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Title: Oral History Interview with Mattie Bell and Earl Cavenaugh, December 7, 1999. Interview K-0282. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Cavenaugh, Mattie Bell, interviewee
Author: Cavenaugh, Earl, interviewee
Interview conducted by Thompson, Charles Amberg, Rob
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Kristin Shaffer
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2004
Size of electronic edition: 216 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2004.
© 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:
2008-00-00, Wanda Gunther and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-12-08, Kristin Shaffer finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Mattie Bell and Earl Cavenaugh, December 7, 1999. Interview K-0282. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0282)
Author: Charles Thompson and Rob Amberg
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Mattie Bell and Earl Cavenaugh,December 7, 1999. Interview K-0282. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0282)
Author: Mattie Bell and Earl Cavenaugh
Description: 178 Mb
Description: 53 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 7, 1999, by Charles Thompson and Rob Amberg; recorded in Duplin County, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
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.
Editorial practices
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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Oral History Interview with Mattie Bell and Earl Cavenaugh, December 7, 1999.
Interview K-0282. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Cavenaugh, Mattie Bell, interviewee
Cavenaugh, Earl, interviewee


Interview Participants

    EARL CAVENAUGH, interviewee
    MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH, interviewee
    BETSY EASTER, interviewee
    ARTIS CAVENAUGH, interviewee
    THOMAS CAVENAUGH, interviewee
    CHARLES THOMPSON, interviewer
    ROB AMBERG, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BETSY EASTER:
Haul it off if you need to.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
There's no need to. If you want to.
BETSY EASTER:
If you have a trailer to do it with.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Kind of like a stupid idea.
BETSY EASTER:
Well, it probably is not a stupid idea as much as it is a problem to get a trailer inside a building.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I'm not taking a trailer inside a building; it's sitting right over there.
BETSY EASTER:
Free stuff will do anything to it.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
What?
BETSY EASTER:
To a freezer.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
My mother's daddy, in other words—I mean, my mother was raised right over there across the canal. One mile down here, a half a mile, I reckon, my daddy was raised. And where he was raised was where my granddaddy was raised too. In 1928, I mean in 1908, there came home a flood.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
1908.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. Whenever it crest, got as high as it was going, my granddaddy nailed a light wood post to a pine level to the water. Back in them days there wasn't anything wrong with the woods, anyhow. In 1928, it came another one and the water went right straight just that same, about that high and that's all. In 1962 there came another one, the old people were telling me.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In 1962.

Page 2
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. The old people were telling me that you had an artesian well, and you could go out there in 1928 and take a glass and get a drink of water right out of that artesian well, overflow. And in 1962, it was the same way. Those three floods were about like four or five inches of being the same thing. My granddaddy said that him and his daddy and nobody else had never seen anything any higher than that. So that dates me back yonder a hundred and fifty years. They had never seen anything, and this time it was four feet higher in my house than it was at that time.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Is that light wood still there?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Not now, I don't think. They cut the timber and everything else by then. From what I can understand, those three dates when it flooded, it wasn't four or five inches different in either way. But this time it came, it was four feet higher than any other that anybody had ever known.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So I didn't say on tape yet your names. You are Mr. Earl Cavenaugh.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
That's right.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Is Matt your nickname?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Mattie.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Mattie.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Mattie is her name.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Mattie Bell.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Bell.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
She was a Register. Mattie Bell Register was her name.

Page 3
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Mattie Bell, okay. Mattie Bell Register. I heard you say that you were eighty years old when you were talking with Rob a minute ago. So that means that you were born in 1919. March the 26th?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
1919.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
He has a brother that lives right down the road. He's eighty-two.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
He's two years and two months older than I am. Matter of fact, he lives on the old homestead of my granddad.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So you were born here?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Down yonder.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You were born down there. About how far is that?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
About a mile.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
About a mile. How about you?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It was a little town, Magnolia.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Magnolia. Okay. Do you mind telling me when you were born?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I was born February 25, 1925.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Two, Twenty-five on twenty-five.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
She's a little older than I am.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
My wife is a year older than I am.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
She's about six years younger than I am.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Wait now. Did I get the date wrong here?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
She's 1925, and I'm 1919.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I was seventy-five in February.

Page 4
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I wrote it down. I've got it now. Six years. My wife is one year older than I am, and I tease her about that all the time. Tell me a little bit about this place and when you built it, and something about your farm experiences here. I know we're sitting here in the Northeast community. You have a memory far back and people driving through here wouldn't know all the stories that are here. I was hoping you would tell some about that and how you ended up here, and what you've done here with your place.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
When I came out of the Army—this is not the original homestead. That's my mother's homestead over there, where she was born and raised, and her daddy was raised about a mile down the road. Where my brother lives is where my father was raised. When I came out—my daddy had bought this place when I was in the service.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What years were you in the service?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Forty to Forty-four.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You were in World War Two.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And when you came back your daddy had bought this place. Did it have a house on it then?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
No.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It was a farm, or was it in timber or scrub?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Well, grew up and run down there. It had been used for a farm a long time ago.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And then it had grown and no one had used it for a farm. Had he bought it for you for when you returned?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
No, he had just bought it when it had come for sale.

Page 5
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, okay.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I wish he hadn't have.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So you came home in 1944 and here was this farm, and is that what you started doing right away, is building a house on it?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I was actually gone four years, five; four years and a half. You don't know what in the world to do when you've turned loose in a different world. That's what it was. We came here, going to stay one year.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Were you all married at that point?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Where y'all married before you left?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
When I got back from overseas, I got married.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
When you got back. Had y'all been courting any before you got back?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Not a whole lot.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
He was in service.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You started writing to each other, maybe?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I got a—I decided I needed me a place to live, so I built a little place on that hill over yonder beside the road over there, about as big as this—about like from here back. We stayed in that thing until we had three children, two children. I wanted a house worse than anything in this world. I had never drove a nail and didn't no anything about it. I didn't have any money, so I got me a cross-cut saw and went to the woods, went to sawing logs and dragging them out and bringing them up here and having them sawed, racking them up and let them dry. When they dried, the next day I took them down and had them dressed and then had them out there in a pile. You couldn't hire anybody right

Page 6
after the war because everybody—that was a busy time; you couldn't get anybody, couldn't get any materials, and didn't have anything to buy it with anyhow. I never had any kind of building experience, bricklaying or nothing. I didn't even know you had to have a batter board when you build a house. I went out and built that house without even a batter board or nothing.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The one that's sitting there now.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I built it by myself.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It was in '50.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So that was when y'all were living in your little house. Now, where was that little house?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
It's gone. It was sitting over yonder right next to the road.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Just about fifty feet from the other one.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
A little old tiny thing.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Was the house the size it is now, the one we're looking at across the way, when you first built?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
No, we added those back room yonder a year or two ago. Believe it or not, we worked on it from '45 to—from the time we sawed the logs, until '50. It was then ready to move in it. I did all the work. It's crude. You can go in yonder and look now. It still looks crude.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It's good just from here.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
When I moved in that house, of course, I built that room on it and it had a five inch tin on it. That's the only thing I could buy, and I had to buy that from my neighbor that had bought it to put on his pack house. And he seen that I needed it worse

Page 7
than he did, so he sold it to me. That's the only way I could get that to put a roof on it after the war.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It was probably hard to find metal at that point.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Well, you couldn't find anything. Metal, asphalt, you couldn't even find no asphalt shingles. So when I got through—this is the part you aren't going to believe—I owed ninety dollars when I moved in that house.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That ninety dollars was for the tin. You cut your own logs.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
The tin didn't cost but about four or five dollars a square—that wasn't nothing—and you could buy a two by four for thirty dollars a thousand. Now, you won't even sell it by the thousand; they sell it by the piece because you could get more that way. It won't sound as big. When I moved in it, I owed ninety dollars and I had thirty-five hundred dollars in it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You couldn't built the back room for that now.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Now, when I go up there to pay my taxes, they have it valued at $175,000 with this ten acres it's sitting on, this tract. That is outrageous with anybody's money. I've been up there. That's what the appraiser said. They stood out there on the side of the road and looked and wrote.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So you made a life for yourselves here. What were you doing? Were you farming poultry that whole time, starting in the 1940s?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
You just wouldn't believe it, how tight we were. We didn't even own a car until 1950 after we moved in here.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How were you making your money?

