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NORFOLK WOMEN'S ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

JEAN E. FRIEDMAN, COORDINATOR
INTERVIEW 13

Experiences of an elite 68-year-old white Lutheran woman of Norfolk. Including sexual history and other information regarding sex roles, the 15-minuteinterview focuses almost exclusively on the 1930's.

Interviewer: Marilyn Melchor

Transcribed: 8 October 1984
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Interviewer: How old are you now?

Woman: Oh, 68.

Interviewer: How old were you when you were married? Now we're talking about the 1930's.

Woman: Oh.

Interviewer: We want to talk about the Depression years. This was your second marriage.

Woman: Yes. I was married twice.

Interviewer: That was your second marriage then? In the thirties?

Woman: Yeah. I guess it was. I can't think. The first time I was married in 1923. Right! That's right! And the second time I was married in 1932.

Interviewer: That's the year I wanted -- 1932. We'll talk about the second marriage then because I want the Depression years. Were you ever employed outside the home?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: Well good. What years were you employed? Do you remember?

Woman: Now that goes past 1932. That goes down.

Interviewer: It's been since the Depression that you were employed. We won't talk about that then because we're only concerned with the thirties. Did you graduate from high school?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: What did your father do in the 1930's?

Woman: Pepsi-cola.

Interviewer: And you mother?

Woman: Housewife.

Interviewer: Now, you just said you were married in 1932. What religious affiliation do you have?

Woman: Lutheran.

Interviewer: Where did you live in the 1930's? What part of Norfolk?

Woman: Colonial Place.

Interviewer: And your present location?

Woman: Hampton Boulevard.

Interviewer: What did you do about reading materials? Did you read a lot?

Woman: I did.

Interviewer: Mainly novels, magazines?

Woman: Everything.

Interviewer: OK. Did you go to movies a lot?

Woman: A lot.

Interviewer: How frequently?

Woman: Three times a week.

Interviewer: Wow. That's a lot.

Woman: Yeah. That's a lot.

Interviewer: What kind of clubs did you belong to?

Woman: None.

Interviewer: Any social organizations like a bridge club?

Woman: Yes, a bridge club.

Interviewer: Just that one? How often did it meet?

Woman: Once a week.

Interviewer: Did you belong to any civic organization like the League of Women Voters?

Woman: Kings Daughters.

Interviewer: I guess this applies here. Did you husband help you with the children?

Woman: Yes he did with the child.

Interviewer: With the child. One child. Did he help you with the housework?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: Did you have outside help with housework?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: How often?

Woman: Everyday. (Laughter)

Interviewer: Did you remember how much you paid for the maid?

Woman: Oh Lord. Back in the thirties, huh?

Interviewer: Mm-hmm.

Woman: I would say $15 a week.

Interviewer: And what was that for, a six-day week?

Woman: That was six-days, day and night. That was an in-maid. A big house.

Interviewer: Who budgeted the family money and how did you budget it?

Woman: Mr. B.D. Malcolm budgeted the family money

Interviewer: You lived on a budget?

Woman: Uh-huh.

Interviewer: Was there any conflict about this?

Woman: None.

Interviewer: Do you remember what your income was in 1930? Say you were married in 1932 - do you remember what your income was the first year you were married?

Woman: No, I don't. You mean for my husband?

Interviewer: Yes.

Woman: No.

Interviewer: If your income went up during the thirties--

Woman: It didn't.

Interviewer: OK. That changes that. Did it go down?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Did you have a car in the 1930's?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: Your very own or did you and your husband share one?

Woman: We shared one -- a Buick.

Interviewer: Have you ever been pregnant?

Woman: Oh yes.

Interviewer: How many times?

Woman: Twice.

Interviewer: Did you do anything to prevent pregnancy?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: Do you want to say what you did? What you used?

Woman: A diaphragm--that's what they called them.

Interviewer: Did it work?

Woman: Yes it worked.

Interviewer: Did you and your husband have any function about this?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Did you wish to have more children than you had?

Woman: No, No.

Interviewer: You only wanted one?

Woman: I only wanted one.

Interviewer: How about your husband? Did he agree with you on this?

Woman: He agreed.

Interviewer: During your dating years were you familiar with contraceptive techniques?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Did your mother or father encourage you to have a career?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Did they encourage you to get married?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Did either one of them give you advice about dating?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Did you go to church regularly?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: Weekly?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: Did you receive any instruction about sex from either parent?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Were you considered a tomboy when you were young?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: Was your father removed from the family by the fact that he traveled with his business or anything like that?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: How would you describe your relationship with your father?

Woman: Very good.

Interviewer: And your mother?

Woman: Very good.

Interviewer: Were you involved in any lobbying efforts as childcare or labor hours for children?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Did you feel that women ought to work?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: Now in the thirties, this is what we are talking about again. Did you feel then that most marriages were failures or successes?

Woman: Successes.

Interviewer: Did you vote regularly?

Woman: No-No.

Interviewer: You did not?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Do you now?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: What changed that?

Woman: Well, the years. As it went on, you got more interested in politics than you did when you were young. In younger life.

Interviewer: Did you have premarital intercourse?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Did you feel like that was the norm then? Like did most of your friends not have it?

Woman: They did not.

Interviewer: Did you feel it was immoral or you were raised to think you didn't do it?

Woman: I was raised to think it was wrong.

Interviewer: It was wrong. Would you describe a typical date? Where you went and what you did? Now this would be the early thirties.

Woman: Out to dinner and a show.

Interviewer: About what time would you get in you think?

Woman: Eleven o'clock.

Interviewer: Did you think it was okay for an engaged couple to have intercourse?

Woman: I did not think it was alright.

Interviewer: You didn't live together before you got married?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Have you ever had an abortion?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: Do you have any friends that had one?

Woman: No.

Interviewer: When did you first learn about menstruation?

Woman: When I was twelve.

Interviewer: Did you have any previous instruction before?

Woman: Yes.

Interviewer: From whom?

Woman: My mother.

Interviewer: Did you think then that abortion was a valid means of birth control?

Woman: Never thought about it then.

Interviewer: And now.

Woman: Well, I don't think its right to have abortions now.

Interviewer: Okay, you had one child in the thirties and a live-in maid. So, you had some leisure time.

Woman: I did.

Interviewer: What did you do with it?

Woman: I belonged to a bridge club and I just visited around. I went out with mother a lot. We were very close.

Interviewer: How about family vacations.

Woman: We took them together with mother and Dad as a rule.

Interviewer: And the child went to?

Woman: And the child went to!

Interviewer: Thank you very much.

Woman: Is that all? (Laughter).

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