Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Josephine Turner, June 7, 1976. Interview H-0235-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Free time and church attendance

Turner remembers her some of the ways she and her family spent their time when she was a child. She and her siblings had to finish their chores before they played, and playtime included riding bikes and a game called jack in the bush. On Sundays, her family attended church twice.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Josephine Turner, June 7, 1976. Interview H-0235-2. 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

KAREN SINDELAR:
The important thing is to know how to read in the first place, I think.
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Right. Gregory, can't read his handwriting. We had to learn to read. I can't write either, as far as that's concerned, but I'm talking about reading. You know, the old folks made us; that was a must. There wasn't any such thing as television, as you may know [laughter] , in them days, and it was get that homework before you done anything else; that was the main thing.
KAREN SINDELAR:
Did your mother emphasize that?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Yes, and my grandmother especially. But we would come in from school. Our first thing we had to do, we had to make a fire. There was no such thing as electric stoves and all; we had to make fires, put the sweet potatoes on (you know, that was a little ritual with us) to bake. And if there was leftovers we'd put them on to heat. Then we'd start the dinner and the older folks would finish it when they got home. Well, we had to carry in wood, bring in the coal, do our other little chores that we didn't do. Well, the beds was made before we left home; that was a must. And we had to wash dishes if we didn't get them done that morning. Then after dinner homework, and wash dishes first; that was the ritual. Then we had to get our homework; then we could play. There wasn't such things as jack rocks; we had rocks we used to play jack rocks with. And if there were peanuts we played jack in the bush.
KAREN SINDELAR:
Jack in the bush? What was that?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
[laughter] A game we played with peanuts; it's kind of hard to explain it, you know. Then we would play checkers or chinese checkers, things of this nature.
KAREN SINDELAR:
This was all after you had done your homework, though?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Oh yes, the homework was first. Well, on Sundays there wasn't any such thing as the movies; they didn't admire us to go to movies on Sundays.
KAREN SINDELAR:
Why was that? Because it was Sunday?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Their religious beliefs on Sundays, you know. After we would come from church, eat dinner and wash our dishes we could go and ride bicycles, skate and play on the ground, rolling, things of this nature. But no movies. Then we were back in church at five o'clock or six o'clock, whatever it would be, for BYTU and night service.
KAREN SINDELAR:
You'd go to church twice on Sundays?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Oh yes, that was a must: Sunday school, morning service, that BYTU and the night service.
KAREN SINDELAR:
Were you active in the organizations in the church when you were young?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Yes, scouting, and all the things. In those days they didn't have as much as they have now, but whatever they had (the little choir or whatever) we were there in it. This was a must.
KAREN SINDELAR:
Was your family sort of a mainstay in the church?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Yes, my grandmother especially. And my poor mother, she worked so hard she didn't go to church like my grandmother did. She went, but she worked so hard. But we was raised that you done it. She always taught us the right and the wrong, and she saw that we went. It was a must that we went.