Page 8
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Farming, and mustering out pay, I think, was about ninety dollars a month or something, and that we got for a year. That was to get you started or something.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
You had to go to school to get that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The GI bill.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
There was a farm thing out yonder.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Is that what it was from the Army?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
And that really was what we built the house with.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. Were you growing what, soybeans, corn?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Tobacco, corn and hogs.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Tobacco.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
In 1950 after I moved in here I built that chicken house out there, one.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You built the chicken house in what year?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
'55.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. So you were raising hogs. They were out on the pasture or what?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Down there in the swamp eating acorns and whatever.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In the swamp. Then you decided to start raising chickens. Were you selling them as early as that? Were you selling to somebody?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I had them on consignment, just like the turkeys are today.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
With Watson's by any chance?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
It was Ramsey to start with.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Ramsey.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I was one of his first growers.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How many chickens did they put in a flock back then?

Page 9
EARL CAVENAUGH:
In this house right there, they put four thousand.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's small by today's standards.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Then after a while, they insulated the houses and put five thousand in it. But you know, the chickens were better then than they are now.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In what way?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Eating, tasting. The first bunch I raised in 1956, I believe it was, '57, something like that. I forgot now. I sold them nine weeks even and they weighed four pounds. He come down here bragging on them, they were so pretty. They were the prettiest ones you've ever seen. Four pounds in nine weeks. Now they're five pounds in six weeks.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I think you might have a guest here.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
That's my brother.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, your brother.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Hey, come in the house.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Well, he's taking off, too.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
He can sit down here, too, if he wants to. You know, I was wanting to find out about you all's life here and then of course we want to talk about the flood. How are you sir? We're having a recording session right here. You can get in on it. We're going to start talking about the flood. We're going to start talking about—you weren't involved in the flood right? Maybe you don't have anything to say about it. Nah. I'm just joking with you.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Sit right there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You sit down too Ms. Matt.

Page 10
EARL CAVENAUGH:
He was involved more than the most.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Hi. My name is Charlie Thompson and I'm from the University of North Carolina up in Chapel Hill. We're recording some of the histories and we were just now to the 1950s and chickens and so forth. I know you're a Cavenaugh. What is your first name?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Thomas.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Thomas Cavenaugh. You're Mr. Earl's brother. And y'all came up. Were you in the army the same time he was? We were just talking about that.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I didn't go. I was twenty-six and they said they'd let the twenty-six and on up go and stay home.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. You stayed home and farmed, I guess.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So we were talking about the chickens. They took longer to grow and they were—
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Lighter.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
A whole lot better.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
They tasted better.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
To eat.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Now they puff them up with chemicals and hormones and whatever; make them put on a lot of weight.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
And then they kill them and if they're over a day or two old their bones are so black you can't eat it.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
They do turn dark.

Page 11
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So anyway, y'all kept on farming. Did you farm poultry all the way through the sixties and seventies and grow for Ramsey?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I had poultry right on up until about six months ago. I got—the man, Watson, went out of business.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right, I remember that.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I went and couldn't get no one else to take them right then I went to working for a building contractor for a year or so. I saw that punching a clock—and wasn't for this chicken. So I went to see Prestage about some turkeys. He put me some in right away.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How do you spell that, Pest—.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Prestage.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Prestage, oh, okay. I got it.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I raised them until about fifteen years ago. Over about six months ago, I turned them over to my son. I said, 'Take them. I can't do it no more.'
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Are the houses on your land still? How far away are they? Are they where you can see them? Oh, over across the road?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
A hunk of land.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Over there, or over there?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Right straight across.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
There's some right there, okay.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Anyway, he had a bunch as pretty as you've ever seen in your entire life. I thought we were going to do right good with them.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Growing them for Thanksgiving, I guess.

Page 12
EARL CAVENAUGH:
And they flooded out. He hasn't sold any turkeys yet. He's been in it six months and been working himself to death getting the houses cleaned out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What is his name, your son?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Artis.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Artis Cavenaugh. I don't know if we have an interview set up with him or not. I'll have to put that down. Well, if you'd like to we could talk some about the flood, since y'all are here together and that's of course why we came. I wanted to find out a little bit about the place that did flood because on a tape it's hard to picture anything unless you have a little bit of context. So here we are on a farm you started in the 1940s, raising chickens and tobacco and cornere. Both of y'all farmed right in this community. Did you also raise turkeys?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. I had chickens in 1960, I believe it was.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Do y'alls farms adjoin one another?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
No.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You live down the road aways.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I live about half a mile down that way.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Who has the homeplace?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Me.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, you're in the home place. So there's a half a mile distance where he bought this new land so you both ended up with farms. Are there other children in the family? Just the two of you.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Just the two of us.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Just the two of you. That's good that y'all are close together.

Page 13
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Actually, there weren't [but] three of us—us and my dad. From the time I was seven years old, my mom passed.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So he took care of y'all and y'all cooked your meals.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
She died in '26.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In '26. Y'all took care of your housekeeping and the three of you.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
We moved in with my grandmama and my granddaddy and stayed there awhile. All them begin to come back in and we left.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So, we had three different floods in this community—one in 1908, one in 1928, one in 1962. We already talked about that. You've already said it was four or five feet higher this time than any of those previous three floods.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Any human living has never heard tell.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So as far as y'all knew you were not living in a flood plain. Those other three floods had not affected your houses at all.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
It came in that house.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
It came in that house.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In 1962, I mean.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
It came in there nine inches deep.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And what did you think at that point? Did you think that that was just not going to happen again?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Well, I went in there and swept the earthworms out and mopped up the floor a little bit.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
We had everything on cinder blocks.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, you had it jacked up at that point. The house or every thing inside?

Page 14
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Everything inside.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So you knew the flood was coming and you'd prepared for it.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
It came slow. This time it came so fast you couldn't think of it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Tell me about that. What was the date of the flood? How did you start knowing it was going to happen? First of all, we had Hurricane Dennis come through and saturate the land, right?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I don't know anything about the dates. I just know the days of the week. My house, my son-in-law went out there and looked at the water and it began to come up. They could see it coming up.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Was this after the hurricane had already passed?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How many days after that? We knew the Hurricane was coming, the Floyd hurricane, and we saw it on the news and it passed on out. We got up the next morning—did y'all get up thinking there wasn't that much damage? How did it seem?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I don't know.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
() had gone to bed and they had to get boats and wake them up.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I don't know just how that came around. Seem like I didn't realize nothing was coming up. I didn't know it was going to come that quick. Whenever it started coming up, I mean, it went up. It went up that night to that rest home out yonder, stayed there and the next morning it was in the yard. They put us [in a] big truck and carried us to the high ground.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Where was that?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Out yonder at the rest home.

