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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with George R. Elmore, March 11, 1976. Interview H-0266. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A variety of recreations in rural North Carolina

Elmore describes two very different modes of recreation in this excerpt. Churchgoing was the focus of social life in Elmore Crossroads, but men found time to gather at the local store to smoke, drink if liquor was available, and swap stories. Elmore also remembers also playing with dogs and fishing with friends.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with George R. Elmore, March 11, 1976. Interview H-0266. 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

BRENT GLASS:
Tell me a little bit about Elmore Crossroads. What kind of community was it? What would people do as a community?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
Nothing except in the church. My grandfather had given land for Bethesda Church, right across in front of the house, and that's where the graveyard is now. And one of his daughters lived right west of the graveyard facing towards Gastonia, and my father right straight across. And he had a brother that had his house right behind the church.
BRENT GLASS:
Was this a Baptist church?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
No, it was a Methodist church. He gave that land and most of the wood to build the first church. And long about 1909 or '10 they built another church; it had two steeples. And of course that was torn away about eight or ten years ago, and the church was moved down right at the crossroad and rebuilt in brick. But there's still a cemetery there and a Sunday school building on the old Elmore plot.
BRENT GLASS:
In what ways would you get together with neighbors other than the church?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
Well, there was a store there at the crossroad; and Lord have mercy, that was a clearing place for everything for two or three miles around. People would come in there on rainy days and chew tobacco and smoke. And anybody that had a bottle of liquor at night, why they… They didn't close the store 'til nine or ten o'clock. And for the men they pitched horseshoes, and maybe they'd have a turkey shoot or most anything, horseracing or anything else.
BRENT GLASS:
Right there at the store?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
Yes, that was the gathering spot for everywheres.
BRENT GLASS:
Do you remember sitting in and listening to the men talk?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
Well, I was hanging around there from the time I was seven or eight years old.
BRENT GLASS:
What kind of things would they talk about?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
[laughter] Well, a lot of them talked about women. And all the scandal in the neighborhood. They didn't mind discussing. I learned more, knew more about things, I guess, by the time I was ten years old than a lot of people did at twenty. But they didn't … the kids were supposed to know everything that was going on.
BRENT GLASS:
They didn't protect you from any of that?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
Oh no. And of course when you went into the mill you heard the dirty side of life all the time.
BRENT GLASS:
In the textile mills?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
Oh yes. They had no scruples at all.
BRENT GLASS:
So you mean the things about the opposite sex, for instance?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
Yes.
BRENT GLASS:
That's the way that kind of information was communicated to you?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
That's right.
BRENT GLASS:
No one ever sat you down directly and said directly, "This is the way it is." You just sort of picked it up? That's it. Well, there was my brother and I, and two Forbes boys about our age, three Elmore boys (first cousins) that lived right across the road——they were my age and a little older—and three Ford boys (first cousins that lived just below the church). And we stayed around that store and pitched horseshoes during the summer, or most anything. One of the main sports we used to have was if you could get a fox hide or a possum hide or something like that, two or three of the boys maybe would go for thirty minutes and drag it two or three miles. Then they'd turn dogs loose and they would trail that thing around. Oh man, if we'd get held to a hide we'd wear them out. But the two boys would take and drag it, and they would go far right into the woods two and three miles and then circle around and come back.
BRENT GLASS:
Just to see the dogs run around?
GEORGE R. ELMORE:
Hear 'em run at night. Then of course we'd go possum hunting and all those kind of things at night. And of course we roamed near the two creeks (one was about a mile west of us and one about a mile east) and that river there at Oramerton. We did a lot of fishing in those.