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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Roy Lee and Mary Ruth Auton, February 28, 1980. Interview H-0108. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Fighting with wife, fighting with wife's father

In one of a number of engaging anecdotes about Auton's turbulent relationships with women, Auton recalls fighting with his first wife and standing up to her protective father when they were dating.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Roy Lee and Mary Ruth Auton, February 28, 1980. Interview H-0108. 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

JACQUELYN HALL:
When did you get married the first time?
ROY LEE AUTON:
I wasn't but nineteen.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where had you met this girl that you married?
ROY LEE AUTON:
She lived about three miles up the road towards Newton. And she left one time while I was at work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
She just left?
ROY LEE AUTON:
Yes, I was working the third shift. Well, she was mean as a snake. But she left while I was at work, and it suited me so good I never have asked her why. You know, back years ago, in the thirties, this little talk about flying saucers and stuff like that? I've actually seen them, because she [laughter] had a temper. And I'd be sitting at the table eating, and she'd break a plate over my head, and I'd just eat on like nothing had happened. But if she was stubborn enough to break that second one, I'd just [laughter] smack the devil out of her. But she'd throw a plate or a saucer at me and miss, and it'd hit the wall and bust and leave dents in the wall where it had hit.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was she like that from the very beginning?
ROY LEE AUTON:
Yes, her daddy was mean, too, but I always took his advice, I reckon.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did he say?
ROY LEE AUTON:
She was slipping out dating, and he didn't know who. So I didn't think much of that, and I told her I was coming over to the house next Saturday night. She says, "I can't. My daddy'll run you off." I said, "I don't think so." So she told some of them down at the mill that I was coming over, and some of the people down there said, "The old man'll run him off." And my first cousin was working there at the Carolina Mill. Said, "No, he won't run him off." So I went, and they was eating supper, so she come in and we was in the living room. When I knocked on the door, she was expecting me, so we was in the living room. So after a while the old man missed her and wanted to know where she was at, and the old woman said, "She's got a date." So he took it on himself to come in there and see who, so he come stomping through the hall and knocked on the door like he was going to knock it down. And she went to the door, and I was setting there on the couch with my legs crossed like a country gentleman. And he looked at me right mean. He said, "Didn't I tell you to stay away from over here?" [Laughter] And I said, "Old man, if you've ever spoke to me, I don't know it." So I got up and walked over to the door where he was at and just leant against the door frame. And I said, "Old man, I come over here trying to act like a gentleman. You know I walked all the way over here. And when I leave, I'm going to walk, but I'm not ready to go yet. And in the meantime, if you think you can beat hell out of me, why don't you try, and we'll see which way it goes." So he turned around and walked off as mad as a bull, but he didn't bother me no more. And they made ice cream that night, and he was a fool about homemade ice cream, and he was so mad he didn't eat none, and I ate his part.
JACQUELYN HALL:
[Laughter]
ROY LEE AUTON:
And I went back the next night and any other night that I wanted to. He never did bother me no more.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did he get more friendly towards you?
ROY LEE AUTON:
Oh, yes. After he seen I wasn't afraid of him, he was all right.