workman?
PATTY DILLEY:
I've interviewed him, too.
FLAKE MEYERS:
He worked up in High Point [unclear].
NELLIE MEYERS:
He was my baby brother. There was ten children of us.
PATTY DILLEY:
I've talked to most of your brothers then, because I've talked to Lee Workman and Scott Workman and Memory Workman.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Memory died here a few months ago.
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes. This was two years ago.
FLAKE MEYERS:
I got all them brothers jobs. I started first and got all them brothers jobs. Let's see, Lee and Memory and Scott and Zeb and Jake. In fact, there were five who got jobs there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Gosh, that little place. If you'd gotten rid of the Workmans, they would have had to close the place down.
NELLIE MEYERS:
[unknown] They would come and stay with us. Had to cook for them, you know.

Page 10
FLAKE MEYERS:
We moved over to Conover eventually.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you all meet? Were you from Vale?
NELLIE MEYERS:
They moved up there about two miles from where I lived. We'd see one another back and forth, and so we got acquainted, and it was from then on. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
When you all first got married, did you have your own house or did you move in with parents?
NELLIE MEYERS:
He'd bought an old log house.
FLAKE MEYERS:
It was on a little old farm, a twelve-acre farm. [Laughter]
NELLIE MEYERS:
And it had a little log house on it, and it was plastered all inside. And we'd take newspapers and decorate it all inside with it, and then we'd put the pictures out of magazines around to make it pretty. And so when it would rain, we'd have to get up of a night and move our bed around and around out of the rain. [Laughter] It even had a little woodman's stove.
FLAKE MEYERS:
A cook stove.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Then he went to the store and got some little pots and pans, and we started that way. We didn't have nothing. I did have a bed and some bedding.
PATTY DILLEY:
That you got from home.
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, I made myself. . . . I had about eight or ten quilts made when I was twelve years old. I love to do that.
FLAKE MEYERS:
I made the dining table and [unknown] little kitchen cupboards and different little things. We didn't have too much room in that little shack. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
This was an old tobacco barn?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, it was an old. . . . It weren't used for anything. I

Page 11
want to show you our bedroom furniture I made. I made that at Conover.
PATTY DILLEY:
Okay, we'll see it.
FLAKE MEYERS:
In fact, we lived with her folks for awhile.
PATTY DILLEY:
You did?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, we was all real close.
NELLIE MEYERS:
And then we did have to move around the house.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you all lived out there until you moved into Conover?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. Moved to Conover. I don't know just how many years ago, though.
NELLIE MEYERS:
About forty years at the least.
FLAKE MEYERS:
And we lived up above the hardware store.
PATTY DILLEY:
You were boarding in town during the school years?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you didn't have to catch a ride.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right. [unknown] I was paying four and a half a week. That was real cheap then. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Well, the money went a lot further then, I guess.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yeah, four and a half a week. [unknown] That was really cheap.
PATTY DILLEY:
When you were working for Conover, how many hours a day would you work?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Ten. I got to be assistant foreman there. I had to put in a lot more hours, though. [unknown] I don't know if Scott told you that or not.
PATTY DILLEY:
He had mentioned that you were some kind of foreman.
FLAKE MEYERS:
And I run a lot of the machines there; I run a tenon machine and a ripsaw and [unknown] cutoff saws and a boring machine, band saw, dowel machine, rip saw, triple [unknown] saw. Anything that was in there, I could run.

Page 12
PATTY DILLEY:
As assistant foreman, what would you do then, extra?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Had to do a lot of machine setting up. Set up the machines and see that the stuff went through right. The right amount and all that.
PATTY DILLEY:
But during all of this time, you [unknown] actually worked, too, running the machines.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right. Go in and set it up and see that the men had a job they were working on. That's nerve-racking.
PATTY DILLEY:
[Laughter] I bet. What was the hardest thing the foreman would do?
FLAKE MEYERS:
If you didn't get your stuff out right or get it on time. The superintendent would come around: "Why is this behind here? Meyers, you'd better get busy and get it on out." That was about the hardest thing.
PATTY DILLEY:
To get the people to get going.
FLAKE MEYERS:
"Get this man on it over here.. He's standing there. I would get him to work." [Laughter] I'd be out there working, getting something set up or something, cutting it out, and then a couple men standing there waiting. "Why don't you have them to do that? Them standing there, and you doing the work." Didn't like to see that.
PATTY DILLEY:
Who was the superintendent at that time?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Bill Roberts. He's passed away a couple years ago, I think. If you didn't happen to know, Ralph Simmons was the one in Conover.
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes, as a matter of fact, I have interviewed Ralph Simmons.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Ralph Simmons was my foreman when I first went down there. We made school desks.
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes, and Frank Gilbert.
FLAKE MEYERS:
He's dead. Ralph is living, isn't he?
PATTY DILLEY:
He was last year when I talked to him.

Page 13
FLAKE MEYERS:
He's in bad shape, heart.
PATTY DILLEY:
I knew that Mr. Simmons knew a lot about machines. Did he teach you some of your jobs?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, he sure did. He was a real good saw filer. He kept all the saws sharpened up. He'd sharpen saws and band saws, and he was real good at it. He learnt me a lot. But they quit the school desks and put me up as a foreman. And then the new superintendents come in there, and we finally went to Newton Furniture Company. I left Conover and went to Newton. And the new management over there put me in as as assistant foreman.
PATTY DILLEY:
What was the management change? Did Mr. Brady die or what?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, it got so it wasn't making very much money. It kind of went in the hole, and they had gotten way in debt, and they sold out to Broyhill. [unknown] They kind of went bankrupt and sold out.
PATTY DILLEY:
So Mr. Brady was still living during that time?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
But he wasn't in charge of it.
FLAKE MEYERS:
No. His son-in-law had taken over, and he really wasn't too good at it.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's what I heard. His name is Bill Barker?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, but that's what ruined the place. If he hadn't come there, probably the place would be running yet. Mr. Brady ran a sharp outfit.
PATTY DILLEY:
What kinds of things did Mr. Barker do? Did he just not know that much about the furniture industry, or what?
FLAKE MEYERS:
He had a good college education, but he didn't know beans about furniture. He tried to change everything from what Mr. Brady did.

Page 14
PATTY DILLEY:
I believe Mr. Brady had a partner, one of the Shufords in town?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, Maynard Shuford. Maynard run the glove will down there, Warlong Glove, [unknown] very small plant. Maynard run the glove mill, and Mr. Brady run the furniture factory. And they were partners [unknown] in that. Maynard Shuford was a banker, too. He was president of the Conover Bank at that time.
PATTY DILLEY:
What was the name of that glove mill? Was it Warlong?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, Warlong.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did a lot of the wives of the people that worked here at the plant work at the glove mill?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, they did. Lots of them. She never did get to go up there. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you ever do any public work?
NELLIE MEYERS:
I worked in the cotton mill.
PATTY DILLEY:
When was this?
NELLIE MEYERS:
That was in 1919, right after World War I.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were you married then?
NELLIE MEYERS:
No.
PATTY DILLEY:
Where did you work?
NELLIE MEYERS:
At the Clyde Mill in Newton. Knitting all these socks. They've got something else over there now; it's not [unknown] like it was when I worked there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were you still living up in Vale?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. Mr. Will Stanley was the boss there at this mill. Back then hands was scarce. A lot of them was in service. So he found out that Dad had a big family, and he came over and got us to move over there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did your whole family move?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. We was there three years. Then Dad got tired of it,

Page 15
and we moved back, and then Mr. Stanley needed me back. And he come to the field where we was working, and he asked Dad if he would have me to come back to work.
PATTY DILLEY:
What kind of job did you do?
NELLIE MEYERS:
I run a spooler. You wouldn't know what it was.
PATTY DILLEY:
I sort of know. I've been in a mill a couple of times.
NELLIE MEYERS:
You had a cone thing, you know. You'd hold a spool down, and there's your thread and you held your hand like that and tied the threads. From a bobbin to the spool.
PATTY DILLEY:
And it rewound it?
NELLIE MEYERS:
On a spool about that tall. And I enjoyed it, because I like working. It was very good pay; it was very hard.
PATTY DILLEY:
When your whole family went there, did your father go to work, too?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
And your mother?
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, she had to cook for all of us. And do all the washing for us. She had it hard.
PATTY DILLEY:
How many kids did you have in your family?
NELLIE MEYERS:
There were three girls and seven boys.
PATTY DILLEY:
You could almost run one shift with that crew.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
But your father didn't like the work too much.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Mr. Stanley gave him an easy job. He was getting pretty old. It was 1919.
FLAKE MEYERS:
He used to run a blacksmith's shop.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, yes, my dad did. He made wheat cradles. It had six fingers to it in the side, built all together, and them six fingers would come around and catch the wheat straw and throw it all in bundles, and then

Page 16
we'd go behind and wrap them and bind them up, and then we'd shock them into shocks of wheat.
PATTY DILLEY:
Would your father make these himself?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, yes. And then he'd run a blacksmith's shop, too, and make wagons and all different things like that. And he would always call on me to run the bellows, a little fire to heat things. Had a big bellows. It was fun.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you like helping him?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
It was better than working out in the fields.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. Oh, that was real hard. [unknown] [Laughter] And then Mother and them would call, and I would work till eleven o'clock and go in and help her finish lunch. And then after we all ate, they'd go sit down there. I had to wash the dishes, and when I got through they was ready to go back to the mill. I never got a bit of rest.
PATTY DILLEY:
[Laughter] Were you the oldest girl?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's the way it is [unknown] with the oldest girl. Always had it the worst.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes, that's right. They have more to do than the rest of them. Then I worked some in Lincolnton. Had to to help feed the rest of the family. Dad didn't make much in the blacksmith's shop.
PATTY DILLEY:
Would you board in Lincolnton, or ride?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes, with my aunt. There wasn't but just a few cars then.

