What a person says tells a lot about that person. Listening to someone speak gives insight into that person's life. It reveals his or her values and priorities. I recently interviewed Mrs. Alethea King. She is 73 years old and has lived an interesting life. While listening to Alethea share her memories, I discovered three important facts about her.

First of all, Alethea's family is very important to her. She is one of five children and has a husband and two sons of her own. During the interview, she mentioned her parents often. She also told me stories about when her mom and dad moved their family to Kansas City to work. She also told me that when they moved back to this area, they all worked together in the tomato fields. Everyday at lunch they would go inside and eat and then take a 30 minute nap before going back to work. Another indicator that she values family is she bragged quite a bit about her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Along with family, Alethea King also values hard work. Growing up, she picked tomatoes in her family's tomato fields. They worked from sunrise to sunset everyday, except Sunday of course. As an adult she worked at the shirt factory for 18 years. She then worked at LaBarge, what is now Avnet, for 14 years. She now fills her free time with gardening, canning, and quilting, all of which take a lot of time and skill.

Alethea also values religion. Every story she told me includes going to church. She told me that when she was a teenager, the boys would come to her house to take her to church. She often referred to Sunday school when talking about her childhood. She told me how she and the other girls played "Hopscotch" and "Ring Around the Rosie" after Sunday school. Even today she values religion, I know this because she has a cloth picture of The Last Supper hanging on the wall above her kitchen table.

Alethea King believes in many things. Among these beliefs are family, hard work, and religion. If more people had these same beliefs today, the world would probably be safer and cleaner. Nowadays, people put too much value on material things rather than on the important things such as family and religion. Alethea's life is a prime example of how fulfilling life can be when one puts his or her priorities in order.

Descriptive Essay

The date was Thursday, February 11, 1999. I left my home near Jimmie's Creek on the cool, windy evening at 5:45 and made the 15 minute drive to the home of Alethea Cheek King. I drove my mom's forest green Pontiac Transport. As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed a "Beware of Dog" sign posted to a tree. Thoughts of a snarling Rottweiler passed through my mind. I was relieved to see a Blue Heeler standing at the feet of a woman on a concrete slab porch. I quickly made my way into the small country home with white siding. The cold wind cut through my jeans and thin jacket.

Mrs. King invited me into the rather small, but cozy, living room. Her husband, Oval, sat comfortably in one of the two recliners facing the television. He was wearing blue jean overalls and a plaid flannel shirt. The single-floor house reminded me of a grandmother's home. Pictures of their children, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews filled the shelves and any available wall space. There was a wood stove in the room causing a mild scent of smoke. Alethea suggested we do the interview in the adjoining room, the kitchen.

The kitchen was little, but pretty. A wooden table with crocheted place mats was positioned against the wall. A box of saltine crackers, a sugar bowl, and salt and pepper shakers were on the table. On the wall above the table there was a cloth picture of "The Last Supper." Next to it, by the doorway, framed certificates were hanging. It was the awards she had won at the past several Marion County fairs. She won these awards for canned goods. Certificates along with many blue ribbons were mounted in a frame behind glass. She also showed me several trophies for Best of Show awards.

From the kitchen I could see into the spare bedroom. I saw a beautiful maroon tulip quilt spread out on the bed. Later on in the evening, I was privileged enough to see the quilt she is currently making. The amazing thing is she does everything by hand, she doesn't like using sewing machines. She is very talented.

Her husband was quiet and mostly unconcerned throughout the interview. However, he did become involved while we were looking at pictures. Alethea and I sat on a white bedspread on her bed. The pictures I saw were fascinating. She was very pretty when she was younger. The photo album was very old and looked like it would crumble at the slightest touch. The album was given to her by her husband. It's pages were black construction paper with a thick cardboard binding. When Alethea couldn't find a picture of the Model A Ford she and her husband had owned when they were first married, Oval came into the room in a hurry. He opened an old wooden gun cabinet and pulled out a large yellow envelope. Inside were pictures of old cars. From that minute on he did whatever he could to be helpful and be a part of the project.

