“If you’ve never hoed for hours on end …”

Faye: I still have the first thing I ever earned.  I have the first thing I bought with what I earned.  When I was married, my husband couldn’t understand why I had this little sweater and this little purse that looked really pretty ragged.  And he took it to the Goodwill.   And  I went and I got it back.  And I told him –  I said, “you know, if you’ve never hoed for hours on end in a a watermelon field, and you’re ten and the other men are grown and you’re trying to keep up with them, under that hot, hot sun when you’d rather be in a swimming pool or at the beach.”

I went and I got it back.  I still have it. And I’ll probably have it when they cremate me.  Then somebody can take it to the Goodwill.   I said, “I know you probably don’t understand it.” He did his own share of dirty work and awful things.  “… but for a ten-year-old going down those fields, I always want to remember what that felt like, and I don’t ever want to do that work again – ever.”  I don’t know that he understood, but that’s okay.  He didn’t have to.  He didn’t have to do it.  And I didn’t have to do it.  I chose to do it.   I asked to do it.  I wanted to do it.  But I didn’t want to do it again.

… I can still see it.  I can see that field; I can hear them singing;  I can feel the cadence of it.

Lee: Who was singing?

Faye:  The men that were working in that field, side by side with me.  One of them, his name was Hilton.  That’s all I remember – Hilton.  They sang.  I mean, they sang to be able to put up with the boredom, I’m sure.  They’d sing, and there would be a certain cadence that they would use.  But it was hard for me to keep up, as a ten-year old.

From an interview with Faye Ellis-Jones, summer 2010.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under clothing, economy

One response to ““If you’ve never hoed for hours on end …”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s