Interview with Patricia Hall

Patricia Hall was interviewed by Courtney Rafael on November 6, 2010.

Pat Hall was born on October 12, 1946, and is sixty-four years old. She was born and raised in Alamance County, and has lived there all of her life. Mrs. Hall lived with her parents until they got a divorce when she was nine. Her mother, Mary, died when she was nine and she moved in with her father, John, and step-mother, Thelma. Mrs. Hall was influenced and helped raised by many members of her family because they all lived in close proximity of each other and worked on the farms together.  She grew up farming, mostly in tobacco and continued to grow tobacco for the first couple of years of her marriage. Mrs. Hall started dating and got married at age sixteen to James Thomas Hall. They had two children, Donnie and Kim, by the time she was eighteen and several years later they had their third child, Lori. Mrs. Hall worked several jobs, including Woolworth’s lunch counter, Glen Raven Mills, Bell’s apparel store, and her current job at Carolina Biological. She has six grandchildren and her proudest achievements in life are her children.

On Equality

Patricia Hall discusses her feelings on equality between males and females today.  As Patricia said in the interview:

Well I am a woman so I should say, “I just think it’s great,” but there again I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I mean, I remember how life used to be and it was much simpler. Now granted I think that it’s wonderful that if a woman is out there doing certain jobs that she can make what a man could make. I suppose it will never – it’s never going back – you can’t go back. So I mean if a woman is out there doing the same thing a man is doing, then she should be making what a man is making. [CR: I agree.] I know that sounds a little… [CR: No.] I’m sort of torn between that. I mean, I remember how it was, and it seems like if you are coming along today you would look back and think women weren’t treated fairly. But, you know, they didn’t have all the pressure on them that you have today. I mean it was just a whole different world. It was. Things were a lot less complicated.

Listen to the audio of Pat’s response about her feelings on equality.

On Rural Life

Well, when they were real little we were raising tobacco. And actually when your mother was born -[CR: Mm- hmm.] she was probably – maybe a year old – maybe not even a year old – when we decided we were going to move back to where his daddy, his mother, and grandparents lived. And live in this little house and raise tobacco [CR: Mm-hmm.] for this tobacco season. [CR: Right.] But we had to move back and it was probably March, it was still cold. But the house didn’t a bathroom, it didn’t have any running water. It wasn’t even wired for an eclectic stove but he had it wired for an electric stove. But we moved back in this house with two babies in diapers, and no bathroom for one tobacco season. And like I said, that usually starts in March because you’re starting to plant and everything. And it runs through, maybe, October when you’re starting to get everything sold. So we lived there and that was a experience. Going to the laundry mat, pulling water up in a well with two babies in two diapers. And we didn’t have pampers – we had diapers – [CR: Like cloth?] cloth diapers. So that was a experience. And I’d have to take them to the tobacco field in the playpen. And we would sit the playpen up, and they would be right there in the playpen while we were doing tobacco. But, you know, we made a whole lot of money off of that tobacco crop. And so we did it for that one season. [CR: Right.]

Listen to the audio of Pat’s response about rural life.

On Dating – Rules and Restrictions

My daddy had to meet everybody I dated. He had to have them come in and get to know them. And I had to double date, and I had to be home. If Daddy wasn’t there when your date come you had to wait till he got there, because you couldn’t just get in your car and leave. He had to personally see you getting in the car with who ever you were going with. And you had to be home by eleven o’clock so if you were at the movies and it ran late, too bad, you had to leave before it ended. Because you had to be home before eleven o’clock or you were going to be grounded. And you knew you better not call and say, “Is it okay if I’m coming late.” You’d be grounded even worse [laughs]. And when we came home from a date we couldn’t sit out in the car. [CR: You came right in?] Yes, you couldn’t pull up in the driveway, and just sit out there with a boy in the car. No, you didn’t do that. So yeah it was pretty strict [laughter] growing up.

Listen to the audio excerpt about Pat’s response about dating – rules and restrictions.

On Work Experiences

Okay. Well she set in front of me – in the machine in front of me. And back then, you know, people would smoke but they would take their breaks and run to the bathroom and have a cigarette or whatever. But when you were in production and you were pushing to make that money, you know. You didn’t do a lot of talking, everybody was really pushing hard. And I can remember one day I was just pushing away trying to make get them stockings sewed, and heard Peggy say, “Pat.” And, you know, I didn’t stop to look. I could hear her saying my name but, you know, I didn’t. She said, “Pat,” and I would say, “What?” [Laughter] And she had the needle – the needle had went down – she got her finger up there, and some how another that needle went down through her finger. [CR: Ahh. Oh my gosh.] And she was just sitting there with the needle through her finger. And I said, “Oh Peggy!” [Laughs] [CR: Like all the way through?] Yeah. Oh Peggy [laughs]! [CR: Oh, gross.] And they got it out. They had to take her to get her a tetanus shot. I mean, it was like a when they pierce your ear, you know? It was a little sharp needle. [CR: But all the way through her finger, uhh?] Uh-uhn. It went right down through there, and her little finger was sort of hung right there [laughs].

Listen to the audio about Pat’s work experiences.

On Southern Women

Asked about the ideal appearance for Southern women, Pat explained:

Well, you always wanted to look nice. You wouldn’t have went out in public not looking nice, you know. When I go out now, that’s one of things I’ve noticed that’s changed so much. You know, when we were growing up and coming along – when we went places and went out in public – I mean, you were dressed. [CR: Mm-hmm.] Your hair was fixed, your make-up was on, and you were dressed. But now you go out, and I mean you see people out anywhere – [CR: I know.] they just don’t take any pride in their appearance. I don’t know if I gave you a good description [CR: You did.] of a Southern belle. But you know, I think it’s a stereotype when they say Southern belle and people are thinking of somebody in a ball gown. But [CR: Yeah.] you know, a Southern belle to me is just a, you know, a lady that’s well groomed and well dressed. And in my era, when I’m saying my time – that a Southern girl was someone that took a lot of pride in their appearance, and their appearance of their home, and their family. And they took a lot of pride in their manners, being polite…

Listen to the audio of Pat’s response about Southern women.

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