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Title: Oral History Interview with Nell Putnam Sigmon, December 13, 1979. Interview H-0143. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Sigmon, Nell Putnam, interviewee
Interview conducted by Hall, Jacquelyn
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 204 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-05-14, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Nell Putnam Sigmon, December 13, 1979. Interview H-0143. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0143)
Author: Jacquelyn Hall
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Nell Putnam Sigmon, December 13, 1979. Interview H-0143. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-0143)
Author: Nell Putnam Sigmon
Description: 202 Mb
Description: 48 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 13, 1979, by Jacquelyn Hall; recorded in Newton, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Jean Houston.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series H. Piedmont Industrialization, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
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Interview with Nell Putnam Sigmon, December 13, 1979.
Interview H-0143. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Sigmon, Nell Putnam, interviewee


Interview Participants

    NELL PUTNAM SIGMON, interviewee
    JACQUELYN HALL, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
JACQUELYN HALL:
… Cleveland County?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
That's over near Shelby.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And what did your daddy do?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He worked for Duke Power. They built these dams and powerhouses. In fact, he helped build the one at River Bent at Mount Harley and the one at Oxford Dam out here. And then we went to West Virginia, Goley Bridge. He helped build that one out there. We was out there about five or six year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was his job?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He was a foreman for the steel. He did the looking after the steel to see that it was laid right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did he get into that line of work?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't know. When he was just young, he built bridges. In fact, he helped build this overhead bridge down here. He was real good at reading blueprint and all that stuff. And I have a brother that lives in Thomasville, and he's a contractor.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You don't know how your daddy learned how to …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He just learned it on himself. He built houses, too. After he retired from that kind of work, he then started building houses and remodeling and stuff like that. That was after the War.
Mother died during the War. I had five brothers in the service, and every one of them had to go overseas, and that's when I lost my mother. She was a five-star War mother of this county, and they honored her. Oh, they made so much to-do over her. I think it brought her death faster.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Really?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, she was honored at the Bond rallies and all that stuff. Just too much to-do over her.

Page 2
JACQUELYN HALL:
You think that really hastened her death?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I do. I think it had a lot to do with it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did it make her …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
She just stayed in a nervous tension all the time. And she had a heart attack. She had went to get her eyes checked, and she got back home and she set down. And she started coughing, and I know she began to line [unclear] up and get dark. And she was having a heart attack.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were there?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. My daddy and me put her on the bed. And she just kept trying to talk, but yet she didn't. And I called the doctor, and when he got there he said that she had had a heart attack, and her heart was so weak that she couldn't throw it off.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How old was she when she died?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Fifty-five and one day old.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's not very old.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh. I've got the awfulest bunch of stuff. They even put her picture in the paper and all that stuff, when she was honored and everything. They just made too much to-do over her. Her and another lady. This other lady had four, I believe.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you realize before she died that they were making too much to-do over her?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I had wrote the boys, and I said, "They're making too much to-do over Mother."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did she complain about it?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No. But you could tell she was just worried to death all the time. And when she died, I could not get one of them home. I went to the Red Cross and just begged them. And they said, "No, we just can't. We're

Page 3
sorry. They're in a War area, and if they would pull them out, probably hundreds of others would get killed."
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did her death affect you?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, my Lord, I just thought I was going to die. Because me and her lived at home. Daddy worked in the shipyard. He knew that he had to do something to get a job, and at that time everything was going to defense work. So Daddy was at the shipyard.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
In Norfolk, Virginia.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you were the only child at home?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. My sister was married, and my brother was married that was left. They both had families, is the reason they didn't go, but they did go to Baltimore to the aircraft plants.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you real close to your mother?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, yes. Mother and me were just… I could have gotten married before the boys all had to leave, but I seen my brothers was going to have to all go, and I couldn't leave my mother. And I didn't want to get married and have that responsibility when I had her, and it was just about all I could do to look after Mother and work, too. And we'd get out and go to see the movies and visit the neighbors and all that stuff. We'd go down to Cleveland County and visit my aunts down there. Mother and her sisters were very close, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have to take care of her? Was she a little bit feeble?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, she was as spry as she could be. And she just loved to get out and go shopping. And, too, I did everything I thought was good for her. And I enjoyed getting out, too, because the more we would get out with people, the less time we would have to think about the War. And it was terrible. It was just boys getting killed every day or two.

Page 4
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you really afraid that your brothers were going to get killed?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, yes. The night before she died, I don't know, I had such a terrible feeling. I felt like something was going to happen, and yet you didn't know what. You were just worked up inside. And we hadn't heard from a couple of the boys for several weeks, and that was sort of worrying her, too. Well, that night I went to sleep crying, and the next morning it still wasn't much better. I went to work, and I told the girls, "I've just got a feeling we're going to get some bad news from the boys." And they said, "Why, Nell, don't feel that way about it. Maybe not." But then it was Mother instead of the boys.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But you had a feeling ahead of time that something was going to happen.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had that ever happened to you before, that you sort of had a feeling ahead of time, and then something really did happen?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
During the Wartime, I met this boy—that's his picture over there. He come home because one of his little sisters had died, and while he was on leave I met him. Our Sunday school class was sending Christmas cards, and so his name was in the paper and I sent him one, and that's what got our friendship started. That was before his little sister died. And when he come home for this funeral, he was in Oregon getting ready to ship out for Rome, Italy, and the European countries. Well, I met him some way. I don't know where it was now. I think it was at the fair, him and this other soldier. And I don't know, I just started writing to him. He had got my Christmas card, and I had just started writing to him, and that's the way [Laughter] that ended up. These boys said, "I bet you'll marry that

Page 5
girl when you get home." That picture over there of me went to Rome, Italy, and back, Sicily. [Laughter] But he hung onto that picture. And when he got back, we did get married. But all my brothers had just gotten home before he did. Well, I had to go through with all that writing those letters, just how everything was, and then I had to face every one of them and talk it over with them after they got home. But I had told them I wasn't going to get married, I was going to stay where I was, till they all got home.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you had to write to all your brothers and tell them that your mother had died.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. I cried and wrote. I wrote one letter, and I copied five.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You wrote one letter and then copied it over and sent it to each one of them.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. That's the only way I could do. I was a nervous wreck when I got through writing that one.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How come your daddy didn't write the letters?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He didn't feel up to it. After I sort of got calmed down, he went back to the shipyard, because he only got a leave. You was assigned a leave. But then after all the boys got back in, they began to go into school and everything. I had one brother that went back out to California, the one that was in the Marines, and he was a pharmacist. And he married a girl, and he has two daughters. And one of his daughters is a doctor, and I'm really proud of her.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Wow. That's unusual for a girl to do, isn't it?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. But she's a smart girl. She was a straight-A student. My daughter is a head nurse at Charlotte Memorial. My son works for Conscope. That's a big company. They make cable.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who took care of the arrangements for your mother's funeral?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I did, me and my sister.

