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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Florence Dillahunt, May 31, 2001. Interview K-0580. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Courtship and marriage in the early 1950s

Dillahunt describes her courtship with her husband-to-be and their marriage in 1955. Dillahunt does not go into great detail about the courtship or marriage, aside from stressing the direct and simple nature of it. In particular, she explains that she did not have a wedding, but was instead married by a justice of the peace. According to Dillahunt, this was fairly typical for people living in that era during that time.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Florence Dillahunt, May 31, 2001. Interview K-0580. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

LEDA HARTMAN:
Okay. Okay. So now if you couldn't go to the movies and you couldn't dance and you couldn't do all this kind of thing, how were you able to court and get married?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That was a little tough. When you went to school, you slip and talk with the boys.
LEDA HARTMAN:
That's what it was? So how did you meet your husband?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
One of my oldest sisters had got married. One of her husband's brothers come over to help them in tobacco one day. I was trucking tobacco, driving a tractor. And at that time, all Mama's girls, we had long hair. And he was standing on the back of the tractor playing with my hair.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Was that big time flirting? [Laughter]
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It sure was big time flirting. [Laughter]
BETTY HOWES:
Did he have tobacco gum on his hands when he was playing with your hair?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
I know he did have some. He was back there pulling my hair. I told him leave my hair alone. He kept on pulling it.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Was that the first time you met him?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That was the first time I had met him. He left after that because he lived in New Bern, and he went back. And we was in school. And he left and went in service. He stayed in service three years. So he wrote me a letter before he got ready to come out. He wanted to come to see me when he come home.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And what year was this that he wrote thisߞaround when?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It was in the early fifties. It was in the fifties. I think he got out of service like '53. He went back to school to finish high school.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Oh, okay. So then he wrote you a letter wanting to come and see you?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, he wanted to come and see me.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And did you say yes?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, I said yes. So Mama and themߞ. But when nine o'clock come, if he was here at night, he had to go home when nine o'clock come. They didn't let nobody stay after nine. If you come, you had to come before it got dark.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So it would be more respectable that way?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, it would be more respectable for them.
LEDA HARTMAN:
I see. And so how long did that go on before you got married?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
It went on, it was like about '53 and I finished high school in '54 and I got married in '55.
LEDA HARTMAN:
So a couple years, that kind of thing.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, about a couple of years.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Then where did you all live once you got married?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Live over there in the house with my mother and father.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Where you were born.
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Because I was the last one out of the six girls and my mother was, you know, kind of sick. So she didn't want me to leave her. I asked him, if we got married could we continue to stay with her? So he told me yes. So we stayed with her.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Did you have any kind of a wedding celebration? Or how did you do it?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, we just went to Kinston and got married. [We] got a minister to marry us at his house.
LEDA HARTMAN:
At his house. And did you have a wedding breakfast or anything?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No.
LEDA HARTMAN:
They didn't do that in those days?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
My mother went with me when we got married.
LEDA HARTMAN:
Did you have a special dress or anything?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
No, didn't have no special dress.
LEDA HARTMAN:
And that was just how people did it in those days?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
That was how we done it in that day. Sometimes they had the weddings, but I didn't.
LEDA HARTMAN:
But you were happy anyway?
FLORENCE DILLAHUNT:
Yes, I was happy anyway.