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1978-08-10 Interview with Lawrence Bowling, August 10, 1978 FNS001:1978OH149 FNS 09 40:31 Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries Frontier Nursing Service, Inc. Rural health services Lawrence Bowling; interviewee Dale Deaton; interviewer 1978OH149_FNS009_Bowling 1:|22(5)|44(11)|63(10)|96(14)|131(4)|155(2)|178(5)|211(2)|236(11)|266(5)|301(9)|321(6)|340(6)|368(12)|399(9)|429(3)|458(11)|489(10)|513(5)|536(7)|557(12)|585(2)|598(7)|612(16)|632(3)|648(5)|680(6)|716(3)|754(2)|785(1)|824(13)|854(4)|885(5)|917(6)|948(3)|973(11)|999(9)|1029(8)|1064(10)|1074(8) audiotrans FNSColl interview DEATON: This is an interview with Mr. Lawrence Bowling for the Oral History Project, Frontier Nursing Service, by Dale Deaton at approximately 10:30 a.m. on August 10th, 1978 at Flat Creek, Kentucky. [Interruption in taping] DEATON: You know what--you said you'd been working for the FNS about twenty years? BOWLING: Yes, about twenty years. DEATON: What--what all did you work at before you started with FNS? BOWLING: I worked in the log woods and on the farm, just for dif---on the farm just for different people. You know, plowed corn and hoed tobacco and graded tobacco and stuff like that. DEATON: About what years were they? BOWLING: That was back in--that was back in the '40s. DEATON: What did they pay you for a day's work on the farm? BOWLING: I star---they started me out a dollar and a half a day hoeing corn. Dollar and a half. DEATON: And that--well, for a typical work day, about what time of the day did you start? BOWLING: I--they started us just the time they could see and we quit work time we could just see un---to unhook the horse from the plow. There wasn't no hours. I mean, we worked, too. Took off a hour for lunch and that was it. DEATON: Who were some of the people around here that you worked for ----------(??)? BOWLING: Well, like Jim Hoskins down here at--he lives in Red Bird district, John Henry Hoskins, Old Man Taylor Feltner, and pe---just people like that. And there wasn't too much money and--and they had- -had a job, you know, and there wasn't too--wasn't too many people had a job. And they could afford to--to pay you and there wasn't too many people, you know, who could afford to have--to hire anybody for a plow. They done it their own self. They just didn't have the money. But I seen my daddy work for seventy-five cents a day from daylight to dark. Wasn't no hours to it, and was glad to get it. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, about the same time, what did--do you remember what most people had to buy out of the store? BOWLING: Well, it was nothing but the sugar and--and coffee. And you bought very little of that sugar. They raised molasses, you know, and- -and most people sweetened with molasses and stuff like that. And salt, they bought the salt. Soda and baking powder. Every once in awhile they got--bought a sack of flour about once a year for Christmas. DEATON: About how many pounds of flour? Was that the barrel of flour or-- BOWLING: Yeah. Uh-huh. DEATON: How many pounds was in that, do you remember? BOWLING: I think it's--no, sir, I can't remember just exactly how many pounds it was. DEATON: But they only bought it once a year? BOWLING: Once a year. DEATON: Do you remember what the cost was? BOWLING: Very cheap. I remember this one--used to be twenty- four pound and it come in--in one bag. I used--I can remember that being forty- five cents a bag. DEATON: For twenty-four pounds? BOWLING: Yes, twenty-four pounds. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, just about everything that the people ate they raised? BOWLING: They raised it. They--their own meat and had their own eggs and stuff like that, we raised it. DEATON: Did you ever help make molasses? BOWLING: Um-hm. Many of a time. DEATON: How--well, you naturally start with sugar cane, but how do you make molasses from there? BOWLING: Well, you--you--you strip the--the fodder off of the--off of the--the stalk and cut the top off. Then you--you haul it to the mill and run it through the mill. And grind that--and grind the juice and pour it in a big pan, and just put you a fire under it and just keep boiling it and have you a--a skimmer, you know, to get that green skim off of it. DEATON: You just throw that away? BOWLING: Uh-huh. Just throw that away. So you boil that down into thick mo---molasses. And it's--it's really something. I--I love to go to a stir-off to---yet today. I wish somebody would raise a cane patch and just-- DEATON: Do you know anyone around here now that raises that? BOWLING: Uh-uh. I don't know anybody around here raising molasses now, cane. PITTS: Is making molasses different from sorghum? BOWLING: Same thing. PITTS: Same thing? BOWLING: Um-hm. That's kind of-- DEATON: How can you tell--how could