Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Edna Y. Hargett, July 19, 1979. Interview H-0163. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Reflection on life history

In this excerpt, Hargett offers a brief retrospection on her life. Although she began to work at the age of sixteen, Hargett argues that it was not until she became married that she felt like an adult because she was solely responsible for herself after that. In addition, Hargett revisits her early dream of becoming a stenographer. Although that dream remained unfulfilled, Hargett expresses no regret over the course of her life and argues that her years spent in the mill were her happiest because of the "love comradeship there with all of us."

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

Jim Leloudis: And the other thing: we had talked about your childhood. When did you consider yourself to be grown, to have reached adulthood?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
Whenever I married. Because what my daddy said went, and I knowed better than to contradict it. But I didn't consider myself as grown till I married. Jim Leloudis: And that was at seventeen?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
1925, when I was seventeen. Jim Leloudis: So that's when you really felt like you were . . .
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
A grown person, and I was my own boss then. Because I knowed Daddy couldn't fuss with me like they used to, you know, and scold me and all. And starting off a home and having to be responsible for everything, I could look back and see where Daddy had fussed a lot of times and see why he did it then. Jim Leloudis: You kind of get a different perspective on things.
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
Yes, I did. Jim Leloudis: How long did you stay in school? You said you had gone to school there at the mill village.
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
I graduated from the eighth grade, and I wasn't in any longer than that. Jim Leloudis: You moved to Charleston, so you couldn't go to . . .
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
Yes, we moved to Charleston. Jim Leloudis: Why did you not go to high school once you got to Charleston?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
My daddy wouldn't let me. He put me in a dimestore. Jim Leloudis: Did you want to go on to school?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
I wanted to go on to school, but he needed me to help. I had a little sister there at the house and all, and he wasn't making much. So he said I couldn't go on, and I couldn't go. What he said was boss. Jim Leloudis: So then you started taking the stenography course instead.
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
Yes, I enrolled in the Hughes Business College down there, and I was enjoying it pretty much three nights a week until my health got so bad with that damp climate with the ocean breeze and all, till we had to leave. But I was working in the dimestore then and taking that course at night. But I believe my happiest days has been in the mill. Jim Leloudis: Why do you think that?
EDNA YANDELL HARGETT:
Because, like I said, there was that love comradeship there with all of us, and the children was at home then, and there was closeness of one another of us here on the community. And knowing we was all equal, I reckon, because one didn't think he was any better than the other one; we was just all one big family. And I think that's about all that I remember about it.