Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blueberry Farmers in Pender, Duplin and Sampson Counties, 1946

“Carolina Farm Comment” By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, North Carolina State College, Raleigh, as published in the Wilmington Morning Star Feb. 11, 1946.
North Carolina has a little known industry that is proving to be extremely profitable to 40 or more farmers having a part in it. All of us know about the wild huckleberries or Sampson blues of southeastern North Carolina. Few of us know about the fine cultivated blueberries grown in that section, however, and which sold for about 50 cents a pint last season.
North Carolina is developing a blueberry industry which is expanding slowly but surely. At the present time, there are between 900 and 1,000 acres planted to these tame or cultivated blueberries and additional acres will be set as quickly as varieties resilient to disease and of high quality are developed. The 40 farmers, largely in Pender, Duplin, and Sampson counties, who are growing the berries have from 25 to 40 acres each.
The first growers came down from New Jersey and found the climate and soil suitable for the varieties of berries which had been developed in the state. Now, under the guidance of E.B. Morrow, research horticulturist of the Experiment Station, local growers are propagating their own plants and are working with Morrow in making new selections and crosses to start new and more adaptable varieties.
Mr. Morrow says the varieties largely used at the present time are the Cabot, Weymouth, Rancocas, June, Stanley, Rubel, Jersey, Scammell, Concord, and the Dixie.
The Cabot is an early variety and was one of the first planted in that section but it is largely going out now because of being subject to a disease known as the blueberry canker, Morrow says the growers have been making resistant selections from the old variety, however, and that a new resistant strain seems to be on its way. The Rancocas variety is resistant to a virus disease, which the growers call “stunt” because it stunts the growing plants. This Rancocas, therefore, is being used as a stock parent plant in almost all of the breeding work being done.
One of the interesting things happening down there is in selections which Morrow has made of wild varieties gathered in the vicinity of Grandfather’s Mountain in northwestern North Carolina. He is crossing these on a species known as “Rabbiteye,” which is grown in northern Florida and southern Georgia.
The wild variety from our western North Carolina mountains is hardy, the fruit has a good blue color, and a wonderful flavor. In fact, all the fruit grown in our western section has these desirable qualities. Apples grown up there seem to taste better than the insipid stuff that our dealers ship in to our stores from other sections of the country.
Anyway, the “Rabbiteye” variety is, as one would expect, very productive. It grows well in the poor soils of northern Florida and southern Georgia and is vigorous in its vegetative growth. Morrow wants to combine the fine color, high quality and hardiness of our mountain berries with the productivity of the South Georgia kind and get a variety with the desirable qualities of both. He says he is making progress. This new variety should be adapted to a wide range of soil and climate and perhaps more farmers will be able to grow the blueberries when he perfects this new strain.
One of the largest growers of tame blueberries in the state is Harold G. Huntington of Atkinson on the western edge of Pender County. Mr. Huntington has about 100 acres set to the plants although he is now resetting much of his old acreage due to the ravages of disease among some of the older varieties and his adoption of some of the newer varieties now being developed. Blueberry plants are set in rows eight feet wide and four feet apart on the row, making about 1,360 plants to an acre. Under ordinary conditions, the berries produce an average of 200 of the 12-pint crates per acre.
It is not unusual, however, for yields as high as 400 crates an acre to be secured. Before the war, these berries sold for 20 to 25 cents a pint. Figure, therefore, 12 pints to a crate and 400 crates to an acre on 10 acres selling for 50 cents a pint and you have some idea as to the income secured by one grower last year. But this income is not all net profit. The pint cups are wrapped in cellophane, and the berries are carefully graded, and it costs considerable money to start and manage one of the orchards.
Mr. Huntington has an irrigation system which cost him around $10 or $15,000 and this is kept only as an insurance policy against destructive drouths. In the main, however, the growers say that the water table is so near the surface in that section that they do not believe irrigation will ever be needed generally. But in other ways, also it takes lots of capital to start a blueberry farm. Once the plants are set and in production, however, the returns are very satisfactory.
Emmett Morrow is doing much of his research on the farm of Gale Harrison of Ivanhoe. Mr. Harrison is growing a number of blueberry seedlings and selections in cooperation with the fruit scientist and much valuable information is being secured. The owner has about 50 acres of berries in his commercial orchard. He is known as a good businessman and a successful grower. He has an up-to-date packing plant which not only gives him a superior product for chipping but also allows him to store any excess or overflow berries that cannot be shipped on the day picked. These are stored overnight and packed the next morning when the heavy dews of that section make it unwise to harvest additional berries so early in the day.
Harrison also uses his pre-cooling plant to cure meat for his neighbors. Last year, the folks in that whole section kept the plant busy curing their meat. In fact, the demand became so heavy that Harrison took a trip up to Lumberton to see J.E. Nance, pioneer freezer locker operator, so that he might learn exactly how to use these freezing plants for successful meat curing. The neighbors say he is doing a good job for them.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

1945 Was a Busy Year for Pasquotank Club Members

Report by Mrs. Selma Harris James (Mrs. Vernon James) to District Federation meeting in Hertford, 1946 (April)
(Report of 1945 year’s work)

“All of you have heard that in Pasquotank
The bullfrog jumps from bank to bank
Lots of things jump in on county and city
For we have club women that are sure as a ditty
And to prove that some ladies are smart
I’ll report our accomplishments right from the start.”

We had 13 clubs with members totaling 328
23 new ones joined early in 1946 so as not to be late
Ninety percent of the club women a garden did grow
These helped to keep the food situation in tow
The women had to hurry and get 43 canners repaired
And with 22 new ones they all declared
Now in all there are 86 canners
24,991 containers saved deserves a banner.

Our agent said, “Your food budgets you must fill.”
Everyone work canning, drying, and had meat to bill
The number reaching goal were only 84
But everyone had gained and none were sore.

New clothes we wanted, but with prices to the sky
We began to feel out of date, but really why?
When all we had to do to be in style
Was touch up the ones we had all the while.
We ripped, turned and sewed in all 620
Everyone declared this was good if not a plenty.

With the food put by, and scores of babies new
There just wasn’t storage space, so closets we added totaling 52
Seven new dwellings made a pretty sight
46 remodeled ones were sheer delight
41 improved kitchens, spic and span
38 other rooms, just the best in the land
17 water systems were installed to help
And two vowed with cold water they would not yelp.

It was just before we heard that DDT was here
That 56 homes were screened to keep pests from coming near

Even though we were busy and had not time to spare
19 home grounds were improved and made into beauty rare
The curb market ladies topped all records with sales of $27,556.29
The home sales were $16,974.87 just so none could feel left behind.

In 1945, we all felt peace was sure to come
But that our fight on the home front had just begun
There was need of community service at every crossroads
So we all pitched in and helped carry the load
These please let me enumerate
Quickly before it is too late.

