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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 >>

Poor medical care forces Cobb to quit her job

Cobb and her husband also had to stop working because of injuries. Cobb tells the story of her injury and the various ways the company, the company's insurance, and the company's doctors worsened her situation.

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:
But you went down to Gastonia with two other girls?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where did you live?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We got us a boarding place, and I met him in the plant. He was a second hand in the plant.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why did you want to leave Hickory?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
We couldn't find no job that we wanted. They paid pretty good down there. I never did like Hickory to work in.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
I never could find a job in Hickory that really paid me as much money as they did down there. I always made more than my husband did down there. When we drawed our Social Security, I drawed $1.60 more a month than he did. Then when he died in 1970 I went to the Social Security Board and asked her his Social Security. She said, "No, you won't get none of his. You draw $1.60 more than him." See, she would have given me that if he'd drawn $1.60 more than me. Of course, he took his at sixty-two, and I got mine at sixty-five, because I got mine on disability. I got hurt in the plant while I was working out there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What happened?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
A lift hit me.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And broke your leg?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
You know what a lift is, that loads yarn, and that forklift hit me. A piece of iron at the bottom caught my shoe (sandal) and throwed me in front of it and missed pushing me out in the Akers Motor Line truck. There was five big bales of yarn up on top of me, and I was under it. I forget how many thousand pounds they said it was. It happened that the shipping clerk saw me under it. They said I screamed, but I don't remember nothing about it. I really don't remember getting hit. My husband worked on one end of town, and I worked over at the other one. I worked at Ranlo, North Carolina, and he worked down in South Gastonia, and so the last years I got a ride with Pete . And I was waiting for him to come out to get the car. It was awfully hot. It was on the twenty-second day of August, and I didn't want to get in that hot car. I saw him on the other side of the spare door( ), and the next thing I remembered they was telling me to lay still. I come to. It must have knocked me out when it first hit me, because when I come to I was on the floor. And he carried me to the hospital. But this leg is the doctor's fault.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you mean?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
He wrapped it up and sent me home and saved the company a little money. You see, that's North Carolina compensation. And he told me to see him the next week, to call him the next Thursday--that was on a Thursday--and he'd let me know when he could see me. My leg wasn't broke, but I had a big old old purple knot( ) right there, don't you see? It was a blood artery busted. And I took gangrene, and by Monday night I couldn't lay down, and my husband took me to our family doctor. And when he unwrapped that leg... And I didn't know what it was to be sick, because I'd just had a physical about two weeks before that, because I thought my blood [pressure] was a little high. And it was, just a little bit. That's the first time my blood kind of was getting high. And he'd given me a little mild medicine two weeks before that. And he told me to come back in two weeks. I was supposed to go on Friday, but I got hurt on Thursday. And when he unwrapped that leg, he got mad at .
JACQUELYN HALL:
And he said it was the doctor's fault?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, he said he couldn't do nothing for that leg. I'd have to go to a surgical doctor. And he said, "You'll have to get you a surgical doctor," and I said, "You better get me one." So he called Dr. Williams, and I went in the hospital that evening and I stayed four months and eight days at Gaston Memorial Hospital before I ever went home.
PATTY DILLEY:
Did the company ever pay for all your doctor bills?
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
They paid the doctor bill, yes. It was a little over $12,000 then. It would have been a whole lot more than that now, but that's what it was at that time. That was in '63. And they gave me sixty percent of my wages for a little over two years. That's all. I never did . Two lawyers told me in Charlotte if I'd sued the doctor in Aberfall's--Aberfall's owned this plant, but Textiles owns it; they bought it while I was in the hospital--they'd got to give me $10,000, but I never did sue them, because I just didn't... I had my family all to die, and I never would take it on.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Your family ...
MAREDA SIGMON COBB:
Yes, both of my brother-in-laws was buried a week apart. mostly. And then my husband didn't live too long. He died in '70. So I just never did do it. That's a job to go in, a lawsuit like that, so I never did.