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Author: Hudson, Thomas Samuel, interviewee
Author: Pugh-Hudson, Elberta, interviewee
Interview conducted by Thompson, Charles
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: 184 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2004.
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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 Thomas Samuel Hudson and Elberta Pugh-Hudson, December 18, 1999. Interview K-0283. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0283)
Author: Charles Thompson
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Thomas Samuel Hudson and Elberta Pugh-Hudson, December 18, 1999. Interview K-0283. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0283)
Author: Thomas Samuel Hudson and Elberta Pugh-Hudson
Description: 148 Mb
Description: 48 p.
Note: Interview conducted on December 18, 1999, by Charles Thompson; recorded in White Stocking Community, 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.
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Oral History Interview with Thomas Samuel Hudson and Elberta Pugh-Hudson, December 18, 1999.
Interview K-0283. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Hudson, Thomas Samuel, interviewee
Pugh-Hudson, Elberta, interviewee


Interview Participants

    THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON, interviewee
    ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON, interviewee
    ROB AMBERG, interviewer
    CHARLES THOMPSON, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It's December 18, 1999, and we're in the White Stocking community real close to I-40 with Thomas and Elberta Hudson in their trailer, close to the recycling center on White Stocking Road. But this isn't where they live regularly—they are survivors of the flood, and so we want to talk to them some about that. First of all, tell us about how you decided to move to White Stocking community, where you grew up and so forth, and then when you decided to come here.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Well, I really live—my home is Salisbury, Maryland, and I was down on vacation. This was four years ago. And I was down in Wilmington working, and I seen the community and it was nice. And I said, Well, I'm going to make this my home, so I left and went back and I packed up and I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. I started working, and then went shopping for a house to rent. And I found my house in White Stocking so I moved to White Stocking. Then in January I went and got my wife and my family. We moved down here. It is a nice community to raise the kids up and not far from the highway, and don't have a whole lot of traffic so kids wouldn't be running back and forth like on the highway. And it's got a nice church; they have a nice organization, singing, programs, everything. It's a lot better here, that's all.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
All right. And, Elberta, you were staying up in Salisbury?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Maryland, yes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Salisbury. Rob is also here. That's where you're from, right Rob?
ROB AMBERG:
I'm from Maryland. I'm from Silver Spring.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Really? Oh, yeah, we know Silver Spring, Maryland.

Page 2
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Not too far.
ROB AMBERG:
Not far at all.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Elberta, are you from Salisbury, too?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Actually, I was born in North Carolina. I was born in New Bern, North Carolina, and we moved to Brooklyn, New York. And I believe it was in '75 we moved to Salisbury, Maryland. So for the majority of my life I've been in Salisbury. Me and my husband we were separated. Well, I decided to go in with the Lord and I became a preacher. We were living together but that wasn't the right thing to do, because—it wasn't right. So he moved down here, maybe about three or four years before I came here, and that whole time I was praying for him. I just was confident that he was going to be my husband, you know. July of last year we got married, and January I moved here. And I was excited. I came here before I moved here and I didn't think I was going to like it, but when I came here it was so serene, you know, peaceful. The woods was good, you know. It was good to be in the woods. People was thinking because I come from the city, sort of, that I wasn't going to like it here, but I loved it here when I came and I couldn't wait to come back.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Are you in the AME Zion denomination as well?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Actually, the church down there at White Stocking, the Sand Hill is the first I had experience with AME. Now, I first come I guess to know the Lord in Kingdom Hall, and then I was in Church of God in Christ, and then I was in the Full Gospel Baptist Church when I moved here in North Carolina. I was looking for a Baptist church, and I decided to pray and ask the Lord where would he have me to go, and so he led me to the AME Church. I didn't know anything about it. It's just been there. But I knew it was the

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Lord that led me, because the confirmation when I got there, the spirit had let me know previous to getting there when I was in Maryland, that it was time for me to be ordained to be a pastor. And when I got there the pastor asked me, without even knowing me, she said, “Would you like to be my assistant pastor?” You know, after being there less than a month. I knew it was the Lord, you know. But it was other things, other signs, like for instance, when I walked in the church it was just like I was enveloped with the love of God. We went that Wednesday. Bible study was the first time I went there. And then Sunday, the choir began to sing a song, “It's Over Now,” and the spirit fell on me—and I'm a radical praiser, so I was all over the place. And it's just been, it's been great besides the flood. And when the flood came, I mean the day before, like when the hurricane came itself, you know, it just was a lot of wind.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Strong winds. You could feel the roof and stuff rattling and all. I woke up and we just seen branches and trees, you know, knocked down. I was just like, thank you Lord, because we didn't get a lot of damage. It was just limbs. And my neighbor, she was gone; she was gone for about two weeks. And so I went over to next door and I was cleaning all the leaves and limbs and stuff out of her yard and stacking it in the back. And then that next morning—well, we heard one of the neighbors and they were loud. And I guess he said he was working on his generator because they had water. We didn't have water. We were dry in our area, but the neighbors around us had water because we were in what's considered a higher ground.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And you lived right across from Elder Pickett?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
No, no, no. We stayed on the curve. Remember, it's the yellow house right on the curve, beside a brick house.

Page 4
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Down the street on that curve, in front of the swamp.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In front of the swamp.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
We stayed right in front of the creek. And so while we was helping people earlier in the neighborhood get out and stuff, we was thinking we were okay. My husband had already parked his truck to the graveyard. And the van, we had a van and a Lincoln, and so we had it in the yard. I don't know, maybe about 5:30 my husband went out and he said, “The water is in the yard.” And I said, “What do you mean, the water is in the yard?” And he said, “The water is in the yard. I'm going to move the vehicles.” So he moved the vehicles and nobody else was around then. And I didn't want to leave. I had gotten stubborn. You know, there was a time when I wanted to leave, but at that point I didn't want to leave. My mother, she was visiting from Maryland, and she was upset because I didn't want to leave and everybody else was leaving. But anyway, finally when my husband came back in he said, “We got to go because the water is coming in fast.” By that time I went out and the water was up, I guess a little down below our knees. And all of us was still in the house. I had my mother and my four kids and me and him. I didn't know what I was going to do, because I know basically everybody that had their own boats were going, and we didn't have one.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Before you go on, you said our kids. How old were they? That's an important point.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
One, I had a one-year old. He just had turned one. And I have a seven-year old, eleven-year old, and a fifteen-year old.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And they were all in the house with you?

