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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 >>

Social structures in Chapel Hill

Though they were still having financial difficulties, Adamson found a social spot in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, because of her friendship with Charles T. Woollen's family and R.B. Lawson's family, particularly Estelle Lawson Page who later became the North and South Women's Amateur Golf champion. Over the following pages, she describes how various family members adjusted to the change.

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

MARY FREDERICKSON:
When you moved into Chapel Hill then, you were almost ready for high school?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
I went to the sixth and seventh grades in Chapel Hill. I guess it was. I started high school there.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Was that move hard for you to make?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, it was difficult for me because I was a country bumpkin really. At that time, the town was divided between Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Carrboro was a mill town, and Chapel Hill was the university part of the town. And the two did not mingle at all. There were some of the students from Carrboro at the school. We all went to the same school. But the social life was never considered at all. Just for the fact that we happened to be living in the university part of the town, why, we were automatically in the social circles of the university. I was asked to the faculty children's parties, my classmates, that sort of thing. It was very difficult then because, well, they had dances-whether it was every Saturday night or how often, I don't know. But anyhow, the boys took turns asking the different girls. And some of the girls were popular and they would get broken on at the dances and all. Well, I wasn't. I didn't know at all how to play the game, so it was a very humiliating social experience, to literally be a wallflower. I did not feel that I could refuse to go. Except one time we had a next-door neighbor named the Thomases, and there were two children in that family, Helen and Monk. And Helen was very popular. She had a steady beau and was very popular. Monk, I don't know just exactly what about. Anyhow, he was always asked to the parties. Once I created a real ruckus because I was put with Monk to go to one of the dances, and I flatly refused to go with him because I had been put with him at a previous dance and he hadn't even done the minimum, that is to dance the first dance with me. (Laughter) And his mother, oh, his mother was absolutely furious. She came over and said, "Why, Monkford was descended from royalty on both sides of the house." And that I should refuse to go to the dance with him, it was just absolutely intolerable. But I still wouldn't go. (Laughter)
MARY FREDERICKSON:
Well, there was quite an active social life . . . you were quite young.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
You were still in early high school?
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
Yes, yes.
MARY FREDERICKSON:
But that was what you were supposed to do, you were supposed to know how to go to all these dances.
MARY PRICE ADAMSON:
That's right. I was supposed to know how to dance, which I didn't at all. I was supposed to know how to make small conversation, which I didn't know how to do at all. I got along fine. I don't know whether you remember about the Woolens or not, whether any of them are still around Chapel Hill. Charles Woolen was the treasurer of the university. His daughter was in my class at school and was sort of a special pal of mine. And the Lawsons, Estelle Lawson later got to be a national golf champion. So I was quite friendly with them. My brother Tom had been a good athlete, and Dr. Lawson was the head of the physical education department. Tom had been a special pet of his. When we moved to Chapel Hill, why, the Lawson families were very kind to us. So there was no social awkwardness there. But it was a hard adjustment for me to make.