Fat collected – 840 pounds
War bonds - $9,800
Clothing relief – 2,500 pounds
Helped with 11 4-H Church Sundays
Hours helped in USO - 410
Cakes for USO – 61
Flowers for USO – 54
Purchased tuberculosis seals – 99
Infantile paralysis contributors – 87
Red Cross members – 212

Early this year our foreign neighbors needed help worse than ever
So we just collected 2,000 garments with this endeavor.

Just a word from the ladies of Pasquotank
To all of you for listening – thanks.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fred Stem's Chicken Order, 1955

From the February, 1955, issue of Extension Farm-News, published by the Agricultural Extension Service at N.C. State College, Raleigh
Fred Stem of Oxford, Route 2, still has 1,502 chickens out of the 1,500 he “ordered” last November. Granville County Agent W.B. Jones says that Stem received two free chicks for each hundred he bought, giving him 30 extras. Only 28 died, so Stem has two more than he planned to start with.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Home Garden, Home-Produced Meat on William Johnson Farm, 1955

From the February, 1955, issue of Extension Farm-News, published by the Agricultural Extension Service at N.C. State College, Raleigh
Mr. and Mrs. William Johnson, Negro tenant farmers of Rocky Mount, Route 2, have found that their home gardens and home-produced meats are just as important as any of their crops—if not more so.
In going back over their expenses a while back, they found they had spent more than $1,200 for food. To remedy this, they concentrated on producing more food for their seven-member family. They cut their food costs in half. With the extra money, they purchased an 800 pound-capacity home freezer.
What are their plans for 1955? To produce enough food for ample farm use and to sell the surplus. Mrs. Johnson says, “We plan to spend less than $200 for food purchases.”

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cows More Profitable Than Tobacco, 1955

From the February, 1955, issue of Extension Farm-News, published by the Agricultural Extension Service at N.C. State College, Raleigh
Allen Thomas of Stoneville, Route 1, meant to supplement his tobacco with dairying last year, but it didn’t turn out as he expected.
Rockingham County Agent Charles M. Turner says that Thomas’ 10 dairy cows returned him more profit than his five acres of tobacco. So, in effect, the tobacco “supplemented” his dairying.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

John W. Mitchell, Noted Extension Farm Leader, Dies, 1955

From the February, 1955, issue of Extension Farm-News, published by the Agricultural Extension Service at N.C. State College, Raleigh
Noted Negro Farm Leader Dies
John W. Mitchell, a North Carolinian who became a top government man in teaching Negro farm people, has died at the age of 69.
He was one of the only three Negroes to be honored by Progressive Farmer magazine as Man of the Year in Southern agriculture.
The native of Morehead City who rose to field supervisor of Negro extension work in the South, died January 7 at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Funeral services for the graduate of Fayetteville State Teachers College were held in Fayetteville where he was reared and where in 1910 he organized Cumberland County’s first Negro rural high school. For six years after graduation, he was assistant to the president of the Fayetteville College.
In 1917 he began his government service as an extension agent, teaching farm people who they could improve their living conditions by such things as developing year-round gardens and keeping chickens, hogs, or a cow or two. He covered three counties—Bladen, Columbus, and Pasquotank—on a bicycle in good weather, on horseback in bad weather.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Teaching in a Rural One-Room School, 1916

February, 1916, The Southern Planter
Having taught in a big city system in another state, and now teaching in a one-room rural school in Virginia, the fact of the gross inequality in expenditure for the two types of schools has been deeply impressed upon my mind. The comparison, of necessity, cannot be entirely correct concerning Virginia schools, but it is correct in a general way. My marriage necessitates my living and teaching in a rural section. I am judging from that standpoint.
In my former situation, we had free textbooks, art supplies, free libraries in all schools, playground equipment, music teachers for all schools, school doctors and nurses, free treatment for eyes, free vaccination for smallpox and diphtheria, free kindergartens, and many other advantages too numerous to mention. My usual class averaged 30 to 35 students. As a contrast, I am now teaching 71 children at less than half my former salary. Many of the children do not have books; some have only a part of those required.
Next year some new buildings and more buses will alleviate the crowded conditions. But, we teachers, and especially those in rural sections, are working for more equality in school expenditure; better salaries, free textbooks, better libraries, which shall be free to all alike, a better school health program, and a sound teacher retirement system.
--Mrs. Margaret King, Ararat, Virginia

Monday, February 18, 2013

NC Farm Bureau Honors Frank Jeter, 1946

Citation read with presentation of certificate of meritorious service to agriculture by North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, in Winston-Salem on Feb. 8, 1946
The robot, dream mechanical man of science, is still in the laboratories and on the drawing boards, but we have with us tonight his original human counterpart. The scientist wants of the robot, which he has not yet been able to perfect, a walking, talking, broadcasting, writing family man with a yen for public service, a man who can go on and on with never any more pushing than a little oil for his joints.
The State College Agricultural Extension Service has had such a man for 30 years. This human dynamo is by the record a whole lot of dynamo, but even more human. A native of South Carolina, born a farm boy and subsequently a graduate of Clemson College with a degree in agronomy, this man has created by ability and hard work a farm news service which is recognized as the best in agricultural circles.
Driving through war years and peace with the same unfaltering degree of alacrity has won for him a mark of merit on the scrolls of every farm organization in the South and top spot among Extension editors in the nation. So, because of his tireless effort and perpetual success in the field of information, the Farm Bureau is happy to present a certificate of commendation to Frank Hamilton Jeter, editor of the Extension Service, who with his charming wife, the former Miss Irene Albert of Atlanta, is our guest tonight.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Combating the Boll Weevil in NC Cotton Fields, 1946

By F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the Charlotte News, Feb. 9, 1948
Heavy infestation of the boll weevil in 1946 and a resulting decrease in cotton production prompted T.B. Upchurch Jr., Raeford farmer, to run some tests on the effectiveness of the new insecticide Benzene Hexachloride. Seven hours after an experimental treatment of five acres, an average of 1,560 dead weevils per acre were counted.
Using airplane dusting, eight pounds of BHC per acre was applied to the plot. Long strips of building paper had been placed between the rows so that an accurate count of the dead pests could be made. In the first hour after treatment, 150 dead weevils per acre were county; after two hours, 462 per acre; after three hours, 627; after four hours, 820; and 1,560 after seven hours.
“We were surprised,” Mr. Upchurch said, “with the speed that the insecticide killed the weevils. The time element was most important as it was raining almost every day.”
“We were able to keep infestation down below 12 per cent on the fields we dusted every five days until the migration set in,” Mr. Upchurch related.  “Then we could kill thousands per acre only to have thousands more appear as if by magic. We counted more than 13,000 dead per acre on one occasion and more than 10,000 per acre several different times.”
“I feel that we made one-half bale more on each acre we dusted than we would have had we not used BHC.”
He said he appreciated the recommendations and assistance offered in his tests by E.S. Bondy, entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and W.M. Kulash, entomologist for the N.C. Agricultural Experiment Station at State College.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Corn Club Boy's Letter to Editor, 1916

