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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Eula and Vernon Durham, November 29, 1978. Interview H-0064. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Various social gatherings in the rural South

Eula and Vernon Durham remember religious songs, ball games, box parties, and carnivals. The local mill maintained the ball park.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eula and Vernon Durham, November 29, 1978. Interview H-0064. 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

EULA DURHAM:
But these two boys could play guitar and sing—Archie Ross and Virgil Snider. They could really sing, but they both played guitar. And they would carry their guitars down there and we'd just have a sing-out down there on the river. But them boys could really sing.
JIM LELOUDIS:
What were their names again?
EULA DURHAM:
Virgil Snider and Archie Ross. They played guitar. McKinley McDaniel—he moved from Gibsonville, didn't he?—well, he could play any kind of music, and he give lessons to a bunch of boys here and all. And any time we'd go anywhere they'd carry their guitars and things and have a singing and all. And Miss Mamie Moore, his aunt, she was our Sunday school teacher, so she carried us all down there one time on a wienie roast and marshmallow toast. And they carried the guitars and they got to singing, you know, religious songs and all. And she got to shouting. And it scared us to death down there. We hadn't never seen nobody shout before. Well, she got happy and got to shouting. And it scared us to death. We thought she was having some kind of spell or something. Scared every one of us younguns to death.
JIM LELOUDIS:
What was she shouting?
EULA DURHAM:
She got happy over there at the singing, you know. Just kind of shout. Scared us younguns to death. We thought she was having some kind of spell or something. And Essie Carter, she was a lot older than the rest of us. She said, "There ain't nothing the matter with Miss Mamie, but she's happy. She's just happy, that's all the matter with her." Well, we thought she was having a spell. It scared the daylights out of us.
JIM LELOUDIS:
You mentioned baseball games earlier. Did a lot of people play ball?
EULA DURHAM:
Oh, they used to have a…
VERNON DURHAM:
That was the main sport.
EULA DURHAM:
The main sport here. They had a ball ground up here and Lord, on Saturdays they'd have ball games.
VERNON DURHAM:
They'd draw from all around.
EULA DURHAM:
Everything in the whole country would be there.
VERNON DURHAM:
Fill the place up. Them boys now, they don't go out for it now like they used to.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Did you ever play?
VERNON DURHAM:
No, I never did do any playing much.
EULA DURHAM:
There was a whole lot of times after baseball games the church would have a box party. All the girls at church would bring a box of chicken or something. And the boys would bid off to buy it, and he'd eat with you. Well, I never did carry nary one. But this old gal she thought she was really tops, the preacher's daughter. And, Lord, they decorated the box, covered it in crepe paper, you know, make it pretty and all. She thought her box was so pretty, and Silas Hatley, she kind of went wild over him, liked him. Well, Silas bought her box. And, Lord, it just tickled her to death, cause she thought—after everybody had sold them all, you know, and set down, the boy would eat with the girl. And she thought she'd get to eat with Silas, and she bragged about that, "Well, Silas, I'll get to eat with Silas." And I thinked to myself, "No, you won't neither." And me and this gal I run around with, she's dead now, I said, "I'm going to get that box." She says, "Well, get it. We'll go somewhere and eat the thing." Well, I got the box, and she was going with John Council. And me and her and John Council and Jim Strowd slipped off. And they had a big old place to set, then at the ball games, bleachers. Well, we slipped on down behind them bleachers and eat that gal's box.
VERNON DURHAM:
They used to have the box parties at the old schoolhouse. It was penny a vote, wasn't it? You go over and say, ten or fifteen votes, or a hundred votes would be a dollar. And they'd buy—they'd bid and if so-and-so wanted the box, you'd just have to out-bid them to get it. There's some of them would bring four and five dollars, and that's a lot of money.
EULA DURHAM:
Uh-huh. But she didn't get to eat that box. She said somebody had got her box. Somebody had got her box. Nobody didn't know where it was at nor nothing about it. Cause I seen her when she put it in the old Model A car, in the back seat. Well, I didn't get the box, but I was in on it. got the box. She said, "I got the box, now what do you want to do with it?" That was the best fried chicken I ever eat in my life. And little chocolate cupcakes. Oh, Law, used to have some good old times. And when Bynum went off to play ball, the company had a great big old truck, big long bed on it. And Emest Wicker, a man that used to work around down at the mill, Mr. London would let him have that truck on Saturday to carry anyone to the ball game that wanted to go. He'd pull it up down there at the store. Lord, every gal and boy in Bynum would be in that truck. Go off to the ball games. Have the best time. You didn't have to worry about how you was going to the ball games, go down to the store.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Just be there.
EULA DURHAM:
Just be there. Get on that truck, go to the ball game.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Did the company ever plan any activities for its employees?
EULA DURHAM:
No, not that I know of. Nothing but they just, you know, kept the ball field up. And a lot of times them little old carnivals would come up there at the ball ground and pitch and stay maybe a weekend.
JIM LELOUDIS:
What kind of carnival?
EULA DURHAM:
Carnival, you know, like they have now.
VERNON DURHAM:
Yeah, you know, used to have some good shows come here. Stay about all week.
EULA DURHAM:
About like a county fair. They'd have sometimes a elephant or a monkey or wo.
VERNON DURHAM:
Yeah, used to come some animals through here.
EULA DURHAM:
Uh-huh. And they'd have different rides, you know, and things like that. A lot of little old games. Boy, we thought that was something, little old carnival would come, pitch up there. Have the best time. Cost you a quarter to get in.