The method of oral interview of this subject in 1975 was adapted from Dennis Tedlock, an anthropologist who devised a means to reflect the speech patterns of the Zuni Indians by suggesting rise and fall, loud and soft, and short and long pauses as well as unique rhythms, by the typescript he used.
…He’d be here yet, if his boy
was alive, you know.
But when his boy’s children went,
That was the end.
He went back –
Florida, I think –
[YOUR FAMILY STAYED. WHO ELSE?]
Oh my uncle lived right across
On the other road.
And let’s see…
There was a fellow who lived out here, in the old building.
Well, they all moved out. Oh boy.
And then the neighbors
Like from Chicago, a couple of ‘em came in, and now look –
how many neighbors we have!
The last five years, I’d say. Boy-oh-boy!
[SO THIS WAS ALL WOODS?]
Ohhhhhhh yah, beeeeyoootifullll woods!
We had oooooooohhh woods here that no axe had been in.
You know – timber – nice!
A bunch here, a bunch there, maybe a couple a miles apart
We used to go
from one bunch
of timber to the next.
The next day we may take another bunch, how far we git.
Oh we usedta pick a lotta ginseng,
a lot of it. But then it wasn’t worth much.
Now, it’s worth a lotta money,
from sixty-to-seventy-dollars-a-pound, dried,
but where do you find it?
The land is just about all bought up.
The timber is just about all cut off.
People are getting cattle,
and cattle like ginseng, they eat ‘em,
we don’t have much chance !
2. THE FARM
When Dad bought the land,
the sawmill was going
across the other road yet,
about a mile from here.
He bought it from Jack Green, that was the man that had
the saw mill
and logged most of it off.
He worked summer and winter. They had a railroad track
about a mile, mile-and-a-half, straight across.
And the railroad track went way up to the woods and then
they’d haul it down to Mosinee with trains.
that was all right. But there was no clearing, there was
And there was
trees, small trees that they had cut down and let lay,
So when Dad and Uncle bought that [land] over there
we bought the place
for a dollar a acre,
at that time.
Now it’s worth a thousand a acre!
Well, Dad hadda clear land
to build a log house.
We built one.
It was thirty, thirty-foot-long.
We lived in that for years.
May was living alone in the wintertime
Ma and I –
and one year we had a teacher
staying with us,
And Dad had to work in the woods – well he got twelve
and fourteen dollars a month.
And then, in-between time, he had t’be cutting land,
and-kept-on-working-and-clearing more-land. Well we worked
like niggers – what for?
What will we get out of it? We can’t live
I dunno. That was silly.
[BUT YOU LIKED LIVING HERE.]
I liked it.
But the dayyysss were lonnnggg and hard!
I worked like a man.
After I got old enough, I had to drive the horses.
You know –
skid rows, pull stumps out, and make post holes.
Make fences out of stumps.
You didn’t have money to buy wire.
Soooooooo, you hadda dooooooo the way you could.
Oh, I used to do
anything there was to do
on the farm
after we got clearing.
I could plow with the hand plow we had,
and the riding plow we had,
and drive the horses.
Dad usually bought bucky ones because he got them for
Oh boy, and then you’d have to fight with them, oh boy.
Well, a bucky horse is some that is like that,
allways. Unless you can master ‘em. They have to knowww
that they can’t get awaayyy
with their dirt!
If they got broke in it’s all right, but you can’t depend
on ‘em, you know.
They’re miserable things. Yah.
Not now. No. No. No. No.
I couldn’t handle, I couldn’t get a harness on one now.
I haven’t had horses, I think, ten years.
But I do like ‘em. I like the horses all right.
3. THE COOKSTOVE
After we got more clearing and could raise
corn and stuff,
then we raises . . .
More work, it was all right.
At first we didn’t have ‘lectrizity,
we didn’t have no con-ven-iences, it was a cookstove,
that you used with wood, you know.
I like ‘em because they’re quick,
but I don’t like ‘em when they burn out on ya, that I
don’t like. I’ve had that happen twice.
It scares the wits outa ya.
Well this one I think I’m gonna get rid of.
It’ an old, old stove.
I don’t like that burning-out in there.
And you can’t get one,
Now another one burnt out.
And you can’t git such a stove so you can git that part,
you know, it’s different.
Now they are al modererrrnnnn.
Well, there’s a wood stove on this one, but I don’t like it.
That’s one wood stove that I don’t like.
The thing is long enough in there,
but you can’t put a long piece of wood in there!
You gotta take all the lids off.
And take the middle piece out.
Spo you can get a long piece of wood in.
And it smokes! Ach!
I dunno. I think I’m going to get me a different stove
When they get through with the hay up.
[TO BE CONTINUED]