Letter to the Editor, February, 1916, The Southern Planter
Before I had time to thank Mr. Perry for my Corn Club pin, here comes along a card stating that I am to have the Southern Planter for a whole year. Gee! It’s nice to be a Corn Club boy. I know I shall get lots of help from your valuable paper and I wish to thank both you and Mr. Perry.
I would like to tell the Corn Club boys how to treat a hillside to conserve moisture and keep it from washing. With a two-horse plow, we open a deep furrow, throwing the dirt down the hill, forming trenches as furrows about 12 inches apart. We fill these trenches with any kind of litter, like leaves, stalks, etc. When the winter rains come, the water sinks into these trenches instead of washing down hill. After each rain we fill up any space that may have washed over. A little trouble, but it is worth while.
Best wishes for you, Mr. Perry, and the Corn Club boys.
--Burton White, Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

Mrs. Edison Davenport Writes of Her Mackeys Home

The following essay by Mrs. Edison Davenport of Mackeys, N.C. (Washington County) won third place in the state in the A.C.W.W. essay competition “The Rural Home.”

“Suitsme! What a clever name for your place!” My neighbor left off hanging out clothes and came to the fence to look at the little sign Joe Polack had just hung.
“Guess people’ll think it doesn’t take much to suit me, if this does,” I laughed. My glance took in the white frame cottage with green blinds, the newly mowed lawn and the riot of red roses on fence and trellis.
Joe Polack gave me a queer look as he straightened up from picking up the hammer he’d dropped. Instantly I was ashamed, ashamed that I had spoken so lightly of the much I had when he and his sad-eyed wife had so little. His name was not really Joe Polack, but some unpronounceable Polish one. We village folks had dubbed him Joe Polack when Father William installed him and his family of five in the humble little house at the edge of the village.
“I had a good little house too back home in Poland,” Joe said in his funny, broken English. “And a good business making shoes before….” He left the sentence unfinished and that haunted look came into his eyes. It was always there when he spoke of the horrors of that time. He turned abruptly and went around the house to finish mowing the grass.
My neighbor when back to her clothes line, but I stood where they’d left me looking at the new sign. It lacks a lot of suiting me, I thought. What woman is ever completely satisfied with her home! I tried to excuse myself for my light remark about my adequate little home. I still have plans and dreams for it, but if those dreams never materialize, it is comfortable, fairly attractive and full of priceless memories.
My thoughts went back 25 years to the way it looked when we moved in, a bleak January day in the middle of the depression. Like Joe, we had a much more pretentious house in those pre-depression days and my husband had a good mercantile business in a thriving little Carolina home. But both house and business where swept away in the debacle of 1929 and we were back where we’d started 10 years before with the exception of our three growing children and our dreams for them.
Like Joe and his family of five, we, too, were displaced persons. Even so, we were much more fortunate than Joe. We had somewhere to go, back to the old homestead where my husband’s people had lived for generations. We were fortunate in securing work, my husband with a wholesale concern and I a position as teacher in the consolidated village school.
“The house is large enough for all of us,” my husband’s mother said generously and then giving me a bright, keen look added laughingly, “but Mary will agree with me when I say ‘Not even in those mansions on the heavenly plan can two women live happily who love the same man.’”
How wise and understanding she was! I gave her a squeeze and contributed my bit of nonsense, “For while on their golden harps they sing and play, their words and wings and music get in each other’s way.”
The very satisfactory outcome of our poetic little spasm was that we were to have our choice of one of the tenant houses on the farm.
And so not long after a truck filled with all our worldly belongings backed up to the narrow front porch of the weatherbeaten little five room house and we moved in, grateful for shelter, warmth and privacy.
The years that followed are full of memories of good times and bad, of struggles with the frozen pump on the wind-swept back porch, wood stoves and ashes, kerosene lamps, out-door toilets, flies and mosquitoes, ice men who forgot to bring ice, weeds and bare, hard-swept yards.
Before the end of the first summer there came a day of celebration when my husband and small son finished screening the windows and the porches. We celebrated by throwing away the smudge can and having lemon ade and cookies on the insectless front porch.
There was plenty of wood on the farm and the faithful old Wilson heaters kept us warm, while the kerosene lamps did their bit to dispel the gloom as we hovered under them on winter evenings to read and study. The following Christmas an Aladin mantle lamp replaced the three glass lamps on the living room table and scattered us about the room to more comfortable reading distances.
By the next summer the weeds had disappeared from the yard, but only a few venturesome sprigs of grass dared to peep through the hard-packed earth, mindful of their losing battle against former vigorously plied yard brooms. The view from under the high front porch of the wash pot and wood pile in the back yard was not inspiring, to say the least, and the unobstructed view of the sagging, dejected looking out-door toilet didn’t improve the scenery.
That spring I joined the local Home Demonstration Club and attended the spring federation meeting. The speaker took her text on underpinning and screening with native shrubs. I could scarcely wait to get back home to raid the woods for gall berry, myrtle, dogwood and redbud to set out to hide the view, but was far too impatient to wait for them to grow.
I talked underpinnings incessantly and soon made a convert of my husband who sent the local handy man up to take the necessary measurements. It wasn’t long before neat green lattice work shut off the view of wash pot and wood pile and a high lattice fence between the front and back yard served the same purpose for the not-so-decorative toilet.
By the next spring, I was an enthusiastic home demonstration member and even had the audacity to enter my yard in the yard beautification contest. I saw no reason why my few springs of grass and punny shrubs shouldn’t be judged beautiful. They were beautiful to me. The judges went around the yard, taking notes and making suggestions. Finally they stopped at my special pride and joy, a newly planted climbing rose. Looking from the wee bus to the towering trellis above, one of the judges remarked dryly, “We’ll have to give you credit for optimism, Mrs. Davenport.”
Optimism and youth were about all we had in those years, but they paid off in rich dividends of happiness, family cooperation and an ever growing pride in our little home.
Painting the house the next fall was a family affair with my husband doing most of the work and the children and I displaying more energy and enthusiasm than skill as house painters. By Christmas the inside as well as the outside was pick and span with new paint, and we felt that the Ultima Thule of good things had been reached when Santa brought the family a battery radio set.
That was the winter I tried cooking by long distance and discovered that even water can’t be boiled successfully while listening to Kate Smith bring the moon over the mountain four rooms removed from the kitchen stove. Despite the burned biscuits, overcooked vegetables and overdone meats, it was a grand experience, and our living room was often filled with friends and neighbors.
The children were in high school now and the radio was an attraction for the young people who invariably trooped out to the kitchen sometime during the course of the evening for a raid on the ice box or to make a pan of chocolate fudge. This custom finally brought on a domestic upheaval joked about in the family to this day and energetically engineered by myself at the time.
That particular evening my husband and I left the living room up to the young people and and settled ourselves in bed with books and papers for the dual purpose of improving our minds and keeping from freezing. The arrangement of the house was not conducive to privacy with one room, then the living room, across a narrow hall, and the other four rooms in a long ell opening into one another and out to the back porch. Ordinarily the young people made their raids on the kitchen via the long back porch, but that night they chose to avoid the cold outside by going through the house. My husband and I gave vehement, but muffled protest from underneath the blankets over our heads, but to no avail. When they were all back in the living room one more we came out from under cover and I vowed that I would make some arrangements for more privacy the very next day.
When my husband came home the next evening I had literally turned the house front side back. He found himself sleeping where the kitchen had been, with walls and ceiling a little begreased, it is true, but heavenly private. The girls’ bedroom across the hall where the living room had been was private too, and Bill drew the semi-privacy of the studio couch in the dining room.
“But this was the kitchen!” my dear bewildered family kept saying. “Whoever heard of sleeping in the kitchen!” After such unorthodox doings my husband and children concluded that they never need by surprised at anything I did.
Soon the sound of hammering was heard from our small house far into the night and beneath the blows the walls between the living room and hall, like the walls of Jerico, came tumbling down. When the debris was cleared away we found ourselves with a nice, big living room 22 by 15 feet, opening into a 15 by 15-foot dining room. Dusty pink walls, built-in book shelves, a mulberry rug with blue and mulberry draperies worked a transformation and the coming of the power line with the installation of electric lights made the metamorphasis complete for the time being.
The next years were full of getting the children through college and two of them married. We had scarcely gotten accustomed to being grandpa and grandma before World War II was upon us and our son left his little family to enlist with Uncle Sam and our youngest daughter joined the Marines.
I tried to take our son’s place in the store, but despite my assiduous efforts, the proverbial bull in the China shop had nothing on me in a hardware store. When the war was over and our son was back, my husband succumbed to a nervous break down from the strain of trying to make a hardware saleswoman out of me.
“It would be much more sensible of you folks would move to town where your business is,” our friends often said to us during those difficult war years of driving under gas rationing. We admitted they were right and even bought a lot in town and consulted an architect about plans for a house, ironically deciding upon a four bed room house with a recreation room in the basement now that our children were grown and we no longer needed it.
While we debated and discussed the matter of building one year slid into another and we found ourselves making changes and improvements in our little home with the view to renting it, if and when we built in town. We made a bath room at the end of the back porch and closed in the rest of the porch as a utility room. The much ridiculed kitchen bedroom still remains the bed room, conveniently opening into the bath and boasting a big closet, new floor and new walls painted a soft grey with yellow curtains and bed spread. It is here with the sun streaming in through the south window on winter mornings that I read and write and spent many a contented hour with no need for long distance cooking, as it joins the kitchen.
The kitchen, too, has undergone a face lifting with new walls and floors, electric stove, cabinets, refrigerator and automatic washing machine forming a U with the double sink unit occupying the end under the two south windows that overlook my favorite corner of the lawn. Across the room under two large windows, giving cross ventilation, is the breakfast nook looking out upon trees and shrubs which fully justified the optimism of those first years.
Prodded by the children to come to town where they are all living, we revive our building discussion at intervals, but always wind up by laying the plans away while my husband says, “In another year or two perhaps we’ll build. Now is not a good time.”
“By then,” I usually add, “the trees and shrubs on our lot will be much larger. I just can’t bear the idea of a brand new house with no shade.” But both of us know we’re not deluding ourselves nor each other: we really have no desire for a new house; our hearts are too deeply rooted here. Here I stand reminiscing! The new name came suddenly into focus.
The children and grandchildren, all 16 of them, were coming for supper to celebrate the installation of our new television set. There was the asparagus to cut and the strawberries to pick. No time to be sentimentalizing! Suitsme! Not a bad name at all! The new sign was a little obscured by the mist in my eyes.
“All through, Mrs. Davenport!” Joe Polack came around the corner and saw me standing where he’d left me still looking at the name plate.
“It’s good,” he said, his eyes too resting upon the name.
“Very good, Joe,” I replied. “And there’s no reason why you couldn’t have one just as good some day.”
“Sure!” Joe flashed me a white toothed smile as he jingled the money I gave him in his pocket. “America is a good country.”
“Suitsme!” I said laughingly over my shoulder as I hurried into the house.
This essay is located in the Special Collections Research Center at D.H. Hill Library, N.C. State University, Raleigh.