Page 15
EARL CAVENAUGH:
There's a rest home out yonder at () City. And my children, five of them is all in this rest home down there. They built that one together. They got it going good, [then] they decided to go and build them another one. They built this Dayspring out yonder.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This one's just right across the road.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
When the water come up in this one they had to transfer the resident out yonder to that one. And they were having a time out there—sleeping in the halls and anywhere else you could get a place to sleep.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But that other one never flooded. So you were saying Ms. Matt that the flood came and some people had to be taken out in boats?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
That's at night, because they didn't know the water was up to their beds.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
That boy that lives down there in a trailer. He went to bed that night and he woke up and there was water in the trailer. His feet were in the water when he put them down. He said, 'I can't swim.' He called that boy that lives on the island right there, got a house on the hill where it didn't come, called him and told him the situation. He come up there with a boat and got them both, and carried them back and put them at his house until the morning.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But you knew the water was going to come up, and you'd experienced this other flood.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
We could watch it down here. It got back in the woods, it come from the river.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And how far away was the river from here?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Not that far.

Page 16
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Quarter of a mile.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
This canal goes down to that river, and it was full. I went out that afternoon and it was full. I told them, I said, 'I didn't know it was coming in that fast.' It kept going back and forth in the day. Earl always is measuring out here. He'd be sticking (). You could tell how fast it was coming. And he would keep it watched.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And how did you keep it watched, with sticks?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Watched it coming.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
General rainstorm has been known through our generation as general rain. It's going to get out of the banks. It will rise by the time it quits raining, five days. Sometimes it depends on whether it rains more there or here, whether or not it would go four or five. We were looking for it to rise five, but it was up here about the second day after it quit raining. More than it had been being as high as the flood.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
After that second day, did y'all start knowing that it was different right away?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Always when it rains—I kind of wanted to know how high it was, so I got me an aluminum yardstick and I go stick it down in the ground to ten. Then I go back and read it and see how many inches it goes an hour. I've been doing that know since 1962 when it come into my house. So I know kind of how to prepare; see how fast it coming. So I took that one this time and went down to check it, [and] I lost the thing. It was gone. Usually two inches an hour at the very peak is all it would rise. This time it was coming a foot an hour or something.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
A foot an hour.

Page 17
EARL CAVENAUGH:
It just depends on—generally the water goes that way. Whenever it was rising so fast—we were fixing to try to get out, [and] I tried to walk across that cement out there and the water was about that deep running that way. What was happening, it was filling up a low place back here or something. It came up and [was] running over and filling up those low places. Because it was running across that cement so hard, you could hardly walk in it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And this was before you left and you knew the water was running around your yard and the concrete.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
And I knew it was going to rain about two more days, and rise about two more days after that. That's what worried me.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So at what point did you leave? Where was the water?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Had the pickup backed to the door at twelve o'clock that night. Wouldn't cut the pickup off because the water was running back up the tailpipe. You could hear it just blubbering. I had it parked right there so Matt could get in it [and] get to the rest home. That was about twelve o'clock. We thought we were safe when we got down there, because we went to bed fast asleep and my son came up there and woke me up about five o'clock and said, 'Get up, get up you've got to leave here. The water's coming in this house.' I said, 'No, it ain't coming in here.' He said, 'Yes it is. You look out that window.'
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Ms. Willis, she's the preacher's wife.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
That was who?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Ms. Willis, that was here last night. Her and her husband, he has Parkinson's Disease and she said that men were going around, firemen mostly, with the

Page 18
boats going around checking on everyone. She said they got there around three o'clock in the morning and that they'd gone to bed and didn't realize anything. She said that if they hadn't have come and got them they would've have been drowned. She said she could not have gotten him out by herself. It was three o'clock when they got them out. She said it was coming in so fast. They didn't realize that water was even done like it happened.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Nobody was expecting anything like that. They go to the door and knocking on the door and saying get out we got to leave here. You could hardly get them out. They said, 'Pshaw, I'm staying here. I'm not going anywhere.' They didn't realize it was going to flood up there like that.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It was dark, see, and it came up so fast. We have another lady right down the road, and she's ninety-three. They got her about two o'clock that morning. They thought about her and they got her. I don't know how many they didn't do. That's all that saved them. They didn't realize () Ms. Willis did that they haven't come, there was no way for her to have gotten him out. She said it was a good bit.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Who?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Ms. Willis. It just messed up their trailer. She said that you couldn't hardly walk out. The floor was sopping up that material that it's made out of. She said he could hardly walk out of it.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Particleboard.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I worship to the Lord that they had to build trailers with the same electrical, plumbing, foundation, code there is when you build a house. That's not right to let them have a house out yonder on a hill, a trailer house. They're sewed together, cement blocks with no mortar in them, just to hold them up. And then if you have to build a house the

Page 19
same size on that same lot you'd have to have sixteen inch wide, eight inch thick concrete foundation and all that stuff. Now they're selling the country full of them things and they don't have any, no code hardly. Not to compare with what you have to have to build a house.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So after you went to the nursing home—do you also go to the same place?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
All three of you were there. How long did you say?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
His wife has been an invalid, a vegetable for eight or ten years. His daughter is staying there waiting on her.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In your house?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
And they had to move her to the rest home because it was coming in the house. Then they had to move her from the rest home in an army truck. The water was that deep.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Four feet deep.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
And then they got her to the rest home at Wallace.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
At Wallace. How long did y'all stay there, all four of you?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
A couple of weeks. Something like that.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Jennie and Maurice stayed there about two weeks or maybe a little longer. But got where he could get out. He went to Randy's house, his son. After a few days I went to my son that stays over there. He got back in his house. I stayed up there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
When did you get back to see your houses the first time? How long was that?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Two weeks when I got back out here.

Page 20
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Everybody had started pulling out the carpet.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I don't know about how long before I come back. I went out there and had no way in the world to drive, and you couldn't stay () the rest home. The water got down so I could come back and get my truck.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Your truck was at your house.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
It was at the rest home up there parked up against the building.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
All of them flooded, all the cars.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
When you came back to your houses, what did you find?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
It looked like my house had been sealed up—sealed full of water and picked up and shook and then set back down. That's exactly the way it was. Deep freezes, refrigerators over on top of each other. Floated all over to the other side of the house.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Ms. Matt has put up food probably every year since y'all were married hasn't she? You said earlier you had food in those freezers. What kind of food did you have in there?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
She had, I reckon, a hundred or two dollars, more than that, of meat that she had bought from the grocery stores. Keeping it there just in case somebody came in. Happens down there pretty often. You see all these tables here.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
There are places for twenty people to sit right here.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
She wants to have a place for them. That's mostly what she had in there, was vegetables, peas, beans, whatever.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I think this wire is making that microphone pick up that sound. That's fine if you want to hit the flies. That tapping might get on there and be hard to hear. So the freezers were laying out in the yard. Is that what you said?

