Interview with Mrs. Smith
The following interview took place on August 5, 1994, at the home of Mrs.
Smith (a pseudonym), my grandmother’s former employer. Present were Mrs.
Smith, my grandmother (Mary), and myself. The interview lasted about thirty
EPJ: Did you have other domestics to work for you before grandmama?
Mrs. Smith: Yeah. Had Shirley. She worked a couple days a week. And then I
had Carolyn Rinehart work for me till your grandmother came. See, every
time I got pregnant she got pregnant. Now I said, ‘‘Carolyn. Now, here you
are expecting and you’re not gonna be able to come over and take care of
two kids. I want you to find me a good mammy. I wants me a real mammy.’’
Well, she said, ‘‘I’ll find you one.’’ Well, I never will forget the day when your
grandmother called. She just called and she talked so dignified. She talked
so big and everything and she’d love to come and work for me. Didn’t know
that she’d be working next door. My mother had Charlie [unintelligible]
house. She said, oh she would love to come. She could take care of children.
So she started out working each day and we’d take her home—about five
in the afternoon. Then in 1966 my father and my husband, they went to
Shelby to see about this hotel down there and it was for sale at auction. And
my daddy just lucked up and told him what he’d give for it. And they went
down and got it. And first thing he did, he got a call from Shelby that the
sons wanted to sell it. They were gonna sell it at auction. So, they went on
and had the sale and everything and this, uh, I forget this guy’s name from
Shelby, but he bidded it oﬀ at the sale but did not make [unintelligible] and
he died of a heart attack that Saturday night. So he came back to my father
and said, ‘‘Well. We’re just gonna take you up on what you said you’d give.’’