Page 5
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
They were all in the house. And I didn't know where we were going to go, because we didn't have boats; we helped the neighbors with their boats, but we didn't have one. But by the time we got outside I heard voices, and a rescue team was there with flashlights. And I know it wasn't nothing but the Lord again, you know, because they were just there. I don't know where they came from, but they was just there. And they were coming around the bend with flashlights. I guess they was going to see was anybody else still back there. So it was my family and another family that came out. there was more people back there, but they refused to leave their homes. But my family and another family—and when we left out of there my husband's pickup truck, the water was all the way up in his cab. But he drove it through there. Even the man in the Army truck—he said they had a hard time getting the Army truck, so he didn't advise my husband to drive this pickup truck through there. But he said it was the Lord's truck. [EH laughs.] He's got The Lord's Prayer on the back of it. And it was the only vehicle that we saved. He drove it out behind the Army truck.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now, tell the story about how you got that truck. You told me today, and why you wrote The Lord's Prayer on the back.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Well, I had a Ford truck. I had another Ford truck. It was an '84 Ford F150 pickup. I do concrete and block work, and I was telling my wife I wanted to go get another truck. So we had been doing work at the church, cleaning up [and] hauling off rubbish and stuff from the church. So I told the wife, it's time for me to get another truck. I said the Lord says its the right time we get another truck. So I went on and I was riding out on Market Street. And I spotted this white truck, F150 four-by-four. So I go over on there and I tell the man by the truck, and the guy said what he wanted for the

Page 6
down payment. I said I got a Ford truck home now, but I don't have it with me. I was driving my van. And he said he wanted a thousand dollars down, and I told him I didn't have no thousand dollars to pay down. And he had never seen my truck. So he said, “I can't do nothing for you at this time.” So I said, “Okay.” So we walked on, I walked on out. We walked on out and got ready to get in the van. And we were getting ready to pull off of the lot. The man tapped on the window in the office and waved his hand, come on. And when I went in the office, he handed me the keys. And I still got the keys this day. I hadn't ever paid—took me two more weeks to get the money together to pay him the down payment on the truck. I began trucking, and I told my wife, “That ain't nobody's but the Lord's truck.” And I put The Lord's Prayer on it, and I put my sign on it, my Hudson Concrete Work, and put “Praise the Lord” on the bottom. I ended ( ), and I tell them, “That's the Lord's truck.”
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Um-hmm.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So that night, when you knew the water was going to go in it, did you just know that you could drive it out?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
I had had the truck up on the hill like this. Picture my house. This is how far the water was—we was on dry land all that day, and this is how the water was on the streets, down the streets. This is the water. And this here, ( ) on the boat, helping people, back and forth. We was still on dry land. And this is how the water, how we was boating. There was water all around it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You're paddling in a flat boat.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
In a flat boat, with paddles—
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Neighbors.

Page 7
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
—helping people to get out down in the lower area. And so I came home, and I told my wife, I said, “We'd better get ready to go,” I said, “because I heard some water coming through the woods.” So, by the time I went in the house and got the keys and started the van, and put the van next door in a little higher ground, it had came up to my tire. I said, “There ain't no way in the world we're going to be able to drive these vehicles like this,” because we couldn't get by, because the water the water has already done run in. So we took them next door and parked them. And by the time the rescue squad had got us out, the water was up to my window, but there, you couldn't roll your window down. If you'd rolled your window down, the water would roll right inside the vehicle. That's how high the water was. And the guy told us, he said I couldn't drive that truck out of there. And I said, “I'm going to drive this truck out of here.”
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Did you say, “This is the Lord's truck?”
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
I said, “This is the Lord's truck,” and I got inside the truck, and it never missed, it never misfired, never stalled out and never sputtered, nothing.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The water must have been coming over the hood at that point.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Um-hmm. Yeah, it was.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
It just went on out.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It was way over the hood. It was up to the windshield line.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
You all been down to White Stocking. From White Stocking all the way up here to 53, she came through that water. She ain't never missed ( ). Cars stall out, won't start, and this and that. Mine, I had no problem. Water was next door, to the next door neighbor. That's why my wife, she was boating, we were boating—
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Yeah, I was excited about it.

Page 8
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
—carrying people out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You kind of look like you are serene, as you were saying before.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Yeah, because, you know, I never—I thought—we never thought the water—that morning, Friday morning, it was dry land. Friday evening it was evacuating time. No rain, no storm—calm, sunshine and bright. I would get my water—the water was rising a foot an hour, is how fast that water was rising. From Friday morning until Saturday it rose twenty-two feet. It rose twelve—thirteen feet over flood level in this area.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And you know, if you could see our house now.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
The total was twenty-two feet high.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
We had five children at the time, and, me and my husband and five kids, and the house that we were in was a two bedroom house; we were renters, we wasn't buyers, buyers and home owners. I would pray, because when I left Maryland I had a big house, and when I got here I was kind of disappointed. But my husband was, “We're going to buy a home. We're going to buy a home.” And I was like, well, Lord, I can't believe you had me come down here in this little house like this, you know. But the Lord just told me to trust him. So when I was, I woke up-they took us when we left here from the flood to the shelter. It was at Burgaw Middle School. And I woke up that morning, and I just was overwhelmed, and the tears just came. I said, “Well, Lord, I asked you for more space.” And I look and I see all of us had our own cots, you know, “but I didn't expect you to give more space—.” But it gave me joy. It was a humor moment. So, you know, it wasn't nothing but Him that was giving me peace in it. But it was just so humorous when you—he didn't say you've got to be persistent or you've got to be precise about what you

Page 9
want. So I did ask for more space, and I had more space at the shelter, but that wasn't my idea when I asked him [EH is laughing.]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How was it at the shelter? Describe it. How many people were in there and the types of people who were there?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Oh, Lord, it was so many people. It was so many people. It was the Mexican people, black people, white people. And it was a lot of people, you know, young, old, middle age.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
They had the whole Middle School jammed up with people who started coming.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And it was packed. It was cots side-to-side.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
They didn't have no room to house them all, so they opened up another, bigger school down at Penderlea. I think it was Penderlea.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And before we got to that school—now, I had went around to register for vouchers, I believe, to get clothes for the family, and when I came back my little girl was running and she was all excited. And she said, “Mom, we got somewhere to live. We've got somewhere to live.” And I was like, she don't know what she's talking about, but then when I got to—this lady that she knew, it turned out she was a bus driver named Miss Evans. She told me that she and her husband was the care takers of a Christian Camp, and I don't know how many cabins they had at this camp, but that became our residence from that point; we didn't have to go to that other school for shelter, we went to the Christian Camp. They had cottages there, and in the cottages they had like twelve bunk beds, two bath stalls and two showers. So that was just like a taste of heaven compared to where we were, you know.

Page 10
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Where you were was just—.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Just beds. Beds.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Wall to wall beds.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
That's it. [Laughter.]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And you had no privacy whatsoever?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
No. None at all.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
About how many people were in the gym, or was that where you were?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well, we were at a school. We were at the school, and some of us were in the hallways.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Classrooms and hallways.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Hallways and classrooms. Everywhere.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
About how many people could you see in the room where you were?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It was about three—wait a minute—three families in there. Our family has seven in our family.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And the desks were all in the room and everything.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
They had it all pushed in the corners.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
In the corner.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
And they laid the cots out.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And we had, there was seven in our family, and the Jordan's had maybe about five or six or seven.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And did you know the Jordan's before this?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well, we knew them, but we didn't know them. We'd seen them, you know, but we didn't go to church with them. We went to church with maybe one of them, or

Page 11
two of them. But we really got to know them in a short period of time. [Laughter] They were neighbors, but we didn't know them. But we got to know them.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How could you change clothes and that sort of thing, and wash?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Got in the bathroom. We had to go in the bathroom. The boys and girls bathroom.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
But when we go to the—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Then you went to the camp.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
The Christian shelter, yeah, the camp. We had more privacy. We had privacy for a while, but like I said, we had twelve bunks in there and it was other families that didn't really have anywhere to go, so I told Miss Evans that we didn't mind if someone moved in there with us, being as though it was twelve bunks and we only took up seven, you know. So one of the ladies and her mother moved in there with us for maybe about two weeks, three weeks.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
The mother—I believe her mother stayed a week.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
She stayed a week.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
The mother stayed a week.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And then the lady stayed for maybe about two or three weeks. But it was an experience. It really was an experience, even being there at the shelter. But I think that's where I really got the most comfort, at the shelter, because it was a serene place, but at the same time that's where I began to see the love of God in the people. Because people was coming by trailer truck loads of things, like cleaning supplies, clothes, food by the truck loads, it was just coming. People was coming, asking us, “What do you need?” You