I really enjoyed the entire evening. She is an amazing woman with incredible stories and memories to share. She is about 5'6" tall and is a little chubby. She has short, white, curly hair, and she wears glasses. For being 73 years old, she has beautiful skin. During the interview she wore a sky-blue, short-sleeved, button-up shirt with black slacks. She was a very courteous host. I truly believe my interview was a success.


Kelly: Um, kay, I think I should start with what's your full name and where and when you were born?

Alethea: Alethea King

Kelly: Yes

Alethea: 12th, um, 12th month, 7th day of '25 near Pyatt, Arkansas.

Kelly: Um, Where'd you go to school?

Alethea: I went to school at Snow and then at this Midway down here, passed the firehouse. There used to be an old schoolhouse down there and I went to school there.

Kelly: When, how old were you when you started down at Midway?

Alethea: I was, uh, 13.

Kelly: Um, how old were you when you graduated-or finished school?

Alethea: I didn't graduate.

Kelly: Oh, when, how old were you when you stopped?

Alethea: 16, 10th grade.

Kelly: Ok, (pause) um, this is the stuff I like to talk about, like the dating stuff. Um, who was your first love?

Alethea: Well, it was this boy I went to school with at Snow and uh, he got, he went down in a ship.

Kelly: Oh no.

Alethea: They moved to Washington and we 'as just real good friends from school maybe.

Kelly: Oh, um, what was dating like? Did you have like a curfew, or, certain-what'd you wear?

Alethea: No, no! We didn't have- then. You wore what you really had. (Both laugh) Girls wore dresses whenever they went out. We didn't wear pants.

(Kelly nods in agreement)

Kelly: Um, did the boys have to come up to meet your parents and go through that like we do today?

Alethea: Yes, they always came to the house to see me on Sundays and, uh, to get me and take me to places. (Pointing to her husband, resting in a recliner in the living room) Me and him went together for 13 years, uh, 13 months - (both laugh) Skip that! (Both laugh again) 13 months before we got married.

Kelly: Oh wow! Um, how old were you when you got married?

Alethea: 16

Kelly: Oh, so when you stopped school, you got married?

Alethea: Yes, I was, uh, we got married in September and I was 17 in December then.

Kelly: Oh, (pause) um, what did the kids do for fun if they weren't dating? Like, just hang out?

Alethea: Well, we all went to church, had to walk to go to church, most of us did, and uh, we'd have-we'd call 'em play parties at, in people's homes. Some of 'em make music and we'd dance and so on.

Kelly: Sounds like fun! (laughs)

Alethea: It was.

Kelly: Um, if you had, you could just have dances and activities in people's houses?

Alethea: Yeah, and go to church and Sunday school and so on.

Kelly: Wow, do you remember any jump rope rhymes or songs from when you were little?

Alethea: I don't know as I could remember- that. Hmmm. I don't remember jump rope, but we called, uh, played a game what we called Ring around the Rosie and take a handkerchief and dropped it behind somebody an' then there's one they had to, we took a bunch of kids and made a ring-(Kelly nods yes)- and somebody'd take a handkerchief and drop it in behind somebody, you know, and we kept playing that until we decided to go all the way around the ring-

Kelly: Wow.

Alethea: -and play it, but on the jump rope, 'bout that I don't remember. (Pause) And we played a game that we called hopscotch.

Kelly: Uh-huh.(Alethea laughs) I played that when I was little. (pause) Um, do you remember when the television first came out?

Alethea: Yes, uh, it was, uh, we was in down Monette pickin' cotton, went down there to pick cotton, and uh we seen it in the store windows. We'd walk around every night and see it in the store windows and we couldn't believe our eyes and that was in about '47, I guess, or '48.

Kelly: Did your family get a television?

Alethea: First television that we ever owned we 'as in, we went to Kansas City to work and, uh, it was in 1954, bought it in Montgomery Wards. (both laugh a little)

Kelly: Wow.

Alethea: Black and white, wasn't no color at that time. (Kelly laughs)

Kelly: You said you were, you had mentioned picking cotton, what other kinds of work did you do?

