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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Barbara Hanks, August 10, 1994. Interview K-0098. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Coworkers bond over snacks

Hanks recalls her role as "gopher" during breaks, running over to a local store and buying food for her fellow employees. While she ate hot lunches at home with her family, many employees snuck food back into the factory, sometimes betrayed by their greasy fingers.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Barbara Hanks, August 10, 1994. Interview K-0098. 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

BARBARA HANKS:
[Laughter] I liked it there, especially at break time, sit out front and wave at everybody that goes by. Cause when you go through town you've got to look and check out everybody at White's. [Laughter]
PATRICK HUBER:
When would you get breaks?
BARBARA HANKS:
Well, we used to get three then they cut it down to two. Nine in the morning and then at lunch. We used to get one at two o'clock, but they quit that.
PATRICK HUBER:
What sort of things would you do on break?
BARBARA HANKS:
Now, I was--. They called me the gopher, I reckon, cause I would run to Byrd's Byrd's, when they seen me coming, they were grinning cause they had the deli over there. I would go get food for everybody. You know, they would give me money, and I would run over there for break. Now, at lunch I'd go home. My mama had me a hot meal every day. Boy, I miss that, too. She had me dinner. Byrd's hated to see White's shut down, too, cause a bunch of them that's where they would eat lunch.
PATRICK HUBER:
That's right across the tracks?
BARBARA HANKS:
Yeah, you hear that whistle go off, and you ought to see the people just running across that track going over there because you didn't have long. You wasn't suppose to eat on the job, but everybody would sneak it, you know. Give em a chicken leg or something and hide it, and wasn't nobody looking take a bite. But I could always tell cause I'd see little grease paws on the furniture. I said "Somebody's got chicken up there." [Laughter] We all had a good--. Well, we had a good time working there, and then we had rough times. Of course, we'd have to have words every now and then.
PATRICK HUBER:
Have words?
BARBARA HANKS:
Yeah, you know, cause you have a bad day and then somebody's just saying, "You ain't doing it right, you got, to do it better." You know. But usually we didn't have many days like that cause everybody worked together and that was good. I mean, I could have been a real butt, and sent every little thing back, but instead we just all pitch in and work together. That made it a whole lot better.