Page 12
know, personally, like with my little boy, Sammy. It was getting kind of rough carrying him around. Now he was a year old, but he wasn't walking. He was a preemie, two months early. And he had a little boy that goes to church, which was the neighbor, which was one year old and he was walking at ten months, you know. And then when the flood came Samuel just took off like he was walking, just walking like he's been walking all the time, you know. It's funny. [Laughter]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's funny.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It's just amazing how things happen, isn't it?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
And then we were running back and forth up to FEMA, filling out applications.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Where was FEMA?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
FEMA was up in town across from the courthouse in Burgaw. And FEMA give us temporary houses. At first they had a site that they were going to put all the FEMA trailers in one spot. And then after everybody started talking, we'd rather have the trailers set on our home site. And then they had the inspections—the plumbing, electricity, and all.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And they hooked up the pipes to the septic tank.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Right, FEMA done all that, and they hooked up. But at first they were moving a little slowly getting their trailers down here. And then all of a sudden they started coming. And once they started coming, they started coming.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
When was that, when they started?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And we never seen ours.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
We had never seen ours. [EH and TH laughing]

Page 13
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That is real sloppy.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
And they wanted to know how many was in the family, and we told them how many was in the family. And they said we had to have a trailer to suit six, eight, so they said we would have to have one with three bedrooms. So they gave us, we got a seventy-foot trailer—the rest of them got, I think—
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
The traveling trailer.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
The traveling trailer. But we got—
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
They didn't like them so well.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So the one we are in now is a seventy-foot trailer that belongs to FEMA?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
It's a seventy-five, fourteen that belongs to FEMA. It's a FEMA home.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And when we moved in here—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Was it new?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
When we moved in here it was new. We had the dining room set, the living room, the sofa.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Everything was new.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And each bedroom had a full-size bed, a night stand, and a dresser.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Everybody is telling us that this is nothing but the Lord, and we said that blessings come from the Lord.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
People kept telling us that because we were renters we wasn't going to get a, you know, because we rented, we wasn't going to get it. But, like I said, the Lord had, we already knew that we were. We didn't even go and apply for it. The FEMA people came to us and put us on their list. We would go down to the office and check, and they

Page 14
would let us know we were on the top of the list. It took maybe from—well we just got our trailer a week before—
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
We got it a week before Thanksgiving.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
We didn't move in it until a week after Thanksgiving.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
We moved in a week after that, but we got it a week before Thanksgiving.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
No, they didn't have everything set up, honey, until the week after Thanksgiving. Right?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
No, before Thanksgiving.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Okay. But anyway, it was around that time. [Everyone laughing]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Why is it set up all the way up here? What is it, a mile from your house?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Because we were renters. We were renters, and we don't have our property so they put it on, this is called commercial property.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Does it belong to the county?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It belongs to ( ).
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
It belongs to a private owner ( ) [both EH & TH speaking at once.] Trailer park.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
At the end with the white fence, with that steel fence around it. That's the owner.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
It's a trailer park.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
What they told us when we was initially accepted for the mobile home was that we needed to go out and find a site for it. They gave us two or three references, and this was the most convenient for us because of the kids. We didn't want the kids to have

Page 15
to relocate. Some of the places was in Adkinson and in Wallace, and you know, down 117. But here was the best for us to keep a little bit more stability in the family.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Did they have to dig a septic tank?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Septic tank was all here.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Everything was here.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It was all here.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
This was a trailer park.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
There was a trailer here before.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
There was a trailer on this lot. And there's another lot next to us.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And there was a trailer over there that had been damaged, and they just moved it. And the lady decided not to come back.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
But this lot here was already having ( ). FEMA rent, leased this lot.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
They told us when they gave us the key that it, that they were in charge. North Carolina would be picking it up from that point, and it was up to their discretion how long we would be here. They said they would come every month to assess and see how we're coming along. We have a possibility of from six months to eighteen months to live rent free, but you know, every month they would come and assess us and see.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So they check to—
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
But our goal is a five bedroom home.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
A five bedroom home?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
That we purchase. That we be able to purchase on our own.

Page 16
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Will you purchase one on White Stocking?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
No. [EH laughing] White Stocking is a great community and everything. We've learned that it's a lot of family here. But I haven't seen any property here that I personally would want to purchase, except for where we were living. My husband, he offered to purchase it from the people that owned it, and they said they was selling it out to the government.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So that means that no one will ever be able to live there, because it is in the flood plain.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Exactly. But I think, personally, that White Stocking is a great community. I think that if they attempt to restore it to where it was it could be even greater than it was. I watched the creek before the water came because I was expecting if we got a flood the water to come from the creek first. But it came from the woods, which I wasn't even expecting, period. Water never came from the creek.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
And the water come two days after the storm, so I think the water was set down on us from some of the dams.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
From the dams, um-hmm. We never—the creek never overflowed to the point where the water not having anywhere to go.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
It just started to rise. So I think they let some of the dam loose and these creeks, they are not cleaned out for the water to flow. So when the water hit, when it fills up quick, all it got to do is spill over. There's a lot of rubbish and a lot of trash in the way of the water to flow. So when it hits that trees and dams while its built up, it's got to ricochet off in another spot.

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ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I said my desire is to have a five bedroom home, but greater than that is to please the Lord. I don't believe the Lord wants me to move from White Stocking right now, because it seems like I'm still here. And I know that He sent me here, so it is still something that He wants to get done before we leave. And I know that's the only way we're going to be leave, if His will is done. You know, then we could leave easily. I know that we most definitely will have that five bedroom, whether it be here set up in White Stocking or wherever. But His will has to be done first.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Are you working anywhere else besides being the assistant pastor?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I volunteer. I volunteer. Well, I used to work with my husband, but he's not a good boss. [EH laughs] Well, I tell you what. I work with him pretty good, and then he hollers at me sometimes. And I said, well, I'm going to go where I'm more appreciated. So I went and volunteered different places. [Laughter]
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
When you work for a person, you've got to do what they tell you to do. And she don't want you to tell her what to do, but she can tell you what to do.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
No, no.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
That's why she says I'm not a good boss. [both EH and TH laughing]
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
No. What I tell him is that he's so used to being a boss, but he can't look at me as being an employee. We're partners.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Um-hmm. Yeah, that's hard.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
So don't holler.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's hard.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
But I know there was a lesson in it for both of us, right? Because every time I would try not to go to work with him, I would always seem to have to go to work with

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him because no one else was there and I didn't want him—because he's a workaholic. I want him to last for a while longer, so I know if I don't go help him he'll work himself to death.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
How many hours do you work a day?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Sunup to sundown.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well, he had to. Since the flood, though, he's only worked, what? One job?
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Why is that?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Since September. The work hasn't—well, we just got our phone yesterday.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You do concrete, right?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
We just got a phone yesterday, so that was hard because we wasn't in a stationary place.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
I lost a lot of tools—my trowel machine, my saws, my generators. You can't operate if you don't have the tools. I still haven't got none of them back yet. I've got a couple of jobs coming in starting off first of the year, and I'm going to have to rent the tools to do the work.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And he had one of the, because he does like two, two is it—help me with it honey. Mobile home parks, trailer parks.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
You're the boss, but you can't do it without your tools.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well he does, like two trailer parks. He does the driveway, approaches, sidewalks and paths in the trailer park. And he, like he said, he wasn't able to do it because of the tools and everything. But only yesterday one of the men that he worked for, because he couldn't contact him, he wrote him a letter through the mail and it said, “I have work for you. Please contact me soon.” So that was just great, you know, that was

