Joe, Edward and Annette Tape 1 of 1 5/1/00
By: Jennifer Mitchell and Kimberly Lancaster
This is an oral history of the Chinese in the Mississippi Delta. The interview is being recorded with Mr. and Ms. Edward and Annette Joe on May 1, 2000. The interviewers are Jennifer Mitchell and Kimberly Lancaster.
KL: Today is May 1, 2000. We are at the home of Edward Joe and Annette Joe. I am Kimberly Lancaster and
JM: Jennifer Mitchell
KL: We are interviewing the Joe’s for the Mississippi Delta Oral History Project. (Tape cut off.) Mr. and Ms. Joe could you tell us a little bit about your parents? How they arrived in the delta?
EJ: My parents came from actually my dad came from Canton, China, at the age of ten or twelve years old. He was a houseboy on a ship that came out of China that came to the United States. He came to Seattle, Washington and from that he migrated to San Francisco. He worked as a houseboy when he as an assistant to Thomas Edison there at Stanford University. From that point, he stayed there, and studied English for several years. He had friends that lived in Mississippi that invited him to come south. So he came across to Chicago and then down by train to Memphis to the delta. This was in 1912, there about. One of the stories he tells back in those days is that it is more wilderness than anything else in the delta. He worked in the business there in Boyle grocery store. They had on Saturday night there was always something going on. He told this story that they thought that it was New Years Eve. People were shooting their guns. He stepped out of the store for just a minute came out on the street and fell over. It was shot. He didn’t think it was New Year’s Eve then. That happens back in those days quite often. In Boyle, he stayed there. Well naturally that is where I was born. My parents after he worked there in the grocery store for several years. Then in 1928, he went back to China and married my mother. He stayed there for a year, and then he came back to the business. Then in 1949, my mother came over from China. My dad raised five children in the grocery business. My oldest brother, Jim Wong, ran a grocery store for a while. Since he was the oldest. He was about ten years older then the rest of us. He ran a business there in Boyle. Then he went to Cleveland. We attended. Back in those days, my oldest brother Jim, when he came to the states he was four or five years old. He went to Boyle school for a couple of years. Back in those days, the delta was still the school division of two schools. There was a black school and a white school. He attended the white school for several years. Then they had the school board decided that because of the situation in Boyle. He had to go to reform measure a private school, a Chinese school in Cleveland. You all know about that obviously. It was out there by the Chinese church. I attended school out there until I was in the sixth grade. Then the Second World War broke out in 1941. For several years we continued to go to school in Cleveland, because of the shortage of gas and situation due to the war. My brother was in the service at that time. He came back and ended up being head of the school board in 1943. We attended a public school in Boyle in 1943. It was probably one of the first schools in the delta that allowed Orientals to go to school. Besides, I think orientals are some and my other except Peter…three brothers attended school in Boyle. All of us graduated from Boyle High School. He finished there at Boyle High School. All four of us attended Mississippi State and finished college there at Mississippi State. Probably the family as well my dad was probably one of the oldest Oriental person in the delta at the time. He was one of the founders of the Chinese School, Chinese Baptist Church there in Cleveland. His grandmother was one of the several founders of the Chinese School in Cleveland. It had a lot of children that came from all over the delta to attend the school there. It was also a school that people had a dormitory. We had a girl’s side that was built for the girls, and a side for the boys. People would come there and spend the school year at the dormitory and go to school. Actually, the school had also English in the morning. We learned English from eight till noon. Then we had Chinese school from one to five. That is probably a long day for children to go to school. I think that it made the children a lot more disciplined in going to school. Most of these young people that attended the school there wind up going to college and becoming professionals. Other than our parents because our parents, the majority of the Chinese in the Mississippi delta were in the merchant business or grocery business. On causing at that time was a language barrier because of them migrating to the delta not knowing enough English, or have some sense of business sense of running a good business for the people there. They catered to the black population. It provided an opportunity for them to raise their family. It could be that during that time in other family life, the Chinese in the Mississippi Delta. Do you want to add to this?
