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Title: Oral History Interview with Elva Templeton, January 24, 1976. Interview K-0188. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Templeton, Elva, interviewee
Interview conducted by Kratzer, Anne
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 112 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-09-13, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Elva Templeton, January 24, 1976. Interview K-0188. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0188)
Author: Anne Kratzer
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Elva Templeton, January 24, 1976. Interview K-0188. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0188)
Author: Elva Templeton
Description: 111 Mb
Description: 25 p.
Note: Interview conducted on January 24, 1976, by Anne Kratzer; recorded in Cary, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Linda Killen.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Elva Templeton, January 24, 1976.
Interview K-0188. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Templeton, Elva, interviewee


Interview Participants

    ELVA TEMPLETON, interviewee
    ANNE KRATZER, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ANNE KRATZER:
This interview is being conducted on January 24th, 1976 at Miss Templeton's home at 200 South Academy Street. The interviewer is Anne Kratzer representing the Cary Historical Society. When and where were you born, Miss Templeton?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Born in Cary, May 3, 1898.
ANNE KRATZER:
And what were your father's and mother's names?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
My father was James McPherson Templeton and my mother was Edith Burns Templeton.
ANNE KRATZER:
Now your father was married previously. Can you tell me about his first marriage and to whom that was?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
That was to a Rachel Jones Calderpink. And she was a sister to Alfred Daniel Jones, a representative counsel to China. They had four children, one girl and three boys. Two of the children died when they were quite small infants. Others lived to be well on in years.
ANNE KRATZER:
How did they meet?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
They were staying at the hotel. Her mother was there at the hotel with an uncle and they met there at the hotel while the boys attended some kind of convention.
ANNE KRATZER:
Where was this?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Seattle
ANNE KRATZER:
Washington. Now that was your mother that he met out there. Can you tell me how he came to practice in Cary after he married his first wife?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well see, he practiced in around Dallas and Gastonia. His first wife was visiting her aunt in Dallas and they met and of course fell in love and married. Her people persuaded him to

Page 2
come to Cary to live to practice. So he was here practicing I guess about fifty years, something like that.
ANNE KRATZER:
And then how long were they married before his first wife died, about?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, when my mother, I think the boys were ten years old when they came.
ANNE KRATZER:
She died of TB. Can you describe your father.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, he was medium height, straight as an arrow, thin, he wasn't fat.
ANNE KRATZER:
How did he feel about things? What about his opinions?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well he didn't mind giving his opinion. You couldn't change him too much unless he thought it was wrong.
ANNE KRATZER:
Your mother said he should have been something - what was that?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Should have been a medical missionary because he just went to see people whether they had anything or not. Back then they didn't have an office, just went into the homes mostly in his early years. Of course in the latter years he had an office, but still he'd go at night or day even then. He'd go see the colored just as well as he would the white folks. And a lot of the colored people said that they had lost a real friend when he died.
ANNE KRATZER:
He had a little phrase about when your mother would complain of him staying too long at one place talking. What was the little phrase that he said?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
That was me. I'd get after him when I'd go with him, telling him to hurry up and come on and not talk so much. He said, well that was part of the medicine.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did he receive payment for all of his visits? Did they try to substitute?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
No. Some of them would bring him a watermelon or a chicken or the best of something. Some of them nothing.

Page 3
ANNE KRATZER:
Where was your home, your original home in Cary?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh, I remember, brought back fine memories up there where the elementary school is. Of course my mother and father lived down from there when they first married. He had a house built up here where the elementary school is, the primary buildings are. It was there on the place. Of course, that was torn down.
ANNE KRATZER:
Right. Did he have an office?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, he had a little office right in the yard up home. He didn't use it too much. He went into the homes mostly. I mean in his early practice.
ANNE KRATZER:
What type of transportation did he use in his early practice?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, we had two horses, a red horse named Maude and a black horse named [unknown]. And we used to ride them on horseback or ride, and if they weren't too tired he'd let us take the buggy and go for a little ride. And we used to run under the horses playing. It's a wonder they hadn't kicked us to death. We used to do that.
ANNE KRATZER:
So he had a horse and buggy?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, a buggy. We had a wagon which they'd take the clothes to a colored woman on Monday morning, the kids would get up before school and take the little van, then go after them that afternoon.
ANNE KRATZER:
Can you describe your mother?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
She was short like me, but she was stout, not real fat but just plump. She had a good sense of humor. I'll tell you about a little missionary meeting here. She told them she wasn't going to give them anything but water and crackers. So when they came and she got ready to serve, she served them water and crackers and they all got up to leave and started out the door. She said, come back here, I want to show you something. She had ice cream and cake in the