Page 17
PATTY DILLEY:
I'm trying to keep track of everything. I want to get both of you all's stories. How old were you when you first went to work?
NELLIE MEYERS:
About fifteen years old I quit schooling. I had to to help the family. I just quit school and went to work and give him my wages to help raise up the children. [unknown] See, I was the third child.
FLAKE MEYERS:
The oldest girl.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did your older brothers go out and find any jobs, too?
NELLIE MEYERS:
The second brother did.
PATTY DILLEY:
Where did he work?
NELLIE MEYERS:
With me. [unknown] [Laughter] In the cotton mill in Gastonia.
PATTY DILLEY:
Gastonia? And you all went to Gastonia?
NELLIE MEYERS:
We boarded down there.
PATTY DILLEY:
How old were you all when you all got married?
NELLIE MEYERS:
I was twenty-two, and he was twenty-three.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was that old back then to get married?
NELLIE MEYERS:
No.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Back then they didn't get married quite as young as they do now. Isn't that right, Nellie?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Well, I just didn't see nobody that I thought I'd love enough. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Have you worked since you've been married?
NELLIE MEYERS:
No. I've done the housework. Tend the farm.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you didn't ever work after you were married.
NELLIE MEYERS:
[unknown] No, not since we've been married. I did between times. I was working at the cotton mill when we first got married.
PATTY DILLEY:
Let me get back to your work over there in Conover. What year did you leave to go up to Hickory?

Page 18
FLAKE MEYERS:
[unknown]
PATTY DILLEY:
Was that when the plant set up?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. [unknown] They (Conover) was running part-time after I left, after they'd started on that receivership. Southern Desk, they had to close down for a while, so I came back to Conover for two or three years, and then I went back up there to Southern.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you have any people that you knew at Southern Desk?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, I didn't, but I had some friends who worked there.
PATTY DILLEY:
A lot of your friends were going?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Not a lot, but some.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you just go up to the plant and ask for a job?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. I went there on Friday afternoon, and the foreman said, "Come in on Monday morning." "I'm from over in Conover," I told him. And I told him what-all I could do, and He says, "I've got a tenon machine sitting over here waiting on someone. It'll be a few days before it can be fixed, but I'll give you a job around here before I get it started." [unknown] And then I went right on. They looked like good people. [unclear]
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you work with a tenon machine the whole time you were there at Southern Desk?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, I looked after it. I run it for about two or three years. Then he put me as a setup man with an automatic shaper, getting things around there set up for the men. They had a panel sizer, and that was about the biggest job I had, keeping it set up, and keep the stuff moving in and out and stacked. [unknown] That's a hollow-core door, and we'd make the panels and size them to the right shape. Say, about six, eight by forty-eight inches wide, and the sizer just run it through

Page 19
and [unknown] rip-saw cut it on both edges, and just carry it on through. You'd start it in there, and then it'd take it on through automatically by itself.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did any of the men that ran the machines set up their own machines?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, they could set up. Nothing very particular about it. I'd have to okay most of it. Just the ordinary stuff I would, but anything particular, I had to do it. [unclear] Yes, they'd set it up. I did have to okay the thickest part of it. [unknown] I had to grind knives and different things. See that the saws were sharpened.
PATTY DILLEY:
I guess the setup man would be a pretty skilled job.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, it was.
PATTY DILLEY:
What is involved in setting up a machine?
FLAKE MEYERS:
You've got to know just what to do to it. A paper would spell it out, tell exactly what to do to each piece, and how to cut it on a forty-five angle. Cut tenons on it or whatnot. Or maybe a tenon [unknown] on one end. And when I really wrote [unknown] their tickets good, they'd get it right.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Then you was making most of the church pews.
FLAKE MEYERS:
[unknown] College furniture. We made lots of tables and chairs for colleges, laboratory stuff.
PATTY DILLEY:
Stuff for classrooms and dormitory stuff, I guess.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Church furniture, pews and pulpits and . . .
PATTY DILLEY:
So they made institutional furniture rather than stuff for home use.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right. [unknown] They didn't make any home furniture at all.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did that plant ever change hands at Southern Desk?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, Drexel taken it over.
PATTY DILLEY:
What year was that?
FLAKE MEYERS:
1959, I believe.

Page 20
PATTY DILLEY:
Was there a difference when a big corporation like Drexel took over?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Drexel owns several plants. There's one big Drexel in Lenoir, and then in Drexel.
PATTY DILLEY:
What kind of changes would they bring in?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Very few. They were generally making the same furniture.
PATTY DILLEY:
Would they bring in their own supervisors?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, they left the ones there. It was the same supervisors, the same president.
PATTY DILLEY:
The same president in?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, that's right.
PATTY DILLEY:
So I guess just the ownership changed.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right.
PATTY DILLEY:
Who owned Southern Desk?
FLAKE MEYERS:
The Iveys. Mr. George Ivey and Leon and Elbert, his two sons. There was three sons. Mr. George Ivey was the founder of it. He had a big sawmill there. That's where it started out in. People would bring hickory logs in, and they'd saw them. They'd start sawing in the fall of the year about September and saw till way up in the summer, say in June.
They'd haul it in carloads and truckloads and things. They made picker sticks for the cotton mill. Dowel pins. You know what a dowel pin is; I was showing you a while ago. They run a dowel pin factory up there yet.
PATTY DILLEY:
So he started out doing that.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right.
PATTY DILLEY:
And then built the Southern Desk.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, built the church furniture. All kinds of college and school supplies, school desks. Like I say, he didn't make any household

Page 21
kitchen furniture at all.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you remember during the times of the Depression and what happened?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I sure do. I was at Conover then.
PATTY DILLEY:
How long would you go without work at times?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I was really fortunate. They was making samples, and the bossman and I and one or two more men got to work. We worked the whole time, making samples, trying to get something started. Maybe the men would work two or three days a week, then maybe'd be off a couple weeks, or even months, at a time. [unknown] But I was fortunate. I had a job almost steady. Since I was kind of an all-around man, I'd go in the dry kiln and get the lumber out and bring it in and cut it up and stack it, just bring it on through and get it ready for the cabinet maker.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did the other people do, who weren't as lucky as that and could only come in and work for a couple of days?
FLAKE MEYERS:
They'd run the whole plant when they'd come in there like that.
PATTY DILLEY:
When they'd get an order?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. They'd have a few orders and work it out. Maybe one man would bring in the lumber, and another would cut it up in the cutoff saw, and then a couple would rip it up and band-saw it and run [unknown] it out and then finally to the tenon machine, the triple saws, the boring machine, dowels. And sand it, and then it was ready to go upstairs to the cabinet room. Speaking of Scott, he run the sander there for me a long time. That's a machine sander, you know about that, you just send the materials through.
PATTY DILLEY:
Right. Was it a drum sander?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, that's a [unknown] machine sander; it has three drums on it. A drum sander, just one. You've got to hold the pieces on it to sand. You just put it in, and the rollers pulls it in. Like a planer.

