Page - 4 -

Federal Writers' Project
Paul Diggs
Lakeland, Florida
January 6th, 1939
John and Susan Wright.
Three and one-half miles east of Lakeland, on State Highway [#?]17
there is a truck farmer located about
one-half mile off the main highway along side of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.
(Route [#?]2 Box 72 E.)
In this quaint old house live John and Susan Wright and his two grandchildren.
The occupants receive a welcome blow of the whistle from all
trains that pass by in the day, from the engineer,
fireman and brakemen. One passed while interviewing,
and the engineer gave a short blast. John said,
"Lawdy you see they all know me."
This place is typical of most places found in this settlement,
where the land is low but found to be
very rich and produces good crops. There is a small school
building near by which is crudely built like the rest
of the house- shutters for window glasses, and an ancient interior
with long wooden benches for the children to sit on.
John's location has been cleared on the north side of the railroad,
but across the railroad there is swamps
and wood land with plenty of timber on it. John was very anxious for
me to see what he had on this spot.
 After crossing the railroad we entered the wooded section. Here,
 he had a cleared the ground under the tall pines,
and there were collards, mustards, and cabbages growing.
 "You see I put plenty od soda to 'em and up they come.
" He stayed in front so you would not accidentally step
 on his many traps that he had set out in the underbrush.
They had the appearance of a machine gun nest hidden in the wooded land.
 Here John carried on his trapping,
catching coons, possums, rabbits, and anything that gets in the way of the traps.
 He stopped after more than
twelve such consealed traps appeared from nowhere..
 " You see there is more ways than one to make a living.
I'se good knowledge of all dis wood land, and wid all dese
' wild animals running 'round, I fix to ketch 'em.
You know there is a law 'bout trapping, but it is for those
 dat get caught." John was full of smiles while
 displaying his wit.On returning across the track, one sees a
shanty crudely built, one story high, weather-boared, standing
on cement blocks about one foot off of the ground. John said,
" befor' I put a ditch 'round the place the
water would cover the floor in the house." It was unpainted,
 and covered with old galvanized tin. There
were several windows in the house with glasses in them, the
rest were board shutters. All around the yard
 and under the house there was debris of all description.
 A few banana tries were growing near the house,
On the side and in front was foliage. There were screen doors
to keep out insects which were plentiful in this low land.
 Over the gate he had three home made wind mills whose figures
 cut [ca ers?] when the wind caused them to revolve.
Close to the house there was a shed erected on four cypress poles,
 covered with a discarded bed spring, over which
 were old tin and boards, on the platform, was a dilapidated chair,
 and an old automobile seat. John said,
" here is where I rest my weary bones after a hard days work."
There are four rooms and a long porch walled in.
The interior is filled with inexpensive furniture,
and the walls are covered with newspaper. The floors were bare.
 In the front room there is a very high bed,
tables and chairs, with an old out of date piano sitting in the corner.
 There were two more bed room with very
little space except for the bed. He said, " that no one was able
to play the piano, it just sits there in the corner.
 stating that the devilish thing was too heavy. " only yistidy
 I had to go under the house, and block it up,
 too much weight on the floor."
The little boy and girl, who were shabbily dress were peeping
in the front door, trying to see what was going on.
 The boy was claded in overalls, and the little girl had on
 a red blocked blouse with a white dress that
was very soiled; they both were barefooted with the black soil caked
on their feet. Suddenly they ran from
the door and climbed on the old automobile sitting in the rear of the house.
 On coming out of the house John
spied them on the car and yelled at them, they scambled down. John said,
you see d t' dld car over dar' I'se come by hit' by trading dem' two goats I had.
 I payed [a?] 7.50 diffunce, but I am still in de hole.
The man brought on of dem' goats back. De rascal beat de man, and his whole family.
 You know they will beat you down. He com' pretty nigh whipping me when
I was taking dem to town. Man he [gave?] me a fit in the ditch between
here and Lakeland. I did'nt tink' he would cut up after I sold him.