Page 4
kitchen for them. The preacher, she was an Episcopalian but she went here to the Methodists after their chapel burned. Mr. Lewis said he was going to make a Methodist of us, so she bought him a prayer book, a little prayer book for Christmas and sent to him.
ANNE KRATZER:
Was it an Episcopalian prayer book?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes.
ANNE KRATZER:
How did she feel about housekeeping?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh, she didn't like it. She didn't like to cook, she didn't like - she just wanted a housekeeper so she could spend her time painting or visiting. We always had a colored girl until I was about grown who came in to cook for us and clean up the house. She ran the house, go down and buy the groceries for us. She just did like that.
ANNE KRATZER:
Where did she go to school?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
She went to school in Canada at [unknown] College that's now been turned into a business school. One of them held, I can't think of the name of the other one.
ANNE KRATZER:
And what did she take?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
China painting and art. She was undecided whether to take math or china painting or whether to take art or math. I don't know. She finally decided on painting. I'm glad she did. If she'd had math, I couldn't see math, but I can see painting.
ANNE KRATZER:
You have the pictures all over. Now your father, can we talk a little bit about his background, when he first started off.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
He came from Lincolnton. He was an apprentice to a blacksmith when he first started, and then he worked in the drug store, got interested in medicine. His health was bad so he went over to Baltimore to medical school which has been taken over by the university since then.

Page 5
ANNE KRATZER:
What was that called? Did you say reading medicine, is that what?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, it was spoke of as reading medicine. And he always had a, back then they only had doctors who just finished school come in practice with them, that's the way they interned. They didn't go to the hospitals like they do now. They practiced with an elderly doctor.
ANNE KRATZER:
Was there a hospital?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh yes, in Raleigh there was Rex, I guess. I don't know when then…
ANNE KRATZER:
Did Rex always exist?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
It did as far as I remember.
ANNE KRATZER:
Do you have any preschool memories before you went to school?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I don't know. I remember sitting under the porch making mud pies and my brother would make them too but he always wiped his hands on our dresses.
ANNE KRATZER:
Now how many children did your mother have?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Five.
ANNE KRATZER:
And who where they?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
You want the names? Mary Edyth, that's Edyth is the way they spelled it and called it Edyth [like the male name Ed-ith]. And Ruth, Grace and Hugh and myself.
ANNE KRATZER:
And are any of them living?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
No.
ANNE KRATZER:
You were a weak child when you were born? Tell us about that.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, they said I was kind of weak. Papa was afraid I'd have TB and he'd keep me out of school for weeks at a time. He'd make me stay outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air.
ANNE KRATZER:
Who was your first teacher?

Page 6
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Ms. Erma Ellis. She's still living. She's about 95 and she's in the Methodist home.
ANNE KRATZER:
Tell us about the children looking out the window and seeing you, tell about the fence.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh yeah. This first grade teacher used to tell me, said that when I was in the first grade I'd usually stay out of school weeks at a time and the children would look out the window and see me run along the fence and wondered why I wasn't in school too.
ANNE KRATZER:
Now in the beginning of Cary Elementary, or the Cary High School was what it was, was a boarding school? Can you tell us where the…
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, it was originally, the Cary school was a private school run by Ms. Littleton and Ms. Lilly Jones was one of the teachers. I don't know too much about her. I was too young then to know. Anyway, I remember the wooden building and the boys, before they built the brick dormitories, the boys roomed upstairs. They had that dormitory above the classrooms. The bedrooms were up there. Of course, it had someone to cook in a separate building where they ate their meals.
ANNE KRATZER:
Was this about, what, 1908, would you think when you were ten years old? Is this when you remember?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, when I first started school it was there. They didn't get the brick building until, I reckon about 1907.
ANNE KRATZER:
So this was before that.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes.
ANNE KRATZER:
Can you tell us about John Beckwith?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh, well he used to ring the school bells for us. We had a bell and I wished they'd put it up in the yard at school where it should be. And so he'd watch while we'd go down to the

