Interview with Lucile Stone

Lucile Stone was interviewed by Christopher Payne on November 3rd, 2007.

Lucile Stone was born January 8, 1918, on a farm in the countryside of North Carolina. Throughout her life she saw many societal changes that occurred during the twentieth century, including the invention of the car, the radio, the television and the airplane. Ms. Stone grew up with one brother and five sisters in a time where numerous children were considered necessary to farm life. Ms. Stone attended school in a one-room schoolhouse in her home county, eventually progressing through the grades and attending Eastern Carolina University, where she trained as a teacher. From that point forward Ms. Stone participated in one of the most drastic changes in Southern American society. Following her acceptance of a job as a general administrator of Grove Park Elementary School, Lucile took part in the massive integration process which took place in southern public schools. Later in life, Ms. Stone moved to teaching at Elon University as a professor of elementary education. Lucile has been married twice and had one son with her late first husband. She is currently married to Rev. Dr. William J. Andes and they currently live in Elon, NC. Currently, Ms. Stone enjoys many of the same activities she learned from her mother, while she was a child. She enjoys kitting, sewing and tatting.

Rural Life  

Lucile Stone describes growing up on a farm in the early part of the 20th century:

I was born in 1918, January 8th. I was born at home, as was the general custom at that time. Home for me was a farm, a farm of about 175 or 80 acres and we were [a] live at home family. At that time my father and mother did not own a car. We used a buggy, which was a two person riding area pulled by horse…. We had cows and chickens and we had pigs and we had our own meat, we butchered our own meat. We canned the meat rather than freezing it because we didn’t have freezers at that time. We did not have electricity at that time. There was no rural electricity until my freshman year in college in our area where we lived. There were also no hard surfaced roads.

Listen to the audio of Lucile’s response:

On Race

Lucile describes the process of racial integration at the school she worked at:

I did have the first black teacher, who was in a white school, and that was at the third grade level. We were crowded at that school and were in the process of building the Smith elementary school at that time. We were having to put a whole grade level in an auditorium. I thought that was a good way to put the black teacher so that she would have more help and two other teachers who were outstanding teachers. She herself was quite an outstanding teacher. I put those three in there in an organizational procedure because I thought it would help all that we were trying to do. We wanted it to be as good as it could be. We had one black child who came that year to that school, the first black child who had gone to a white school in Burlington. This child was in third grade. This, I thought, was a good thing to put this black child with this black teacher, who was with three people, two other people and herself in the auditorium. It would give this child experiences with one of his own race, that should help him, and she also would have a better understanding of meeting his needs. That’s where we placed him.

Listen to the audio of Lucile’s response:

The South

Lucile described her thoughts on the South:

I would say for me the South is just a wonderful place to live because of its good climate. I have lived in North Carolina all my life. I have never lived anywhere else than North Carolina so I don’t know much about other areas. I’ve visited in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, much and I know something about the climate there. I prefer the climate in the South. But I know agriculture in the South and I know much about manufacturing. I know a lot about labor unions. I remember as a child, labor unions coming in. The first labor unions I’ve ever heard of. There’s been much good from labor unions. Some have been extremely nice to mention and have caused things to happen that wouldn’t have happened if there had not been such strong labor unions. They did much good, and much needed good that needed to be done – cooperative efforts. Of course we’ve all studied about the times in Reconstruction and Southern people being somewhat different to Northern people. I don’t find that when I really know Northern people. I think that was much like other things that have sort have become custom in word of mouth; if you live them, they’re different. I like the South, I like to live in the South. I don’t really like to live anywhere else although I can acclimate myself wherever I am.

Listen to audio of Lucile’s response:

Childhood

Lucile described some ways her childhood seems different from childhood today:

I had a childhood that few children have the opportunity for now. I had the discipline. My parents felt that discipline was a growth process. We never had child abuse; we hadn’t heard the word when I grew up. We didn’t know that anyone in the world would ever abuse children. That was not in our vocabulary; it was not in our experience; we would not have known what to do about it because we had never heard of it. People did not have birth control. There were large families, but people were loved, and we always knew that we were loved.

Listen to the audio of Lucile’s response:

Changes

Lucile reflected on the many changes she’d witnessed during her lifetime:

I’ve seen everything come in from the radio, the first radio, television, actually the airplane when it first came into being. We were so thrilled when we heard an airplane; we ran out to see it when we were children. Then of course it’s become part of our lives. We’ve gone and come and done everything with it. I’ve seen television come in. I’ve seen black and white, color television. I’ve seen the computer; I’ve seen the progress of all of these. I’ve seen the changes in transportation. I rode a train; as I said, the first time, when I went to East Carolina, in 1935 – first time I’d ever been on a train. I don’t know how a century would be better than this one’s been. My memories are very clear from 1924 – ’23, ’24 -to now, that I’ve seen these things and been a part of it. The development of practically everything we have. The invention and the development after the inventions. My mother had one of the first pedal sewing machines and then now I have digital sewing machines. We’ve come the whole way. I don’t know what’s ahead except it’s all out there, it’s what we do with it. The part that’s so interesting is that it stays out there.

Listen to the audio of Lucile’s response:

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