Page 21
EARL CAVENAUGH:
We had an icebox sitting right there where that one is. It was turned bottom upwards and the doors of it were out there in the yard. I don't know how they got off or how they got out there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How about at your house, what did you find?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
You couldn't even get in the houses. That was the problem.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
The doors were blocked.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The doors were blocked by furniture.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. All floated around.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Was water standing in the house?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah, about thirty inches deep.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You couldn't open the door for the water in there.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
You couldn't really go when the water was in there. You couldn't get out here. At home, the freezer was just like he said. Turned like you took a stick and turned around.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Had to throw it all away.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
All that went down the drain. We had a freezer full. I don't know how many—counted up pints of tomatoes to last I believe until next year. Most every can, they threw them away. Throw them away, they throw them away.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now, who are they? Who came in and told you to throw them away?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
One—they sent out a lot of stuff for you to use to spray and use for all kind of infection.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Disinfectant.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
To use on everything.

Page 22
CHARLES THOMPSON:
These people were with FEMA?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I don't know who they were.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Red Cross maybe?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I believe the Red Cross.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
They were mighty good to us.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The Red Cross came into each house? How did they do this?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I don't know. There wasn't anybody in our house until we moved back out there.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
A lot of days they sent food out to the houses in their vans. They really helped a lot, I tell you.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The Red Cross.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
They would bring lunch out, the Red Cross.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
After y'all had moved back, are you living in your house over there now?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
No.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You right now are in—what do you call this little building?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Mattie's Diner.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Mattie's Diner [Laughs].
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
That's about all I do.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What? Fix food?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
That was one that called to see if I was having—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now, tell me about what do you do?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Was that Buster that just called?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You fix food and give it away to people here?

Page 23
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Most of it's family.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Family. About how many people come for lunch?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
In the summertime it's more than there are right now. A lot of times they work it off, but if they're close by they always come. I've had as many as fifteen.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
A lot of times there are six to eight men.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Fifteen, six or eight men. Now that you've lost your food, how are you feeding these people?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
You have to buy it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You have to buy it.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
They don't as many come now because they know it isn't here.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And how did you start feeding people like that? When did that start? How did you decide to do that?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Whenever we got this building.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now, do y'all sleep out in this building?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
No, our daughter has a home in Wallace that she rents. We live there and come back in the mornings.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This is pretty much your home. You have your Christmas tree set up here, and your living room and your kitchen.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
We'll have Christmas dinner here, but can't anybody get in the house.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
They haven't started the sheet rock yet.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So is the plumbing working and everything now?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I've got the water all cut off at the house and a separate line running out here. I've got a little water heater back there.

Page 24
CHARLES THOMPSON:
To take a bath you have to [go] back into town.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Um hmm. Don't have any water.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I've been to church, and Arthur's out there painting.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Arthur.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Them () are sticking out in them pews in boxes naked, and they're hot.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
But they're cut right off sharp. They're not raggedy ended wise. Who's out there with Arthur?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
()
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Just the two of them. They worked out there yesterday all day.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
() out there today. Eat supper tonight and wanted me to go with them. I wanted to go. I said, 'Yeah, I'll go.'
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Have y'all been up here to the Ladies Auxiliary to get some of that food?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It's closed right now.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Ma'am?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
We don't have it right now.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Up there at the center there's some food. We just stopped in there. There's still food up there.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I thought you were talking about where the supperhouse is. That's where the Ladies Auxiliary always meets, at the Ruritan building, and we had supper before the flood. We had a supper every Saturday night going on about fifty years.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Every Saturday night. Can you tell me about that? How did it start?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I'd have to tell you () to tell you all that. It started in '48.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And it was for everybody in the community?

Page 25
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Uh huh. It started off years back down here kind of across from Betsy, that's with you all today, where her mother lives. There was a building right in front of her. That's where it started from, and the Ladies Auxiliary just decided to have a supper to make some money to help build up the church.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And what is the church? I'm sorry, I should've asked earlier.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Northeast Pentecostal Holiness Church.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Pentecostal Holiness.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Not Holiness.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Pentecostal Free Will Baptist.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Pentecostal Freewill Baptist. And are y'all members of that?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That is the church that is sitting down there about a mile from here, isn't it?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Yes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And the church was flooded, too.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Yes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But the Ladies Auxiliary was fixing food there to raise money for the church for building projects. What else did you use the money for?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Well, when anyone in the community was sick we know anything about [they would] always get a little, from fifty to a hundred. And then we visit hospitals. We reach way out. That's what we're going to do with the money. That's what it goes for.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So it's not for the building fund of the church. It doesn't go to the building.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
No.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. So you are still going with that.

Page 26
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
We still doing it.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
We were doing it until the flood, but now nobody goes.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
That's where we got the food that they give out to residents.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's right with the Women's Auxiliary, and you decided you're going to start back?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
The building is the Ruritan and we rent it from them.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The building is Ruritan right up here. When do you think you'll start again?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
We thought after Christmas we were going to start planning. The Ruritan has a lot to do to the building first. All of our appliances that we've got in there, a lot of them got messed up because the water went in there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How many people did y'all feed?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
On a Saturday night, how many did we have, Thomas, a hundred or two?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
A hundred or two, five or six or seven.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How many of y'all are feeding a hundred to two hundred?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
You mean working?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Back in the kitchen.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Well, right now, I believe—we never had too many; we have a lot of young girls that waits on tables. Most in the back is the older women that's been there for years.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
About what average age would you say the Women's Auxiliary is now?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Well, it's not got too many young members. My daughter is a member. And the other girls, all my girls worked with it ever since they were little. I carried them with me and started in the morning times when they first started. A lot of people donate

Page 27
hogs and chickens and things like that. But now it got to be too big—we just have a place we get our hogs and get our chickens, wholesale place. We always have had the same menu. It never changed.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What is the menu?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
We had barbecue pork, fried chicken, string beans, slaw and rice. That's what you'll get.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
It seemed like everybody liked it. I've never seen such a crowd in my life.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
And they just about worry you to death every time they see you. They'll say, 'When you going to open up? I want that rice.'
EARL CAVENAUGH:
When it first opened up we wondered how come it opened up. We were building that church out yonder, in the process of building it. The women would cook dinner and carry it out there for the people that were working on the church. They decided they'd barbecue a pig and see if it wouldn't sell, and put the money on the church. Somebody gave them a pig and they barbecued it, and it went just like hotcakes. They did that once a month and finally got two or three or four pigs, all free labor. Nobody got a nickel for anything they were doing. The women would get down there; that's when the auxiliary was formed. They would go down there and work and have the biggest time you've ever seen in your life.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
About how many people were helping then?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Oh, a dozen or two women just having the biggest time you've ever seen in your life. It got so big they wanted to do it every week. They'd barbecue three or four pigs. Pigs, not hogs like we do these days. It was something that everybody got to looking forward to. But these old people that started this thing, they began to get old.