Page 7
store on down the street to get candy and then the last bell started ringing. Uncle John would ring that bell until we got there so we wouldn't be late. And we used to track Mr. Dry, cause he had the longest foot we thought of anybody. And we'd track him when we'd go down the street and see if he had come around anyway. We'd track him. We could tell his footprints.
ANNE KRATZER:
What do you mean by tracking?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Tell his footprints, see if he came down the street. We had dirt sidewalks then so we'd look to see if he was around anywhere by the footprints.
ANNE KRATZER:
Were you trying to stay away from him?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, we didn't want him to see us there.
ANNE KRATZER:
Were you not supposed to be down there?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Not much. But you know kids will do things if they get a chance.
ANNE KRATZER:
True. Where was the store?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
On the corner where the Fidelity Bank is. Mr. F.R. Gray, Pat Gray's father and uncle, Mr. Frank Gray, they ran the store. It was a general store. Everything. And we used to go down and get candy and miss school, and we'd go down. I knew my daddy would be standing there at the post office when the trains came in about 4 o'clock, so we'd go down and ask him for a penny to get candy. And you could get a piece of candy for a penny then. Now you'd pay about a dime for what we paid a penny for.
ANNE KRATZER:
What did you take, what courses did you take? Do you remember what you took in grammar school?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Just everything, I reckon, that they offered.
ANNE KRATZER:
What did you take in high school?

Page 8
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, we didn't have too much choice. I had home ec, and had science, history and English and math.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did you have Latin?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Not in high school, I don't think. I took French.
ANNE KRATZER:
French. And what sports did you enter into?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
We didn't have much sports. I finally took basketball and had basketball later. The first time I went out to join basketball, the teacher hit me in the mouth with a basketball. And then we had our own games. And the boys had the baseball, of course. This was before basketball came in. That was later in high school. And we had all kinds of games though. Pop the whip, and we entertained ourselves. We didn't have any play equipment until later, the last year or two in high school. And played marbles, and played jack rocks. We didn't have any of these bought jack rocks, just pebbles.
ANNE KRATZER:
Tell me how to play jack rocks.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, you had five jack rocks. You made a circle and you put a big one in the middle and four around. I mean, not four but you put several inside and one big one. And then you had one that you'd shoot it. You'd stand a certain distance from the circle and try to knock one out.
ANNE KRATZER:
It was similar to marbles then?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh, I'm telling you wrong. I'm telling you about marbles.
ANNE KRATZER:
Oh, that's the marbles. That's fine. What is pop the whip?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh, everybody takes a hand and makes a long row, a straight row. We had to connect hands and then who's at the head of the line would start running and the first thing the whole line is running, and the one on the end is libel to be slung out into the field somewhere if they couldn't hold on. Nobody liked to be at the end because you knew you couldn't hold on

Page 9
when they cracked the whip. See they'd gain speed as they kept going. Each one started a little faster.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did you have hide and go seek?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh yes, we played hide and go seek, stealing sticks.
ANNE KRATZER:
Stealing sticks, what's that?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, you had a dividing line, you had two sides. And you had a great big circle way in the corner in the back of each field and what you did was to cross that line and steal a stick and bring it back and put it in your circle. But if you got caught you'd be put into prison. Another circle was the prison.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did the other team try to catch you, like tag?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, each one tried to go to the other one's, stealing sticks. And if they caught you, they'd put you in prison.
ANNE KRATZER:
Were there any card games? How did the church feel about…
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, the people, they didn't like… You weren't allowed to play cards. Oh well, you'd just be libel to be turned out from church play cards or to dance, those things. They just weren't heard of. Not here.
ANNE KRATZER:
So what did you do then for entertainment?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, our Sunday School teachers always had parties during the year. They had pulling candy and ice cream suppers, things like that. We didn't have covered dish suppers and that stuff.
ANNE KRATZER:
Tell us how you pulled candy, how it was made.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, it was made with just sugar, and water and flavoring. Then you cook it until it got to a certain stage and then you pulled it. You got a bunch of it, you'd better be careful when,

