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NORFOLK WOMEN'S ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

JEAN E. FRIEDMAN, COORDINATOR
INTERVIEW 5
(5A & 5B)

Life experience of a senior citizen from New York with focus on work history, sexual history, and sex-role orientation, especially as influenced by the economics of the Depression era. (Interview taken at YMCA).

Interviewer: Debbie Chuback-Wilson

Transcribed: 22 February 1984
ODU ARCHIVES


Interviewer: How old are you?

Senior Citizen: Oh, do I have to give you the exact dates. Just past sixty.

Interviewer: Just past sixty? Okay! How old were you when you were married?

Senior Citizen: I was seventeen. Yeah, my first time. Is it coming out all right? Do you have a way of telling? I mean am I registering in the right pitch?

Interviewer: Yes. Definitely. Okay? How old was your husband when you were married?

Senior Citizen: My first husband?

Interviewer: Yes.

Senior Citizen: Uh -- he's a couple of years older than I am.

Interviewer: Couple of years older? Okay. Were you employed outside the house ever?

Senior Citizen: Are you talking about the time when we were first married. Yes, I worked from the time, after school when I was going to school I worked. And of course, I quit school to get married. But I --

Interviewer: You quit high school then?

Senior Citizen: Yeah. I was in my eleventh year. And uh -- that was just this side of Depression.

Interviewer: Well, just slightly past the Depression?

Senior Citizen: Well see, the Depression started in 1929 see and I got married just before and in October was when the Depression started.

Interviewer: When was the first, well let's see.

Senior Citizen: Now, I've always had to work. Uh -- see, I come, my mother was a widow when I was twelve years old and we were put in a foster home: the three girls -- the oldest. And my mother kept the three youngest. And when you're in a foster home you have to earn your keep, so to speak. And it wasn't with the contingency of adopting you, it was simply called a foster home while you were living with them and you had to go to school and when you came home you had your duties to perform and which you would do ordinarily anyway if you were at home. It's different if you're living with your mother and then living with a foster parent., you know. It's not the same thing, you know. Though, my foster parent was a lovely woman. We got along fairly well, generally speaking. But after all I was a troubled child. You see, I was left-handed and my father was very strict on a left-handed child. He felt it was considered freakish. So, as a result of my being left-handed I -- and then my father was killed and the religious instructions we were getting. Well, of course I don't believe it now, you know. But I had a feeling my father was watching over me and doing contrary to what he was telling me not to do, you know. I became kind of a mixed up kid.

Interviewer: Yes. You certainly could. How old were you when you first started working?

Senior Citizen: About fourteen.

Interviewer: About fourteen?

Senior Citizen: After school.

Interviewer: After school. How old were you when your father died and were put into school?

Senior Citizen: Twelve. Twelve. Yeah.

Interviewer: So, you were home?

Senior Citizen: No, I was home up until I was twelve years old and then I was put in a foster home. Yeah. But then I had to work even when I was in a foster home, you know.

Interviewer: About what was the salary? Can you remember?

Senior Citizen: Oh no. It was so, oh my dear are you kidding? It was so small. I think if I got a dollar and a half a week I was getting a lot of money.

Interviewer: And that was working after school maybe twenty hours?

Senior Citizen: Uh-- well, you know usually it was right after school to past suppertime. Uh, but um, and then on Saturdays.

Interviewer: Wow! What a switch.

Senior Citizen: Yeah.

Interviewer: When did you start working full-time?

Senior Citizen: Well, uh, no, before I quit school, see, I quit school before I got married. I was sixteen. I had to because I needed things that I needed and you know when you're a girl sixteen, you want to look nice, to look like another girl of sixteen. And especially coming from a family situation like mine. So, anyway, uh, I worked for General Motors at that time 'cause I come from Detroit, Michigan. And it was a temporary job and I worked, I think about four months and then--

Interviewer: This is part-time or full-time?

Senior Citizen: No. Full-time.

Interviewer: Can you remember what you got as a salary?

Senior Citizen: No. I really don't. But it wasn't terribly much. I didn't get, you know, at that period the girls didn't get much salary. I'm trying to remember that after I got married and lived in New York and I was seventeen I had to get a job. And I worked for different advertising agencies, all kinds of small jobs. I worked temporary, mostly temporary work. (Voice calling over a loudspeaker).

Interviewer: Is that you?

Senior Citizen: No. Alice Sawyer.

Interviewer: Mmm.

Interviewer: Do you know how it compared with men's salaries if they had the same jobs?

Senior Citizen: I'm trying to think--like, when my husband was working he was… Naturally, he wanted a larger salary because he felt he was competent and wanted more money. Uh, I think if he got $45, he got a lot of money at that time. I figure I got about $25.

Interviewer: Oh my!

Senior Citizen: Yeah. I'm sure I got about $25. Yeah.

Interviewer: What type of high school did you go to? Was it vocational or technical?

Senior Citizen: No. I took a general course. The eleventh year I was taking a business course, you know.

Interviewer: Did you ever have any education beyond high school?

Senior Citizen: Other than my own efforts? Yeah, Well, I took typing on my own. Yes. And I took shorthand, but I'm left-handed and uh, the tape of shorthand I was taking was impeding my speed so it was suggested that I do not take it because it would make me nervous you see, I turn -- look this way -- there is too much pressure on this here. And if you write this way it's freer.

Interviewer: It means you can flow. How long were you single after you left high-school?

Senior Citizen: Well. I was sixteen. The following year I was married, 17. One of the reasons I got married was because I don't know -- something must have been brewing and things were getting mighty tight, you know. Businesses were getting very tight. They weren't employing as freely. Although, when I came to New York I had no problem getting a job. I was very thin and slim and eager and you know, anxious to please. So, evidently whatever personality I displayed was very exceptable to the employer.

Interviewer: What did your mother do when you were still at home?

Senior Citizen: Oh No! My mother just took care of the children.

Interviewer: Oh, she didn't work outside the home?

Senior Citizen: Well, she did. She did housework naturally because she had to work early and then come home early enough to tend to the children, you see. And the older children took care of the younger children. But after the death of my father, well, then she had to home to take care of the three little ones.

Interviewer: Did she ever take in like laundry or ironing?

Senior Citizen: Oh No. My Lord! Six of us, that was plenty, without taking anymore.

Interviewer: Six people. In my family, I've just got my brother and myself. So, anything more than three kids just seems huge, you know.

Senior Citizen: Yeah, I can understand that. It's nice in a way. It's nice now. You know, because fortunately, except for one sister who died, we're all living and we have a very good relationship. So, it's nice to keep in touch. And we're all scattered. East, West, and South.

Interviewer: That's nice. No matter where you go you'll run into somebody.

Senior Citizen: Yeah.

Interviewer: What religious affiliation did you have when you were young?

Senior Citizen: Well, I was born a Catholic but I never believed it. Even when I was a little child. There was something about it that upset me greatly. I didn't like the whole atmosphere and it was the despair of my mother. My mother is really a pious woman. You know - good, dear person. She thought she was doing the right thing, but --

Interviewer: What church do you belong to? Do you belong to a church now?

Senior Citizen: I am now one of Jehovah's witnesses.

Interviewer: That's quite a switch.

Senior Citizen: It's no switch. I inquired in many religions while I was growing up. I went to every church that was conceived, except holy rollers. (Laughter) And that scared me. And even when I was a little child I remember passing a place where we lived and the noise and all the people we're doing was frightening me. And I couldn't see what they were achieving in the way of worship. To me, true worship is inquiring and studying, you know.

Interviewer: Not having a party type.

Senior Citizen: Well it wasn't a party.

Interviewer: Well, so noisy!

Senior Citizen: Well, to them. I don't understand truly. I'm not even going to enlarge on it because I don't understand it.

Interviewer: Where were your grandparents or parents from? What country?

Senior Citizen: My father was Austrian and my mother was German-Polish. At the time she was corning up, she almost was born in American but she couldn't make it. The rest of her family was born in American. At the time, Germany possessed this part of Poland, so it was German and Polish because there was German and Polish in the family and my father was from Austria.

Interviewer: Oh! My grandmother was from Hungary.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. How about that?

Interviewer: Where did you live in the 1930's?

Senior Citizen: Well, I lived in New York

Interviewer: And before that you were in Detroit?

Senior Citizen: Up until 1929. Yes.

Interviewer: And you live here in Norfolk, right now?

Senior Citizen: Yeah, I, well see, after I was divorced I was unmarried for thirteen years. I got divorced in '36.

Interviewer: From you first husband?

Senior Citizen: Yes! Uh-huh. I got married in '48.

Interviewer: Are you still married right now?

Senior Citizen: Oh, yeah. Uh-huh. I have a son by my second marriage. I have three children.

Interviewer: Oh, that's nice!

Senior Citizen: Mmm-hmm.

Interviewer: What kind of reading matter did you read back say, in 1930? Do you remember if there were a lot of fictions or a lot of novels?

Senior Citizen: Well, I read a lot of magazines. The popular magazines of that time was "Liberty," "Collier's," and "The Women's Home Companion," and "Ladies Home Journal." Uh -- magazines and the fashion magazines. There's always been "Vogue."

Interviewer: You didn't read books?

Senior Citizen: Yes. I read after I had my books. I read books in school naturally. But I read books when I had my daughter because I nursed my children and so rather than just sit there and not do anything but hold a baby I would read a book.

Interviewer: That's really good, yeah. Doing two things at one time. What kind of books or magazines do you read now? The same?

Senior Citizen: The ones I put -- "McCall's."

Interviewer: The same general stuff. Oh, well.

Senior Citizen: "McCalls." All the popular ones now. I have even looked in the "Playboy" and "Penthouse" and all those, of course. Needless to say they have no appeal to me.

Interviewer: Some of the stories are good but most of it is just sex.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. Articles.

Interviewer: They have good writers.

Senior Citizen: That's right! That's right.

Interviewer: Uhh. Can you remember any of the movies you went to back in the thirties that you can remember now?

