Silvernale, Florence May Parmalee

Interviewer: Richard A. Dwelley
Place of Interview: Millerton, NY
Date of Interview:
File No: 84 A Cycle:
Summary: Ore Hill, Ore Hill School Wake Robin, Drummonds, Holley-Williams family, description of Holley-Williams house

Interview Audio

Interview Transcript

Oral History Project: Property of the Oral History Project, Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library,

Salisbury, CT 06068

Interviewee: Florence May (Parmalee) Silvernail

Interviewer: Richard A. Dwelley

Place of Interview: Dutchess Avenue, Millerton, NY (?)

Tape No.: 84A

Transcribed by: Lisa A. Wardell, 10/24/12

Date of Interview: May 6,1991

Summary of talk: Family background, Ore Hill, Ore Hill School, food shopping, marriage, separation, Wake Robin, housework, Drummonds, 7 years for Williams family, chores, pay, description of house, work for GE.




Florence Silvernail – 84A

May 6, 1991

Interviewed by Richard A. Dwelley

Today is May 6, 1991, and we are sitting at the kitchen table of Florence Silvernail of Millerton. Isn’t that right?


R:Also with us is Nancy Ann Walberg, the director of the Holly Williams House. What we are going to talk

about today is your recollections of the Holly Williams House. Maybe it wasn’t known as that back then. I’m going to ask you a few questions and we can just take the conversation where it will go. You were employed at the home of Miss Margaret Williams. She was born in 1882 I’ve been lead to believe and died in 1971 at the age of 89. When were you employed there?

My oldest daughter was born in ’23. I must’ve went over there either the 25th or 27th of 1900.

R:Do you recall how long you were there?

F:I was about 7 years.

R:Were you?


R:Where were you born?

F:I was born in a little town in Ore Hill. It’s right in between Millerton and Lakeville.

R:That was in the state of Connecticut?


R:Can you recall where on Ore Mine Road were you born-bottom, top, middle?

F:We had a little house. My father worked and took care of the horses and everything in there at that

place at the Ore Hill Mine. There was a little road went up a little hill like. Of course it was all company. We didn’t have to pay nothing. It was all company doings, you know. That’s where we lived, second house up in that little hill.

R:Okay. Were you more toward the bottom of the hill or the top of the hill?


The top of the hill, not too high. I mean it wasn’t too…

R:There’s no house there now?

F:I don’t think so. That’s been years ago. That’s where I was born.

R:You were born when? What year? Can you tell us that?

F:Well, wait a minute. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I can tell you that. That’s something..

I’m 85 now. I’ll be 86 this coming fall.

R:We can figure out how old you are. You’re not that old.

F:Oh no?

R:I have a mother older than you are. Did you ever have or do you have now relatives in the Lakeville are?

Since you were born on Ore Mine Hill Road, you don’t have any living relatives?

F:Not that I know of, no. My father, all gone. Mother, brother, sister, although…. in my family.

R:Your parents came here to work in the mine? You dad did?

F:Yes he did.

R.From where?

F:Cornwall.Cornwall, CT.

R:What washis name?

F:Edward. Ernest Edward Parmalee. That was my name before I was married.

R:Flo, if I may call you that?

F:Oh sure.

R:What is your earliest recollection of Lakeville? What can you tell me of you recollections of Lakeville as a

community in which to live? What was going on at the time around the mine? What was going on as you grew up? What do you remember of your life?

F:Well, I’ll tell you we were poor people, and we lived there for a long time. We had one store. We had a

little store. We had the post office and of course, the trains used to come in from Lakeville to Ore Hill.

R:Ore Hill was a stop?

F:That’s right. It was a stop. It came twice a day: once in the morning and one at night.

R.As a child did you go down there and watch the train?


F:Oh yes. Well I could see the train. Of course we weren’t allowed to See, we minded our parents.

We never got a whipping in our life. My sister Mabel never got a whipping. The five of us. Well, my brother got a lickin’, yes.

R:Did he deserve it?