Page 10
til it got cool or you'd burn your hands. Sometimes two of you would work together pulling the same piece and pulling it until it was brittle. Then you could pull it out in a string and cut it off to certain lengths. It was good.
ANNE KRATZER:
After you graduated from high school, what did you do then?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, I worked myself to death all summer, went to college in the fall.
ANNE KRATZER:
What did you work at all summer?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Sewing, getting some clothes ready to go. You couldn't get as many clothes ready made as you do now. Of course you got some.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did you sew?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, I took home ec and I sewed and I sewed.
ANNE KRATZER:
Where did you buy your material?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Had to go to Raleigh to get that.
ANNE KRATZER:
And you did everything hand, everything was hand-sewn?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
No, we had sewing machines. Except me, I didn't. My father wouldn't let us have a sewing machine.
ANNE KRATZER:
Why?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
He said too many women ruined themselves sewing. But we had a woman around here who sewed and she made some clothes.
ANNE KRATZER:
What did he mean by too many women ruin themselves?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Peddling the old type sewing machine.
ANNE KRATZER:
Oh, you mean selling clothes?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
No, just sewing. Sewing day after day, hour after hour and peddle those machines. See, they didn't have electric machines.

Page 11
ANNE KRATZER:
So they spent too much time working on that.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
It was too hard on their legs, he thought.
ANNE KRATZER:
Oh, physically. Interesting. When you went to college, where did you go and why?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I went to Salem, Winston-Salem.
ANNE KRATZER:
Why?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, my brother's people went to Salem, his grandmother and mother and some of his aunts and naturally they wanted me to go.
ANNE KRATZER:
Where else had you applied? Where else were you thinking about?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I was thinking about going to Duke, up to W.C. there, it was W.C. then. But they wanted me to go to Salem and I'm glad I went. I was never sorry I went there.
ANNE KRATZER:
Why did you want to go to college?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, I didn't think I'd do anything else. It was just instilled in me, I reckon. I just never thought I'd do anything else.
ANNE KRATZER:
And what was your major?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Home ec. And I took straight A-B two years and then of course, my mother didn't want me to take it. She wrote Dr. [unknown] not to let me take it. I took straight A-B for two years and then I changed. Cause I liked it.
ANNE KRATZER:
What were some of your hobbies? What about music? Back then.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
We had a record player with a great big old horn and we'd go into the library up home and open the window and put the horn in the window and play it just loud as it could. You could hear it all the way down the street here cause there wasn't much traffic. You could come down here and you could hear that thing. [Laughter] We'd play the record player, that's all we had. And then I read a whole lot, everything I could get my hands on.

Page 12
ANNE KRATZER:
What about any instruments?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh I had my piano when I was about twelve years old. Mother had gone to Canada and father went up to meet her and they stopped and got the piano on the way. I didn't know it until it came to the door. And of course, I took music then. And I liked it.
ANNE KRATZER:
Who were your teachers?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
My first teacher was a Ms. Clyde Harrison. She, of course, married a [unknown] but she is an aunt of Pat and Mary Anderson Gray. She was a good teacher.
ANNE KRATZER:
You had said that you had played a lot. Did you play a lot?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, I wasn't much of a musician. I had to dig it out. I just didn't have any talent. I think I didn't have any talent for anything except sweeping the floor, washing dishes, and cooking. That's about all the talent I had. [Laughter]
ANNE KRATZER:
I don't believe that. What about your horses? Did you enjoy riding?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, my mother had a western pony and she rode her a lot and I'd ride her too. Then in the early days, of course, I rode the horses my father drove. We kept the horses til they died. My father said they'd been so faithful he wasn't going to get rid of them, so we turned them out in the pasture when he got the car, just let them take life easy.
ANNE KRATZER:
Now you started college in 1916, right. And the following year there was a severe flu epidemic. Can you tell us…
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, the '17 '18 flu epidemic. Well, we had three weeks' vacation and I saw my father about twice. He was going night and day to see patients.
ANNE KRATZER:
What did he feel was a good treatment?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
He said whiskey brought almost the best, did better than anything else he gave them. One dose, you know, just sort of like medicine. And so that pulled a lot of them through.

