Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Naomi Sizemore Trammel, March 25, 1980. Interview H-0258. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A look onto the textile mill floor and recollections of fun moments

Trammel offers a window onto the mill floor. She and her fellow workers did not get set breaks, but were allowed to leave the mill for lunch if they could convince a coworker to keep an eye on their work. When they could, Trammel and others also snuck out to steal a few moments of child's play, such as when it snowed and she had a snowball fight, listening all the time for the sound of her boss's return.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Naomi Sizemore Trammel, March 25, 1980. Interview H-0258. 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

ALLEN TULLOS:
So most of the time, during your work day, wh you were in the spinning room, would you be sitting down watching things, or walking around?
NAOMI SIZEMORE TRAMMEL:
Oh, be walking around. [laughter] Didn't have nowhere to sit down. But, then, if we'd a-wanted to, we could have, you know, if we'd had anywhere. If we got our sides to run they wouldn't been nothing said to us. But we mostly walked around, because, you see, if a thread was breaking, we couldn't see it, well it'd mess up, you know. So we usually walked around, I didn't see nobody sitting down.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And what did you do when it came lunchtime?
NAOMI SIZEMORE TRAMMEL:
Well, we didn't have no lunch time.
ALLEN TULLOS:
You'd just work right on through?
NAOMI SIZEMORE TRAMMEL:
Just worked on. We'd go to store and get things, if we wanted it. They'd let us go to store. We'd have like one spinner run my side then her side, and me and another girl'd go to store. And when we come back, and got us something to eat, well, we'd run theirs and let them go. So they wouldn't say nothing about it. But we didn't go home where we were boarding, where I boarded. We'd go to store, get us something to eat. And wasn't one thing said about it, they didn't care.
ALLEN TULLOS:
How long could you take off for lunch like that?
NAOMI SIZEMORE TRAMMEL:
Oh, it was pretty good little piece to the store. Just we'd go up there and get what we wanted, come on back, and eat it. Just so our side was going, they wouldn't say nothing.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Could you never go outside and play, and let somebody run your
NAOMI SIZEMORE TRAMMEL:
Well, we didn't while we's spinning, but after I got to working in the cloth room we did. When we used to work for Harold Moseley, he was the first boss I worked for in the cloth room, and the cloth room was down on the bottom floor. And come a big snow, we'd go out and snowball while he'd gone to breakfast. And we'd hear that door in the weave room, it makes a big noise, you know. And when we'd hear that door, we had a good little piece to go down before we got into the cloth room. Boy, we'd run back in there and go to our work just like there wasn't nothing ever happen, and he'd never know it. He wouldn't cared if he had.