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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Relationship between Adamson's parents

Adamson describes her parents' relationship and the ways they negotiated her mother's career in education.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mary Price Adamson, April 19, 1976. Interview G-0001. 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

I've wanted to ask if you were aware of sort of the nature of the relationship between your mother and father. They ran this farm, they had trouble making a living, they had children together. How did they get along together? What was it like? Your mother often went out to work, I mean, she taught school outside the home. How did your father react to that? How did they get along?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I never heard any harshness at all between them. As a matter of fact, it was not permitted for the children ever to have any harsh words. I mean, my father would say, "We won't have any snaps, please." (Laughter) For instance, when she started to teach school was when I started school; she was my first teacher.Martha came to help with the cooking and cleaning so that she could go to teach school. I started my school with as my mother the teacher at this little country school. I remember very vividly about my father, the trouble he went to to make a path for us, the shortest route for us to get over to the Gold Hill school because to go by the road was several miles and would have required the horse and buggy for me to go. It was a shorter distance to go through the field. So he not only cut a path, he put a log across the stream to get across and there was a railto hold onto. There's a word for these things which are part of our childhood vocabulary. Then when we got over to the Wilsons farm, which was the largest farm between us and the school, to get through the Wilsons' pasture, he made a stile over the fence so that we could get through and go through the field to the school. That was a rather arduous task. But he put his mind to it and figured out about what was the best route for us to go. Then if there were really bad days, he would hitch up the buggy and take us. But it was too much for him, with his farm work to do. He couldn't spend his time taking us back and forth to school. That's one thing I remember about it. Another thing-I remember these things; there's no rhyme nor reason about what I remember, certain things I don't, and others I do. But I remember sitting on the porch, the front porch, one time and my father talking about the contempt he had for the people in the little town of Madison-who, incidentally, considered themselves very much socially above us because we lived out in the country. So the Madison people fancied themselves as being much above those country people. My father was talking about the Madison social set, and to show his disdain for them [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A] [TAPE 1, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
. . . concern. He would-I've forgotten what his expression was, but the implication was he'd just as soon walk down, naked down the streets of Madison, you know, as far as those people were concerned. My mother drew herself very proudly and said, "I trust you would have too much respect for me to do it." (Laughter)