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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Eva Hopkins, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0167. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Hopkins is glad her children do not work in mills

Low wages at the mill made it difficult to maintain a home and social life, so Hopkins is happy that her children did not grow up with the health and financial complications of working in a mill.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eva Hopkins, March 5, 1980. Interview H-0167. 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:
How much of your pay did you contribute to home. . . .
EVA HOPKINS:
None of it. I kept it all.
LU ANN JONES:
Did that mean that you had to buy your own clothes then?
EVA HOPKINS:
Yeah, I would buy my clothes. That was one reason I wanted to go to work, to have my own money because my mother-like I said it was during the Depression-she had to keep up the house. Nobody working but her, she had to keep up the house. I never knew my mother not to have some money, she was never broke. She always had a little bit of money.
LU ANN JONES:
She must have been a good budgeter.
EVA HOPKINS:
Since it was only just the two of us-my older sister was married. She was married, she was gone for years, then she was divorced-she came back home and worked a while, stayed with us until she married again. But I had my own money that I made which wasn't much, but you could get a pair of nice shoes back then for a dollar, $1.98. You had a real good pair of shoes for that. You could get a decent looking dress for three or four dollars. So I had some nice clothes. I saved my money, bought my own clothes. No, my mother didn't take my money, and she didn't charge me any board like I charge mine [laughter] . Mine stayed at home, went to work, I charged them board. But none of my children worked in the mill. My oldest son, he doesn't live in Charlotte. This younger son, he's the only one that stays home. He works at the Charlotte Memorial Hospital; he's data processing technician. Then my other son, he's a policeman, and my daughter's a supervisor at were Studios. So none of themin the mill. Not too many of the people that I knew, that I grew up with, the younger people that was my age back then that I know, that I still remember, I don't think many of their children ever worked in the mill. Of course, nobody want their children to go to work in the mill, I don't think.
LU ANN JONES:
EVA HOPKINS:
Well, it was hard work. After a while, they brought the pay up until they made fairly good wages, but still it was hard work, it was hot-even with air conditioning it was still hot-it was still that cotton. You've heard about brown lung. My husband works in the carding department, has since he was a boy. He has emphysema. He doesn't have it real bad, but he has it. We just didn't want them to go in that. I thought they could find something better to do. You always want better for your children than you had yourself. It was hard. It was a hard life. A good life in some ways, but hard work.