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Title: Oral History Interview with Florence Dillahunt, May 31, 2001. Interview K-0580. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Dillahunt, Florence, interviewee
Interview conducted by Hartman, Leda
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 152 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-08-13, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Florence Dillahunt, May 31, 2001. Interview K-0580. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0580)
Author: Leda Hartman
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Florence Dillahunt, May 31, 2001. Interview K-0580. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0580)
Author: Florence Dillahunt
Description: 106 Mb
Description: 39 p.
Note: Interview conducted on May 31, 2001, by Leda Hartman; recorded in Pitt County, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Florence Dillahunt, May 31, 2001.
Interview K-0580. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Dillahunt, Florence, interviewee


Interview Participants

    FLORENCE DILLAHUNT, interviewee
    BETTY HOWES, interviewee
    LEDA HARTMAN, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
LEDA HARTMAN:
Would you tell me your full name, including your maiden name? And [tell me] where and when you were born.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
My full name is Florence (McLaughlin?) Dillahunt. I was born here in Pitt County.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And where were you born? Right here on this property?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, born on the property.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And what was your birthday?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
4/17/35.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's my brother's birthday! April seventeenth.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Oh yes?
LEDA HARTMAN:
Yes, that's great. Okay. So you were born in 1935. That was in the middle of the Depression.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I guess so.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How long had your people been on this land here?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
My mother had been here all of her life because her home is next door. My daddyߞ. I don't know how long my daddy had been here before I was born. There was another one of us born here, so it had to be in the twenties.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And your mama, her parents were here, too?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Her parents was here. They all died, passed away, right up next door.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Wow. So your family's been here a long time.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, been here a long time.

Page 2
LEDA HARTMAN:
What do you remember from your childhood? What was it like growing up here in the thirties?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, it was good growing up. We worked. My mother and daddy had six girls. No boys. So the girls done the work, when we got old enough.
LEDA HARTMAN:
You were the farmhands?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, we were the farmhands. [unclear] every day. Sure did. Yes.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What all did you grow?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We grow cotton, tobacco, and soybeans. My daddy didn't have no wheat at that time. And he didn't grow too much cotton. He grow a little bit. And peanuts. He had peanuts.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How was it to make living? Was it tough in those days, or was it okay?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It was okay.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Yes.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I liked it. At that time, I didn't think I did. But considering now, I liked it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How come?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Because the way things were then, to me, is better. It was better than it is now. You have more convenience and everything, but otherwise, you know, how people live now. At that time, we didn't have to lock no doors. We lay down and go to sleep, didn't lock no doors. You could have your windows up. But now you can't do that. You leave them up, somebody might come in. But at that time we did. My daddy cured tobacco. We were wanting to stay to the barn with it and finally he let us go and stay to

Page 3
the barn one night. We thought he was going to stay and we woke up and he was gone. We didn't ask to stay to the barn no more.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So you were minding the store.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. We wouldn't stay out there no more. Daddy left us by ourself.
BETTY HOWES:
That's because the tobacco barn had to be stoked with wood during the night. And you slept in the barn. Somebody had that job.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. Had to fire them [unclear] all night long.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So tobacco brought in pretty good money for him?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
At that time.
LEDA HARTMAN:
At that time.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
At that time. You grow what you want to grow. You didn't have no tobacco allotment like you do now.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's right. And you didn't have the price supports then either, did you?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, we didn't have that.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So it was kind of a gamble. You'd try to get the best price you could.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That's what my dad always said. He said farming was gambling. Yes.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I've heard people say the same thing today.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes.
LEDA HARTMAN:
[Laughter] Yes. Yes. How did it come about that your family owned, owned the land? How did they make enough money to buy the land?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
They didn't have that much money. My mother inherit from her parents,

Page 4
because they owned the farm up next house, so when her daddy died, he left her a part of the farm. And my daddy got this when the man had lost it. He owed taxes on it and couldn't pay the taxes off. And so he let my daddy have it to pay the taxes on.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Oh. So he bought it for the price of the taxes.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
For the price of the taxes. And I think he said he give the man a milk cow. And that's how he got the farm.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Wow. That's pretty good.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That was good.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So tell me more about growing up in those days. Did you all have to go grocery shopping? Or did you have everything you needed here?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
You mostly had everything you needed here. You growed your meats. You had your, the hogs, cows. So he'd kill a cow. And you know at that time, a cow could hang up. We had what you call a smokehouse. To keep the meat in. And you could hang it up in there and it would keep. It didn't spoil.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Because it was cured?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I guess it would cure out by hanging there. But it didn't spoil like it do now. We had hams hanging up in the smoke house. Now we can't keep them. Sure can't. I don't know whether it had to do with them eating the peanuts, the feed that they was fed. Like corn and then in the fall of the year my dad would put them on the peanuts. And they would eat peanuts. So I don't know if that had anything to do with it or not. But we had no refrigerators or no deep freeze at that time. And we didn't have no lights at one time. I

