Lurana Pulley

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Personal Narrative of Lurana Pulley
From: Lurana Pulley (lp)
Medium: Audio Tape
Date: Thursday, April 29, 1999
Place: Colonial Oaks, 4725 Colonial Oak Drive Marion, Indiana 46953
Collected by: Jimmy Stevenson (js)

00:00 js: Hello, my name is Jimmy Stevenson. It is April 29, 1999, and I’m at Colonial Oaks, address 4725 South Colonial Oak Drive, interviewing Lurana Pulley. Do I have your permission to interview you on tape?

lp: Yes, sir, if ya want to.

js: Do I have your permission to submit this to Marion High School?

lp: (chuckling) If you think it’ll do you any good.

js: Okay. Do I have your permission to submit this to the Marion Public Library?

lp: Well, okay!

Oral History of Lurana Pulley

The Road to Grant County and Marriage

js: All right. Um, so, uh, when did you move to, uh, the Grant County area?

00:54 lp: I was five years old, born in ’96 and five would be 1901.

js: 1901? And you were five years old?

lp: Five years old.

js: And, uh, where did you live at?

1:14 lp: Warsaw, I was born in Indianapolis, and I lived, I don’t know how old I was, but I went to my first year of schooling at five years of age, was in Warsaw. And then we moved from Warsaw to Gas City ‘n northeast of Gas City. ‘N let’s see, I was five years old in 1901, uh, 1901.

js: And you lived on a farm?

lp: Out in the country.

js: Out in the country?

1:47 lp: Uh huh. All of my life excipt I was born ‘n Indianapolis ‘n I lived ‘n Warsaw but that was just we lived a mile west o’ Warsaw. It wasn’t far from town but still was in the country. Lived on my grandfather’s place.

js: And what was your grandfather’s place? What was that?

2:13 lp: His name was Wannet, David Wannet. He was a minister, ‘n uh, they tol’ me now. I can’t remember him, but I can remember his wife; I can remember Grandma Wannet. She was sure a lovely lady.

js: Ok, uh, when did you get married and have kids?

lp: When did I get married?

js: Yeah.

2:46 lp: December 8, 1917. That’s when I was married. I met him at an ice cream social, out in the country.

js: Oh, really?

3:04 lp: An ice cream social, ‘n a bunch of us young’n girls, you know, would (inaudible) at the ice cream social. I met ‘im out there. ‘N we was courted about a year, ‘n then we were married. In 1917.

js: Were the ice cream socials real popular?

lp: Back then the ice cream social’s very popular.

js: And what went on during those? Could you tell me about those?

lp: Huh?

js: Could you tell about those? What went on during?

lp: You mean what we did at the socials?

js: Yeah.

3:47 lp: Well, we just did as sit there ‘n ate ice cream ‘n cake. And sometimes they had pies, too, ya know. Our church at where I was married at Farrville, we had ice cream socials. We had, uh, suppers, and, we just mingled ya know with ‘em, ‘n down there an’ (inaudible) to make a li’l money, y’know.

js: And your husband’s name was?

lp: Dallas Pulley. D-A-L-L-A-S, Dallas.

js: And did you have children?

lp: No, I never had children. And if he’d ’ve lived two weeks longer, we’d ‘ve been married 68 years.

js: Sixty-eight years? So, during the, uh, the, during WWI, how did it affect you?

Daily Life: "We just bought what we could buy and lived with it and got by."

During World War II

4:55 lp: It, was, uh, don’t go after the farmers; you see, they drafted all of them people. Because they was on the farm, they drafted all of them city people before they took the country boys 'cuz they were farmers.

But mah husband never had to go, but, you see, they drafted him then. ‘N if yer drafted, y’see, when yer time came, ya had to go unless you weren’t physic’ly fit to go. ‘N he wasn’t. His brother was in the draft. My sister married his brother ‘n he was in the three months but he was just in the United States. He didn’t go ‘nto it, just three months here. ‘N the draft, if the war went on, my husband ‘ve been caught in the next draft but the war ended so he never had to go.

js: So, can you explain the hardships during the war?

6:01 lp: You just couldn’t get ev’rything you wanted. ‘N mostly our wants were our groc-, 'er, our groceries we wanted, and back in those days, we took our furniture. We bought then, back then, secondhand furniture, ya know, 'cuz farmers never made that kind of money. We just bought what we could buy and lived with it and got by.

js: So, farmers didn’t make much money? How was your life?