In fact I did'nt tole the man how bad he was. On morning bright and early,
up he goes and bring back the goat. What has puzzeled me is, since
he brought back the goat, he claims I owe him one third the diffunce.
 All the morning I have been figuring in this yar sand if I owe him one
third or one fourth. I'se know the fourth is more than the third. Maybe you can help me out."
"You see I hardly fool with that car , 'cause it kicks like a mule.
It takes the whole family to start it. I has to block dese hind wheels to keep the fool
thing from running away. With disgust he stated, oh well dats what
 a feller gets for being so big. W'en I had my goats I did'nt have any trouble,
 only the fool things w'ud run
away when it rained. Dey tricked me once in Lakeland. It was raining
hard and dey ran under a house with
vegetables, wagon and all." All of a sudden a peculior noise like
 "He haw! he haw! came from out of the air.
John said, "shut up." He walked around the house near the railroad on the south,
 and there was a Jack in the pasture.
He looked up when we approached him. " See mister Uncle Sam,
dats my life saver, after all of dem jimswingers
did'nt work I found a Jack dat W'ud." He can cut pull a freight train,
 and now I go and come from Lakeland with
out any trouble. He only baulked on me but once, when I tried to whip him.
He liked to kicked [dat?] piece of wagon
to pieces. I hav'nt whipped him since. You see I can't get another wagon.
 He can pull a plow too, strong as an ox."
John was ful of smiles all the time he was talking, with his felt hat on his head,
 patched pants, and an old blue
coat worn over a sweater, with brogan turned up at the end.
He still showing what a wonderful place he owned.
" [You?] see I cum a long way to get here, I was born in Knox- ville,
Tenn, May 15th, 1877. May parents were
George and [Minnie?] Write. I hain't got no estimation how long
 I lives in Tennesee. I know nothin' bout my cu'sin,
an'ty, and nobody. I lived in Forsyth, Monroe County., Georgia,
 and picked cotton. Don't know when I cum to Florida,
 only been here thirty eight yer's. My oldest child is thirty nine ye'rs old.
 (Lilly May) [.?]brought her here when
she was young. How many chillun I had, you mean how many chillun I know about.
 Man I know about eighteen chillun was
 born, som'thing like dat. Now listen mister Uncle Sam, don't
 push me too close, 'cause Ise can't give '
 count of all dem chillun. Some born in the woods. Dem dat is lawful I'se tell
 ' bout. By my first wife
[Isablle?] had ten chillun. Dar was eight stolen, 'countin dem not lawful.
 ""I married Isabelle Hawkin at
Lake Park, Georgia. Don't know what Ye'r or nuthin if I had to be hung.
 She was bred and born dar. I married
Susan Green, right out of that house over dar to the north."
John entered the house and brought fourth a box decorated with holly.
In this box he had papers that was
valuable to him. With pride he attempted to show them -
a certificate of Ordination for deacon in the
Mt Zion Church and pictures of his children. I could not name all of them,
 you know a man has been sick a
long time he is bound to be [addle?] minded. Now dis is Lillie Mae Love,
 now minnie Lee Willie, and John Wesly Wright, don't dat rascal look
like me, very spit of me. Dis is Arthur Wright, Oscilina Wright,
Clifford Wright, Pearline and George, (deceased.) I got lost from dem,
 I don't know where dey is." " You see mister Uncle Sam, you are one of his boys,
dats why I call you dat, when I was young
I played a banjo and gambled. Yes sir, I did dat.
High life all my life- made lots of money picking banjo,
and singing the blues; made a feller move a foot if he did'nt want to.
Since then I turned christian, I has done great work. I was such a songster
dat I was ordained. I did'nt want hit, but they made me do it.
Did'nt know a word in the song, but I c'ud carry a tune.
I w'ud come home and pick it out, and after a while
I got to know em all. Come out some time and hear me sing dem spirituals.