Overcoming Adversity When the Country's at War, 1945

Written by Frank Jeter, State College Extension Service editor, and published in the Wilmington Morning Star, Jan. 15, 1945

Hard luck came to the Culpepper family of Kitty Hawk in Dare County when the tropical storm last September blew away their modest home. They should have been definitely discouraged and downcast. They should have called the Red Cross and other welfare organizations for help. But instead, the record shows that the father got busy and cleared away the debris as quickly as he could. Then he built a small home 14 feet by 18 feet in which to house his family. The next thing he did was to clear up a small garden plot about 20 feet square adjacent to the home. This plot of ground he turned over to his 13-year-old son, Horace, and the boy immediately planted collards, turnips, rutabagas, Hanover salad, and other fall vegetables. All the fall and into the winter the family ate greens from their own garden. They had plenty for themselves and some to share with neighbors who also had suffered from the storm. Only recently, Horace applied for a shipment of cork oak seedlings and will plant these about the family holdings with the idea that some day the seedlings will develop into mature trees producing badly needed cork bark.
But these cork oaks are another story. Right now we are concerned with the garden work done by this family. All of us should be interested because it seems that North Carolina citizens, both rural and urban, plan to plant fewer gardens in 1945. As a matter of fact, our record was not so good in 1944. Many townspeople found out that it takes some work to have a garden and they became discouraged when they found it hard to get a man and a mule to break the soil. They learned that gardening is not simply placing a few seed in the earth but that fertilizers or manure must be used; that the young vegetables much be cultivated; insects and diseases must be fought; and dry weather must be reckoned with. Then, too, when the vegetables finally were produced, they did not always have the perfect appearance that had been indicated by the color pictures in the seed catalogues. Added to this, the gardener found that ration points had been removed from many of the processed foods and these could be obtained from the grocery shelves. Either that or he could go to the nearby market and get all the fresh vegetables that he needed.
This may not be the situation in 1945. Fanatical Nazi-controlled Germans have been the cause of some somber news for us since Christmas day. We have become complacent over the progress of the war and perhaps now we shall have to tighten our belt a bit. War Mobilizer Jimmy Byrnes says that the last great reservoir of young, virile manpower is to be found on the farms and that these young men are needed in the ranks of the armed forces. It does not matter how much food these boys are producing, how many cows they are milking or how many chickens they are feeding—the Army needs them, and only the old folks, the man and his wife, will remain on the home farm. These folks can do just so much and they must cut the garment to fit the cloth. Vegetables require a great amount of hand labor and if this hand labor is not available, they cannot be grown and harvested. This means that the man on the land will grow enough for his own needs first and then do what he can towards feeing his fellow citizens in towns and cities.
But then again, the needs of the armed forces come first. Just as trucks loaded with poultry have been commandeered in the eastern markets in the past few weeks, just as the army may have to divert truck and car loads of fresh vegetables from the commercially producing areas into the warehouses of the Service of Supply, men in the Army eat more than men in the office. War is a hearty eater and while soldiers and sailors require more food than civilians we must never forget that those who work in munition factories forging the implements of war also must be fed. ….
All these things but emphasize the great need for as much food as possible to be produced at home. More gardens are needed in towns and among sharecroppers and tenants, particularly in the tobacco-growing areas.
How long this will continue, no one knows; but certainly it is only patriotic for every citizen with a suitable plot of land to grow as much of his food supply as possible. He must never forget that food is ammunition.
James Byrnes headed the federal government's Economic Stabilization Office and the Office of War Mobilization during World War II. Byrnes, had represented South Carolina in the House of Representatives and the Senate and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1942. He left the court in 1942 to work on economic stabilization and mobilization, and was Secretary of State from 1945-1947. He was elected governor of South Carolina in the early 1950s.