Senior Citizen: Oh, yeah. Are you kidding? "Grapes of Wrath." My dear! That was later though. That came out later, but I remember things in it from the newspaper. My papers by the way were "The New York Times" and the "Herald Tribune," at that time. And there was another paper, but of course they've all gone by the wayside. Then of course, "The Daily Mirror," I pick it up occasionally and "The Daily News"--N.Y. Daily News. Umm -- you asked me about the movies?

Interviewer: Yeah. Can you remember any particular ones you really enjoyed?

Senior Citizen: Now I know. During the Depression there was "Tobacco Road." My husband went to see it. My first husband and he didn't want me to see it.

Interviewer: Why? I never -- I haven't seen the movie and I haven't read the book of course.

Senior Citizen: Well, I guess they started to use language that was not considered proper and uh - in a way I was a sheltered girl and the kind of life that was depicted on the stage, he didn't think it was fitting for me to see. (Laughter). I saw the movie.

Interviewer: It was fit for him to see.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's right.

Interviewer: That's strange.

Senior Citizen: Yeah.

Interviewer: Umm -- What kind of clubs or social gatherings did you go to?

Senior Citizen: None. No. No. Well, I'll tell you. My first husband was very active in the Republican Party and he participated in things like that. But when President Roosevelt was running, I think the first time. No, that's right. Because it was in '32. He wanted me - Mrs. Roosevelt was coming to a place not to far from where we lived. So, he wanted me to meet her. And I did. And she was absolutely a lovely, most charming person that one could ever meet. Gracious. And she made you feel like she had known you which is a marvelous, marvelous quality in a person. I only said, "How, do you do? I'm so glad I had this opportunity to meet you", and she said, I'm so glad you are here With -- you know -- and consider my husband if your going to vote. By the way, that was the first time and last time I voted. Of course, I voted Hoover.

Interviewer: You didn't vote for him (FDR)?

Senior Citizen: MMm-hmm!

Interviewer: It almost isn't worth voting. Shouldn't say that. You weren't involved in any civic activities?

Senior Citizen: No. I was. I was. At that time after my little girl came I became a homemaker and it was a struggle because money was not easy to get and it was just managing to look respectable and not look shabby. And my husband happens to be the type of a man who prided in the fact you had to look super special. Of course, he was the one who had to face the world and I was in the home in the background. So, I didn't have the access other than reading and looking at pictures in magazines where I would make remarks to him and say, "Don't you think it's time that I got some wardrobe too." And one time his conscience whipped him so that he finally decided that maybe I should get a wardrobe and he had a taste of what it was like taking care of -- by that time I had another child -- a little boy. What it was like to take care of a baby and a little girl and he couldn't wait till I got home to take over because and for about a month he appreciated what I had to do, you know. Shop, tend to the babies and take them outdoors, so they get their fresh air and sunshine and run and play with them and get home in time to feed them and then go shopping and get his cleanings and things like that, you know.

Interviewer: Did you have a job for awhile or when you were shopping did he stay home with the children?

Senior Citizen: Oh, I didn't work then.

Interviewer: Oh, so he was home when you were trying to get -

Senior Citizen: This was the one event, the one day while I went shopping for myself to get a wardrobe. You see, he got a taste of what it was like.

Interviewer: You mean that was the only time he really took care of the children or the house?

Senior Citizen: Uh-huh!

Interviewer: Oh my!

Senior Citizen: Oh yeah!

Interviewer: What did you do with your, like, leisure time activities?

Senior Citizen: Are you kidding? In the first place he was an extremely ambitious man. And he had no time for home and children and wife. So, which is what happened eventually in resulting in our getting a divorce. And I was having to tend. And his concept was that's what a woman's place was, tend to the children, see that their kept scrupulously clean and no, nothing tainted about them. No smell, no nothing. Positively antiseptic. And so it was. Wash diapers, feed them, clean them, all the time, from morning tonight.

Interviewer: What kind of school did he go to? Did he finish high school?

Senior Citizen: He went to military academy when he was a little boy and he went to a prep school. Oh, he had high lofty ideals. See, he kind of married someone below his station, but I think now I'm the winner, you know.

Interviewer: It sounds like it. So, you didn't have much leisure time really.

Senior Citizen: No. You see, I'll tell you. I'll tell you though. The one thing in the era that I was coming up in, if you came from a family that was poor your -- the objective was work, period, and get home and do your chores. Well, it's not too different from now because my daughter has to work and come home and do chores and takes care of her children, sees that they get their meal and goes to bed. The same thing tomorrow and the next day. But when you come from the area in which I lived -- people of modest income living. So, now we had art instilled in us and music. I have a love of music, you know. I love the classical and opera and all that. But that was instilled when I was coming up because my father loved music, you see. And in fact, he hoped I would become a musician, but you see, the obstacle of being left-handed upset him greatly.

Interviewer: Did you ever go to any concerts while you were married? A museum browser?

Senior Citizen: Yes. When we were first -- I did when my children were coming up. We lived in a museum. Yes, we lived in a museum.

Interviewer: Did your husband go with you?

Senior Citizen: In the beginning when we were first married. Uh-Huh. We went to the park they had a concert in the summertime. That was lovely. And we've been to the museum a few times, but no, you see, when we were first married I was working and he was going to college. He went to Columbia. I mean university. No, he took special courses in advertising and - uh -- but you see, really there wasn't much time and when he'd come home from school, he still had to study. So, I had to be quiet, you see.

Interviewer: Did you ever take any vacations?

Senior Citizen: No my dea. I don't remember one vacation in all the years I was married to him. For that matter, well the only vacation I have ever now is the time when I just have a, my husband, works for the -- my present husband works for the railroad. Well, when we used to have a pass, excess to pass, that's the only time I was able to see my family.

Interviewer: Oh Geez.

Senior Citizen: You know --

Interviewer: Your first husband worked in the advertising field?

Senior Citizen: Yeah. Mm-hmph.

Interviewer: Okay! Now this is about a single woman during the thirties. You were married --

Senior Citizen: '29.

Interviewer: You said 1929. Well, it would be the late 20's then. Did you feel that your chances were better or worse because you were a woman? Did you feel that men got better jobs easier?

Senior Citizen: I wasn't that aware as I am now. I mean I'm up on those things and I know we did not get the -- to tell you the truth we weren't educated along those lines. You know, you took a business course and if you didn't get married you went to some office an and you waited and you worked your time out till you got married. That was the scheme of things.

Interviewer: Then stop and never go back to work.

Senior Citizen: Unless the girl felt so frustrated or and had ambitions to pursue. In my case, no, it wasn't to long till I had my children so, I could not continue in my pursuit in education. As a matter of fact, when things were so tough financially I had a friend who worked for a lawyer, and she said, Alice, if your not going to be offended and earn a few dollars, would you like to clean my apartment. And then you could have your baby with you. And I said, no, why should I, that's ridiculous. Because I needed money. So, I cleaned her apartment and I had my baby with me you see.

Interviewer: How long were you married before you had your first child?

Senior Citizen: I was married from '29 to'36.

Interviewer: When your children finally got into school, you had some leisure time. Did you ever do anything?

Senior Citizen: Oh, I'll tell you. It wasn't so much leisure as you'll think. Because you see, I didn't have equipment I had to scrub, I had to rub all the clothes that I washed: the sheets and things for each of the children and myself. I had to do by hand and that was a major production if it was, usually wash day was on Monday. So, Monday was strictly you know, and it was just like that little thing--Monday, wash day, Tuesday, iron day and Wednesday, shopping and all that. So, it was a lot of ironing and starching. So, they would stay clean and crisp looking, so you didn't have to do scrubbing and rubbing more, you know. No, other than just interested in their homework and keeping up and having friends dropping in, in the afternoon, you know, and have a cup of tea or something and gab a little. And when they first started school, I lived near a park. So, when the children came home we'd go to the park and play awhile. Then they'd come into the house and there would be time to get dinner started. And then she'd do her little homework whatever she had to do, then she'd go to bed. Then, of course, you see I was sole for their responsibility. I couldn't go anywhere. I had no money, nothing for babysitting.

Interviewer: Did your husband go out with the boys?

Senior Citizen: No. I told you he was too ambitious.

Interviewer: Oh, that's right. He just had to get ahead.

Senior Citizen: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you ever feel when you were working, resentment from other workers, male or female?

Senior Citizen: Only. The only time. I worked for an advertising agency myself, before my children came. And I was so green, so eager to please and it wasn't till much later that they delegated a job for me that was so unpleasant for everybody else. And I resented it, but I had no way of expressing it. And you see I was too anxious to keep my job.

Interviewer: What was your job?

Senior Citizen: You see, in this agency, they would serve coffee to the people that would come to wait for the executives to see them and you see, I have to make fresh coffee and serve some king of refreshment and I had to be very gracious, plus my regular job. So - uh -- and then you see, whatever typing I had to do that had to get out that day in time for me to catch the boss to sign the paper, for the thing to be mailed and you see, at first, I thought oh, isn't this nice and how nice and what a lovely thing to do. I didn't know you see. My capacity was such that I could accomplish just so much then I would get panicky. Because I wasn't doing what my regular job was but you see, when a person would come in the office you would say, May I help you? and What would you like, coffee or tea? You know, and then you'd go get it for them. And then you had all those cups and saucers to wash after.

Interviewer: We're you pressured, from well, did you see your mother after you were in the foster home?

Senior Citizen: Not for years. I got to see my mother from time to time but, uh, not like I would like to have seen her, you know.

Interviewer: Were you pressured by your foster parents to remain single?

Senior Citizen: No. No. Not at all. My dear no.

Interviewer: Did they pressure you the other way, to find a good man?

Senior Citizen: No. Nothing. In fact, I think -- my foster mother's name was Mrs. Montgomery. I think she was kind of shocked because I was quite artistic and I thought I would like to be, when I was young, a decorator, interior decorator, or something in the art line and I figured if you got involved in marriage, that was my thinking because I was so young, you couldn't be married and do that too, you see. That was the way I thought. And, so, when I got married, so young, and see, I didn't think I'd get married until I was way past 25.

Interviewer: That's old?

Senior Citizen: So, when umm, when I told Mrs. Montgomery I was going to get married, she was floored, you know. But I tell you, at that period when I decided to get married, I was so extremely unhappy about things the way they were going. I'll tell you, when you ere a slim person like I was, no shape and uh - no one teaching me the finer arts of being womanly and I grew up like a topsy if you knew what I mean and I --

Interviewer: Didn't Mrs. Montgomery try to help you?