Page 22
PATTY DILLEY:
You don't even have to use any muscle.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. A drum sander, you've got to hold it on the drum.
PATTY DILLEY:
A machine sander and drum sander.
FLAKE MEYERS:
I believe you know a lot about . . .
PATTY DILLEY:
I know a little bit. But I'm out here talking to a lot of people. I learn it round-about. I feel like I ought to know enough to go in there and just turn the switch on.
FLAKE MEYERS:
[Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Do a little bit.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Have you ever visited one of the plants?
PATTY DILLEY:
I've been through the Bassett plant over in Newton. I know Hoyt Lewis over there; he's the superintendent. He took me through two years ago. They've made a lot of changes there since.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Pretty interesting to anybody that cares anything about looking at it.
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes, it is.
FLAKE MEYERS:
We'd have lots of people visiting, like the schoolteachers would bring the children in from the schools, take them all around and show them everything, how they worked.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was this at Southern Desk?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. Mr. Ivey would come in [unknown] show [unknown] and explain to them.
PATTY DILLEY:
What was Mr. Ivey like as a person to work for?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, he was real good. If he'd see you make a mistake, he'd say, "Hee! Yah! I want you to do that right now." And he'd show you how. He'd really call you down. If you were maybe running one piece, "Can't you run two pieces?" [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Did he know a lot about the stuff?

Page 23
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, law, you don't know. He really did know. If he'd see you doing something wrong, he'd tell you in a minute. [Laughter] He'd come through twice a day, to say good morning to the men. He came through there about eight-thirty, and about eleven o'clock he'd be back [unknown] around.
PATTY DILLEY:
Oh, goodness.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Well, when he was coming through, [unknown] he'd always speak to you. If he happened to see you doing something wrong, he'd tell you.
Speaking of making church pews and all, we made opera chairs, too, theater furniture. And folding chairs. A lot of them little plain chairs, and some of them would be padded. They'd really look nice.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you did a little upholstering there, too, at Southern Desk.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. And then we made all kinds of. . . . During the War, a plant like that had to make a lot of material for the War, and we made a lot of stakes. And I just can't think of what-all we did make. Something about a boat. I forget what they call them now, to fasten the ropes. I know I done it on the automatic shaper, cut out just little blocks and shape them out by hand. We made a lot of them things. We made tables to fold parachutes on. Made hundreds of them. They'd go to camps where soldiers trained. I'll show you one of the opera chairs I made. Now, that was a long time ago.
NELLIE MEYERS:
He'd been away from home right much. And I'd have to control the children. We had five.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you were kind of in charge of . . .
NELLIE MEYERS:
The home when he was a-working. I always had supper ready when he'd get there, before quitting times.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you ever take his meals up to him at the plant?
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, that would be way ten miles back over there, when

Page 24
he'd be over there to Hickory.
FLAKE MEYERS:
This is one of the cheapest ones. [He shows the opera chair.] I sawed a many one of these out and put them on that panel saw. We'd have them stacked up—there were six in a stack—and run them on through this little old chamber; it'd carry them on through itself.
PATTY DILLEY:
Would they make the metal frame for the chair there, too?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, they didn't. They ordered the pipe, and then they'd cut it off and maybe put it together.
PATTY DILLEY:
How would they give the piece in there a bend like that?
FLAKE MEYERS:
They got forms and pressed a press down. They'd glue this together; that's just thin stuff there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Oh, it's several layers glued together?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, it is. They'd put it down and put glue on each piece, and they'd clamp about six seats down together and form. . . . This is like your seat Underneath and on top, and then there's a big leg comes down and holds it down for about three hours. When the glue dries, it's ready to take out and saw up.
PATTY DILLEY:
So it's all in the right shape and everything.
FLAKE MEYERS:
And then before we got that automatic shaper, we shaped it out. You'd have to put it on the trim saws; the panel sizer would just shape it all around here.
PATTY DILLEY:
So that would take out some of the skills that the other [unknown] people would be using. The machine would take it.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Before we got the shaper, they'd have to take it and run it on the panel sizer, and then they'd take it over to the band saw and have to have a markout boy to mark it out. And then the bandsaw man would have to . . .
PATTY DILLEY:
Would cut along the line.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. And then we'd have to take it to the router and smooth it

Page 25
up all around. But that shaper done away with all of that. But we run them a long time before we got the shaper.
NELLIE MEYERS:
That's an old yard chair he made that we use outside.
FLAKE MEYERS:
We made lots and lots of them.
PATTY DILLEY:
What are some of the changes that you've seen in the plants since World War II?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I know one thing: we didn't get to work much, only war supplies. When we wasn't doing that, they made lots of little old toys. In fact, Mr. Ivey got up a thing to make wooden tires. You know, you couldn't get tires back then a lot of times, and we made wooden tires and put on a car, but it didn't prove out too good. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
It's kind of a rough ride.
NELLIE MEYERS:
This was when they had dirt roads.
FLAKE MEYERS:
[unknown] Well, they didn't have all dirt roads, but it didn't prove out too good. He just wanted to try it. We always try something new. And we got pretty well by through a lot of the stuff. But that didn't work out much. Just lots and lots of things we made, and I just can't think what-all it was.
PATTY DILLEY:
In between doing the war supplies?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. Didn't run out of no church pews back then. We'd make five million things. Like I said, anything that the government would need, we'd try to make it there.
PATTY DILLEY:
What kinds of things did you like to make the most?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Church pews.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were they easy to make, or fun to make?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Well, they wasn't too hard. They wasn't as much work as some other kind of furniture. Wasn't so much different pieces. Let's see, you

Page 26
had your back and the seat. Then you had your ends and seat rest and base, arm rests.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did they ever do any fancy carving?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, yes. Like church pews and pulpit furniture, that was all carved by hand. They'd have nice scroll-things on it. We made lots of them. There was several churches here in Hickory got our furniture. There's a big Baptist church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Once in a while we [unknown] would get big orders. We made that. That was a big church; I've forgot how many hundred people it holds.
PATTY DILLEY:
Have you gone out in churches and seen work that you've done?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, I have. That's right. When we got our pews, that Clapp fellow got me to go with him. He knew I knowed a lot about the church furniture, and so I went and helped him pick out what he wanted. When they decided on that, taken the order to Mr. Ivey, and you know, he give us a big discount on it, by me working over there.
PATTY DILLEY:
What church did you belong to, or what church did you grow up in?
FLAKE MEYERS:
The Methodist. You know where Rhodhiss is? We go over there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Is it called Rhodhiss Methodist Church?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. Rhodhiss United Methodist Church. [Points to photograph.] There's a picture of the Church. We made pews over there, too.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were you brought up in the Lutheran Church?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, yes, ever since I was three weeks old.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you switch over when you were married?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes, after we had the children. Their schoolmates was going to his church, and they wanted to go to his church, so I told him, "Well, I'll just go with you." So we've been going to the Methodist Church ever since.

Page 27
FLAKE MEYERS:
You can't hardly [have] the wife go to one church and the man the other. It's best they all go to one church, I think.
PATTY DILLEY:
What's the difference between the Lutheran and the Methodist church?
FLAKE MEYERS:
It's a right smart difference.
PATTY DILLEY:
What are some of the differences?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Well. . . . What are the mostly difference between the two churches?
NELLIE MEYERS:
I don't see that much difference.
FLAKE MEYERS:
The Lutherans has closed communion, and the Methodists has open.
NELLIE MEYERS:
We've got Catholics; we've got Baptists; we've got Methodists and Lutherans, all in our family. If they're happy in their church, we're happy with them.
FLAKE MEYERS:
The Lutherans don't believe in a lot of things that the Methodists do, and the Methodists don't believe a lot of things they do. The Methodists has [unknown] full baptism; the Lutherans don't. But like we all say, the church is not going to save you; it's the way you live. One denomination's no better than the other. We go to the Lutheran Church, the Baptist; we like to visit around. We went out to our son's in Wichita, Kansas, and we went to their church. They're Catholic. I didn't get much out of that. It's quite different.
PATTY DILLEY:
You all have five children?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Five; four boys and one girl. The girl lives next to us over here. One boy lives in Oklahoma City and one is living down in Lexington, Kentucky, and one in Lexington, North Carolina, and one in Gastonia.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did they end up doing for a living?
FLAKE MEYERS:
The boy in Oklahoma City is an accountant for a big oil company. They drill oil wells. They drilled about ninety-some wells last year, he said. The boy in Kentucky is a Tom's Peanuts distributor. He's got a big territory; he has thirteen trucks there. He's got a real good business.