Hit will do you good. You know
I can do a little of everything and do it well."
"I did'nt have any schooling at all, all I learned,
I learned since I was ordained for a deacon. My parents
died while I was young and I had to go to work." " I make a living
selling vegetables [pealing?] from [house?]
to house in [La eland?]. You see I push a little music to [dem?]
when I goes 'round. Like dis, here [cum'?]
you vegetable man, I got dem today, [co ar gr ens?], go hers, and etc.
Dey [came?] to the gate when I [start?] to sing.
I [?] from three [and four dollars a day?] if I [had?] dem 
lazy rascals setting 'round [dem places in town?]
I w'ud show them how to farm. [Hit ain't a says work in?] their bones.
I git and go 'en I am well.
" A few months ago I [sufere?] with high [blood pressure?].
I tried to [crank?] that [old Lizzie?] (Ford Car)
and it'caused me to have [hemmoraghes?]. Dr. D.J. Simpson attended me.
They fust [tu?] me to the hospital,
and after staying [dar?] for two days, dey brought me home.
I am getting 'long nicely now, as long as I leave
dat Lizzie a lone. [Dit's need?] a starter in it. [?] it can sit there and
rust before I will crank it again.
[My married?] (his wife's cousin) she keeps well, [and them little?]
brats they are tough as what leather."
John stepped into the side porch, where six [?] were hanging [cleaned
and ready?] to sell. Why buy my meat
when plenty is running wild in the woods. The hides from the [coons?]
were stretched on the back of the house.
I sometime get from two to three [dollars?] piece for dem. I ketch dem by first
ramming a long stick in the
gopher hole to see if a rattle snake is in the hole. It is said that they will
make their winter home in [a?]
gopher hole. If nothin is in the hole, I reach down and out comes the gopher.
I ketch possum the same way I ketches coon in dem [trees?] over der." He had a few
gophers lying on floor, which he takes to town to sell,
stating that, "lots of people makes "gopher stew" out of dem.
" He said, " [He?] gets twenty five cents a peice
for them." There were several bunches of collard greens
tied up ready to take to town.His wife Susan, came out from the kitchen
with several pieces of coon cut up, showing me how fat he was, and
preparing to cook them. She said, "their meat was good and tender.
" Susan was very quiet and had very little to say.
The kitchen was not as clean as the other part of the house.
There were signs of soot on the walls from the small
wood stove in the corner. The pots and pans were black, and
the dishes were lying around on the table.
John was asked the priviledge of having his picture taken.
Calling, "Mamma, come an' take your picture wid the
Jack and all, so Uncle can send for us, I am ready to go."
The Jack was hitched to the dilapidated wagon, boarded on
the side to hold in the vegetables. The harness was
mostly made out to ropes with a leather strap running beneath
for a belly band. The lines were heavy ropes.
He had a piece of holly with red and green Christmas decorations
he had picked up in town with which he
decorated the head of the Jack. Mamma, and the two children climbed
in the wagon and tried to look their best.
John tried to look important and the Jack stood perfectly still awaiting a command.
After taking the picture, he tied the Jack to the fence, and showed
me his artisian well located near the house.
This well is plugged and from it he is able to irrigate his little
farm during the dry spell. John said[,?]
"If he unplugged it the water would shoot fifty feet or more in
the air form the force of the well.
John was asked if he ever voted. He said "W what's that."
After explaining, he laughed and said,
" you know this is Polk County, and that is white folkes business,
not mine." John's said, "he only ate two meals a day, he buys some
time fat bacon in town, most of his meat comes from the
wild animals caught in the traps. He grows all the vegetables
they consume on the place. Such as,
turnip greens, collards, cabbages, beets, onions, radishes,
mustards, and peas. He liked corn bread,
and plenty of syrup to go with it. At a distance could be seen
his cane patch from which he makes his syrup.
He said, " I am considered the best truck grower in this section.