Page 13
ANNE KRATZER:
And yet how did he feel about drinking socially?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
No, he was against it. He was a great prohibitionist. Go for any kind of liquor unless it was just for medicine, you know, things like that.
ANNE KRATZER:
I remember reading before you were born he ran on a prohibitionist ticket for Governor.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Of course, he didn't win, everybody wanted to drink. [Laughter]
ANNE KRATZER:
What else happened during that epidemic? Did you lose anybody in your family?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, I lost a sister of pneumonia. She had the flu and then it went to pneumonia.
ANNE KRATZER:
How did that affect your family?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, they just take things as they come.
ANNE KRATZER:
Were there any jokes or pranks that were played? I know that Ms. [unknown] had said something about the scarlet fever sign over the restaurant so that nobody would…
ELVA TEMPLETON:
That was before my day, I guess, the Walker Hotel. Her customers had fallen off and she didn't know why until she saw that sign up there - scarlet fever here. And nobody came. [Laughter] Of course, that was before my day I guess.
ANNE KRATZER:
What about World War I? How did Cary react to that?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, we had of course some folks who went just like everybody else. We lost one boy. My father volunteered and he examined soldiers during… [brief pause on tape]
ANNE KRATZER:
You were talking about your father volunteering in World War I.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, he said that they offered him the job of being the Captain. He said he didn't know enough about it so he wouldn't accept it. And so when he got to camp he found out he knew more than those who were captain. [Laughter]

Page 14
ANNE KRATZER:
Where did he go after camp? Tell us about the different places he served.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
He served in a Camp Oglethorpe in Georgia and Camp Severe in Florida. And then he went to Durham and examined soldiers in Durham.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did you ever go with him?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, I went to Durham with him. At the wall we used to go down there lots and somebody'd holler, hey Dr. Templeton. He'd say, I reckon that's somebody whom I examined during the war.
ANNE KRATZER:
What did you do now after you got out of college?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I went out to Kentucky to see if I liked home demonstration work, which I didn't.
ANNE KRATZER:
What exactly is home demonstration work?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, its working with homemakers' clubs, different clubs, you know. Clubs for cooking, nutrition and things like that. And I knew they were better cooks than I was, even then.
ANNE KRATZER:
So after you came back to Kentucky… How long were you in Kentucky, about?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I don't know, two or three months. Long enough to find out I didn't like it anyway.
ANNE KRATZER:
So what did you do after that? What was your next employment?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, the next thing I did, oh I commenced to teaching. So I saw this ad in the paper wanting a teacher, so I wrote to the superintendent and asked for a position of teaching. He wrote me back, I have no position but I have a job if you want it. So I took the job, and it was a job cause I did everything. Taught school, taught Sunday school two groups on Sunday. One in the Methodist church on Sunday morning and the Baptists in the afternoons. And then I'd go to basketball for a long time I started. They didn't have any basketball, and so I started that and we only had… we didn't have a paved court, only a dirt court that we played. But I had a good basketball team, we just beat everybody around because the girls were strong, you know.

Page 15
ANNE KRATZER:
Where was this that you taught?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Arapaho.
ANNE KRATZER:
In what county is that?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Pamlico. Five miles from the [unknown] beach.
ANNE KRATZER:
And how many girls, how many girls and boys… was it co-ed?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, it was a public elementary and high school like they used to have.
ANNE KRATZER:
And what grades did you teach?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well I taught high school there and I taught sixth grade one year. Back then you could teach anywhere they happened to have a vacancy. And I taught science, French and history, and home ec.
ANNE KRATZER:
What were the requirements for being a teacher? Did you just have to have a…
ELVA TEMPLETON:
You had to have a teachers' certificate. You could have an A or B certificate. See then, but now they've done away with C certificate, I think, and just A and B. And I think they gradually do away with the B.
ANNE KRATZER:
How long were you there?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
About ten years.
ANNE KRATZER:
And then what did you do?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I went to another school. Then I went back to Arapaho. And then I taught down in Cleveland School in Johnson County there for Mr. [unknown] for about eleven years.
ANNE KRATZER:
When was this? About what date?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I reckon it was in the '50s, '60s, somewhere. Must have been in the 60s.
ANNE KRATZER:
So you were down in Pamlico County until about 1926, 1930?