you tell when they were ready? BOWLING: Well, just by--just by looking at them. Maybe haul 'em up on- -on the skimmer, you know, and just--they tell just how it would drip down off of the skimmer. DEATON: So you couldn't really tell by the color? BOWLING: Uh-uh, not by the color, just the way it dripped, how thick it was getting and stuff. DEATON: So whoever made the best molasses was the most experienced person? BOWLING: Um-hm. That's right. It was some--some people was real-- really good at it. Some made it too thin, and pour me a plate, they'd just run all over your plate. I--I didn't like that. (laughs) DEATON: Yeah. Hmm. Well--well, the molasses stir-off, was that sort of a social event, too? BOWLING: Uh-huh. Um-hm. Everybody went for it. Everybody--all the children, you know, they would go for it every night and get--there's a foam on molasses. They'd go and eat that foam off of 'em, then they'd have an awful good time at the stir-off. I remember it just as good as if it was last week. DEATON: Hmm. Did the people here ever get any maple syrup from the maple trees, or was it mainly the molasses? BOWLING: If they did, I can't remember it. DEATON: Um-hm. Hmm. So after that, after you worked on the farm for those people, you started working in the log woods? BOWLING: Um-hm. Um-hm. DEATON: Did you work for a company? BOWLING: Yeah, I worked for a company. DEATON: Do you remember the names of 'em? BOWLING: J. Walter Wright was a--was the name of it. That's where I worked when I got hurt. Then I helped cut all the staves out, you know, and made staves. That was back in--that was back in '49 and for seventy-five cents an hour. That's what I got. DEATON: Now, was that along Red Bird River? BOWLING: Um-hm. It was along Red Bird River, back up on--in the fork of Big Creek and Sugar Creek down here, Bowens Creek on up the road here. I helped work every bit of it out. They couldn't hardly keep hands at the mill. Equalize them big steamboats, you know, how heavy they was, they'd hire men and they'd last about a couple hours and they was just white-eyed. (laugh--Deaton) And they'd send to the mountains to get me for the--come to the mill, and I'd do it by myself. DEATON: Where was the mill located? BOWLING: It--they had it set--one--had one up on [Boones?] Creek and had one down at Sugar Creek and one over in Henry Fork, stave mills. And I mean they really cut the staves. Just--well, they were just like bullets shooting out of a gun is about how they--they was cutting them staves. Just zip, zip, just as fast as you can work your arms. DEATON: Were those for the mines, the coal mines? BOWLING: No, that's--they shipped 'em out of here. Some--somebody said that the made 'em for--make barrels out of 'em. DEATON: Make whiskey barrels? BOWLING: Make whiskey barrels out of 'em. And they just hired out. They got a dollar a stave for cutting 'em. DEATON: Hmm. And then they paid the workers seventy-five cents-- BOWLING: Seventy-five cents a hour. DEATON: Hmm. How many staves could one worker cut in an hour? BOWLING: Oh, Lord, you're talking about three or four hundred staves in--in a hour. DEATON: And they got a dollar each for them? BOWLING: Dollar each, yeah. DEATON: Hmm. Well, working in the log woods, what kind of tools--this was in the '40s, what kind of-- BOWLING: Um-hm. DEATON:--tools did you have? Now, you know, if you were in--out in--in the woods cutting the trees, what kind of tools wo---did you use? BOWLING: Well, we started out with a crosscut saw and a--and a--and a poled axe. That's what we started out with. When we got ganging up and some of the companies--one company bought us a chain saw, a two-man chain saw. Took two men to handle that chain saw. And I didn't like that much. It was too heavy to pack over the mountains. And it just-- you couldn't hardly cut a tree with them. They'd bind on you. But when they made away with the two-man chain saw, they bought one-man chain saws and you got so much more work and easier on you and everything like that. DEATON: Hmm. How about--do you have any idea how much the two-man chain saw would have weighed? BOWLING: It weighed around--over two hundred and fifty pounds. DEATON: Geez. BOWLING: It really took a moose--stout man to pack that motor up over these points and bluffs and logs and stuff, but I done it. But I hope I don't have to do it anymore. (laughs) DEATON: Did you ever do any work in the log woods when they were using mules and-- BOWLING: Um-hm. DEATON:--all that? BOWLING: Yeah. I drove--I drove mules in--in the log--pulled logs with 'em, and horses. I'd rather had horses than--than them mules. They can usually learn better and know how to jay--and get out of the way of the logs and--the mules, they just was too fast. DEATON: Hmm. BOWLING: Yeah. DEATON: Well, what--before they had the chain saws and everything, when they