Page 5
remember that. So man come around, bring you a piece of ice, and you would wrap it up. And that's the way it kept. You wrap it up in a blanket or quilt or something, and you had ice for the week.
LEDA HARTMAN:
In those days, was it a big deal to go into town? Like say to go [unclear] .
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. When you got a chance to go. We didn't go that often. We didn't. Mama and Daddy would.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How often would you get to go to town?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We hardly didn't get to go once a week.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And so that was a big deal?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. When we got there, we had to walk to school. We had to walk two miles every day to go to school. And two miles to come back. And when we started high school, we had, my oldest sisters had to walk two miles to get the bus to go to high school. But when I started, I had to walk a mile to get the bus.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Now a lot of kids in those days, and I think girls, maybe especially, didn't go on to high school necessarily. Right?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
To me, at that time, there weren't that many people.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Going on to high school?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
There weren't that many people that lived in the neighborhood.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Oh. Period.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
You didn't have that many people. When you go into town, you probably know about everybody that lived in the houses that would be on the road. There weren't

Page 6
that many people.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So pretty much like all up and down your road, would you know everybody?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, you know everybody. Most likely. If anybody come through here, you would know them. Because there weren't that many people in and out.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Did you like that?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I liked it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Yes. Is it different from now?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It's a lot different because you have so many people now in and out that you don't know who's traveling. You don't know who is who. So when you see somebody, you more than likely want to see, you know, especially if they come through like they want to stop, or driving slow, you want to see, because you think somebody might be going to stop and rob you. Or something like that.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So when you went to high school, your parents like wanted you to finish your education and so on?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. All six of us girls finished high school.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What was school like, especially your elementary school, in those days?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It was okay. Of course we didn't know no other. So we had to go and we went every day.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Did you have like one room? Or two rooms?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We had more than two. And you had more than one or two teachers. Maybe you had about, about three or four teachers, or something like that.

Page 7
LEDA HARTMAN:
For eight grades?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, we went to elementary, maybe there were these three teachers there. Because you had the principal and maybe about two more teachers to teach the children. We had different grades. And then after we left one school, which was two mile from here, then we went into Grifton, which wasn't a high school. We went there because, you know, the grade maybe took over like till maybe the sixth or the seventh grade or something like that. And then when you got up to the ninth grade, then you went into high school.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Then did you go to Ayden?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
To Ayden, South Ayden High School.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So that was a big thing, to be riding a bus out of town.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, riding a bus. Go to the high school.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Did you feel like you were getting to be a grownup when you got there?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, not really. Because my parents, they kept up with us.
LEDA HARTMAN:
They were strict?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, very strict, very strict.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What kind of rules would they have?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
They had all of them. You can't have boys coming to the house. You didn't go to dances. You didn't go to ball games. You didn't go to the movies. There was nothing for you to go to.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So what did you do for fun?

Page 8
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We play [unclear] . Yes, we had our own games and things here at the house. And Mama would take us to church. She'd keep us in church every Sunday.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What church was it that you went to?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
She would go to different churches.
LEDA HARTMAN:
There wasn't one special one?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well at that time, we belonged to the Episcopal Church at Hattie's Crossroad. That's between here and Greenville, out from Ayden. Then after a while, that church kind of went down. There weren't too many people there. The people continued to be Episcopalian. They had to go either into Greenville or Kinston. So by us being so far, my mother joined a church not too far from hereߞLive Oak, before you get into Grifton. And then, I think at one time that church got burned down or something. Then I know she moved her membership back here in Crane County to a church called Piney Grove. So that's where she was when she died, passed away. She passed away in 1968. And my daddy passed away in 1971.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So they were pretty close.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So when you played, if you were to play around here, was it mostly just with your sisters? Or were there other kids?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
There were no other kids.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Because you were pretty much in the country?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Just right here in the country.

Page 9
LEDA HARTMAN:
So who did you have around you? Were your grandparents still around here?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No. My grandparents weren't. My mother's father lived next door. He passed away in 1934. So that was the year before I was born. So I never did know any of my grandparents.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So it was just your family, just you all, right in this little corner here?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. And my mother had a brother that lived up next door.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So what would you do if you needed help? Like say, during harvest time or if someone was sick or something? Could you do for yourselves? Or would other people come and help you?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, if anybody got sick or something like that, usually the girls, as far as I know, we never, Mama would always have different things that she would doctor us with. She had her own little medicine.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Did she make her own medicine?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Like if you had the whooping cough or something like that, she'd go out and get a bullfrog and boil it. We would drink the broth from it. That was good for the whooping cough.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Did it work?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, it worked.
LEDA HARTMAN:
It did.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. It worked.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What did it taste like?

Page 10
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, it taste all right. We drank it. If you had whooping cough, she'd boil a frog. So you drank that water out of it. Sure did.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What were some of her other medicines?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
When we had the measles, I don't know what Mama done for that. She had meal she rubbed us in. Corn starch, or something [like] that, she rubbed on us.
BETTY HOWES:
Corn meal, I believe.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Corn meal. I believe it was corn meal.
LEDA HARTMAN:
On your chest?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, wherever the bumps was. They itched real bad.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's interesting.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And if someone else, like in the community, needed some help or something, would you all be free to go to help them?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, my Mama, she would be free to go help them. I know my mother got sick. I was old enough to remember. She had an artery bursted in her head. And she bled a whole weekߞquarts of blood at a time. My daddy would take her into Grifton to a doctor named Dr. Tucker. He packed her nose with cotton, but the blood was running so freely, she would have had to pour the cotton out because it started coming out her mouth. And Daddy took her to the hospital and they done the same thing there. They packed her nose with cotton and they couldn't do nothing for her to stop her from bleeding.