Senior Citizen: No. She just wanted me to be a clean wholesome girl. (Laughter) You know, just a wholesome girl and no faldy-rall about me. Comb your hair, keep your hair clean and have starched clothes, just crisp looking but you know nothing, feminine, nothing dainty you know, frilly, uh-huh.

Interviewer: How long did you know your husband before you married him?

Senior Citizen: Uh -- well, about six months.

Interviewer: Did you date an awful lot before you were married?

Senior Citizen: Well, not, no, no, no that was a terrible mistake.

Interviewer: Was he 'the first one you dated?

Senior Citizen: Just the boys I would talk in school, but not to go out with. That's right. He was and then of course, I corresponded with him for a year. See, I met him when I was sixteen and I corresponded with him. Then, like I say, when I got, when my last job was going to fold up and I was very unhappy and I wrote him. So, he in turn wrote to me, Well how would you like to come to New York? And of course, I told my family and they said, what's his motive and I said does there have to be a motive, you know. I said, maybe I can get a better job there. Anyway, he proposed marriage and that's how it worked out.

Interviewer: Yeah! After you were married did you have any single friends or were most of your friends or were most of your friends other married people?

Senior Citizen: No. I had from one of my jobs that I met a girl and she is still my friend all these years. She was single then for years. She didn't get married until I think she was in her thirties.

Interviewer: Then she was still working?

Senior Citizen: She's always worked all her life.

Interviewer: Did you ever envy her when you were married?

Senior Citizen: No, she envied me. She envied me. She was taller than I was. 5' 7½". At the time, of course, slim, and she was taller and I thought she was blonde. She was rather striking but she happened to think my looks appealed to her more.

Interviewer: The grass is always greener.

Senior Citizen: And she would watch me and what I was doing and my attitudes and what I was saying and she used me as an example which I was amazed and I told her. Later on, she told me how she felt and of course, you know after I got my daughter she thought that was a marvelous accomplishment and loved my little girl and got lovely gifts for her you know.

Interviewer: What sort of image of the city woman did you draw from the magazines, radio and movies?

Senior Citizen: Then?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Senior Citizen: I had no particular im -- Oh yes! Wait a minute! From the movies, you asked me earlier about the movies, what kind of movies I went to see. Well, there was a lot of that jazz age thing and there was the movies, had a lot of moral, stories with a moral, and like Joan Crawford, I admired her, I thought she was fascinating. And there was a movie that I saw where she was, you know, playing the role of a , well, not just a outright prostitute but a --

Interviewer: Vamp?

Senior Citizen: Yeah, vamp. Yeah. Yeah right. Well, I thought I wouldn't like to be that type of person. You know. It didn't have that type of appeal to me. There was nothing that's ruckus and loud that had an appeal to me.

Interviewer: Did you tend to think of a career woman as more masculine than other women, women that perhaps got married, but kept their jobs or who didn't get married and just had a career. Did you think they were more masculine or did you think they---

Senior Citizen: No. I just figured that if a woman had a job she just had to work for a reason. The only person that I remember that was strange to me was when I was 18 then and I worked for the American Foundation for the Blind. And of course, at that time I was being employed for the jobs they didn't, on there (the application) was something and that did get me. It's just coming to me and that was they preferred a single woman to a married woman.

Interviewer: Why? Did you know?

Senior Citizen: No. I never knew. I just accepted. So, I had to go as Miss.

Interviewer: Did you wear you wedding ring or take if off?

Senior Citizen: No. Yes, of course I took if off. So, that part bothered me. And I would ask my husband, I'd say, "Why do you suppose they -- " and he would say, " well, I guess they have their reasons." And I said, well that's kind of silly don't you think. And he wouldn't, sometimes he'd get annoyed with me you know, because I wanted to have a discussion and like I said, he was to busy to have talks with me. So, we wouldn't dwell on that subject but it did bother me. But working for this blind, American Association for the Blind, there was one woman there who fired me because she said I misrepresented myself because I was hired as Miss and I was a Mrs. And where I got the gumption to tell her off I'll never know because I said, 'you hateful woman, you know what I think, I think your jealous."

Interviewer: She wasn't married?

Senior Citizen: No. And I said besides I don't understand how anyone could marry you. I really told her off. And I said, I haven't done anything other than the fact that you found out that I was married. Well, what happened was in the employ (personnel office), there was a girl who worked there, she was blind, who knew my husband's aunt, and somehow she would say we have a new girl working there and she's you know, very sweet and blah, blah, blah. Whatever they said and that girl happened to be me and they found out through her. Well, she's married!

Interviewer: And that's the only reason why they fired you?

Senior Citizen: Oh Yeah!

Interviewer: Oh my God!

Senior Citizen: Yeah. I think I better turn this over.

Start of side 2-5A same interview.

Senior Citizen: How do you feel over there?

Interviewer: What I'd give to be going someplace like that?

Senior Citizen: Well, don't wait to your old. I mean see it's not the same.

Interviewer: Yeah. My husband and I do, do do some things. Like, we should be saving money but we go ahead and do things because we are young and we want to do it while we're young so we can enjoy it more than "my feet are so sore" when you get older. You know?

Senior Citizen: That's right and that's what happens to me now. You see, I want to go to places and I can't because I happen to have arthritis and it bothers me terribly. And I don't feel old. Do you understand?

Interviewer: You don't look old. You don't look in your sixties.

Senior Citizen: Yeah, well, just sixty.

Interviewer: Well, you don't look like it.

Senior Citizen: Yeah, I know. My daughter said if I would take some of this excess baggage right here that I would look so much better. And I wanted so much to lose a lot of weight for my son's wedding next month but --

Interviewer: It seems the harder you wanted to take it off the harder it is.

Senior Citizen: That's right! That's right!

Interviewer: What was your definition or did you have a definition of feminine in the 1930's? What did you -- you said, you wanted to wear like, frilly clothes. What did you --

Senior Citizen: No. I am a very tailored person. Except in some dresses, which is now back in style with the capelet sleeves, you know, and the prints. I always loved the flowery prints which are coming in fashion now. Which is at the height now with the things I see in the store. But you know when I look, of course, today's clothes are much easier to take care of because you see, you don't have that ironing to do with the pegged sleeves. But, when I see them, it doesn't appeal to me because I knew what a job it was to iron and I say aren't they silly. Then I think to myself, no, because there made of the polyester material and they dunk it and there it is. But to me OK -- it was such a chore with the puffed sleeves you know. Oh, but you see since I had the artistic inclination natually I knew enough about the colors because evidently the fact that I was encouraged to become a model because I had a model's figure. You see, I had no bosom.

Interviewer: Who encouraged you?

Senior Citizen: Oh, several people.

Interviewer: When you were in the advertising business?

Senior Citizen: Yeah. Mostly women not men. They'd say you know, you've got a figure just for clothes and you ought to be a model, "cause your skinny enough to be a model, you know. But when I saw the pictures of the models, let's fact it, I didn't think I had the face. But you see, my sister was a model herself but she had exquisite hands. So, she modeled hands and she had beautiful feet and she modeled feet, you know. (Laughter)

Interviewer: The rest of her they didn't care about?

Senior Citizen: No. Uh-uh. Because she was skinny too.

Interviewer: Was there anything that you considered not feminine behavior or especially feminine behavior in the 1930's like -- did you think mannerisms and the way you moved -- did you think anything was especially feminine or boyish? If somebody walked with long strides or --

Senior Citizen: Oh, that was later, that was later. Because when I used to take my children to the park, I would be so amused watching people bringing their animals. And I would just sit there utterly fascinated when it would be a young girl walking with an Irish setter and its long gait and its tail waving in the breeze and long ears flapping and the girl would just look to me like an Irish setter and then when I'd see a little Pekingese, I'd see a person looking like a Pekingese. And when I saw a man with a bulldog, so help me, the man looked like he was a bulldog, sort of squashed in face. Oh, it was so fascinating. One of the reasons I enjoyed going to the park was just seeing people. And you see in the city, people had dogs, and they had all kinds of dogs, as you can see by what I'm telling you. And so, now, one time, I kind of dissected myself and I pictured myself as like a gazelle, you know, leaping, because I have such long legs and long arms and I had rather, that's what hurts me now, to think. I had such long stride and when I'd run in the park and people would look at me, you know. Anymore now, I just have sort of a shuffle. If I feel good then, I can pick up my feet sometimes.

Interviewer: Sometimes I feel like crawling.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. But no I'll tell you, since I've even gotten elder and I've met girls and young women who are extremely feminine and very womanly women. I'll tell you, I think since I've been so unhappy in our marriage the first time there is some kind of bitterness that seeps into you that your not even aware of it truly, until you make contact with the opposite sex, that detects that you are a cold potato… Which is what I was -- a cold potato. 'Cause I wasn't about to get involved especially since I had the responsibility of my two children and I had scruples and morals and I didn't feel like I wanted to. And that was so ingrained in me, to me, that was not that important to me even though I craved companionship. I craved to meet someone that would listen to what I had to say but it just didn't work out so I just was a frustrated person with responsibilities, you know. Until I met my second husband who was involved in Christian work, which I finally found that it was to my liking what I was doing and he seemed to. But that does not mean I'm happy even now. Because he has his frustration and I have my frustrations. And you see, I married a bachelor, which was stacked against me, with two children.

Interviewer: Whose idea was the divorce, was it yours or was it your husband?

Senior Citizen: No. It was his. He met somebody he wanted. So, but I got the divorce you see, because there would be no stigma.

Interviewer: Do you geel that a college degree was a hinderance to getting a job back when you were working?

Senior Citizen: Oh, oh no my dear. In fact, when I was looking for work at the time (my children were Semi-grown), when I was tying to get a job at Macys in New York, they wanted a college girl and I thought they must be kidding, what for, salesclerking? All you have to do is be human and friendly and learn the merchandise. What did they want a college girl for? You know. To me, later on, years later when I went to New York I had to laugh. And actually I went in that store and I laughed and I said, isn't this a riot. Isn't this a riot. Because the type of people that they had employed was to me certainly not when I was asking for employment and I considered myself capable because I liked the public and I liked to serve. I liked to please. Because later on I did get a job when the children were much older.