were using mules to get the trees out, what kind of tools did they use then? BOWLING: For--for--to get the logs out of the--the mountains? DEATON: Um-hm. BOWLING: They just--lot of time they just, you know, waited--in--in the wintertime when the ground was frozen, they'd just go in and cut 'em and just scoot 'em out. That's about the only way that they had for getting 'em out of the mountains. DEATON: Did you hook 'em with chains to them with the mules? BOWLING: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. DEATON: When you were working, was there any virgin timber around here? BOWLING: Um-hm. They--yeah, man, they had all kinds of good timber, big timber. I remember cutting one tree, was sixty-two inches at the butt. And the crosscut, we cut it with a crosscut, we had about--about that much play on each end. And it took us half a day to cut that one tree down. DEATON: Is that-- BOWLING: Yeah. DEATON: What--do you remember what kind of tree it was? BOWLING: It was white oak. DEATON: What other kinds of--of good trees did they have in here at that time? BOWLING: They had poplars and oak and hickory and stuff like that. DEATON: Was there-- BOWLING: Ash. DEATON: Yeah. Well, were there any good walnut trees in there? BOWLING: Yeah. Uh-huh. There's a lot of good walnuts, but there weren't too many of 'em. They was awful scarce. DEATON: And with all those trees, do you know of any place up or down Red Bird River here where the virgin timber still stands? BOWLING: Yeah, where there's--there'd be a lot in--in Sugar Creek down here, but they about got all the good timber all cut out and--and gone. DEATON: Um-hm. And, now, most of what's here now is second growth. BOWLING: Yeah, second growth. It's knotty and you can't hardly get a--find a good--good tree--good log for cutting good lumber, you know. Most of the lumber you'll get now has got knot holes all in it and worm-eaten and stuff like that. You can't hardly find good lumber 'cause all the good timber is--is gone. DEATON: Well, when--when was your accident with the log woods? BOWLING: It was in '56. DEATON: Could you--could you describe again what happened in that? BOWLING: Yeah. I went--I went down--we had the truck loaded and I walked down to hook the chain underneath the truck bed to boom the logs on with, tie the logs on with it, and I seen the logs give just the least bit, and I turned to run to get out of the way, and they caught me before I could get out of the way. Mud up your knees, and that mud just had me where I couldn't move fast enough. And they loaded me in a truck then that took me and bring me out--out here to the saw mill and they put me in a pickup truck and took me on over to Hyden, then got me--and got an ambulance on in and took me on into Hazard. DEATON: How many logs actually hit you? BOWLING: Three. DEATON: How mu---what--what type of injuries did they cause? BOWLING: Broke my collarbone, my pelvis bone, skinned my head. It took I don't know how many stitches to sew my head up and stuff like that. And there was a man standing up on top of the logs when--when they rolled, and I don't know how he got off there safe. He didn't get hurt. DEATON: Hmm. But that ended your work in the log woods? BOWLING: Log woods, yeah. They--they didn't let me go back and so I didn't cry about it. DEATON: Yeah. (laughter) Were you still--were you working for the same company? BOWLING: Same company, yeah. DEATON: When--what--was the wage still seventy-five cents an hour when you-- BOWLING: No, it--they had raised it up to a dollar an hour. Dollar an hour. DEATON: Was it after--and how soon after that did you start working for Frontier Nursing Service? BOWLING: I started in--that was in '56, I started in '58. DEATON: Sort of give me a description of the work that you do for the FNS. BOWLING: Well, I do all the painting, all the lawn mowing, and cutting weeds and putting in light switches and work like that. DEATON: Do you take care of Red Bird Center-- BOWLING: Uh-huh. DEATON:--and Flat Creek Center? BOWLING: Yes. Uh-huh. Red Bird and Flat Creek Center. DEATON: Did you--have you met Mary--or did you meet Mary Breckinridge while she was alive? BOWLING: Um-hm. One time. I--I think I met her one time over at the Mary Breckinridge Day they have over at--at Wendover at the school. You know, we went over to where high school's at, but my--I met her one time she was in the hospital down at Lexington. Me and her was in the hospital the same time. DEATON: Oh, you mean with your accident? BOWLING: No, I had my left kidney taken out. And I didn't know she was in there till my doctor come in. She said--he said, "Do you know Mary Breckinridge?" I said, "I sure do." She said, "She's in the hospital, too, here." DEATON: Well, was--was--was this the FNS hospital? BOWLING: No, this was University Hospital down at Lexington. DEATON: Do you know what she was there for? BOWLING: No, I--I really didn't know what she was there for. I never did. DEATON: Well, did you get to talk with her any? BOWLING: Yeah, I--I went in--in the room after I got up to where I could walk around and--and talked to her. DEATON: Uh-huh. What did you talk about, do you remember? BOWLING: Well, it's been so long I can't really remember just what we was talking about. DEATON: Did you ever meet her on--on the Committee Day, when she would come out and meet with the Red Bird-- BOWLING: Uh-uh. No, I--I didn't, no. I never did go to the committees- -to events just--they never did--they n---put me one time she was leaving. Miss Browne's the one put me on. And I didn't know anything about it till I went to work on Monday and the nurse said, "Well," she said, "you're on the committee." I said, "How'd that happen?" (laughs) I really didn't know anything about it, but I'm glad that they put me on. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: She said, "Because it's felt that I should be on 'cause I worked for 'em," and--and stuff like that. She just sort of like put me on. DEATON: Do you--well, what kind of impression did Mary Breckinridge make on you? What do you--is there anything particular or any particular way that you think about her? BOWLING: Yeah, I know she's been a great help to Clay County and Leslie County and Perry County. I don't know what people would have done, how they would have raised their children if it hadn't been for her. I really don't. She's--she's been a great help to me raising my family. I don't know what I would have done without her. DEATON: Um-hm. Were--were all of your children born with midwives attending? BOWLING: Um-hm. Yeah. Yeah, I'm--I'm an FNS baby. DEATON: Is that right? BOWLING: Um-hm. (laughs) DEATON: Hmm. Do you have any brothers and sisters? BOWLING: Yeah, I've got--I've got two sisters living and there--there-- there was six of us, three boys and--and three girls. One of my sisters died last August of cancer. That just left two--two sisters. DEATON: Were all six of you FNS babies? BOWLING: Yeah. Yeah. DEATON: Hmm. Can you remember going to the clinics when--when you were a young child? BOWLING: Um-hm. DEATON: What--do you remember what kind of treatment you went for? BOWLING: No, sir, I really can't. I remember just a little bit of it. I used to have a lot of boils on my hands and arms, and I think the scars they're here on my arm yet. And I would go, they'd give me some kind of salve put on it, and that really worked ----------(??). Some kind of black salve. I can't think of the name of it. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: Yeah. DEATON: Well, were there any other medical services or doctors or nurses available except for the FNS people? BOWLING: Yeah, that was--that was all was--was close. If you got a doctor, you'd have to go ----------(??) the head of Red Bird. Well, about seven or eight miles beyond Red Bird Hospital. And-- DEATON: Past where the Red Bird Hospital is now? BOWLING: Is now, that's right. DEATON: So about what--what would be the total distance from where you lived? BOWLING: Oh, it's been, let's see, seventeen miles--it'd be right around thirty--pretty close to thirty miles. DEATON: Yeah. And then--well, do you remember when this road was built up through Red Bird that you could drive a car over it? BOWLING: Um-hm. DEATON: About when was that road-- BOWLING: That was in--well, they had a--just a county road, real bad road, you know, come up by the Red Bird Center, that way? It wasn't paved and anything. And when the water got over it, they--that blocked everybody. You couldn't go nowhere. But the main road was built up, you know, where you go across the bridge and on up this way now, it was built in '63. So then back then it was just a county road, just dirt road. The holes--the mud holes, and you couldn't hardly drive a wagon and team over it. DEATON: Um-hm. So if a person was really sick, they--they weren't really capable of making the trip through that? BOWLING: That's right. That's right. Had bad roads and if there weren't too many vehicles, you know, would have handled--see, about everybody's got a vehicle now, and it wasn't like it used to be. You had to ride a horse or walk. And if a man's sick, you know, --------- -(??) goint to walk. So we just had a bad chance of getting through to the doctor back then. But now there's good roads and everybody's got vehicles. They go about anywhere that they want to go to. DEATON: How old are you now? BOWLING: I'm forty-eight. DEATON: Can you remember the nurses riding mules and horses around to peoples' home? BOWLING: Um-hm. They're good. They didn't--they didn't have--all the nurses didn't have all this paperwork to do. They'd go out and they would see a patient. They'd write it on the chart