Page 16
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Somewhere between 26 and 29, I guess, cause I left and went back.
ANNE KRATZER:
Right. Can you tell me about the, getting back to Cary now, let's talk a little bit about Cary as you remember it when you were in high school - the trains.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, there were trains about every hour of the day past noon. The freight train, and they'd go to Raleigh just at least twice during the day, a train in the morning and at noon and come back at morning and noon. And then the afternoon the Seaboard and Southern raced to Cary and especially on Sunday afternoons. Everybody, young folks would rush down to the station to see the trains come in. If the Southern came in first, we met it but if we'd hear the Seaboard coming, we'd run to the Seaboard, the Seaboard train.
ANNE KRATZER:
What did it cost to ride a train to Raleigh?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I really don't remember. It wasn't as much as it is now, of course.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did you go on any vacations when you were young?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, we used to go in Canada and up in the mountains. We spent a lot of time up in the mountains up between a little place called Plumtree between Spruce Pine and Blowing Rock.
ANNE KRATZER:
And what type of home did you stay in?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh, we just had a house there, that's all I can say. Two stories, we had a bed, chairs if we could find them or sat on boxes or the floor. And of course we had a cook stove, not electric, a wood stove. My aunt did most of the cooking, she was a good cook. We stayed outdoors, hiked a lot in the mountains and went [unknown] for frogs. The river ran right in front of the house. And while I was up there, my little cousin, I was older than she, and she kept begging me, let's go to the river and go in. And we never went in unless some of the old grown folks were there. And like crazy I went too. And so we got into the river and it rained the night before and the water was up and Louise said, I can't touch bottom. Well I says I can't either and

Page 17
grabbed a log and held her with one arm and I held the log with the other. I told her to paddle. And she kept yelling, and I said, stop your yelling. Nobody can hear you. And we came to a place where it was shallow, we could walk and we walked out. Oh boy, that was a close call.
ANNE KRATZER:
I guess to return back to Cary. Can you tell me the different buildings that were in Cary? I guess we're talking about around 1910, 1920, between 1910 and 1920 when the Gray's.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
The stores faced what they called Cedar Street, we called it Railroad Street and they changed the name, facing the railroad, there were stores there.
ANNE KRATZER:
What type stores?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Just general merchandise, about everything. A blacksmith shop
ANNE KRATZER:
What about the post office?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Post office was just a brick building on the corner where the fire house is, and it had an Episcopal chapel there and a store.
ANNE KRATZER:
Is that the Episcopal chapel that burned, that's the one your mother went to? You said that there was a grist mill?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes. I had heard but I don't know. Miss Poplin didn't seem to think so, so I don't know. I never saw it.
ANNE KRATZER:
Now there were two main churches in town.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
The Methodist and the Baptist. We attended each other's church because we didn't have preachers in both churches every Sunday. The preachers were on a circuit, and preached at our church one Sunday, then maybe Holly Springs, and then maybe Gastonia, rotating that way.
ANNE KRATZER:
What about religious practices? For instance, funerals. What was different about a funeral?

Page 18
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, they tolled the bell according to the number of years the person was old. It was tolled. Old Uncle John Taylor, a colored man, used to ring the bells for Sunday school, church and funerals. And nobody, of course, could toll it like he did. [Laughter]
ANNE KRATZER:
What about Christmas in the church?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh, we had a huge holly tree there. It must have been seven, eight feet tall covered in berries and in class small children got a little gift like a bag of confections. They had big barrels full of bags and the older people would get one of those. Of course the children had a program. We looked forward to that, you know. Everybody in the community that's a Methodist would go to hear the kids talk.
ANNE KRATZER:
You had a nice custom on Christmas morning. You didn't open your presents until…
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, we had an old colored man who had worked for us for twenty-five years or more, anyway a long time. And he was getting kind of feeble. But mother wouldn't let us get our Christmas presents until he came. We'd get out on the porch and watch down the road to see him when he'd come. We'd see him coming, we run and meet him and try to make him hurry up. [Laughter] We didn't get anything on Christmas much, candy, an orange and maybe one or two toys is all, all the toys we had during the year. We had our own things we made and used like a ball and played hail over. Threw it over across a house that was low enough. A bunch would get on one side of the house and bunch on the other. We'd throw it over and whoever caught it would throw it back.
ANNE KRATZER:
What did you call that?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Hail over. And we made hats out of leaves. Used this broom straw and made hats out of leaves, made play houses and all that stuff. Climbed trees, ate green fruit. It was a good time. But now they have to be entertained. We have to pay taxes to buy equipment for the