06:54 lp: Well, used to we didn’t have a lot, and we didn’t know what a lot of people in town had, y’know, 'cuz we was out in the country. ‘N we had enough to furnish our house. We had a house, so good, ‘n we cooked and we done our own cooking. I always cooked.

js: So, there was no electricity or anything?

07:29 lp: Oh, my. Y’know, I never had electricity until 1945. As for my cooking, I used oil stoves. I used oil stoves, and for heating we used wood or coal, whatever we could git, ‘til finally in the latter years, before we lived on the farm, we had oil heaters. The oilman would come ‘n fill up. We had a drum. He’d fill up the drum for us. ‘N, ‘n, that was the best heat we had on the farm, the oil heat, 'cuz it kept it steady, y’see.

During the Depression

js: Um, what was life like during, when the depression hit? Can you, uh, explain in detail what the hardships were?

08:35 lp: Well, we just, we just didn’t buy any more than we had to. That’s it. 'Cuz you couldn’t get it, y’see. That’s the only way you could then. If you bought five pounds of flour, ya had to buy five pounds of something else. ‘N, of course, furniture n’ stuff, you just bought what you could use. ‘N, we couldn’t have a lot 'cuz money was very scarce for everybody.

js: So did you ever have to, like, cook without sugar or anything?

09:18 lp: Well, I don’t know. Without sugar, I couldn’t make it very good without sugar. (laughs) But, uh, oh, there’s some things we couldn’t afford. ‘N we didn’t buy a lot. We needed money, I suppose. We just bought what we needed on the market ‘n lived with that. Things got better, and the depression got over.

On the Farm

js: So, can you expalin what it was like living on a farm? What your role was?

09:58 lp: Well, I was a housewife, but I helped on the farm. We had cows and I helped milk the cows ‘n I churned. I’d take a churn and make butter. ‘N sometimes I sold butter if we had more than we could use 'cuz I always made the butter. ‘N I raised chickens. I took care of them. An’ I helped him with the cows. I helped milk cows. An’ I had farms; I had one. I made hay; of course, that was after we married. Ya know, make hay, help load hay on the wagon. Y’see, ya had horses. Uh, you don’t know anything about horses and wagons, do ya?

js: (nods head “no”)

11:02 lp: Well, ya see, that’s what we farmed with was horses. And we plowed the ground with horses and a plow. ‘N he’d walk behind the plow and hold onto the plow handles and horses. And he had the harness on the horses and lines. And he’d hook ‘em together, put the lines around ‘im, and just follow the horses, y’know, get the horses goin’. And he’d walk in the row they plowed. They’d go around. Y’see, they’d leave a place ya plowed before, an’ that’s where they walked on the next round. Yes, we farmed with horses but in the latter years we got a tractor but we’s only used to horses and cows and pigs and chickens. We just done general farming. That’s all the boys knew then, y’know, farming. They didn’t go to a factory like they do now days.

With Addition of Factories

js: So, do you remember when the factories became real popular? How did that change the life that most people lived?

12:39 lp: Well, he never worked in the factory 'til after, well, he quit the factory when he was seventy-some years old. Seventy, I believe. He didn’t work there too long; he worked at the county for awhile. At the county job he worked there awhile. He went to the factory, a li’l factory in Van Buren. And he worked on that til, uh, he got cateracts. Then he couldn’t see to drive to town. Then after he quit, we went ‘n took him ‘n had them cateracts taken off. Then he could see real good then. But by then, y’see, he was too old to work in the factory.

js: During the ‘40s, you would’ve been about 43 or 44. What was your life like then?

14:08 lp: Well, I was married when I was 21, plus 29, well we was starting up farming, back there in the ‘40s. We never worked in town til after - well I worked in town before we were married to ‘im, but he never did. He worked for a farmer. He was one o’ them farmer boys that helped the older farmers do their farming. That’s what he did. He was working for a man named George Haynes when I married ‘im. And, uh, his dad wanted him to go into farming, and so that’s all they knew what to do. His dad was a farmer. He lived on a big farm. He’s raised on a big farm. Y’see, that’s all he knew what to do. They didn’t go to town like they do now days. But we made the best of it and got along. We lived together 68 years, so that’s not bad.

js: So, in the ‘40s did you have your tractor by then?

