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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 >>

Yelton scoffs at nostalgia

After a conversation about the various home knitting businesses some people had established, Yelton illustrates why she does not yearn for the "good old days" but rather enjoys the many amenities and technological advantages of the late twentieth century.

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:
Did you know people who set up little knitting mills in their garages?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes, I had a brother that did that, up at his house.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did he go about doing that? I've just noticed a lot of little, tiny ...
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They'd buy up old machines that the mills didn't want and start out.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who would they sell to?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
They'd go around to the stores and get orders. But he didn't stay in it but a couple of years; he got out.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
He retired, and he just didn't fool with it anymore. And then a man that I worked with did the same thing. He quit out there and put him up a little hosiery mill. But now he's retired, and he's out of it. He had a heart attack; he's out of business. But it's lots of those little hosiery mills.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That still goes on?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
People just setting up their own little ...
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did people prefer to do that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I guess they'd think maybe they could get them a business started. Most all of these hosiery mills and things started like that, from little hosiery mills, and then they'd just keep expanding. I know the Whisnant Mills, been here for years and years and years, and that's the way they started, just with a few machines, and they'd just keep expanding and expanding till they have a whole hosiery business. They say "the good old days," but I can't see them back there; I think these are the good days.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
Just look at the appliances that we've got. We've got washing machines; we've got dryers; we've got refrigerators; we've got deep freeze and airconditioning. And back then we had iceboxes. Ice trucks came around. I know when I was little we couldn't wait for the iceman to come around, because we'd get the little pieces out of the ice truck and eat them. [Laughter] And then we used to have to carry in coal, wood, carry out ashes. [Laughter] . Now we have gas; we have electricity; we have fuel oil and all of that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you think people mean when they talk about the "good old days"?
CARRIE SIGMON YELTON:
I just don't know! They think them was the good old days, but I don't. I just don't. I think that if my mother'd be living now, she'd be really surprised about the way they had to do, and now how convenient everything is.