Interviewer: What did you do?

Senior Citizen: Saleswork. In a very nice department store.

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

Senior Citizen: No. No. No. There was no thought of that, work was work. You didn't think about it.

Interviewer: It was just the money coming in.

Senior Citizen: That's right!

Interviewer: Did your foster mother give you any advice about dating, did an older friend like older aunt or anything like that?

Senior Citizen: She sensed that I was a rather withdrawn person in that respect and she didn't encourage me or discourage me. She didn't say, Alice you know you should have some boyfriends, nothing like that.

Interviewer: She left it up to you?

Senior Citizen: Uh-huh.

Interviewer: Were you encouraged to read?

Senior Citizen: Well, there was no time. Not at that period of my life.

Interviewer: Did you attend church regularly? You said you went to different churches?

Senior Citizen: Oh yeah. At the time when I was with my foster parents I went to the church. Yes. Uh-huh.

Interviewer: Which church was this, was this Roman Catholic?

Senior Citizen: No. I think it was either Baptist or Methodist. I don't remember now.

Interviewer: Were you a tomboy at all? Did you like to do boyish things?

Senior Citizen: Only before I got married. When I was in school I was quite athletic. They had meets and that was an annual thing every year and the different city schools would compete. And I had long legs and I would do the hurdles and the running jump, you know. And I just missed it by a fraction. So, if that's tomboy, that's the extent of my tomboy, you know. But not after you know. I wasn't much for football and stuff like that.

Interviewer: Would you say that your mother preferred the domestic life? Well, this will be your foster mother. How many other children did she have?

Senior Citizen: She had two.

Interviewer: Do you think she would have preferred to work or do you think she preferred staying at home with her children?

Senior Citizen: Your talking about my foster mother?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Senior Citizen: Well, she worked before she had her children. She married late in life.

Interviewer: What did she do?

Senior Citizen: She was a businesswoman.

Interviewer: Would you describe your relationship with your mother or with your foster mother as close?

Senior Citizen: Uh -- We had a fairly good bond. I don't know how to explain it to you dear. I really don't. See, I craved affection and one was not affectionate with me other than just like if I was gone for a long time. I'd get a goodbye kiss or hello kiss, you know, seeing you then when you left. I'm extremely affectionate now and as my children were growing up. In fact, my children have told me that people have said of them that they have never seen anyone as affectionate as they are. But you see, sometimes it's a hindrance because they crave it and some people that you meet they are, just are -- In fact, I have a very dear friend now, who through my affection for her , she's just getting over some kind of a hang-up that she must have had. She said, I'm the first person whose ever made her over. She's married and has four -- uh, lets see, Faith, Marion, yeah, four children. What's the matter with me? And she said when they were little, when they were babies, she fondled them and was affectionate but when they got to a size when they could go on their own, toddle around, she didn't mess with them. And I said, Oh, I can't imagine how you could and I guess her relationship with her husband wasn't that affectionate either. It was my liking her and teaching here and kissing her on her cheek & being that friendly with her that she evidently likes it. And when she had a cold she said, Oh, I don't want you to get a cold from me, so, I wouldn't kiss her. She would look forward to my kissing her on the cheek.

Interviewer: I could probably count the times my father like, hugged me, instead of my hugging him. I know what you mean. It's very difficult.

Senior Citizen: And see I didn't get that.

Interviewer: Where did you get it from?

Senior Citizen: I don't know. I don't know if it was an influence from seeing people I admired and saying I'd like to be like that and something crossed my mind. I don't know if it's inborn in me. I really have not analyzed it sufficiently to know other than the fact, unless it was because the man I was married to was not affectionate either. No. Marriage to him was when it was time to have intercourse that was it. Uh -- then you don't discuss it, you don't talk about it.

Interviewer: It was just like, for his benefit and not for yours.

Senior Citizen: Oh yes definitely, definitely. It must be something that stems part of it from there. The funny thing is when he was courting me he was affectionate. I mean he was very gentle and tender and when we first used to go out why he asked permission to kiss me. Which I thought was, you know, bad. I didn't know what to say. You know, if I tell him yes, maybe he'll think I'm bold. If I tell him no, then he'll think, oh my! So, I was in a dilemna.

Interviewer: Oh yes, you would be. I remember the first time when I started going out once. I wanted the guy to kiss me but I thought maybe if I let him kiss me, maybe he'll try something else and I didn't want that. But I wanted him to kiss me because I liked him and I wanted him to like me. What do I do?

Senior Citizen: Yeah! Yeah!

Interviewer: You shake hands at the door and you go inside thinking he didn't kiss me!

Senior Citizen: Yeah, Yeah, That's right!

Interviewer: It's funny but things like that are ageless.

Senior Citizen: Yeah, that's right. I think today, let's fact it, they're a little bolder. No, the girl will just either grab him, kiss him and say goodnight or might be even a longer thing and judging from the movies and the TV things with all that kind of kissing which I don not appreciate, I really don't. Bring close up pictures for daytime and little kids see that.

Interviewer: They should see it from their parents and not from T.V.

Senior Citizen; Yeah. Yeah. That type of kissing to me is bedroom kissing. It's not --

Interviewer: Public?

Senior Citizen: Yeah. I'm sorry that's the old-fashioned part of me.

Interviewer: Kissing, I think depends on how involved though you get and hugging it just like is one thing but when they start groping, I just sort of get uncomfortable.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. Yeah. Right!

Interviewer: Have you had marital relations with your two husbands only? Have you slept with anyone else?

Senior Citizen: Are you kidding? Are you kidding?

Interviewer: Well, I got to ask.

Senior Citizen: Are you kidding? After what I've said so far. And I was divorced and didn't get married for 13 years.

Interviewer: Well, maybe you had 13 years of running around and having fun.

Senior Citizen: No ma'am. Not when I met the men that had that thought in mind and I said well, if they don't think any more of me of just -- Well, that was my concept. Then forget it because that was me and you either liked me for me and wanted my company for other reasons than just for bed -- which no ma'am.

Interviewer: That's very good. That's how I felt before I got married.

Senior Citizen: I mean a man is free to go from bed to bed.

Interviewer: Mm-hmph. No stigmas. And they're considered more masculine if they sleep around. They prove themselves.

Senior Citizen: For me, I couldn't see it. I'll tell you one of the reasons perhaps that had a coloring because I've often wondered what it would be like of course. There's a lot of movies and shows that show this so you know you speculate in your mind. And you think how would I have behaved or what would be my reaction to a situation like that? Although, I'd met that, I like, you know, wondered what it would be like but as far as it went. There was even a Sunday, last Sunday, a show on T.V. with Carol Burnett and Robert Alda. It was a cute thing and they were both married and they had an affair.

Interviewer: Yeah. I saw it. I asked my husband if he'd ever do it, if he was in an apartment with someone and he said, No, why should I? I wonder about that if I got trapped in an apartment. (Laughter)

Senior Citizen: But I'll tell you. My mother came from a large family. She had a lot of sisters and my mother had a lot of children and all her sisters had a lot of children. When my father died, one of the things, I overheard my aunt say to some of the other people, aunts. I feel so sorry for her because she's got all these girls and they're bound to get in trouble one way or the other. And I was that smart that they meant get in trouble with the opposite sex 'cause I was only 12. And I was almost sixteen when I thought that if you got kissed you would have to marry the person. And I heard that not to long ago and it was a discussion and so help me, I laughed and I said, Oh Lord, if that's the truth, you know. This is the concept. I cou1dn't help thinking that that had some bearing and just thought I could not bring any reproach on myself or my mother and I said, we're going to show you that we're not going to succumb to temptations as we're getting older. See, I have a sister whose two years older than I am and then me, then another sister, then one brother but I, I often wondered in things that, go across your mind, whenever you think about sex or something. If I could have been capable of doing it had I not made this pledge to myself at that tender age. I had to become so slanted on it. I often wondered if I had a -- I tried not to color my children's thinking in that way, you know. I just thought well, I did say, when your divorced like your mother is its harder and since your mother was doing her level best to bring you up in the proper way. It would be far nicer thing, the word isn't "nice" whatever the word was I used at that time, for yourself, for your own self-esteem, for your own peace of mind's for you conscience, that you wouldn't do anything that you would be ashamed of later on. Or that you'd meet a man that would reproach you. See, that's the thing. You never know when you find someone that you think you'd be very happy with that if he suspicioned or surmised you in any way, it would mar a relationship. I hope I have this up.

Interviewer: What did you expect on your wedding night? Did you ever have any expectations?

Senior Citizen: These are the questions, huh?

Interviewer: Yeah. You don't have your name on this questionnaire.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. I know. To tell you the truth I was frightened to death because you see, what happened, was I got my period and I happened to be since I was in the transition, my period started when I was sixteen and I had irregular periods. Sometimes, I wouldn't have menstrual for six months.

Interviewer: Who told you about menstruation?

Senior Citizen: Mrs. Montgomery.

Interviewer: This is your foster parent. Yeah. Did she wait till after you started or tell you beforehand?

Senior Citizen: No. When it happened and I started to cry because I thought something terrible was happening to me when I saw that blood. I thought, Oh my! What happened? You know, I think we had some inkling, something was being said and you know how girls will talk, there's always whispering. And I'd be so dumb about some things especially if you think that I was sixteen and thought if you kissed a guy you had to get married. I was frightened. I was frightened to death.

Interviewer: Was your husband -

Senior Citizen: No. He was so young and we were dumb. Both dumb.

Interviewer: But he didn't say, okay, lay down.