Page 28
The majority of them are dead and gone now. Seems like the younger generation doesn't want to jump in there and do nothing like that. They don't have time or something. I don't know. They've got to hire somebody to help them. They got to hiring and your paying this and your paying that so you might as well pay them all. They're paying the people now and it's more like a business
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It's a business deal now.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Then you didn't have any social security and all that stuff when everything was free. But now they got it getting into all that junk. It's not like it was. I don't know. This generation is not like the generation we came from.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How is it different?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Huh?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How's it different?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Well, those people, they enjoyed getting together and working and seeing how much money they could make. My aunt was the treasurer and every Christmas they had a big dinner—invite all their husbands and all their friends and what have you and fill that place right full. She'd read out the report that they had done with that money that year, all free labor. It didn't cost a nickel. If tears didn't come in your eyes you were a tough customer.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What were some of the things that they did?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
One thing, they adopted an orphanage girl and supplied every need that she had, and falcon and different little things like that; anybody that'd get sick that wasn't able to go to the hospital. It was just amazing. They had so much money, though, they could do these things, because they didn't have to pay out any labor.

Page 29
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right, but now you're paying people?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Um hmm.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Everybody that goes down there now gets paid. More or less like a business now—social security and all that kind of stuff.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Here comes Rob. We've got Mr. Cavenaugh here; the brother has arrived.
ROB AMBERG:
Hi. I'm Rob Amberg, Mr. Cavenaugh. Good to see you.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Good to see you.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Rob is working with me as a photographer. You might hear him snapping a few pictures if y'all don't mind.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I've got to go.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh do you?
BETSY EASTER:
Have you not ().
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Twelve o'clock. It's twelve o'clock.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It's time to eat. Did you not come by here to eat with Ms. Cavenaugh?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
No. My wife is an invalid down there and my daughter stays to tend to her, and I went to the church to see what was going on. I come back and stopped here.
BETSY EASTER:
He's the mailman's dad. I was telling you.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, okay. We saw him pass by.
BETSY EASTER:
So you've got Ms. Marguerite back home.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. She's home.
BETSY EASTER:
How about that.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
She went through it going and coming.
BETSY EASTER:
Really?

Page 30
EARL CAVENAUGH:
It is time to cook and eat.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It is.
BETSY EASTER:
I didn't think about that when we came that it was that close to lunchtime.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And some people have already been calling and asking if she's serving food.
BETSY EASTER:
Has she told you what she does?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I have just been talking about that. We've learned about the Women's Auxiliary food, and now her food.
BETSY EASTER:
She has her own little restaurant right here for family.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Except it's free, right?
BETSY EASTER:
Yes.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
And they bring their friends. They do.
BETSY EASTER:
Well, I've been thinking since Hudson Church closed down. We did need a central place that we could go and eat.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I wish Lib would open up again.
BETSY EASTER:
Or if not even that, if she could get her crew and go down to either open up the firehouse or the fellowship hall. We'd start getting volunteers in there and start cooking up meals.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Well, after Christmas maybe we'll get back into the Ruritan and get started back up.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well, we don't want to cut into your lunchtime, but there is one other area that we haven't really talked about. You had mentioned on the phone to Betsy about the people being angry with how they've been treated by FEMA. We heard good things about the Red Cross from you a little bit. Then there's also the FEMA story.

Page 31
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
My son in law, FEMA gave him about $900, I think, something or another like that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
To cover what?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
To cover what he had in the house and lost.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
His whole house and belongings.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I had where Marguerite stayed and we had what we had in there, my clothes and stuff. They gave me $670, I believe is what it was. Then he heard the other day, they called and told him he wasn't getting any money—he had to pay back what he got. I told Jennie, I said, 'If they think they're going to get back what they give me, me and him's going to have a time.' I'll go to jail if I've got to turn around and give it back to them like that. They might take it back, but I'm not going to give it back. Now, he's been upset ever since then and he's not—he's upset and he doesn't know what to do.
BETSY EASTER:
Is that Joe?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. I went out there yesterday. I went and saw me some floor joists. I had some rotten through floor joists. I was going to put them back in. I thought I'd do a little bit. He didn't want me to do that; he wanted to keep it and see if he was going to give him anything. He thought, I reckon, if he start back nobody would give him anything. I went out. I'm not going back any more.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This is the FEMA man?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
That was my son-in-law.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That was son-in-law.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I just figured if somebody wants to give me something, I'll appreciate it. But if they don't, I'm not going to push and shove.

Page 32
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Well I tell you—if they don't give this outfit nothing down there they won't ever get fixed back, because I don't have the money and he doesn't have the money. I don't work and he doesn't work.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So how much money do you figure it's going to take to get things right?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I have no idea how much it'll take. It's going to take a lot. But you know, you go to finish the inside of a big house, it takes a lot of money.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
You come in that house and you look at that and say it's going to cost twenty or thirty thousand dollars to fix it back. To put you back like you were to begin with you've got to count that box of aspirins that you've got in your medicine cabinet; a pound of sugar you've got in that cabinet. To replace all that kind of stuff—it'll pop your eyes out how much it takes to get a man back like he was.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It's incredible.
BETSY EASTER:
You're right.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I bet you to set me back—and you see what I got there and what I got here—to take everything back just like it was with the medicine cabinet, the dishes and whatever, $150,000 wouldn't touch it. But they don't claim that much loss because you've got the framing and it don't take that much to do it. People don't realize how much damage it really is. What you've done to the lawn out there, the shrubbery. If you're going to figure up the cost, you're going to figure it all up.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So, he gets in your face doesn't he?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I've got to run.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You've got to run?
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
I have to go and have dinner somewhere around twelve o'clock.

Page 33
EARL CAVENAUGH:
We usually did but we don't seem to have it today somehow or another.
BETSY EASTER:
That's not fair is it, Mattie? Just haven't got any time yet.
THOMAS CAVENAUGH:
Davie Henderson have it whenever he was in Congress; when he was in Wallace he went down there somewhere and got all the information, and that is in the Congressional Record. It's in there somewhere if you can find it.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Then they come in there like a little platform at the door and little steps going down this way and steps going that way and it's sitting right out here in the yard beside Earl's grapevine and that's all that kept it from going into the canal. Everything in that canal was against the mailbox.
BETSY EASTER:
One out by our house did the same thing. I had bought some raw lumber that was stacked about that high, fourteen, sixteen feet long. It picked that whole thing up and it started floating on out, but back right there along the canal there are some trees and it got hung up in that and it set it right back down. All my lumber—it's not where I need it, but it's all stacked up.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Earl had a lot to come out of the trailer.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Yeah, I had several pieces of salt-treated plyboard that I was going to cut up to go under the turkey houses around where the bottoms are rusted out. When we got up the next morning whenever and got up looking around we got to walking around there, and they were up against the—they had crossed the canal and lodged up against a couple of trees over there. I said, 'Well I can't get them now until my (). I'll let them dry out and go get them. A day or two later I went back to get them and they weren't there.
BETSY EASTER:
Somebody else got them?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Somebody got the plywood.

Page 34
BETSY EASTER:
I've done the same thing. They're not mine; I don't know whose they are. I've taken them out of the canal and set them up because it's salt treated posts. I don't care if the owners come and claim them, but I don't want any siblings to get them before I do.
ROB AMBERG:
Where should we go?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
If you want to stand.
ROB AMBERG:
Oh, are you allowed to do this?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Stay awhile with us while we go see to dinner. Well, she had found a picture, I think it was '67, Artis, didn't you say?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
'67.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
In '67. Earl, get that picture up there. It just came in the mail yesterday. I wasn't even thinking about that. When they visited us they said that they wanted to get a picture of us before they left, and she sent me a picture.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
That's the original here.
BETSY EASTER:
Oh my goodness.
ROB AMBERG:
Look at that.
BETSY EASTER:
Well, did they run it off on the computer?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
They must have. I like that. I love that. That's around there. That one's good.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
That's the original picture. She took it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
There you are.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I like that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You have five children. What are the children's name?