and that--that was it. They didn't have no blanks to fill out and all this stuff like they have now. They didn't even have a secretary. They had a housekeeper and that--that--that was it. DEATON: How do you--how do you see the FNS now? Is it a lot different than the way it used to be? BOWLING: Yeah, it's a lot different than wa---the way it used to be then. The way I see it, it's--it's so more--so much more for them to do and I know they got so much more paperwork to do. Got to have so much more employees to do it. And back then they--they--they didn't have to have all these employees, you know. DEATON: Um-hm. You think most people around here, not only yourself, but people in general, are more satisfied with the way things are now, or were happier with the way things used to be with the FNS? BOWLING: I think that most of 'em was happy the way it--it was--used to be. Because a lot of people I hear talk say it was a lot cheaper. Said FNS was getting awful high right now. I said, "Well," I said, "everything else is going up." I said, "They have to go up to meet the bills." DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: I said, "The minimum wage went up. They had to pay their employees more. And they--they had to go up to meet the bills." Even the coals went up. It takes--I think they burnt around five truck loads of coal here last year, and a truck holds six tons of load. You can figure out how many tons it was. DEATON: Um-hm. So you'd say, what, they used about thirty tons of coal? BOWLING: I'd say close to thirty tons of coal. DEATON: At this one center? BOWLING: At this one center. DEATON: And about what does that sell for, do you know? BOWLING: Thirty-six dollars a ton. And that's really runned into money. DEATON: Do you think like--the people's feeling about FNS generally, do you think it--it began to change about the time that the prices started to increase and so forth? BOWLING: Um-hm. Um-hm. It really did, I think. DEATON: How do you think most--most people around here view FNS now? You think they feel as though they really need the FNS, or you think they feel as though they could actually get along without FNS here? BOWLING: Well, most people thinks that they can get along without it, and most people thinks that they can't get along without it. And so that's just about the way--way it goes. Like the lady here at the meeting here last week. She said she always--always did go to Red Bird Hospital but said she--she wouldn't turn FNS down no more for nothing. Said she got better treatment and everything with the FNS nurses here than she did at Red Bird Hospital. And said if they move the Center to Red Bird, that she would be going down to Red Bird. She wouldn't ----------(??). So I think that says she done awful good talking, I think. Said you just didn't get the care at Red Bird that you did that the nurses there at the Center give. DEATON: Well, you think--you feel as though most of the people know about the training and the qualifications--excuse me-- that the nurses around the centers have, about the family practice training and all that? BOWLING: No, I don't think some of 'em even know about it. Some of 'em--well, some of 'em were raised there. Now, when Tina Guy was here, some of 'em was hating to see her go, and they still was wishing that she would come back, if the center was still being then open. And they really liked her real good. DEATON: Well, what do you think's the future for FNS here? Do you think it's gonna last or--or do you think the people are gonna support it enough for it to--to remain open? BOWLING: I think the Red Bird--Red Bird Center is picking up a lot. And I--I think 'cause it's--the people's gonna support it so that they won't have to close it down. And I think this is a good idea for this Center would be ----------(??) with Red Bird. I think they done did a good thing about doing that because people are gonna use facil---use the nursing center. Just a few more miles of driving ain't gonna amount to nothing no way. And just close from here to--down to Red Bird Center is up to--up Red Bird Hospital. And they said they'd go to Red Bird Hospital and have to sit half a day before you get in to see the doctor. And to come to the nurses, that they don't do it, said you might have to wait an hour or something like that and--and that's it. And that's--that has a lot to do with it. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, when you were a child, or during your life, did your parents or any of the people around here that you know of tell you very much about where your ancestors came from before they lived on Red Bird? BOWLING: Um-um. No. DEATON: Do you have any idea of where they--or what country your ancestors may be from in Europe, or--or where they lived before they came into Kentucky? BOWLING: No, I don't have the least idea. DEATON: Well, when you were young, where was the school located that you went to, the grade school? BOWLING: Well, I was raised over on--on--on Hector and--and I had to walk. The--the school's about middle ways with Hector. I had to walk about a mile and a half to school barefooted. Had to take my own lunch, stubbing my toes off. (laughs) Get cold enough to--didn't get but one pair of shoes a year, and it was way in--late in the fall. Maybe come a frost or two before I got them. And so that's--that's the way--that's the way it was. Just had one suit of clothes to--to wear and wore them a week and I'd pull them off on--on Friday evening so my mommy'd wash 'em out to wear 'em back next week. I--I can remember that real good, too. There just wasn't no money for to buy anything with. DEATON: Well,--well, with the school day, do you remember how many hours of classes they had? How long did school actually last? BOWLING: Started at eight and turned out at 3: 30. DEATON: Um-hm. And you had to walk a mile and a half? BOWLING: Had to walk a mile and a half. DEATON: So about what time would you leave home of a morning and get home in the evenings? BOWLING: I got home in the evening around--it was around 4: 30. And left home about--around seven o'clock-- DEATON: Yeah? BOWLING:--in the morning. DEATON: And you said everybody had to pack their own lunch? BOWLING: Own lunch. DEATON: What did most people have to eat for lunch when you went to-- BOWLING: They took fried--fried Irish potatoes and corn and--lot of times they'd just take just milk and bread, you know, in a bucket. You know, milk and--and just crumble the bread in. And I've eat that many times. Boy, and I'm telling you, that went good when you opened--when lunch time come, you was ready for the eating. (laughs) I took milk and bread many a time. We had--kept two good milk cows and plenty of milk and-- DEATON: Well, and--was the bread that you took, the cornmeal for that, was that ground locally? BOWLING: That--that--that was ground from a--from a mill. Yeah, we would raise the corn and just took it to the mill and ground it. DEATON: Where was the mill that you took that to? BOWLING: It was sitting about--where--where we lived at, about two miles up on Hector. DEATON: Um-hm. You remember who ran it? BOWLING: Yeah, he was a Hacker. Levi Hacker. DEATON: And usually what, did you grind like a bushel of week? BOWLING: About a--we generally--no, but--about two bushel he'd grind every two weeks. And we took about two bushels to do us for two weeks. DEATON: Um-hm. [End Tape #1, Side #2] [Begin Tape #1, Side #2] DEATON: And how did--what was the pay for him? BOWLING: He just took so much of our corn for--for grinding it. So much toll out of your corn, you know, for grinding it. That's the way he-- that's the way he done. Had a little box, you know, and he'd just--he'd measure. I didn't know how much it held, but he just dipped it in and got his out-- DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING:--before he poured the corn in down in--in the hopper. DEATON: And that was the toll for grinding? BOWLING: That--and that was the toll for the grinding. DEATON: What kind of an engine did they have for that? BOWLING: It--it was steam. Run by steam. DEATON: Yeah. Did they have any problems with that? Did it ever blow up on him? BOWLING: No, it never did blow up, but it would scare you to death making all that noise. (laughs) PITTS: Was the actual grinding part two stones? BOWLING: Um-hm. Lot of time it would scare your mules. They was about- -about to run away with you when that steam would, you know, pop off and like that. Had a big boiling noise. Just shove that wood in in--in there and that kept--kept that steam going. DEATON: Yeah? Well, that's what you mostly ate-- BOWLING: Uh-huh. DEATON:--at school? BOWLING: Yeah. DEATON: While you were still at school, when you had breaks or recess, what games did the children play usually? BOWLING: They played ball and stuff like that. That was about--that's all I can remember, just ball. Well, base, too. Played base. DEATON: Played what? BOWLING: Base. DEATON: What's that? BOWLING: That's just--I don't know what you might call it. Just run around into each corner-- PITTS: Like tag? BOWLING:--yeah, something like tag, I guess. PITTS: And--or if you hit the base, you're safe? BOWLING: Yeah, if you hit the base you're safe. If you didn't, why, that was it, (laughs) you was out. (laughs) Now children got all these good hot meals to--and the school bus come right to a door and pick 'em up and they don't want to go to school at all. DEATON: How far did you go in school, Lawrence? BOWLING: I went halfway through the third grade. DEATON: Um-hm. Did most people around here go to just a few years of school, or did most of 'em go on through high school? BOWLING: Most of 'em just went