F:He certainly did. He come home from school. His shirt all ripped open, buttons all taken off, blood

running down. He got in a fight you know, the kids. You know kids do what they feel. I often said to my sister

I said, “Did papa ever touch you are whip you?” “No”, she answered. Well he never did me. My mother used to say “Do this, do this now.” Like that, but I mean we never got a whipping.

R:What was life like in your home for example on average day that you can feasibly recall either as a child?

young adult? What was it like living on Ore Mine Hill back?

F:It was fine. We didn’t know any better. It was just fine. And I’ll tell you, it was nothing like it is today.

R:In terms of?

F:Ooh, everything today is terrible.

R:I can’t argue with you with that. What was the average day like? What time did you get up in the


J:We had to go to school. It was probably half past 7, quarter to 8. We didn’t go to school till 9 o’clock.

There was one school house over there. It had two rooms: one for the bigger class, one for the little ones.

R:Could you walk to school?

F:Oh yes. I walked on the snow banks many a time from my house to there.

R:Where was that school? Do you recall?

F:Yes. It was in Ore Hill.

R:Was it closer to the mine or uphill?

F:It was in between.

R:Where did your mother buy her groceries and things like that? At the company store or was it an

independent store?

F:Well not like that. The train as I told you before, it came twice a day, the morning and at night, and

every Saturday night it would come about 6 o’clock, and my mother would go on that train to Lakeville with a little handbag. (I can see her now.) I can remember her now and buy her groceries and then she’d come back. The train would go at 6 o’clock, be back at 7.

R.She had to shop fast didn’t she?


F:Well, yes. You know where the Lakeville Depot is now? There was a store right straight across the road

from it. Used to be the A&P. Mother would go there of course. Only cost about 5 cents I think from Ore Hill to Lakeville. She would do that every week. That’s how she got her groceries.

R:That’s very interesting.

F:As I told you, we were poor people. At that time, I think all the wages my father got was as far as I can

remember was about $16 a week. Course we had no bathrooms, we had no lights.

R:The wages that you got or the wages that he got?

F:Papa got, my father got. I was a child. I had three brothers, my sister and myself. That’s five children.

R:No one of those is living today?

F:No. Every one of them are gone. Every one of them.

R:You’re certainly stubborn enough to have lived this long.

F:Oh dear you know what? I’m stubborn enough to have the Lord take me out of here. That’s all I’m

looking for. I praise God that I’m as well as I am.

R:Sure. Well you look very well to me on such a beautiful day.

F:I do my own housework, I do my own things. My daughter-in-law is awfully good to me. She’s awfully

good to me. She come over and did my curtains and windows. She’ll change my bed, every week. She’s very good to me.

R:Your address here is What is the name of this street?

F:Dutchess Avenue, Millerton, NY.

R:We’re at the very top, and your son lives next door.

F:Right over here. See he’s the one that’s got the big pole over there.

R:I see that. Today the house that Margaret Williams lived in and owned is called the Holley Williams

House. What was it called back in those days when you worked there?

F:The Williams House.

R:How did you get that job and what did you do?

F:Well, you see I was married first and my husband and I, we never got along, never agreed, and I had a

little girl, 19 months old. I took her back to my father and mother’s house. Mother says, “Come home”. She says he won’t work so come home. So I went home with my little girl. They had a cook, Mrs. Williams did. She was a big stout German, but boy was she a cook. Oh, she could put that stuff in your mouth and it would melt. I guess she heard that I had left my husband, you know. I was down there with my mother and father. She knew


^^them. She was there quite a while. I don’t know how many years she was the cook for the Williams’s. She was there for a long while. She comes down to my mother’s one day. She says, “Say you just got a daughter moved in with you didn’t you?” My mother says, “Yes”. Is she looking for a job? Mother said, “Yes she is”. I did go and help Mrs. Hunter at the Wake Robin Inn. Do you know where the Wake Robin Inn is in Lakeville? Well, Mrs. Hunter owned that. She used to of course cater to all the Hotchkiss School boys, fathers and mothers, and all of them came to see their children. I did get a job up there. It was only on weekends, and it was only $5. It didn’t amount to much, but I said I’ll take it anyway. You know, I never refused it, so I did that for a little while and finally I said, her name was Esther Marks, the cook’s name. She was as I told you a big German woman. I said I would go up and see about it. She told my mother about it you know. Mother says, “Florence, why don’t you go up to the Williams’s and just see. You don’t have to take it. Go and see what’s it all about. So I didn’t live very far. You know where Walton Street is in Lakeville?