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just awesome. And that's just somebody that, you know, that really cares and is concerned. Now, we were also blessed by people that he worked for, you know, that had just written him out checks. Just to help him get back on his feet.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
People you know? People you don't know?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
People that he worked for.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
People that I worked for.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Had done work for previously.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Some of the guys I'd done work for and knew that I was in the flood. And they just wrote me out a check and they just give it to me.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Yeah. Yeah. Some of them. That was, you know, quite a blessing for us.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well, today, I don't know if we can put it into words, exactly all that happened. Both of you were there at the church. Can you describe—we were going to interview you earlier in the day, and here we are at AME Zion Church and there are a few people. And suddenly it seemed that everybody came. How did all that take place? You were part of it, I know.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
You've got to remember though, the church—we had a church down here in Castle Hayne, that the pastor called me and asked me would I go down and pick up some boxes.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Do you know what the pastor's name is?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Yeah, my pastor.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, your pastor.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
My pastor.

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THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Our pastor, Reverend David. And said the church down there had twelve boxes for twelve different families. Would I come down and pick them up and bring them up to the church, because we was all supposed to meet at the church at 12:30? And then they said they had Santa Claus coming and was going to give the children some gifts.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Um-hmm.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
But that was different. That was just an all-of-a sudden surprise. Because while we were going to pick up the gifts in Castle Hayne, one of the neighbors had stopped in and said that Santa Claus was going to be there at one o'clock and let my mother know. And that was another neighborhood church, Chapel Hill.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
A different church.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Not Chapel Hill, but—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Rocky Point?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
What is it, honey? You know, Jordan Chapel. Jordan Chapel is the church. And you said—I don't know the pastor's name, but he's a nice pastor.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
That's a different ( ).
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
He was there also. That gave—the one that told my pastor about the surprise.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
His name is Furr.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Furr.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Reverend Furr.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Okay. And we were down there cleaning out the church the week after; the first week of the month we were down there, me and my husband. We love to clean up around the church. Not too many people don't help, but we love to do it, you know. We

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was cleaning out around the church. Because as my husband said, he's a trustee at the church, and he said that if we get all the dead stuff from on the top then the grass would grow and it would begin to look lively again. So we were cleaning it up and then the pastor from Jordan Chapel came and he had bins of Christmas decorations. And he gave us one and he gave one to two of the other neighbors. He said, “Well, Santa Claus don't stop coming just because of the flood.” And that was really great. That was good. And the people that was there, they had gifts coming from different places, places that we didn't even know about. You see, we got so many gifts. Gifts just been coming and been coming.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
There are probably forty, fifty boxes over there.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I don't know. Yeah. I'm telling you, just been coming—clothes and shoes, and it seems like the more I give away, the more comes. It's just overwhelming. You know I been telling everyone that you read and you hear about jubilee, but I been experiencing the jubilee of the Lord ever since it happened.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Explain what you mean by jubilee.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It's like, you know, abundance of everything that you could want. Even things that you desire. You know, it's like I said when we moved, the house that was damaged—that wasn't enough space for a six member family. And it was overwhelming to me when it was, everything was just taken. It just seemed like over night. It was overwhelming. Discouraging and everything else. And then one lady came to the shelter and she sang the song, “One Day at a Time.” And I'm the type of person, I just think I've got to be tough and hard, you know, and don't let things affect me like it affects most people. And so I was, I guess I was putting on a hard face. But inside I was just crying. I

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couldn't release it. And so when she came and sang that song, “One Day at a Time,” it just, you know, the release came. I just cried, and I couldn't stop crying. But I needed to cry. But I just—but it wouldn't come because of just me, you know. But I thank the Lord for how he knew I needed to cry. But I was thinking, “Well, I've got to be strong for the kids and for my husband.” Then sometimes you—well, me, myself, I personally think that leaders want to set a good example. But it's not being real when you don't cry, because you have to cry. I mean that I've learned even in all of this that in order for the Lord to bring the joy or the peace or whatever else we need, you have to make room for it. So if there's a lot of pain and hurting and resentment and all of that there, there's no room for the joy and everything else that you need to make it the rest of the way. I'm sure that's why some people are in the crazy house over at Everetts, or even six-foot under—because they didn't release it the way they was supposed to. But I learned that in letting it go—and then I seen how the Lord just began to bless, an abundance of things that we needed. I mean, like I said, they was giving us vouchers for clothes and then the social service, they were giving us money. Well, they didn't really just give us money, but wherever you would tell them a source for it, like if you need to pay an electric bill, then you gave them the name and they would pay the electric bill, up until five hundred dollars. And then we went back—they had seven hundred and fifty dollars, and then the vouchers. Even with the camp, where we had somewhere to live—it wasn't home, but it was a roof over our heads, you know. And I seen people when I went to take my mother back home that was in worser shape than us, that was still in the water; the water was still—their homes were still in the water. I thought it was bad that we had to wait for two weeks before we was able to get back and look at our stuff. And I didn't even—I seen

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people going in and cleaning out their house. I just couldn't even bear it. Every time that I would go there I would get a headache. I mean, I would get a real bad headache. And people were saying, “It's probably the mildew.” It wasn't the mildew, it was just looking at it, you know. But after a while I just knew that I had to do it, and so we just went and we just throwed it all out.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What were you looking at when you saw those things?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Furniture. All our furniture. Things we had worked for.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That gave you the headache?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Yeah, everything.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Things you had worked for?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Worked hard for.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What all was in there?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Your living room, your couch, your refrigerator, your gas stove, freezer.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And computer.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Computer, the TV, your VCR.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Clothes?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Clothes.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It's amazing, because before we could even get in the house—we had an addition to our house and then we had outdoor furniture and had a deep freezer and all. And it was like everything was upside down. It was just—it didn't seem like water. I don't know what it seemed, but it was just a mess. And I just couldn't see myself going in there and cleaning it out. I just couldn't. And my husband said, “Well, don't worry.

