Interview with Brenda Tate

Brenda Tate was interviewed by Sentrell Allen on April 24, 2012.

Brenda Anne Rone was born on September 5, 1947 and raised in Roxboro, North Carolina. She is sixty-five years old. She is the oldest of six children, and her mother raised them as a single parent. Brenda’s  career path included being a house keeper, mill worker, dietician, and finally a dietary supervisor. She is currently disabled due to a severe spinal injury. Brenda decided to separate her life into three chapters, one being family and relationships, the second being her faith, and the third being her life now. She has two children, a daughter and a son, Sheila and Steve Allen, from a previous marriage, and has seven grand kids and two great grandchildren. She is currently married to Kenneth Tate.

On Childhood

When asked what she did for fun when she was a child, Brenda said:

Well, you take like grass, it growed tall, we would plait, like we was plaiting hair and we would get corn out of the garden, and we would just comb that maze, and plait that, we had that for a baby doll and we’d take towels and roll it, roll it and get it.

Listen to the audio of Brenda’s response about her childhood.

On Dating

Brenda described what dating was like when she grew up:

It wasn’t like it was now. We couldn’t date until we was sixteen, seventeen, but when we was sixteen we couldn’t go out; we had to date in the living room. Everybody had a living room; that’s where your boyfriend would come to see you. And mom had a certain time that he had to go – ten o’clock he had to go, whether he had a ride or not. He had to find him a ride; he couldn’t stay there. And we couldn’t go out when we were sixteen years old. And I think that’s better now, because after I growed up I see that when you’re younger you don’t think with your mind; you think with your feelings. And a lot of times your feelings will lead you the wrong way, down the wrong path, and you meet somebody that’s not good for you, instead of waiting for somebody that’s compatible for you. So as a girl dating I was real cautious, yeah.

Listen to the audio of Brenda’s response about dating.

On Work

Over the years Brenda had many jobs but the one she was most proud of was dietary:

I’m into food, so that’s why I worked in dietary. I made sure that the meals were presentable for the residents and made sure they got the diets that they were supposed to have. And I would always tell my staff that you don’t want to give nobody nothing you wouldn’t eat – ’cause you eat with your eyes, if it looks good you’d eat it. So that’s what I liked. I learned how to do everything in the kitchen and dietary. And I taught others how to do it. And I showed them the value of it and just act like that was your mother in the nursing home how would you feed her. You wouldn’t give her cold coffee; you’d make sure it’s hot! You wouldn’t give her cold food. So that’s what I liked doing.

Listen to the audio excerpt about Brenda’s work.

Reflecting Back

Brenda was asked what advice would she give to herself when she was younger.

To my younger self I would say to take it easy, not work so hard, that things come and go in life and you can’t have everything that you want. If you try to work for it, working two or three jobs, you work yourself to death and you wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. So that’s my lesson in life to myself.

Listen to the audio of Brenda’s advice to herself.

Best Experiences

One of my greatest experiences, let’s see…. One of my greatest experiences is well I bake cakes for people and when they come to pick it up they enjoy it so much, they tell other people about it and they call and want it and they’re like “Who made this? Who did it? Who made that?” and yeah, I love that.

Listen to the audio of Brenda’s response about her best experiences.

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