F:Well we lived on Walton Street in one of those houses down in there. Course, they’re all fixed over

now. You know where Lumburg’s lived? Used to be years ago.

R:I don’t, but I’m sure…

F:Gus Lumberg?


F:Well we lived right beside him.

R:You must have moved down from Ore Mine Hill at what point in time? How old were you? What are

we talking about when you were working a Wake Robin and became interested in this job at Williams’s house?

F:I was to Williams’s almost 7 years. I was what they called a second girl. I answered the bell, doors;

waited on all that, cook. You know waited on different things.

R:Did you wait on tables?

F:Oh yes, yes. Oh indeed.

R:Indeed you did. Well we’re going to talk about that more in a moment. So you worked there for 7 years

and you’re really not sure what period that may have been but it probably was in the 20s?

F:Oh yes it was.

R:After you were married. You mention 1925. Would it be in that area 1925-28 somewhere in there?

F:I would say so.

R:You can’t remember what year you stopped working there can you?



Well, yes I can. I’ll tell you why. Mrs. Williams died. Clara Williams, you know, she died. After she died, Ms. Margaret heard about it. I don’t know how she heard about it. She was a nurse. She was a married woman separated from her husband. She went over and stayed with Margaret Williams till she died. Her name was Mrs. Shay. She lives here now.

R:What’s her first name?


R:She lived here in Millerton.

F:No, no. It’s in Millbrook.

R:So you got the job through the cook?

F:That’s right.

R:you mentioned to Nancy Walberg and a few weeks ago the cook lived or lives now in Millbrook. Is she


F:No. She died after a while, the cook of course, she was getting along in years.

R:Do you know someone who lives in Millbrook today that was there with you?

F:Nobody with me. See I did the second work, and I did everything.

R:What does everything mean? You answered the bells, you waited on tables.

F:And the telephone. Every time that rang, l had to go and take care of that. See who that was. But,

they were awful good to me, the Williams’s were. You see I was a young girl and I didn’t know beans when I went there and she taught me how to set a lovely table and to wait on tables you know. They were awfully good to me. I hated to leave them, but you know, things go on.

R: Sid they entertain a lot?

F:Yes, they did.

R:What do you remember of that entertainment she did? In terms of family or guests or how frequently

she may have entertained. If there were any people you recall of being there.

F:The Drummonds. You know the Drummonds? I think they are cousins or something. I’m sure they


R:What would be the first name?

F:Oh, wait a minute. There was Lucy Drummond, there was that other one. She was a nurse, Jessie. I was

there when he died, when Mr. Drummond died. I worked at the Drummond’s.


So they frequented the Williams’s house at that time for dinner and so on?

F:Oh yes, there was quite a family of them. Of course there was John, Lucy, Gertrude. They were awfully

good people to me. I hated to leave her. Mrs. Drummond cried when I left. I said, “Well”. But I tell you why I left. Maybe I’m ahead of my story here, but the GE came in Millerton, in a little place in Millerton. My husband and I, we worked, both of us. He worked and I worked. My second husband. He said to me, “Florence, why don’t you go down here and get yourself a job”. I used to drive back and forth. I had a ’29 Ford of my own. That’s where I drove back and forth in Lakeville to these people’s houses that I used to work. He says why don’t you go down there he says, and see about a job. You’d be bettering yourself. Well I said, “Maybe I will.” So I was working to Drummonds’ one day and my sister-in-law called me up. She’s dead and gone now. They’re all gone. She said to me, “Florence, why don’t you go down to the GE and see about getting a job. It would be easy for you. It would be easier for you.” Cause I was doing all housework as I told you waiting on tables and all that stuff you know. I said, “Well, I don’t know. Albert’s been telling me that.” That’s my husband, Albert. He’s been telling me that, “Florence, why don’t you do it?” I said, “Well, I am.” So one day I took off. I called them where I was supposed to go to work and said I had a little business to take care of. So I went right down to the GE and I worked there for 19 1/2 years. I think they were in there for about 5 or 6 years. Then they went out and they went into Norfolk, CT. Do you know where that is?


