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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Edna Y. Hargett, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0163. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Gathering in homes to listen to the radio or to play music and dance

In this excerpt, Hargett speaks in a bit more detail about some of the things people did for leisure and entertainment. In particular, Hargett emphasizes the centrality of radio. In addition to describing the kinds of programs people could listen to, Hargett explains that people would often group together to listen to the radio. Other gatherings in the home would sometimes involve live music and dancing.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Edna Y. Hargett, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0163. 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

You had mentioned listening to the Grand Old Opry once you got a radio. Was that on WBT?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
It was crystal sets we had first, and it came from the Grand Old Opry at Nashville. You had to have a little aerial outside your window then. People that was lucky enough to have a radio, why, somebody'd come to see you that night and bring their whole family and sit and listen to the Grand Old Opry. That'd be the entertainment. But there was pretty singing and string music. That was something new for us. And on Saturday nights we could sleep late on Sunday and not go to church, and listen to it, and we did quite often. Jim Leloudis: How do you mean "something different"? Was the music different, or just the radio?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
Well, it's just that entertainment, to hear people over the air you couldn't see, singing and all and playing stuff like that and hear them talking. Well, that was something amusing, something hard to believe. Jim Leloudis: Did you have any other favorite shows that you listened to once WBT was established here?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
Yes, the Mohawk Rug had "Five Star Jones and Sally" on; I listened to that. Then "Ma Perkins" for Oxydol. And then "Gangbusters"; we was crazy about that. And the Briarhoppers here on WBT. Grady Cole was the master of ceremonies for that, you know, and he was just buried yesterday. I believe that's all I remember right now. Jim Leloudis: Did you have any favorite songs?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
Yes, but you couldn't call in and ask them to sing it. You had to listen to what they had on their programs. Jim Leloudis: Do you remember any of your favorites?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
"South of the Border" was one of them, and "Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Mountain Dew". I believe that's all right now that I remember. Jim Leloudis: Did people ever get together around here to sing, come to one another's houses and sing?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
I don't know of them doing that, but several people that could pick a guitar or a banjo would practice and then go to somebody's house and have a barn dance. That's when they had the square dancing I was telling you about. Jim Leloudis: You would just have that at somebody's house?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
Yes. Jim Leloudis: Maybe in the yard or something?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
No, it was in the house, and everybody didn't have rugs on the floor then, and so they'd take the furniture out and dance in there. Jim Leloudis: [Laughter] Did you ever go to any of those?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
My daddy could pick a fiddle, and I went to a few of them. But I was usually so tired at night, I'd rather go to bed than stomp my feet around a while. Jim Leloudis: Did he approve of you dancing?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
Daddy didn't mind the square dancing. He didn't want that other kind, though, where you had to hug up. [Laughter] Jim Leloudis: He didn't like it because you had to hug, or because it was a different type of dance?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
No, he just thought it was immoral because you're getting too close.