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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with George and Tessie Dyer, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0161. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

George Dyer and his mother-in-law shared childcare duties

George Dyer and his mother-in-law helped raise his sons while Tessie Dyer worked in the cotton mill. They looked after the boys' clothes, food, and homework while the boys learned to catch the bus to school. Though they did not have a lot of money, George enjoyed buying Christmas gifts for the boys.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with George and Tessie Dyer, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0161. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

LU ANN JONES:
Did you used to help out with the housework when both of you were working?
GEORGE DYER:
Here at home, since I been married?
LU ANN JONES:
Right.
GEORGE DYER:
Yeah, some. I always kept the boys shoes shined and going to school. I kept them busy; I'd teach them every night to get their lessons I'd see if they get their spelling good and also read. I'd want them to read two or three times. If they missed a word, I'd let them go back over it. That-a-ways, they learnt more that way; they good grades.
LU ANN JONES:
Did you cook then too?
GEORGE DYER:
No, her mother did the cooking when we was working, when they was coming up. When we left here, we knowed they was in good hands, knowed they'd be looked after.
TESSIE DYER:
I didn't have to worry about my children because I knew they'd be taken care of.
LU ANN JONES:
Who took care of them?
TESSIE DYER:
My mother would.
GEORGE DYER:
One of them went up here to Plaza School. He'd go over here to the bus line and see if he got on the bus safe till he got big enough to take care of hisself. He looked after both of them, they got big enough to look after theirself. She'd put the clothes out for them-her mother-to put on next morning and went to school. She'd always have them clean shirts and everything, underwear, socks. I helped her out a lot. I'd come from the store and order the groceries; the man'd deliver them back then. They had a good grocery store up here, had everything you wanted, good meats and all kinds of good vegetables and everything. Sometimes I'd come by and get them and take them. If I didn't, I'd disappoint them, and I'd take them with me. And a little stand up there sold good hot dogs and hamburgers. Of course we going to have supper, but they'd still want something up there; it's fixed different. We'd go in there and get them one, what they wanted. I enjoyed that, and I enjoyed shopping on Christmas. We'd go and shop a month before Christmas, get things ready for them and put it away. Lay it away. Back then, I could have paid cash, but we see something we want, we just had it laid back. I never will forget the first bicycle I bought the oldest son. It was a good one; I got it at Western Auto. It was a good one. The second boy used it too. It was made out of good stuff. That bicycle was good. A few years later, we bought them a bicycle apiece. The older one, we give the boy up the street here, and he used it for a long time. Didn't cost but ten or twelve dollars. Money was worth something back then. People really worked hard back then, but money was worth something. Money ain't no good now.