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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977. Interview H-0022. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Finding childcare when both parents work

Glenn and her first husband worked different shifts so that one or the other of them were always home with the children. Parents who worked the same shift had a variety of ways of providing supervision for their children, and Glenn discusses the presence of children in the mills.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Josephine Glenn, June 27, 1977. Interview H-0022. 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

CLIFF KUHN:
Did you and your husband always work the same shift?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No. I worked six years third shift, and him on the first. My children were small, and if I worked third shift and him first, I didn't have to have somebody stay with them.
CLIFF KUHN:
So you'd work all third shift and then take care of the kids and then go to sleep?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They were in school, but still I didn't want them... They had always been in the country, and I didn't want them running around over that hill all over everywhere and no telling where. I was kind of funny about them; I liked to know where they were.
CLIFF KUHN:
That's not so funny. [Laughter]
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
And they never knew when I was going to wake up and get up. And if I went to bed and I'd say, "You all stay in this yard till I get up," believe it or not, they did it. And then after I'd get up, if they wanted to go somewhere, they could.
CLIFF KUHN:
What did people do where both the wife and the husband worked the same shift?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Some of them would have a neighbor keep them, or just leave them, let them gallivant around.
CLIFF KUHN:
How about the little kids?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
They would have somebody keep them. Some of them had cooks. Some of them maybe had an in-law that would sit in and look after them for them. And a lot of the teenage girls would sit small children in the summertime
CLIFF KUHN:
Did people ever take their kids into the mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Not much. They wasn't supposed to have them. After they got up eight or ten years old, they could go in there and take lunches. Old enough to know not to get in the machinery or anything, just go and take a lunch and come right back. They were permitted to do that at one time, but they stopped that.
CLIFF KUHN:
When did they stop that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
It must have been maybe the late fifties. I know my daughter used to go every day and take lunches. kids to take these lunches. No body there to fix it.
CLIFF KUHN:
Why do you think they stopped that?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Some of the kids got so they would go where they were not supposed to. They got too big for their britches, so's to speak. And had a lot of curiosity; they , and then they stopped it. And the management was changed . And the company ran a dope wagon.
CLIFF KUHN:
For Coca-Colas or what?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
And sandwiches and things like that. They called it the dope wagon. [Laughter] No, the company didn't run it. It was catered in. If you wanted to take your lunch, that was fine and dandy. Sometimes somebody would come in and bring their lunch, but not much. When I first went down there, though, there was quite a few ladies that cooked meals and carried them over there, plates, on all three shifts. There was one lady that carried meals on all three shifts.
CLIFF KUHN:
She was the wife of a mill hand?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
No, she was a widow woman that didn't have any way to make a living except she had a few girl boarders, and she would cook meals and take to the mill and sell them.
CLIFF KUHN:
Were there many single girl boarders who worked in the mill?
JOSEPHINE GLENN:
Yes, right many. My sister boarded with her, for one. She lived down in Orange County and didn't have any way back and forth, so she boarded there in the village.