F:And then all together the two places I worked 10 1/2 years with theGE.

R:You mentioned the Drummonds being frequent guests.

F:They’re cousins.

R:Oh, they’re cousins. Do I understand you when you said you worked for Mrs. Drummond on occasion?

You worked for both of them at the same time?

F:That’s right. I was a woman who went around and did housework. Like I would come to your house

today, tomorrow, I’d go to Caroline’s the next day I’d go someplace else until I got this steady job and then I stopped.

R:When you worked for Miss Margaret Williams you were there on an on-call basis. Were you there


F:I think I went three days a week there.

R:And she entertained mid-week?

F:anytime, I never knew.

R:So she would call you when she needed to come?

— F:Yes, that’s right.


R:Can you tell us what your earliest recollections of Miss Williams might be?


F; All I can say is they were very sweet to me.

R:Did she interview you when you were applying for the job?

F:Oh yes.

R:The cook, her name again?

F:Aster Marks.

R:She introduced you to Mrs. Williams.

F:Yes she did.

R:You were probably hired immediately. Is that fair to say?

F:Well, I said I would go home and think about it. And I got to thinking about it. You see, I didn’t live too

far from Walton Street to where they lived. I said I could walk up there day and night and I wouldn’t have to borrow a car or nothing. So, that’s why I took it. I was there for about 7 years.

R:You lived on Walton Street when you worked for Margaret Williams so you didn’t have to go to Ore

Mine Hill.

F:No, that was my earlier life.

R:Can you recall in what manner she entertained? Was it just informally, was it formally, was it grandiose?

How did she entertain? How many people might come to dinner at a time?

F:Sometimes if it was just for lunch, it would be about 5 or 6. If it was at night, there might be 10 or 12.

Sometimes I didn’t get home till quite late at night.

R:Did she ever entertain outside in the garden?

F:No, not that I never know of.

R:These people that she entertained; they were almost always locally people. They were her friends?

F:Yes, they were her friends. It was either the Drummonds or there was a master from Hotchkiss

School, Mr. Williams, Miss Lucy. Miss Margaret Williams liked him very much and he used to come down there quite a bit.

R:What do you mean she liked him very much?

F:Well as a friend I guess. Ha, ha, you know there was no

R:Now you knew Margaret’s brother Hubert?

F; I saw him just once. That’s all. I can’t say I can remember the fellow very good. That was a long time ago.


If my understanding is correct, you probably met him before you lived there.

F:No, it was right after.

R:He died in 1918. Was his death war related?

F:Yes, I’m sure it was.

R:He never married.

F:No, never. He was a very nice man.

R:Other members of the greater family- do you remember any of them?

F:They used to come down. I can’t remember off hand just who.

R:I’m going to mention some names to see if they ring a bell alright? How about Charles Rudd? Malcolm

Rudd lived next door.

F:Yea. Course Hoppy Rudd and them, they used to come a lot there too.

R:Holly Rudd?

F:I knew her.

R:Theodore and Hop.

F:Oh yes, Hoppy. Iworkedfor Hoppy.

R:Fanny? Cantine?Fanny Rudd Cantine?


R:Would you say that Margaret entertained the family on a regular basis? Like did they come on a

weekend or Sunday or a Wednesday night or something like that?

F:I never could tell you. Sometimes it would be on a Sunday. Sometimes it would be on a Saturday night.

R:Who was responsible for buying the groceries? Who did that shopping? Do you recall?

F:I think Miss Margaret did.

R:She did. Where would she have gone to do that?

F:Well of course we had 2 or 3 different stores in Millerton there you know or Lakeville rather there. We

had, I can’t think of that one on the corner there. That was a big place.

R:There was the A&P.


F:Yes. That was that little place. She did her own. Miss Margaret did because Clara getting old.


R:Could you describe to us what a typical day was for you. What time did you arrive in the morning?