Page 6
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was your sister living close by?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So the two of you took care of all those arrangements. That must have been hard to do.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
It was. But it so happened that we put the dress on her that she was honored in. I thought that dress looked so pretty on her.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of funeral did she have?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
It was just an ordinary funeral, but this lawyer from Hickory had had this pretty flag made for Mother. I thought it was just beautiful. Because she had all those boys that served. It was flowers made into a flag. But it was beautiful.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, that he sent?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was he a friend of your family?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He just knew her through being honored. All the businessmen, the lawyers and all, honored the War mothers.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you get along then? Did you live by yourself after?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, I moved into town. I couldn't stand to live out there. I stayed with my sister. I couldn't go back in that house. I stayed with my sister and her husband, and then I moved into Conover. And then when that boy got home, we dated a while, and we got married then, and we had two children.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How long did you go out before you got married?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, we dated about six months, I reckon, but we'd been knowing each other a couple years. He was in the service twenty-three months, I believe; he was overseas that long.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have any trouble making up your mind about whether to marry

Page 7
him or not?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, yes, I was. And my daddy said to me, "I just don't think that you should be getting married, because you've always had your way, and you just sort of do as you please, and it'll be altogether different when you get married." Well, I was twenty-seven years old. And I thought, "Well, now, all the boys are getting back and going into school, and I'm still going to be sitting by myself, and I may as well get married."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you worried about the fact that you might not be able to do what you wanted to?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, I don't know. I was just …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why were you so used to doing as you pleased?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
With those brothers, they were just so good to me and Mother, and I don't know. You know, to grow up with five boys [Laughter] , you just have a lot of fun. They'd bring their friends home, and I'd bring mine, so there we were, and we'd dance, and we had the most fun. They all brought their girls home, usually, when they dated.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you first got married, did you find it hard at first?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, I don't know. I just made up my mind maybe I'd be better satisfied if I'd get married, so I did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you find that you were better satisfied?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, yes, in lots of ways. I think a girl at twenty-seven, she's pretty settled anyway. Or I was. In fact, I had several friends that was married that I worked with, and I don't know; I just was a settled type of girl.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you mean by "settled"?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, I don't know. I just didn't go a lot, and I stayed around home. Nothing but the church work, is all, and my girlfriends would

Page 8
come in and spend the weekend with me or something like that. We'd go to church together. I'd go spend the night with them on Saturday night and go to church with them. That was about all there was to do around here during the War.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Would you sit up and talk at night?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. And one of their brothers played the piano. Oh, he was really good. We'd play the piano and sing. Girls didn't do like they do now, get out and drink and all that. You know, the girls are so different.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You think the girls are a lot different now?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, yes, indeed. Why, we didn't drink or smoke or anything like that. Of course, there might have been some that did back then, but I just didn't go with that type of girls.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was your husband like?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, he was a mechanic. He was a genius.
JACQUELYN HALL:
A genius?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes: And after he got back from service, he went to work for the State Highway Department. He was head mechanic. Oh, he was one of the best. Everybody said he really was a good mechanic. But the poor old thing come down with… He had some feet problem. His feet were sort of frozen when he was in the War. Wearing those old boots so long, and when he'd pull them off, the blood and hide and everything would come off [unclear] . Oh, he had a lot of trouble with his feet. And the older he got, the worse they'd get. So they retired him, and then they found out he had cancer. And he was sick five year. And I waited on that man. After they found out he had cancer, he was in and out of the Veterans Hospital at Oteen. Well, he was an outpatient for a long time before they found out he had cancer. And so he didn't want to stay in the hospital; he wanted to stay

Page 9
at home. Well, I kept him at home, and I waited on him. He had two major operations, one on this side and one on that side. It was in the lymph glands. And he had a tumor under his tongue. They took that out and the lower jawbone, his teeth. They had to do all that in order to get to all those glands that that thing travelled in. And I had to fix his food just like you do a baby's. But I waited on that man just like if he was a little helpless child. And on Monday, he and his sister and me… They were awfully good to me, especially that one; she lost a boy in service. And she was so depressed and everything. She was so good to my husband, her brother. And she and me would take him to Oteen when he'd have to go in for a checkup and everything. And so we had took him up there on Monday, and they had put him through the lab and everything, and they told him to go home and take it easy, that they had done all they could do for him. Well, we knew that he was getting to the last stages, because he had such a dark color, and he was just weakening away. If he'd get up, a lot of times he'd fall, lose his balance. So I'd walk up to him and help him walk. And one time he got down in the bathroom one night. It was about two o'clock. He had lost his balance when he started to get up. And so I helped him get back to bed, because I knew if he lay on the floor it might take him till Monday [unclear] , as weak as he was. But honest to goodness, that man was as poor as he could be. Right in here, you could stick your fist in there in those places, and he was a big-boned man. He was a well-built man. He was tall, and he had the biggest body, and you could count every bone in his back, all of his ribs. He was just plumb pitiful. But I sure waited on him. And then on Friday morning, he died. He said he felt so bad he couldn't sit up, but I guess that it had just got him. But on Tuesday night after we'd taken him up to the hospital, I know he had a light heart attack. I had a couch

Page 10
over there for him to lay on a lot. And he took a smothering spell during the night. And they had give him some medicine for his heart, and I didn't know he had heart trouble. And Susan—my daughter, that's head nurse at Charlotte—looked at his medicine that they give him, and she said, "Mother, did you know Daddy had heart trouble?" And I said, "No, Susan. He didn't tell me." She said, "Well, he's got heart trouble, because he's got a prescription here for heart medicine." And they was giving him the cancer drugs in a capsule. But he sure did suffer, I'm telling you.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did he realize that he was about to die?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, he had told me that he wasn't going to live long, and on Friday morning his back hurt him so bad he said, "Every bone in it feels like it's going to come out."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was he afraid of dying, or was he ready to die …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He wished he could die. He wished he could die and get out of the misery.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you get through all that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't know. And my friend had a husband that had a tumor on his brain. A very fine fellow. And she has three grown boys. And her husband went to the same hospital my daughter works. In fact, she was head nurse on the same floor that he was on. And he had a tumor on his brain, and it was malignant. And she told me one weekend she was home. She said, "Mother, don't tell nobody, but Aunt Molly's (she called her "Aunt Molly," because we just grew up together and everything) husband has got cancer of the brain. They operated, but he'll probably lose his mind." But he was just like my husband; he'd fall. She had her hands full, too. We're still good friends. We go places together. I said, "Didn't you feel like giving up sometimes? Or did you feel like that you might go first?" She said,

Page 11
"I absolutely did." I said, "I often made remarks to Susan that if her Daddy didn't, if something didn't soon help [unclear] here, that I was going to go before him." My body was in a strain. But I toughed it out. But he told me a couple weeks before he died that he knew he wasn't going to live long, and that he wanted me to look after these little grandsons. Anytime they wanted to come here, for me to go after them, and to be good to them, because he said, "Nell, they're small, and they can't help theirself now. But you'll be rewarded for it." And I did. If they need any new clothes and I see they need them, I'll go buy them for them. Now when they get grown and everything, they won't need my help.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He felt like these grandsons would take care of you then, when you were older.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are these Susan's children?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, Steve's.
Susan's not married. She dates a doctor some, but he's still an intern, and he has a lot of duty to pull, and he has to study a lot, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How old is she?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
She's twenty-six. Then, too, she's met this manager at Kroger's store, and she thinks a lot of him, too. Oh, she said he was a giant. He's six-four. That's her picture when she was in nurses' training. I've got several, though, of her. She's a little bit taller than I am. But she wears her hair different now.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why has she waited so long to get married?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't know. She's just been in school so much, and she's just tied up with her job. She bought her a new car, a new Thunderbird, last January. And I don't know, her and her friends—they're nurses—have a good time. So really, she's… [Laughter] She said that it seemed