Alethea: Uh, whenever I was at home and we have ourself growed tomatoes for commercial factories and things. (Kelly nods) And picked them and the truck would pick them up and take them to the canners and there'd be a bunch of people working at the canners. I never did work there but, my sister did. I always had to work in the fields, picking the tomatoes.

Kelly: Did you grow most of your own vegetables, you know, to eat and everything?

Alethea: Oh yeah, yeah and canned them and we still do. We, we can about everything we have when we can stuff.

Kelly: Oh, probably saves a lot of money. (laughs)

Alethea: uh it, it takes a lot o' work and a lot o' waterin' and so on to grow it, too.

Kelly: Wow. What, um, what did groceries like flour, sugar cost, compared to today?

Alethea: Back then, was, you bought the beans and sugar in the bulk. You could get a quarter's worth and it was a good sack like, be like 5 pounds or maybe more if it'd been, uh, weighed out and which they did weigh it out, but you know it was just in a brown paper sack. They had it in bulk in the store and they'd put it in a sack and weigh it out but it'd be like a quarter. If you got a quarter's worth of beans, you had a lot of beans and you had a lot of sugar. I don't remember how much a pound it was but we sold eggs for a dime a dozen. We used to save our eggs and take 'em to the grocery store and sell 'em and then turn back, other stuff back.

Kelly: Did your family have a farm? Was it like a cattle farm or-

Alethea: We had cattle, but we didn't raise them like a rancher, they was just-

Kelly: like for milk and things?

Alethea: Yeah, we did sell some, too.

Kelly: Wow. Um, let's see, what about wars? Was anyone in your family in a war?

Alethea: My husband went, but he didn't have to go overseas.

Kelly: What war was that?

Alethea: World War II

Kelly: Wow

Alethea: He went, uh, he got his call the day before Pearl Harbor and had to leave in 2 weeks then.

Kelly: What branch of the service was he in?

Alethea: He was just in the army, but his, uh, brother, two of 'em, they served overseas. One of 'em I, they're both gone almost 5 years and one of 'em was gone about 4 and he never even got to come home.

Kelly: That's terrible, um-

Alethea: They wasn't wounded though.

Kelly: What was life like back here knowing that they were over at war?

Alethea: Well, it was hard. We had, everything was rationed. I've got some of the old ration books. You, if you bought gas, it was rationed, if you bought cars for your, the ones that did have automobiles they were rationed. You had to have stamps to buy your shoes and, uh, anything about it down at the store like canned goods and sugar and such as that. But whenever I 'as a kid growing up we always played in the wheat and my daddy cut it and there's a wheat thrasher'd come around and thrash all that and then daddy'd take a load of it and go up to Green Forest and have it milled into flour and sometime he'd be gone 2 and 3 days and that's whenever we lived back over at Snow and he most usually had a grass mill that ground the corn on to make corn meal. He had one that was out here by Townsend Chandler, Townsends across the road there from his mailbox and then he had one down here on the creek towards where Jo Ella and them lives.

Kelly: Oh, um, do you remember what it was like seeing an automobile for the first time? (laughs)

Alethea: No, I don't, I sure don't. But, uh, I think O (her husband's nickname) does. He, his brother (slight laugh) went, was going down where his daddy was working in the field when he was a little tyke and there 'as a car passed down-course it was just a one lane road then- and he went and told his daddy he seen the stinkiest wagon pass he ever seen and it didn't have no horses to it. (both laugh) But I can't remember the first one I ever seen.

Kelly: Wow, neat. Um, during the depression what changes did your family make to save money and things?

Alethea: You didn't save much, if you had any. Why there's somethin' that you always had to buy (pause) and it was hard, you know, you couldn't go get groceries and so on for you didn't have the money to do it with.

Kelly: Goodness.

Alethea: and during the war you couldn't buy hardly any meat or, uh, pure lard then, everybody used pure lard, but you couldn't get, hardly ever get any lard and you couldn't find sugar at like, you know, if you had the stamps, well that didn't do you no good without you could find it.