Senior Citizen: No. He was just as scared. As much as he understood, as much knowledge as he had gotten. You know, what was so funny was he was trying to make me believe that he had other girls and had had intercourse which he had not. But I began to realize there must be some other place in my body other than where he was placing his penis. So, I was getting extremely uncomfortable and this is when I was finally getting won over by him so that I'd cuddle to him and nestle beside him and have him talk to me and get in that frame of mind where something would take off. Well, it so happens that when we got around to doing it, which was a month later, he was disappointed and acted very coolish toward me and I thought, what in the world? And finally he got enough courage to say to me, I don't think your a virgin. Well, my dear, I broke down and you see by that time he was trying practically every night and like I said, nothing was taking place, nothing was happening, nothing. So, I cried and cried and no matter what I said, I didn't seem to appease him. Because that was the laugh of the century. There was only one encounter I had with a boy that was suppose to have taken me home. I was waiting for a bus and the bus didn't come and I knew the boy. And he was trying and scared me to death. And I lost my pocketbook and lost all my possessions in my pocketbook and I got away from him and that didn't help the situation. And I knew nothing took place. So, finally when it did happen, my dear, I made such a mess, that he wept.

Interviewer: Serves him right.

Senior Citizen: He wept and wept and begged, he wanted me to forgive him and got on his knees and cried and said, How could I have doubted you? And you see, by that time I was getting a little bit smart and couldn't tell him he didn't know the right place to find. And I couldn't have the courage to tell him he wasn't doing it right because I didn't know myself. But I know he didn't get into my vagina.

Interviewer: And besides if you said something he would have wondered how you knew.

Senior Citizen: That's right!

Interviewer: Oh Geez!

Senior Citizen: Really for two young people in a situation like that it can be devastating it really can.

Interviewer: Did anybody, did your foster mother ever tell you anything before you were married?

Senior Citizen: No, my dear, are you kidding? No. In fact, the fact is I remember her pregnant with her second child and it never occurred to me how, why, when? No. Uh-uh! The baby came and see to me I'll tell you, as a teenager it was so hard. To me it was no joy, no fun, no nothing, just a chore, chore, chore. There I had a slew of diapers to do before I went to school. I had to do the diapers. I had to get up at five o'clock in the morning to do a bunch of diapers, when I was thirteen.

Interviewer: So, your first husband and you learned together about sex. So you sort Of taught each other?

Senior Citizen: Yeah. Yeah and I don't know if it was the best at all at the time.

Interviewer: Did you ever feel that it was pleasant or distasteful?

Senior Citizen: I never feel any different.

Interviewer: Did you ever feel that it was a duty that you just had to?

Senior Citizen: At that time, I was to dumb. If he said, we had to do it, I just did.

Interviewer: Did you ever initiate it?

Senior Citizen: When I was older after I had my children and you know that set me off so bad and I had such bearing on my feeling to my relationship to the opposite sex. I went to see a movie. He managed to let me go out and see a movie and it was with Ronald Coleman. Well, my husband happened to be smoking a pipe at the time which I thought was so nice and I saw Ronald Coleman and he used to smoke a pipe. At least, he did in one of the movies. And he was sitting when I came home, there was my husband sitting in the chair with the light behind him and he was reading and he was smoking a pipe and I went behind him, put my hands on his shoulders and kissed the top of his head. And you know what he said to me? "You hussie you." When you see pictures of hearts broken into shivers, all kinds of little pieces, My heart froze. Literally froze and then if just crumpled and I couldn't believe what I just heard. There was no thought of sex, it was just a lovely picture to me and I said, you wound me so deeply, do you know, to me you look so handsome and so nice sitting here and all I did was kiss you on the head and put my hands on the back of his shoulder. And I don't think anything, any kind of hurt, of physical hurt could have been a more hurtful hurt than the hurt, what he said to me.

Interviewer: So, he was the one who usually reached out to you.

Senior Citizen: Both my children were born under duress. In other words, listen, your my wife and I'm going to have you and like when we were contemplating a divorce before my son was born and that was unexpected -- my pregnancy. I was at a cycle that took and I don't think he realized I would get pregnant.

Side 1 Second Tape #5B

Interviewer: This is going to be another one of those dumb questions that premarital intercourse was immoral?

Senior Citizen: In my time. Yes, ma'am.

Interviewer: Did you ever have any girlfriends who slept with their boyfriends?

Senior Citizen: Oh yeah. I had a girlfriend. Well, in fact, one time when we dated, before I got married with this fella. And he was trying to reach me. No ma'am! No way! And Carol was her name. And I'm sure that they went off because we were in the car. We sat in the back and they sat in the front. So, they said excuse us and they were gone awhile and he was trying to mess with me and I told him, I said, no. I have made up my mind that when I'm going to get married, I want to be the only one for the-- and he was so shocked -- for the man that I would marry. If I'm a disappointment to you for company or for whatever you had in mind I'm sorry but your not going to make any headway with me at all. So, he seemed to calm down and it just floored him and he just for the rest of the evening seemed very pleasant. Of course, I never saw him again. Well, don't forget we were both young. Shit -- we were both sixteen. And some are older than others. And I wasn't bold that way. That was not my nature.

Interviewer: How old were you when you first started dating?

Senior Citizen: That was it. 16. But I did not go that frequently see. I had to work and when I got home I had things to do there was no time. And it would usually be on a Saturday and then it wasn't always sure. It was a blind date, you know. That was a blind date that I went on.

Interviewer: Hmm. Blind dates are usually strange usually. Sociologists feel that marriage was a dying institute in the '30's. Do you think looking back and how you felt then---

Senior Citizen: No. I was not aware of that. No, not at my age and from the social background that I came. That kind of awareness was not made manifest even though it was the flapper era, the jazz age era. Those who were in that social whirl would especially the older people who that came from WW II. See, they would still be fairly young because if I was 16 I wasn't to far from WW I that ended in 1919. See? 1919, 20, 21 22, 23 24 , 25, 26, 27, 28, 29. Well I was 17 and then, '29.

Interviewer: You've had three children, you said?

Senior Citizen: Two from my first marriage and my boy. Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you know of any way to prevent a marriage other than -

Senior Citizen: No. No. I was not that aware. I just -- Well, I would say, way, till I was in my thirties, I had menstrual trouble and there was nothing that could be done. So, I wasn't that aware. In fact, I was pregnant for three months with my daughter and I did not know I was pregnant.

Interviewer: Does that happen a lot? (noise)

Senior Citizen: Yeah. That's upstairs. The thing is I had morning sickness and I did not know what was wrong with me. I couldn't imagine and you see one of my last jobs, I'd become sick and pale and get nausea and smell things. I was sensitive to smell and they said, "What's wrong with you?" And I said, "I don't know." Never dreaming I was pregnant.

Interviewer: Did you an your first husband ever use some kind of birth control?

Senior Citizen: Contraceptive? I'm not aware. My second husband wore -- used contraception. Yes, but not my first husband. No.

Interviewer: Did you want to have children?

Senior Citizen: I just expected I would eventually have then. I didn't plan for it. I just thought when you're married you will get children and when I finally found out and realized I was pregnant I accepted it, you know. Only I just thought why would your have to be so sick though that part bothered me. I thought, Gosh, why do I have to be so sick.

Interviewer: I don't know. I've never been pregnant, I don't have any children.

Senior Citizen: It doesn't effect everyone, you know.

Interviewer: But some people are perfectly fine and they can go about their business and some people you mention food they turn green and run.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. Well, like my menopause. I had a terrible time. Thank the Lord I didn't have a mental imbalance and believe me I was always weeping and everying was sad to me. Golly Gee. And I had the type of doctor who thought I didn't need any kind of - which I'm in a way glad that he didn't give me hormones. Because some of the women that have gotten hormones for menopause affected their voice and their very deep. So I'm just as glad he was the type of doctor who didn't want to. But I was just always was weepy and that bothered me that I accepted the menopause that way and see may husband naturally wanted intercourse, that's when we definitely used contraceptives because I wasn't about to get pregnant in my forties.

Interviewer: Did you have friction between you and your husband, excuse me, let me put it this way. Did fear of pregnancy interfere with the regular -

Senior Citizen: Later on it did. Oh, yes.

Interviewer: This was after you had your two children?

Senior Citizen: A -- no. After I had my first one.

Interviewer: Did you know -- you said when you were sixteen still and thought if you kissed a man you would have to marry him -- When did you, how long did it take you to figure out where babies come from?

Senior Citizen: Well, uh, I really don't know. It was sort of a gradual transition that somehow you finally learn, you know. I couldn't tell you any specific time, whether I heard it or whether I read it or something, you know.

Interviewer: Did you have regular intercourse with your first husband?

Senior Citizen: Oh in the beginning I guess. But you see he had an out-of-town job so it would just be when he was there.

Interviewer: Did your husband want to have children? Did he want a large family?

Senior Citizen: No. I don't think so. Down deep I don't think he did. Period. 'Cause to my concept to be a father, a real father to my children. He enjoyed them when they were older but as fatherly duties, to me, what a father should do and be a loving parent he was not.

Interviewer: Was there ever friction between you and your husband in the matter of having children? Did he ever blame you because you had children?

Senior Citizen: Oh, the second one. But you see I told him. I said, no, you can't say anything because it was your idea. (Laughter) I mean see I slept in the front room and he had the sun room and hmph -- this was after when he made the plans for the divorce. See, we were going to get a divorce when he decided, you see. He wanted his cake and eat it to. He had the girl on the side, which she would not have relations with him but he had a wife.

Interviewer: Sweet. I can imagine how you would feel.

Interviewer: Did you and your husband indulge in sexual intercourse while you were pregnant?

Senior Citizen: Oh yeah. Up until I was seven months old. Till I felt great discomfort and then I was extremely relaxed. To me, it was my most enjoyable time in my relationship to my husband such as it was in our intercourse. Because I didn't have the fear then.

Interviewer: Because you were pregnant. It was to late.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. I mean I was learning. I was learning. And then the fact I could have intercourse without the fear of getting pregnant was more relaxing to me.

Interviewer: Were your relations more frequent?

Senior Citizen: No. It couldn't be because of the type of job he had.

Interviewer: Yeah. That's true.

Senior Citizen: He didn't hold his jobs to terribly long in that period of time when we were married. But when he was home we would have fairly, well, fairly frequent to me, at least it was to me.

Interviewer: Do you think, well, then you didn't think sexual intercourse during pregnancy was harmful or -

Senior Citizen: It never occurred to me. It never occurred to me that it could be and since then I've read enough to know its not so, you know.