Page 28
The boy in Lexington, North Carolina, is in the auto part business. He's the manager of a large auto part company there. My other boy is in a machine shop, running lathes. Metal turning.
PATTY DILLEY:
They turn metal parts?
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did he get any of that from you, learning how to work with machines?
FLAKE MEYERS:
He worked with Southern Desk. I'd learn him how to run that panel sizer. He kind of fell out with their foreman and went to Cramerton, North Carolina, near Gastonia, and worked in that Burlington Mill. He was there about twenty years. They sold out and went to the bad, and so he went to the machine shop then. In the meantime he was a foreman down there all the time in the slasher room. I don't know what that is; maybe you do.
PATTY DILLEY:
I sort of know. I've heard the job mentioned a lot.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Anyway, he was the foreman in there for about twenty-some years. When they closed the mill down, he got the job at the machine shop.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did any of your other sons ever go to work with you at any of the places that you worked at?
FLAKE MEYERS:
They all did. Every one.
PATTY DILLEY:
What kind of jobs would they get?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Marking for the band saw and then tailing the ripsaw. Harold, the one at Gastonia, run the panel sizer. And then I believe the oldest boy, the band saw. They all didn't stay too long.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did they want to look towards better things, or what? Why didn't they want to stay?
FLAKE MEYERS:
They didn't like it. They wanted to change.
NELLIE MEYERS:
It was too confining for them there, and they wanted to be out.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Three of them went in the service. So when they came back, they went to school. All of them finished high school, and two or three

Page 29
of them went to college then. They never did charge them.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did your daughter ever do any public work before she was married?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, she worked in the hosiery mill a while.
NELLIE MEYERS:
And then she worked in Sally's store.
PATTY DILLEY:
Doing sales work?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes.
FLAKE MEYERS:
She went over to Sears a while. She don't like that much. Her husband's a mail carrier. He don't want her to work, says, "If you work, I have to pay so much more income tax." [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Does she like to work?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. She's got a little job over here at the market. She just works part-time. Says she gets tired of loafing around all the time, but she went over there. I'm working twelve hours a week. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Over across the street? [At the crossroads store]
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. I enjoy it. I've got so many friends I know over there. They're so nice to us. They've been nice people to work for.
NELLIE MEYERS:
He told the boss that we wanted to go spend some time in Florida this past winter. His wife baked him a nice cake and gave it to him when he left from over there and said, "Now we want you when you come back, for sure.".
FLAKE MEYERS:
Sent us a nice Christmas card.
NELLIE MEYERS:
They're so good to him.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you all think you raised your kids different than your parents raised you?
NELLIE MEYERS:
They didn't have to work like we did in the farm. You see, nowadays they don't farm like they used to. Dad would have us hoeing the corn when it was in silk and tassel [unclear] [Laughter] Going after the plow [unknown], taking out maybe a little bunch of grass here and there.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Just wasting time.

Page 30
PATTY DILLEY:
Just something to keep you working.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes, to keep us busy.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you didn't make your children do that.
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, but we wasn't farming much. Well, when ours was littler, we tended [unknown] my daddy's land and raised cotton, and it was so rocky. Whenever you'd try to hoe it, dig out a bunch of grass, well, you'd dig out the whole cotton and all. You'd hit a rock, and about break your arm. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
This was while you all were married?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you did a little bit of farming.
NELLIE MEYERS:
I had to take the children and go to the field. I didn't have to, but we did, and he worked over there. We had to kind of kind of ends meet like that, for he didn't make much.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
NELLIE MEYERS:
Take any woman the age of two and eighty years old, forgets. I can't remember things like I used to.
PATTY DILLEY:
A lot of times, I find people remember more about the things I ask them about than they do what happened last year.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, that's right. I can think of way back yonder better than I can yesterday.
NELLIE MEYERS:
That's the way with me.
FLAKE MEYERS:
I still, I think, forget a lot of things.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you think that because you all didn't do a whole lot of farming, that your kids were able to go through school and finish school?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, yes. Before, way back there, I don't

Page 31
remember of anybody finishing school and going to college when I was growing up.
FLAKE MEYERS:
There was a few, but most of them . . .
NELLIE MEYERS:
There might have been a few, but I don't remember of any.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did your parents kind of encourage you, as soon as you got a good enough education, to go to work?
NELLIE MEYERS:
They just wasn't able to send us to school. My dad made our shoes, and Mother knit our stockings. And we wore aprons with long sleeves and buttoned plumb to the back, down to the bottom. That's what kind of dresses we wore, and just with nothing but a sweater, and had freezing cold and snow knee deep. We had to wade through it. That's what we wore.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you like school?
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, I didn't. [Laughter] It seemed like I had. . . . Well, with all them children to help raise, it wasn't in me.
PATTY DILLEY:
You were more interested in helping the family.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. It seemed like we'd have to have that to help out.
PATTY DILLEY:
How many years did you go through?
NELLIE MEYERS:
I quit when I was fifteen years old. Way back there then, they just had four hours a day in that school.
PATTY DILLEY:
And this was just during the winter?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. November and December and January and February. Dad had a big patch of woods, and we cleared that. When we come home from school, they'd say, "Now you children get your mattocks and get down there and drill [unclear] out them there stumps." [Laughter] And so we did, and we had just a little lamp to study by. A lot of times just pine knots to study

Page 32
by.
PATTY DILLEY:
You would light pine knots?
NELLIE MEYERS:
And you couldn't half see, and my eyes wasn't too good at that. I didn't learn much, for I couldn't see how to study. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
How far did you get through school, Mr. Meyers?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I went to the seventh grade.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you like school?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Not too good. I was kind of like her. I had to go to work to help my daddy support the children. But I liked it pretty good.
Before we moved up here in Catawba County I went to Mooresville School, a nice school there, and I went more there than I did up here. [Laughter] That was a real good school there.
NELLIE MEYERS:
When you moved up here, didn't they put you way back?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, that was when we went to Mooresville. Went to a Rowan County school down there, and they had me up to seventh grade there, and they put me back to the high first one. [Laughter] Told me they just pushed me through there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Why were there those differences in the schools?
FLAKE MEYERS:
They wasn't much teachers out there in the country. But that town school, they really was strict.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did your family move from in the country to town anytime?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. I was born and raised in Salisbury, and I was three years old when we moved up to Mount Olive; that was close to Mooresville. And we were there several years. Then we did move into town, in Mooresville.
NELLIE MEYERS:
His mother died when he was three years old. Had two stepmothers then.
PATTY DILLEY:
How were your stepmothers?

Page 33
FLAKE MEYERS:
My first one was real nice to me, just the same as my mother had been. I couldn't say that about the last one too good.
PATTY DILLEY:
[Laughter] So your father really did need somebody to look after. . . .
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, he did.
NELLIE MEYERS:
He liked the women, didn't he? [Laughter]
FLAKE MEYERS:
He had four children and he couldn't support them, so I just had to quit, and that's when I went to High Point and went to work in Hickory Chair. I give him most all of my money till after we got married, which I didn't after we got married.
PATTY DILLEY:
When you all moved into town, what did your father do for a living?
FLAKE MEYERS:
He run a furniture shop. He was a schoolteacher a long time, but with that he didn't make much money back then, four months out of the year. He started making furniture. I helped him some.
PATTY DILLEY:
So he had a little cabinet shop, I guess?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, he did. He had machinery, and [unknown] lots of different things.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you boarded in High Point and sent money back.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Sent the money to him. Grandpa come to find out I was giving him money, he'd send a check. I didn't have no bank account.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you didn't ever see it, really, in your hands.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right, except maybe I'd keep a dollar out, maybe every three or four weeks for what I'd need. Ten or fifteen cents went a way back then. That's about all I got to spend.
NELLIE MEYERS:
All the time we was in Newton and working, I never seen a penny that I made. It all went in Daddy's check, and he'd take it and put it in the savings and loan. [unknown] And I didn't even have a penny to go to the movies.

Page 34
FLAKE MEYERS:
Her mammy didn't work, and about four or five of them drew seventy-five dollars.
NELLIE MEYERS:
It was Dad and myself and Jake and Marge, and Lee part of the time.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That was during World War I, and I was about packed to go.
The day I was to reexamine, the Armistice was signed and I didn't have to go. I went to Camp Abraham Eustis, Virginia, and worked as a carpenter out there. I was just a young fellow then. And I made seventy-five dollars a week just myself, and they all just got seventy-five. [Laughter]
NELLIE MEYERS:
And I thought I was doing well making twenty dollars a week.
FLAKE MEYERS:
I was able to help my daddy out then. I started in in June and worked till October. I took the flu up there and like to died. You know, back then flu was really. . . . It was influenza; they'd call it "flu." And I had it bad.
PATTY DILLEY:
You had it when you were out in Fort Eustis?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Virginia, yes. I did make good out there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you send him the money home?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. It was about five dollars a week. I had to pay board out there. That was five dollars a week, and I kept five out for spending, and sent the rest to him.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you find out about that?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I had a friend out there in the Navy.
NELLIE MEYERS:
And he wrote him and had him to come out there.
FLAKE MEYERS:
He got me a job.
PATTY DILLEY:
Gosh, I bet they were paid. The Army, I guess, pays pretty good for stuff like that.