F:Well, I’d get there about 7 o’clock. I’d put the ashes back in the fireplace if it was a cool day. Always

had to do that. First thing I did, first thing I did. I had to do that. Then of course, I had to set the tables and I used to dust the room as you go off the porch that used to be Mrs. Williams’s library. That used to be a library. She had a table over here. She had a big chair there. She had another chair by the window. She always sat by the window looking out.

R:So you got there at 7 o’clock and you performed these duties.

F:Before I served breakfast.

R:Oh, you served breakfast in the morning.

F:Oh sure.

R:You served breakfast to the family?

F:Just the family, the two, Miss Williams and her mother unless they had company. Now they did once in a

while have company you know. She would have. But I don’t know too much about them because I wouldn’t know.

R:Would you stay to serve lunch?

F:Oh yes. I stayed there all day.

R:All day and you served dinner as well? You worked 3 meals a day. That’s a long day from 7 in the

morning till kind of late at night.

F:Yes it was.

R:I’m going to ask you a personal question. You don’t have to answer it. What did they pay you for all of

this work? You got $5.00 a weekend at the Wake Robin. What did Margaret Williams pay you?

F:When I first went at the interview, it was $35 a month room and board. I had a room there. I could

have stayed there but I had my little girl. I thought I had better go home to my mother’s and get her bathed and see that she’s in bed. Let me tell you something. When my first husband and I separated, I couldn’t stand the man. I’m telling you the truth. It was 9 years after we separated that I never went with anybody, spoke to anybody, a man I’m talking with about now. I said I can’t stand them, they’re all alike. Course I was a young girl you know too. Nowadays I’d probably tell them to go to the devil.

R:You cleaned that up a little didn’t you?

F:But that’s the way it was 9 whole years.

That’s a long time. Getting back to the 35 dollars a month room and board. You said early that you C^ worked 3 days a week. Was that $35 for a 3-day week?


No, that was a month.

R:But did you work 3 days a week

F:Somewhere else?

R:No, did you work 3 days a week for 4 weeks for $35. In other words, you weren’t there every day 4 or 5

days a week, you were there 3 days a week.

F:I was there every day. Every single day, I went up.

R:You mean 7 days a week?

F:Absolutely Sunday and all. And after I was there for about I suppose 2 or 3 months, they was giving me

a trial to see what I do, she give me $5 dollars more so that was $40.

R:After a few months. After 7 years what did she give you?

F:Same thing.

R:$40 a month?

F:Yea same thing.

R:For 7 days?

F:7 days.

R:How did you have time to work for the Drummonds and do some of these other things?

F:I did that before I went to Mrs. …

R:Did you ever have a day off for you?

F:Oh yes. I had an afternoon off. You can’t call it a day. I used to go home to my mother’s where my little

girl was and I used to clean her house and paint. I don’t know what I didn’t do. I was an awful worker and I’ve

got a daughter today that’s the same way.

R:Well she learned it from you.

F:She is 67 years old. She had her hip taken care of. She jumps on ladders and everything else. You ought

to see her. Smart. Of course, she’s a minister’s wife, my oldest daughter. The one I took home to my mother’s. She’s 67 years old December.

R:It’s comforting to have her around isn’t it?

F:Oh, they both came here last, let’s see, I think they came in September and they painted my whole



R:Florence, you were one of how many employees did you think at the Williams house? When you were

there that 7 year period, how many others?

F:Well, there was a man outside of course.

R:If you can remember any names.

F:Eberts- Mr. Eberts

R:Can you remember his first name?

F:That’s a man.

R:Okay. Can you remember his first name?

F:No, I don’t know.

R:What did he do?

F:Everything outside.


F:Yea, he’d go and pick things out of the garden. They had a little garden. If the cook wanted it why he’d

go and do it.

R:Where was the garden located?

F:Way over there on the side.

R:On the right hand side.

F:You know what I can remember? I used to come in lots of times from the dining room. You know where

the dining room is there? There I’d see Mrs. Williams standing there looking out on that garden. She did that 2 or 3 times and I didn’t say nothing. So one time I came through there she said to me “Florence, I bet you know who I’m looking for? I said, “Yes, I do. Mrs. Williams I do.” She was thinking about her son Hubert I suppose to the Lord that she would see him. She’d stand right by that window in the hall. You know where the hall is? There’s a window there. There was a little stand there. She always had a bible on that. She would stand there and look. I finally got used to what she was doing you know. She would just turn around, “Well” she would say. That would be the end of it. I think they belonged to the church in Salisbury, the white one didn’t they?