Page 12
like she just hadn't met the one yet. I said, "I think the manager of Kroger's is going to be the man." Because he is crazy over her. She's been dating him about three months, and he already wants to take her to meet his family in Atlanta. And he's had four year in college. She said he is really a nice fellow. But she said she told him, "You'll never meet another girl as independent as I am." He said, "Well, I like independent girls." She said, "I'm above the average, though." [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where did she get that independence?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, I guess from her daddy. Because he was sort of smart. I tell you. Well, she is, too. She's always made good grades. But that nursing program is so hard. They have to know as much as doctors, you know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you want her to have a career?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, when she was a little girl, that's all she talked about, was nurses' training. So we didn't let her date much when she was in high school. And we knew that's what she wanted. And my husband got a veteran's pension, and they signed him up to draw his Social Security, too. So the money problem wasn't no problem, because she was drawing a check from the Veterans, and, too, she won two scholarships. And we knew if she started dating, she'd get careless in her books. And we just sort of were strict. Well, not too much, though, I don't reckon.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did she resent that at all?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, she didn't. But then after she got in her twenties, then she said, "In a way, I'm glad you and Daddy was as strict on me as you were, because I might have got sort of careless. I am really proud of my career, though, now." And Steve wanted to take a mechanical course. He's really good, too, and he can paint cars. He has a shop, and he paints cars and works on cars, besides his regular job. So he has a little extra income, too.

Page 13
JACQUELYN HALL:
After your husband died, how did you make the adjustment then to being on your own? What was that period like?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
If it hadn't been for my widow friends and my neighbors… I've got neighbors …
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
JACQUELYN HALL:
They're as close to you as relatives?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. Call me every day and lives up here. I'm not a bit more afraid to stay here than nothing. But at first I was. This widow lady over here and this widow over there, she has a son with her. But I would go over at night and spend the night with her a lot. And then I decided… My son sort of talked me into selling this place and coming on down and living with him, get me a trailer. They're as nice as a home, [unknown]. He has all this land and everything. He said, "Mother, if you're not satisfied, why don't you just sell out and get you a trailer or something and come on down and live beside us?" And I said, "Well, Steve, my friends are all uptown, and my neighbors, and the people I go to church with. They've done so much for me, and it's home to me. I think I'll just be better satisfied to stay here and try to work some, too, and get out and go some, too." So I sort of got adjusted, and just one week I absolutely decided that if I was going to keep this place, I had to make up my mind to stay here and make the best of it, although I was scared at night. I'd get up, you know. But yes, I got over it. Because I have some widow friends that are very close. We just sort of buddy together. That's helped me, I reckon.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You'd get up and …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
At night and look out to see if it was anything.

Page 14
JACQUELYN HALL:
You'd hear noises.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. And I'd go back to bed, go back to sleep.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Had you ever had any kind of frightening things happen to you?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, not after I lost him. Nobody never bothers me or anything. And everybody now knows I live here alone. Of course, the Highway Patrol station's up here, and we have a good friend that works up there. And I told him if I ever needed anybody right quick, he'd be one of the first ones I'd call.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who did help you the most while your husband was sick?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
My sister-in-law. Well, my neighbors would come in and sit with him and talk to him, which was good. And they're retired up there. He's had two heart attacks, so he would come in and talk to him a lot. And they'd sit out in the yard and talk.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But your sister-in-law was really your main …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, she was so good to take him to the doctor. Well, it almost took both of us when he got further along.
JACQUELYN HALL:
During your marriage before he got sick, did you have any kind of rocky times, any disagreements or hard things like that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, I just sort of let him have his way. That's just the way you're supposed to do things like that. Just go along with anything he wants to do, because he was sick; he felt bad all the time. Cancer must be a terrible, painful thing. Because my daughter said they had some patients there that would never leave the hospital.
JACQUELYN HALL:
During the earlier years before he got sick, was he pretty much the boss, and he pretty much made all the decisions?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I always felt like the man should be the boss. He looked after all the bills and everything, and now I've got all that to do. All

Page 15
the liability insurance and keeping up the car. My son keeps up my car, though. I mean if it's any mechanical work to be done or greasing or anything like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there things where you made the decisions?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, sometime.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of things would that be?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I guess everybody talks over things before they make a decision. He had a pretty good head on him. He didn't go out further than he could reach.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What happened to your independence and being used to having your own way?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I still sort of stuck up for my rights. [Laughter] Because I had my two children, and I had to sort of go along with them. They were young, and they had a lot to do in the church and in school. And all of the good movies, naturally they wanted to go see them, and I'd take four or five of the children here in this neighborhood to the movies on Sunday evening. And things like that. They had a museum at Hickory—I don't know if they still have it or not—and they had this huge snake. [Laughter] And they wanted to go see it. So I said, "All right. All of you come over. We'll go see it." So I took them to see it. And I'd take them swimming every Sunday, and I take my little grandsons. That's one reason they like to spend the summer with me, because I take them up to the swimming pool about one o'clock and let them stay till five. Now they enjoy that, and they meet so many kids. That's one thing. And if I want my yard mowed, I say, "Well, all right, you boys get the yard mowed and cleaned up, [Laughter] and I'll take you to the swimming pool." Oh, boy, you ought to see them get busy. [Laughter]

Page 16
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your husband mind you taking the children?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, he knew I was doing it for their own good. Because he liked to go fishing and hunting and things like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you and your husband do things together, or did you do things with your women friends?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I didn't go out with my women friends. If we went anywhere, we went together and took our children. After his feet got so bad, he didn't… He doctored them a lot, and they just kept getting worse and worse. And he'd sit around and soak his feet and rest and things like that. And then that cancer was working on him all those years. I'm sure that they had not diagnosed his case. Because they said John Wayne had cancer twelve year before they found out he had it. And he was in that War, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you feel like you could talk to your husband about anything that was on your mind?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I did. Yes, we'd sit and talk a lot of time. And you know, he even went as far as telling me that he wanted this funeral home in Newton to have his body, which Maiden, we knew them real well, too. And I know the one in Conover. He said he wanted Rex to have him, because he said he thought Rex did a real nice job. Boy, we give him a nice funeral, though, let me tell you. And we used a flag. They give all the veterans a flag, I guess. But he had bought this new suit before he got so bad sick. It was beautiful. And I put that on him. You know, when he died he had a smile on his face. That was unusual. And he just perked up. His jaws had got so big and puffed, but I guess the fluid they took out of him at the funeral home made him look more normal. But they said he just looked like he was asleep and he didn't have a pain in the world. Everybody said it, too. But he sure did look good to be sick so long. He looked sort of

Page 17
like he did when he was young; sort of, life had come back to him. And all of my friends were so nice to me. It was eighty people that brought food in this house. Now that is a lot of food. But everybody at the church just felt so close to me, and admired me for what I done for him so long.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What church did you go to?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
May's Chapel Methodist. But we had his funeral on Easter Sunday.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you raised as a Methodist?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, I was a Baptist.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you change over to the Methodist church?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I think when people get married they should belong to one church, and then when we had our family started I just joined his church.
JACQUELYN HALL:
He was a Methodist?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. His family were.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you see much difference between the Methodist and the Baptist church?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, I didn't. Only they baptize their babies, where we don't. They wait until they're about twelve years old. They [the Baptists?] baptize their babies when they're small, and then they take this Bible study when they're about twelve or fourteen, and then they join the church.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you believe in infant baptism?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I don't have anything against it. It's just something that you take the vows that you're going to live right and be good to those children and see that they're raised right. That's the only thing I see.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you miss that once you went to the Methodist church?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, yes, I did. I went along with that. I thought it was good, too. But the Baptists don't. I don't see anything wrong with it. And the Lutherans do that, too.

