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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Andy Foley, May 18, 1994. Interview K-0095. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Practical jokes and horseplay at the White Furniture Company

Foley remembers practical jokes and horseplay at the White Furniture Company.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Andy Foley, May 18, 1994. Interview K-0095. 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

JEFF COWIE:
It sounds like you got around a lot in the plant. Do you remember what sorts of like horseplay or kidding around?
ANDY FOLEY:
We used to lock people in the bathrooms. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
I did, yeah. There were some old pipes over the top of the bathroom and they had dust on them. Old Darren, he used to work on the line. He'd go up in the bathroom and we'd get a stick, and we'd beat on that pipe, and he'd come out with dust all over him. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
We had glue bottles there, too. In the summertime we would put water in them glue bottles. Don't go into the bathrooms! We used to run through the plant and squirt people. Homer would get mad at us. He caught me one time mooning some people, boy.
JEFF COWIE:
He caught you what?
ANDY FOLEY:
Mooning somebody.
JEFF COWIE:
Oh, mooning. [laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
[laughter] Yeah, he'd say, "I don't want to see you doing that." I'm like, "Close your eyes and you won't see." There was a lot of horseplay. We'd throw things at each other. We had little pin guns with little pins, I mean, if it hit someone in the eye it might could have hurt, but we would shoot people in the butt. They'd be having a drink over there and you'd shot right through it, and it would have a little hole in and the drink would be draining out.
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
Oh, yeah, we used to glue, Linda--she used to be my blocker--I would glue her old cup down, boy, her soda cup. It would glue down. She'd go to lunch, leave it, and she'd come back and…
JEFF COWIE:
Try to get that thing free.
ANDY FOLEY:
Yeah. Or if you put thinner outside the cup it would eat right through it. And, boy, we'd thump little drops of thinner on it and it would eat right through it. Coke would be all over the place.
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
She'd go to cussing. She shot me in the neck one day with a nail gun, not no pin gun, a nail gun. [laughter
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
That think started bleeding. Not bad, just little drops of blood. Naw, there was a lot of carrying on there. There would be big old bugs in there, and we'd all have pin guns trying to shoot them things.
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
Naw, there was more horseplay going on there than was suppose to be. Every time you'd turn around somebody… Nobody would go in the bathroom. They were scared to go in our bathroom.
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
Dan, the first few times we got him he went over to rub and pack and finish and went to the bathroom. He wouldn't go to the bathroom in the cabinet room no more. And like new people, there was no sign on the door that says Men's or Women's and there was two Men's and one Women and there wasn't no sign there. Somebody new come in you always knowed they was going into the girls. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
Don't nobody say anything. I remember one fellow who come in, he worked there like twenty or thirty years ago or something. They got an hour for lunch when he worked there. So he got hired again and he took him an hour for lunch, and we only got thirty minutes, see? So he'd come back an hour later and they were like, "What are you doing?" He didn't last long. He walked around there with socks on, he took his shoes off. They could hire some crazy people up…
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
I was like, "How did ya'll get hired? Ya'll must have known somebody." It was a lot of fun working there.
JEFF COWIE:
It sounds like it. It sounds like…
ANDY FOLEY:
You never knew what was going to happen. You knew somebody was going to get you. Well, me and Joe--the one that lives in Roxboro--we used to pass notes all the way down.
JEFF COWIE:
Who's that, Jody?
ANDY FOLEY:
Joe.
JEFF COWIE:
Joe?
ANDY FOLEY:
Yeah, me and him we used to get in trouble with each other. We'd go down there and you know you'd have these trucks with stuff on them and he would throw all my stuff on the floor or just to slow production down. It was fun. Homer, when he first come, was real uptight, but after awhile, boy, he'd see you do something he'd look at you and he'd go, "You squirt somebody again…" [laughter] But, basically I liked him.
JEFF COWIE:
You said you and Joe passed notes?
ANDY FOLEY:
Dirty notes.
JEFF COWIE:
Oh, dirty notes? [laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
Yeah. [laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
Him and this girl named Tony down there, she'd be writing them, too. Well, it's just… I don't want to cuss. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
Junk talking notes, you know.
JEFF COWIE:
About other employees?
ANDY FOLEY:
Anybody. Who ever you felt like it. You write and call your own self a name. Just stupid things. Joe would run up there and tell me I could have his wife for five dollars and all kind of stuff.
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
You'd go in that morning, you knew something was going on, boy. There was only a few glue bottles and most of the time they all had glue in them. Boy, come summertime there wouldn't hardly be no glue in no glue bottles.
JEFF COWIE:
Yeah, when it's hot the squirt fights would be a good…
ANDY FOLEY:
Yeah, and we used to get people right there where it looked like they peed on theirselves. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
You'd run up behind them and (squirt sound) all over their butt. I know we got Linda right there one day and, boy, she didn't like that too much.
JEFF COWIE:
Right on her chest?
ANDY FOLEY:
Yeah. It looked like them things were leaking. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
There was a good bit of horseplay. It was like basically our department and then the people who worked right there in finishing. Tracy Burnett--he's one of my black friends--he worked with me and played on the ball team. He was just as crazy as I was, boy. He come over and go in our bathroom. He'd close the door and he would wave at me. He'd jerk it open to see if anybody was coming to get him.
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter] Sounds like going to the bathroom in that place was a dangerous activity?
ANDY FOLEY:
You don't want to go to the bathroom in our department. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
I locked Homer in there before.
JEFF COWIE:
You locked your boss in?
ANDY FOLEY:
Yeah, you just get a hold of the door knobs right there and you'd get a board that was laying right there and you prop the board up beside there. You couldn't get out.
JEFF COWIE:
What did he do?
ANDY FOLEY:
He'd come out cussing. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
He'd look right at me, "I know you done it." Yeah, there were a lot of pranks going on up in there and everything. That's why I think it felt so comfortable. You knew that if you got the job done and it was right before break or right after break you could carry on a little bit. Not as to where anybody would actually get hurt or something. Just to liven up the place to make the time go by faster.
JEFF COWIE:
Sure.
ANDY FOLEY:
I mean, I think I helped a lot.
JEFF COWIE:
I bet.
ANDY FOLEY:
Where like somebody would die or somebody would get hurt they would pass around donations and a card and everybody would sign it. It just wouldn't be in your department, I mean, it would be like in upstairs departments and everything. Everybody knew what everybody else was doing, what happened to them. We all pitched in if something would go wrong.
JEFF COWIE:
Were many people dating or getting involved?
ANDY FOLEY:
There was rumors.
JEFF COWIE:
Always rumors.
ANDY FOLEY:
Rumors, mad people, other people's babies, everything. Most of the women in there were married, but I shouldn't say this, but some of them it didn't matter. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
Not no names being mentioned.
JEFF COWIE:
No, it's better that way.
ANDY FOLEY:
Now, them parties, ain't no telling what was going on.
JEFF COWIE:
These parties, were they pretty big?
ANDY FOLEY:
It's basically like the people that worked there and a few of their friends. Half the time you don't remember what happened. [laughter]
JEFF COWIE:
[laughter]
ANDY FOLEY:
You'd hear though.
JEFF COWIE:
Right. So, all this horseplay, was it pretty much everybody involved or just like younger workers?
ANDY FOLEY:
It was basically younger workers. Me and Tracy and Dan and Marcelino and a couple of others would get in on it, but it was basically me and Tracy. He was suppose to be in another department, and I was suppose to be in mine, boy. Wrong! Come summer time we were getting somebody.