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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 >>

Tessie Dyer retired when the local cotton mill abruptly closed

Tessie Dyer was forced into retirement at 61 when the local cotton mill closed down with only one day advance notice. She felt she was too old to train for another job, so she decided to just focus on retirement.

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:
So when was it that you retired? What year was it that you finally retired?
TESSIE DYER:
Retired in 1969, June 8.
LU ANN JONES:
Were you glad to retire, or. . . .
TESSIE DYER:
I was going to work just as long as I could. I felt good then, and I really enjoyed my work. I enjoyed my job. I worked ten hours one week, and the next week, I worked, on Monday, I believe I worked one day. I said, "Well, are we going to work tomorrow?" He said, "No, I'm going to lay you off today." See that's the way they went through the mill. They started in the card room laying them off, then they came through the spinning room, got all the spinning room. Then they came back and got the quill room hands. Then they went back to the slashers where they made the beams to draw-in.
GEORGE DYER:
They did that to run up all the yarn they had
TESSIE DYER:
Then to the weave room
LU ANN JONES:
That was when the mill closed down?
TESSIE DYER:
When the mill closed down.
LU ANN JONES:
They just told you the day before it closed down that it was going to close down.
GEORGE DYER:
They put up a notice in all departments three months before they close. They notified everybody. Some of them cried. I told two or three ladies, "What you crying for, you can get a better job than what you got." They said, "Don't say that."
TESSIE DYER:
I went in one morning, my best girlfriend, she was just crying. I said, "Oh, Mamie, what's wrong?" She said, "Go down yonder read that." I said, "What is it?" She said, "Go down there and read it." I went back up there, I said, "Well, I'm not going cry about it."
GEORGE DYER:
You kind of didn't like it though, did you?
TESSIE DYER:
No, I didn't like it.
LU ANN JONES:
You were sixty-one then. Did you plan to work till sixty-five?
TESSIE DYER:
Yeah, I had planned. I bought a lot of clothes and things that I could keep and everything.
LU ANN JONES:
Did you think about getting another job once the mill closed down?
TESSIE DYER:
No, after they closed down, I decided that I would wait till I was sixty-two.
LU ANN JONES:
Did the mill offer to help people find jobs?
TESSIE DYER:
Yes, some of them did.
LU ANN JONES:
Did a lot of people continue to work?
TESSIE DYER:
They signed them up to get their unemployment money. I drew that. After you get so old, if you call around different places, they don't. . . . I guess I could have got a job in a hospital, but I didn't want no job like that. So really, I didn't try.
GEORGE DYER:
Cleaning up or something like that.
TESSIE DYER:
It's like Mildred, she worked herself up and went to school. Now she's a regular nurse.
GEORGE DYER:
Yeah, but that's too old to go out. . . .
TESSIE DYER:
I know.
GEORGE DYER:
Now fifty, that's bad enough, but sixty, that's too old.
TESSIE DYER:
So I really have enjoyed my retirement.