Page 18
JACQUELYN HALL:
Has your religion taught you certain things about how to live your life?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, sure. I think if you stay in the church, your life is a good life. And I have really raised my children in the church. And I see that my little grandsons are in Sunday school every Sunday, too. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have a particular conversion experience, a particular moment when you had salvation?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, not necessarily. I've just always tried to live a good life. I knew right from wrong, and I knew if you taught your children that, that they would always do right, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Let me ask you a little bit more about your own childhood. Do you know anything about where your mother and daddy came from or anything about their background?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, they were born down there, and Mother and Daddy was married there. And the preacher that married her and Daddy preached her funeral. He was still living, but he had retired. Because she was in the church at the time that she was growing up, and she played the organ in the church.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you know your grandparents?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you know what your grandparents had done for a living?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
My grandfather had a farm, and he had tenants on his farm.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever go out to that farm?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, yes. I remember when I was a little girl. Oh, he was so crazy over me, and I was just a little girl. Every time I'd have a birthday, he'd get material for me a new dress. [Laughter] He was so foolish over me. In fact, he named me after my grandmother, Emma Nell. And I don't like that name—it's so old—but yet, you hear of it every

Page 19
once in a while.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You don't like it because it's so old-fashioned?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, it's not that. It's just such an odd name. E-M-M-A. Isn't that an odd name?
JACQUELYN HALL:
My grandmother's name was Emma.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Really? My mother's name was Julia, and it's two in my family. They have named their children. One of them named their little girl Julie, and my brother named his daughter Julia. They didn't want them to be exactly alike, but they still loved the name of Julia.
Mother was an awful good mother, and a real good woman.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was it that made her such a good woman?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't know. She was just liked by everybody. She was just so good to everybody. I never will forget one time. We lived beside of some people, and their baby was just a little thing, and it had pneumonia. And Mother stayed out there at their house so much. And one night it was choking up, and they come for Mother. Said they wanted her to come back out there, that their baby had took another choking spell. But the doctor said it was so sick, they didn't think he'd make it. And they didn't put it in the hospital. People didn't used to go to the hospital, it seems like. And Mother went out there during the night. They come to get her, and she said, "I'm going to leave you all a while. They've come for me to go out there and sit with that baby a while." So Mother went out there and greased that baby real good that night and set up and held [helped?] him.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Greased the baby?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. With Vicks. And set out there with that baby that night. They said every time Mother left, the baby would get worse.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did she do that for other people, go when someone was sick?

Page 20
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, she just did it for those people. She thought a whole lot of them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was your daddy a lot different from your mother?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, not much different. Well, my family was just close. That's why it hurt me so bad when I had to give up my mother. We were all so close. And you can just imagine how a bunch of high school boys would be. [Laughter] My twin brothers were the smallest. They played in the band. And the one took Spanish, and the other one took something else. And if I'd get a bad cold or if I'd get sick, now he thought that he knew [Laughter] what to give me. And one time they held me down—I had the flu—and give me about half a bottle of castor oil. I got over my flu, though. [Laughter] But now that's just how mischievous…
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they tease you a lot?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, and aggravate the life out of me.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did they ever make you unhappy or mad?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No. But they could wash and iron and cook. Every one of them could do all kinds of things.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The boys could do those things?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. And the one that went to California was a pharmacist. He could can food, vegetables. Beans and things like that out of the garden.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did that come about, that the boys learned how to do those things?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Just being around Mother. They'd just chip in and help. That one, he could operate the canner as good as Mother.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your daddy help around the house like that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. Well, he worked at the public work about all the time.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So he didn't do …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
And one did the milking. We had cows then.

Page 21
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you live on a farm?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, we lived out in the country.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your daddy travel around a lot?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, he worked at construction work. After we got older and the boys were in high school, we didn't want to travel then, so we just got us a house and settled down. And then when he'd get weekends off, he'd come home.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And did you actually raise crops?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
We had a garden and just things like that. We had cows. We didn't have a whole lot. I think we had two milk cows.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember any stories your grandparents told about their childhood or anything, where they came from?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, I don't. But they have some kind of a history. They still have that memorial service or homecoming or something down home, and we go down there every summer. It's the first Sunday in August. And they read the history. And they keep the dates of the children that's baptized, and this older brother of mine had a stroke and he died after six years. Well, they still had that on record down there, when he joined the church and the date and everything. They read that the summer that he had died. He had died in June, and they had that on record, and they read it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So the homecoming is at the church.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, it's down at the cemetery. They have this huge building. And it has benches, and they have the organ. They always take an organ down there. We have singing, and they read this history and all that stuff. People from far and near come.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is it all the people in your home church, or is it all your relatives?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
About everybody down in there that go are related. See, they

Page 22
have married and gone off to Baltimore, Virginia, and Washington, Florida, and everywhere, and usually they try to get home for that special occasion.
JACQUELYN HALL:
People come from that far away?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. Even my aunt come in from San Francisco.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Amazing. Now where is this?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
In Cleveland County.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is it near some town there?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, it's near Waco.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are most of the people around in that area related to each other?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, the majority of them. And what have moved off… Like the girls grew up and moved off and went to college, and the boys moved off and married other girls. And they still like to come in for that special occasion if they can. And it's a load of teachers in my family. One minister. One doctor, although he's dead. Dr. Elliott. The rest that are living still try to come home for this special occasion.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you all decided to settle down, was that in Cleveland County?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, this was in Catawba.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you were in high school, you were living at home with your mother and brothers while your daddy would travel around?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, that was in West Virginia when I was in high school.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you were already out of school when you settled down here?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you graduate from high school?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, I didn't go any further than the tenth. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
What made you decide to stop?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
We moved back here, and I found a job sewing gloves, so I just decided to take that, but then I helped the other boys to get through. They all graduated.