just two or three years and then that- -that was it. They couldn't hardly get to go to school. They had to work at home. DEATON: Um-hm. Was there a high school in the county then? BOWLING: I don't believe there was. DEATON: So if--if a person--well, the school that you went to, about how many students went there? BOWLING: I guess--I'd say maybe about thirty or forty to--at that school. DEATON: How many--and how large a building was the school building? Was it one room or-- BOWLING: Just a--just one room, one--one big room. I couldn't tell you just how wide it was. DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING: And, why, it was just one big room. DEATON: How many teachers? BOWLING: Just one, one teacher. DEATON: And she taught all the grades? BOWLING: Uh-huh. DEATON: And how was it heated? BOWLING: With coal. DEATON: Coal stove? BOWLING: Just a coal stove, just a heater. Coal back then was real cheap, you know. Had to draw the water up right out of the well, you know. Had the draw the water out of the well. DEATON: And did they have outside toilets? BOWLING: Uh-huh. Outside toilets. [Interruption in taping] DEATON: Do you remember about what time of the year the school began, classes started? BOWLING: Around the beginning--sometime in August. It--it's--it didn't begin like it does now. And they just had--see, they have nine months of school now. Back when I went, they just had six months of school. PITTS: Through the winter ----------(??). BOWLING: Yeah. Yeah, that's ----------(??), too, six months. Now I--I think it's nine months now, school. DEATON: Yeah. Well, when you were growing up, were there very many churches around the area? BOWLING: No, there weren't. Just one every once in awhile that you'd see a church house. DEATON: What--usually what denomination was it? What kind of a church. BOWLING: Baptist. All I remember was--was the Baptist church. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, as far as you know, did--were there--did most of the people around actually attend church or did very few of 'em? BOWLING: Just--just very few of 'em attended church. DEATON: Do you remember when electricity came in the Red Bird River? BOWLING: No, sir, I sure can't. I can't remember that. DEATON: Would it have been sometime in the '40s? ----------(??) BOWLING: I believe it was--it was later than--it could have been in the '40s, I'd be afraid to say. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, there were very few roads in here, and-- BOWLING: Yeah, right. DEATON:--and early in your life no electricity, and few people went to church. BOWLING: Um-hm. DEATON: What did people do for--for social activities? What did they do for fun? Did they-- BOWLING: Well, they did--they didn't--they didn't have much. They just stayed at home. The children--sometimes neighbors would have a party or something and--and the children would go--go to it once every month or two, something like that. But that's--you'd just stay at home. There wasn't any place to go. You'd just stay at home and work. DEATON: Were there ever any dances or social gatherings like that? BOWLING: Yeah, there used to be dances, but I can't remember it. DEATON: Um-hm. So those pretty much had come to an end by the time you got of age to-- BOWLING: Yeah. Yeah. DEATON: What was the--was Christmas the most celebrated-- BOWLING: Um-hm. DEATON:--holiday of the year? BOWLING: Yeah, Christmas. If you got a piece of candy there for Christmas you thought you was rich. DEATON: Is that right? BOWLING: That's right. If you got a biscuit--that was about the only time you got a mess of biscuits for breakfast on Christmas morning. DEATON: Uh-huh. Well, what about--and there--there were no gifts really for Christmas? BOWLING: No, wasn't no gifts, no nothing. People didn't have no way of buying the gifts like they do--like they do now. DEATON: Yeah. Well, you said you had--usually Christmas was about the only time you had biscuits. BOWLING: Yeah. Uh-huh. DEATON: Was there a special meal prepared for--for lunch or dinner? BOWLING: Um-hm. Yeah, they had chicken and dumplings. They'd bake gingerbread. I can remember my mama, she started baking gingerbread out of molasses for a week, putting it away. I got hold of one of them and I thought I was rich it tasted so good. (laughs) DEATON: Yeah? Hmm. PITTS: Did she buy spices especially for that? BOWLING: Uh-huh. Um-hm. DEATON: What would have been the next most celebrated holiday? BOWLING: Well, I can't remember whether we celebrated Thanksgiving or not. I don't believe that they did. DEATON: It was mostly for Christmas? BOWLING: Most of it for Christmas. And you was lucky--Lord, I'm telling you, them biscuits would be so good. And you got a mess of good brown biscuits for breakfast. It was cornbread all the time. DEATON: Well, then during the winter when--you know, when