I will have good strawberries, there is
one acre set out in strawberries. He further said that people put
stuff in the earth but dey don't know how
to get it out." " Well I hav'nt been on relief since you left some years ago.
After you showed me what to do I have been
independent of it. As long as I can keep dem Goats and Jack, I will be
O.K. You see besides Mamma, that
Jack is my best friend, anything help you to live is your friend.
Lot's of folks don't look at hit dat way, I dose."
In his crude way of living he is very proud of his success.
There is no radio, electricity, or any of the
modern conviences. His outhouse is a shackly built place with a
burlap sack hanging in front. He burns oil
lamps at night, and secures his heat from old coal pots.
In leaving he still insisted that I would come to his
church and hear him sing. " After I work hard all of the week
I enjoy myself, going to church. We have a good
time singing and praying. Please come out and hear us."

Federal Writers' Project
Paul Diggs
Lakeland, Florida
February 24, 1939
Patience Flucher & Family
118 W. 5th Street
Lakeland, Florida

Patience lived in North Lakeland , known us "Teaspoon Hill" at 118 W. 5th Street,

 in a ten room two story weather-board house that's unpainted. There are two long
 front porches lower and upper. On the lower porch
there are few rusty flower pots. A swing and a chair are on the upper porch.
The house is typical of a few that are located in this part of the colored section.
 There are located in this section lots of old time settlers who owns their homes.
Patience's family group, with the exception of the two children work out in service.
The women are in domestic service,and the men do common labor work.
Patience is not able to work.
 She stays at home and looks out far the generalwelfare of the home.
Patience's family group consists of three women, three men, and two children.
 Through their employment they
try to pool their income toward the maintanence of the home. The members of
 the family are very congenial
 towards each other. They are considered to be respectable and conduct themselves with
 respect in the neighborhood.
Patience said, "I sit near this window all of the time.
 It is too cold to sit there today. I had to get near
this fire place to keep the wind off of me. I believe this
is the coldest day we have had this year.
 She was sitting on a small wooden stool between the fire place and the bed.
 On entering the room she was busy
figureing on a tablet, she immediately put the tablet under a
[pillow, and?] opened her pocket book and put away her pencil.
Patience is medium in weight, five feet five inches in height,
 and dark brown in complexion.[She?] wore a light cream color sweater, her dress was blue.
 The shoes were old and [cut?] on the sides.
 All in all her [make?] up was clean.
The room she occupied was very small. There was an [old?] iron bed
with clean bedding on it, a rocking chair,
one chair filled with books, an old time dresser with a clock on it,
 a lamp, several dream books and other trinkets.
"Well I am trained to talk to goverment people. Lots of white
ladies have called and they asked me everything
about my life and that of the family. I know it by heart now.
 I even sent home and got a record of the families
birth dates. I have them in my Bible." She walked over to the
 dresser and brought forth a small Bible.
 Turning to the section where the family was recorded." Now I can
tell you when every one was born.
My brothers, Green Johnson, born 1897; Mark Johnson, born 1901; My sister Eliza Johnson,
 born [?],Green has two children, Lauvina, born 1923,
and W.J. Born [1906?]. They were all born at Jasper, Florida.
I was born December 18, [?] at Jasper, Florida. I lived there
until I was twenty two years old. My parents were Sam and Carrie Johnson. Father died
 January 3, 1936 [t?] the age of sixty six years old.
Mother died December [?], 1918 at the age of forty two years old,
 my parents were sharecroppers near Jasper.
I was brought up on the farm. I learned how to work and do lots of things.
 I can do hard work and it don't hurt me.
 I used to hoe and pick cotton. Before I left the farm
 I learned to work for white folks."
"When I left the farm I went to Manatee, Florida. I remained there until 1930.
 Coming to [Lakeland ?]
in December of that same year. I have been married twice,
 my first husband was Thomas Roux, we married in Jasper.