Page 23
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did that happen, that you decided to go out and find yourself a job?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't know. All the other girls were, so I thought I wanted to work, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So your girlfriends were getting jobs. Were they mostly working in the glove factory?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
That's about all the kind of work they did, unless they did go to college. And you know, work was the big thing; not many children could go to college. Maybe one or two of them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Could you have gotten a job in a hosiery mill or a textile mill?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I sort of applied, but they were full up at the time. Times were sort of hard, and there just wasn't too many jobs. And the girls was just beginning to go into public work around town.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you did apply for work at a hosiery mill?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there textile mills around here, cotton mills?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, that's about all it was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you think a glove mill was different?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. I love to sew, and I sort of liked sewing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You already had learned how to sew at home?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. I could sew a little bit. I made dresses some.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you just go down on your own and apply for this job, or did somebody else speak for you?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I went and applied for it myself.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did your parents feel about you going to work?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, they thought it was all right, because the neighbor girls were working, and I just said, "I want to work, too." I was eighteen, and I thought

Page 24
I wanted to do something different other than just sit around and do nothing. You know, I think all the girls did a wise thing about getting jobs. Who wants to work on a farm? Well, we didn't have no farm, but, you know, you wanted to do sort of like the other girls did. It was either go to work or go to school, so I preferred to work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you not like school?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, in some ways I did, but, like I say, moving around, it sort of puts you behind. But the boys was right at the age that they was interested in it. They were all good-looking, and the girls just all fell for them. And naturally that kept them in school.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I bet you were good-looking yourself. You still are. That's a pretty picture.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
That was my picture when I was young. I guess I was about twenty-five when it was made. And that's my husband.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That's a beautiful picture.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Like I say, that picture has been a long ways.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That sure has. It's real pretty.
What was your first day of work like?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
You know, learning. You have to learn to sew. They give you a certain time to learn. Well, you naturally pick it up the more days you're working.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, mercy, I was eighteen. I'm sixty- five now [sixty-six].
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the date of your birth?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
The twenty-third of August, 1913.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You were a sewer?

Page 25
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What mill was this?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
This was Conover Glove. They had an instructor that taught you.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was that all she did?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. She taught people to sew.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was it hard to learn?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Naturally, when you sit down to an electric sewing machine that just flies when you step on the pedal, you automatically have got to learn to control the machine first.
[interruption]
JACQUELYN HALL:
… toward raising your children more than anything?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I did. Like Easter and Christmas, I always got them new clothes. I'd do without myself to get them well dressed for Easter and Christmas and see that they had everything other children had. Because they were always in Christmas programs and different things, and especially at Easter I always had them well dressed. Because I enjoyed that. And always people would talk about my pretty babies. Well, I'd get out and show them off, too. I know people said, "Every time you have a baby, they just get that much better-looking." I did have two pretty babies, and I was proud of them. I was a good mother for them.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you think they appreciated your …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, indeed I do, now. They sure do. That's why they're so good to me.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you think that your husband appreciated you, too?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I know he did. But he often made remarks that he was sorry that he had punished me with his sickness and all that stuff. Well, he couldn't help that. That's just something we got to live with. That

Page 26
he was sorry that he wasn't the husband that I thought he'd be on account of his health and everything. Well, we all have stuff like that. We have to accept these things. That's just the way it's supposed to be. [interruption]
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
That's when the RNA or…
JACQUELYN HALL:
NRA?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
NRA. That's when that come along, and people was only allowed so many hours' work.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember when they started the eight-hour day?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. I had just started when they passed that bill.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did the company managers come in and tell you that they were going to start doing that, or how did you learn about it?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
It was just all textile plants. They had to abide by their rules. The President passed that law, and everybody had to go along with it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you think it was a good thing?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. Because I think sitting and sewing so many hours is enough. You don't have to get out in the open and things like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you started working, did you miss being out in the open?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, not too much, because you're with your friends and you have a good time at work, and when you go home you enjoy being at home.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of good times would you have at work?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
We'd just talk and laugh [Laughter] with the friends. We were all dumb, learning. [Laughter] You know how it is. You'd make mistakes and…
JACQUELYN HALL:
So you could talk while you were sewing?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. See, we were sitting close together, one on each side, a row up this way and a row up just opposite you. You was about that far

Page 27
apart, across from your neighbor.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you sit next to girls that you already knew before you went to work?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No. We just had to learn from the beginning. Some were older, and some maybe was a little younger. But I enjoyed it. It was something different, and I knew I was growing up and I'd like to get out and make me some money.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you do with your money?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
You know, helped the others some, the rest of the family, Mother and… I don't know. You just find places.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there anything that you didn't like about that work?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No. Mother sewed a lot. We'd get material, and she'd make us clothes. We didn't go to the store and buy everything that we wore like they do now. You don't find people that sew like they used to.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there all women sewers?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why was that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Men don't sew.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In the glove mill, men don't sew?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No. They turned and steamed the gloves to get them ready to ship.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How long did you work at Conover Glove?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Several year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And then did you go to someplace else?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. Well, work got so bad we was just working two or three days a week, and then they finally laid all us younger ones off. They kind of hung onto the older hands. I was so fortunate. I come on down to Newton Glove, and

Page 28
I got a job there, and I worked there the rest of my single days. And after I got married I lived in Conover, and so when my baby was about two years old I got a job back in Conover.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Back at Conover Glove?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
The same place.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, it wasn't the same company, but it's the one I work for now. So I've been working with them ever since he was two years old.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you see any differences in the way different companies treat their hands?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. It's a northern bunch that bought out this other place, and I'd a lot rather work for local people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't know. Naturally, when you work for a bigger place, you've got to be more particular. They just like things different and everything. Up here, we're just one big family.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Which was run by northern …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
They bought the Newton Glove. The bigger the place is, the more… I don't know whether it's all that different. There's still some of them works up there, a lot of them, that I did work with. Some's retired. But it's not many of them that's got machines at home. But after I got my machine at home, I just hung onto it; it's good.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So it was when your husband got sick that the company gave you a machine?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ask them to do that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I told them I was going to have to quit, because my children were

Page 29
in school and I just couldn't get out and leave them and be there every day like maybe I would if he hadn't been sick. They asked me if I would consider taking a machine at home, and I told them I didn't know. So I talked it over with him, and he said, "Whatever you want to do." So I did; I took it. He left it up to me to do whatever I wanted to, so I took it, and I've had it ever since. I've got it in the back of the kitchen. I put it out on the back porch in the summertime.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why don't many people have machines at home?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't know. I reckon they felt like I was a good hand. They'd let me make some of the samples, anyway. [Laughter] They used to laugh, said, "Let Nell and Myrtle make the samples, and the rest of us fill the orders." [Laughter] So I said, "Yeah, that's the way to do it." [Laughter] So I have to laugh [unclear] Myrtle and me did make pretty gloves, and we made all good gloves, and I reckon that's why they always said that. "Let Nell and Myrtle make the samples, and us fill the orders." [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
The other girls said that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were they teasing you? Were they kind of jealous?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
They was teasing. They knew it was the truth, though. [Laughter] We always did make pretty gloves.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were the other girls a little bit jealous, do you think?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, they might have been. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is Myrtle a friend of yours?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. Myrtle Bolick. She was a friend of mine. She's retired. She's older than I am. Her husband's dead, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did it take to make a pretty glove? What did you have to do?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
It's just got to be neat, and the seams have got to be so neat