AJ: Well, my grandparents came to Merigold, and gee I don’t know the dates. My dad was born in Merigold in 1916. So it was sometime before that they came. They had a grocery store and owned some property there. They raised five children. Then their five children, which my daddy was right in the middle, I guess. Then daddy took over the store after. Well, he took over the store before the war. Then when he went to the war, my mother and my aunt ran the store. My memories probably begin there. But, I did know my grandmother. She died when I was about five years old. She was something else. She spent a lot of time with me. So I do have memories of her. I did not know my mom’s parents because they never came over. Actually my mother was born in St. Louis. Her father was kind of a lay deacon preacher, a coordinator in the Presbyterian Church there in St. Louis. My grandmother did not like the weather, and then there was a lot that she didn’t like about. She wanted to go back to China. So my grandfather said okay that we will go back. My mother had two brothers in Greenville. She had a sister. They took my mother and her sister back to China when they were children. When they come back to visit. One time mom met dad was during the flood. They were about thirteen years old. They couldn’t get to Greenville because the levy had broken. So my grandfather said, well you know there used to be a man named Gong. I think he lives somewhere in this area. Great-Granddaddy Gong had. I get all mixed up because we have grandchildren. So I get all mixed up with greats. My mother’s daddy called daddy’s daddy. He said sure we have got plenty of room. They had a big house that they lived in near a park. It was a real neat place. He loved fruit trees. He had all kinds of orchards and venures. He just had so much. a well. It was a real neat place. I remember playing school trees. We had a swinging gate in front. The dog would always get out there. We had two dogs. I thought they would get run over out there. I thought I would never have another dog. I don’t want that to happen anymore. Anyway during, well when I was about six. I guess I six years old. We had the store. The store also had a little place. It had a warehouse. Then it had a little kitchen. You know place where you could sleep there. So on Christmas Eve our store burned with everybody’s Christmas, with all of our Christmas. There was a shortage of water. So they tried to cype in water from the bayou which ran through the middle of the town like they usually do. They couldn’t get enough water. So the whole block burned. When it did. We had to find another place to locate the store. So daddy’s daddy owned property across the railroad. It was being used for a drug store. So they asked that man to find another place. He was not very happy about it. He did it anyway. We moved our store over there, and it still exist, The Gong Company. It is still there. My aunt, I don’t think she opens it. She still lives there. She used to open it every once in a while just so she could see people. I don’t know what she does now. I know she has a huge garden out there behind. The house has been torn down. The living quarters are up over the store. What had been the offices for lawyers and doctors and so forth. During the war, dad went to the war. All of our men folk went to the war. So Aunt Sue came back to help mother. She had at that time four children and expecting her fifth one. And so, it was easier for us to go upstairs rather than for us to go across to the house and a safer trip. We lived upstairs. Most of my memories are there. We had a huge area up there. I remember the washing machine. I remember playing school from the rooftop. You could go our on the roof of the next building. We would go out there and play. It was just a fun time. We had a good time. I went to the Chinese school until I was in the fifth grade. I started fifth grade at Boyle. When daddy had came back from the war, he had three unmarried siblings. He said wow I have all these children. He said we would go out and find another place. You all will have this. So they did. They went to Boyle. The main reason why they went to Boyle was because of the school. When we were at war, mother even wrote to the school board and said that my kids are having to be taken to Cleveland to school and it is really hard for us. They were, it was not a happy situation. They wrote her back, and said that if she wanted to go to the black school you may. Though if you don’t you will just continue to get your children up to Cleveland because you are not coming to our school. It was not a happy situation. We went there. We moved to Boyle. We started school there. All my siblings graduated there except that it consolidated with Cleveland when the youngest two or three graduated from Cleveland. There were eight of us. I am the oldest. Ed is the third child in his family. Mom and dad just had a happy time. Daddy loved being in the store. He had lots of friends. We enjoyed living there. His family participated in sports. My daddy would not let the boys get out there and play football. He just though they were just too precious to do that. I don’t know whether it was daddy or mother. One of them did it. So they kept them from doing it. However they let me play basketball. That was really unusual because I don’t think that they let any of the other children. I probably taught them a lesson. I was so bad on the field. You could laugh at me because I couldn’t dribble. Anyway, I don’t think any others did participate beside Steve. Steve did the track at Cleveland. He was pretty good at it. Cause he even came to Jackson when we lived here to be in a meet at Hinds. My baby sister was born when I went to college. You can tell it is a big difference in our ages. She now teaches in Hong Kong and they love living over there. They have a daughter who is about to be in the eighth grade, I think. They have been over there for five or six years. I have sisters and brothers everywhere. I have a brother and a sister here in Jackson. Wanita Gong is my sister and Steven Gong is my brother. Then we have a brother in Georgia. I have a sister in Tennessee. We are kind of spread out. We are every where.