Page 35
FLAKE MEYERS:
[unknown] Well, that did. I don't think the boys in service got too much. I just about had to go [unknown] the examining board. They signed the Armistice right before I had to go.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you have two other brothers that were full brothers?
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, just one.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Two; I had two brothers.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, yes, one died when he was a baby.
FLAKE MEYERS:
He died when he was only a few months old.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was this when your mother died, too?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. I was four years old when she passed away.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did your father immediately get married after that?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No. I don't know how long after my mother died, thirteen years, I guess.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you know how he took care of you all?
FLAKE MEYERS:
My brother stayed with his Grandfather Meyers, that fellow I mentioned. He lived up in Iredell County. I stayed with my aunt. She lived close by there. That was my dad's sister. They kept us till he got married. No, I don't think it was that long. It must have been two and a half or. . . . It wasn't too long that I lived with my aunt, and him was his grandfather. About a year and a half. And then the next time, after she passed away, it was a couple years before he found his last wife.
PATTY DILLEY:
Was this brother of yours older than you?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, four years older.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did he end up doing as a job?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Drinking. He got run over and died of pneumonia. He was a good mechanic, but he messed it up too bad.

Page 36
PATTY DILLEY:
How old was he when he died?
FLAKE MEYERS:
About '78.
PATTY DILLEY:
It was in 1978?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. I figure it was then.
NELLIE MEYERS:
He was drinking and got out in the road, and somebody run over him.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did he ever do any work in furniture?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Not too much. In fact, he came over there to Hickory Chair when I was working there, and he stayed two or three weeks. And they were telling a fellow to go out west. [He] came in [unknown] and told me he'd like to settle back here. So I got him a job over there, and he worked about ten weeks and decided he wanted to go back west again, and he stayed out there for . . .
NELLIE MEYERS:
He married out there.
PATTY DILLEY:
What didn't he like about working in the furniture plant?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I don't think he liked it too well. He liked to be a mechanic more than furniture work or millwright work. But he was really good on cars, gasoline engines, stuff. He didn't like furniture too well. [Laughter] He didn't know too much about it.
PATTY DILLEY:
So I guess he didn't ever help any in your father's shop.
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, he hadn't.
PATTY DILLEY:
Had he run out west?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, he did. He left real early and come back.
PATTY DILLEY:
I wonder why he got this calling for the West.
FLAKE MEYERS:
I don't know. He thought that was wonderful, to go out west.
PATTY DILLEY:
You did'nt ever feel that?
NELLIE MEYERS:
That was him and his wife. (She shows a photograph.)

Page 37
PATTY DILLEY:
He's a nice-looking man.
NELLIE MEYERS:
That was our fiftieth wedding anniversary. And we celebrated our fifty-seventh wedding anniversary in April. There's Daddy Workman there. That's Flake when he was. . .
PATTY DILLEY:
Oh, this is a neat picture.
NELLIE MEYERS:
See that boy, and that's. . .
FLAKE MEYERS:
My first stepmother. Now she was a good woman.
PATTY DILLEY:
She's really pretty.
NELLIE MEYERS:
That's how they dressed away back there.
PATTY DILLEY:
He's got that big moustache. Were those in style back then?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, yes. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Got your Little Lord Fauntleroy suit. Big bow tie and brass buttons. Where would you all go to get pictures like this taken?
FLAKE MEYERS:
To Mooresville. They had a man who'd take pictures cheap.
PATTY DILLEY:
You all were living in town then?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, we was living out from town. Then after she died we moved to town. [unknown] Daddy built a new house there. And it wasn't long till he got married and settled again.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did he have any sons or daughters by her?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, he didn't.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you ever have any stepbrothers or stepsisters?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I've got three. My brother got killed in service in France in World War II. One sister lives in Newton, and the other out from Lenoir. You know where Persian Mountain's at? Between Valdese and Lenoir, near Pine Mountain.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did your sister in Newton do?

Page 38
FLAKE MEYERS:
She is an old maid. She stays with Mrs. Jeter Abernethy. Would you happen to know them? He was a big cotton mill man in Newton there.
NELLIE MEYERS:
He died here a while back.
FLAKE MEYERS:
It was about a year ago. She's been staying with her since.
PATTY DILLEY:
She's kind of a live-in housemaid, I guess?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, that's right.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did she do before that?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Before her mother passed away, she stayed with her. Raised cows and cats and dogs.
NELLIE MEYERS:
This was her mother. That's his last stepmother.
PATTY DILLEY:
She looks awful ornery to me. [Laughter] A little stubborn.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, she was stubborn.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Me and her didn't. . . .
NELLIE MEYERS:
When we got married and went to the house. . . . We stayed overnight out at Dad's. We went down there on Sunday evening. You know, she wouldn't even speak to me when I went in? He said, "I'll put up the car and feed the mule, and you go on to the house," and I did, and she never even looked at me or spoke to me. I've wished a thousand times, and I almost turned around and went back.
PATTY DILLEY:
[Laughter] Did your father approve of you all's marriage?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, yes, he always did like her. Thought a lot of that.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's probably why his wife didn't. [Laughter]
NELLIE MEYERS:
You'd think she was jealous. She didn't have anything to be jealous of.
FLAKE MEYERS:
She knew if I'd get married, the money would quit coming in.

Page 39
PATTY DILLEY:
Did her daughter ever do any public work?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Going to stay at Mrs. Abernethy's, but the other daughter worked at the hosiery mill, didn't she?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Worked in the hosiery mill.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Her husband was a contractor, and she don't have to work now. She gets out and has a big garden and flowers and all. [unknown] Of course, she doesn't have to.
PATTY DILLEY:
But she did work in the hosiery mill.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, she worked up in the hosiery mill until she got married.
PATTY DILLEY:
What were the best jobs to have back then? If you wanted a good-paying job, was furniture the place to go?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I imagine so. That paid a little better than the cotton mill. It did. That was about the best-paying job.
PATTY DILLEY:
What was the comparison between hosiery and furniture?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I believe a hosiery mill was as good paying as a furniture factory. I've worked at a hosiery mill. In fact, the boarder, they make good pay.
PATTY DILLEY:
The boarders [unknown] would make good money?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, boarder machine. Paul has worked a while in the hosiery mill. He made good money. After he worked a while with me in the furniture factory, he decided to go to the hosiery mill.
NELLIE MEYERS:
(She shows another photograph, of her son.) I still think he looks like myself, don't you?
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes, I think so, too. The hair is a little different, but. . . . [Laughter]
NELLIE MEYERS:
When we was married, you couldn't tell which end was fastened to his head. His hair was pretty.
PATTY DILLEY:
There it looks kind of light brown.

Page 40
NELLIE MEYERS:
He's got a little old cap or something on, Maybe not.
PATTY DILLEY:
Or it might be just the light from the film that made it look lighter.
NELLIE MEYERS:
I've always wore my hair [unknown] the same as I do.
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes, there's not too much difference. They're really more similar in the way they look. I guess a lot of jobs in the hosiery mill were women, so there wasn't a way that a lot of men could get jobs.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Not too many. In the dye house they'd have to have men, but mostly women working.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were there any women working in the furniture plants at all back in those days?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Way back then when I was working with Mr. Barker [Conover Furniture]. We worked a lot of women there at the Southern Desk Company.
PATTY DILLEY:
What kinds of jobs would they have?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Tailing [unknown] the big machines, the tenon machines and panel sizer, running the band saw. [unknown] And then the heavy stuff, there'd be two women do it back then, lifting and all. [unknown] Or run and get the operator; he'd pull it around. A lot of times a woman would run the machines. I'd set it up for them. Lots of women worked in there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Maybe women came in during the War and after the War?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. That's really when women got started working in furniture, during the War, when there were so many that had to go in service. That's the reason they put them on the jobs.
PATTY DILLEY:
When your kids were still living at home and they were making money, would you do the same thing that your parents did? Would you all get the money?