Page 30
and even. Naturally, you get up on it, you were naturally going to make a pretty glove. Of course, some of them would run off, then have to sew over it, and different.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you very fast?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I was. But I've slowed down now. I guess I could make a hundred dollars a week, but I don't. I usually make about sixty. I don't want to make more than what I'm supposed to, because I'm on my husband's Social Security. And really, I worked hard all my life, and I think I deserve a break.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I should say.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
And I said I had raised my children, and we give them both a good education. And I've waited on my husband and buried him. And I don't know, I think I've been a good wife and a good mother to my family, and I think I deserve a break.
JACQUELYN HALL:
While you were working, did you get any paid vacations or health insurance?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, they give us a little extra for vacation money. They still do.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who would be your supervisor? Was there a floor lady over the sewers and then a supervisor above her, or how would that work?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Not after you learn, you don't have anybody over you. It's just while you're learning.
JACQUELYN HALL:
There wasn't anybody that really watched your work very closely?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, not now they don't. They did when we were learning, but one time you'd learned, well… I tell you, one time you learn to make gloves, you never forget it. [Laughter] And I have talked to several of my friends, and they said that as long as it had been since they worked—some of

Page 31
them never did have to work after they got married, and some of them didn't want to work, but most of them do work—one time you ever learn to make gloves, you never forget it. I said, "No, sir."
JACQUELYN HALL:
I was talking to Katherine Killian the other day. Do you know her?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. She sews at home, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And she was saying when she first started working at the glove mill, she dreamed about making gloves all night.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, yes, you do. It's just something you don't forget.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Didn't you have some kind of boss over you, though?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
The man that owns the place, or we have an assistant.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Who owned these different places where you worked?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Arthur Little owns this one that I work for now. He used to work as shipping clerk when I did. And he married a schoolteacher, and she inherited some money, and that's how he got his plant, and now he has six. So he's just made money make money.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of a boss is he?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He owns the place. He's just an ordinary… [Laughter] I just sort of grew up with him, too, although he's older than I am. I don't know. He just sits around the office, but when I'm up there and I see him, he wanted to know how I'm getting along and all about it and everything. One time I had thought about giving up my machine, and then I thought, "Well, shucks, no. Now that I've reached the retirement age, that'll give me something to do when I don't have nothing to do." Although, now I take spells; I paint and stuff like that. But still, that's not what I want to do every day in all the time. So that's why I hang onto my machine. I like to make a little extra money, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You paint?

Page 32
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I paint my rooms. In fact, it hasn't been long since I painted this one.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Yes, it looks nice and fresh.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
But I want to have my floors covered. [Omission: tells about having her floor sanded.]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever feel like the company ought to be paying you more money than they were?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, they got a certain rate they pay us. Different kinds of gloves pay different prices. But I guess they average it up. If I'd just stay at it I could make more, but, like I said, I've worked all my life, and I feel like I should slow down.
JACQUELYN HALL:
But they could pay you more, at a higher rate, for what you do.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, they could, because he can afford it, I'm sure. But he's somebody he likes to make his hands work for what they get. Just like all of them. They want to get all they can out of their help. I'm sure he can pay more.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did people ever try to ask for a higher production rate or try to argue that the company should pay the hands a little bit more?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
A lot of times I heard the girls say that he could pay more. Different things. But every so often he would give us a three- or four-cent raise, maybe five. But we haven't had a raise now a couple year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You don't get cost-of-living raises?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No. He makes you work for what… Well, they all do. They make you work for your production. The production they set at a certain percent, so much an hour. Well, he'll make you work for that, as well as them giving you.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were there ever any strikes or efforts to organize a labor union in the plants where you were working?

Page 33
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Anywhere around here that you know of?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No. Nothing but the GE plant. They strike every once in a while, but that's up between Conover and Hickory. But they're union anyway.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you think about unions?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't think it's right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why is that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't really know all that much about it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you ever been interested in politics at all?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Not really.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What about your husband?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, he wasn't too concerned either, because he knew whichever way it went, that's the way it'd go anyway.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you Democrats or Republicans?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Democrat.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you raised a Democrat?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Have you had a favorite president?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, President Roosevelt. It wasn't his fault that war started, but he sure did do a lot for people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did he do that you think was the most helpful to …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He just helped the poor people a lot. That's what caused people to get on their feet. Although he couldn't help the War, I don't think. But nobody could, I guess. Such a sudden thing and, too, we had to give up all the boys to go, but after all they all got back.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you decided to go out and get your first job, and your other girlfriends were doing that, did your parents worry at all about you going

Page 34
out into public work?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
They weren't bothered by that at all?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you remember hearing anything about other women in your family in earlier days working in any kind of factories or doing any kind of public work?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No. It used to be—that was before my time—that women had to go to the fields and work. But then when I was coming along, people was beginning to work in the factories and things.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your mother work in the fields?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, she didn't. Daddy always made enough money. She always just looked after the house.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did she do anything in the house to make money, like take in boarders?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Sew. She would sew for the public.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So people would come over and bring her material and ask her to make things for them?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. I've seen her make dresses for people that were in plays and different things at school.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you were growing up out in Cleveland County, what did you think of as being your community or your neighborhood? How far around did you think of as being your home place?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Everybody was related some way or another. I don't know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Were people scattered out on little farms, or was there a little town there?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, there was a little town.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How long have you lived in this house?

Page 35
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Twenty-five year.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you think of as being your neighborhood? How far …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, I have wonderful neighbors.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Does that stretch all the way …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
From Newton to Maiden.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Really? You know people all along this road?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I know everybody on this highway. And it's nine widows between… You know where the bypass starts in? Up here at the old hospital. Between there and the Patrol station, it is nine widows in this area.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Amazing. How did you get to know all these people up and down the highway?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I've just known them ever since I've lived here, because some of them goes to my church. This girl over here, she's been married the second time. And she lived at Conover, too, and her husband got killed in the War, too. So she remarried, this widow over here. So we're good friends. We were good friends before she married him. I knew Helen and her husband whenever they were dating.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Up and down this road, what did most of the people's husbands do for a living? Do most of these women that you know work?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
The widowed women usually are still working, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where do they mostly work?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Helen over here works at a Sherwin Williams paint shop. And Mrs. Young don't work. Mrs. Mills don't work; she's a widow. Clara don't work; she's retired.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did many of them work in the glove mills?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, she did. [unclear] in an upholstering plant. She sewed upholstery.

Page 36
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever consider trying to get a job in upholstery instead of sewing gloves?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No. One time I thought [Laughter] I'd learned [unclear] do that. I just sort of went along, because I liked all the girls I worked with.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do people in upholstery make more money?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, they say they do. But it's heavier work, heavier sewing. You take all this old heavy cloth. And you've got to put it over your shoulder to sew all these seams around it and everything. So, really, it's heavier work. Well, they make more, but good grief, it's heavier work, too.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you were growing up, what did you want to be when you grew up?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I wanted to be a nurse. But it was a large family of us; it was eight of us children. So I seen it wasn't much chance of me going into school, so I always helped the boys some. They were all in high school, and I just helped them along some, and went on sewing gloves. Well, really, I enjoyed that, and so that's just the way it was.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there any way in the glove factory of getting a promotion? Could you have moved on to a better job in the glove factory at all?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, it's too many women that did the sewing. Just once in a while they'd pick one out of the group for something like that. You don't have much …
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
JACQUELYN HALL:
They'd pick one out of the group to do what?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Maybe sort of be floor lady or something, sort of look after things.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of people would get picked for that?