JM: What are all of their names?
AJ: There names, oh my goodness well let’s see. Well Wanita Gong, I am the oldest, and I am Annette. Wanita is next. She is a pharmacist. She is a health care fan. I think you all are going to talk to them aren’t you. Then there was Marian who married a register in Bakersfield, California. (Tape was not able to understand). Then I am going down the line.
EJ: She is the schoolteacher.
AJ: She is a schoolteacher, right. She graduated from Delta State. She did. And let’s see K. W. Junior is a banker in Georgia. Patricia is a nurse in Knoxville, TN. Gwen is in Hong Kong. She is a teacher of Fredric. She got her doctorate from Purdue and her master’s and bachelor’s from Ole Miss. We are just everywhere. We just had a happy time. We were involved in music. We were involved in our church. I think I never. I always knew that I was different because daddy and mother were real strict. The oldest three children were girls. They sure didn’t want anybody coming around. So they were very, very strict. Everybody knew it. So we had a lot of friends. They always had to be at the house. We didn’t just go out. Mother would always be glad to cook and have them come in the living room. But didn’t want us going out. The only time we went out. I think we went to drive in movies. Like you know how you do you just pack up about fifteen in a car. You go out to drive in movies. You sit on top of the cars. You just sit every where and watch the movies. It was really fun. The mosquitoes would eat you up. It was fun. It was about the only type of fun you would have there. We did have dances that were started by the Lucky Eleven. There were eleven Chinese fellows at Mississippi State. They became the lucky eleven. Every Christmas they would give this huge bash. People would come from every where, out of state. Everywhere because they knew we were having it. They would crown a queen every year. Later on of course as a lot of them went to Ole Miss, then they just left it the Lucky Eleven. It included other schools too. They kept it up for along time for many years. That is how we kind of stayed in contact with each other and knew each other. I think Chinese parents were always trying to introduce their children to Chinese children. They noticed that was the thing in. It really was. So that is the environment that I grew up in. We always had music. Our families got together every weekend. We spent probably Sunday together, which was the only day that the store closed. We would play dominoes. Or play cards, poker or whatever mahjong. Or whatever just have fun. And enjoy being together. I think we don’t have enough of that anymore. We are too scattered. And too busy. There were good times. Of course there were bad times too. There were times because as I said we were different. I couldn’t. I remember we came to Jackson, everybody looked at us like we were weird. They didn’t know. I know when I had my first baby. This is hilarious. I had my first baby. Dr. Hendrics came in. He was not my pediatrician. He was in the group with the pediatricians. So he came in. Happened his nurse was in a Sunday school with me. Being so nice, he was explaining to me how to breast-feed my child. He was just explaining and explaining and explaining. I mean, everything you could explain and what to expect. Then he said do you have any questions. I said no I don’t think I could have any questions because you covered it so well. His mouth went OH. He got outside. He said, Francis I didn’t know that she spoke English. She just laughed. She said well she is in my Sunday school Class. I could have told you that. You just didn’t ask. We were in that time; there weren’t that many Orientals around. I think here in Jackson they had some. The ones that were here that married Dutch, Japanese. That was the closest to an Oriental that they would know. It was different. I know a lot of times. When I came here, I graduated for M. U. W. The head of the news department said you need to go and interview. You know Ed is in Jackson working as an accountant at that time. If you want to live in Jackson. (Tape was not able to understand.) They pay well. That is the best paying place in Mississippi. I went over there. It happened that the superintendent of the schools was interviewing. I went in and said hello. He was nice enough. Then he said, well I am sorry to tell you we just don’t anything at the schools at all. I said sir I just came from an interviews department. He said you have tons of vacancies. I said I think I am qualified. I had lots more. I went to Delta State every summer. My year was the first year that they were required a teacher’s certificate. So I got a performance degree, which didn’t include all of the psychology and all the biology and stuff that you have to take