Kelly: (laughs) Wow.

Alethea: But I remember back in the thirties whenever it was so dry and (mumbles) in the depression it was hard. My dad worked on the George's Creek overpass bridge, you know, they'd build a new road 'round the overpass there at George's Creek and, uh, he'd take the wagon and we had what we call a, (pause) well you put bows on it and stretched the tarp holdin' um, over it and he stayed in that, stayed Monday til' Friday night and a bunch of 'em did and "baxed" out down there and uh, he's the first one that drove a wagon across that bridge, and that was back , I think it was about 1933. I been aiming to stop and see if the date is on that bridge, but I never do think of it whenever I pass there, (Kelly laughs) and we went to Oklahoma in a wagon whenever I was 3 year old and it took us 9 days o go out there. There 'as five of us kids and mom and dad. Mom 'ould cook our meals out on a little campfire.

Kelly: (laughs) What were your mom and dad's names?

Alethea: Deruse and Hester Cheek.

Kelly: Oh , wow.

Alethea: You know where Johnny Cheek lives?

Kelly: Yes.

Alethea: That was there last home.

Kelly: Wow, that's neat! Wow and you had, there was 5 of you kids?

Alethea: 5 of us.

Kelly: How many girls and boys?

Alethea: 2 boys and 3 girls.

Kelly: (laughs) Goodness, um, how 'bout home remedies, you know any home remedies?

Alethea: Well, if I can think of 'em- (both laugh) -a lot of 'em.

Kelly: Yeah.

Alethea: Uh, used to we'd used, uh, coal oil or kerosene if you stepped on a nail or anything. Well, that was to go on there and we'd, oh let's see, er (pause). Our folks would make some kind of salve out of some barks and tree sap around bark, that was good to boil down and make a salve and for burns.

Kelly: Wow.

Alethea: and um, um...

Kelly: What about for a cold?

Alethea: Well, most usually the old timers made up cough syrup out of different things, some hickory- I mean some tree bark they'd boil and get the juice and mix with sugar and so on with it. And uh, molasses they used that a lot for sweetenin' of honey if you had some and we used to grow cane an took it to the sorghum mill and have molasses made and we'd use that for cookies and cakes and things in the winter time but other home remedies are - well if you had a boil or risin' they called it then, you take yolk o' egg and salt, make to just stirred that up thick and put that on that and it would draw it, but it hurt too. (laughs).

Kelly: Oww!

Alethea: Yeah, you couldn't stand it for very long at a time and, uh, for sore throat they had- it goed by catnip and I've had mom do it lot of times I'd have tonsilitis and she'd boil this catnip, leaves and, uh, then fix it into some meal and she'd make a (mumbles) and talk like that and like this and leave it around your throat and it would help, but I hated it. (both laugh) Put it on there while it was hot.

Kelly: Ooh, (laughs) um, what superstitions do you know?

Alethea: Oh, if a black cat crosses the road in front of you, you turn around and go back, you don't keep goin', and never to walk under a ladder and, uh, had a brother-in-law that his birthday was on the 13th of January and he would not go to work if it was on Friday. He thought Friday the 13th was bad luck. (both laugh, long pause) Oh, I can't think right now.

Kelly: (laughs) What's the strangest superstition you've heard?

Alethea: Well, that black cat one, you turn around and going back and not going on, that's 'bout as bad as ones I ever heard. (both laugh)

Kelly: Yep, um, how many children do you have?

Alethea: 2 boys.

Kelly: How old are they?

Alethea: Is 56 and Gene is 31. 24 years, 2 months, and 8 days in the difference in their age. (laughs) And I have, uh, one granddaughter and, uh, one step-granddaughter and one step-grandson, and one step great, great grandson. They feel like my own though. The boys and girls been in our family ever since the girl was about 3 and he 'as about-

Kelly: (laughs) Where do they live?

Alethea: Uh, Sherry our real granddaughter she lives in Tulsa and the other two lives at Harrison and the great grandson lives at Harrison, too.