Page 37
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
My sister was one, and then this friend of mine that's retired now. And now the assistant supervisor put his daughter in. So they didn't even finish high school. Put them in the mill and they worked a while; then they got the jobs.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Over some of the women who'd been there a long time.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I guess so. Now that's not hardly right, is it? And don't you never tell I told you.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Okay.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Because that's just the way it is, and they're probably drawing good pay.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did people talk about that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, sure they did. They felt like some of the older hands should have that job.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Is there any seniority?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever belong to any clubs or organizations besides the church?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, I always kept myself busy working with my children.
JACQUELYN HALL:
In the church, is there a women's missionary organization?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes. But I'd have to get out by myself at night [unclear] , and I don't do that either. I used to go a good while ago. My sister-in-law and me would go some. But I don't know. It'd be much closer if I'd go up here to church. I always went down there because my husband and his family belonged down there. Right now I'm afraid to get out at night, you know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What was the name of this women's organization you used to …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
The Missionary Society.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your husband belong to anything?

Page 38
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He belonged to the American Legion and the VFW.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was he as active in church as you were?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, his health wasn't all that good, and he didn't… In fact, there for a while he didn't even go to church, because he just couldn't wear his dress shoes. He wore sandals. He had to wear white socks all the time, and he just never did dress up an awful lot unless he went to a funeral or something like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are there any blacks that work in the glove mills now?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When did that start?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
A couple year ago, when they equalized the… They make good hands.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What jobs do they do?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Sew. Some works on the table putting the gloves in boxes. Different things.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did the people feel when blacks started coming in?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I've heard some of the girls say that they'd just as soon have a black nice person beside of them as white. They have to fill out a form. They've got to be sort of respectable.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was there any resentment or …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't think so. Because it's some nice colored people lives over there in that colored town, Coulters [unclear] . It's a couple of those women works over there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Where is colored town?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Right back over in there behind Helen's. It's a road back in there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever have any black women come in to clean your house or to

Page 39
take care of your kids?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, I took care of mine myself. Or take them out to the babysitter. I used to get up and get mine ready and take them to the babysitter. This Mrs. Davidson used to keep both of mine. But I don't know how I did it, get up and get them dressed. Feed them their breakfast and fix the baby's bottles. But I did.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How do you think the integration of the schools and the restaurants and so on has affected the area around here?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't reckon it's done all that much. I think you can just fall in and accept it and just think, "Well, they want to live, too." And so I don't know. There are exceptions, just like whites.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So when that change happened, you thought that that was okay.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't see anything wrong with it. It's a lot of nice colored people that want to be and try, and I think it has helped them as well as… But I'll tell you one thing: they've all cleaned up, haven't they? To what they used to be. But now down in Cleveland County, like I said, my grandfather had a lot of colored people working on his farm. And I know those colored women used to come in and do the washing of the dishes and washing and ironing and stuff like that. Well, really, it didn't do too much to me. Because my aunt still had a colored woman come in and do her washing.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You mean you'd been used to being around …
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, because my grandfather and grandmother had colored people around them, and that's how the colored people lived down there, just do the white people.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Has that changed?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, because they want jobs now. They've got a taste of that

Page 40
money, [Laughter] and they like to make money now. But it's hard work on the farm. But they didn't seem to mind it; they was happy working on the farm. And you never did hear of no scandals and stuff like that. Not like you would sort of expect it to be. You hear of it more now than you did back then.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of scandals do you hear about now?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
You know, whites living with blacks and all of that stuff. Now right over there is a boy and a girl that went to high school at Maiden, and they married, and they've got two little dark children. And she lives over there with those blacks. Now I don't approve of that. That's just going too far with… And I don't believe in them going to church together. Now that might be all right, but… Well, now, they go to school together. I guess that'll have to be all right, but …
JACQUELYN HALL:
Why don't you like them to go to church together?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, I don't know. I just think they have their churches; they shouldn't go to our churches. I don't believe in mixing too much. But the way they got to learn to like each other, they went to school together. But it's not nothing we can do about the school business. It's here for long [unclear] , I think. But as long as they stay in their place, I think that it's all right.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How has this community changed over the course of time since you've lived here?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
A lot of the older ones have died out. Helen's lost her husband—he had a stroke—and I lost mine. Mrs. Neal's lost hers. And Dot Harris lives over there; she lost hers. So, really, everybody's getting older. And they look back over the years and see where mine were growing up when theirs were. And we all enjoyed our children and the neighbors' children. They'd come and play with them, and they'd go play with them over at their house. Usually

Page 41
they all come and played at my house, because I had the back yard and a sand pile, and they'd get out there and play with little cars and things.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you try to raise your children the same way that you were raised, or did you try to raise them differently?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I sort of just raised mine like I was raised. I kept them well fed, and I kept them clean, and they were healthy. [Laughter] The neighbor up there used to say, "How in the world do you keep your children so nice and clean? They get out here and play in the dirt and the sand just like all the rest." I said, "Well, when they get dirty, I bring them in and wash them, clean them up. And feed them. And I take care of mine, let them take a nap every day."
JACQUELYN HALL:
Your mother had eight children, and you only had two?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you want to have only two children? Was that your plan?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, I sort of wanted four children. I wanted two boys and two girls or three boys and one girl. I don't know. I had my fortune told one time when I was a young girl, [Laughter] and she told me I was going to get married twice, to a young man the first time and to an old man the last time. [Laughter] And that I was going to have four children. Well, I didn't have but the two. I had the boy first and then the girl. But I never did weigh over a hundred pounds before I was married, and so I come along and married this great big husband, and my children were larger than I were, you might say. And so I had to have a Caesarian both times. So my family was limited. So my husband said, "Well, we're not going to have any more babies. If we raise these two and give them an education, we'll be doing real good." And he said really he didn't care that much about having any more. The doctor didn't fix me so I wouldn't have any more. But he said if something

Page 42
would happen to one of these, maybe it'd be all right for me to have another. But I and my husband just didn't want to take no more chances, so we just never did have more children.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you feel about that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, I sort of went along with him, because him and the doctor thought it was best that I didn't have any more, because I was taking a chance the third time. And, too, he didn't want nothing to happen to either one of these others, so if one would happen to die or anything that I could have another one. But he didn't take no chances on me having any more. But there's six years' difference in my children. And it about worried him to death the last time I got pregnant. But I got along real good the last time. But I said the Lord had sure been good to me in so many different ways, because I had these two little grandsons that filled in for my two children. [Laughter] And I said really, I had grown up with my children, and now I'm still growing up with my grand children. [Laughter] And so really it's sort of keeping me young. I don't have time to think of any illness. All of my health's good. I went down to Charlotte to a doctor and had a physical, and he didn't even find one thing wrong like that. I have a little nervous indigestion, but he said that's caused from acids. And he told me to stay off the acids, spices and stuff like that and onions. I can tell it more in things I eat than any other thing, onions and peppers and spices, stuff like that. That's when it sort of flares up. So he give me a list of things not to eat. So other than that, I've got good health. And I said, I think back now, those Caesarians might have had a lot to do with my health being so good. Because the doctor had told me that my babies were so large and I was so small that he would advise me to have a Caesarian, because if I didn't have that I would have to have a major operation,