 We have been seperated twenty one years. The last [I?] heard of him,
 he was supposed to be living in Manatee, Florida.
 I had a white man to tell me when I was married to Thomas to leave him.
 At that time he was so cruel to me. He said,
 If I stayed I would'nt be fit for any one else while I was young.
 I later married George Fulcher [in?] Manatee.
 I have been seperated from him about fourteen years, I did'nt do any [better?]
with him. [Men?] back during
 them times had a habit of beating up [women?]. They used to say'you have to
 beat them to make them love you.
But I was the wrong woman for that. You don't have to beat me to make me love you.
 Since that time I have tried to make it myself through life. The road has been
pretty hard at times, but I have been able to pull
through some hard places." "By having my family together, we have [been?] able
[?] do the best we know how. Eliza works out in service
only doing days work, [claiming?] that she makes more doing days work.
 Some time she averages around five
and six dollars a week. Evelyn, works out in service also, [she makes?]
 four dollars a week. My brother Green,
works on the [hard?] road. Some time that work is not regular.
 Mark works for the City [of?] Lakeland ,
caretaker for the Oak Hill Burial Park. Mark make two dollars
and fifty cents a day. [Loutina?],
goes to Washington Park High School, she is in the eighth grade.
 I think W.J. is in the fifth grade.
That W.J. is some boy. It is hard to keep him home at nights.
 His [??] [whips?] him, he'll go just the same.
I am glad he is taking up Scouting, maybe that will help to learn him something.
 His teacher said he is [mischievous?] in school.
It looks like the more you beat him the more he tries to do.
 The other night he started out with the
Scout Boys and slipped away. His father went to the Park where
the boys met and there was no W.J.
The next morning I heard his father asking him how was the Scout meeting.
 He twisted round and round.
Finally he asked him who made the first Flag in the United States.
 W.J. said, George Washington.
Everybody down stairs screamed. After W.J. lied and lied, then his father
 told him he was at the Scout Meeting.
 Man, he fell [?], so surprized. Then he tells his father that he
 stole off from the boys and went to the
basketball Game. Olen is on the N Y A. He recieves a check every
two weeks for five dollars or more,
I have never seen his check. He secures [odds?] jobs when off duty,
 and likes to wear good clothes.
 Now and then he gives me something towards the rent and food.
That's the way we try to live."
"When I was in Manatee i used to work in the celery field picking celery.
I made as high as twelve
dollars and fifty cents a week. When I first came to Lakeland
 I worked out in service and the highest I
made was eight dollars. The last place I worked was at
Dr. R.R. Sullivan, who lives at 831 S. Boulevard.
He was a good man to work for."
"When I was taken sick I was working for Dr. Sullivan.
 He did everything in his power to cure me.
His nurse and the Doctor examined me good, took blood test
 and gave me medicine of all kinds and that
did not do me any good [?] finally gave up. The sore you
see on my leg started from an itch and
it would go all over my body. At night I would scratch all over.
 Then it started to spread. All this happened six years ago. I had to stop work
 and come home, I have used every thing that people
tell me to use, been to root workers. Some of them said that
 I was rooted by some one. Some times I think that my old man had me rooted."
"I have some one working on me now." Patience reached under the pillow
 and produced a card [stating?]," this is the lady who sends me treatment
 for my leg." Quoted as follows: You can win health,
Love, Success, and Happiness- Madam Jackson, [Palmister?],
 Mobile, Alabama, R 40, Box 338. Is my wife true?
Is is best to make a change? Will I have better health?
 Is my sickness natural? Will I travel?
Am I being watched? Is there a treatment? Should I gamble? How can I succeed in business?
How can I make my home happy? How can I conquer enemies? How can I marry the one
 I love? How soon can I marry? How can I Make any one love me? Is my investment
safe? How should I invest my money? Will I win or lose my case? Have I any enemy?
How can I control my friends? What is the cause of my illness? Are my partner happy?