for the teacher’s license. I took all of those things. I think that I am very qualified. He said that it has nothing to do with your qualification. Well I want you to tell me why there is not a job. He said well we don’t have a place for you. He said I am not ever going to hire anybody like you. I said well how am I. He said well you are Chinese. I said so. He said well I will never hire you teach in Jackson. I said well thank you very much. I went back over and told my professor. My educational professor is Czechoslovakian. He said want go punch him in the nose. I said oh just forget it. The thing about is there is. You know how God can take a lemon and make lemonade. I think blessings come through struggles. I thought well how am I going to help make a living. I did come here and went to the music department downtown. I said I want my certification. They said that you didn’t need it. You can’t work here so why do you want to be certified. So I never got my certification. Then the lady who denied my certification before she died, she’s a musician, she came to me. I never realize that you would give so much to our community. I appreciate it. I had a lot of words that I could have said to her, but I didn’t. Actually life is probably better for me because I enjoy what I do. Ed has been nice, and they have fostered a lot of workshops and a lot of going for me. I really developed. I love what I do. I am getting better at it all of the time. I don’t have any bitter regrets because I really believe it is because the Lord had a path. You just follow it and it works. It works. So what else do you need to know?
JM: Did you say earlier you had some education in China?
AJ: My mother did. See when she went back as a child, she went to school. She was taught to play the piano actually by a blind teacher. You will not believe, but when she had us she said that we had to have a piano. She went to whatever kind of store it is where you buy anything. It is kind of what we would call a junk or antique store. They called it something else. Anyway she went down there and bought a piano for maybe forty dollars. She put it in her big upright. She bought it because it sounding good. She really had a good ear. I played on that thing until I went to college. We bought an aphosonic. It was good piano. She could play. She would say now you got to teach like they read like they read here because I don’t read the same way. Whatever way you read that is fine. Just stay with it because you are doing right. She would play for the W. M. U., and that is from one or two years from say like eight or nine years old. I tell the people that I teach. If she could do that, then you better do better. You have more opportunities than she did. She was a wonderful person. I wished she was in a condition that you could really get a lot from her because she would know a lot. She has been through a lot more than we’ve had.
JM: I have two questions. The first one is. I think that I understood you say in the early nineteen hundreds perhaps in the late eighteen hundreds it was easier for Chinese to be established in the delta?
EJ: No it was not.
JM: It wasn’t at all.
EJ: A lot of the Chinese came in the delta because it was right after the Civil War. They came up the river to be in the plantations. The plantation owners got them to work in the fields because the blacks refused to work in the fields after the Civil War. (Tape cut off). The Chinese came up to the delta up the Mississippi River from New Orleans by boat to Vicksburg and Greenville. There they were supposed to work in the fields. Well being that they felt that they didn’t want work in the fields either. They were probably more energetic and more fuel than the other people. The started. My dad said that they would cook hotdogs or whatever we could for the black community.
AJ: The cotton pickers would come at five o’clock in the morning. They would come and pick up there lunch.
EJ: Back in those days it was hard. It was not easy.
AJ: It was not easy.
EJ: A nickel was a nickel. My dad said that his business was pretty good. In fact in 1929, they had the crash. Banks in the Mississippi delta went broke. Bolivar County bank where my dad had his deposit in. He had set a hundred dollars worth of cash, which back in those days was a lot of money. They said well we can’t give you any cash. They said but we can give you script for land in the delta. He said, well you know why do I want this swampland out here that wouldn’t raise anything. It would cost you a dollar a year for taxes. Most of the Chinese that came to the delta were in the early. They came for the purpose of only making a fortune or making a living because their family was in China. The first generation was their intention was to make their fortune and go back to China.