R:The Congregational in Salisbury.

F:They were very lovely people to me. I don’t think they ever gave me a cross word and I never did to


R:They paid you $40 but did they ever offer you vegetables from the garden or food from the house that

you could take home with you?


No. Mrs. Drummond used to because they raised horses and had a garden and she used to give me eggs and milk once in a while if they had it, you know.

R:What sort of vegetables might have been grown in the garden up the hill?

F:You mean at the Williams’?


F:They had asparagus. I remember that. Fresh asparagus, I love that stuff.

R:We all do.

F:Oh. I get it pretty near every week, my son over here. I cook it you know and I’d take it over there and

he’d say, “You got asparagus again Ma?” I said, “Yup.”

R:I suppose the grocery stores nearby they really didn’t grow… that garden wasn’t that big.

F:No it wasn’t too big. It was just something they liked I suppose like asparagus. I can’t quite remember

what else he used to bring down from the garden.

R:What about flowers?

F:Yes, they used to have flowers. They had a lot of pretty flowers out there.

R:What was in that little garden area off the dining room? Were there flowers in there too?

F:Yes, they had some up against the wall.

R:Is there anything else you remember about the house? Were there ever any storms, bad winters, leaks

in the roof?


R:Nancy do you have anything you’d like to?

N:I’d love to ask you a couple of things. Do you happen to remember the bear rug?

F:Oh, do I! I was scared to death of it when I first saw it.

N:That must have come from I think Hubert.

F:He did. It was. She told me once. I asked her one time.

N:He had been out in the… He was in the forestry.

Did he shoot it?


F:I think he did. Oh boy it had a head on him. All the kids if there was any children, they wouldn’t get near


N:He also stuffed the birds.

F:In the ladies quarters where we girls were. He had it all framed in and everything. You remember that?

All kinds of birds.

N:He’d collect them and then he’d stuff them.

F:That was over in our part sitting there on a bureau.

N:I’d love to ask you where Margaret William’s room was when her mother was alive.

F:I’ll tell you where it was. You know where Mrs. William’s room was?

R:Can you describe that in words where it was.

F:Well, it was around the front.

R:Second floor. It would be over the front door area.

F:Somewhat yes. There was a big porch there that went across it.

R:Big porch downstairs?

F:Yes, there was a great big porch. Now what were we talking about?

N:Margaret Williams’s bedroom

F:You come out of Clara’s and there was two steps going down. That was into Margaret’s room. The old

part. It used to be the maid’s quarters. I suppose. I don’t know.

R:Is the old part the west end of the house?


F:I asked the man about that if I could see it. I said Miss Margaret’s room isn’t here. He said well, its over

there but the caretaker is living there so I can’t show you. I didn’t go in the kitchen even.

N:Can you describe that wing of the house- upstairs?

F:The cook had one room and then the hall went through and I had a room on this side.

R:What’s this side, the right hand side?

F:No, that would be on the left. The cook was on the right. I was on the left, and then we would go get

out of my room and there was the big bathroom.


They’re all still there.

F:Are they? Then the dining room, that was ours downstairs. Did you ever go in the dining room? See, I

couldn’t get into there. I said to the man, “I’d like to see that.” He said, “I’m sorry. We don’t know who it is.

N:Where was your kitchen? Did you have a huge soapstone sink?

F:Yes. We had a big kitchen. We had them stationary tubs. They weren’t stone, but they were concrete

or something. I don’t know. The cook’s stove. She had to have a big cook stove.

R:Wood stove?

F:Wood in the summer, then of course, it would have gotten a little cooler and they’d have a little fire in

there for us because we had to work around in there. It was cold.

R:The cooking was with a wood stove or on a wood stove.

F:Yes, oh yes. They never had no electric or anything like we’ve got, nothing like that.

