2.1 Early childhood oral history
Play the Early Childhood oral history excerpt. Running time: 2 minutes 5 seconds.
And growing up in Chapel Hill then. The reason why I was here in 1932, me and my brothers and sisters became orphans in 1928. My mother died in 1924. My father died in 1928. By then we had a stepmother, then a baby sister. And my mother had one horse, one cow, one pig at that time. No monies coming in, and living in a log cabin just beyond University Lake. Then family and brothers over here, they would send us food and all. So she couldn’t manage us so what she did was that she had to put us out for families that had to take care of us.
So, two families in Greensboro took me and my little sister. Two of my brothers stayed with my grandfather, John Harriston, who owned ninety-five acres adjacent to University Lake, that he sold twenty-eight acres to widen the lake. Then my daddy’s brother took my other brother to raise. And my stepmother took her child to her brother and then with no money she went off to New York to live with a family and work to help provide help for her.
And from then, my little sister and I, first time we had ever been on a train, out from Carrboro. And they sent us on the train with a trunk — what few pieces we had — but we had a trunk. And in that trunk, my daddy had saved some of my mother’s clothing. I thought they were pretty and I always wanted to keep them. Went to Greensboro, living with my family, and they were educators. They had a two-story house. And running up and down the steps of the two-story house, something we had never seen. And ten rooms — we thought we had turned rich overnight.