Page 11
So one Saturday night she said she dreamed that the lord showed her a man who could stop her from bleeding. And she woke up that Sunday morning and she told Daddy that the lord had showed her a man. And she described the man to Daddy. And he said, he said that ain't nobody but a cousin of his. He said he had always heard that he could stop blood or talk the fire if somebody got burned. Daddy got up and put his pants on and went and got him. And when he walked on the doorstep, Mama's blood went away to water and she didn't bleed no more. Sure didn't. And she lived for quite a few years – a long time.
LEDA HARTMAN:
After that. Howߞ?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
A long time. She lived to get sixty-eight years old and I guess that happened when she was in her fortiesߞwhen that artery bursted in her head.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What wasߞ?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
The doctor said if it hadn't have burst, she probably would have had a stroke. But instead, the artery bursted and the doctors couldn't stop her from bleeding. And she didn't die.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What was this cousin like? That he could help like that.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Oh, he was just an ordinary man. But at that time, like in that day, people said they could readߞ. They had a certain verse in the Bible that they could read, that would stop blood or it would stop, talk to fire, or get the fire from a person if he got burned. It worked.
BETTY HOWES:
Do you know about talking fire?

Page 12
LEDA HARTMAN:
Can you tell me about that?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I don't know about [it], but I know that when Daddy went and got this cousin that morning, the lord showed Mama that man at night. When she described the man to Daddy, he said it wasn't nobody but his cousin. His name was Nabe Mills and Daddy went and got him.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What was his name?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Nabe Mills.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Nate Mills?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Nabe. N-a-b-e.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Nabe Mills.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Daddy went and got him and when he walked up on the porch, her blood went away to water. She didn't ever bleed no more. Sure did.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Did everybody think it was a miracle?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, they thought it was a miracle that she stopped. Sure did.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Wow. Did he heal other people?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. He could heal, like if you got burned or if you were bleeding or something like that, that's what he would do. That verse in the Bible would do [it].
LEDA HARTMAN:
And you said he could 'talk the fire out of people'?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Like if you got burned.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What would he do?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
He'd just, he would never let you know what he would say. He wouldn't let

Page 13
nobody know.
BETTY HOWES:
You couldn't understand it, either, could you?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, couldn't understand it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
It was something out of the Bible, though?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Because I know a lady, she lived at Grifton. I think her name was Miss Louise Atkinson. She could talk to fire out a person if he got burned. My husband got scalded one day on his foot. We was putting up corn and he went to take the bag of corn out of the boiling water. It got on him and burned him. I called this lady. I had heard that she could talk the fire out of a person, that it wouldn't hurt no more after you were burned, so I called her. She asked me what foot did he get burned on and where was it. I told her. My husband, he was sitting down in a chair after that had happened and he went to sleep. When he woke up, he said it didn't hurt him no more. He said he didn't feel the burn no more. It didn't blister.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Could you give me a second here? I just want to write down the name of that lady because some of the names, I just want to make sure I get them right.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Miss Louise Atkinson. Didn't you remember her?
BETTY HOWES:
Louise Jenkins.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Atkinson. She had a daughter named Hurley. Hurley worked at Cash and Carry for a long time. You didn't know her.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How do you spell her last name?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Atkinson, oh, how do you spell the Atkinson? A-k, I don't know.

Page 14
BETTY HOWES:
It was probably A-t-k-i-n-s-o-n.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Sounds like it.
BETTY HOWES:
It might have had two As.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I've got you. Okay. Thanks.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
And the man that stopped my mama's blood, his name was Nabe Mills.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Nabe Mills. Yes.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
N-a-b-e.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And then you also mentioned a place, Hattie's Crossroad?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Hattie's Crossroad, that's where we went to church.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And how do you spell that?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
H-aߞ. Ain't it H-a-d-dߞ?
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
H-a-d-dߞ?
BETTY HOWES:
I'm sure it's H-a-t-t-i-e. I think I've seen that.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Okay, Hattie's Crossroad.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay. Okay. So now if you couldn't go to the movies and you couldn't dance and you couldn't do all this kind of thing, how were you able to court and get married?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That was a little tough. When you went to school, you slip and talk with the boys.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's what it was? So how did you meet your husband?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
One of my oldest sisters had got married. One of her husband's brothers come