Page 35
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
There he is.
BETSY EASTER:
That was in those days when we were all a lot younger.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I've got Glenn, Artis, Cindy, Brenda, Brunny, and Nina.
BETSY EASTER:
Those are great.
BETSY EASTER:
Glenn and Cindy are the ones that had common names, right?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Yep.
BETSY EASTER:
You don't here Artis too much. Certainly not Brunny.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Artis and Cindy, there's eleven months between them. They started school the same year and went right on through school and right on through college. They all graduated from—did we have a picture of Glenn? I mean, Glenn had graduated from college and then he went on to Korea. He had to go in the service. Brunny, she graduated from nursing school. Then Nina, she graduated from UNC at Wilmington.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Good school.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Then, Artis and Cindy graduated.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Four of us graduated from UNCW.
ROB AMBERG:
Is that right?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Brunny, she's the only one that—
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Went nursing.
BETSY EASTER:
Where did she go to nursing school?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
She went to the Southeastern.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
That's right. Cindy, she's a teacher.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Whatever you like to do there. That's the best thing to do. It may be not as much money, but that's what she loves me.

Page 36
ROB AMBERG:
That's exactly right.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
She was that high. What you want for Christmas? A nursing set. That's all she ever has wanted.
ROB AMBERG:
What kind of nursing does she do? Does she work in a hospital?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
A supervisor in the operating room.
BETSY EASTER:
It's at Jacksonville.
ROB AMBERG:
My wife is a nurse, and she works at the hospital in Asheville. Asheville, yeah. She works in Mother/Baby unit. Gosh, she's been there almost twenty years now.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Cindy is getting ready to retire. She's been there like twenty something years. She supervises the operating room.
ROB AMBERG:
I live outside of Asheville in Madison County, which is about thirty miles northwest. We're out on a farm, too. We've got a small farm and raise goats.
BETSY EASTER:
You're not around Chapel Hill?
ROB AMBERG:
No, I'm not.
BETSY EASTER:
What did you do, come up?
ROB AMBERG:
I came to Charlie's and stayed there last night. Charlie and I have worked together, gosh, many, many years off and on. We've known each other now for almost fifteen years, I guess, [and] worked together on a lot of projects in the past because a lot of my work is out of rural communities. I live in a rural community. Charlie asked if I wanted to do this because some people are comfortable in places like this and that makes a big difference in this kind of work.
BETSY EASTER:
Is that a good picture?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Where'd () go?

Page 37
ROB AMBERG:
He had to () picture.
BETSY EASTER:
Might be as far as you go.
ROB AMBERG:
You just stay right there. Let me just get a picture. Right there the two of you. This is the good one.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's right. You look off and pretend you're not really getting your picture made.
ROB AMBERG:
Let me get one more.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I feel like he's got enough of them.
BETSY EASTER:
I feel the same way.
ROB AMBERG:
A photographer will tell you there's never enough pictures.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I just noticed when I looked up this ceiling fan up here.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
He bought more blades but he hasn't put them on yet.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The flood took those off?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
They were hanging down.
BETSY EASTER:
Did the water get to it? With it being that fiber board stuff, it was—
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Hanging down, and we've got about three windows there's water in.
BETSY EASTER:
Three what?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The water's inside of the double paned glass?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I'm afraid when they freeze they'll—
ROB AMBERG:
They're calling for a mild winter, so maybe. We've barely had many freezes up where we are. Just a few. It's been real mild so far. We heat with wood, and it usually takes me four or five cords.

Page 38
EARL CAVENAUGH:
A little wood heater about that wide and that high. Three or four hundred dollars for that thing. Set it up there. It'll heat this place like nobody's business. I got where I couldn't cut the wood.
ROB AMBERG:
I'm getting to that point. Every year, I say that we're getting closer to propane heat.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Pile of sand out there and a bunch of used bricks and all that kind of stuff. I was just trying more less to have Christmas out here. It had () and plastic on it and stuff. Let's have Christmas out in this place. He mixed the mortar, but he had to mix with hot water because the sand was frozen and I was out here with my overcoat trying to build a chimney. We were having a time of getting that chimney built. It was freezing; everybody was freezing and the pipes were busted and all that kind of stuff. He came in and built that thing. The bricks were two hundred years old.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I like those.
BETSY EASTER:
Where'd they come from?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
A house that I bought from—I bought a farm from Bill Bailey, the old Powers place down there on the river road. Tore the chimney down, and that's some of the bricks out of it.
BETSY EASTER:
I tell you, I am always eyeing other people's chimneys.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
What I was going to tell you, though—after we sweated, I mean, froze to death—fingers were freezing—then finally got it built to be there Christmas. And then [we] were walking around in their shirtsleeves.
BETSY EASTER:
For Christmas day.
ROB AMBERG:
That's the way it goes.

Page 39
BETSY EASTER:
I'm thinking of how I build my house back. I'm still going to put—because I had a wood heater in my old house; I took it out and I went to that while I was in school, but it's still in shed my. If it's not rusted I'm going to put it back in my house so that it is there for back up.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Artis has still got that little bitty one. It went under water but he's still got it.
ROB AMBERG:
The thing that I like about it, we have one of these mama bear stoves right there in our living room.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
This was the baby bear.
ROB AMBERG:
The think I love about it most is you'll be outside working or something [and] you'll just get as cold as you can get, and come in and you can go right up against that thing and just get heated up. I just love that.
BETSY EASTER:
If it gets too hot Rob you can just crack a window. You're not letting the money run out.
ROB AMBERG:
That's exactly right. That's exactly right. We've got plenty of firewood on our place. Downed timber.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
We've got a world of it down there.
BETSY EASTER:
Now you've got tons.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Is that canal a place we should go and take a picture of? Is that where all the junk still is you said, washed down there?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
People got most of the mess out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Have they?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
You could take a picture of it. Let's do that.

Page 40
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
They had two decks behind their house at Silver Hill and one of them was out there in the graveyard.
BETSY EASTER:
I thought I remembered seeing one out there.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Two of them had washed up there.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
That wasn't Katie Ellen's decks.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Whose deck was it?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I don't know.
BETSY EASTER:
Was it Danny's?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It got moved now, though.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Wasn't that Katie Ellen's?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I thought it was. Danny had one, too, a piece onto his house.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
I thought it was Katie Ellen's.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
How did it go that way when everything else was going that way?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
I don't know.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
You could walk from here and go to the house, and when you came out it was about up to your knee.
BETSY EASTER:
Good gracious.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
When they came to get us out, it was dark. I had to have a flashlight and a lamp to go around to that house and get that little bit of mess I wanted to put in the attic.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What was that that you decided to put up in the attic?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
The end table right there in the living room.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Anything that will go up their stairwell.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Anything that you could throw up there in that little hole.