Page 19
children who can't play at home in the big yards they have. We weren't allowed to go out of the yard without permission. But I guess we slipped out sometimes.
ANNE KRATZER:
While we're talking about that, can you tell me how your mother brought up children?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, we'd mind and if we didn't we got a switchin'. And I mean it hurt too.
ANNE KRATZER:
Was there a particular type branch?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
She got a little switch from a peach tree or something and they sting, you know. Maybe you don't know. Of course the whipping chair had gone out of style now. The police would tell the momma's what to do, they tell me. I don't know. But anyway, I find them very nice in Sunday school, very cooperative. If they can raise them without whippin' them, more power to them.
ANNE KRATZER:
You told a cute story about your father. Your father never whipped you but he came close to it? Tell us about that.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh yes. I was about to pull some green peaches off the tree. He told me to stop and I just wasn't about to until I saw him get up and he was going to switch me.
ANNE KRATZER:
Do you remember much of the Depression and how it affected you and your family?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, I remember. Daddy could hardly get enough money to buy gas. I was teaching and I had to wait from May until September to get my last month's pay that year. And they reduced us about forty dollars on our pay.
ANNE KRATZER:
What were you paid normally for a year, about?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
It wasn't two hundred dollars, maybe a hundred, a hundred fifty. I reckon a hundred fifty was a good price.

Page 20
ANNE KRATZER:
And did your father have any experiences not having money. I know you told a story of him going out to…
END OF SIDE 1

BEGIN SIDE 2
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh, he went out on, I think, the Reedy Creek Road to see if he could get him some money to buy some gas with. The woman said, we'll sell our place and pay you. And my father said, no you won't either. He wouldn't take anybody's place, not for the world.
ANNE KRATZER:
I know you mentioned your father's automobile. Who was the first in town to have an automobile?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I really don't know. I thought my brother was, and Miss Poplin said the other night that my father was, so I don't know. I know the first ride I took in one, so it might have been my father. Because my brother went out with the agent to learn how to drive so when he came back he wanted to take us for a ride and I was scared to death. I remember that.
ANNE KRATZER:
Was it the noise that it made? What scared you about it?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
No, I didn't know how he could drive, whether he could manage the thing or not. See, it was all new to everybody. Cars just coming out. He had a Ford. And I cranked that thing. I cranked it a million times, helped fix tires, and all that stuff.
ANNE KRATZER:
It was quite a thing, I guess, when you were in school and a car… What would you do when you…
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, when cars first came out there weren't but a few in Cary. If you could hear one coming up the street, up Academy Street, we'd all run to the window and look out to see it. Same thing about an airplane. I was teaching when airplanes became more common and we'd all run out in the yard and see the airplane go over. Oh boy.

Page 21
ANNE KRATZER:
What was the most difficult time of your life that you can remember? Was it your mother passing, or adjusting?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I reckon adjusting, I don't know. I guess that was it. I was afraid to get out of the room at night. Everybody was there. I locked the bedroom door and then I got so that I didn't mind going out in the hall and it just kind of gradually wore off. That fear of being alone.
ANNE KRATZER:
How has retirement age, how are you enjoying your life now?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
The best thing I enjoy about it, I don't have to get up no more and meet a deadline.
ANNE KRATZER:
What do you do to keep yourself busy?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, I take art from Ms. [unknown], and XYZ Club. I got to the XYZ Club, and I go to craft work once a week. Then I belong to too many organizations. But the thing about that, no more than two people overlap and I get to know a who lot of folks that I wouldn't know otherwise. I wouldn't have known you if I hadn't joined this place. And so that's the way it goes. And I enjoy every one of them. I'll look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.
ANNE KRATZER:
I would imagine that there are some older citizens that aren't as well adjusted as you. What can one do for them?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, I think they got to make up their mind to accept it. Get busy doing something, get involved in something and mix with folks. See people. If you're gonna sit at home and nurse your feelings, you'll be an invalid first thing you know.
ANNE KRATZER:
Can you tell us a little bit about the relationship between the Cary people and as you say, the colored people?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, we had very good relationship with them. We had a good element of colored people. I don't think we ever had very much trouble with them, not more than we do the whites.