Friday, February 15, 2013

'Keeping Things in the Family' by Gladys White

“Keeping Things in the Family” by Gladys B. White, from Special Memories: A Collection of Stories by Chowan County Extension Homemakers
All families have many interesting things in their families—some they want to share and others that are deep dark secrets.
After C.B. Sr. and I had been married for over 20 years, C.B. Jr. and his wife got a divorce. After several years, C.B. Jr. carried us to Louisiana and Mississippi to visit relatives. We had visited both places and had returned to Mississippi on our way home. At the supper table one night, C.B. Jr. remarked that he had been to two places and no one had said anything about a woman he could take out. His aunt remarked that they were all too old.
On the way home, the idea hit me all of a sudden that my youngest sister was available. The Lord planted the idea I am sure. I remarked that C.B. Jr. had said that no one thought about him and that I was going to fix him good. I told him that Patsy was available and that she was one year younger than he is. C.B. Jr. was so surprised he slowed down the car.
We had already planned to stop by Patsy’s to see Mother, as we passed through Lumberton.
I told Patsy what had been said and she did not answer me. After we arrived home, C.B. Jr. called me three times to see if I had called Patsy to see if he could call her. He had her name and telephone number already. When I called Patsy, she said “Yesssss, he seemed like a nice young man.”
C.B. Jr. called her that very night and they talked every day and were together every weekend until December 15 that year, when they were married.
Now I am both stepmother and sister-in-law and C.B. Sr. is both father and brother-in-law.
All is well in the family and we are very happy by keeping everything in the family.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Currituck Calls, Winter Edition, 1965