Page 41
BETSY EASTER:
Did you think it would go that high in that house?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
No. I thought maybe nine inches, but nothing like this.
BETSY EASTER:
Did you get very much up?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Um hmm. Lamps and things like that.
BETSY EASTER:
We didn't put one thing up.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
That was the second day, and it was going to last five days. And before we could get out of there—my grandson had his pick up backed up to the door so that Matt could get in it, and the exhaust pipe was under water.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
It was six o'clock when we were in here getting things put up, because the water was coming in here and before we could get the stuff up off the floor we were already ankle deep in water. That time we started getting in the house, and we worked in there until almost midnight carrying things upstairs. By that time it was two feet deep in here.
BETSY EASTER:
Was that Thursday night, Artis?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah, that was Thursday night.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
About the time the sun was going down. I had three or four kittens just wading, running around having a good time on that cement out there. By the time it got dark they were hemmed up in a place about as big as that table right beside those steps. That was the only place they could go. We were trying to get straightened out and get out, and what were we going to do with these kittens. They were going to drown. I got a stick and knocked them right to the head. I didn't know what else to do with them.
BETSY EASTER:
They would've drowned.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You couldn't have taken them out to the nursing home.

Page 42
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I sure hated to do it.
BETSY EASTER:
Y'all left Thursday night.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Um hmm.
BETSY EASTER:
So were a lot of people on this side of the creek leaving? I know Pete and Ellen Dickson said they got out Thursday night. It was already rising up here and I hadn't heard—we didn't hear one thing about that on our side of the creek. We didn't know until three o'clock in the morning that the water was up. We didn't know until four or four thirty that they were going to evacuate.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
We were at the rest—we got down there about midnight. Of course, there was no water around the rest home at that time. It was about dry.
BETSY EASTER:
You would never think it would go that way either, would you?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
About two o'clock in the morning, it started crossing the road right there in front of the rest home. That's when Gary had his truck out and they were going up and down the road getting people out.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
With them boats.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
About five o'clock it was up pretty close to the rest home, and that's when we decided we needed to evacuate everybody down there.
BETSY EASTER:
About what time?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
That was about five o'clock.
BETSY EASTER:
We got them all up.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
They sent us the first truck about seven or eight o'clock.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Who sent the truck?

Page 43
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
The fire department. Community members that were helping. The guy across the road over here, he's got two of these big trucks—dump trucks—and that's the way we got them out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Because it was that high. People just standing on the back of that truck.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
We tried to get them to climb into it but they couldn't climb a ladder, so we had to put them in chairs and pick the chairs up and set them in the back of the truck. Just lined them up.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How many did you have in there?
BETSY EASTER:
Picture that. That had to have been a sight.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
We carried probably thirty residents down there. But see, there were people evacuating from that area, and that's where they were coming, too. We had thirty people that just got stranded there, so they were getting on there, too. By middle of the day, or middle of the morning, the wildlife people were evacuating people in boats and were carrying down there. So the trucks were coming in, they were loading the trucks up and going out with them on the trucks. We probably carried maybe five or six residents at the time, plus other people.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I believe there was about thirty on the truck. When it pulled out—see, it didn't know where the middle of the road was, so it had a couple of boats on both sides, supposed to have. It came out from the nursing home down there and cut it a little bit too short. We, oh lord, we're all going to get drowned right there. You can see those ropes there right now.
BETSY EASTER:
You know it could have happened if it had been just a little bit more.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Then it came and got another load, and then the marines—

Page 44
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Then they had a military truck that made a couple of trips.
BETSY EASTER:
So what time of the day on Thursday was it coming up back here?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
It was in here at six o'clock Thursday evening.
BETSY EASTER:
Afternoon.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
And see, them down there, it hadn't gotten to them yet.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
By midnight it was about a foot from going inside the house. When we left out that morning it was already halfway to the windows at mama's and daddy's, inside the house.
BETSY EASTER:
On Friday morning.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
When we drove by.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh you were driving, it was higher up on the road that you could see.
BETSY EASTER:
We were gone all day Friday. They got us out that morning. But we kept calling Debbie and Terry, my sister and brother-in-law who never get flooded. It came up to their floor, and they were back behind me and closer to the river than I am. But they're just high enough. They would keep telling us how much higher and how much higher it was going. That feeling of, it's not going to happen; it just can't keep going up. But then Debbie said she could hear the turkeys and then all of a sudden it fell real quiet. She knew it was time to get out.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It reached way back there to Earl's turkey house. It was going that far back. But it comes through here first. Me and Burney—she's right down here on the other canal, and when it comes here it's in Burney's house. This is the last to go out. This is the last place before it goes out. Different ones would ride by and they said it comes in

Page 45
here first and out last. So after the water goes down, we have—there were about four days, it rises about four days after the water—
EARL CAVENAUGH:
It lasts five days.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
That's kind of what we go by, by how long it stays up and how long until it goes back out. Now, down on the river where Jennie and Aaron lived, she would always call down here and check with me to see how high it was here because they were right on the flood out—
EARL CAVENAUGH:
There in the last trailer down there where the little house is on the river. That'll flood out most any time.
BETSY EASTER:
Is that totally demolished or is it still standing?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
What, the house?
BETSY EASTER:
The river cabin.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Yes, it's still there, but I don't know what condition it is inside the house.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It was such a pretty place.
BETSY EASTER:
It was.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I said that I could sit down there all day and look at that water.
BETSY EASTER:
They're going to get with Hiram and Jeannie. I don't know what day I've got. I believe it's tomorrow morning. Every time you talk to her, she says, 'I'm just so tired.' I can imagine.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
My house in '62 went under nine inches. We didn't have many problems that time. This time when it went out you can tell it on the bottom of the studs about that far. It looked like they're rotten but they'll hold a nail. I've told them, I'm going to go ahead and fix it back. I'm eighty years old. I'm not able to do nothing else.

Page 46
ROB AMBERG:
Now, was that a hurricane in '62?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
No, that wasn't a hurricane.
BETSY EASTER:
Just a lot of rain.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Just a lot of rain. Next time I'm going down to Wallace and get some flood insurance on it, some way or another. If it ever floods again, I'm going to ride on off and am not even going to look back.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So y'all didn't have flood insurance?
BETSY EASTER:
Did you ever get flood insurance?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I don't know anybody that had flood insurance.
BETSY EASTER:
No, not unless they had ()
EARL CAVENAUGH:
() had flood insurance.
BETSY EASTER:
Who?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Somebody else told me they had flood insurance. Lynn had flood insurance.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Mr. Sutton's had flood insurance.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Yeah. That's the other one.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah, but his flood insurance is—from what I understand you might have $100,000 on your house, but in order to collect $100,000 your house has got to be totally demolished.
BETSY EASTER:
Not standing up.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
You'll never get the full amount of the policy because you've still got a structure. They're just going to pay you to fix it back. That's the only thing they'll do.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Glenn's having a time with his.
BETSY EASTER:
Why?