Kelly: They're pretty close then.

Alethea: Yeah, yeah they are. The little great grandson is 4.

Kelly: Aww! (laughs)

Alethea: He's sweet.

Kelly: Um, you can tell me about your awards. (Points at wall and laughs)

Alethea: Well, I got them from canning and 1st place and so on. This one was in fruits and that was in soft spreads and this one is in vegetables and this one is in vegetables. Now I guess they tell just exactly what place I won on them and this one's in relish and that one's in fruit. This soft spreads here is like jams and jellies. (pause) I've got 1st place in some of 'em, well, 1st place in all of 'em, but, uh, grand prize Best of Show is this one and this one's Best of Show and this one's Best of Show. This is from Harrison, uh, and it was 2nd place and the Best of Show and , uh, this one's from Marion County and it was in the Best of Show. (pause) But, uh, I've got seven in '98. I don't remember how many I got in '96, but I got the seven and got my canning books and so on. And I give the canning books to a lot of people for gifts that cans, you know, and you see 'em there's a lot o' good recipes in 'em. Lot of 'em. (pause) That is my awards. I thought one day that I'd just fix it that way, you know, after I got that.

Kelly: It looks great! I was impressed. Did you make that needlepoint stitching up there?

Alethea: No, my daughter-in-law made that for the, um, her uh, for the grandkids when, to give to me, (laughs) whenever they was little, you know. And I've just left it a hangin' up there. (laughs)

Kelly: Do you sew or have any hobbies?

Alethea: I make quilts, piece quilts. In fact, I've just got done with one yesterday.

Kelly: Goodness.

Alethea: I've not got it quilted, but I've got it pieced. But I quilt 'em , hand-piece 'em, and then I hand-quilt 'em.

Kelly: How long have you been doing that for?

Alethea: (shocked) All my life! (laughs)

Kelly: Years and years.

Alethea: I think, I think I started it whenever I was about 8 year old. I remember momma piecin' quilt and it was bad and I couldn't go to school and I wanted to piece quilts so she let me fool on her quilt scraps. But she didn't have that many to let me waste, but anyhow, I've kept 'em and sewed 'em and I kept 'em finally got me a quilt pieced. Quilt (mumble) and uh, my sister and I, momma sick in bed one day and we wanted to put up that quilt to get the quiltin' on it, we put the linin' in then frames that frames, you hung 'em from the ceiling and, uh, put the linin' in it and then your cotton and then your top on top of it. Well, we had a seam down the middle of the quilt liner and we put it in the 3rd time before we got that seam the right way. Every time we'd go put it in there and start putting our cotton on why, it was turned wrong and we was determined that we was aimin' to put it up and we did. We learnt the hard way.

Kelly: Is that your quilt right there?

Alethea: Yeah, made that.

Kelly: That one's very pretty.

Alethea: Thank you. I'll show you my top after while that I just got done making, uh, yesterday and, uh, I make pillows, tops, uh, pillows.

Kelly: Oh, yeah.

Alethea: That one in there I made. Two of 'em, they were my young sons, whenever he moved from Springfield back here. He didn't move 'em on down to New Mexico with him. He left 'em here. And, I made my granddaughter two like that. (Kelly laughs) I'll make a top and then try to make a pillow.

Kelly: Uh-huh.

Alethea: But, (mumbles) missin' the top.

Kelly: Neat.

Alethea: I can't sit around without havin' somethin' to do with my hands (Kelly laughs) in the winter time, if it's where I can get outside-

Kelly: Yeah

Alethea: -why, that's different but I just can't do it in the winter time. I want somethin' to be a workin' on, (mumbles) and then whenever get a (unclear) started I don't want to stop.

Kelly: (laughs) That's good. (pause)

Alethea: I don't crochet much, it hurts my eyes more than piecin' quilts. (Kelly laughs) It does. I don't know why, but it always has.

Kelly: hmmm

Alethea: But I like to piece on my quilts, that's for sure.

Kelly: Well, that one's very pretty. You did a very good job. I couldn't think of doing it. I'd be like uh...