people couldn't work outside much, what--what did they usually do during the winter? BOWLING: Well, they just--it took 'em pretty well busy for cutting wood for the heat, you know, about all that--that they done. DEATON: Hmm. Do you remember any of your family sitting around telling stories or anything like that? BOWLING: No, I can't. DEATON: Have you ever heard any good ghost stories that have sort have been passed down through here? I've been trying to find someone that knows a good ghost story. BOWLING: No, I--I don't. DEATON: Well, in--in your home, was there a Bible around? BOWLING: Uh-huh. DEATON: Did they use that to keep records of births and deaths in the family? BOWLING: Um-hm. Yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah, last time I--I was at--at home I seen an old Bible laying there with all us children, the ages in it, when we was born and stuff, and I just left it laying there. I should have got the Bible but I didn't. I just left it laying there. And afterward, well, the house was--was burnt up. So it just burnt the Bible, and everything that was in the house was burnt up. DEATON: Did most of the people in the family, did they read that Bible much or not, do you remember? BOWLING: Not too much. They didn't read it. Every once in awhile you-- they probably read it, but not too much. DEATON: Yeah. Was there anything else around the house to read, magazines or newspapers? BOWLING: Um-um, no, wasn't nothing like that. DEATON: Well, what--where was the--how far was the closest store to your home where you were growing up? BOWLING: About a mile. DEATON: Who--where was it located, do you remember? BOWLING: It was--well, see, I lived up--kind of up in the holler. You couldn't hardly get a corn sled up in there, and we had to walk out of the holler and up Hector for about a--for about a mile to get to the store. DEATON: Do you remember who owned it? BOWLING: No, sir, I can't remember who--who--who owned it. DEATON: Well, when you went to the store, did they--did they ever have any books or magazines in that-- BOWLING: Um-um. DEATON:--store for-- BOWLING: No. DEATON:--sale? BOWLING: No. Wasn't nothing but just shoes and--and stuff like that, overhaul [sic overall] pants and--I mean bibbed overalls. There wasn't no overall pants just bibbed overhauls and stuff like that. And lard and sugar and salt and rice and-- DEATON: Yeah. BOWLING:--stuff like that. DEATON: Well, do you remember--do you recall the first store that you went to that you saw books for sale? BOWLING: No, sir, I can't remember what store. Sure can't remember. DEATON: Well, let me ask you this. Is there any store around this local area up and down Red Bird that you know of now, that--that sells magazines or books? BOWLING: Um-um. None that I--I know of. DEATON: Well, you said that the people raised their own meat and everything. BOWLING: Yeah. Um-hm. DEATON: Was it--did many of 'em raise beef or was it-- BOWLING: Beef. DEATON:--mostly-- BOWLING: Most of it was pork, hogs, you know. DEATON: Uh-huh. How did they preserve the meat? BOWLING: They just killed it and just cured it out and put black pepper on it and hung it up in the smokehouse. Put salt on it and just hung it up in the smokehouse. It just cured out. DEATON: Yeah. How about the beef? Did they do that the same way? BOWLING: They--they done that the same way. DEATON: Um-hm. BOWLING: The same way. DEATON: Well, for vegetables for the winter, before they rot they canned them. Did they dry beans or-- BOWLING: Dried beans, dried apples and--well, they canned a lot, you know, to keep the pickles. They canned that, and go out and pick blackberries and can that, you know, and you canned apples and they dried a few apples, you know. Have dried apple pies for the winter, you know, stuff like that. DEATON: About--do you have any idea roughly when people began to buy a lot of their food out of the store? BOWLING: It was back--well, I--I remember when--when we started back around the '50s before--before we ever started buying much food out of the store. DEATON: Um-hm. Well, is there--is there anything else that--that I haven't really asked you about that you'd like to tell me about that's important? BOWLING: Well, that's about all I--I know of, really. (laughs) DEATON: Well, if you recollect anything else, we'll get together then later. BOWLING: Yeah. Yeah, later on. DEATON: Thank you, Lawrence. BOWLING: Um-hm. [End of Interview] Lawrence Bowling gives details of growing up in the mountains in the l930s and going to school in a one-room schoolhouse. He tells of celebrating Christmas with biscuits and gingerbread instead of the daily cornbread. Besides his work for a logging company, Bowling discusses his job as a maintenance worker for the Red Bird and Flat Creek outpost centers. He also describes the work of the FNS nurses at Red Bird.