Carol Morgan

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Interview: Carol Morgan (Cm)
Medium: Audio Tape
Date: May 4, 2008
Place: Home of Morgan Carol
Collected by: Tyler Cooper (Tc)

Tc: Say your name and your date of birth.

Cm: My name is Carol Morgan, and I was born on December the twenty-fifth, 1932. I was the youngest of nine children and I was 13.5 pounds at birth. I was born on the poor farm, and I made quite a stir for my mother and dad because, uh, it wasn't all the time that a baby was born on Christmas morning.(inaudible). I grew up at 14th and Western Ave. and I lived there until after '41 when we moved out towards 5th Ave.

Tc: Alright, so uh, growing up before WWII what do you remember most? How many brothers and sisters did you have?

Cm:Uh, I was one of seven, I was one of nine but a brother and sister died before I was born.

Tc: How old were they?

Cm:Um, one... my brother was a blue baby, he died at birth, and my sister had pneumonia at six months when she died. The strange thing about it is that they were named after mother and dad. The boy came first and they named him after his father, he was a blue baby and died at birth.

Tc: So was that normal for children to die young?

Cm: Oh yeah.

Tc: Having nine kids, was that normal too?

Cm: Oh yeah. I thought that that was a lot but I knew people with elven and thirteen and that wasn't uncommon back then, some families had a bunch of kids.

Tc: So this is coming right out of the depression, was this recovering from the depression, or was it still bad?

Cm: Uh, it was part of the depression, but Roosevelt was inaugurated and he started turning it around, and he did pretty well.

Tc: And what year was this?

Cm: Uh, he took office in 1932.

Tc: Okay, so the year you were born. Okay, uh, what do you remember about the depression and how it affected your family, your dad-

Cm: Dad was in the WPA, when he did work which wasn't much, and uh the house that we lived in was a two story house, and it didn't have electricity and didn't have running water. We had a pump, and it uh, had a uh, well, and it was lined with brick, and see that would keep things in it like watermelon and butter and stuff like that in the summertime to keep it cool, but of course now a days we just use refrigerators. But, what I can remember very much about when I was little, I ran over to Balley(?) Avenue, at the Artesian well, do you know what that is?

Tc: Uh, a public well?

Cm: Artesian well, is water that comes up through the ground with no pipes or anything like that, and, um, we were up on a hill, and usually my brother and sister would carry me down, but this time they said “You're big enough to run down!”, and I did, and broke my shoulder. And my brother rode me home on his bicycle he had, but he took 12th street, because it was an easier road than 13th, cause western avenue and 14th was a long walk, and it was on a holiday and Dr. Harlene was my doctor. My pastor took me to his office in his car, his office was on, uh, Washington street.

Tc: Uh, how hard was it to get medical care?

Cm: (laugh) If you had the money you could go, but uh my father, we just didn't have medical.

Tc: Is that why your pastor took you?

Cm: Uh, he had a car.

Tc: Oh, okay.

Cm: But, um, when I was in grade school, I had appendicitis. The nurse at school told me she wanted me to go to the doctor when I go home. And I said, “oh, dad wont even let mom go to the doctor, I'm not going to be able to go to the doctor.” So she sent a note home and dad took me to the doctor, oh, at Davis Clinic. Dr. Davis, he gave me penicillin to fight the poison, and obviously that was the wrong thing to do because I had never heard of that before. And, uh, usually they operate when people have appendicitis. And, uh, we never went to the dentist, I was married before I went to the dentist.

Tc: Uh, and this was, so uh, WWII that was '42, December '42.

Cm: '41...

Tc: '41, ok, what do you remember?

Cm: Uh, shortly there after we moved to uh, 12th and Nebraska and it was really great because we had running water and electricity, and uh later on we had telephones.

Tc: So, it actually got better for you after the war?

Cm: Oh yeah, back then, if you were too old to go to the service, they'd give you a job and you had to work it.

Tc: Uh, women and men?

Cm: Uh, women worked but they didn't have to.

Tc: Uh, you said earlier, this was before the war he worked at something, what was that?


Tc: What was that?

