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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Alice P. Evitt, July 18, 1979. Interview H-0162. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Deafening mill motivates escape to beautiful outside setting

The mill was loud when it was running, Evitt remembers. It made a lot of noise and never stopped, because there were no breaks for meals. Evitt found relief from the heat and noise in the beautifully landscaped outdoors.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Alice P. Evitt, July 18, 1979. Interview H-0162. 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

JIM LELOUDIS:
What was it like in the mill? I've never been in one that was running. What did it smell like? What did it look like?
ALICE P. EVITT:
It just make a lot of noise. That's why I never did go to the weave room. I worked all but the weave room. It makes so much fuss and clatter, I never did work in there.
JIM LELOUDIS:
You told me you hated it.
ALICE P. EVITT:
I worked everywhere but there. Everything run and makin' fuss. You have to talk loud to people. A lot of people learn to talk loud, they don't never bring it down. They just, where they're at, they talk loud. Out here, when you worked out here, ever who worked side of you, you worked side hand. You help each other. But they didn't do that nowhere else. But out here, we worked together. We didn't stop for dinner. The feller worked next to me, I'd run his frame, so he'd go home. Then he'd run mine till I could come home and get dinner. We'd always pick a time when we didn't have no doffin' or busy job on us. We had to doff and creel, and we couldn't do that and run all them frames. We'd work it together and work out each other's right time to go.
JIM LELOUDIS:
When was that when they started that system here?
ALICE P. EVITT:
That was goin' on here when I was here back in '22. Went on till they changed and stopped.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Were you ever able to-I notice the windows are still in this mill; they haven't bricked them up-were you able to open those windows.
ALICE P. EVITT:
Yes, they open like a door. I can look at that out there and think how many times I run speeders right there at that window. How many times I've leant over at that window to cooled off and looked out. It was so nice out there. They had flowers and everything in the yard. It was beautiful. Makes you feel bad to see it tore up so bad now.
JIM LELOUDIS:
So they had it landscaped and all?
ALICE P. EVITT:
They had big old snowball bushes and roses and everything. Every house on the mill hill had flowers. They had shrubbery in front of it-hedges; had colored people to keep it up and keep it clean. We didn't have to clean it. The company cut it and put the flowers around and all. It was beautiful here. Look at it now.
JIM LELOUDIS:
So they hired the black men to come in and take care of it.
ALICE P. EVITT:
Look at it now. Makes you feel bad after being so pretty-goin' to the bad like that. This always was a clean mill here-had pretty flowers.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Was it real hot in the mill?
ALICE P. EVITT:
Oh, it was awful hot. You'd come out of there, your clothes was plumb wet. Awful hot. Over to Johnston-I worked over there some-they had air conditioning, and it helped a lot. Didn't have it too cool, but it helped a lot. Out here, they didn't have anything. All the windows that was open was right where you was workin'. You'd open one. That didn't let much in. All that stuff a-runnin' machinery makin' heat. It was bad. Terrible hot out here.
JIM LELOUDIS:
Did the supervisors ever fuss at you for opening any windoes?
ALICE P. EVITT:
Un-uh. No, they didn't get on you out here about those. They's mighty good.