Interviewer: Did you know any friends who had abortions?

Senior Citizen: No. No. No. I think that would upset me. Even to this day, even young girls who are - have intercourse and are pregnant - I think should go through with the pregnancy. I cannot see them away with a life. When I went to the museum and then the world's fair, and saw the exhibit of the life in those containers from conception to the full term, it's always been such a marvel to me. Even when I had my son, kind of late for me. When he was born - I look at him today - he's a 6 foot 5" boy and thin as a reed, and I look at those eyes and those hands, and his feet and his legs and that slim body of his and I think what a wonderful creation God created and when he was an infant, every flicker of an eyelash, when he'd wake up was such a wonderful thing to behold to me. Oh no! I think life is to marvelous. I admired Albert Schweitzer, you know, that great man. You know, how he wouldn't stand killing things. And even myself, I have seen enough films myself on TV that have been marvelous films, showing the beauty of things creating -- procreating and the only thing for instance -- ants. Their so, they do multiply and I've had ants come and invade the sugar and your so fascinated but you have to do away with them. I hated to, you know. You know, they just come by the--

Interviewer: Cockroaches -- you don't mind stepping on.

Senior Citizen: That's right! The only two things I do despise is a rat and a vicious snake. I don't mind a harmless snake, but rats I think are horrible.

Interviewer: Mice I don't mind.

Senior Citizen: No.

Interviewer: But rates are so vicious looking.

Senior Citizen: Yes. Yes. Where we lived one time my cat was afraid of the rat.

Interviewer: My God!

Senior Citizen: Yes. My poor kitty-cat was afraid of that rat because it was so - uh -- it must have been an ugly rat. And see, we lived near the water and they were --

Interviewer: Water rats are large.

Senior Citizen: Huge! Oh yes! They look like a medium-size cat. Accept they have a ugly tail, a huge ugly tail. And do you know if a rat is hungry, he'll attack you. Well, you know, the maintenance man in this development where I lived. I don't know what section he lived with, poor soul. His little child's toes were chewed on by a rat. I told him, oh, how can you stand it? Wherever he lived they just must have been rampant. And they would just come in the house, bold as brass, like a cat would and just climb up in the crib and nibbled on the toes. Oh, I tell you, scary, scary, scary. (Laughter)

Interviewer: What did you do on a typical date? Where did you go before you were married?

Senior Citizen: Well, in Detroit we had a beautiful island called Belle Isle and that is the only romantic thing in my whole married life to my first husband was that he took both of us. He and I went canoeing and the popular songs that were being sung at the -- even to this day. To me although I'm very sentimental as you might have surmised. The popular song was "I'll be loving you always," and then "Sweetheart if you should stray a million miles away I'll always be in love you." Well, I hear these because it's nostalgia time, you know. So, they'll play these pieces and they'll bring memories, you know. And I'll think to myself isn't it funny to hear that music. It rings a bell but then you know it wasn't true you see. How youth and whatever it is in your growing up, things that will be said and not meant because you see, he did not love me always and if I should stray and all that.

Interviewer: He strayed.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. That's about -- we went dancing. We went to a place that was supervised. That's how we met him. I was with my foster parents, there was this couple that used to go to this place and I think the man played in the band and young people were invited and I was invited and he happened to inquire about. He worked for an insurance company and he inquired about a place where he could go to meet nice girls and dance and I happened to be there that night and that's how I met him.

Interviewer: Would you say among your friends there was a lot of drinking in bars?

Senior Citizen: No. No.

Interviewer: Not at all?

Senior Citizen: Uh-Uh. No we -- When we first were married we lived in Greenwich Village which was quite Bohemian at that time and in the apartment house during the holiday time, it wasn't to far when it happened to be Christmas & New Year's. So, it was open house and everyone's door was open and everyone went into everyone else's place, you know, to greet. Do you know, he drank wine and he was the most human and most mellow and most funny person in a way secretly except for the sake it wouldn't make him an alcoholic I kind of wish he had indulged in drinking. Because he seemed to bea much nicer person when he was drinking and drunk wine enough to be a very sweet and lovable person. But on the whole he was very dignified, he was very precise, he was very correct. And to me growing up, I thought that was a lovely trait But to my sorrow I learned later it was not a very --

Interviewer: It's good if your in business but not if your married.

Senior Citizen: Right. He carried it in his marriage.

Interviewer: What did you expect of your first date? Did you expect anything?

Senior Citizen: Expect what?

Interviewer: On your first date?

Senior Citizen: No. I didn't know. I really didn't know. Whatever we did was pleasant. I think the first date was we went to this lovely movie house which was brand new. It was in the Fisher building. It was considered the most elegant and the building is still elegant. The most elegant theater in the state of Michigan. And uh -- I just thought, that was his way. And I just thought I was the ladies of ladies, you see. And I was dressed appropriately, so I felt real, you know -- .

Interviewer: Like you made it.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. Yeah. But as I say, he was quite a gentleman and he'd ask permission if he could kiss me and I didn't know what to say and I was in quite a dilemma.

Interviewer: Yeah. You said that your first husband tried to get across to you that he had sexual relations before he was married. Did you wish he had sexual relations before?

Senior Citizen: No. No. It never crossed my mind. But in the mind of a growing girl as I was, it amused me and I don't understand it. To me, the fact that when we did finally get around to having relations in the back of my mind I thought he must be fibbing. That he couldn't possibly have these girls as he said he did because he didn't know what to do with me. See?

Interviewer: Yeah. Did you feel it was alright or acceptable with men if a man had premarital intercourse or did you feel that he shouldn't either?

Senior Citizen: See, that part of my understanding -- having lost a father at a tender age. Well see, I would have, if I had been living with my parents. Been conscious of these things and aware of certain things in my mother's attitudes and all. Being a foster child, somehow I was kept away from that part. That's absolute blank. I don't know what Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery did and I'm sure, after all, they had another child. It never occurred to me till way later that she actually. Somehow the image I had of her you just didn't do that. There's the baby and that's it. You just didn't do that. You understand?

Interviewer: I felt the same way when I was -- I don't know how old I was and all of sudden I realized that my parents are still sleeping together. In fact, they still have relations. In fact, I got all shocked. And this is when, I don't know how old, I was old enough to realize. It really shocked me when I thought of it one time. I view my mother as baking or something but not in bed with my father. In bed, maybe, but asleep, not cuddling. I was so shocked. For a couple of days I kept thinking, you do that. You're not supposed to. You shouldn't. And finally it got to me that that's how I got here.

Senior Citizen: Yeah.

Interviewer: Their attitudes affected me in my marriage.

Senior Citizen: And when your talking that way it makes me think of my daughter talking that way. She says, I couldn't ever, ever picture you and Daddy, Mama.

Interviewer: Yeah, that's it.

Senior Citizen: Never.

Interviewer: Now I laugh about it. It seems so silly but my parents didn't express that much affection to each other and that was really bad because like, I was a senior in high school and I was eighteen, and I felt bad holding hands with a guy in the house. And I mean that felt like you -- that your going to-I would hold hands and mess around if they weren't home.

Senior Citizen: And you're a young person.

Interviewer: Yeah. But in the house I could not hold hands with a guy because my Dad would walk through the room and give us dirty looks. If the guy had a arm around me--

Senior Citizen: Your leaving? 'Bye Roberta dear.

Interviewer: I just couldn't. I was so silly. When I was 17 or 18 to not feel like I could sit on a couch close to a guy with my parents in the same room. They walk in and we'd move apart, and it's so silly.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. Yes.

Interviewer: Anyway. It does affect people. Let's see. Did you admire Eleanor Roosevelt's life style? You said you liked her as a person. Did you admire her life style and her being active?

Senior Citizen: By that time I had already had my daughter and I was learning very fast about things. I got more courage to be able to talk to people that were older than I and that were in a higher social strata. And evidently I had a faculty of asking questions that didn't seem to be. Well, they considered my youth, so, they didn't think I was being presumptuous or nosey and so they answered me. But that time I was aware of my husband trying to have an image of a woman I was not. And he was trying to make a woman like me, like Mrs. Roosevelt who was a mother of a bunch of kids. She had a bunch of kids by that time and she was an older woman, a highly educated woman. It hit me and I said, I'll never be Mrs. Roosevelt. Never in all the world because we had discussions, quite violent discussions. He'd say, "You met Mrs. Roosevelt. You told me all about her." In other words, I was too earthy. I was down to earth.

Senior Citizen: I saw: things as they were. I knew what capacity I had. I knew what money we had and I was not living above our means. He was. And he was learning too, that he could no longer push me around like he was pushing me around. Which I was not aware of until he suggested I meet Mrs. Roosevelt then. As dumb as I was, I wasn't that dumb. Because I listened to Mrs. Roosevelt. And I met Mrs. Roosevelt. And she was a lovely lady and very gracious. And I was very impressed with her. I knew my level. I knew who I was and I knew who she was, you know. And, so I thought to myself, you foolish, foolish man, you know. Because many times when we had some heated discussions he'd say, "Have you been talking to somebody?" And I said, "Why no! Why do you ask?" He'd say, "Because you're acting strange" and I said, "Oh really? How old do you think I am?" And I said, "Don't I have a child? Haven't I been working? Haven't I been getting around and I live in this great big city of New York?" And I said, "You mean to tell me you are just now realizing that I've been observing, and watching, and listening." And I just floored him. F-L-O-O-R-E-D him! Because, do you know, that, oh, I don't know, later on when he was contemplating his marriage to his second wife and he wanted to marry her so badly and he wasn't making and headway with her because in truth, we no good friends and truly I felt sorry for her and thought to myself, I wish there was some way I could warn her what she was getting into, you know.

Interviewer: Is he the same way no that he used to be?

Senior Citizen: No. We're good friends. He admires me. The children are -- Oh, he's written beautiful letters to me. And my daughter has a letter he had written to me. How he had thought in retrospect after many years what a remarkable job I had done on my own to raise two lovely children, his children. And that he thought they were a fine product.

Interviewer: This is beautiful. She is going to get a lot out of this. You're doing great.

Senior Citizen: Oh, thank you.