Page 15
over to help them in tobacco one day. I was trucking tobacco, driving a tractor. And at that time, all Mama's girls, we had long hair. And he was standing on the back of the tractor playing with my hair.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Was that big time flirting? [Laughter]
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It sure was big time flirting. [Laughter]
BETTY HOWES:
Did he have tobacco gum on his hands when he was playing with your hair?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I know he did have some. He was back there pulling my hair. I told him leave my hair alone. He kept on pulling it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Was that the first time you met him?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That was the first time I had met him. He left after that because he lived in New Bern, and he went back. And we was in school. And he left and went in service. He stayed in service three years. So he wrote me a letter before he got ready to come out. He wanted to come to see me when he come home.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And what year was this that he wrote thisߞaround when?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It was in the early fifties. It was in the fifties. I think he got out of service like '53. He went back to school to finish high school.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Oh, okay. So then he wrote you a letter wanting to come and see you?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, he wanted to come and see me.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And did you say yes?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, I said yes. So Mama and themߞ. But when nine o'clock come, if he was here at night, he had to go home when nine o'clock come. They didn't let nobody stay

Page 16
after nine. If you come, you had to come before it got dark.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So it would be more respectable that way?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, it would be more respectable for them.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I see. And so how long did that go on before you got married?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It went on, it was like about '53 and I finished high school in '54 and I got married in '55.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So a couple years, that kind of thing.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, about a couple of years.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Then where did you all live once you got married?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Live over there in the house with my mother and father.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Where you were born.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Because I was the last one out of the six girls and my mother was, you know, kind of sick. So she didn't want me to leave her. I asked him, if we got married could we continue to stay with her? So he told me yes. So we stayed with her.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Did you have any kind of a wedding celebration? Or how did you do it?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, we just went to Kinston and got married. [We] got a minister to marry us at his house.
LEDA HARTMAN:
At his house. And did you have a wedding breakfast or anything?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No.
LEDA HARTMAN:
They didn't do that in those days?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
My mother went with me when we got married.

Page 17
LEDA HARTMAN:
Did you have a special dress or anything?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, didn't have no special dress.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And that was just how people did it in those days?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That was how we done it in that day. Sometimes they had the weddings, but I didn't.
LEDA HARTMAN:
But you were happy anyway?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, I was happy anyway.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So what was it like setting up farming with your husband once you were grown and married and so on? Were times pretty good or were they, you know, tough?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, they was pretty good. He worked. He already had a job working somewhere else. I think it was a lumber company he was working to in New Bern. So he drove to and fro from here to New Bern. And then after a while, my daddy needed help on the farm, so he said he would stop and be close and be here and help him on the farm. So he did. He been farming ever since.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And at that point, price supports had already come in for tobacco?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Not at that time, no.
LEDA HARTMAN:
No?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Not at that time it hadn't.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Oh.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I guess it was getting, you know, it might have had just started some.
LEDA HARTMAN:
But the money was okay?

Page 18
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It was okay. You didn't get that much, but you got enough to survive.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Raise kids on.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Because things then didn't cost as much. We was raising hogs, too, at that time because my oldest boy finished high school and I sent him off to college. He went to A&T in Greensboro. So he didn't have a car so he had to get the bus and we took him up there. And so he wanted to come home. He didn't want to stay at the school over the weekends. He wanted to come home. So he had asked a boy that he know that live close by us, he had a car, you know, to bring him home. So he did. And when he got ready to go back, he went back and asked the boy that Sunday morning what time would he be ready to go back. And he told him two o'clock he would be by to pick him up. The boy didn't ever come to pick him up. So my husband, we had a lot of hogs at that time, and we sold enough of hogs and bought a new car for him to have to drive back and forth during the four years he was at school.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So you could do okay.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We could do okay because things weren't that high.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So you could do all that on a farm income?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Sure could. Then when the second boy finished school, we bought him one. Then after he finished, when it got to the girls, things had started going up. [We] couldn't do it. [It] got a little high.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And how many kids did you have all together?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Five.

Page 19
LEDA HARTMAN:
Two boys?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Two boys and three girls.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Three girls. By the time the three girls were getting ready to go to college, you couldn't just buy a car like that?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, couldn't buy it like that then. Everything got a little, had gone up high.
LEDA HARTMAN:
When was thatߞabout what time? What year?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Butch finished school in the seventies. Must have been somewhere around like '78, '79, somewhere along in there. It was in the seventies.
LEDA HARTMAN:
It was about '76.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
About '76 that he finished school. We sold enough of hogs and paid for that car. That car didn't cost but aboutߞ. I forgot. It wasn't too much over five thousand dollars that a car cost. It was kind of cheap then. But now it's hard to buy one.
LEDA HARTMAN:
It is. It is.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Sure is.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And the three girls went to college, too?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So you put five children through college on your farm income.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Sure did.
LEDA HARTMAN:
You must be proud of that.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. I am proud of them.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How many of them live around here?