Without Electricity (Oil Lamps & Ice Boxes)

lp: Oh no. Well, I told you a while ago, we didn’t have electricity til 1945.

js: You didn’t have electricity until ’45?

15:50 lp: No, we lived on the farm, out east of Van Buren. We’d liked to have never of gotten then. We lived on the mile that there wasn’t no school children, and they wouldn’t let us have electricity. We had an awful time of getting it, but we finally got it.

js: So what was it like without electricity?

16:15 lp: Well, we had to use oil lamps. You never seen one, burned one, did ya? You don’t know. They don’t make a very good light. Then we finally got an Aladdin lamp. (Knock on door) Come in. (Stopped tape)

lp: Well we just used oil lamps, and we, um, finally seen an advertisement for Aladdin lamps.

js: What was it called?

17:00 lp: Aladdin lamps. Oh, it was about that tall (approximately two feet), an’ it had a mantle - we called it a mantle. You see, the regular oil lamps had the little, uh, I called it a tube; it’s what lit up to make a light you see. The Aladdin lamp, it makes much more light altogether more than the oil lamps. The oil lamps, well, we just had to carry them around from place to place. We sure didn’t have lights like they have today.

js: And what else without electricity, how else. . .

17:57 lp: Well, we didn’t have no refrigerator. As I told you, we had the icebox. We had to buy ice, and they had to bring out the ice, you see. They’d put the ice in the top of it, and then he’d put a pan underneath to keep where they melted the ice.

Marital Contentment: "We was both there together."

Working Together

We had a lot to do, but we was just as content as then as a lot of people are today with everything they got. We tried to be content. When we took our marriage vows, we said we’d do whatever we could, y’know, we’d stay together. Now days, they think, “Well, if I don’t want to stay with ‘im, I don’t have to. We’ll just get a divorce.” But that never entered our minds. I said that we’d took a vow in front of God and we was gonna do what was right and we did. We stayed together as long as he lived. He passed away in ’85, and I was a widowe ever since.

js: When you guys were on the farm, what was you marriage like?

19:32 lp: Well, you have to work together. You can’t one go one way and one go the other. We was both there together.

I’ll tell ya did when we’d first git up in the morning. He’d go out and, of course, the cows had to be fed and the horses had to be fed and the pigs had to be fed. And I did breakfast, and then after breakfast I’d help him milk. And I took care of the chickens. I took care of them the whole time. Then he’d go to farm, and I’d to the housework. You can’t one pull one way and one the other.

Lots of people don’t see it that ways now, but that’s the way we seen it. It looks like we lived together long enough that we ought to know. I got to keep him longer than his parents did. He said it seemed like we’d always been together. Somebody asked him one time; he said it seemed like we’d always been together. (Nurse walks in saying, “Sorry to interrupt. It’s time for medicine.”) (Tape stops)

Visiting (If Not Exhausted)

21:27 lp: When we was younger, they worked so hard that they never felt like going anywhere - not like they do today. We didn’t have tractors, y’see; we had horses. We’d had to feed ‘em and curry ‘em and take care of them and brush them down and harness ‘em up and took ‘em to the machinery that they had - plows, uh, hay rakes, and then they finally got what they called a hay loader. That’d go along on the back of the wagon. And then you’d pull that wagon with the horses, and as you’d go on, there’d be work where we’d cut the hay down, cut the grass down. That way we’d lay it on the wagon, and somebody had to be there to load the wagon. And I helped there, too, not too much of it, but I’d had to do it. And I’d have to shuck corn.

22:23 js: When you guys would go out, what would you do?

22:31 lp: Well, we never went out much if something couldn’t happen that we couldn’t farm or do something. And if whenever he wasn’t too tired, we go on visits or to our folks or someplace, but mostly we just stayed around. Farmers back then, we had a hard time of it cuz they didn’t have the machinery like they do today.

Farming Methods: "Farm work was awfully hard."

Working the Ground

Well, I got a nephew, the one who’s a retired attorney that comes here and looks after me. He said that he drove a tractor that they used on the farm. But he said the tractors they have today, well, he couldn’t handle them at all. They have TV on them; they have radios on 'em. He says, “I just couldn’t handle ‘em." Now what good could a TV do on the farm? That’s what I can’t understand.