Cm: It was a program that uh our president made, Roosevelt, to put people to work, and they would build railroads, and bridges, and quite a lot.

Tc: It was kind of a general-

Cm: It was a work program for people out of work.

Tc: This was part of the relief effort from Roosevelt, during the depression?

Cm: (yes)

Tc: Before the war was he still working for that, when he did work?

Cm: Uh, I really can't remember him working very much.(laugh)

Tc: Did your mom work?

Cm: Not, no, um she worked very little, but it wasn't for very long. She worked at a factory.

Tc: This was after the war?

Cm: Yes.

Tc: Before the war it was weird thing for women to work at factories wasn't it?

Cm: WWII brought the women to the factory, before the war they were teachers, secretaries, and things like that.

Tc: Did you know any people who went to the war, any family?

Cm: Oh, yeah, my brother went to the war, and uh my brother-in-law, and friends, uh huh. But my brother-in-law, and my brother did go.

Tc: Did they make it back?

Cm: Yes.

Tc: Both of them?

Cm: My brother, went to be shipped out and he had a hernia and he was going to be shipped out for the Battle of the Bulge. It was horrible. Thousands of men died. So it had probably saved his life.

Tc: How was life before and during the war? What kinds of changes, like at school, when did you start going school?

Cm: Well, in the late thirties, and we walked a mile from 14th and Western to our school, Staten(?) back then, and uh later, it became known as Staten Browning, when the Browning school burnt down. They had a new building and combined them.

Tc: So how were things during the war? How were people different?

Cm: We had, ration cards, for sugar, gasoline, and uh tires, people now you can just find them all around.

Tc: So even though, it was a little easier after the war with a better house, water and electricity, it was still hard to get a hold of a lot of stuff.

Cm: Uh, after WWII, it was a lot nicer than what we used to have, much better. A lot of things we had never had before, uh, running water, electricity, we used to have a, uh, outhouse. And, uh mother had chickens in straw out there, and she said the chickens were hiding out there eggs. So my brother and sister would craw up onto the outhouse and take an old mans umbrella and jump off into the straw. Well, I wanted to do that but they said I was too young, but this one year they said okay, so they took me up there, and me being the youngest I said “Me first, me first!”, and my brother said no, I'm first. So he goes sailing off (laugh) and he hit where the chickens were, uh, hiding out there eggs. And he had eggs all over him, and I was up there just laughing, cause that would have been me if he had let me go. (laugh)

Tc: So, uh, what kind of games did you guys play? What did you guys do for fun?

Cm: We didn't have too many friends at home, but, uh, I can remember we had these neighbors that took us to the fair one time, and I thought that was great. And a lot of times down on the rail, the railroad, they had a ferris wheel and that went higher than the buildings, look down on the rooftops and stuff, and it was a lot of fun. But, um around the house we would play uh, can kick, can out, uh, we would kick the can and hid, and we'd try to get in safe, and uh, my brother-in-law would play monopoly with us. My sisters were older than me, at the times I was only 5 years old, and I had nieces and nephews, and they would bring them over and we'd all play.

Tc: So after WWII, before Vietnam, in '59. So after WWII how old where you?

Cm: '59, so I was uh, 27.

Tc: So after, high school, what year did you graduate?

Cm: I didn't.

Tc: What grade did you go up to?

Cm: 9th grade.

Tc: What did you do after that?

Cm: Got married.

Tc: When?

Cm: '48.

Tc: How old?

Cm: 15.

Tc. 15, and you got married.

Cm: Oh, and uh, your grandfather, Morgan, was in the Marines.

Tc: How old was he?

Cm: He was 20.

Tc: So he was just getting back from the war?

Cm: Uh, he never got to go.

Tc: So what do you remember most between WWII and Vietnam?

Cm: Well, uh, you know, we though WWII was the war to end all wars. And those people who were in Vietnam, I think they went ahead without knowing why, but people really hated that war.

Tc: Uh, was that how most people felt or...

Cm: For the most part.

Tc: Do you know anyone that was in that?

Cm: Yes, um, a few friends, and my brother in law.

Tc: So it was pretty unpopular, but how did the guys that were in it feel?

