Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Sidney Leneer Pete Underdown, June 18, 2000. Interview I-0091. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Many men look outside Lenoir when courting

Parks Underdown courted his wife, Hazel, by using his father's new car to drive to her town. It was common for men in Lenoir, North Carolina, to drive to another city in pursuit of romantic relationships.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Sidney Leneer Pete Underdown, June 18, 2000. Interview I-0091. 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

PETE UNDERDOWN:
There was something else I was going to tell you, but I forgot what it was. Going back to how Parks met Hazel. Parks always had an eye for beautiful women, and back at that time, Hazel was probably the best-looking woman I'd ever seen in my life. I think I was in love with her more than Parks was. But she was quite a prominent person in Granite Falls. You know, boys from Lenoir they all went off somewhere like Morganton, Hickory, or somewhere like that courting. And he met her one night, and he went back to see her again, and went back to see her again. He used to have to borrow Grandpa's automobile to go down there because Parks didn't have a car. [laughs.] And Grandpa would let him have it on Sunday nights. And Grandpa never drove a car in his life. I used to have to drive for him when I was about fourteen years old.
KATHLEEN KEARNS:
What kind of car?
PETE UNDERDOWN:
He had a Mormon. You never heard of a Mormon. That was a high-class automobile back then. He also had Dodges before he had the Mormon. When Parks was courting, he had a Dodge and he traded it for that Mormon. That was kind of like saying that you drove a Model-T Ford and then you drove today's Cadillac. That's the difference between those two, that old Dodge. And that Mormon was a high-class automobile.
KATHLEEN KEARNS:
So that's what he drove down to Granite Falls?
PETE UNDERDOWN:
That's what he drove down to Granite Falls to see Hazel. And they got married in 1929. No. Yes, it was 1929.
KATHLEEN KEARNS:
That's what you have here [in the article], January 8, 1929. Did they get married in Granite Falls?
PETE UNDERDOWN:
They got married in the First Presbyterian Church in Lenoir, I'm sure, because that's where Parks was a member. And I don't know whether Hazel at that time was a member or not, but she became a Presbyterian in Lenoir. And they moved into a two-room apartment up on North Main Street in Lenoir, about two blocks from the square, and lived there until after Dorothy was born. Then they moved into a house on Fairview Street in Kentwood Park, and then later they lived on Olive Avenue in Kentwood Park. And then sometime about forty years ago, they built out at Cedar Rock Country Club. That's where they lived until they both died.