Page 20
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
My oldest girl, she lives in Greenville. She teaches at Rose High. The next girl lives in Greensboro. She teaches there. And that's the youngest girl there. She's here with me. She's not doing anything now. And Mark, the oldest boy, he lives in Durham. He works with GTE. He is into engineering. And he's also into real estate. And Mark, the second oldest boy, we sent him to school. But he didn't like it. He took up bricklaying. He didn't like it. He liked the farm, so he works with his dad.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Here on the farm? So you'll have somebody to carry it on.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, we have him to carry it on. He didn't like it [school]. He liked the farm, so he chose to help him.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Well that's kind of lucky, in a way, because a lot of farm families don't have any sons or daughters who want to go into it.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well he likes it. He loves it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So are you glad that someone will continue on?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, I'm glad he's with it. Yes.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Tell me how things were going before the flood came.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
They was doing okay before the flood. We weren't through putting in tobacco when the flood come and we lost a lot. In fact, we lost all of our crop except for all of the tobacco. We had put in maybe over half of the tobacco we had put in when that flood come. Then after thatߞ.
LEDA HARTMAN:
September.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, we lostߞ. We had the barns full. We had a big trailer load ready for the

Page 21
market. So we lost, we lost a lot. We lost a lot. Sure did. And my house, I didn't have no flood insurance on that. So I didn't get nothing there. So that's how come we ain't got our house back.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Tell me what your house was like.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, it was a house. It was a five bedroom house. My mother had raised all of us up in it. My daddy had enlarged it and then I had had it remodeled. It was a pretty good house. Everybody liked to come. They called it home. So when everybody got ready to come home, they come home and that was the house they would come to. We had just had a family reunion that year. Everybody had come home and we had a good time. Then I turned around and lost everything.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How many people came to the reunion?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
A lot of them. I guess there was over a hundred of them.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Over a hundred.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And how old was the original house?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
My house? That house must have beenߞ. I'm sixty-six and my daddy had that house way before that. The house might have been about a hundred years old, something like that.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Wow. Wow. So what were some of the things that you lost in the flood that can't be replaced?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
About everything I had was lost.

Page 22
LEDA HARTMAN:
Things from your family?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. My son come in on a boat and he did get a few, few of the pictures that was hanging on the walls. He got a man that had a motor on a boat to bring him in here. The water come in. Started coming in that Thursday evening and we left out that Friday morning. They come in and rescued us. So we lost all ourߞ. [The] only vehicles that we had insurance on, that we could get replaced, was a truck and a car. All the others, we didn't have nothing on that. We lost all of it. So we was like three months getting back in here after we had the flood. The water stayed in here so long. They said you could touch the top of my house from the boat. And my house wasn't no low house. It was tall. This little barn right back out here, we call the smoke house. You just could see the top of it. I didn't ever come back in here while the water was up, but other people did. And my son and him coming here at that time, they took some pictures. And the boy told them that they didn't need to come in here no more because the water had such strong undercurrent in it and we had just gassed up all the tanks to the barn, with gas because we weren't through putting in tobacco. All of them tanks uplifted from the ground and all that gas escaped. So he said they could have got blowed up. He told them they need to stay out so they didn't get nobody to bring them back in here no more.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What about your animals? Did you have animals then?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. They got my dogs. The Humane Society come in on a boat. I come down to the water on a Sunday and they had my dogs. They couldn't get the cats. The cats went

Page 23
up in the trees. I guess a lot of those got drowned, but there were still some here when we come back. They didn't have nothing to eat.
BETTY HOWES:
That was three or four weeks before you could come back, wasn't it?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Before I could come back in here? Longer than that. We couldn't come back in here. We had the flood and then after that, the water had started going out, I guess, about a month. And we had another big rain because my husband and them had come back in here on a tractor that they had got down low enough, he could drive the tractor in. Then it got right back high again.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So this place was underwater for about a month, really?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, more. It was over a month in here.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Oh, my.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Because we [are] like a mile from the creek back this away.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So you lost the farm equipment. You lost a good part of a crop.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We lost, we lost a lot.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And some of the animals. Well, your pets were saved.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, well, some of the cats I know got destroyed because they was in a tree. The Humane Society people said they couldn't get them. They was a little wild.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What about things in your house? Did you have any things that were family heirlooms from years back?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I lost all of that.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Like what sort of things?

Page 24
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, I had some of my mother's pictures. I don't have none of those. And all that stuff. All my furniture and stuff turn over. When the children come in, they said when they pushed the door open, the water had such a force they couldn't close it back. That was on that Saturday they come in here. It got much deeper after they went back out. They couldn't get back in.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Where did you all stay?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We stayed in Greenville. I stayed with my oldest daughter for a while and then my youngest daughterߞ.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
LEDA HARTMAN:
Where did you all stay?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We stayed in Greenville. I stayed with my oldest daughter for a while, and then my youngest daughter got an apartment and we moved in the apartment with her. We were in there for two months. I stayed with my daughter for a month.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And where was the apartment?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It was near Wal-Mart.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Oh, in Greenville?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
In Greenville.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And how long did it take you to come back to this place right here?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It took us three months to get back here.