AM I in danger? Will I ever have any children? The outcome of the courts? Is my husband
 true? See this palmister at once and have these and many other questions answered
 for you. Look for the large hand on the side of the house. Davis Ave Butler Lane."
Patience said this is the treatment that I am getting and it is getting me well.
 She sends me treatment every week. The big sore you see is healing slowly,
 it still hurts when I walk or stand on it a long time. When you have tried
every thing, you have to believe in somebody. Another root worker put me in
 touch with Madame Jackson." During this conversation Olen came into the house and
 came directly to his mother's room. He said,
"I am cold and the lady said it was too cold to work today.
 I have to go down to the W P A office
to see the N Y A Supervisor." He went to his room and returned,
 dressed neatly in gray trousers with [spats?]
 on, and a double breasted blue coat with a scarf around his neck.
 "I bought my spats from
Sears and Roebuck Company, they cost me forty-nine cents, they keep your
ankles warm, I noticed lots of
Northern [people?] wearing them around The Tourist Center."
Patience said, "A white man from Michigan wanted to take him North,
but he would not go because he wanted
to stay at home so he could look after me.".
"I attended school at Jasper, Florida. I only went as far as the fourth grade.
 My first teacher was [Bish?] Riley.
 I will never forget him. Is'nt it funny you never forgot your first teacher.
[?] went to a little one room school,
 built back in the pines. I will never forget [them?] days. I can see my little
old wild self running around now.
 The children should be happy now, they have good schools and good teachers.
 The teachers back there did not
have to know as much as they do now. It was something big to be a teacher then.
 The whole community looked up to him.
 I only wish I had the chance the boys and girls have now. I tell my children
they better get all the education
 they can while they are young. They will need it when they grow older.
 Now all they have in their heads is a good time.
 I have one girl Evelyn, who won't stay home at night. she has taken to drinking,
 I don't see where she [picked?]
 it up, it don't run in the family; and no one in the house drinks.
 Since they started this [?] business, its hard
to tell [what?] these fresh girls will do now a days. She had no
 business quitting school. A mother [sees?] hard
 time rearing children now. [You?] talk [?] a home, that is out of
 the question, [busines?] trying to raise the
[?] children, all I own is this little furniture. "I have decided not
 to worry bout [any?] thing,
I just sit here and attend to my business and look out of the window,
 and watch people and cars go by."
"I do worry about going to church, all of the family goes to
 [Bethel A M E?] Church, located [??]
[Dakot?] Avenue. Since I have been sick I am not [able?] to give to the church,
 I have to [keep what
few pennies I get?] to buy [aspirin?] tablets and other little
 [medicine?] for my leg. [?] is [???] the rest.
 She tells me all what happen in church when she comes home.
 I see the pastor drive by some times, he never stops.
 When you get sick [everybody?] forgets you. When you have money for the church,
 you are known as a good sister.
Its'sister this and sister that. Nothing like the olden times.
Every member of the church would come
around to see you, and try to help you. You could be dead and buried,
 they would never know anything about it.
I am not against the church, but I do think that the church is not
 trying to save souls, they are trying to see
 how much money they [can?] raise. That's the way it looks to me.
 Every time I turn around there is some [?] on.
 H!Ha! there [?] be [??] in them [?]."
Patience seemed to have all of her articles under the pillow,
 she reached again under the [?]
and brought out [??] of [?] cigarettes, stating, "[parden me?]
for [smoking?] it [helps?] my nerves.
Lighting the cigarette she [????] How the [family helps?] her.
 "I have lots of [help?] from [?] girls,
they do the cooking for me and the [?]. Some are better [?] than others,
 I [can't?] eat very much I only [??],
 fresh buttermilk, use no meat, no acid food, plenty of vegetables,
 and [mighty?] little sweets.
The rest of the family eats lots of [meats and every?] thing else.
That boy W.J. can put away some food.
