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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Geraldine Ray, September 13, 1977. Interview R-0128. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Moving in with husband after falling ill

Ray married a childhood friend in a private ceremony at the courthouse, but she did not live with him for another month. She continued to care for her grandmother at her childhood home until they both caught pneumonia. Ray and her grandmother then went to stay at her husband's home permanently.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Geraldine Ray, September 13, 1977. Interview R-0128. 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

GERALDINE RAY:
We were already friends, we always knowed each other. So, it was just; here we are.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
How long have you been married?
GERALDINE RAY:
We'll be married 38 years coming the 12th of January.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
What kind of wedding did you have?
GERALDINE RAY:
Justice; well, it wasn't no Justice of the Peace. We went and got our license; we got married all in the same day. We went and told the doctor that he had to go back in the service that night so we left home Monday morning - we got married on a Monday. Went and got our blood test and everything, then took the blood test up to where they do it, went back and picked it up at two, went to the courthouse and got our license, went down to Reverend W.M. Hamilton's house, but he was sick in the bed.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
W.M. Hamiltion?
GERALDINE RAY:
Uhhuh. W . . . William M. Hamilton. and he sit up in his bed and married us.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
Really?
GERALDINE RAY:
He sure did.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
Who was present? Just you three?
GERALDINE RAY:
His wife, and they called the next door neighbor in and he married us and the next day they took him in the hospital and he died in the hospital.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
Really?
GERALDINE RAY:
Mmmhmm . . . we were the last people he married.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
So, J.T. went back to the service right after you were married?
GERALDINE RAY:
No, he was out. We just told em that so we wouldn't have to go through all that rigamarole.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
Oh, I see. So, then what happened after that? Where'd you live?
GERALDINE RAY:
Well, uh we stayed out here the first night and then I went back home and he would stay up there with me every other night. And he came up there one morning and I was washing, I had been sick but I hadn't said nothin;I was so sick and I didn't feel like washin the week before and so I was out washin in 32 degree weather on the porch. clothes was freezin and I was takin em out and I had pneumonia, but I didn't know it. And he come up there and caught me washin. He wasn't sposed to come that morning and uh he come and took me to the doctor. I was leaning up against the tub . . . we had the ringer, just an old-fashioned washing machine with a ringer and a black pot in the back to heat the water. And so uh, he brought me to the doctor and the doctor told him I had pneumonia, he bring down to his house, he brought me down to his mother's house and put me to bed. So, I been here ever since.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
So, you guys were married, but you weren't living together for a while?
GERALDINE RAY:
Well, we . . . every other night. See, he was workin. He didn't have a car at the time. We had the principal, our teacher-Mrs. Monty Jones' car. And so, he had to stay where she could use the car too. He drove her and so uh we uh he'd come every other night.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
So, how long were you living in that manner, before you went to go live with him?
GERALDINE RAY:
Maybe a month.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
Maybe a month. And where was grandmother Coon?
GERALDINE RAY:
She was there. I was with her and she ended up with me. After I come down with pneumonia, he had to put me to bed, he called her daughter told her to go out there and see about her. She wouldn't go that night. She came the next day and went and the door had stayed open all night. Gradually, she took pneumonia and there was a white lady that lived out there had gone see about her, called me and told me that she was sick. So, I called J. T. off the job and told him and he went out there and seen that she was spittin up just a mouth full of blood. He washed her up and dressed her and brought her to the doctor and they put her in the hospital. She had pneumonia, she had double pneumonia. Well, stead a my aunt keepin her after she got out the hospital, she took her back out there, she took it again [pneumonia]. So, when she come out the hospital that time, I brought her to my house and we kept her.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
So, you kept her down here with J.T. and J.T's mother.