Page 25
LEDA HARTMAN:
What was it like afterߞ?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It was like somebody had never lived here. That's the way it looked. The hedges, the shrubs and everything was all brown. Some of my trees had died. It looked like nobody had never lived in here because a lot of our stuff was round the edges of the woods and in the woods. In fact, I've got some things out here in the woods now. A refrigerator, it's still out there in the woods. We didn't never get it out. It just floated away.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And they're still there in the woods, some of the things?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
A lot of it is. Some of it we didn't ever find.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Why did you decide to come back? Were you afraid that this area would flood again or anything like that?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, I didn't think it was going to do that then. We always got high water in here, like when it rained a lot up around Raleigh. My dad always said that's where, when it rained a lot, up around Raleigh, and floods that way, then it floods down here. So we have always been used to having high water occasionally. Not every year.
BETTY HOWES:
And not all over the farm.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Not all over the farm. Just in the road. And it might spread out in certain areas, but it would take it like a week. Like if the water come in like this week, and then maybe next week it would get on a stand, you know, it would be through rising on a stand still. Then, the next week, it would be gone. So we had, what you say, like about three weeks of it, then it would be gone.

Page 26
LEDA HARTMAN:
And so you weren't afraid to come back?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And how come?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Because we had been used to having high water. But I don'tߞ. We just had faith that it won't ever get that high.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Again. So how would you and people along your road, whoever lived closest by here, how would they deal with it before when you had a little bit of flooding?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We had tractors and they would depend on us. We would take them out.
LEDA HARTMAN:
The neighbors, and so on?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, we took them out.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And the tractors were high enough to deal with the high water?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Sometime they would get too high. We couldn't deal with it. It would come over it, come over the motor. The motor would be down under the water. But as long as we could kind of judge where the center of the road was, by the tractor being a diesel, it would run down there under the water.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Wow. And whoever was driving would sit up on top?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, they'd be sitting in the seat. At one time it got so high my husband had to put his feet up in the seat because the water come inside the tractor.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's scary.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, it was scary, but we got out.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So during the other times that something like this would happen, you figured

Page 27
out ways of getting around, more or less.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, we would take outߞ. We had our cars and trucks and we would drive them out before it got too deep. But this time, we didn't think it was going to do that much because the water wasn't in the roads that Thursday morning when we got up. It started coming in that day and we said well, you know, just a little water was going to come. It won't do that much. And that evening, the water's out there coming, and I said to my husband, I said, "Ain't you going to get a truck or something down here so we have something to go around on when we go out?" And that water had such a force to it, he drove the truck up on a flat body trailer he had. And my daughter and her husband, her husband got in the tractor with my husband. She was sitting on the truckߞin the truck that was on the trailer. And they was going to pull it out. And that water had such a force to it, he just, he pushed right on over in a ditch. But it happened he wasn't far from the house, so they got out and come back to the house.
LEDA HARTMAN:
They were lucky.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
They were lucky. He couldn't get the tractor out, so it had to sit there. So we had a two ton truck. He got that, he tried to get out with that. He got about halfway down the road there, where you get in the curve, and it cut off. So he lost that and that had to sit there. So those two things was in the road. And they tell me, when they come back in here, the water had covered them. You couldn't even see it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Do you think the community around your neighborhood and so on, and the whole community in Grifton, responded differently to this flood than in past times when

Page 28
there has been some flooding?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I think so.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How is that?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Because they had never had that much water before. I don't think they had had that water in Grifton.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I think that's true. And so, how was the response different? How did people react differently this time?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
To me, it wasn't that much of a difference, but they weren't used to it. I was used to it because we had always had high water, but not that much. And when they come in and rescued us that morning, I had called my daughter. We couldn't get out. And my son's telephone had gone dead from the flood, you know, from the storm. I couldn't call him. He had drove in that morning. He come in, but we couldn't do nothing because we couldn't put in no tobacco because there was too much water. He went. They tried to get some out of the field, but the tractor got stuck so they had to stop. We had a barn which we didn't finish filling. He was trying to get enough to go in the barn to finish filling the barn, but he couldn't get it. He lost the tractor, got stuck, so they had to stop. And he thought maybe by the next day he would be able to go back and finish. We had no idea that we were going to get that kind of water. I had cleaned my yards up and done my flowers. I had flowers out there, sitting out there around the trees. That evening my daughter said, "Mama, look at that water rushing in." That water was coming so fast, you could see itߞjust the same as somebody were pumping it.

Page 29
BETTY HOWES:
Where was that? Backߞ?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Down this road, that water was coming. Then it spreaded on into the yard. It was coming from that way, too.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So you were surrounded?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, we were surrounded. That evening that water come in so quick, it was getting deep. It had got waist deep in the yard when it got dark. That water come just that fast. So I had called my son and I told him about it. He said "Well Mama, if it's coming that fast," he said, "you all might need a ladder to get on top of the house." I still didn't think it was going to do that much. My husband went out to try to get a ladder, but he couldn't get it. The water was so strong, it almost throwed him down. So he come back to the house. And that night, the water had got up to my porch. It was that porch out there. Did you see how the water had got that deep? I called my daughter in Greenville. Something told me to call her that morning. It was about two o'clock. I kept getting up, going to the door, looking, seeing how high the water was getting. I said, "Gail," I said, "if my phone go dead and I can't call you no more," I said, "when it gets day, you get somebody in here to get us out." And, do you know, my phone went dead? After I got hung up, I picked it back up and I couldn't get another call. So when it got to day, I told my daughter and her husband, "I said you all get up and get ready because I'm looking for somebody to come and pick us up." It weren't too long before I heard something. It was a man on a jet ski. He come through and he went down. He was seeing who was in the