Page 41
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, ma'am, we never took a penny of our children's money.
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, sir. If they made it, they kept it.
PATTY DILLEY:
And you wouldn't charge them any room and board.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, law, no. [Laughter] They didn't stay with us like we did our parents. They married earlier.
FLAKE MEYERS:
[unknown] All our children, when they was at home, they'd help us out on the farm. Like she said, she tried to farm when I worked in town.
NELLIE MEYERS:
I'd take the children and I'd send them on to the field, [unknown] and it was [unknown] over a mile from where we lived to where we had to go to work. And I'd send them on to work, and I'd stay at home and cook dinner and then carry it all way up there about eleven o'clock, and we'd eat dinner, and then they'd sit down and rest, and then we'd go back to the field. It was kind of hard, but it seemed like we had a good living. But I couldn't tell we was any better off when we quit farming; it didn't seem to. . . .
FLAKE MEYERS:
It kept the boys out of meanness.
PATTY DILLEY:
This was in the summertime, when they'd be off from school?
FLAKE MEYERS:
In the summertime, when they was off from school.
NELLIE MEYERS:
They wasn't mean.
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, but they could have been mean. And they drove the school busses.
PATTY DILLEY:
So they made a little extra pocket money?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, they made some pocket money, and we didn't keep that.
NELLIE MEYERS:
[unknown] We've never taken a penny off of none of them.
PATTY DILLEY:
So that was a lot different than you and your parents.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes, when I was raised up.
PATTY DILLEY:
When you all were working, did you ever resent that you never got

Page 42
to spend any of your own money?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, I cried more than one time. When we lived in Newton, the girls would come by and "Come on, let's go to the show." I said, "I can't. I don't have a penny." I just come out and told them that I didn't have a penny to go. They said, "Well, come on, I'll pay your way." I let them a couple of times, but I wouldn't all the time. That was too much. So I never seen the money.
He kept it, and then when he passed away we used it to put him away. They both lived till they was eighty-six years old.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's so [unknown] long. I remember you saying your mother was kind of frail?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, yes. A year or two before she died, she'd get up and be out in somebody's field walking at two o'clock in the morning. Just didn't know that she was in the world. [unknown] She'd just bite you and push you. That's something she never did do; she just didn't know what she was doing.
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes, she was real old.
NELLIE MEYERS:
She landed up up here in Morganton [Broughten Hospital], and law, every time I'd go to see her once a week, I'd go a-crying and come back a-crying, because you could see the difference in her every time you'd go. It'd be worse. And they said she pulled at the door and just knocked and kicked, a-trying to get out. Well, that [unknown] [unclear] [was] how she was. But anybody don't know what it is till you have to go through with things like that. The doctors told us that we'd better get her up there, for she'd get out on the highway and get run over and killed. One day I caught her a-going. A neighbor told me that she was up in the road, a-going down the road, and I run and I never did get to catch her. And I

Page 43
hollered on down there to a home. I said, "Catch her." And she happened to see the house and turned in there, but the cars would pull around her. Oh, that was the awfullest thing I ever done in my life, is to help take her.
PATTY DILLEY:
You must have hated to do that.
NELLIE MEYERS:
But it was better, I reckon, then that she was in the home [Broughten], which was better than to get out on the highway and get killed.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did most people try to keep their older parents at home with them? I know a lot of times now they put them in a rest home or something like that.
FLAKE MEYERS:
They would mostly try to keep them. They really didn't have too many rest homes back then.
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, along back then. They didn't have but one hospital as I know of; that was Crowell's at Lincolnton.
FLAKE MEYERS:
[unknown] Yeah, Crowell's. Then of course they had [unknown] doctor's over there, too.
NELLIE MEYERS:
I didn't know nothing about that.
FLAKE MEYERS:
They had two, I think, Richard Baker [unknown] and Hickory Memorial.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's something I can't. . . . Gosh, the state home, I . . .
FLAKE MEYERS:
A lot of people went to Stokesdale. [unknown] That's the name of the hospital now. Trying to help build their practice down there.
PATTY DILLEY:
[unknown] Till they get up here.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, Broughten Hospital.
PATTY DILLEY:
Where did you all go when you all were sick?
FLAKE MEYERS:
We had an old country doctor there in Vale. Of course, when we lived in Mooresville, we'd go to a doctor there. Dr. Bell was his name.
He came out several times to see us. [unknown] We had a lot of malarial fever down there in the lowlands. But Dr. Ford over there at Vale was a real

Page 44
country doctor.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you ever use home remedies?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, plenty of them.
PATTY DILLEY:
What kinds of things would you . . .
FLAKE MEYERS:
She'll have to tell you that.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Take epsom salts and castor oil.
FLAKE MEYERS:
And Watkins' Liniment.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes, all those liniments and salves and everything.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Do you know anything about Watkins?
PATTY DILLEY:
I sure don't.
FLAKE MEYERS:
[Laughter] Agents used to come around and sell the Watkins products. Flavorings and all kinds of . . .
NELLIE MEYERS:
We'd get a cold, and I'd take Vicks and breathe. And I'd fry onions and make onion poultices and put them on their chests. [Laughter] That would loosen them up.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you learn how to do those things?
NELLIE MEYERS:
My mother learned us how. I guess from on back and on and on, way back there.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did your mother have her kids at home?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. Now we did, too.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you have a doctor?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were there any midwives around?
NELLIE MEYERS:
No.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you just had a doctor come to the house.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. And I'd always have one of my close neighbors with me.

Page 45
FLAKE MEYERS:
When the daughter was born—she was the oldest—old Doc Ford came over there and spent the night with her. [Laughter] It just poured down rain, and he went to bed. [Snores] Snored the awfullest; I never will forget that. [Laughter]
NELLIE MEYERS:
And it just rained so hard and so long the creek was up, and he couldn't get back to the office.
PATTY DILLEY:
I bet the roads were muddy.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Flake went to walk it, and they come back through the woods a-walking, him and Ford.
FLAKE MEYERS:
The next morning he called up her father and said, "You've got a granddaughter down here, Tail." His name was Scat. [Laughter]
NELLIE MEYERS:
We was on out by his daddy's house; that's where we lived.
PATTY DILLEY:
So that was your firstborn?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. She lives next door.
PATTY DILLEY:
What year was she born in?
NELLIE MEYERS:
In '23. And we was married in '22.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you had her right after you were married.
FLAKE MEYERS:
March the sixth. We had the boys in March, too.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Fourteenth and one the twenty-second.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you have them a year apart?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Two years.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did you just decide to do it that way?
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, I didn't know it. [Laughter] It just happened to happen like that.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's neat, that they were all born in March. I'm a March girl myself. [Laughter]

Page 46
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, are you? What day?
PATTY DILLEY:
Eleventh. I had a lot of people in my family born in March.
NELLIE MEYERS:
I've got three grandchildren born in March.
FLAKE MEYERS:
One in June, almost on her birthday, the third. Was born on the fourth.
NELLIE MEYERS:
One granddaughter. . .
FLAKE MEYERS:
Greatgranddaughter.
NELLIE MEYERS:
[unknown] . . .born the third of . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you remember when Roosevelt was in office?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
And all these changes were made, the eight-hour law?
FLAKE MEYERS:
A lot of changes then.
PATTY DILLEY:
What did you think about the eight-hour-a-day law and the minimum wage?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I really thought they was better. I think it's better. And then they passed the Social Security law, and that was real good. It helps us out now. Of course, it's hard on you young people working.
PATTY DILLEY:
[Laughter] We're paying for the people now, I guess.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. Our boys pays out so much in Social Security and texes. I wonder whether they'll ever get anything back; maybe they'll do away with it by the time they get old enough to draw it. But that was really good, that Social Security law. I don't know how you think about it.
PATTY DILLEY:
I think it's a good . . .
FLAKE MEYERS:
I think it was. And the eight-hour law was good.

Page 47
PATTY DILLEY:
Did that cut down the hours that you worked at the plant?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. If you worked anything over eight hours, you got time and a half.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did it actually cut down any hours, or did you still work the same ten hours but you got time-and-a-half? Did they actually cut down on your hours?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, they did. A lot of times we was busy, they'd run ten hours, for which they'd have to pay time-and-a-half. And if you went in Saturday morning, you'd get time-and-a-half. If you worked anything over forty hours, you got time-and-a-half.
PATTY DILLEY:
When you were working those ten hours, did you work every hour you were in there, or were they a little bit more lenient about letting you take a break?
FLAKE MEYERS:
We didn't get a break till . . .
PATTY DILLEY:
Till the eight-hour law.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right. I don't know when that break started in. It hasn't been too many years ago. At Southern Desk they started that in '55, I reckon.
PATTY DILLEY:
So nobody got any breaks until 1955?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Well, no, you had to work right on.
PATTY DILLEY:
Not even a break for lunch?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, yes, you'd take off an hour, but you had to punch out. And you'd lose that hour; they didn't pay you for that.
PATTY DILLEY:
Gosh. I had talked to some people that had worked in a cotton mill, and they said that when they had the ten-hour law they had to be in the plant all that time, but if they didn't have anything to do, like if their job was running by itself, they could take off.