Interviewer: Yeah, this is far better than I was thinking or even hoping to get. 'Cause like some of these questions if someone asked me --

Senior Citizen: Well, see dear, you're younger. When you get older and you think, well, my lands, I certainly had enough experience in life to be honest about something. Of course, I tell you, at that time of the Kinsey Report, if someone came to me, whether I would have felt free to talk like I can talk now. Too much has happened in all avenues pertaining to my life, to my children's life's, to people around them, that, you know. You can't point a finger at a person you never know when that finger is going to point back to you. And in a more accusing way. So, if anyone was guilty of any indiscretions, you see, I could never say anything because down deep I often wonder. 'Cause like my daughter would say to me, she'd say, "Mamma, weren't you ever, ever tempted." Well, I'm sure I have but you dismiss it because of your training, your religious training makes you think that it's wicked to think that way and you don't dwell on that, you see. So, I really don't know other that the fact at that crux of my life, you see, that was so important. And the fact there must of been a reason for me to hear it. For me to become the person I am today in my thoughts, my concepts, although I'm not going to judge how anyone lived or chooses to live. I can't. When I talk to my children, I say, would you have thought any different of your mother if she had taken another path. They said, "No, I can't picture you that way mother. No. Uh-uh." So, you see, they have their concepts too. And even though I've tried to be liberal in my training -- I went around in my birthday suit around the kids -- because modesty was so ingrained in me that I thought I didn't want to warp them because I felt warped in a way. You know, like if I was getting dressed I'd let them see me. If I was taking a bath or shower, I'd let them see me. The only thing I made a mistake was when my son was getting curious and it has colored him. And that was during the time of my menstrual. And I put my napkins in the bag you know. Because you weren't suppose to dissolve them in the toilet otherwise you'd have a plumbing trouble. So, I thought I was being very liberal in teaching him. One thing he learned because of my menstrual problems and I'd be serious, edgy and upset and my back would hurt me and I was in a extremely agitated way. So, he got smart and he would later on, he would say, I'd overhear him, he'd say, "You know Mamma's got her regular and don't bother her because she's going to pounce on you." But as far as seeing me with napkins he'd say, but why do you have to have all that blood Mamma? And I'd say, Well, see, it was hard for me to explain to a child, he was 8 or 9, that it was necessary for a woman to function that way because of her, that she was childbearing. And then he'd say, "But you don't have any babies" and then, "You don't have a husband." It was-oh-so difficult, to get across and I didn't want to go overboard. I didn't know how--

Interviewer: And you didn't want to tell him a cute little story.

Senior Citizen: Oh no! No. No. That part-and I think- my son was extremely fastidious from the time he was a little bitty thing. He couldn't stand any mess on him. And he'd go to his potty when he was small and do what he had to do and I kept him clean and dry, all the time and that was ingrained from his father, that was my job, you know. "You keep those kids clean." Because of who they are. They bore his name so they weren't going to be you know, trashy, dirty, filthy kids, you know.

Interviewer: He wouldn't do anything to help. Oh-No!

Senior Citizen: Oh No! That was my job.

Interviewer: Of course. Right.

Senior Citizen: Anyway, so, he figured in that aspect that his mother was unclean, you see. And that thing stuck with him for years because when he was grown one time we were talking, I think he was in the army and when he came back he said, Oh I said, I said, did you meet anyone. You know, you're talking and he said, I met this nice girl and all. And I think she was dirty. She smelled. And I thought, Oh Lord have mercy, you know. Because she may have had her period for all I know. And he was that conscious, you know. And I guess the girl might have been reticent in her allowing to be affectionate with him because she was in that period. And so, he would be so sensitive. And then I guess the association with me being mean and ugly and agitated, tying in with the period. I really don't know. I have to speculate because of the way he acts.

Senior Citizen: That was trained in me so I never figured that a man -- The only time I figured was wrong was when I was scrubbing a rug and I thought my husband should do it.

Interviewer: Did you feel therefore he should help with the children that way?

Senior Citizen: Oh, yes! I thought he should take them out and push the baby in the carriage like I'd seen other fathers do. Of course I mentioned it and he said other fathers are not me and I'm not them.

Interviewer: Do you think he felt it was beneath his dignity?

Senior Citizen: Oh yes! Extremely so. Yes.

Interviewer: Do you think he felt it took away from his masculinity?

Senior Citizen: Oh yes. Most likely. Only at the time I didn't know that. I didn't understand it, you know. I thought that's his way.

Interviewer: Did you feel that most marriages were failures?

Senior Citizen: No. Because'you see, mine was floundering. Because when my children -- lets see - these friends, we had mutual friends and both of the husband and wife were very fond of me and they sensed that my husband was a stinky husband so they rallied for me, but they were concerned that even thought he wasn't much of a father they wanted me to salvage the marriage for the sake of the children, you know. But now it just came to a point where there was nothing to salvage. I mean, he was a part-time father as far as I was concerned. That's why when we were divorced to them they didn't even know any different, you know. 'Cause the father would come on a weekend or every other weekend to see them like when he was working. So, they didn't know for a long time, not for a long time, they were quite grown before they realized the mother and the father weren't living together.

Interviewer: Did you have any personal goals before you were married or once you were married?

Senior Citizen: Only when I was very young. I thought that I would like to be an interior decorator or something in the arts field. There was one time I had a dream when I was, I think I already had my daughter and that was getting into a department store and having a beauty regime. Where it would be tied -- this was a scheme -- since then it was evolved which is Elizabeth Arden's Salon. This was my idea of having something to do in improving. I was always conscious to help improve other women. Not me. But other women because of my observation. I don't know why I always -- accept because that I was always downgraded by men. And one of the things that I'm going to reveal in this little point here is the fact that I think that all my life from the time I was a little child I had an aversion to men, but I knew because I was a female that you were to eventually be married and that you had children, you know.

Interviewer: So, you think it was like natural that everybody got married and had children and if they didn't get married they were kind of odd?

Senior Citizen: No. I didn't think of it from their standpoint. It was just me. Me! Not them. No, I would never say no. I wonder why she didn't get married and have children? It was only later when I would know somebody and they wouldn't marry and I'd say, such a lovely person, such a lovely personality and so pretty. I wonder why she didn't get married, you know, for my own self, I would say. But that would be the extent of it, you know. But my son has accused me. I don't think you ever liked men Mama. You love babies, and you love children, and you love male children but when they get grown and when they sass you and talk mean to you then you don't like them. (Laughter)

Interviewer: You don't liked to get sassed by anybody.

Senior Citizen: Well, no, he has a point. . I often try to analyze myself sometimes and think. Well, I'll tell you because of an experience I had as a child. When my father was living I was the apple of his eyes. When I was a little tiny thing my mother dressed me as a little doll. Well, he belonged to some kind of an organization. You know, where men meet.Well, anyway, the men that would meet him, I mean greet him, would say, Oh, what a lovely child. And then if they sat down they'd want me to sit on their lap. Well, what I learned later, which I couldn't understand, was they were fondling me in the wrong way. And as I got a little older, like say, when I was five and I knew that something was wrong and I was afraid to tell my father for fear he would whip me. Uh -- I had all these repressed feelings of knowing something wasn't right.

Interviewer: You couldn't do anything about it?

Senior Citizen: No. No. And this thing happened to my daughter when we lived in this apartment house and this man volunteered to read the comics to my kids and see my daughter and son would sit at his foot. And he'd say to my daughter -- my daughter's name is Barbara -- he'd say, "Why don't you sit on my lap?" Well, she finally said, I don't want to go and hear funnies. I don't want him to read funnies. And I'd say, Oh, he's so nice. Now, he wants to read funnies. And she couldn't tell me either till later. And I'd say, Why dear? And she'd say, he does funny things Mama. And I'd say, like what dear? What funny things? He tickles me Mama. But he was tickling her in her vagina. See? And that's what was happening to me.

Interviewer: Geez. No wonder!

Senior Citizen: Yeah. I have repressed feelings. And you know, when a child sits on a man's lap and here's this darling little girl and however they would hold you, they'd go creeping up the little panties and do that. And I knew something was wrong but I couldn't explain it. I was afraid to tell my mother. See, they would whip and then ask questions later. They would say you are naughty, naughty, naughty and then whip you and whip you and whip you. And then after you'd cried out you're little heart then you'd say, but let me explain, let me explain. Old-fashioned parents were really something.

Interviewer: Oh Wow!

Senior Citizen: But can you see why I had such a slanted feeling toward the opposite sex.

Interviewer: I'm surprised you came out of it as well as you did. I mean -

Senior Citizen: I am too. I'll tell you, I think my second marriage, the type of man I'm married to now is more mamby-bampish type. Where the other one was more the aggressor. And I'm paying back what I should have been paying the other one -- to this one. And somehow it's not working out. I'm the aggressor now but I have the type of the man that like he can't decide between the ties. I say, my lands, you know the shirt you're going to wear, you know the color harmony, you know what you should wear. You know, something like that I'll get upset about. It's minor but if I don't tell him he's angry and if I do tell him he's angry. See? And like if he wears dark pants and I want him to wear dark socks. I don't like him to wear white socks. I say, What is this? This is not summertime. He says, What's a matter? What's a matter? And I say, You don't wear white socks with the dark pants. And I say, besides, you're not in a summer outfit with sporty shoes. You've got dress clothes on. But the socks on that go with it. If you didn't have socks I'd say I didn't have a thing to say. But I said, a draw full of socks and you couldn't find the socks to go with your suit? You know? So, I feel like I'm aggressive now and see now my husband gravitates to women who -- and I happen to know these friends of mine who has a daughter whose very womanly, very feminine and -- anything he says is right, anything he does is right, you know.

Interviewer: She laughs in all the right places.

Senior Citizen: Oh yes. And see, I'm not like that. I'm Not! I've had to many hard knocks to become-

Interviewer: Who the heck wants to be like that?