Page 30
houses as he went through. He was going to take them out on the jet ski. [interruption] He went down to pick up two men, and turned them over in the water, so he went back and got a boat and come back.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I guess.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
But he pulled us behind the jet ski on a boat.
BETTY HOWES:
Everybody who could was helping rescue people.
LEDA HARTMAN:
With everything they had?
BETTY HOWES:
With everything they had.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, we had a time getting out of here. So when they come pick me up, and he pulled a boat right up beside the porch, I had packed me a bag. He said, "Miss Dillahunt," he says, "I'm not taking anything but you all." I said, "You're not going to let me carry me a bag?" He said, "No." And I said, "You ain't going to let me carry nothing?" He said, "Well, I will let you carry one or two pieces." I had to go back in my room and take my stuff out and put it on the bed.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What did that feel like?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I cried all the way outߞall the way.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So what could you take with you?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I had a changing of clothes.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And that's it?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That was it.
BETTY HOWES:
Who was in the boat? You andߞ?

Page 31
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
My husband and Tracy and her husband.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So what was it like to come back? How did you get the money to put up your home now?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
This [trailer] belongs to some people in a hunting club. We weren't able to get one. I couldn't get a trailer from FEMA. I tried to get one from them. So I told my husband, I said, "Well, we got the boat barn." I said, "We'll come back and fix us up a place in the boat barn." I said, "We can stay in there." And so I went to this man's house that Sunday morning with my daughter. I talked to him and I told him if I could get somebody to help me to fix up a place in one of them barns out there, I said, "We could live in the barn." He said, "Miss Dillahunt, we can do better than that." He said, "You just wait a minute." He said, "Hold on." And he said, "I know one of the mens that's got a trailer house that's not using it." He got in touch with me. I give him the telephone number where I was and he told me that they was going to fix it up. They were going to put me some furniture in here. He said "We're going to let you use it as long as it takes." So he told me no longer than about two weeks ago. I told him I still hadn't got a house. I told him "I'm still waiting for some help." He said, "Well, don't worry about it." He said, "As long as you need to stay here," he said, "you stay here." So they painted it and fixed it up. Put refrigerator, stove, and that chair and this chair here, and the bed that's in that room and I had one in my room, that chair right there, the table. In fact, they putting about everything in there.

Page 32
LEDA HARTMAN:
And this was a hunting club?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Just from town?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, they hunt through in here.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Oh. And that's how you knew them? So where all do those people live? Are they just from around Grifton?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
They in different places.
LEDA HARTMAN:
From around Grifton pretty much?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, out from Grifton. And then someߞ. [interruption]
BETTY HOWES:
[unclear] tried to help, but run up against brick walls every way they go.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Everywhere, we have had it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Does it feel good to be back on this spot?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, it feels good to be back here.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Does it feel the same?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It don't feel the same.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What's the difference?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
In here I feel like I'm closed in. The only thing I see right now, is like right here. If I look out here, I see here. But when I walk by in the yard, then it feels like, it feels different. When I walk out in the yard, then it feels like it did before I had the flood. [interruption] She said, "We're going to build you a house," she said, "but you're going to have to hold on. Those are the words she told me. When I talked with her before, I said,

Page 33
"Are you sure you're going to help me?" She said, "Yes, we're going to help you." And I'm hoping she's going to help me.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That looks like the best bet right now, right?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Right.
BETTY HOWES:
Depends on how much funds they have.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Right.
BETTY HOWES:
And how many volunteers they have, also, to come work.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I told her that we have people that's in the hunting club said if they can get the foundation and get the house up to where somebody can help, they have people in there that like works on building houses, that have retired. In fact, a lot of them said that they would come and help. If they could get it up, they would come and help. They say, "Miss Dillahunt, you are getting a new house." "If they can get it up," she said, "We'll come in here. So we could get it, if she could help me to get it up. So a lot of the people in the hunting club said they would come in here. So I want to talk back to her, see if we can get started.
BETTY HOWES:
It's really requiring a lot of patience.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
A lot of it.
BETTY HOWES:
For everybody.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And not knowing, not knowing who it's going to be to help.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How do you get up in the morning and deal with it every time?

Page 34
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, you have to get up and deal with it.
BETTY HOWES:
Florence is so busy. She has so many things to do. She doesn't have time to think about that. She's just worried about getting it all done.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Sure is, yes. She's right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Well that's the last little bit I wanted to ask you about. If you can, I know that farming has changed a whole lot from the time when you were coming up.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Right.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I wanted you to tell me how it was before the flood came, just to make a living as a farmer, and how it is now.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It was rough at certain times because, you know, price support changes on the tobacco when you go to the warehouse. At one time, I believe that was in '85, all the farmers had to leave a certain percentage of their money to the warehouse that they needed to have paid the bill with. They kind of throwing them back, then it takes you a while to get caught back upߞto try to, you know, to keep going. But we struggled and made it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So things were getting harder?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, it was getting harder.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Than, say, twenty years ago, or forty years ago?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, maybe not that far back. But it got hard there at one time. And then when it gets hard, then it take you a while to get caught back up.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And how has it been now that you've continued farming after the flood?