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I'll go in there. I'm going to do it by myself.” I said, “Yeah, you sure are going to do it by yourself, because I'm not going to help you.” But I did help him.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Bicycles and everything.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Bicycles and exercise equipment?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
That was on the outside.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
These here are two of the pictures of the inside, but they didn't come out because I didn't have no flash. Didn't have a flash with me.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
You don't have any pictures of the stuff inside?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
I don't know where ( ) the pictures are at.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
You look on the dresser?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
That's where I got them from, on the dresser.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
There's some.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well anyway, did you look in that top drawer? The furniture and everything. Even the pictures that we had, all our wedding pictures and stuff—I just thought I was going to put them in the top drawer and they would be all right. But it's amazing because my husband bought me this watch. I said, “I don't want a cheap watch. I want a watch that cost a lot of money.” And he really sacrificed and brought me this watch.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It's a gold watch.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well yes. And it's a ( ). And I was so tickled because he paid a hundred some dollars. We couldn't even really afford that. I said to myself, I never would have time to think about getting my pocketbook. I left my pocketbook there, you know. And my watch was on the dresser. And I was just thinking about these things. I was thinking, he bought me the watch for my birthday, or Mother's day, or one of those times. And

Page 25
when he went back—he left his money. He had changed clothes and left his money in the robe or whatever. The money and stuff was still there; we didn't have any money. And when he went back the money was in his robe, of course. But the watch was on top of the bed and the water didn't get to the watch. I don't know how that happened. It was on the top of the dresser, I mean. And the water didn't get to the watch. But everything else around it was messed up. It was just so unreal, you know. I was just so glad to have my watch. I said, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.” And some things we thought would be destroyed wasn't. He had a TV, that TV—it was in the living room, but it was on an entertainment center much higher that that one. It was way up high. And everything—we had stacks of bibles and educational, you know, religious books, all of them got destroyed, but the TV didn't.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
They're around here somewhere.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I said that top drawer, honey.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
What top drawer? I'm looking there.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I don't know where it is, then.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's okay.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Things, I mean like—it was just unbelievable. We were able to save a few things—like we didn't have room for our clothes in the house so I had bought those Tupperware bins. And when we went back and we cleaned up the stuff, two of the bins, the water never got to them. They was just floating in the water. Then I looked at my bin and it was trashed. Everything that was my little boy and my little girl, their bins was sealed, but mine was drenched to the gills. But then the people began to bring me clothes, and one lady brought me the most beautiful suits, I mean, with sequins and gold,

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and the shoes that match. Oh, it was just so exiting. This is like sixty, seventy dollar shoes. And I had five or six pair and the dresses and skirts to go with it. And I said, “Oh, the Lord is just blessing me and dressing me better than I could dress myself.” And then I was testifying in the church and the woman came to me and said, “You know what my daughter said? My daughter said that you was so happy, like, you were like glad that the flood came.” And I was like, “How can people be so naïve?” Who would be glad that a flood came? But it was just a joy of the Lord and just seeing, you know, and being grateful for where he brought me. Because I had five other people in my family, and I could have lost one of them. People were losing family members, you know. And it was just a blessing that we had each other. I mean, regardless of everything that we lost it was a blessing. I had to learn that even in the midst of the flood, because where we were in the camp, the people gave us clothes and stuff. I was sorting through the clothes, and I had put some things back in the bag for my husband to take to the shelter because it was things we couldn't use. And then I discovered that he had took one of my daughter's shoes, and it was a really nice, expensive shoe. I was real upset with him, and when he came back, I was like, you know, “You put the shoe in there!” And I was getting really hyped up. And then the Lord, it's like the Spirit spoke to me, and said “You haven't gotten it.” You know, because the bible said that we have to wear the things of this world as loose garment. And even though I thought I had released it, because I lost everything in the flood, I still hadn't released the things that I thought I had released because I wouldn't have got so upset over that shoe. I was still attached to things. And then I understood what the Lord was trying to teach me—don't get attached to these things, because these things is not going to be here. I had to keep my focus on Him, because if I

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kept my focus on Him, everything that I want or need, He was going to bring it to me. So I seen people that I thought maybe was committed to the Lord go through things and not be able to survive, because they didn't keep their focus on Him. They're not appreciative. I've seen so many people ungrateful for the things that they have received, because—yeah, well, I hear people say they lost their home. And even though they think that we can't empathize with them because we didn't own our home, it was our home, you know. We paid rent like they paid mortgage, and the mortgage is still going to be there like the rent is still going to be there. But you've got to be grateful for what you have, you know, in order to get more. I think when you lose the focus of what you have, you're not going to get as much as you could have because you're not focusing on the right one. You're just looking at things. I believe in the Lord teaching me to have a humble and meek spirit. We wouldn't be as blessed as we are, and it's honey coming. It's just honey coming. And we don't have no reason to complain, even in the situation that we've been in. We don't have no reason to complain, because the Lord has been blessing us. We really don't. Yes, we need things, but we can wait on them because we know if He brought these things, he's going to bring the rest of the things that we need.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Tell me how you became a pastor in the AME Zion Church.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well, so far—they told me when I joined the church I turned over my preaching license to my pastor. I sat under her for a year, and after a year they ordained me. But I have to go to school.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Where do you go?

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ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well, my pastor hasn't let me know what school I go to yet. But it will be a year in February, so I'm pretty sure she's going to let me know soon. I've been inquiring to different people and they said there's a few in Wilmington.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Both of you have tremendous faith and have shown it to us today. What is your—you've probably thought about this. What is your feeling about why the flood came?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
My feeling about the flood is that they sent the water down here, all of it at one time, by the Lord. It's the Lord's water, but man controlled it and then released it. So it wasn't by the Lord for being what's called no disaster or flood. It was flood, man made flood in my belief. We went through the storms—the wind, the rain and blowing trees down and all that. But it was these dams that hold this water back. And, for some particular reason they didn't release the water at the time that they was supposed to. They hold it back, and it got too much on them. Instead of destroying them, they just released it on someone else. They didn't know how much damage, they didn't really know how much damage it was going to do until they done it. And now they're slow to realizing, but they really don't want to commit it, because they have never said it. But the Lord is in control of everything, so He will provide.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I personally believe that the Lord did send the flood, regardless of them opening up the dams or not. The Lord did send the flood, and it wasn't to take nobody away. It wasn't to take a life or anything, but it was to wake us up to the things that we need to do. You know, just like you hear the people talking about Y2K, we need to focus on the Lord and seek him to find out what it is that we need to do for his will or for his glory. I don't think the community of White Stocking was so bad, but I know the grace

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and favor of God is good. I know that it had to be by his grace that we were all able to leave this place with our health, with our good health, and even to return, whether we were in our homes or not. Maybe, like I said from the camp, we became attached to materialistic things. We got wrapped in our jbos. We got wrapped up in our homes. You know, we just got wrapped up in the wrong things. We wasn't seeking the Lord. We wasn't doing what the Lord would have us to do. And I think we're blessed that we got a wake up call such as we did. You know, because even a couple of nights ago, Wednesday night, we went to Raleigh and everything worked out good. We went there, you know, to support the proposal, you know, to ask them for 6.5 million dollars for the people. And the Lord blessed. They got 8.5 million dollars to come back and take care of the White Stocking, not White Stocking, but the Pender County community. I just know that we have to do things in the order that God would have us to do. I'm not so much as blaming it on the people, because I know if it wasn't in God's will it wouldn't have never happened.
[END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE A.]