Senior Citizen: No. I admire her. I really do. I mean she luxuriates in baths. And me, I want to get it over with. She fusses with her hair. Well, that's the last thing I do with my hair. Well, the only thing I'll have anything to do with my hair is if it's a special occasion. I get it curled -- Happy Day. If I don't get it curled -- Happy Day, you know, that way. And yet I like when my hair is done. I say, oh now, why can't I keep it that way. But you see I get extremely tired when I'm trying to do my hair. I have hair texture now that doesn't stay curled. After a little bit, down it goes. And I think what's that for. I paid money and spent my time for this thing to drop. It's nothing. And I think, oh and it frustrates me, frustrates me. In fact, I called for an appointment to the hairdresser's to have my hair done for the day before the wedding and she said he's not there at that time, so I have to have it done three days before -- Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday -- four days before the wedding. So, I don't know what my hair's going to look like before the wedding takes place. And I called her yesterday. No, let's see. Yesterday. Yeah. Because my husband had to get some gas and while he was getting gas for the car I said I'm going to call Emily and find out what the score is and she told me she did not work after four o'clock. And so that the day that I wanted to come in she would already be gone. See, she has worked on my hair sufficiently to know how to handle and to do something with it to make it look attractive when its done up. And then I'd say you did the best you could and it's okay and then I'd be unhappy. She knows what I like and I've told her, you know. We certainly ramble on.

Interviewer: It's kind of fun. I'm enjoying it. I hope you are.

Senior Citizen: Yeah. Yeah. I am. Thank You.

Interviewer: Did your income change then with, the Depression? Did it go down?

Senior Citizen: Are you kidding? We had none.

Interviewer: None? Your husband had a job.

Senior Citizen: I had the job.

Interviewer: You had the job. This was just after you were married. You were working and he was going to school. Right!

Senior Citizen: Well, we just lived. We lived high on the hog. And later had to pay the piper. We lived in very exclusive places. Crazy, crazy. Lived in Tudor City in New York, right in the hub of -- Grand Central is not far away. It was just the hub there called Tudor City. And we lived in the hotel no less.

Interviewer: Ouch. Did the --

Senior Citizen: I ate not like a bird since I read since that birds eat twenty-five pounds of food, so that's out. But you know, just barely exist in order to pay our bills. And then you see, he was going to school.

Interviewer: Yeah. Did your marriage change over marital discourse? Did you have a lot of fights over income?

Senior Citizen: Well, yes. That was one of the paramount subjects in our relationship because he never -- He lived beyond his means and I was too sensible and I rubbed him the wrong way and I had to be the buffer. I had to be. I had the children and I had to have a roof over their heads. In order to make sure we had food and a place to live.So, he didn't appreciate whenever I'd say he had his obligations and he would live high on the hog. What money he made by that time was pretty good. By other standards if we had lived by a budget we should have had a very nice place and nice furniture. As a matter of fact, we inherited lovely furniture from his mother when she passed on and because we kept having to go down in our rental status and smaller quarters, we had to put the furniture in the storage and we lost it all. Yes, beautiful things. Marbles. Victorian furniture. Beautiful. She had lovely things.

Interviewer: I have this rocker. It's not much to look at but its been in the family for four or five generations and I'll not give it up. That rocker is mine. Where I go it goes! You can grow so attached to furniture and it seems so silly.

Senior Citizen: Well, I didn't get attached to it. I just was sorry because to me it was hers. It wasn't mine. It wasn't something I purchased, you know. When we finally bought a set it too was lost in storage. But I don't know. I took it with the bounces. I mean, whatever was happening and when it came to the crux, when we had to change and move into cheaper quarters and smaller rooms the things had to go to storage. Because you see we lived in a furnished apartment then.

Interviewer: Who budgeted the family money, you or your husband?

Senior Citizen: Uh, that's funny that you should ask such a question. There wasn't that much money but he gave me a certain amount. And out of that money I was to a a miracle worker. He wanted steaks and we were stew people. Beef stew or lamb stew at that time, that's what was considered cheap and it went a long ways. So that you could have it the next day for lunch. Whereas, he wanted steaks or chops.

Interviewer: Was there conflict over --

Senior Citizen: Oh My Dear!

Interviewer: ---what did you do with all my money?

Senior Citizen: Well, no. He couldn't say that because we had milk delivered for awhile there and I had to pay the milkman. So, that was allotted for and the electricity was allotted for. The rent was allotted for. It was the grocery. I can't remember but I got so little money for groceries that sometimes when I think about it I marvel at my ability to stretch it as far as I did. As for someone as young as I was because I also had home economics in school and I got good marks. I contrived a meal and it was on a budget and it was supposed to be nutritious and wholesome, a good meal and attractively served.

Interviewer: And cheap?

Senior Citizen: Yeah. And so I did remarkably well. I thought I managed to save from that money he gave for insurance policy.

Interviewer: Hey!

Senior Citizen: For myself and the kids which I had to lose eventually.

Interviewer: Did you lose it during the Depression?

Senior Citizen: No. No.

Interviewer: When you worked -- I guess just after you got married. Where you worked did maritally employ females or were the females just doing secretarial work and the men were doing --

Senior Citizen: executive work? Yeah. That was -- See, I worked in an advertising agency and I was in this one advertising agency that remember was -- I was a Girl Friday or whatever. I did the telephone and I was the receptionist and the typing and later because of my accuracy I was slow but sure -- I did statistical work too and that required concentration and accuracy.

Interviewer: Did you get a raise in salary?

Senior Citizen: No. Uh-huh. No. No. You didn't even ask. You did not ask for money.

Interviewer: Were you ever on relief during the Depression?

Senior Citizen: No. I was on relief when my kids were small. Were they in school yet? No, they were not in school. Because he was out of a job and I had no money and I had exhausted all my funds for borrowing and I couldn't borrow anymore 'cause I was ashamed. So I - the man had put the plug in the lock to prevent me from going into the place -- my place. So I had to go to the police station to ask them to let me in. So, then he said you need assistance and finally the poor policemen he felt so sorry for me because I was weeping. I was so outdone. When I had the money I kept paying ahead. At least if something unforeseen should happen I was paid up enough ahead and they'd have a roof over their head. Somehow, someway I would scrounge around to get some meals but for him to have done such a thing was -- "She told me about it and for you to do a dirty trick like that to his woman," you know. But he let us in and then of course I had gotten assistance for a short while.

Interviewer: What kind of assistance? What type of relief did you receive?

Senior Citizen: Just food and shelter.

Interviewer: Do you remember what your agency was called?

Senior Citizen: Oh No-o-o! N-o-o! Lord! Accept that it was in the city.

Interviewer: New York?

Senior Citizen: Yeah.

Interviewer: How long did you receive the help?

Senior Citizen: Only a few, months until he got a job, you know. And then too his wife had come into money, inherited some money. So, she helped me. She gave me money because what they paid -- I think I paid five dollars a week for a room and they gave me four dollars a week for food. That's all we lived on.

Interviewer: If it hadn't been for the Depression and if you hadn't been married. Do you think you would have gone into the interior decorating career?

Senior Citizen: Career? I don't know. That was kind of a dream but whether I had enough gumption or getup and go to assert myself that much, I can't say. Because it was cut-off by marriage and attending to babies. The way -- See, I wasn't that ambitious like he was. See? Hell or high water wouldn't keep him from going to school you see. And I didn't have that. I didn't have that same quality that he did. But I don't know that it's paid off in him. Because I don't think he's a happy man. I think in some aspects I'm a.far happier woman in my achievements then he is a man in his achievements. Even though he's met the officials of the country, presidents and all that doesn't mean a thing.

Interviewer: If you had to choose one area in your life that was not affected by the Depression what do you think it would be?

Senior Citizen: What was that again?

Interviewer: If you had to choose one area of your life that was most affected by the Depression. Like umm - oh -- kind of an ambiguous question. I suppose maybe like lifestyle or how you raised your children or how you and you husband got along?

Senior Citizen: I really don't understand that question dear and from what I've said to you so far I don't see how I can answer that. Let me read that question see if I can -- Well, since I wasn't that ambitious, you know too. Oh, later on when my children were -- Hi Miss Anders -- when my children were older and I had a sister who was in high school and I had brought here from Detroit to New York in hopes that she would take care of my children while I went to a hat designing school and -- but it didn't pan out. This was what bothered me. I was frustrated that way. I used to make very fine pies and the only one time I had gotten encouragement from my first husband was he said, "Wouldn't it be nice if you could make pies for people who were business people?" I've thought of this you know. Arnold's Bakery and you know and what's that other? Pepperidge Farm Bakery and all that started out on a shoestring. And that's the one time he was so encouraging to me. And said, "Wouldn't it be nice if you could make these things and make them so that it'd be time for people to have them at suppertime." But you see the quarters that we were living we could never of made it and then he put a pin in my balloon by saying, "Well, I'll tell you Alice, it wouldn't work out because they'll have to, you'd have to meet the board of health inspections and then there would be this and there would be that" and so he kept on and on. So I thought there he built this and I said, Oh, that would be wonderful and I'd work these little pies for you know one or two people, little pies, you know because I made little pies for us. Because we had no refrigeration. See, we bought food everyday.

Interviewer: Didn't you have an icebox?

Senior Citizen: Uh-uh! Uh-uh! In fact, see the place that we lived in we were not supposed to cook and how I cooked this foods so fabulously on one pot, you know, what I used to do. I punched holes in the cans to drain noodles and set the things underneath the two burners I had 'cause I cooked meat and potatoes and vegetables and made a salad and all these things that I fixed and we weren't suppose to cook in our room. See, we had a room and shared a bath.

Interviewer: Oh my God!

Senior Citizen: Yeah. If you had to choose one area of you life that was most affected by the Depression -- I tell you, this is a stumper. I cannot answer you. 'Cause the type of life I led (Laughter) there was nothing spectacular. It was a transitional thing. To me, as far as I was concerned. Things began to improve ever so gradually. In the meantime, the kids were growing up. In the meantime, I continued to do the housework until my kids were older for people that I knew that respected me and had confidence in me and they had nice things and they knew I would take care of them, you see and to me it was not a profession to be ashamed of.

Interviewer; Did your husband encourage you to do this?

Senior Citizen: Oh, I was divorced. Oh my dear, yes. No, he didn't like the idea. Uh-uh. Because you see that was beneath one's station. It was one thing to be a homemaker in the home with your children. Well, this was most revealing to say the least and I thank you so much.

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