Alethea: That's what you call a Tulip quilt. See that makes a flower.

Kelly: Yeah, I see that.

Alethea: It's one of 'em. (long pause) A lot of people says "Oh, I wouldn't do it." I can sew it on my sewing machine, but I don't want to. I'd rather do it on my fingers. Kids and grandkids will get most of 'em anyhow.

Kelly: Yeah, that's good.

Alethea: I have sewed, I've sewed 16, that I can recall, in the past few years.

Kelly: How long does it take you to make one?

Alethea: Well, it depends on how it's pieced, you know, if the pieces is big why it don't take long. Some like that one in there wouldn't take very long. But, uh, that one in there I just finished up. I thought it was gonna be longer than it was, but I was only like two days of being a month and uh, my hand was bum whenever I started it and I cut out some and I'd sew some. I like to cut it all out all the pieces for the whole top before I start sewin'. I pieced, pieced and quilted two last year. One for my son and one for my granddaughter uh, three , made the little red schoolhouse for my little great grandson.

Kelly: Aww! (laughs)

Alethea: He liked it, he won't call it a quilt, he called it covers.

Kelly: Covers. (both laugh) (pause) Um, how long have you and your husband been married?

Alethea: It'll be, uh, 57 years the 5th day of September. We got married the 5th of September, 1942.

Kelly: Woa, what was your wedding like? Little?

Alethea: It was, you didn't have a wedding then. Justice of the Peace married us in front of mom and dad's old house place. You know where the road forks out here passed T.J. Mustion's, go down that old hill, now that's, we lived out that way, uh, Mrs. Garrison owns it now and, uh, my uncle, mom's brother, he 'as Justice of the Peace and he lived over there where Chandler Townsend lives. He come out there, we 'as married out in front of dad and mom's house. They just, uh, mom and daddy and my two sisters and uh, my Uncle Matt from daddy's side. And, uh, uncle that married us and his son, my cousin-

Kelly: What did you wear?

Alethea: Blue, polka-dot dress with the little Swiss, little bitty dots in it. Trimmed in white.

Kelly: Pretty.

Alethea: And he wore overhauls and a blue silk shirt . (laughs) And, uh, we, I changed my shoes and we walked and went to his dad and mother's house, way over towards Peel, went through the (unclear) way.

Kelly: Wow!

Alethea: And it rained on us.

Kelly: Oh!

Alethea: Whenever we left mom and dad's it was pretty and clear, first thing we knew here come the shower rain and we got wet.

Kelly: That's quite a walk. Did you guys walk everywhere?

Alethea: Uh, most, he had a car but at the time he didn't have tires for it, account of the war, you know, and, uh, we walked a lot. We walked to church. We'd pick tomatoes all day long, go in take a bath and have our supper, and then we'd walk and go to church, back home and it'd be 12, 1:00 time we get home , but we'd be in the field by sun up the next morning pickin' tomatoes.

Kelly: Wow, (laughs) not much sleep.

Alethea: No, but we slept whenever we go the chance though. (Kelly laughs) And, uh, we'd always, mom, she never worked in the field none, and she'd have dinner ready for us. We'd go in, we'd eat, and we'd lay down and take us about a 30 minute nap everyday at noon, all of us, and then we got up an' went back to the fields. It 'as, (pause) well, we didn't know no difference. Now and then we went back and it was really hard. And me and him had three tomato crops after we bought this place here. And then he started working on the dam. In fact, he worked on the dam the last year that we made a tomato crop. He'd work in the night, we'd work into the day.

Kelly: What did he do when working on the dam? What was his job?

Alethea: Uh, I don't remember what you'd call it.

Kelly: Did they have, did they have different jobs or did everybody just kinda-

Alethea: Um, whatever the boss put-

Kelly: told them to that day.

Alethea: Yeah, he worked on one outfit with overhang on the dam. Swing up there, you know, just with a belt and so on him, it's dangerous, very dangerous. He never did get hurt or nothing. (laughs) There's a lot of 'em that did though.