But they don’t farm like they did. Everything had to be so smooth; you had to get your ground worked out just right. To plant your corn, everything had to be smooth. Now they put it right in the trash [sic]. They make kind of a row, like of corn, and just - I don’t know how it’s done cuz I’ve never seen ‘em do it, but they plant right in that row that’s already made. And before we’d just go out along and just plant right in the ground. So they tell me; I’ve never seen it! I’ve got a nephew who his wife has farms, and that’s what they do, just farm right in the trash. That was unthinkable back then, I’ll tell you.

js: So that took a lot more work then? Can you explain how much more work it took?

25:02 lp: Yeah, we did so much more work then they do today. I never been out and watched ‘em farm for a long, long time. I just know what we farmed, what we done. And, oh, they don’t farm like we did.

Easing the Work with a Radio and Electricity

js: Now, did you guys ever get a radio where you lived?

25:31 lp: Well, we couldn’t have a radio ‘til we got electricity.

js: So, you didn’t get a radio until 1945?

lp: That’s it!

js: So, how did your life change after you got electricity? Can you explain the difference?

Electric Stove vs. Oil Stove

25:43 lp: Well, it seemed like we was living someplace else, I said the first thing when they wired our house for electricity. It was by a Pulley, too. He was a distant relation of ours, and he brought a radio out for us. My, that was something. We really thought that was something to get that radio. Of course, then, the next thing you know, we got an electric stove, and that was something that was very handy. Then we got a refrigerator. But we just had to take time to get used to them things. Everything cost so much, that we just had to buy this and that at a time, you see. We couldn’t get it all at once.

js: How did the electric stove make it easier for you?

26:45 lp: Oh, just fine. I loved it. Of course, I’d always used the oil stove, you know. And, uh, they, I always had to clean the wicks. I was tryin’ to think of what the light thing was. It was called wicks. That’s what took the oil up to the lamp part. And when you went to light the lamp, you had to light that oil in the wick up there. And that’s what made the light, that wick. You folks don’t know nothing to what we went through.

Radio vs. Newspaper

js: And with the radio, what was on the radio? Did you like the radio?

27:43 lp: Did I like the radio?

js: Yeah. How did that affect you? How did that change you?

27:50 lp: Well it was just something so different. I liked the radio. And, um, that’s the only way we got any news at all was the radio.

'Course the paper, we got the paper everyday, but the paper, to get it out on the farm, cost quite a bit of money. I think we got it. I don’t know if it was three dollars or a dollar and a half. I think it was three dollars, out on the farm, to bring it out on the farm.

And our mail carrier was a man in a little wagon with a horse. He drove all the way out in the country and delivered our mail. 'Course, he had a certain route, you know.


js: Did you guys have much interaction with other people?

29:08 lp: Well, not like they do today when the plants were green. What I mean, you see, when you plant oats or wheat, you see, you have to let it come up, and it forms a head part on the wheat and the oat. When that got to a certain stage, you see, they’d cut the oats or the wheat, and then they’d stack it in little round stacks in the field. You’d make stack in the field. Then you’d have to get a thrashing machine, and they’d, uh, they’d take what they cut in the fields, and they’d take it to that machine and put it in that machine. It would separate the seeds from the straw. That’s what they’d call a skull pile. The skulls would go one way and the seeds another. Well, we had oats and wheat, and we had to do a lot different than they did today.


js: So, you guys didn’t have people that lived near you?

30:06 lp: Well, the closest we ever did, was lived of, have you ever heard of a town called Farrville? We lived in the first farmhouse north of that. That’s when we got electricity for the first time in 1945. We moved over there in 1932. And we lived there 50 years, and then we went and moved to Gas City. And he died three years after we lived in Gas City.

Then I tried to live there by myself, but then I got to breaking my hips. I broke both my hips, my nose, one of my big toes. I do this breaking job real good. One of my hips broke in four places. And, uh, they mended two parts of it. They said they’d let the other parts come together, but last time I went to the doctor, he said they hadn’t mended any, and he said, “I don’t wanna see you for two years." Well, I told him that I won’t be livin’ that long. He said that he may not be either.