AJ: That is right.
EJ: My dad has always before the war, the Second World War, he said that we were going to make our living and go back to China. Well, we were raised in Mississippi, and we didn’t want to go back to China. That is the only generation, the first generation that their main thing was to make their fortune and go back home.
AJ: They were very frugal.
EJ: That was the tradition. In their minds their family was over there. The Second World War changed a lot for everybody. We understand that. We didn’t grow up in it, but it made the people. Mississippi itself saw the world. They saw that there are other people in another world living. I think it changed the attitude of a lot of people. Of all the soldiers that were in the service. A war is bad, but after the Second World War a lot of people came back, and they accepted a lot more. They accepted a lot more of the different. They accepted Chinese a lot more. They accepted Jewish people more in the delta. The delta is a more of a melting pot than else where. You had the Jewish people that were in the dry good business. The Orientals were in the grocery business. The Italians were in the farming. I always thought. It was growing up there that we had our problems. We enjoyed it. When we left the delta to come here. When I went to Mississippi State, kids here have never seen have seen an Oriental. I went to work over in Scott County over there. I went over there as an accountant. The people over there I was a novelty. They looked at you. I still got my work done. They were good people, and they realized who we are. Coming to Jackson from getting out of service. I was in the service for a couple of years and going to work here. I can count the Orientals on my fingers that lived in Jackson. There was only Dr. Gee. He was a doctor and engineer. It was I, and Mr. Don who was a pharmacist. It was about five or six of us. Right now the Oriental population in Jackson is several thousand because of the universities. People are moving in. Most of the concentration of the Chinese was in the Mississippi Delta because of the fact that the first generation of Chinese could make a better living running grocery stores and being part of a community up there. It was black or white or whatever. They were in the middle of the black and white struggle of integration. It probably helped the Orientals out in that process.
AJ: It has just been a lot of change.
EJ: A lot of change. People have changed.
AJ: As people have migrated from different areas like they have. A big factory normally brings people in. You get exposed to different people. It is not that you don’t know other people.
EJ: When I applied for a job, the man I went to work for Mr. Ed Morgan. This was forty years ago. He said you know Ed you can be one of our better person because when you go in these towns out here. They gone know you. If I was to send somebody else out there they are not going to know the way you do good or bad. They gone know you. I remember. I said well let’s (Tape was not able to understand.) I was running my business. You are a minority where people will know you. We have done well in our business. We have tried to raise are families to be that way to. We have two, three kids. They are all college graduates. We are as a second generation we are moving away from those traditions that our parents that raised us up in. I am sure we are more Americanized than anything else right now.
AJ: I work with a lady who was born in China. She is a daughter of missionary parents. She is a missionary doctor. She likes to say that she is more Chinese than Annette is because I was born over there. I didn’t come over here till college. It is true. It is neat. It really is neat. We would probably have more hang ups than anybody because of the way we were raised. It was just so strict. It was just real, real strict. There are a lot of things. I guess there is a lot of change that has happened to us than more than to my parents I am sure. As far as having to adapt to change, I think our generation has had to adapt to it more than anybody. They lived their own life, and they didn’t care what anybody else did. They were going to do what they wanted to do, and just leave me alone. Let me do what I wanted to do, I want bother you, and you don’t bother me. We are more into the stream of what was going on. We have to cope with a lot of things. We are playing sports and being in contests. We are meeting and greeting other people. That has not always been fun. There are a lot of people that would look flat at you. I remember. I have so many stories. I could tell forever, but I won’t tell all of them. This hasn’t been a long time ago. It just blew me away. That my mother was in the hospital and it was one of her when she was had to be in the hospital. I don’t know what it was for. I was staying with her. I guess I came down that morning. I probably went down to breakfast. We always spent the night. I came down and this minister of music was coming in. I hugged him and said hello. I knew him because I had worked him at the Baptist building as a consultant in children’s music. He said well what are you doing here and so forth. We exchanged pleasantries. This man came by and he told him, this guy is still the minister of music. He said, you shouldn’t be caught standing around talking to her. I thought who is he talking about. What is this? Just that kind of thing. If you have never ever had that feeling. You don’t know how it feels until you are the one that they are talking about. I guess through that you learn a lot. You learn a lot through your experience. You can do a lot of things because of your experience that you couldn’t do before. So it is an enabling experience even though it is not very nice. It doesn’t feel very good. It doesn’t always have to feel very good. It has been proven.
