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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Life in the Sigmon house

Though the Sigmon family was never wealthy, they had enough money for a few entertainments such as the movies. Cobb and Yelton also explain how their mother ran her house, divided chores, and disciplined her children.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mareda Sigmon Cobb and Carrie Sigmon Yelton, June 16 and 18, 1979. Interview H-0115. 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:
Which one of your parents did the disciplining of the kids?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Mama. I never did know my daddy to ever whip one of us. [Laughter] My mama, because she was with us. All the slap, she did. Mama never was bad to whip us. We never did get many whippings. I never did. Now I reckon that's the reason Granny said I was so mean. [Laughter]
PATTY DILLEY:
Was your father away from home?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, lots. Our mother never did go nowhere without... They used to have a little show over here at the YMCA. That building still sets there, where the Ivey Weavers's on. They have some kind of a club in there now. In front of the Ivery Weavers. Used to have the office in there.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
You know where the fire department is.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
That building down there. It don't look too good right now, but it used to. That used to be a theater, and our mama would see that we went to the picture show twice a week. She'd scrape around and get the money. She'd always buy us popcorn. That's what they had then; it was about like now.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What else did you do for fun when you were kids?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
There wasn't too much to do then. We didn't have no recreation in school back them days. We'd go to the show, and we'd just visit the neighbors and stuff like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have to do certain chores around the house?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
No. I never would wash the dishes. [Laughter] No, Mama wouldn't never let nobody in her kitchen, would she, Carrie?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
No. When I was [grown?] up, she did the cooking and all and I cleaned the house.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
That's what I done. And she did learn me to sew. When I was fourteen years old, my daddy bought a new sewing machine, a Singer treadle. We had an old one, but it was old; I think it belonged to Grandma Huffman. But he bought a new one and he give it to me, and he wanted me to learn to sew. And that's one thing I'm proud of; I can sew pretty good. And Mama would set me down. She never would whip me, but if I didn't do it right she'd come around and snap me on the head. [Laughter] But we got along pretty good for a large family.
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Tell them about the time you moved up here to Burke County, the thing about Mama's hat.
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
My daddy sold our second house and bought a farm up in Morganton, but us young'uns didn't like being in the country. We went to a little country school out there. It was across the creek, and we had a neighbor up there, but I couldn't whip this girl and she picked on me. You know how kids... My brother older than me, Frank, said he'd hold her if I'd whip her, and I did. [Laughter] Anyhow, when we was moving up there, my mother was always kind of neat, and her hat didn't look so good. You know, back then you didn't have nothing. She got this black shoe polish, and she put it on it, and it rained on us that day going. My brother Quinn( ) was driving the buggy, and she had us two littler ones in the buggy with her; then the rest of them was on the wagon. And he looked up. He said, "Mama, what in the world's the matter with you? You're turning into a colored person." [Laughter]
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Shoe polish was running down her ...
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, that shoe polish just run down.