Page 48
But it seems like furniture was different then. You all had to work the whole time you were in there.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. I don't think they work as hard nowadays as we did back then. And there are just lots of drifters who come in and work a week or two and quit and go somewhere else and get a job. They don't want to work like we used to.
PATTY DILLEY:
Where do these drifters come from?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Boys who don't go to school. They're think they're going to get out and make them some money, and they never have worked any. And they try a job. "No, that's too hard. I'm going somewhere else."
PATTY DILLEY:
Do they come from around here?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, from around the country and the town. More so city boys than. . . . Well, country boys are almost the same. I guess you find drifters everywhere you go. They'll try one job, then they think that work's too hard, and then they'll go to stealing, a lot of them do. Get through and have some money. And steal. Too good to work. I saw it myself.
PATTY DILLEY:
When the minimum wage law came in, how much were you making then?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Forty cents an hour.
PATTY DILLEY:
So that's when you were still working at Conover.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. That stepped me up right smart. I've forgot just how much I made. [unclear] [unknown] . . .a little more. I had boys tailing machines. They'd make fifteen cents an hour. It stepped them up. I forget what they did get now, maybe thirty cents. Yes, thirty cents instead of fifteen. That helped them out wonderful.
PATTY DILLEY:
During the Depression time, did they cut back on the wages?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No, they didn't cut the wages at all.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you remember your first raise after the times got better?

Page 49
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, I remember. First we got [unknown] and we made all them samples, and we sold a lot. They had purchase agents sent out who went to New York and Chicago and sold lots of stuff. I remember we had lots of orders. They put me as assistant foreman, and I remember I got a good big raise. That helped me out, but it give me more headache than what I had.
PATTY DILLEY:
What were the headaches, just in trying to get people to . . .
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right, get the stuff done. Like I said, the superintendent may be standing over there watching you, and these men'd be standing here idle, not doing nothing. [unknown] Maybe I'm working there, trying to get stuff out. "Meyers, why don't you get this man a-going? Get him on that job. Get over yonder, and get that other man a-going." [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
So that was the bad thing about it.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, I know it. They'd stand over there and watch, and I'd just run around. . . . They were like a, what do you call it? [Laughter] They'd be playing [unknown] over there, and they'd really be a-watching. What do you call that, with a string to it, a little old. . . .
PATTY DILLEY:
Yo-yo?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yo-yo. [Laughter] They'd be playing with the tape rule. Oh, he'd be a-looking. [Laughter] [unknown] be a-thinking, "Better get that man on."
PATTY DILLEY:
So when he started doing that, you knew you had to look around: all right, who's sitting where?
FLAKE MEYERS:
[Laughter] And if you didn't get busy, he'd come over and talk to you.
PATTY DILLEY:
So you didn't really like that part of the foreman's job.
FLAKE MEYERS:
No. I wished a lot of times I was back on my old job.
PATTY DILLEY:
But it did pay more, I guess.

Page 50
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
What were the highest-paying jobs in the plant?
FLAKE MEYERS:
You mean just the labor, or the foremen?
PATTY DILLEY:
I guess the highest-paying would be to be a foreman.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Really, I don't know exactly. I'd say sixty dollars a week, probably. Back when I was working at Southern Desk. That would be about '55. [unknown] Of course, that wasn't the wage of just a common worker like a machine man that run a machine. They wasn't making too much back then.
PATTY DILLEY:
What were the best jobs to have in the plant besides the foreman jobs, just the workers?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Running a machine's the best-paying job. [unknown] Like the panel sizer, tenon machine, or maybe the lathes, [unknown] automatic shaper and shaper.
PATTY DILLEY:
So anybody who knew how to run those machines had a good job?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. They made good on the shapers; that was a good-paying job, about the best-paying job there was. It was dangerous, too; you'd get your fingers cut. You know what a shaper is.
PATTY DILLEY:
I don't think I know what one looks like.
FLAKE MEYERS:
It's a big table. I suppose it'd be wider than this [motions the span of his arms], and it'd be a spindle here coming up with knives on it. And then there'd be another one over here. And it would have knives, and say, if you'd want to round this arm out, it had a big claw like this [unknown] and knives sticking out. And you could take this and round [unknown] if you wanted to cut a round on it. Then maybe you'd want to shape this up real smooth after the band saw. Had to run it on a form shaper. Maybe before we got the automatic shaper, it'd have a head here and one over here with [unknown] square knives. You'd have forms. You'd

Page 51
push these posts through and shape them on. Maybe shape this down to here, and you didn't want to run against the grain; it'd bust it out. So you'd have to put it on this head, and then you'd finish it over here. If it run against the grain, it'd tear it out, and that's the reason it had to have two heads on it. And you'd shape that out and round this out and fix it up and shape this up. You had to have forms for all cuts. The same way with this here; you run that on a form.
PATTY DILLEY:
So with an automatic shaper you didn't have to use forms.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, you had a form, but you'd just screw them in there, then they clamped down and run around. You had four forms. There was two forms that cut the inside out and two that cut the back out. One form would cut this side and it would go around, then [unknown] pull this out and put it on this form and cut this out, just keep a-going all the time. And for this two clamps would drop down run by air, and that'd hold it when it come around. And once in a while, a clamp wouldn't hold it. Zip! Throw them out. It was about to hit a man one time, in the head. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
And that would be the automatic shaper?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
And then on the other shaper, you had to lift it out to put it in the different forms.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right. But it had a clamp. It'd screw down to hold them on the rubber shapers. But this automatic had clamps about four inches wide run by air, and at certain times they'd drop down and hold it. They'd get around there [unknown] out of the head, and then they'd raise it up.
PATTY DILLEY:
And then they'd spew it out.

Page 52
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. And once in a while it'd throw them out.
PATTY DILLEY:
So a man that was running an automatic shaper had to watch out. [Laughter]
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, that's right.
PATTY DILLEY:
I guess the automatic shaper made the job a little less skilled, because you didn't have to change those things.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right. It was a lot of work setting it up, but after you got it set up you could run lots of them out in a day.
PATTY DILLEY:
You would be the one that set up this machine.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, that's right. And we made toilet seats there for a long time.
PATTY DILLEY:
Wooden toilet seats?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Outside and inside. I've shaped a many a one of them. That was on the automatic shaper.
PATTY DILLEY:
What would put the rounded edge on it?
FLAKE MEYERS:
It had big cutters.
PATTY DILLEY:
The shaper would do that?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. Had a form just the shape of the toilet seat.
PATTY DILLEY:
Are a lot of things happening like that in the furniture plants now, like they'll have bigger machines that would do a lot of things that ordinarily men would have done on the older machines?
FLAKE MEYERS:
They have quite a few of them. There's the automatic shaper and that machine sander. It's got a big drum, and you just stick it in and take it on there, carries it out, and you take another one, stick it in there. That's so much faster than putting it on a drum sander.
PATTY DILLEY:
And having to turn it around.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Of course, anything crooked, you have to run it on the

Page 53
drum sander. Like this, you got to sand it on the drum sander, but you'd sand this flat here on the machine sander. This you'd sand on a drum sander; see, you couldn't get it through there. But the flat surface will go on through. This here, the hand shaper would shape this off. See, it would shape this around?
PATTY DILLEY:
So they still have to keep some of the old hand shapers.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh, yes, the automatic wouldn't do this. [unknown] You know what cuts this out? He points to the grooved leg of his coffee table. A molder. The band saw has to taper these, and then they put this on the shaper here and cut them little beads out. You've got to shape it on a form, though. It'd run against a card; the card would run it back around like that. And, of course, the band saw's got to cut this out.
PATTY DILLEY:
And a lathe would do all the round stuff, like table legs.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. That Queen Anne is cut on a lathe.
PATTY DILLEY:
So a lathe was more for things that were rounded all the way around.
FLAKE MEYERS:
But they can put that on a form on a lathe. We made a lot of them at Conover. Lots and lots and lots and lots of them. They're called Queen Anne. Band saw cuts all this out here. Shaper rounds it out, and then they finish on a carving machine.
PATTY DILLEY:
What would a carving machine do?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Here's what it would do here, cut all these little places.
PATTY DILLEY:
For fancy cuts.
FLAKE MEYERS:
I'll show you this. It's a long spindle, about that long, and it's got a little machine [unknown] that pulls that. And then you put any kind of little cutters on the end of it.
PATTY DILLEY:
Cutters the shape of what you want cut.

