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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Barbara Hanks, August 10, 1994. Interview K-0098. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Remembering the factory whistle

Hanks explains that she misses the people at the White Furniture Factory, and remembers the camaraderie, even on days when she was feeling grumpy. She recalls the factory's whistle, a sound that brought workers together.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Barbara Hanks, August 10, 1994. Interview K-0098. 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

PATRICK HUBER:
What do you miss about it?
BARBARA HANKS:
First shift and the people, and I was real comfortable. Well, you know, like I said, you had your rough days and your bad days, but it wasn't real, you know, bad, you know, stressful or whatever, and when you're used to something it's so much easier to go. The people mainly is what I miss.
PATRICK HUBER:
Are there things you don't miss about the place?
BARBARA HANKS:
What I don't miss [Laughter] ? Well, the headaches, you know. Some would say, "I know any place you go is going to be kind of the same." I'd still be at White's though, I really believe that. Unless they got tired of me and said, "Gone." Cause I used to be an old hateful thing sometimes. [Laughter]
PATRICK HUBER:
Oh, yeah?
BARBARA HANKS:
Oh, yeah, especially if I have a rough day. You know, different people'd come, and some we'd nickname. This one they called the preacher. Yes, sometime I'd get mad and get to cussing a little bit. "Girl, you got the devil in you, you got the devil in you." I'm like, "Yeah, I do." Then you had some that knowed everything, and they ain't knowed nothing. [Laughter]
PATRICK HUBER:
Did a lot of people in the plant have nicknames?
BARBARA HANKS:
A few, not a whole lot.
PATRICK HUBER:
Do you remember any other nicknames?
BARBARA HANKS:
Well, let me think. A lot of them we call you instead of your first name, your last name. Like Murdock, if your last name was Murdock. I can't think of another one. I'm sure there's a bunch, but my brain is--. When you ask me I can't think of it. [Laughter]
PATRICK HUBER:
So you think the town of Mebane is different now that White's has closed?
BARBARA HANKS:
A little because, you know, the noise, the whistle, I mean, the whistle is the main thing, I think. I mean, to me cause I miss the whistle. Yeah, all the people coming out cause, you know, usually you could just come and here's everybody--. Cause that's a sight when you see all them people rush out of there. And now you go, and it's just nothing. Yeah, I think so.