Fern Tipton


From this interview we have found out what the life of Fern Angel was like during the 1930's. We have facts on what homes were like, how sports were different, and about her family. We also have information of her job as a teacher, and of her husband, Vin Tipton.

Fern Angel was born in Bruno in the year 1909. Mrs. Tipton's parents' names were Donna and Tom Angel. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a farmer. Her father also mined ore at Rush. Tom had also run a general merchandise store at one time. Fern's family wasn't hit as hard as others at the time of the depression because both of her parents were able to work. She lived in Bruno for five years before moving to Yellville, which is where she completed grade school. After she completed grade school, Fern moved to Mountain Home where she completed high school. Then after high school she received her teaching degree.

When Fern was growing up she had a two-story house in Yellville. On the top story was a big play room for all the kids. There was a large staircase that went to the upstairs. Her other house, in the 1930's, was pretty much the same as when she was a child, except that the house was 2 stories tall. The top story was also a playroom, as when she was a child. It was considered a "half" because it was only half the height of a normal eight-foot room. Since the room was not as tall as the others were, it was for the children. The middle story was where all the bedrooms were. In Fern's house, there were four bedrooms. The living room and the kitchen were on the main level. Her house also had running water. They had a Delco water pump which was unusual for the 1930's. Their house had wood burning stoves to keep them warm during long winters. They also had their two cooking stoves. There was an oil stove for the summer, and there was a wood burning stove for the winter.

When Fern, Clyde, and John got older, they had to start going to school. The school, in Yellville, was actually right across the fence. The school being so close aggravated Fern because she would always want to bring her lunch so she could stay at school and visit her friends, but her mom would always make her come home for lunch. When Fern got older she went to school in Mountain Home where she attended college and stayed in a dormitory. Fern's dad bought her a Buick. He had gone all the way up to West Plains, which at the time, was a full days trip.

Fern and her siblings would sometimes play basketball and other games together. Fern had two brothers and one sister. One of her brothers, James Levi, died at eighteen months old from a childhood sickness, which Fern cannot remember. Her other brother was named John and her sister was named Clyde. Clyde was so named because her parents could not think of a name, and her Uncle Clyde got sick of waiting for them to think of a name; so one day he walked in and said, "For goodness sake, just name the kid Clyde," and they did.

After school Fern and her friends would sometimes play basketball. Basketball, back then, was very different. The girls wore bloomers instead of shorts. The rules and set up was also different. There were three sets of girls on the court. One under the goal, offense, one under the other team's goal, defense, and one group in the middle to try and get the ball going in the right direction.

In 1931, after graduating college, when Fern was twenty-two, she was married. Her new husband, Vin Tipton, was a teacher at Martin City, Missouri. At that time Fern took care of their children. But, later on, she earned a teaching degree. Fern taught elementary for thirty years. She and her husband moved to California to teach together; then in the sixties, they moved back to the Ozarks to retire in Yellville.

When Fern was married it was hard to start a new life during the time of the Depression. Money was scarce. Fern would hunt in the woods for greens to eat instead of buying them at the store. Mrs. Tipton's first child was a boy named Jim. He was born October 9, 1933. Her second child was born in August. Her name was Donna. Later came Fern's other daughter, Linda.

The 1930's were very different from what times are like now. Sports have changed. The ways of heating and cooking have changed. Almost everything has changed. These things will continue to change as we learn more about our environment, so all the history that can be collected needs to be, so we will have the history on how the world was like and learn from it to improve our lives.