Kelly: I imagine.

Alethea: Uh, he worked there and then after the dam was built he helped cut brush up. (mumbles) we ran the house up there and worked on out estate. After that was over with, then we come back home and we went to Kansas City and worked (pause) about four year, and then we come back home. (Kelly laughs) And, uh, then wasn't long til' the Shirt Factory started and I started working there.

Kelly: How long?

Alethea: Worked there 18 year and then I quit there while I had the job at, uh, LaBarge, Avnet they call it now. I had a job there and I quit the Shirt Factory and started it, worked there 14 year and retired then. (pause)

Kelly: Neat.

Alethea: Kept busy. (both laugh)

Kelly: When you were a teenager, did they have movies, like at the movies.

Alethea: Uh, they had 'em in town, yeah.

Kelly: Did you ever get to go?

Alethea: I did , whenever anybody had a car or truck it was loaded down, it was loaded down.

Kelly: How much did it cost to go?

Alethea: I don't remember, but it , about 25, 30 cents, somethin' like that.

Kelly: I wish it was like that now! (laughing)

Alethea: Yeah, you can't (mumbles) (pause) I didn't get what it was on the fire radio. (Scanner is on in the background throughout interview.) (long pause) We had what mom and dad called "grip-lock" on the back of the wagon. We had the horse's food in one part and our groceries in the other and, uh, that's the way we traveled and then we'd sleep at the night and, uh, mom would cook outside for us. We took our dog with us and we'd give the dog our, they'd buy light bread for us to eat and mom 'ould make bread for the dogs, flapjacks we'd call 'em, like pancakes now. We'd eat the pancakes, flapjacks and give the dog our bought bread, slip around do it. We thought we'd slip around, dad and mom knew and, uh, they 'as a man gave, gave us a sack full of apples. One evening the horses got in that night, chewed them all up. I can remember that. And then whenever we come back from out there, we was out there 14 nights, and , uh, mom and us kids come back in a big truck and brought the furniture and dad brought the wagon and team. We had a wreck in near Rickey Hills (Kelly laughs) and we had some chickens in a coop and, of course, they all got out. Whenever dark come there 'as a bunch of men caught them chickens and put 'em back in the coop. I can remember that far, back.

(Kelly asks if there is anything else to add, but you are unable to hear her.)

Alethea: Nothin' (short pause) really.

Kelly: That's it. Kay.

What I Have Learned

Taking part in the South Shore Memory Project has taught me a great deal about the importance of preserving history. It is absolutely necessary to remember the past. Information that is only passed along by word of mouth will be lost forever if it is not recorded. The last of the remaining original settlers are soon going to be gone. The roots of this country have made America what it is. These roots have many stories to tell, and many memories to share.

I have learned the value of the history and past experiences. History repeats itself, and if society learns from the mistakes made in the past, the future will be better. Things our ancestors did are probably affecting us right now. We need to make sure we don't leave the world ruined for our children and grandchildren. History and records of the past are the only documentation we have of what life was like centuries ago. People need to acknowledge and appreciate the past.

I have also learned the value of communication. Most information was passed along by word of mouth in the past. There weren't computers or CD-ROMS on which to save information. Journals and newspapers were used to keep records. Many of these records have been destroyed over time. People should communicate to keep stories alive and pass on advice for future generations. Along with written communication and word of mouth, we should definitely keep permanent records.

Another thing I have learned from this project is the value of family and hard work. In today's world, people concentrate too much on money and material things. In the past, people's number one priority was family. They had to work hard to provide for the family. People didn't worry about expensive clothes, fancy cars, or powerful careers. They cared about family, love, and religion. This could be a reason why crime was minimum, and greed had not yet reared its ugly head.

I admire the pioneers of the past. They had their priorities in order and cherished the little things in life that make life worth living. They had conversations regularly with family and friends. Some people nowadays don't even know their neighbors. I have learned why this country has progressed as much as it has. It's a shame that we seem to be forgetting what our ancestors have done for us. Hopefully, we will be able to teach future generations how to live life to the fullest.