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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Paul and Pauline Griffith, May 30, 1980. Interview H-0247. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Portrait of life in a small, rural southern community

Pauline Griffith describes her early childhood in Hendersonville, South Carolina, during the early twentieth century. The portrait she offers is that of a close knit rural community, largely secluded from the onslaught of modernity. She explains what it was like to be a subsistence farmer and emphasizes the importance of church in her family.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Paul and Pauline Griffith, May 30, 1980. Interview H-0247. 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

ALLEN TULLOS:
Why don't we get you to go back in the same way that Mr. Griffith has, if you can, and remember some of your early memories about where you grew up and family and what your family did and things like that.
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
We lived in the country in Hendersonville and they raised corn and beans. It was just generally vegetables mostly in that area. And they had apples. They raised chickens. My daddy was just a farmer. And they raised hogs. We grew everything we ate right there at home, except you know, the commodities you'd have to buy in the store. It was quite a treat to get to go to the store. Because everything was made at home, and the things from the store were outstanding to all those kids. We looked forward to go shopping sometimes with my dad. They used to sell eggs to buy other things, you know. They swapped eggs instead of money.
PAUL GRIFFITH:
For coffee.
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
For coffee and sugar and things like that. I remember them telling about the first car that came through there. My two sisters were going to the store with a basket of eggs and they saw this car coming. It frightened them so that they ran up the bank to see it go by, so it wouldn't hit them [laughter] . Isn't that funny? And then it was rare back then to see an automobile. It's hard to imagine that now. We had a happy home life. My father was a Christian man, and my mother. We went to church and that was one of the main things in their lives.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What church did you go to?
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
At first we didn't have a church. We went over the hill, over a mountain. My daddy would carry me on his back. It was in my aunt's home. They had Sunday school then. They just had a worship service. And finally there was a church built in our area. And my uncle, on my grandmother's side, was the pastor. He had twin boys, Elbert and Albert. It was just a good country church.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was it any particular denomination?
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
It was Baptist, uh huh, and they'd have prayer meetings and singings and different things, you know, to go to. We would go in a wagon, and that was quite a treat, you know, to get to go to church in the wagon. That was a big day.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How often would you go?
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
To church?
ALLEN TULLOS:
Yes. Would it be every week that you'd get to go?
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
Yes. We had service every week. We had a good happy life. Our community in which we lived, the people were thoughtful of each other. We had good fellowship among our neighbors, friends.