Currituck Calls: The Voice of Home Demonstration Clubwomen, Winter Edition, 1965
We are six years old! During the six years of our life, we have been learning all the time. We have grown in that we now visit more than 900 homes with each issue. I believe when we started back in February 1959, we visited only about 350. For the interest, understanding, patience, faith, that you—our friends—have given us, we thank you most sincerely. We hope that our coming into your homes has helped in uniting all of us, friends and club members, into a closer relationship. We hope, also, that we shall be sharing our ideas, thoughts, plans, and ideals for many more years.
Over the Back Fence
Joann Ringer of Coinjock Club is teaching her young daughters, Judy and Suzy, to make doll clothes. This is good training and, no doubt, will create an interest which will lead to sewing for themselves when they get older. Pauline Woodard proudly showed her new feather hat at a recent meeting. Members discussed ways to raise money for their treasury.
Crawford members entertained their husbands with dinner at a local restaurant for the January meeting. This has become an annual event since it was first started with a covered dish supper when the club was very young. They also plan to help with the Currituck Ruritan Club’s Valentine Dance on February 13.
Mollie Hampton’s husband, Paul, was quite helpful when she was hostess for the Gibbs Club meeting recently. Mollie served homemade cake, but she said Paul continued to bring cookies and candy every time he went to the store before the meeting. He was afraid the refreshments would run out. The ice cream he brought to serve with Mollie’s cake was delicious, too!
Ilys Outlaw, Foods Leader of Grandy Club, gave a special demonstration on “How to Prepare a Steak” when the club met with Norma Barco. They welcomed a new member, Mrs. George Hall, as well as two visitors, Thelma Morgan (Shawboro) and Mrs. Elwood Lupton. Mary corbel gave a report on hand care. That seems to be a timely report since hands surely need special care during the winter months.
Another helpful husband is Jarvisburg’s Grace Forbes’ husband, Ike. Grace says he was a great help in making fruit cakes, which they baked and sold before Christmas. It was quite a project since they produced around 170 pounds of cakes! Gladys Fisher brought a clothes sprinkler to club meeting which was made by her daughter-in-law using a plastic detergent bottle. Quite an attractive and useful gadget. Tops can be purchased in any dime store and any colorful plastic bottle will do. Mattie Wright has decided to do some more needlepoint. Her chair seat turned out so well, she is thinking of doing a picture now. Eva Sawyer surprised her daughter, Joyce, with a nice white hand-knit sweater for Christmas. Since Joyce is away at school, Evan didn’t have a problem in keeping her knitting a secret.
Mildred Strawhand, Knotts Island member, says she’s really enjoying the new stereo which she got for Christmas. Madeline Waterman’s friends recently entertained in honor of her birthday. (No one said how old she was, so we’ll just say “over 21”—and Happy Birthday!) Pauline Munden has been doing screen painting recently. Trust Pauline to always have some interesting and beautiful project underway. Catherine Etheridge still likes to knit and does very pretty work.
Poplar Branch members are giving their clubhouse a shower! They are each bringing a crystal plate to match the punch bowl set they bought with their “Best Club” prize money. They are also discussing the possible staging of a variety show which they want to give in the near future. More about this later; it will probably be in April. A new member, Avis Atherton, was welcomed to this group. Dorothy Grandy was a visitor. These hard-working members served the Poplar Branch Ruritan Club for the January dinner meeting.
Ethel Sawyer, Powells Point Club member, can say goodby to dishpan hands—her children gave her a dish washer for Christmas! Zelda Sumrell got quite a bang out of Christmas! Near noon on Christmas Eve, the bottom unit of her stove blew up and since she was planning on eight for dinner the next day, she almost blew up, too! However, by late afternoon she had a new unit installed and everything was fine—just a little delayed. Frances Doyal’s home should be “spanking new.” We hear she’s still painting and decorating. Bernie Sawyer’s kissing ball and Gladys Owens’ Madonna arrangement were among the most beautiful Christmas decorations this year. Zelda Sumrell’s play at the holiday party was most impressive, we heard.
Hilda Forehand of the Shawboro Club says the only night her daughter, Mary Jo, goes out is to her club meeting with her mother. She is a happy 3-year-old when this time comes. Recently after going home from the meeting and saying her prayers, Mary Jo added, “Thank you, Lord, for Home Demonstration club.” Hilda is also very active in her church work. Kay Gregory is happy to have husband Harold home from the hospital, and James Ferebee and Nancy are also happy to have Ann home from her visit to the hospital. Evelyn Griffin and Sara Forbes showed their fellow club members beautiful arrangements of Flemish Flowers they had made. Since so many have asked, “What are Flemish Flowers, here is the answer as best we could find out. The Flemish Flower arrangements reflect a design copied after the study of Flemish paintings of the Old Masters. The two outstanding painters of flower arrangements were Peter Castells, a Flemish artist, and Jan Van Heysum, a Dutch artist. The designs they used in flower arranging were oval and quite massed; however, the artist never seemed to crowd his work; but by profiling some of his work and showing the back others, created the desired effect. The containers were massive and usually made of metal, alabaster, or glas, which were all footed. Often the flowers almost concealed the containers.
Most of the Southside Club members are taking the Amateur Radio Course, which is being taught by Phyllis Peters’ husband, Mason. They all hope they are good students and pass their test. Clarine Doxey is busy sewing, as usual. She’s recently made suits, skirts, dresses, and blouses for her daughters and herself. Clarine’s family is always smartly dressed, due in good measure, to her cleverness with the needle. They say the 4-H Livestock Banquet, which this club served, was a great success. Guess who spilled the tea? Annie Scaff, Olive Bateman, and Rosalie Jones are very helpful neighbors. When Carson and Jean Mathews killed hogs recently, they came over to help. Could it be that Jean’s good cooking had something to do with getting such willing workers? Southside’s contest is captained by sisters-in-law Rosalie Jones and Clarine Doxey. Wonder who will win. This group always has a project going an dboth sides will rack up many points we are sure.
Shingle Landing girls held a workshop recently on refinishing picture frames. They met in Jack and Clara Reese Whitehurst’s workshop, which was an excellent place for their project. They met two nights—cleaning the frames the first night and refinishing the frames the second night. Everyone decided that Ann Miller’s and Phyllis Evans’ minds weren’t completely on their work because they were observed dipping their paint brushes in their coffee! Earl and Bonnie Springle, Randolph and Barbara Luton, Phyllis Evans, Ann Miller, Graythel Coppersmith, Lee Ferrell, and Clara Reese Whitehurst each finished a frame. Mrs. Sanderlin helped them with her advice and know-how. Ann Sanderlin (James Allen’s wife) joined the club at the January meeting. Bonnie Springle’s “quickie dessert” was a hit. Here it is: 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, a can of fruit; mix together and bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.
Lucille Shackley and Pauline Creekmore of the Virginia Edwards Club attended the workshop on Flemish flowers. Lucille made an arrangement and took it home to show her club members. Mildred Gilbert says she recently bought some crepe and lost ¼ yard trying to even it before cutting. She says she should have known better because she had learned through club demonstrations how to tell when material is off-grain, but she just made a bad purchase. Don’t fret, Mildred, we all do things like that when we really know better. Sudie Winindger is the new treasurer of this club.
Waterlily Club was delighted at their January meeting to have 14 present! Alice Curles was welcomed as a new member. Hettie Gray brought a lovely arrangement of camellias from her garden to the meeting and Fern Davis served pumpkin cake to those present. It was decided to have another attendance contest this year. There will be the same names, the Ducks and Geese. Several of the Waterlily members, like those from other clubs, will be working on the Heart Drive. June Twiford is Currituck County director this year.
County Capers
It wouldn’t be wise to trust Daphne Yon and Ethel Smith (Poplar Branch Club) to find their way about in any city. They can’t even find the way to Gregory right here in their own county! Maybe next time they’d better use a road map. Anyway, when they finally arrived late to the club meeting they were visiting, the hostess, Hilda Forehand (Shawboro Club), graciously forgave them and they certainly enjoyed the meeting.
So many clubs have reported wonderful Christmas parties with unusual programs and beautiful decorations. Just now the holidays seem long time past, but we have pleasant memories to last us through the year. May we also share another poem by Viola Overton Midgett which she sent to us the other day.
A Glorious New Year
If you walk each day with the Master
   Let Him lead all the way,
Commit your lives to Him daily,
   Have courage, be faithful, and pray;
If you walk each step with the Master,
   There’s nothing you need fear,
Rely on His word, abide in His will
   Then yours will be a Glorious New Year.

We will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Home Demonstration Clubs this year. The committee to work out plans for marking this important milestone will work under the overall chairman, Fay Forbes, County Publicity Leader (Shingle Landing Club). Serving on the committee are: North of Coinjock, Thelma Morgan (Shawboro), Alice Scaff (Virginia Edwards), and Pauline Woodard (Coinjock); Daphne Yon (Poplar Branch), Zelda Sumrell (Powells Point), and Gladys Fisher (Jarvisburg). The Fall Federation will climax this 40th year celebration and the committee in charge of this will be Bertie Erickson, Mildred Markert, and Mary Ann Hardesty.
At the County Council meeting in the Courtroom the other day, Zelda Sumrell thought she was seeing things at first; however, a second look showed her that her eyes were still good and the Courthouse clock really was going backward! In calling attention to this, Zelda said, “I’ve heard of time going backward, but today is the first time I’ve seen it happen.”
Beautiful feather hats made and worn by members at the Council meeting were much admired. Mary Watkins, Pauline Woodard, and Mary Outlaw looked mighty smart in theirs while Rosa Guard’s fur hat made from a coat collar looked very nice, too.
Grace Austin of the Currituck County Library Staff has arranged a shelf devoted to Home Demonstration-approved books. This makes your selection much easier. You can see what’s available when you visit your library or bookmobile.
Since Family Life is the major project in our club work this year, club members, ministers, and other interested friends will be given a list of Family Life books that are in the library. These books cover family live problems and age groups. All of us are urged to learn more about family life problems and solutions through good reading.
Postmasters are good at locating their patrons. Recently mail came to Shawboro Post Office addressed: Mr. and Mrs. East Ridge Road, Shawboro, N.C. Believe it or not, it was delivered to the right family on East Ridge Road!
Junie Winslow decided he would surprise Molly just before Christmas and shell some pecans whole. He had read the directions in an issue of Currituck Calls. He was getting quite disgusted when Molly got home because the nuts did not come out whole. Then he discovered that he had not done one important thing—he had not let the nuts come to a boil and had only soaked them. As Junie knows now, this will not work!
Norma Barco says she will bring her own glasses to club meeting next time. She had to lead the singing with borrowed “specs” and they didn’t work too well for her.
Ethel Sawyer (Powells Point) is starting a sewing class for beginners in her community. One of them is interested in getting an old sewing machine. If you have one that is for sale, let Ethel know about it.
The February demonstration will be Combining Styles of Furniture. This will be followed by a county demonstration on February 24 at Coinjock Clubhouse at 1:30 p.m. Mrs. Claris B. Cooper of Norfolk will use different types of materials with various styles of furniture. Rooms in color will be setup to show floor coverings, drapes, and furniture. Floor coverings will be shown and discussed by Mr. I.G. Craig of Norfolk. Doesn’t that sound interesting, Homemakers?
A Fine Arts Meeting was held at Knapp High School recently. Mrs. John D. Welch of Moyock represents Currituck County on the Fine Arts Council of Albemarle Area, and she presided at the meeting. Dr. Clifford Bair, Associate Professor of Music, College of the Albemarle; and Mrs. Ross Inglis, Fine Arts Council Chairman, spoke to those present. It was suggested that Currituck County people participate with the Elizabeth City group until our county can create enough interest to form their own classes. Many services could be made available to the people of the county if as many as 15 want them; such as, crafts of several kinds, dancing for children, music classes, and many other arts. It is hoped that Currituck will soon form a Fine Arts Council of their own!
Thank You
The Home Demonstration Clubs of Currituck County want to express their appreciation to Daphne Yon, Editor of Currituck Calls, for the six years she has given to the paper. A devoted and capable editor, she has been outstanding in promoting understanding and cooperation within her county and among the clubs. Under her soft-voiced leadership, the Home Demonstration story has been spread in an enlightening way. We don’t say it often enough, but “Thank you, Daphne.”

