Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Sam Parker, December 5, 2000. Interview K-0252. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Electricity arrives in remote home

Parker describes the strange intrusion of electricity in his remote home.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Sam Parker, December 5, 2000. Interview K-0252. 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

ROB AMBERG:What was it doing for you? You'd go out and spend part of the day at the fire tower, and you'd come back to your cabin. What were you doing around the place? Were you raising crops? SAM PARKER:Yeah, we raised basically what we ate. We had beans and potatoes and the typical mountain fare. Pumpkins. What one would grow around here. We canned a lot of things. Green beans, corn, that kind of thing. We did for the first while-probably a year and a half we didn't have electricity. I remember Dillan, who was our only son-Dillan's bottle to bottle-and it late at night and it in the wintertime. We used the potato masher, and set the potato masher on top of a kerosene lamp with a little protective surface to heat the baby bottle. [Laughs]. And I'll tell you something else. We decided that electricity would be the thing to do, so we petitioned. Went down to Doug, who was head of the French Broad Electric at that time, [and] told him, I'd like to have electricity. He said that he could do that. It'd cost me a minimum-I had to pay a minimum bill-of ten bucks. That brought electricity to the place. My friend Vann Ramsey, who lived below me there-he and his wife were just prince of peoples. He was just a wonderful man. He came up. He had been in his youth sent to Chicago on a training situation-around the war-to become an electrician, and had succeeded and had come back. At that point in time he was the electrical inspector for the county. So, he came by and told us what we needed to do to electrify our house, and we decided that's what we would do. The day that the power was turned on was a day that we knew-we'd both felt, and we've talked about it since-something went awry on the day that the power was turned on. It made it a different place. It was almost as if it's some sort of alien force had come into the situation. Here you could turn on the electric lights now, and it was almost an inexplainable-it was an alien force. It was something strange.