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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Icy Norman, April 6 and 30, 1979. Interview H-0036. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Work and play in a farming community

Norman remembers work and play on the farm. Even after a day of factory work, she had to help around the farm. She helped her father with his modest tobacco crop, gathered food for livestock, and pulled corn. Corn shuckings brought the community together—after sharing the work they might share supper and start up a square dance.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Icy Norman, April 6 and 30, 1979. Interview H-0036. 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

What kind of crops did you grow on the farm?
We growed corn and all of our vegetables. We didn't raise no tobacco. My daddy would plant one row in the back for chewing tobacco. That's all the tobacco he would plant. We'd have wheat, we'd have rye. When we gathered all of our corn, we'd cut them tops—now I was working in the shoe factory then, Dewey was, too. Barney wasn't there, he was somewhere in Roanoke. Me and him, we'd work until six o'clock. We'd come home and mama would have supper on the table. That's the only time my daddy would let me wear a pair of overalls, would be when I was cutting tops or pulling fodder. He'd let me wear a pair of Barney's overalls and tie them around the ankles on account of snakes. Me and Dewey we would come in at six o'clock. Well, in the fall of the year at six o'clock, it's dark. We'd go out there and cut tops and tie them tops and pull fodder by the moonlight until eleven or twelve o'clock by a night. To take care of our fodder and stuff for the cows and horses. Then we'd go pull the corn. Then we'd have a corn shucking. Now, that's when you'd have a good time. They'd have a pile of corn bigger than this house. They'd shuck that corn. The mothers would always cook dinner, if it was dinnertime. At supper-time another neighbor would cook supper. Then after the corn shucking they'd give us young people a dance. That was a lot of fun. Then they'd have quilting. People would gather and have quilting at different houses. It would be the same way. They'd cook a big dinner, a big supper. And after that was through, the eating and everything, they'd pull everything back and the young people would have a little square dance.
Who would play the music?
Different ones would make music. My daddy never would let no dancing going on. But he never did care us having a little party, a sociable party. Back then, if we both went to a dance. You had a fellow and me had a fellow. Teenage girls usually have them a partner. Like you and your partner and me and my partner. We went over here to this house, they was going to have a little dance there. They wouldn't have it at the same place every week.