Monday, February 11, 2013

Farming as a Career, 1938

From the Charlotte Observer, Feb. 11, 1938
F.H. Jeter, news editor of the State Extension bureau, addressed some 150 Mecklenburg 4-H club members at their annual banquet last night on “Learning to Serve.”
… “Pick an occupation in which you can be efficient and in which you can best serve humanity,” he said. “High school and college students frequently fail to get adequate information about the vocation they plan to enter. Because a young fellow gets tired of milking cows on the farm, he gets an idea that law would be a fine profession for him. But the chances are his best opportunity for success would be back on the farm.”
Mr. Jeter said that the farm offers one of the rosiest outlooks today of any vocation. He said it offered a great challenge to 4-H members because of the many changes that will take place in agriculture in the coming years.
Mr. Jeter urged the club members to own property. “Owning property carries a stimulant that makes for good citizenship,” he said. “Owning a farm is worth every bit of the hardships and heartaches entailed in the procedure.”
Members of the 4-H club were urged to take up where their parents left off in breeding and raising better varieties of corn, grains, and legumes and carry on by breeding better livestock and raising finer crops.
Other guests present were L.B. Altman and Mrs. Estelle Willis, both district agents of Raleigh; L.R. Harrill, State 4-H Club Leader of Raleigh; Oscar Phillips, county agent; Mrs. Pauline W. Taylor, demonstration agent; Max W. Culp, assistant farm agent; and demonstration agents and club members from Union and Anson counties.
Eugene Berryhill, president of the County Service Club, 4-H Club alumni organization, was toastmaster. The banquet was held in the new Extension building across the street from the courthouse.
The 4-H Quartet composed of Betty Welch, Catherine Hayes, John Brown Neel, and Harold Garrison, and and a Professor Quiz contest was conducted by R.D. James Jr.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Start Your Garden Now, 1937

“Gardens Should Be Started” by Jane S. McKimmon, State Agent and Assistant Director, North Carolina Extension Service, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the February, 1937 issue of the Carolina Co-Operator
With the advent of the warm sunny days and the colorful seed catalogues, the impulse to get out with “green things agrowing” is irresistible.
It is the little garden behind the house that enables the woman to get away from indoor worries and makes her think of her garden as a “lovesome spot.”
If she is to do the cultivating, her garden should be anchored where only a step or two is necessary when plants are needing attention or when the time is just right for sowing seed or for gathering the daily supply of vegetables.
With the man it is different. If ploughing, planting, and cultivation are turned over to him, he usually finds it more convenient to plant a row or two of tomatoes, beans, corn, or cabbage out in the cotton or tobacco patch where he can plough or cultivate them when he cultivates his crops and this type of gardening is very efficient.
If every farmer in North Carolina would do just this and be sure that he added the turnips, collards, kale, or onions for green things in the fall and winter, he would be growing the vegetables that would protect his family from many diseases caused by lack of variety in the food they eat.
Greens Give Red Blood
Turnip salad, collards, cabbage, tomatoes, and all the pods, tubers, and roots such as peas, beans, beets, potatoes, and carrots do many wonderful things for our bodies. They furnish iron and phosphorus for good red blood, lime, and other things for bones and teeth, starch for fat and energy, and protein for muscle building.
Neither can we be in good condition without the various vitamins which green vegetables contain, and the roughage and laxative juices of green leaves and tubers aid greatly in the prevention of constipation. Even the cow knows that green things are good for her, and it is well for us that she browses on sprouts, buds, shoots, and the grasses of the pasture and turns over to us the vitamins and minerals she thus stores away in her milk.
If every person who has the land would grow a garden and learn how to prepare and serve the vegetables they grow, our doctors’ bills would be cut in half and we would be able to boast of the brawn of our men as well as the acreage of our crops.
Gardens Pay Good Returns
Gardens make bigger returns for the money invested than any other farm operation. Oh no, all the returns are not in money. Far from it. Most of them are in health returns for the family. A Negro farmer in Alamance County said:
“My family has had more to eat this year than we have had since we have been housekeeping, and we have lived better than ever. We raised the vegetables and chickens for the family, and the cow furnished the milk. We have had plenty of everything except money, but we know now that when you have a plenty of everything around you, it doesn’t take much money.”
Some of us, I know, are going to be only lettuce and radish gardeners, the kind who get enthusiastic in the cool days of spring and plant the seed that show quickest results. The first hot day usually sees this gardener’s hand plough and hoe laid aside, but the man who will stick to his job and grow plenty of summer vegetables will not only have them for daily use but will be able to can a big part of his food supply for winter.
New Use for Old Furniture in Chatham County
In the general clearing out of rubbish and unused things in Chatham kitchens and barns, many beautiful pieces of old furniture were brought to light.
As one scorer said, “We found a corner cabinet over a hundred years old and a carved day bed you would give your eyeballs for.”
But these valuable things are not going out of those families to which they belong. The refinished day bed will have the place of honor in the living room and will be covered with an old blue hand-woven coverlet made many years ago by members of the family. Old mantels, wide old floor boards and other things of beauty and memory will abide in their old setting we hope. Perhaps something of what has been contributed by all the people who have used these furnishings and have lived in these homes will abide there also.
Who Is the Well-Dressed Woman?
The well-dressed woman knows her possibilities. She knows her good points and her bad ones, and she has learned to cover up her defects and to bring out her good points.
She looks well to her lines if she is to make the most of every inch of her height, and she must know what to do to minimize her too generous flesh if she keeps up with her stream-lined sisters.
The farm woman along with her town contemporary is learning what a good appearance will do for her and she is putting what she learned into effect.
The home agent in McDowell County says:
“I hear this from interested women everywhere: ‘I am glad that I know how to make my old dress and hat into a 1937 model and that a fresh collar and a new scarf will do wonders toward bringing me up to date.’ Women call it pepping up the old clothes.
“Chicken or pigeon feathers which have been dipped in shellac and used on hats rival in smartness the best store accessories and it was good to see how a feather on the hat brings a smile to the face of the wearer.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What It Took to Get and Keep a Job in 1937