Page 22
I think whites sometimes are meaner than they are. We played with them when we were kids. We weren't allowed to sass them or be ugly to them or we got it at home.
ANNE KRATZER:
They had different schools. Can you tell about schools?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh yes, they had a colored school, about a two room, over on the road to the cemetery. I don't know how to tell that.
ANNE KRATZER:
I think it's off of Shirley Drive now. Somewhere between Shirley…
ELVA TEMPLETON:
It's down on some road going round here to the right of the school to Kildaire Farm Road, you turn off just below the ball field here at the elementary school used to be a road. They've closed it now. Used to be the old road and that's the way we went to the cemetery and there was a Christian church, a colored church. Then right beside it was this colored school until they built the nice school across the railroad for them.
ANNE KRATZER:
That was the black school, which is now Kingswood?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes. Kingswood, I guess. I wonder what they changed all the names for. Why didn't they let them stay like they were?
ANNE KRATZER:
Where was the white public school?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
The first state high school from 1907 is this one up here, the elementary school was the first state public high school. And they used to have a free school called, I just barely remember that. It was facing Dixon Avenue, I think. The corner of Dixon and Chatham. This school up here at the head of Academy Street was a private school until the state took it over.
ANNE KRATZER:
Now the colored people though still had their own school, their own church?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, Ada Ruffin, I remember was one of the teachers. She was a very fine colored person. She had her mother, I recall, Aunt Millie. We called them aunts and uncles, the older people. We didn't dare call them anything else. I mean, being disrespectful or anything in their

Page 23
names. Ms. Ada Ruffin used to tell about the house on the corner at the Winn Dixie parking lot and it burned one night during the snow. Aunt Millie was a very very religious old lady and I'm going to tell on her. She was outdoors praying because she saw the flakes coming down between the fire and the snow and it looked like drops of blood. She thought Judgment Day had come. But they tell on her and how close she was. She was the most religious woman you ever saw in your life, good old soul. And then there was Bun Ferrell who was a very noted colored person, did, I think he was on the school board of the colored people. And then there was Nas Jones. I'm just recalling some names of some of the colored folk. There was one they called Uncle Logan and Richard Jones, there is some of the prominent colored people around.
ANNE KRATZER:
I notice that you call all lot of the men "Uncle." And then the women were "Aunt."
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes for the older colored folks.
ANNE KRATZER:
Where did they live? Did they live in a particular section of town?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well there was a little place over here on Walker Street. I don't know how to tell you to go there. You go out on this part right up there at Park and Walker. That was Frogtown. And then farther down the road on that same road street south was another settlement called Little Washington. And then the others were just scattered around. And we had a colored family who lived right back of us. Their property joined ours. Very good, her name was Martha, we called her Babe Jones. Handy Jones her father. And they were very good. Because we had a large [unknown]. They never bothered anything. Momma would always give them all the fruits they wanted. They never bothered anything. Good colored folks.
ANNE KRATZER:
Tell me a little bit about, we have so many modern conveniences now. Tell me, what were your irons for clothes like?

Page 24
ELVA TEMPLETON:
At first it was a flat iron and then we had, an iron came out you put hot coals in it.
ANNE KRATZER:
About when was that?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
I don't know, I was quite small.
ANNE KRATZER:
But it was before you left for college?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, even before I went to high school. We had an ice refrigerator but the ice was brought in. You got say, a twenty-five pound block of ice and put it in the top of the refrigerator and your food kept cold.
ANNE KRATZER:
Where did you get the ice from?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
The men went around and delivered ice. The ice man. I suppose he got it from Raleigh though. The ice house over in Raleigh, they sold ice by the block. They'd go and get it, bring it out here and chop it up, the amount you want and put food in the bottom. And we never cooked much on Sunday. That was not to be doing.
ANNE KRATZER:
When did you do your cooking?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Saturday. The main meal was done on Saturday. We maybe cook breakfast, something for breakfast. But we did our main cooking on Saturday.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did you just reheat the food on Sunday?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes. Just reheat it. We didn't do a lot of things they do today. We didn't wash and iron and sew and do all that stuff, cut the lawn on Sunday, or work in the garden or nothing. You could go visit your friends on Sunday, or read or something like that. And the boys weren't allowed to play baseball. At least ours weren't.
ANNE KRATZER:
It was a day of rest.
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Of course the kids went to church and Sunday school.

Page 25
ANNE KRATZER:
How did you heat your house?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Stove. Wood stoves.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did you stoke it all night long?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes. See my father had to get up a lot of times to go on calls at night. Put in great big old oak stick and shut the dampers off and kept the room warm. So if he had to get up the house would be warm.
ANNE KRATZER:
How did your father die and when?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
He died in '32. He went to see an old colored woman and turned his ankle and a blood clot formed.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did he go to the hospital?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh yes.
ANNE KRATZER:
Did they try to operate?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
No. Doctor [unknown] said they would not operate and he was resting so they were not going to operate.
END OF INTERVIEW