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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 >>

Courtship in a working community

Paul and Pauline Griffith describe their courtship in the 1920s. Before being married in 1927, the Griffiths courted while they both worked for the Judson Mill. Because Pauline was not allowed to court yet, Paul pretended to court her sister in order to get closer to her. They describe the kinds of activities the engaged while courting, which included spending time at church and going to community events, such as "womanless weddings."

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

There was a boy that the second-hand wanted me to like and wanted him to like me, and they would run the cloth over a frame and I had to go to the cloth room, and I was doing my best, it just worried me to death, and he finally admitted that he was doing that all the time on purpose [laughter] . I said, "Mr. Dodson, how could you be so cruel to do that?" And he said, "Pauline, I was getting a kick out of that. You was just working yourself to death and trying to improve all the time, and you were doing perfectly good cloth." But he was just trying to get us together to talk. That boy worked on that frame. But he didn't make any success there because Paul and me were courting [laughter] . He started courting with my sister, that taught me how to weave, and I thought that when I went along with them, that he was courting her. And he told me that he was courting her; that I'd be along was why he was courting her.
PAUL GRIFFITH:
Her mother wouldn't let her court until she was sixteen. And her sister was two or three years older than she was. So I courted her some, and Pauline went along, so that's the way we got to going.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Where would you all go, when you were courting?
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
Mainly to church. And they used to have a playground, they called it, up here in the mill yard. And they had swings. They had different things, you know, to enjoy. And they would have things up there, you know, for the people to go and be amused and enjoy.
ALLEN TULLOS:
The mill would sponsor it?
PAUL GRIFFITH:
Yes. They kept it up.
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
It was real nice.
PAUL GRIFFITH:
In the meantime, over here-we call it the gobbler's knob-every Fourth of July, they'd have a big to-do over there, with firecrackers. They'd have a greasy pig and baseball game over there.
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
It was right funny: we went to a church get-together, and they had a womanless wedding. That's before Paul and I got engaged. And so coming back, we took a girlfriend of mine home, you know, after going to this meeting, and Paul proposed to me coming back from a womanless wedding [laughter] .
PAUL GRIFFITH:
I was in one. And they fixed me up with a young girl.
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
Yeah. He was in a womanless wedding then years later, after he had married. I got him all fixed up and put lipstick on him, and got him a pink hat and a pink dress. I did fine, until I got down to his feet, and I couldn't find shoes big enough [laughter] . But he made a mighty good-looking woman. We had lots of fun.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did they put a black face on then? At some of those womanless weddings, they paint their faces black.
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
Oh, they had a black my and she 'Boo-Hooed' at the wedding. It was real funny.
PAUL GRIFFITH:
All of them were men.
PAULINE GRIFFITH:
I said that was right funny that we was coming back from the womanless wedding and he decided he'd propose.