JM: Do you think that you all have. We have kind of talked about that you all children will probably be more Americanized perhaps. Is there any things that you have passed on to your children that your parents have given you that perhaps Kimberly and I would have not been exposed to? Any values or?
JM: Traditions and things like that.
AJ: Well our grandchildren love Chinese food. We do cook. They are real thrilled. Our children have married wonderful mates. They are not Chinese. It was just so funny. When my daughter-in-law said that Eddie told me that he was Chinese. Well I never thought of you as Chinese but that is okay. I thought gee that is kind of weird. I thought she must be real dense. She is not, but she really is wonderful. She really is. That is just exact. She just never thought about that. He said well you know that we have some traditions when they were going to get married, and he told her about all those traditions that we liked to do. She said well that great. In fact, I have said that the in-laws in their family try to keep the traditions. She teaches the children to count in Chinese. She knows phrases and so forth. She is really interested in our background. She knows my parents. So she can put it all together. The kids are very well adjusted, which is wonderful. I suspect that our kids may be prep, because they went to prep. They may have had some encounters there. The first Orientals in there. It never hurt them. It may have left a few scars, but not outwardly is that personal scars that you get. That is part of living. You don’t necessarily have to be Chinese to witness that. You can be anybody and have that happen to you. We have. We really have been impressed. Got far beyond what we deserve. Mother and Daddy, well we kept the traditions like having birthday parties. They love birthday parties.
KL: What about their wedding? Where did the two meet?
AJ: Well we lit up the street. When I went to college, I thought I was old enough to ask for a date.
EJ: We probably had the first real large wedding in the delta of Chinese.
AJ: Now when mother and daddy married, they had a huge wedding. I am not counting soles. I am just talking about according to that day. They had a huge wedding. We had a large wedding. Matter of fact all my sister had a large wedding. All of his brothers had large weddings.
EJ: Anything that you should have.
AJ: All the people would get together and do the cooking. My daddy would feed nine hundred in a nine course meal. It was spectacular.
EJ: It was at the American Legion Hut and the V. F. W.
AJ: Our parents were so frugal. They are not like we are. They don’t spend on themselves. We spend on ourselves. They wouldn’t spend a dime on themselves. They save it all for the kids. In that way, I know that my dad gracious. He was home schooled so to speak. His tutor, one of his tutors was Mr. Bob Radell. He is the alumni secretary to Mississippi State. He was also the superintendent of Boyle school when they were going and when I was going in the early part. We had other superintendent come in after he went to Mississippi State. His wife, Ms. Radell, she was daddy’s tutor. I think that is real interesting. It used to be a small world. As far as school, he went to Chicago to go to an electrician school. That is how he got into the navy. He was an electrician in the destroyer. We have pictures of the ship that he was on. His ship was the first one to go into Pearl Harbor.
EJ: No not
AJ: No not to Pearl Harbor, Old Nakagawa Tokyo Bay, when they signed the surrender. I was in the wrong place. He never talked about it. Tom Brokall was right. They didn’t talk about their experiences. They just kept it all to themselves. Just in the last few years he would say some things. We would put stories together. They would be good stories. We should have heard them a long time ago. There is a lot to tell. We are in a such busy world. We don’t take time to listen.
KL: Do you think he waited, is that a Chinese tradition of not talking about it?
AJ: No, I think all the people in World War II. I don’t know any one that talked about it. That was such a tremendous upheaval because all the men left. Daddy, bless his heart, he said well when they got us older men in there that is win they started winning the war. He had never said that before. He said that in the last two or three years. I bought him that book. He was reading it. He was enjoying every bit of it. They were just an unusual. They still, he had shipmates that still kept up with each other. They have reunions. It is really neat. Some of them had lied about there age. Some of them were only about fourteen or fifteen years of age. They were down in there with men that had four or five kids. It was quite an experience. We do still eat Chinese food. We eat all kinds of food actually. I think that is the world today.
