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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Zeno Ponder, March 22, 1974. Interview A-0326. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Work ethic inspired by his parents' rise from poverty

Ponder enjoyed working hard because he wanted to follow his parents' example and stay out of poverty. He recalls how his mother Emma worked beyond expectations to purchase the first radio in the community.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Zeno Ponder, March 22, 1974. Interview A-0326. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

And I enjoyed it. Loved it. Trying to get ahead. As I said. I guess I got cold at the foot of the bed during the 30s. I knew what it was like to live right on the border of hunger. And if you've ever been there you just don't want to go back. Not if you're built out of the kind of stuff I am.
BILL FINGER:
And your mother helped put some of that in you, too.
ZENO PONDER:
Well, I expect my mother had quite a bit to do with that and so did my dad. They both worked real hard, but I think my mother unquestionably. She had the strongest will I believe of any person I've ever known on this earth. I've thought about many, many things that she has said and done. And how she would drive herself beyond what looked like it was human endurance. To grow a patch of beans. To grow a patch of tobacco so that we could have the first radio in the community. 1937. We grew about a half acre of extra tobacco. Put it on the floor and we got about forty some dollars for it and we spent $38 for a battery set radio. And that was the only one on that side of the river in Madison county. So Saturday nights when the grand ole opery came on—Dave Macon —you talk about being popular. We had everybody in the community eavesdropping our radio.