Page 43
which would be a lot worse than having the Caesarian. So my husband said, "Well, I'm going to leave it up to you, whatever you think is best." And he said, "Well, I think it's for the best." So I went to Charlotte to have my babies. I went to a doctor down there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What did you do to keep from getting pregnant after your second child was born?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, I don't know, just take precautions.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did your husband use rubbers or something?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, most of the time. But he was careful not to get me pregnant. And I took douches a lot. The doctor give me something to take douches with.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do douches work to prevent pregnancies?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Are they pretty foolproof?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
As long as you keep yourself clean, you're not going to get pregnant.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Sometimes people do get pregnant, though, anyway.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you know anything about the facts of life before you got married?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, I did not. I didn't know nothing about babies, getting pregnant, or none of that stuff.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Really?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, ma'am!
JACQUELYN HALL:
You didn't know a thing?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, sir.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you were twenty-seven?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, after I got that age I did. But I still didn't realize

Page 44
the responsibility of babies. [Laughter] I raised my first one by the book.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What do you mean?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Because I didn't know nothing about babies.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What book did you have?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
The doctor give me a baby's book.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Was it Dr. Spock?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I don't know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
And you really followed that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
He give me some other books that he had in the office that he'd give to young mothers, and I'd read them. But he said you feed your baby when he cries or acts like he's hungry, and keep him dry. That makes a good baby, and all that stuff.
JACQUELYN HALL:
So when you were growing up, your mother never told you or nobody ever talked to you about that?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
She didn't tell me nothing about men and all that stuff. I had to learn that all over. I didn't know anything about that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you learn about it?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Just through actual experience. You know, girls didn't do all that stuff when I was growing up.
JACQUELYN HALL:
When you were growing up, did you ever hear about people who got pregnant before they were married?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, and a girl that I knew got pregnant, and she drank turpentine or something. But anyway, she had a miscarriage. But when a girl got pregnant, everybody knew it, didn't it? [Laughter] I know this one girl that used to run around in our gang… We had a group that we used to buddy with. We'd go to the mountains, you know, young couples. We was all single. And we went to the mountains one Sunday, and this Ruby Lee, she liked this Troy

Page 45
Barger so well. And oh, she loved him to death, and she did go all out for him. She got pregnant, and a whole group of us went to see her one Saturday night at her house, and she was in bed. And this boy I was dating said, "Do you know what's wrong with Ruby Lee?" And I said, "No, what?" He said, "She's had a miscarriage." Well, we all laughed. We didn't really know what it was all about. And I said, "Do you mean she's had a miscarriage? Law, I thought she was a nicer girl than that." Well, they all laughed about it. Well, naturally I did, too. She thought she had a secret, but everybody knew it.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I wonder how everybody knew. Did the boy tell?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
I guess he told it to the other boys, and that's how the girls all found it out. [Laughter] But I declare. But he was so good-looking. I dated him one night after him and her broke up. And I wouldn't wish for a nicer boy. But she really did love him. She looked like Dorothy Lamour. They said I looked like Vivian Leigh.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I can see that.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
And this boy I dated some, I think he looked like Clark Gable. He married another girl. But all the time he loved me to death and wouldn't let me know it. And then after he got married, I thought, "Well, shoot, I may as well get married, too. I've lost him." But now that my husband's been gone, he made a remark he always did love that girl.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Really?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, sir. His wife's in bad health. I might get him yet. You never know.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you hear about this remark he made?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, I heard it through some friends. When I lost my husband, I heard that he said, "I always did love that girl." But if he loved me,

Page 46
why didn't he let me know about it? Because he always did act like he liked me. I never did get in his way or anything, but I always flirted more with his friends than I did with him. But I was still liking him a whole lot, and he never did ask me for a date. Because he was a ladies' man. He had a little moustache and that coal black hair. Well-built and everything. But shoot. I just couldn't put myself in his way. I was independent, too. But I always flirted with all his buddies. And that made him like me more, I reckon, by me being independent.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you find it hard to get used to making love after you got married, or did you enjoy it?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Well, naturally when you just see somebody… Well, Clinton was so sweet to me. And oh, he was a-loving me to death. Well, naturally, he was so sweet to me and everything, I couldn't help but like him, too, but I married him after this other friend got married. He got married and went into service, so I waited on this one. But I've seen him so many times, and he really gives me the once-over.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Really?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Oh, yes. He's got the salt-and-pepper grey hair now, and his wife's white-headed. She's got bad health. And I don't know, there's still something there.
JACQUELYN HALL:
These things can last a long time.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Once you love somebody, it never gets out of your life. It's just there, and you can't help it. I still like him some, but I'm not going to put myself in his way and him with that sick wife, because she might smell a rat sometime. In fact, I think he's said something to her, because every time she sees me she likes to look at me. And I don't want nothing between me and him no way. Because she's sick, and I wouldn't

Page 47
appreciate my husband doing me like that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you ever have any trouble with your husband being interested in other women?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
No, law, he didn't love nobody else but me. In fact, he loved me so much he was jealous of me. [Laughter]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, really?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Mm-hmm.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What would make him jealous?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
One time a man was sitting here at our table, and they was talking about their wives and different things. And Paul brought up the subject. He said, "Clint, you've got a helluva good woman, and you don't appreciate her." He said, "I do." But then all the time he was jealous. And other friends would tell him. He'd make sort of smart remarks when we'd be around other people. One other couple we was with one time was over at our house. We were both young, had babies, and he'd make remarks, and James [unclear] said, "See? I believe you're jealous." And [Laughter] he said, "I'm not." But all the time they all knew it. He just couldn't help it; he was just that type of person. But I never did anything to cause him to be jealous, because he was a young man and I had him and I knew I had to live with him for the sake of my children, because we were all dependent on him, so that's just the way that goed.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Do you think he loved you more than you loved him, in a way?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I think he did. Because I never was jealous of him, and he was of me.
JACQUELYN HALL:
I know so many husbands and wives these days seem to have trouble over sex. Did you have a good sexual relationship?
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
Yes, I [unclear] . I think he did, too, because he never did

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go with any other women or anything. And they say if men are not happy at home, they usually get out. And then, too, they say if they don't have trouble when they first get married, in their early marriages, they will when they get older. There's so many of the forties-and-fifty age group that's splitting up. You know that?
JACQUELYN HALL:
Exactly. That's what I've been noticing.
NELL PUTNAM SIGMON:
That's why I said this fellow that liked me so much, I think he's sort of tired of his wife being sick so long. And I don't know; he pays too much attention to me. Even if he's with her out anywhere, he does. He sort of ignores her in public and pays too much attention to me. So I think he's sort of tired of her being sick. But, you know, a man can't take that as long as women can. I think women learn to accept it or something.
END OF INTERVIEW