R:The heat in the house was from fireplaces or from the furnace.

F:Furnace. They hadabig furnace.

R:Wood furnace?


R:Wood burning furnace.

F:Well, I suppose they had coal in the winter. I imagine you know. Because they’d have to have it really

because those are big rooms.

N:Was the bathroom added after you left? The bathroom upstairs was the first bathroom they had in the


F:You mean in their part?


F:I think that was. I don’t remember it.

N:Because you know they had a 7-holer outhouse.

F:I heard that but I never saw it.

N:So the bathroom was there when you were there?


F:Yes, oh that. They had fixed it over hadn’t they? Didn’t they do something to it? When 1 went up the

front stairs, it is right there. You just go right in. I looked at it but it seems to me they’ve done something to it.


N.Probably just other paper.

F:Well course it could have been cause I don’t know.

R:In closing I would like to ask you about setting the table because you said Miss Margaret taught you

how. Could you describe, can you remember what the table would look like and what they used for silver, for china. Could you just go through how you would set a table for dinner?

F:Well, I would come in from the kitchen. There was a door there, one of those swinging doors. I would

come in from that way. Miss Williams, Miss Margaret’s mother sat at the head of the table and I would always come in and pass to her first.

R:She sat at the far end of the table away from the swinging door?

F:Oh yes.

R:She faced the swinging door?

F:Yes. That was the kitchen part. I had to come in there when I waited on the table.

R:So you servedher first.

F:I had to. I served her first and I went right straight around the table, right straight around. I passed to

— the right and I took from the left.


R:(laughs) Okay. When you set the table in the beginning, set it up for dinner, can you recollect the kind

of Who told you what to use as far as china and silver?

F:Well, I got so that I knew you know. I got so I knew. If they were going to have dessert, I’d know what

kind of plates they used and if it was in the wintertime, I’d put them on that big radiator there that goes across.

N:Was all the china and glassware in that large closet?

F:Most of it yes, most of it. Some of those great big bottles were in the, well, china closet is what I’d

called it.

N:It’s still there.

F:Honest? Yes, I think they were that last time I was there. I think I said something about that. I used to

have to clean all the silver, all the brass if there was any.

R:Would you do that on a weekly basis?

F:Uh, well just so often I’d have to do it. I don’t know whether it was every two weeks or every three

weeks. I kind of forgotten that.


F:But when it needed it. The same way to the Drummonds. I had to do the same thing.

R:Did she have flowers on the table whenever possible?

F:Oh yes. Oh yes, cause they had flowers out in the garden. Miss Williams did.

R:And who arranged those flowers?

F:Margaret. She’d go out with her basket. I could see her going out with her basket. Up. She’d usually

get them.

R:D id she place flowers in other places of the house like the front hall or the parlor or just the dining room

table? You can’t remember that.

F:I never remembered that. Now there might have been. There might have been in the hall as you come

in off the porch. She had a table there. Now there could have been. I kind of forgotten that.

R:Florence I have no more questions to ask you unless there is something else you’d like to tell us that you

might have thought of. I’ve got about a minute left on this tape. Is there anything you would like to…? Did you enjoy the job?

F:Oh yes. Absolutely.

R:Even though you worked liked the dickens for only $40 a month?


F:Well, people didn’t get the money then anyway. I was glad to get it. I had a child to take care of. I said

I’d take care of that child. I would never leave her, and I never did. I put her through college. Don’t ask me how I did it. I got my own divorce. Paid for that too. Clint Dakin, Clint what-you-call it up in Canaan got my divorce. That lawyer up there. I’ve had quite a life. I mean uh….

R:I’m glad you’re enjoying it now.

F:And I am thank God for that. And when the second husband of mine, him and his…. I told you we

worked together and we had a 10-room home. And I worked out a took care of Had all that work to do. I did it but I don’t know.

R:Congratulations. I want to thank you very much for spending the time with us this morning.

F:Oh my goodness, I love it.

R:It’s been kind of fun hasn’t it?

F:Oh, I love it.

R:If we have no more questions, I think we can close now and thanks again Florence.

F:I was going to make you some nice fresh ice tea.


’R:That’s a good idea.