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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Durr gets her first job and meets Clifford

Durr spent the first year after leaving Wellesley as a debutante, going to parties and searching for a husband. When she failed to find an eligible offer, she took a job at the law library, embarrassing her parents but providing some important supplementary income for her family. This passage ends with Clifford Durr meeting Virginia, and the story of their courtship continues for several minutes.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-1. 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

SUE THRASHER:
So, you spent most of that year partying and didn't work?
VIRGINIA FOSTER DURR:
No, I was debutanting and I did have one or two proposals but nothing that appealed to me or amounted to anything. So the next year, we really werehard up then, that was '24, I suppose and we really were hard up then. The furnace didn't work well and the roof leaked and the plumbing was going bad. So I said to Mother, "I'm going to get a job." This was unheard of, you see. So, I did. I went out on my own and I got a job at the law library at $25 a month. Mrs. Thach was the law librarian and she hired me to come in half a day and I got $25 a month. Well, $25 a month was a lot of money and I got the furnaced fixed and I got the plumbing fixed and I got the roof fixed and I began to paper some of the rooms in the house where the paper was falling down and poor Mother and Daddy were terribly embarassed over that, they just thought that was a confession of dire failure, a daughter working. I could hear Mother saying to her friends over the telephone, "Well, you know how these girls are, they just can't have enough ball dresses and silver slippers." She had to pretend that I was just working because I was frivolous and wanted more ball dresses. She just couldn't bear to think that I was working because I was . . . .
CLIFFORD DURR:
Her Daddy told her she was destroying his credit at the bank.
VIRGINIA FOSTER DURR:
Oh yeah, Daddy said, "Well, you realize that with a daughter working downtown, my credit is destroyed, my credit at the bank is completely destroyed." So, it really was tough, I mean it was hard. I did fix the plumbing and the furnace and the roof, but you see, by that time cotton was down to nothing and Daddy was beginning to sell off what he could, I suppose. Then, this lady, Mrs. Thach got sick and I got the job as law librarian and that paid $150 a month, didn't it, Cliff?
CLIFFORD DURR:
Yes, I thought that with my normal salary combined with hers, we could immediately get married and then she immediately quit.
SUE THRASHER:
Now, you met Cliff while you were at the library?
VIRGINIA FOSTER DURR:
I met Cliff at the library . . . .
CLIFFORD DURR:
You met me first at church.
VIRGINIA FOSTER DURR:
I met him first at church. You see, I won't go into the various gentlemen that offered themselves . . . (laughter) The thing was that I didn't care for any of them particularly but I was under terrible pressure to get married. Everybody else was getting married. There were a lot of weddings that year and a lot of my friends were getting married and I was a a lot of weddings. So, I met Cliff at church. My father had been a Presbyterian preacher and his father, they were Presbyterians. My father had known his father when he was a Presbyterian preacher and used to stay at their house. So, he knew Cliff when he was a little boy. Didn't you call him "Dr. Foster went to Gloster?"1 1 Dr. Foster went to Gloster all in a shower of rain Dr. Foster went to Gloster and never came back again.
CLIFFORD DURR:
Yeah, we'd stick our head in the door and yell Dr. Foster went to Gloster."We thought that he was a lot of fun.
VIRGINIA FOSTER DURR:
Yeah, Daddy was lively.