But I walk now perfect with somebody helping me, but they won’t let me go by myself because I don’t have what they call balance. I have my walker over there. They come and put a strap around me so they can hold me up. But I walk, and I use the walker. I walked down to the dining room today.

js: So, uh, back when you first got married, was there any certain reason you didn’t have children?

37:12 lp: We didn’t have any children. Others did, but we didn’t. Now my sister, she married my husband's brother, and they had four. And one of them is the one that looks after me. He’s a retired attorney here. She had two girls and two boys. The older was a girl and the youngest was a girl. The two boys came between. And they’re all living but the oldest one had a stroke and she can’t do anything for herself.

js: So did you talk to your family much back in the '40s?

34:01 lp: Well, us girls used to go back and forth. I had one sister who was four years older than I was, and she had a sister four years older than her. That was my oldest sister. And now I’ve got a nephew, my oldest sister’s, and he’s over here in (not audible). We used to go back and forth, and that’s about the only thing to do. And once they got tractors, forget about visiting. They were so big that they’d farm their own ground; then they’d farm other people ground who didn’t have a tractor, you see. So, they took on the work when they didn’t have time to take it.

Loading Hay without a Tractor

js: When did you guys get your tractor?

35:14 lp: Well, we didn’t have a tractor ‘til we lived in Farrville. That was about 15 years or more, as far as I knew.

js: Do you remember what year you got it in?

35:35 lp: No, no, I don’t. We had horses. I know that they had horses, and he turned ‘em loose when we got our tractor. And I remember I told him one day, I said, “How’s come them horses don’t come up to get a drink of water?”

He laughed and said, “We haven’t got any horses anymore."

And I says, “What?”

He says we didn’t have any horses anymore. He said that we didn’t need horses with a tractor.

Of course, we had the driving horse. I drove that for a long time after we was married. I could take care of that horse. I’d take him to the buggy, put the harness on it. Of course, the farming harness was different than that on a buggy. You just learned to do what you had to do and wanted to do on a farm.

js: Did you guys have a big farm?

36:56 lp: No, we didn’t. With just the two of us, we couldn’t have farmed too big of a farm. I think about 70 acres was the smallest we farmed. (Inaudible)

I had a sister that lived north of me and one that lived south of me. We’d go back and forth. And the way they’d unload. They’d load hay on the wagon, then put it in the barn. Then they’d put it in the center of the barn and bring the fork down. They’d put it in the center of the hay. Then we’d have to take a horn and grab it out. Then they’d jerk on the rope and throw the hay into the hay pile. We all worked hard.

Shucking Corn

And when we shucked corn, we shucked corn and then they had to put in the cart. Nowadays, they take the corn and shuck it right there and put it in the wagon. They have things that are called silos. They just gain corn in ‘em 'cuz they bring it right from the field. You see, what we did was all by hand. So we worked lots harder. It was lots harder for us to do then what they do today. They work hard on the farm, but it’s so much easier than what we had. I don’t know what they’d do if they had to go out and shuck the corn by hand. Well, they couldn’t do it; that’s all there is to it.

Milking Cows

Then they used to milk so many cows. I don’t think you find one farmer, 'cuz we sold milk, that milks cows anymore. That was part of our living you see, we sold milk. The milkman would come every morning and gather up the milk that we milked that morning and that night. So, we know what it was to live on the farm back in those days. Nothing like it is today. You never lived on the farm did you?

js: Huh-uh (Nods head in negative manner)

40:31 lp: Well, you have no idea what they do. Well, they don’t do today like we did. Most, well, a lot of the farmers now work in town. I wouldn’t have had time to work in town. I worked some in the factory after we went to Farrville, but not too much. Worked on the farm for three years. Then I worked in a radio factory in Marion.

js: What’d you do in there?

41:17 lp: I put connections on the boxes. They was cheap boxes. I had seven different things I had to work on. The next lady, she just had two. She just had two, and I put seven on. So she didn’t have to work as hard.

js: And when did you work in the factory? was that after you got the tractor or before? How’d you get the time to start?

42:12 lp: Well, I’m going to try to think now if I can think back. I suspect it was after we got the tractor, and I can’t remember what, when it was I worked in the factory. My two sisters, they worked in factories, and they lived on the farm.