 He runs all day and night, and no wonder he is so hungry when
he comes home. Some times the girls bring
 good things home from where they work. That's the only time I get a little dessert. [?]
 tried to have a garden to grow some vegetables but the soil
was too poor, and the men folk too lazy.
 We have'nt tried any more."
"No, no one votes in our house, my brothers don't think along that line.
 Where we come form a colored man
better had not look like he wanted to vote, so naturally they do not
 think about such a thing down here."
Eliza came in from her days work and sat down like she was tired.
 When questioned about her work, she said,
Mister please let me rest cause I have been through something today.
" Finally she said, "I put out today,
every time I turned around Ole [?] had something for me to do.
Believe me she got all the grease out of me today.
 I was happy when the taxi rolled up. Yes they pay my taxi fare.
We would'nt make very much if they did not pay
our fare to work. I mostly get two dollars a day at some places.
 I have regular people to go to. I can get
 all the work I want, the white people know me, I happen to put
out a good days work, so they tell their friends
and they try to get me to work for them. All I want them to tell
 me what to do, and I do it.
 Every body don't know how to clean a house. You can't take any old
thing and clean furniture and rugs.
You have to know how, then you don't have trouble holding down your job.
 My white folks are very nice to me,
some of them I have been working for nearly three years.
 They stay here the year round. I don't worry about
working for tourist, I have to live through the summer."
"We hav to have uniforms. I wear this blue uniform trimmed in white.
 It keeps you from soiling up so many clothes.
I usually go to my work at 7:30 and I am through my work on one job
 by three oclock. Sometimes they bring me home.
I like that because you loose lots of time waiting for a taxi, they
don't come when you call them."
Eliza said that she had to go to work for herself now. I have a weeks
 washing to put out. The front room of this house is very spacious.
 It has a fire place in the North-East corner, an old [victrola?],
and dresser sats in the South-East corner. One long bench given by
some of their white friends, and couple of
 wicker chairs with a wicker table sitting in the center of the room.
 There was no covering on the floor.
Next to this room was the dining room with a large dining table
 in the middle of the floor. A small stand
was next to the wall with books and tennis rackets on it. A bango without
 strings was hanging on the wall.
The steps leading to the second floor are located in the dining room.
There was a small bed-room next to the dining room which was occupied by Green.
In it was a double iron bed, one chair, and his clothes hung on nails on the wall.
There was no covering on this floor.
The kitchen was very small, the big stove nearly took up all of the floor space.
Over the stove were shelves for the pots and pans, the dishes were in an old closet.
The walls were covered with soot from the wood stove.
The rooms on the second floor were very small, the double beds in them takes
up nearly all of the floor space.
In some of them the walls were ceiled. In the hallway sat a sewing machine
 with a few magazines on it,
"these magazines are given to [?] by the white people
she works for. The children read them sometime." The house was clean throughout.
"It [keeps?] me hustling to keep our rent money together.
 I pay my rent to Mr. Oates a white man,
who is the agent for Rev, [Raodes?] the owner of this house.
 He pastor a Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida.
 We pay three dollars a week rent, and that is to much for this old big house.
 you see for yourself we
have no conveniences. We have to use that old ramshackle out house,
 and the pump is broken. Our washing is heavy,
 the men have to have clean overalls and that takes lot of water to
 keep them clean. We have to take
turns when we bathe, there is only tree was tubs out in the back yard.
 I want to put a cover over that bench where I wash. on hot day I have to do all
 of the washing out in the hot sun."
In the back yard, there was a wire enclosure for the chickens and an old
 [?] hen house. Two large Spaniel dogs
lay lazily in the yard. They were very friendly. The whole back yard was
 wired in. There was lots of debris
lying around in the yard. Clothes were hanging on the many clothe
 lines stretched across the yard and flapping in the wind.
"I wish I could get well, dawned on Patience and as she led me around the house.
 If I had some pull maybe
 I could get into the hospital and have my leg treated. Poor people see's a hard time.