JM: Back to my second question that I had. I think you have all ready answered it actually. When the Chinese private school was closed, and you went to other schools?
AJ: It wasn’t closed when we left. It still went on.
JM: Boyle, but it was World War II, and people’s exposure that sort of closed that gap.
EJ: Well I think so it took a lot of tolerance for people to change. Then too, I think, the integration situation up in the delta had always been stickly in that area. As after the war and the years went on, there was more times in the delta that the traditionally included the Chinese population into these main stream because most of the merchants in town were Oriental. They came in the main stream of the population, economically, financial, and world wise. We became more accepted. In fact, due to the war and due to education. We are creature that are of (Tape was not able to understand). I had four brothers, and we all attended Boyle High School (Tape was not able to understand). As usual people may have called us athletic. I am where I want to be. In sports, I played pretty good sports. You get accepted there a lot better. As well as education, I think Annette was valedictorian of her class. Of course I think because of our parents pushing us to do good in school and in the community. They always made sure we would stay out of trouble.
AJ: Remember what home you came from.
EJ: You would get it when you get back. If you get it at school, you would get it at home too.
AJ: That is exactly right, that is what is wrong with our community today. They don’t.
EJ: They always said not to embarrass your family name. My parents would always say that. “Don’t embarrass your family name.” What ever you do, don’t embarrass you family name. That is a big tradition. Really the kids these days grow up without a family. In the situations that we are going through now, we are getting fruits of that type. Families are broken.
AJ: Daddy, I remember so well that he wouldn’t allow anybody to say dirty or ugly words. He would always say listen well, I have raised a bunch girls here. We are not going to have that. Go outside, or if he thought thought that they were going to be rambunctious, he would send us inside. He would not let us stay out there. I remember that so well. If he knew it was a troublemaker, he pretty well knew who was what. He would say, sorry I am raising girls. I don’t like that. Go outside, they never. We did not sold beer because of that. I think our preacher in our community had such a big. He did so much for us as far as values and as far as. I don’t know. I can remember I went to G. A. Camp. My preacher took me to G. A. Camp. He loaded me off, and here I am in Clinton, MS at Camp Garaway. I was ten or eleven years old. That was really quite an experience. I really was different. I was always did okay. It wasn’t like we couldn’t eat the food. Or we didn’t dress the same way. Mother made all of our clothes. She was a wonderful seamstress. We did okay. The preachers I think encouraged us. I know goodness I played piano at church. They would call. He was just so sweet. Here I am just a little kid. I know I am a little kid. I can remember old Caraway, Ms. Annette we need you to play for us Sunday our organist is not going to be there. I am thinking I can’t play the organ. I play the piano. They thought it is the same thing. I said do you really want me to do that. Yes, we really need you to do that. I know how bumly I was on that organ. The ladies would come up there and say that is just so sweet. They would just encourage you. It was good encouragement. It is a positive stroking. I think that is the richness. My daddy he is just so sweet. My mother also said if you find any friends make sure that they are Christian friends because they are the best friends. She taught us that. Of course now you could say it too. It still holds true today. The basic, basic caring about each other and trying to do the best that you can do with what you have. It was okay. A lot of people ask me are bitter about the way it was back then. I know a lot of things were unfair. I am sure there are lots of stories down there that you can dig out. Through it all, it is the attitude that you have about where you are going and what you are doing and the values are there. No matter who or what you are all right with the Lord so you know that you are okay. You don’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to be the best. You just do the best that you can. I like that. I try to pass that on to all the kids that I teach. I told them that they may never learn to play the piano, but if they learn to listen when someone speaks to them and show a little bit of respect of property and things like that. They may have learn things and take them a long way. It still lives today. It is coming through. That is about all that I know.
EJ: You all have another interview.
JM: Yes we do.
AJ: Do you want to call Wanita.
JM: Thank you very much.
AJ: Oh gracious
KL: Enjoyed talking to you.
END OF DOCUMENT