Page 47
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
They won't pay it.
BETSY EASTER:
Insurance. Did he have flood insurance?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Um hmm.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
This is Glenn, your son?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Yeah.
BETSY EASTER:
They don't want to pay it.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It was in his house, too.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Mitchell talks like it was a hard job to get anything out.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
He can't get anything out of it.
BETSY EASTER:
Would you tell me why? I felt the insurance companies should pay even though we didn't have insurance, because it was a result of the hurricane. Here you have flood insurance and the SBA tells you you have to have flood insurance to take out those loans. And then you have flood insurance and they need it and they won't pay you.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I don't know what he's going to do about his. It sure got his house.
BETSY EASTER:
I would've thought his was higher up that it wouldn't have gotten his. How much did it get?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
You could walk in it up to your waist.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
What, Glenn's house? Yeah, it was up over the doorknobs, over the top of the cabinets.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
A little house that's got two bedrooms and an attic bedroom, and a kitchen and a living room and a windowed in porch. Comes for sale just right back of his shop. He said that would be convenient for an office building. He decided he'd buy it. He was going to take a mortgage on his house out here to get the money to buy it. And they

Page 48
wouldn't let him have the money until he had flood insurance on his house. That was just a few months before the flood.
ROB AMBERG:
What a stroke of luck.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Then he got flood insurance on it and now he'll clean it out and let it go and live in this little house right there beside the shop. He says he isn't going to worry about it until it dries out. Next spring sometime he'll fix it like he wants it.
BETSY EASTER:
They are going to compensate him?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Oh yeah. They fix everything below the water level.
BETSY EASTER:
They have.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
They'll fix it back.
BETSY EASTER:
What did y'all do? Did you tear out your house completely, or your walls?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Tore everything out to the ceiling.
BETSY EASTER:
See, that's the part when you consider—like my mom and dad built their house. Mother said she borrowed $6000, all total they paid $18,000, for that house when it was built in 1980. Now—excuse me, 1960. Now those prices are so, so far out of reach when we're talking about rebuilding, and just like Earl said a while ago, you've got to replace everything right down to your bottle of aspirin, fingernail clippers.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
How much did you say that house cost them?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Seventeen or eighteen.
BETSY EASTER:
Eighteen.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Eighteen thousand.
BETSY EASTER:
Didn't you help with the—was it you that helped with the cabinets in that house?

Page 49
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I built the house. I knew a whole lot more about it than I did—
BETSY EASTER:
But to replace that now you'd spend three times that just building the inside of it. That's what I can't figure out—how they can justify letting how many thousands of people all the way up and down North Carolina that have been flooded out to say it's your tough luck and you've got to figure it out for yourself. That's basically what they're doing.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Trying to get out of it.
BETSY EASTER:
I saw in the paper where the Governor said he's going to skim some of the budget to put towards the flood victims. I know you've got legislators in arms because it's a hole. We've got to defend ourselves. If there are any other disasters, you've got to have money out there. They have no earthly idea how difficult it is to build back. A lot of people have to suffer because of a disaster.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
There's a lot of people down here. How many houses have been torn down?
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
I counted seven.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Any one of them isn't doing like you ought to do, and that's Hope's.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Well, his house isn't down yet, but it's going to be.
BETSY EASTER:
Is he? Is he going to tear his down? Is that what he's doing with those stilts? Is he going to build another one top of it?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I imagine he's going to build something kind of like [what] Jason's got down in the woods.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Jason went down yonder in the swamp, I thought, and built them a house. The water didn't go in it.
BETSY EASTER:
It's like Hope's—it's so high up the water didn't go in.

Page 50
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Build it on pilings.
BETSY EASTER:
Have you seen Edward Bradshaw?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
They said they were paid to jack that house up.
BETSY EASTER:
Who would pay?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
Nobody.
BETSY EASTER:
The state?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Didn't they tell you that, Earl, on that paper?
BETSY EASTER:
That buyout program.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
The buyout program.
BETSY EASTER:
But jacking it up is a second priority. They're going to buyout first, and by that time everybody else is going to be doing whatever they're going to do.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
They build them right back. As soon as they get tore down they start right back, I think. Danny's got a triple-double wide.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
They're tearing theirs down on their own.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
No, I mean that's what they're putting back. They're not building.
BETSY EASTER:
All up and down the road, I was telling them, I said, Well, all the old houses are going to be torn down. Mobile homes are replacing them; go up and down [Interstate] Highway 40, it will be mostly mobile homes.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
That's probably what it'll be.
BETSY EASTER:
Matter of fact, the more I think about it the more buyouts sounds attractive. Except I really couldn't do that to the land, because Mother had a heart attack for one thing. She still would have lifetime rights, so I couldn't do it. I really wouldn't want to, but it's like there's nothing left for them.

Page 51
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I've been out here fifty-five years. I couldn't see us building a house.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
You didn't want to start climbing up stairs.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Earl said he'd be too old to hike up those steps everyday.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
If I was going to build one, I was going to put me an elevator in it.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Put an elevator in it.
BETSY EASTER:
That's what I asked them about.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
() has one down yonder on the river. He's got an elevator like that one yonder at the church.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It would be about broke down about the time the water came up and he wanted to get out.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I wouldn't want to get out. I'd stay right up there where I was.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
Well, we didn't think it was coming this high either. It'll go higher than that.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
To tell you the truth, I don't know what is going to happen. In Washington—don't forget about Madeline O'Hara [Madeline Murray O'Hare, noted ahteist who successfully sued to remove prayer from Texas schools] and forbidding our children to read the Bible in school; won't let the teacher pray with them. Teach them how to pray, but they teach them all the immoral mess there is—sex education and all that junk. When our government decides that is sin and we shall not do it, we're going to serve the Lord. Then this stuff will stop. Didn't mean to preach.
BETSY EASTER:
It's not supposed to stop is it, until the second coming?
EARL CAVENAUGH:
But that's the affect. You didn't ever hear of this shooting in schools until Madeline O'Hara [Murray O'Hare] did. They prayed to her instead of to God. Now the

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school's are all corrupt and everything else. It looks like they would see that sort of thing, but I don't know.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I got those out at the church and all the stuff was gone.
BETSY EASTER:
Did it really?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I hated that, that was Earl's mother's.
BETSY EASTER:
You kept thinking, if we just could save it something that you look at—and it's just wonderful and then you have to throw it in that Dumpster pile.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
It sure did. It went all of our records and everything, and the treasurer of the Auxilliary. All these years they're gone and all of our papers.
EARL CAVENAUGH:
I don't know how I'm going to fill out my income tax. Of course I'm not making nothing this year. I haven't made a thing, but I don't know how to prove it to those folks.
BETSY EASTER:
So all of the Ladies Auxiliary papers are gone. [Phone conversation distruption]
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I had always kept them beside my piano for the children. The last thing we put up was the piano, but they were in a hurry to get out and water got around it.
BETSY EASTER:
I think of so many—of course, I never did put anything up except I got back by boat to the house and put pictures up on the dresser. That was the only thing.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
() go to the supper deal and I always fix breakfast in the morning. I had a couple of crock pots, and I cook grits and put it in this hot and use the other one for my ham and sausage pot. I came home and said I don't even have a crock-pot. I said I've got to have a crock-pot.
BETSY EASTER:
Isn't that amazing.

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MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I'll have to get it for Christmas or something.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
You don't have what?
BETSY EASTER:
You have all that stuff that you'd collected.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
What don't you have now?
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
A crock-pot.
ARTIS CAVENAUGH:
Yeah, we threw that away.
MATTIE BELL CAVENAUGH:
I told them you don't have to worry about ().
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I have a little bit of paper work to do and I know we should get out of y'alls way. I know you want to eat.
END OF INTERVIEW