Cm: I don't really know, because most of the guys wouldn't want to and wouldn't talk about it you know. With WWII, people got rich, those that didn't go had it made you know.

Tc: So after Vietnam, is there anything special you remember?

Cm: Well, uh, no not really.

Tc: What about when we went to the moon.

Cm: Ah, uh, your grandfather wouldn't let me turn on the television. I had to ask him to turn it on, he was a very controlling man. So, I asked him to turn it on, and watched them land on the moon, and I thought that was wonderful. And the one that exploded, I remember them talking like it hadn't exploded for a bit after it had, and the dumb thing was gone!

Tc: One thing I forgot to ask, uh, do you remember anything about the lynchings?

Cm: Uh, I wasn't born but-

Tc: Was it talked about at all?

Cm: Yes, um, it was, horrible. Um, and they still talk about and wont let it go.

Tc: Uh, where people for it, or agai-, what do you mean by they wont let it go?

Cm: Uh we keep bringing it up, and it was just horrible, I uh, always had black friends and uh I remember this girl I was really good friends with, and she would come to my house and I had been to hers. But she wouldn't talk to me unless I talked to her first, and, uh it kind of hurt my feelings, but that's just how she was taught. Every once in a while the racial tension in Marion would get really bad.

Tc: Uh, so, do you remember, the Klan, they did a lot here?

Cm: I don't know anybody that was in it, but my father, when we lived at 14th and Western, we didn't have electricity let alone telephones, and during the summer we would hear 'boom boom boom boom, boom boom boom boom' and then they all met with, uh, the leader of the Klan, uh the Grand Dragon or whatever, and that was him calling a meeting. And then Dillinger, uh this is before my time, but Dillinger never robbed Marion, for three reasons, well for two the railroads, they blocked him in, and the rumor was out that his girlfriend, lived two blocks from us on Western Ave., now whether that was just a rumor or if it was true I wouldn't know.

Tc: Who was that?

Cm: Dillinger.

Tc: Oh okay. The bank robber?

Cm: Yes.

Tc: So, do you have anything else to say, anything else? We've talked about the depression, WWII, the Klan Vietnam-

Cm: Uh, I was in the 6th grade and uh, talking pretty close to the middle of WWII. And we sold war bonds, and we'd keep a book of war bonds we sold, and uh, my brother had just gotten out of the service and he would give me 50 cents for my lunch. Now back then, 50 cents was a lot of money, so we'd walk from Martin Boots downtown and get a hamburger and milk for a quarter. So then I had a quarter, and every other night when I went with my children's father, I gave him 50 cents for gas, boy was I dumb.(laugh). And uh, jobs were not as plentiful during the war, because they were supposed to give the people, the servicemen their jobs back.

Tc: They got fired when they came back.

Cm: Well really, they would say “we have to let you go because we have to hire the servicemen is back” and that would make the servicemen feel bad, and that was a strain on them. For my brother, they told him they would have to fire someone to put him back on the job and he said oh don't do that.

Tc: Before and after the war, had he changed? Did he ever actually see action.

Cm: No, uh, he never made it. Kenny's father was in WWII, and uh he went over to the Rhine River, in Germany and he got the purple cross and then uh, his uncle bill, was in the Navy and he saw a lot of battles, and they did come back different. They didn't want to talk about the war.

Tc: Did anyone talk about it?

Cm: Uh, not to my knowledge. I never heard anybody talk about it, but the kids father was stationed in Hawaii and he loved that, and he would tell me all about that, back then it was before all the, uh, before it was for tourists. They did not have windows, and it would only vary a couple degrees between day light and dark. And uh, in the hotel's out there, you know how you push the pedal and get water here? You pushed the pedal and got pineapple juice there, because uh, the whole island was covered in pineapple trees. He always promised me he'd take me over there on our anniversary, and I was married to him for 34 years and do you think I got over there? No. But he said when they got over there he said the Hawaiians were very dark, but before he came home they were much much lighter.(laughter)

Tc: Alright, uh, anything else you want to say?

Cm: Uh, nope.

Tc: Well, that's all I have. Thank you for the interview, and I'm going to use this for a history project, is that alright?

Cm: Sure.