Jane McKimmon didn’t address one of her usual a farm or home issues in the following article. Instead, she gave advice for the young woman seeking a business career. Here’s what the Roy H. Park, editor of the Carolina Co-Operator had to say about the need for this article in the magazine.
“Perhaps no other person in the State is turned to more for advice as often as Dr. McKimmon. Hundreds of farm girls who have secured or plan to secure training and want to take up business as a career have asked her advice for getting ahead. This article is being printed with the hope that it will be of value to farm girls and farm women who either by choice or necessity are entering the business world.—R.H.P.”
“Going Forward in Business” by Jane S. McKimmon, State Agent and Assistant Director, North Carolina Extension Service, N.C. State College, Raleigh, as published in the February, 1937 issue of the Carolina Co-Operator
Just the other day I heard a man from the West say how much he was impressed by the type of women who served as stenographers in North Carolina. He spoke of their dignity and self-respect and said good breeding was evident in the way they conducted themselves and in the standards maintained to their social relations.
Training means much, but it is not all. A woman does not get far unless she has the tools which her work demands and a good stenographer must be able to take dictation easily and record what her employer says understandingly.
Speed? Well, speed may be desirable, but the number of words a stenographer types per minute is of far less importance than her ability to use those words in their proper sense and to be careful that she records them correctly. Here is an occurrence which may illustrate something of what I mean:
Accuracy—A manufacturer of toilet goods received a most puzzling letter from a firm who whom he had written and whose patronage he was most desirous of securing.
“Dear sir,” said the letter, “We appreciate your remarkable frankness regarding your product and of course shall not give you the order.”
When the manufacturer reread the letter he had dictated to find out what “remarkable frankness” referred, this is what his stenographer had made him say: “Frankly, we have made a study of the best powders and creams, and perfumes manufactured in Europe until we are able to fake them perfectly.”
Of course he meant to say “make” them perfectly. The stenographer struck an “f” for “m”—a little thing!—but it was carelessness that cost her employer a much desired customer.
Attitude—The attitude of a stenographer or secretary in a business man’s office is a factor in maintaining the good will of his callers and goes far towards determining the attitude of possible clients. It also has a noticeable influence on the atmosphere of the whole office. Good manners and courteous and fair treatment of all associates is essential if the morale of the office is to be high.
Sometimes I think it would be a good thing for any business man to pay well for a pleasant mannered person to answer his telephone. You can’t help judging the office by the kind of voice that comes over the phone or by the manner in which civil questions are answered.
Being Discreet—There is, too, the matter of discretion. An office woman who can “keep quotable,” who watches her words and furnishes no leakage of what her employer has said in confidence is more to be desired than gold.
Perhaps there is no one thing more disastrous to a well conducted business than an indiscreet confidential clerk, and it is good to see such a large number of Southern women measuring up in filling acceptable positions of trust.
If I were choosing a clerk or stenographer, coming right along first with technical training would be dependability and right attitude, and perhaps in these I would include cheerfulness. A person spends one-half of his waking hours at his business, and life is not worth living if, day by day, one must struggle with a grouchy, disagreeable person, or tread lightly for fear of hurting her feelings. Isn’t it good to be greeted by a cheerful, efficient assistant who brightens the whole office by her cheery smile and eases your responsibility by her self-confident manner in attacking her work.
Good English—Next to dependability and right attitudes comes the use of good English.
In hurried dictation any employer may be careless of his diction or may make useless repetitions. A good stenographer will not let these pass and here is where a knowledge of English will stand her in good stead.
A woman is well equipped who has had the advantage of a good education with emphasis on rhetoric and who has not neglected the study of spelling. Fortunate indeed is she who comes from a family whose every-day English has a background of the proper usage of words.
I would advise much time spent in English courses for the girls who wishes to become proficient in her profession. When one is writing to the president of a university regarding qualifications of a possible entrant, it is not pleasant to be made to say, “She did beautiful,” no matter how contrite the unlearned stenographer is when charged with misunderstanding what was dictated.
Dressing the Part—The North Carolina business woman’s standard of dress, I think, is high. It is a pleasure to walk through the Capitol Square in the morning and see the neatly dressed, well groomed girls on their way to work. Even the shoe heels have come down generally and are more fitted for standing than they used to be. I notice also that there is very little old finery worn to the office.
It is part of a business woman’s stock in trade to look the part. Not only must her dress please by its evident fitness for the job she must do, but it must hold its freshness through the long hours of the day it is worn before a change can be made. Flimsy, elaborate clothing will not do this and business women have discovered this.
Perhaps more emphasis might be laid on dressing for health, and the girl behind the counter could keep a pair of sport shoes for standing even if she changes before she goes out on the street. There is, too, the question of looking after shoe heels to prevent that run-down untidy appearance. Frequent visits to the shoemaker for leveling will prevent this.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wake County Women Build HD Club House; Catawba County HD Women Host Free Chicken Supper, 1936

“Timely News Items” by Jane S. McKimmon, N.C. State College, as published in the February, 1936, issue of the Carolina Co-Operator
Wake Club House
Oakwood Home Demonstration Club House in Wake County was completed in 1935 at a cash expenditure to the community of $484.17. B.W. Weeks, the husband of one club member, donated the land. Charlie Balentine allowed the timber from his land to be cut and sawed for the building and he also gave a wicker chair which he won at a fair to be used in furnishing. Some 20 other men in the community met and helped with the carpentry work and the building was completed in November. It has an assembly room 22 by 34 feet and a kitchen at the rear, 10 by 16 feet in size and is used for all types of community gatherings.
Mrs. Maude McInnes, the home demonstration agent, says the home demonstration club in Oakwood community is a stronger organization because all the neighborhood worked together for the club house.
Chicken Supper
It is interesting to note how people will turn out for food, fun, and frolic. Mrs. Marie Matheson, Catawba Home Demonstration Agent, reports farm families of the county gave a Chicken Pot Pie Supper in the American Legion and Auxiliary hut which that organization offered free of charge.
A supper committee planned for 250 people including the Legion. In spite of the fact that it had been raining all day long, 200 places were filled at the tables.
Someone was sent outside to see how many there were and reported “more on the outside than on the inside—in fact, it looks like Balls Creek Camp Meeting.” Outside and in, 500 people were served, and the home agent reports that there was “plenty left over,” and that servings were great big “country servings.” She further states, “The building was too crowded for the complete program to be carried out, but everyone had a good time. No one got off in a corner alone because all the corners were filled.”