Feeding the Thrashers

When they got the crops gathered, well, we couldn’t work then, you know, 'cuz we had to, you know, lots of times we had to cook for what we called thrashers. They’d come in a' thrash the grain for us. We got the meals for ‘em. The farmer got to where they got their own meal for all the thrashers. That’s no fun either, but to cook for your own husband, you had to cook for all the thrashers. We, farm women, didn’t have any easy job back in those days. They never got to go like they do today. Their work is so much easier. They can go wherever they want to now. But they learn new ways to do things, and I give them more time to get their work done.

js: So, would you say that it got easier over time - the farming, with electricity and all?


44:41 lp: Our housework after we got sweepers, you know, electric sweepers. After we got electricity, we got electric sweepers. Before that, women on the farm, we’d have to take the carpet out and beat it to get the dust out of it, then bring it back in. But, you see, after we got electricity, the sweepers, we could do like they do today. We could pick the dust up right off the floor.

All farmers weren’t maybe as poor as we were. We were poor, but we weren’t in poverty. We never had to be any help to our in-laws and parents or anyone. We were just as happy as they are today and maybe even more so.

js: So, overall you were really content? So, the ‘30s and ‘40s were good times, even with the hardships and everything?

46:35 lp: Yes. We were younger then. We could do a lot more than we could do later on. Well, shoot, my husband worked in the factory in Van Buren 'til he was 70 when he got those cataracts in his eyes and he had to quit 'cuz he couldn’t see to drive. He couldn’t get there ‘til he had them taken off, and by then he was too old to work. I don’t know how old you have to be to work in the factory now, do you? (Nods no) I don’t either, but he was 70, I’m sure.

js: So, your husband must have been a very hard worker?

Currying the Horses

47:33 lp: Yes. Farm work was awfully hard - not like they do today - back when they had to farm with horses. Well, you had to know anything about currying horses. You have to scrape the horse, then brush, then brush some more. And that harness was terribly heavy. You had to harness the horses and get them ready to go to work. Now I could put the harness on the horse I drove to the buggy, but they were nothing like the work harness.

js: What was the difference between those?

48:15 lp: Nobody uses the horse anymore. I don’t suppose you could find somebody who used a horse now on the farm.

js: Well, what was the difference between the currying of the horse you did and the field horses?

49:21 lp: Course now nobody, well, I don’t know how the farmers done. You have to take care of the horse, too, you see, because you had to keep them in a stable with the cows. See, we had to stable the cows and clean 'em with their heads fastened in the (inaudible). Between the cows, I’d go in there and sit down by the cow and milk, and there’d be a cow right next to ya.

You know, it was hard, but we got through all right. I’m here. He’s gone. He’s been gone since ’85. He had his birthday on the 23rd of November. He was in a coma then, and uh, he was in nine days. His birthday was on Saturday and he passed away on Sunday.

js: And how old was he when he died?

50:29 lp: How old was he? Eighty-eight. And we was out in the country all that time. The last farm we farmed, we lived there fifty years. But he didn’t farm all 50 years, but most of it. The last few years he worked in a factory. Why, of course, he didn’t farm then. But we had a, I’m trying to think, it was a long time before we had an automobile.

Driving a Truck and Driving a Horse and Buggy

js: What year did you get your first automobile?

51:22 lp: I believe it was, um, it was kind of a truck concern. It wasn’t a regular automobile. I called it a truck with a wheel on the back end of it, you know. You could haul stuff in it. I think that was, we moved to Farrville in ’32, and we had it the year before we went to Farrville. And I can’t remember what we did with it after we got to Farrville. We was still driving the horse and buggy.

js: So you had an automobile, but you didn’t use it very much?

52:18 lp: Well, we used it after we got it, that truck, but we got that, I think, the year before we moved to Farrville. But I can’t remember what he did do with it. We didn’t have an automobile right away; we still had our horse and buggy. That was our main way of going, you know. But we got along, and I’m still here. I tell them I’m the oldest and the youngest here, 103. I tell them I’m 100 years old and three years old, so I’m the oldest and the youngest.

js: Well, thanks a lot for your time. Um, it’s been a pleasure meeting you and interviewing you. Your story will be very good and it will be very well received and thanks a lot!

lp: okay!

(tape ends)