[TAPE1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE ONE, SIDE B.]
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
So, we can't change one another, but the Bible says we have to work our own soul's salvation with fear and trembling. If we don't fear the things that's going on around us we won't seek the one that wants us to seek Him. When I get a chance to open up my mouth and speak, I let them know that it's not no chance, not no coincidence, not no people that let go the dams, but it's God that's speaking to us. It is just as plain as my hand in front of me. That's what it is, you know, that's what it is. I mean, people wouldn't fear Y2K if they know the Lord, because they'd know that the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. So what is there to be fearful of? If you know Him, Y2K or any

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other catastrophe could come, but we still will be delivered. However, God can get our attention. It's only by His grace and His mercy that he's allowing us to be here to get it. Because some people is not here, and at least we are here.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
There's a lot of talk about hogs and development, and highways, and all that associated with the flood. And people talk about the smell of the water and so forth. Do you have any thoughts about that?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well, we came down here at the beginning. We seen the goats and the horses and all that, you know. All that the people had had in the community was dead, and they hadn't had a chance to remove them. And they stayed there for a while. I guess that was—and all the water was in the houses and then the smell, it still is unbearable, you know. They're doing whatever they can to clean it up, but it's going to be a process. It's something for everything. I mean, I look down at the neighbor, and he's tearing down his home, and I can't imagine what he's going through having to tear down his home. But I was told that the odor was so bad in there, there wasn't no way that they could live back in it. But then, you never know. Maybe they believed in the Lord for a new home and now they're going to get one. Maybe they can't see the goodness for focusing on the bad. But it is good that's coming out of it. A lot of people I've talked to that lost everything in their home—and they were homeowners, and they gutted and everything—at least every person I talked to said that they prayed and asked the Lord for something. Like this lady, for instance, she said that she prayed and asked the Lord that she be debt free before she died. She told me, I guess a few weeks ago, that she only had five months, or five more payments on her car. Well, she said that when her insurance paid off they paid the full value of her car, so she was able to get a new car and have thirty-six

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dollars left over. Now, you know, if she could just look at how the Lord did that, and not think about how much it is going to take for her house to be rebuilt—if He could do that, surely He could take care of her home. And already, the church has begin to come in and, you know, wire it up and put the plumbing in and whatever she needs in there. I was told she had to sign her FEMA check over to the church to help, but the FEMA didn't give her nothing but five thousand dollars anyway and she probably had a seventy or eighty thousand dollar home, so she couldn't do nothing with the five thousand dollars. But it's a blessing to be able to sign it over to somebody, and they come in and restore your home. I'm sure they're going to put the furniture. But the Lord's been blessing. You know, people have been writing out vouchers for furniture for people that don't have furniture. It's just like all the bases has been covered, but some people are not humble. I also experienced people that had, like I said, that was buying homes who looked down on me and my husband because we didn't own a home. And those people we see, when they had things, they stand back and they watch other people going to get things like they are too good to go and get. You can't expect to be blessed if you can't be humble, because you miss a lot that the Lord has for you if you're not a humble person. Like, say, for instance, my son, he loves name brands. Tommy Hilfiger, you name it, that's all he wanted. And the school, when we was at Burgaw Elementary, when they brought in the plastic bags full of clothes—he was in there, you know. And it was amazing to me to see him, because I personally wouldn't have thought he would have done it. But then, afterwards we went to the camp, and his grandmother up there in Maryland sent down a whole bag full of the name brand stuff. But he had to be humble first, and willing to go through that to get what God had for him. That's just the way I see how it works.

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CHARLES THOMPSON:
You said back in the first part of the shelter stay, there were whites, and there were Mexicans, and there were African-Americans all together. And you—what we saw today was african-americans and whites working together at Christmas. We were also pleasantly surprised by finding that in the midst of what we thought was african-american community, there are also white people living, even down kind of behind other people.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Right.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So, you've come from Maryland, and you've seen probably strain between different racial groups, and so on, in schools. Can you comment on how it is to live in the South, in a community like White Stocking, and how maybe this flood has made a difference, possibly? Or has it? Is it always cooperative like that?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
It's always—since I've been down here it's always been cooperative like that. They treat you like you was a person.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Is that different from what you used to experience before you came here? The same?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Well, a lot of times it's different, because a lot of jobs and a lot of positions, they didn't want to give you credit for it up home as they would down here. And see, down here, if you can qualify for the job and you can do the job, you've got the job. Up home, it's a whole lot of—you've got to go through a whole lot of rigmarole. Like when you go out to get a job, you've got the potential to do the concrete job, but they'll slight you a little bit and not give it to you. And then, later on down the road it may come back to you that the same man that they passed you up for the job may come get you to do the job. That's the only difference I've found. I don't care what color you is, or race you is,

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if you qualify for the job down here, you've got it and you can go with it. All you have to do is show what you can do. That's the only difference.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
What about at the shelter? What about things like happened today?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
We were the same. People were treated the same. They'd go get their clothes and their food and everything just like we done. They talked to us, and they were the same. Everybody was ( ), and dealing with what they had to deal with, to my notion.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I think it brought us closer together, though, because, like I said, when we were in the shelter we knew our neighbors but we didn't associate with our neighbors. When I first came down here we went around in the community, and I had a prayer book and I got all the neighbors to sign. We had blacks and whites and Mexicans in the neighborhood, but they stayed, like you said, off in the woods. Some stayed in Copperhead Lane; it's a mixed community in Copperhead Lane. We went all around and invited the people to the church and got their names in our prayer book and everything. But we didn't usually come together. We had one couple, I believe, and that was James and Becky, and I think they were hispanics that came to our church. They came maybe two or three times. James maybe came two or three times, but Becky came once. When we was at the camp it was all mostly blacks except for one white family, and that was a difference. But I know that was the will of God, because it was one black church that came out to the camp and fed us and all of the rest of was white churches. And even the restoring of the houses and tearing out of the houses, I think it was maybe one black, or maybe two black churches and the rest of them was white churches. I seen—well, it was overwhelming to me to see, like I said, the love of God through the white churches. You

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know, they've just been coming in and doing it; whatever needs to be done, they just been coming in and just doing it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Did you hear what Reverend Furr said to your pastor today about the building materials?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Yeah, I heard him. And this had not been the first time. Like I said, it wasn't the first time that he came in the community and rendered his service and brought things out for the kids and for the church. But our pastor hasn't been there before. It is usually me and my husband. But he came out, and it's just been overwhelming.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Today he said list how much you need in terms of sheet rock and plywood and insulation and electrical materials, and we'll get them for you.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
That's right.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
He told the pastor that. I was pretty amazed. That's a lot of money.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And there was other churches. Pastor Purnell from Burgaw Baptist, and that's a white church also. They came out and they tore everything out of the church, and the only reason they haven't restored the church is because it's got to be a fifteen percent water dryness. It's still too wet for them to go in there and work, in other words. So that's the only reason that Pastor Purnell's church hasn't came back and did it. But it's been so many churches that's offered to restore the church and offer to restore the homes of the people. It really has. You've got to know that it's the Lord. And we've been—when I came here, Pastor Purnell, the white pastor that I'm telling you about—I had people telling me that I probably wasn't welcome in the white church. But I told my husband, I said, “I'm going to go to Burgaw Baptist.” He just looked at me. He wasn't saying anything. At that point it probably wasn't for me to go, you know, because the

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Lord knew that this was coming and he knew that I was going to go there anyway. But I, and we, the family—the community—because of what he did out here we went to show him and the rest of the people that came in the community to help us that we appreciated them. So we had a combined service.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You did? How did that go?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
That was really nice.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In the First Baptist Church at Burgaw?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
In the Burgaw Baptist Church.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Who preached that?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It was an evangelist from somewhere. I think Los Angeles or somewhere.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, okay.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I put him in the prayer book.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
But everybody participated together?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Um-hmm. They came together. They got a chance to testify and tell how they was, how the church came in and helped and everything. Well, like I said, when we was at the camp, we started to complain about the Red Cross food, because it wasn't so good after a while, you know. It was just like they throwed it together.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Was it cold?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It wasn't cold, it didn't have a substance. Sometimes you didn't know what you was eating. It was just like mystery meat or whatever. [Laughter]. But at the start it was kind of good. And then after a while I guess the same thing over and over, and so the churches volunteered to come out, and like I said, for the most part it was the white churches. But to my amazement, they were really good cooks. But we haven't been