Page 54
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's right. Put them on there. Put little old bits of fine cutters to cut this here. Then he carves this all out and put it through after you run it on a lathe. And if you don't round it real good, we've got to finish it on a carving spindle. It's a long spindle with screws to screw your little cutters on. And many a person got his fingers cut off on that.
PATTY DILLEY:
How did you manage through all those years not to get anything?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I was just careful. I've had it brush mine lots of times. I was running a hand joiner one day, and going across there it'd kick that little finger, just kind of shaved it. The knives could have just cut the whole ends off. Yes, I've had a big roll of luckies. [unknown] Been working, like I say, for a long, long time.
PATTY DILLEY:
I've heard that at Southern Desk they had a union trying to get in there one time?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes.
PATTY DILLEY:
Were there any before, like at Conover Furniture, or back in the early days?
FLAKE MEYERS:
No. Back then, the union never tried to get in while I was at Conover. At Southern Desk they tried it several times, but it never did make it.
PATTY DILLEY:
What do you think of unions?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I didn't want it. I really worked hard to keep it out.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did they have any kind of plant committee, people that said don't vote for the union?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Like the foremen and all couldn't [vote], just the working men and women.
PATTY DILLEY:
What is your opinion of unions? What's bad about it, and what's good about it?

Page 55
FLAKE MEYERS:
I just think when you're working at a big plant like we had at Southern Desk, if you'd bring a union in there they'd come in and tell you what to do, like when we'd go out on strike, maybe go out for thirteen months. Where you had a good job that was paying you pretty good, why get a union in there to tell you what to do?
PATTY DILLEY:
You didn't want anybody else telling you.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's all I had against it. I just didn't want it, and I really worked and a lot of other good people did. They voted it down three or four times after I left there. We had worked so, several times since they voted it down.
PATTY DILLEY:
What were the people who were trying to get it in like?
FLAKE MEYERS:
They was mostly drifters, people [unknown] that was all the time groaning. "Ah, they don't pay me enough. I can't work. I can't support my family. I've got to have a union. If we get a union in, they'll raise the wages, and we'll have better working conditions." And this and that and the other. They were all the time cracking about something. They wasn't satisfied about their job. Just drifters, mostly.
PATTY DILLEY:
They weren't some of the people that had been there a real long time.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Wasn't like me and lots and lots of others, had been there a long time, and we knowed that it was a good place to work and all, and weren't at all for the union in there. Them people that maybe hadn't been working there but a few months, they'd think it would be the thing to do. It'd be a big price to work there. We'd vote it down.
PATTY DILLEY:
I know you all kind of live out in the country, but how has the town of Hickory changed over the years?
FLAKE MEYERS:
I think that they have made a lot of improvement, but I don't

Page 56
see it [unknown] too much. It looks to me like mostly all the people are going to the shopping centers. They've got a lot of good parking lots to park in. Go to Hickory, they let you park about two hours, and if you park over that you've got to pay a couple dollars in fine, I think. And I don't see much advantage in going to town if you can go out in the mall or down to Belmont [unclear]. But they do have it nice; it really has improved a lot, I think.
PATTY DILLEY:
The downtown?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. But there's a lot of vacant buildings there.
NELLIE MEYERS:
And there's a lot of walking there to do, too.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you like the malls better?
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, I don't go.
PATTY DILLEY:
You don't go shopping anywhere.
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, not much.
PATTY DILLEY:
Where did you used to go to buy stuff?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Over here at Talbert's.
PATTY DILLEY:
And Dudley's?
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes.
FLAKE MEYERS:
[unknown] We rarely go to town; sometimes we shop in Lenoir.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes, we rarely go uptown. If I get in a crowd, I get nervous.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Unless you have broad [unknown] feet, you can't stand around too much. We shop once in a while.
NELLIE MEYERS:
My legs gives me a lot of trouble, my feet.
FLAKE MEYERS:
But I think they've made a lot of improvement there. They're getting the railroad crossings better, some of them that are up here.
PATTY DILLEY:
Yes, they moved the main switching station from downtown out to Oyama.

Page 57
FLAKE MEYERS:
That was really rough way back yonder. They used to shift and shift them cars. You had to sit there and wait. [Now] you don't have to wait. Them long trains comes through, you can't wait to get them across.
NELLIE MEYERS:
What do you think about Carter?
PATTY DILLEY:
[Laughter] Now I'm the one asking the questions. What do you all think about him? [Laughter]
FLAKE MEYERS:
You'll laugh when you hear this played. I was trying to tell you.
NELLIE MEYERS:
I just don't like him.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oh. Don't talk like that.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you like him? You don't like him, either? [To Mr. Meyers]
NELLIE MEYERS:
I don't think he's doing what he should.
FLAKE MEYERS:
He promised a lot, and I'm afraid he hasn't done as much as he could. She and I, we talk about it a lot some.
NELLIE MEYERS:
I don't mean to talk about him, but I just don't like him. I don't think he's doing what he should.
PATTY DILLEY:
Who would you all like to see as President today?
NELLIE MEYERS:
I'd like to see Ford get back in.
FLAKE MEYERS:
I think Kennedy. I always liked his brother. I'm a Republican, but I also liked President John Kennedy. I thought a lot of him. I always vote for the man I think will be the best, regardless of the party.
PATTY DILLEY:
Is your family traditionally Republican?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. Hers is Democrat.
PATTY DILLEY:
That's funny. You'd like to see Kennedy; she'd like to see Ford. [Laughter]
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes [unclear].
NELLIE MEYERS:
No, I don't go and vote.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Well, you have some.

Page 58
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes, I have some, but I just don't. . . .
FLAKE MEYERS:
You didn't the last time.
NELLIE MEYERS:
I don't know whether I'm voting for the right person, and I'm just going to stay at home.
FLAKE MEYERS:
She don't stay away just because I'm a Republican.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Why, no, not that.
FLAKE MEYERS:
She voted several times.
PATTY DILLEY:
Who did you vote for when you did vote?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Ford.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Yes. I always like him.
FLAKE MEYERS:
What about Ronald Reagan, is he going to run?
PATTY DILLEY:
I think he is going to run for the Republican nomination.
FLAKE MEYERS:
And Ford, probably. And Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and who-all.
NELLIE MEYERS:
All this gas. Look like he'd do something about it.
PATTY DILLEY:
It has gotten high. I heat by oil, and I don't even want to see what the bill is when I get my tank filled up this fall, because it's going to go sky-high.
NELLIE MEYERS:
It's high now.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Fuel oil is seventy-five or eighty cents now. They filled our tank up a while back, and it was 65.9 cents, way on up yonder.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you all heat by oil here?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes. I think we [unknown] ought [unknown] to take off for Florida and save money.
NELLIE MEYERS:
I'm not going back in them storms. Now I'm staying here; I don't care how cold it gets.
PATTY DILLEY:
Do you rent a little place down there?
FLAKE MEYERS:
Our son, the boy in Kentucky, has a trailer down [at] Leesburg.

Page 59
A three-bed room home; it's real nice. It's a big trailer camp. It's nice.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Got a nice clubhouse there, and we go and have parties there.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Suppers every Monday night. Seventy-five or eighty people.
NELLIE MEYERS:
And then on Thursday nights. The women's got something to do there every night.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Our son has that thing and just wanted us to go down and stay all winter.
PATTY DILLEY:
Where is it at?
FLAKE MEYERS:
At Leesburg. That's near Orlando.
PATTY DILLEY:
My grand parents live in Pinellas Park. It's near Tampa.
FLAKE MEYERS:
That's not too far from Leesburg.
PATTY DILLEY:
My grandpa's real bad sick, and that's the best weather for them.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Even St. Petersburg is full of retired people, all those towns.
PATTY DILLEY:
Oh, it is, of most anywhere in the world, I bet.
FLAKE MEYERS:
We spent a couple winters in Lake Wales and a couple in Homestead.
PATTY DILLEY:
Homestead, now that's a Marine Corps base.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, I like Homestead. It's warmer down there, and all them good fruit to eat.
NELLIE MEYERS:
We'd just go out to the fields, and the people would just give us whatever they had; they'd give us what we wanted. They'd grown it theirselves.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Oranges the same way. With 35,000 acres of oranges, there had been a bad freeze. [unknown] Like Lake Wales at Kershaw County, they had

Page 60
awful many up there. Leesburg is another big orange belt place. All them big lakes, you can go out and catch all them fish; it's wonderful.
PATTY DILLEY:
I'm looking forward to going down and seeing my grandparents.
NELLIE MEYERS:
They're so nice to you down there. They'll come and visit you and bring their work and bring their cup of coffee and come sit down and talk with you. So friendly.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Have you ever been down thataway?
PATTY DILLEY:
I've just been as far as Tampa and St. Petersburg.
NELLIE MEYERS:
We went to Key West—that was nice to see-and Cape Kennedy.
FLAKE MEYERS:
Yes, and then we went to Disney World when we was down there last winter and enjoyed that.
PATTY DILLEY:
I bet those were crowds.
NELLIE MEYERS:
Oh, you couldn't walk for it. And my feet just ached.
FLAKE MEYERS:
To get on the monorails, you'd have to stand in line to get to ride around. Rode on that old steam engine train, go through the Indian reservations. It was really nice.
END OF INTERVIEW