Page 35
How's it been?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Last year weren't good at all. The year after we come, let's see, last year was 2000. We had that flood in '99, didn't we? It weren't good at all last year because a lot of our crops come up, like the soybean and stuff, had died. So we got those back there. So this year my husband went and he talked with the man that had some chicken houses. See when we had that flood, that flood took a lot of stuff out of the soil. He put manure from the chicken houses over the land, trying to get it built back up. They looking pretty good so far.
LEDA HARTMAN:
The plants [are] tobacco mostly?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
The soybeans and the corn.
LEDA HARTMAN:
The corn.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Looking better than it did last year.
LEDA HARTMAN:
But it might take a while for the land toߞ?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Got to build it back up. That water took a lot out of it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So it hasn't been so easy continuing on in the farming afterߞ.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, it ain't been easy. They have a lot of break downsߞthings breaking down. And we have had to do the tractors over again. We have got oh, this is the big thing, the tobacco company, in order for them to buy your tobacco, they won't buy it with the burners that's in the barns now. We got to replaceߞ.
BETTY HOWES:
You got to replace all those?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Thirty thousand dollars. We had to borrow it to replace burnersߞpart of

Page 36
them sitting on this porch right here. The other one is on the truck, under the shell. They won't buy the tobacco.
BETTY HOWES:
And they're no good, not even for salvage?
LEDA HARTMAN:
Because you had to convertߞ?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We had to convert. You heard about it, did you?
LEDA HARTMAN:
I did.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We had to convert. I said, "Lord," I said, "after all that happen to us, why did they come in and make usߞ. We had to buy new burners to go in some of the barns last year before we could get through curing the tobacco. They was ruined. We had to replace them. And I said, "Now they are making us replace them again, so how you going to make it?"
BETTY HOWES:
Farming's hard.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Hard. How you going to make it? We had to replace burners every time we go to cure [unclear] tobacco. That burner would go out because it stayed under the water so long. We had to replace them. Not the whole burner, but the motor. We had to buy the motor and put in there. And this time they made us replace the whole thing.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Right, so it's a different method of curing.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It's the same method, but they just want it cured with another type of burner.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Right. Now, are you selling on contract, or are you just selling it at auction?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We sell it to the warehouse. We not auction.
LEDA HARTMAN:
You're selling auction.

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FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
We didn't go with that. [unclear] , but in order for them to buy, it's got to be cured with those type of burners.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's right. Last question I have is, a lot of people would be slowing down and retiring at your age and your husband's age. At this point, do you feel like you still have enough juice left in there to keep going? Or you'd like to stop?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, I don't have enough juice. We got to try to keep going.
BETTY HOWES:
Well your husband's health is not good.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, it's not that good. And then he don't get that much social security.
BETTY HOWES:
Did he have a stroke after the flood?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Plummer got hit on the head in the woods. He was totally paralyzed. The doctor said his chances were one out of a hundred that he'd come back around, but he walks like somebody that had a stroke. On one of his hands, his fingers is more or less like straight, and he drags his feet and legs when he walks.
LEDA HARTMAN:
When did this happen?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That happened to him in the eighties.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Oh, I see.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
And then he had a heart attack last year.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Do you think that was related to the stress of the flood?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
What, the heart attack?
LEDA HARTMAN:
Yes.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, he was in the field, I guess worrying about the tobacco, the farming and

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everything. He had a light heart attack. He was in the field when he had it. We have had it rough.
LEDA HARTMAN:
These last few years.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Sure have.
LEDA HARTMAN:
How about your son?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, if it weren't for him, I don't believe we could keep going. I don't know what would become of us, if it weren't for him here with us. Keep everything going. Try to make a living.
BETTY HOWES:
You're getting your social security now.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Don't even get two hundred dollars.
BETTY HOWES:
Oh, for goodness sake.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
But see, I never worked under social security. All we done was farm.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's all you've done.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That's all we've done. I don't even get two hundred dollars, barely. That's how come we can't retire. Sure can't. It's rough.
LEDA HARTMAN:
What, what brings you comfort?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, each other. We got each other. We have the childrens. They try to make us happy, you know, Mother's Day, Father's Day, when they comeߞmy birthday and everything. They give us things. They mostly keep me up in my clothes. And like Father's Day coming up, when Plummer had his birthday in February, they give clothes. They give us a lot of stuff that we need.

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LEDA HARTMAN:
So they're taking care of you.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Well, they help. They help take care of us.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Yes. And what keeps you going?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, it keeps us going. You know, we got one another. We call and talk a lot and stay in touch. My daughter in Greensboro, she's always coming home. That kind of help keep us going. When they leave, we try to get straightened back out. After that, maybe a week, we look forward for them to come right back again. She won't be home this weekend. She'll be back home next weekend. Usually she comes some time about every other weekendߞevery two or three weeks.
LEDA HARTMAN:
It's good to have such a good family.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes. We try to be close together.
BETTY HOWES:
They raised some nice children.
END OF INTERVIEW