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eating with white churches so we wouldn't know. I mean, it's not that we think that you all cook different than—but you know, it's just different when you just get down, and you just—
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Like you say, you don't know.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
You don't know. But when you get to the opportunity, that was the opportunity that we seen. My husband, he was telling them he liked neck bones. And one of the ladies, I think even at Burgaw Baptist, she said, We can cook neck bones, too! [EH and CT laughing.] She said, Do you think white people don't cook neck bones? I know how to ( ) on some neck bones. And so she fixed the neck bones and brought them out and they was really good. Just different things. It was just good. And then when they were coming sometimes, we would sing you know, sing thank you songs to the churches that came out. And it was like we were all coming together as a big family. I think that's just how the Lord wants us all to be. Just one big family. And it was good. It was good for me. It was a learning process for me. It was.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Do you feel that this good will, this mixing, this intermingling will carry over now once the flood and all the clean up happens and everybody gets back in their houses? Do you sense that that spirit of good will will continue now?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I believe that it will, only for the ones that's willing for it to. Because you're not going to—it's always going to be a few. It's not going to be everybody. It's never going to be everybody. I mean, it's God's will that it be everybody, but it's not. And so you just can't give up because you don't see everybody doing it, but you just got to enjoy and do what you know is right. I've never been a prejudiced person, but even in the midst of being at the camp I learned even something different about myself as not thinking I'm

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prejudiced. To me being judgmental is being prejudiced. I mean, just judging a person by their skin or whatever, and thinking that maybe they might do something this way or that way before you even get to know who they are. And so I learned that's a form of prejudice that I never realized before. I just never—it didn't make me no difference. I just love everybody. But it makes a difference when you judge a person, you know.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Can you give an example of what you learned?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Say, for instance with the food. I mean, I just took it for granted that maybe the white people don't fix food like we fix food, you know. That's not necessarily true, but they just bring a different spice. And then you limit yourself when you're not just tasting their food, like you are your food. You're missing that God intended for us to get a variety of tastes, and we're just limiting ourself to our taste. And then we might look at it and say, maybe, that's not good. But how would you know it unless you taste it? It's just like with the Lord. He said, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” But if you just get a dab, that's not a good taste. You've got to really get a good taste to know it, to get a good taste. [CT and EH laugh.] You've got to do that.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Well, what happened to the african-american churches? If they're not coming out in as big a numbers, why?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well, the reason, to me I think is—I mean, I can't really explain it because I'm a little overwhelmed myself, and going along seeing the things that it is. I just think it's God ordained it as such. You know what I'm saying? Because I have seen black churches come out and do things, and they just do it and they leave. You know, they come and they don't linger around or whatever. And maybe that's their way of doing things. I don't know. But like, say for instance, I'm in a ministerial allowance

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fellowship, and you know, predominately the black churches get together. We meet every second Monday of the month. And they had a dinner for the flood victims, and they also had trucks and stuff come out. But it's just—I think it's ordained as such by the Lord to break the barriers, because it's been a barrier there between the whites and the blacks. And maybe that was God's way of showing us that they're not bad. They're just good. They are my children, too, you know. They are willing to help. They're willing to work, but you just haven't been coming to them so I'm going to send them to you. It's like He sent them to us. We didn't go looking for them. They was just there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's a good theory. The white community we interviewed in Duplin was saying that there are a lot black churches that were helping them.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I think it was ordained as such by the Lord. That's just his way of breaking the barrier. I mean, like I said, some people are not humble enough to go and ask for help. As we see it, the white churches are more able to help us than the black churches, because it seems as though the white churches are more prosperous.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Um-hmm, that's an important point.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
But we didn't even have to ask. They just came. And that's just the way it's done. And I'm just so amazed that even in North Carolina it's been like that. I mean, I know there's prosperous churches, black churches all over the world. We haven't seen any offer to help us, but I think this is just the Lord's way of bringing us together.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
In terms of FEMA and the Federal help, have you noticed any difference in treatment? I think you've touched on that already, but any difference in treatment based on who people are? How much money they have, or anything like that?

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THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
No. If they have a hundred thousand dollars, they're going to do their part and that's it.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And we have been persistent.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
There's no extra for nobody. They treat everybody the same.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I think, you know, some people are not persistent. They might inquire about something and then they expect somebody else to do the work. But if it's your business, you've got to take care of your business. And me and my husband, we've been pretty persistent in just going down there and letting ourselves be known. And they see us, and they say, “Well, hi Mr. and Mrs. Hudson,” and they usually know what we're coming in there for.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
The FEMA people know you by name?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Right, right. Yes. And they've been helping us. They've been working with us. We go in there, they go right into the computer and “Well, what do you want to know today?” Yeah.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
You've got to follow up on it. A lot of people is not getting their help because they're not following up on it. They want things done right then. They don't want to go through the process of waiting and getting it done. They just want it done. Like say you say, you want a dollar right then and there. It don't work that way. You've got to go through a process and take your time. But they can't see it that way.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I'll tell you, we have gotten from FEMA—when the FEMA man first came, our house wasn't even accessible. The water was way up. So, automatically we was eligible for four hundred dollars, I guess they call it emergency assistance. So we got that. We didn't get that until, what? Maybe a month after the flood. Then after a while

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someone let us move into their house because their father had died in September, and so we moved into the house and it was fully furnished. And we were trying to get rental assistance from FEMA. And they were moving kind of slow, so we went to the Red Cross people; they had helped us previously, and they were trying to put us in a hotel or whatever. Well, anyway, we went back in there to the FEMA people and they looked it up in their computer and she expedited time for us, and we got another check for like $818. So in all, we got a little over twelve hundred dollars. But as far as restoring us back for our damages, home, you know, we haven't heard from them. We went through the SBA because we got a small business for being self-employed, and we were denied the loan. And then they told us that that would make us automatically eligible for a grant. We haven't heard anything from them with that. But we just have to, we know that we have to wait. We're not the only cases. So many other cases out there.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So you have to be persistent yet patient.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Right, you do.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Now, you went to Raleigh. This is probably, we have to be somewhere at seven, and so we won't take a lot more of your time, but I was thinking we would really like to have this on tape about how you organized and how you got together a group to go to Raleigh this week. It was on Wednesday, right?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Um-hmm.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Would that be the fifteenth?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It was like over night that happened, you know.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's exactly three months after the flood.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Um-hmm.