 I have tried to get help for my leg, and all I get is excuses.
 Now you know that sort of disheartens a person. Like I said if I
was able to work I would'nt worry anybody. I am not a bad woman,
I just fell into hard luck. When I was out
in service I gave good service and was well liked. The young people
 don't work the hours we had to when
I was able to work. Things have changed so rapidly, one can hardly
keep up with the times."
"I carry insurance on all the members of the family,
 that is the only way I can look out for the rainy day.
I carry it with the Industrial Life Insurance Company.
 It costs me One dollar a week. That's for both Sick
and Accident and Straight Life. It's a good thing to have,
 one never knows when we will get sick, and die."
"I understand that the speaking at the Auditorium by Madame Mary McLeod
[Bethane?], was good. I hear it was
the largest crowd that they ever had in the Auditorium since
 it was built. Olen received a card from his
Supervisor telling him to be present to the speaking.
 I think it is nice that young people can do
something worth while. I am proud because Olen [in?] in it.
I sit on the upstairs porch and watch them boys and girls
 play on the playground some afternoons.
That's something new for our folks in Lakeland , we did'nt have
that before we had the W P A, Olen he helps
around the tennis court at the Tourist Center. I [??] talking about
 Mr. Hendrick, the tennis player.
Olen is crazy about him, cause he teaches him lots about the game."
"You asked me what I had to do when I was out in service, I don't
 think that there is much difference,
the girls now have to do the same [?] of work. [?]
 some have those new [?] things to work with, and
thats makes it much easier. Where [??] the electric polishers,
it don't take long to polish floors.
Some places I had to get down on my knees. [?] used polish mops.
 [?] the electric machines [???] work much
easier if you are lucky to get [?] in home that has one.
 In small families you have all the work to do from
cleaning up, to cooking, and washing. I just think a colored man
is lucky when he marries a colored woman.
he gets a wife, housekeeper, cook and wash woman. Yet some of
[??] are not satisfied. If they had to put
out like some of them white men I bet they would be satisfied."
"I hardly [??], I would like to go down town sometime [?]
 [window?] shop. That would be about all.
I have no money to do any-thing with. It would be a big change
to get out from this place.
I sit and see the sam e thing every day. It is no easy thing
 to sit down all day [?].
You can think of more things to [??] more things not to do.
 Green [??], they like to sit around in
front of some of the stores and listen to gossip. [?] How I get my [?] news."
[?] who is [full?] of life said. "I take my [sport?] out in going to movies,
 with my boy friend who takes me twice a week. They have good pictures, I don't
 like cowboy pictures all that shooting
and running is too much for me. Oh yes, I attend church, I go to nearly
 all the [??] services, but I still like my movies."
Patience said, "I don't [??] to [?] bout the government,
 but I think this relief business has helped people,
I know it has helped me. The people [?] never forget [?] Roosevelt.
 He has kept many a door open,
but I think sometimes people soon forget what you [?] for [?].
 They cry when their ribs [are?] in,
and as soon as you [?] them out they soon forget.
 That's right I have seen it. I once got a [sack?] of flour
[?] at the welfare office, and another colored woman had a sack
 much smaller than mine, she fussed something
 terrible because mine was larger than hers. At that time she did'nt
understand that they gave you
things according to the size of your family. That's the way it goes.
I have seen it. [I still?] say
I am [?] for what they do for my boy [?]. It is God's will and his will,
 willbe [?]."
"I better be [?] them [?????] on the stove, it is near time for
the children to come home from school.
They [hardly?] ever [eat?] much lunch and I know they will be hungry.
 You [?] seen first, I have to take my time walking down the steps.
 I can't put much [?] on my leg and I use the
[banister?] for [??] down."
"I think the front door is open, and [if?] you want to know
any more I will be glad to talk with you.
 Eliza said yes I have [??] to tell you. Goodbye."

Return to Military Index