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CHARLES THOMPSON:
Over night you got a call, or how did that happen?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
No. Well, we have a lady named Kathy. Kathy Lee. And she's a representative for White Stocking.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
A state representative?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
No, she's a neighbor. She's a community representative. And she announced Sunday that they would be having the meeting. She had papers that you put down how the flood affected you life—to write a letter to the House of Representatives expressing to them the changes that we went through.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Did you write a letter?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
About how long was it?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
About a page.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Okay. Saying you lost all of your possessions, and so forth?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Yeah. I think I had a copy. I got a copy of it, if you want.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Did you put a date on it?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
No I didn't have a date, just the address.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
It's December 15th, roughly, 1999 [that] you wrote it.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Okay. And it says, “To Whom it May Concern. In representation of the Hudson family in Pender county, I am writing this letter in reference to how the releasing of the dams have affected our lives. First of all, our family consists of six, two adults and four children, and my mother was visiting from Maryland. I can't even begin to explain to you the turmoil my family has been through because of the flood. On the day of the flood me and my husband was helping neighbors to safety because our house was

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supposed to be on higher ground. Later that afternoon my husband went out of the house to see that water was coming from the back of our house from surroundings. We stayed across from a creek, and I watched the creek thinking that if the water got high enough for us to leave, it would come from the creek first. But to my surprise, I was wrong. The water just rushed in in such a way that we couldn't even think straight. All I could think about was how to get my children to safety, their ages ranging from fifteen years to one year. Everything we had, except for my husband's truck, was destroyed in the flood. I am praying that you will feel the anguish and need of helping my family to be restored by what is rightfully ours. After all, isn't that what the government is for? Thank you and God bless you. Thomas and Elberta Hudson.”
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Thank you. It's a great letter. I'm sure they would do something after reading this, these. How many people from the community wrote a letter?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Roughly twenty-five or thirty people, I think.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And you delivered them up there?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Yeah.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You rode in a bus?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well, no. We had a pastor, we have a pastor in the community, and went and got his van.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
A couple of cars.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And was about maybe seven or eight in the van. And we had three cars?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Um-hmm. See, they'd been having—FEMA'd been having meetings once a month to find out the people's needs, and this and that. This is what is all this come about. And they helped. And that's how we knew about the meetings, too, by the

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meetings every month. They'll have another big meeting the twenty-third of this month to find what the results was from going up to Raleigh. They'll inform us and we all stay on top of it.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, okay. So you go to the office and they tell you?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Right. We go to a meeting at Burgaw school. They have a big meeting for everybody to come to, for flood victims to find out what can they do to help their ( ) along, or speed up the process in helping to restore your lives.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Um-hmm. So, how do you feel? Is the governor's decision, the legislature's decision good? Are you satisfied with what they did?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
The decision of the money was good, but once the money hit the accountants as to where it go to and what they do with it, that's what we got to look, the next stage we're going to look and see what the results going to be.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
We have joined an organization here in the county called SOC, which stands for “Strengthening Our Communities.” And we want to be ( ) the situation, whereas when the money comes to the county we will be able to be accessible to the money that we can distribute it to the people. The money don't have to go directly to the families that lost. But if they would take the money, as in the past, and fix the water system, or whatever they want to make up that they did with the money, that's what they do. But we want to make sure that this time, because in hurricanes in the past they haven't been dispensing the money to the people that really has a need. We want to make sure that this time that the people that really has a need are able to get the money.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Get the full benefits of it.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Yeah.

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CHARLES THOMPSON:
And how will you do that? What's a better plan?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well, we don't really have a better plan. In the organization we are trying to decide the needs of the people. It's a way that you can go about doing it, you know, contacting DSS or other—like say for instance, we have a lady there that's in charge of North Carolina housing, and what she would do is see how many families need her assistance for housing and how much money they might well need to get back into housing, or something to that effect. Just see about meeting the needs of the people. I don't really see the government as doing that. A lot of people I have experienced, personally, I haven't had to go through it, went down to Social Service to apply for the moneys that was supposed to be for the flood victims, and they were denied because of the money that they made in the past. That wasn't right. I mean, the money that they made in the past, or even the money that they have now, has nothing to do with what they lost in the flood.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
So they shouldn't have been denied, you know.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Some people say that some got it who weren't flood victims at all.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Exactly. We've seen it. We've seen it.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
We've seen it, too. That's the reason why we are having this organization. We screen out the people that wasn't damaged by the flood. That's the reason why we're starting this organization now. You have an application that you would have to fill out, and we would determine then whether you are eligible for help.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
You should have proof if you was a flood victim. You would have, say for instance, a FEMA number. You should have a FEMA number, or a proof of residence

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that you stayed in a disaster area. You know, it doesn't take much for people to ask you for these things, but some people, because it's not theirs, they don't care. They give it to whoever comes.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
First come, first served.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And that's not the way it should be.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
That's the same thing, like a lot of these that was in the lines for the Red Cross asking about water, ice, and supplies, and stuff like that—a lot of them people that was in them lines wasn't even damaged by the storm. But those people don't know. They only thing they know is that they're helping people by their jobs.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
You really can't blame them because most of them are volunteers.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Whether you was in a disaster area or not. They don't have the time at that time. Or they didn't know the people that need help. And in order for them to reach the people that really need the help, they got to help everybody.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
And we seen it. All the volunteers was from all over the world.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
All over the world.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It wasn't local, so they wouldn't know if you were going to the lying.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
So, if I want to join this organization, SOC, who do I get in touch with?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Her name is Darlene Adams, and she's an accountant at Taxes and Docs. I don't know the name of the street. It's downtown.

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THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Downtown Burgaw. Just look for the sign that says Taxes and Docs. And if you want to sit in on one of our meetings, it's every Tuesday night at 6:30 at Taxes and Docs.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Six-thirty at Taxes and Docs.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
And you can contact us if you wanted to come sit in and have your recorder.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, thank you.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
So they would let you know the purpose.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
You can get the whole low down. We'd be glad for you to come, so you could spread the word.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
I didn't have my pen out when you said her name. What was it again?
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Darlene Adams.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Adams. And is it an organization that, as with the aid to the flood, an organization of people from the Latino community, and other—
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
All over. It's for the whole community.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
It's to be for the whole community. It's a new organization that we're just trying to get kicked out of the ground. Get a foot hold.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
That's a wonderful idea. Do you plan on staying together through the years?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
We're going to start through thick and thin. Once we get started we ain't going to stop.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
I'm the secretary.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, okay. Great.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
We said the purpose is a better community for minorities, to include equal rights and to help all people in need.

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CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. And does it cost anything to join?
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
No.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
No. No cost, just come. We started off with a lot of people, and I think when the people came at first they thought it was just an opportunity for them to get something quick. [Laughs.]
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
But you've got to work first, you know.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
You've got to be persistent, and patient.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
It's not about us, but it's about the poor.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
That's right. Everybody else. People.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
They were surprised that me and my husband wanted to be part of the organization, and we were pretty much victims as they've seen. Like you were saying about the man that you were talking about earlier that had his, his face was burnt or whatever, he was more focused on helping somebody else. That's the most important thing, that you not look at your situation. The more that you help other people, the less you have to get caught up in your own situation. I found that helped me a lot, and I volunteered even that much more. The lady came to me when I was at the camp and said, “Would you consider volunteering at Christian Shelter?” And I said, “Oh, I already volunteer at the Christian Shelter.” And the lady said, “Oh, you're Edith Hudson.” She had my name wrong, she just didn't know how to account for this Elberta with an “E” instead of an “A.” And she said, “Oh, I never knew who you was. I see your name four or five times on the calendar.” But I got to meet her. I didn't even know her, you know. She was from the Presbyterian Church.

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CHARLES THOMPSON:
Oh, that's great. Well, our tape is almost ended, but I think we've gotten so much information from you.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
I think you've filled it up.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Yeah. [Everyone laughs.]
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
He likes to say I talk a lot.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
And we thank you very much for sharing your lives and your faith and your hopes for the future with us.
THOMAS SAMUEL HUDSON:
Welcome to our community.
ELBERTA PUGH-HUDSON:
Well, we thank you for the opportunity to share, because it's always, it's a healing process to talk about it and talk about it in a good way and not a bad way. Great things has been happening to us even though we had to go through the bad things to get to this point. But we're not focusing on the past. We're focusing on the future.
CHARLES THOMPSON:
Right. That five bedroom—
[END OF TRANSCRIPT]