Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Lila M. Clifton, November 5, 1988

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Transcript
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Index
Search this Index
X
00:00:01 - Family history / children

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Uh, Ms. Clifton, tell me your whole name.

Segment Synopsis: Clifton introduces herself. She talks about her parents and her children. Clifton also talks about the original first five-hundred settlers that settled the Johnson country area. Among the original five-hundred settlers, Clifton claims, were her ancestors the VanHoose family and the Fairchild family.

Keywords: Farming; Fathers; First five hundred; First five-hundred; Kentucky settlers; Mothers; Original five hundred; Original five-hundred; Settlers; Siblings

Subjects: Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Consolidated Coal Company; Families.; Family--history; Johnson County (Ky.); Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:03:35 - Sex education and birth control

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Now I had, um, asked your husband some questions about birth control and things. Do you feel like, uh, well do you, did you hear of anything about birth control when you were growing up?

Segment Synopsis: Clifton discusses her awareness growing up about birth control. She also discusses the advice that her family doctor, Dr. Turner, gave her regarding birth control once she was married and began having children. Clifton describes how she and her sister learned about condoms and diaphragms from Dr. Turner, who was informative but also had a habit of conveying medical advice within friendly jokes and euphemisms rather than speaking straight-forwardly.

Keywords: Children; Condoms; Diaphragms,Sex education; Doctors; Family doctors; Medical care

Subjects: Birth control; Families.; Johnson County (Ky.); Pregnancy; Reproductive health; Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:11:13 - Abortion / miscarriage

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did you hear of anybody, um, getting an abortion in town or in your family or anything like that? Where a woman had so many children she just did not absolutely did not want to have another, or a young person would get in trouble?

Segment Synopsis: Clifton is asked about the first time she heard of somebody getting an abortion. In response, she begins to discuss her own experiences having multiple miscarriages.

Keywords: Reproductive health; Reproductive rights; Sex education

Subjects: Abortion.; Birth control.; Families.; Family--history; Johnson County (Ky.); Miscarriage; Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:13:06 - In-laws and family

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Now, now Judge, now who is Judge again?

Segment Synopsis: Clifton discusses how her immediate family and her in-laws were like one big family. She also talks about the socioeconomic levels of each respective family. Clifton also mentions the push boats that brought in supplies and food.

Keywords: Farming; Fathers; Gardening; Marriage; Mothers; Push boats; Pusher boats; Siblings; Towboats

Subjects: Coal miners; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Families.; Family--history; Housing--Appalachian Region; Johnson County (Ky.); Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:16:07 - Homosexuality / marriage

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, you know, you were so open in talking about birth control I thought I would ask this other question, too.

Segment Synopsis: Clifton discusses how she had never heard of homosexuality, or other words pertaining to homosexuality, until later in life. She remarks upon an incident between a grown married man and a high school-aged boy, but gives little detail on what exactly happened during this incident. According to Clifton the topic of homosexuality was, for the most part, never discussed. She also talks about how she got married at the age of seventeen and how accepting her peers and family were of her doing so.

Keywords: "Queers"; Child abuse; Homosexuals; Marriage; Queer

Subjects: Families.; Family--history; Homosexuality.; Johnson County (Ky.); Sexual abuse.; Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:18:46 - Early childhood / flowers

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, what's your first memory?

Segment Synopsis: Clifton describes moving from Thealka to Van Lear at the age of six. She discusses the painted houses, the ponds, and the gardens in Van Lear. She mentions that there were flowers planted in front of the mines and the company store. She also discusses living in a double house.

Keywords: Children; Coal dust; Double houses; Doublehouses; Gardening; Moving; Neighborhoods

Subjects: Coal miners; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Consolidated Coal Company; Families.; Family--history; Housing--Appalachian Region; Johnson County (Ky.); Thealka (Ky.); Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:22:13 - Consolidated Coal Company

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But, uh, I've never heard of a company as good as Consolidated Coal Company, and had the things for their people as they did. It is--it was just something else.

Segment Synopsis: Clifton discusses how the Consolidated Coal Company looked after their employees and the families of their employees. She also discusses the children of the company officials, and how everybody associated with everybody.

Keywords: Children; Class; Class differences; Mothers; Playing; Socioeconomic class; Wages; Worker's wage

Subjects: Coal miners; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Consolidated Coal Company; Families.; Family--history; Johnson County (Ky.); Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:25:03 - Community associations / church

Play segment

Partial Transcript: But, um, the Singletons came to your wedding. So that was okay--

Segment Synopsis: Clifton discusses the Singletons, a black family she was friends with. She also discusses race relations within the broader Van Lear community, from children playing to differences in schooling. With regards to playing, Clifton mentions that her mother did not believe in playing cards. She also discusses the various different churches she attended growing up, and also mentions the black church which was sometimes used as a school for black children.

Keywords: African Americans; Cards; Catholic Church; Children; Church; Communities; Community; Dating; Education; Marriage; Playing cards; Race relations

Subjects: African American coal miners; African Americans--Appalachian Region; Christianity; Families; Family--history; Johnson County (Ky.); Race relations--Appalachian Region; Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:32:29 - Family / sister's cancer

Play segment

Partial Transcript: When, um, let's see--what do you think worried your mother most?

Segment Synopsis: Clifton talks about how her mother worried a lot about food. She also discusses her mother's relationship with her, her siblings, and her mother's sister who had dwarfism. Clifton also discusses her own sister's death from cancer.

Keywords: Cancer; Canning; Food; Mothers; Pickling; Siblings; Storing food

Subjects: Dwarfism; Families.; Family--history; Johnson County (Ky.); Marriage; Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:36:03 - Sex education

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, do you feel like y--you said your mom was an open person.

Segment Synopsis: Clifton discusses her level of awareness growing up about pregnancy, sex, and marriage. She mentions that as a child she did not understand the way her mother explained pregnancy and sex. As a child she and her friends would talk about sex together.

Keywords: Childhood; Condoms; Marriage; Mothers; Sex

Subjects: Birth control; Families.; Johnson County (Ky.); Pregnancy; Reproductive health; Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:40:13 - Women's work

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What, uh--I'm jumping around with these questions but--

Segment Synopsis: Clifton describes the sorts of jobs outside of the home that some women in Van Lear took on, from working in department stores to sewing for money. She also discusses women earning wages as teachers and office workers.

Keywords: Clerks; Gender roles; Sewing; Washer women; Women's labor; Women's work

Subjects: Families; Johnson County (Ky.); Van Lear (Ky.); Women

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:47:35 - Prejudice

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Was there any, uh, um, was there any prejudice in your parents that you ever remember or hear of towards any particular groups? Or religions or--

Segment Synopsis: Clifton discusses her parents' views towards different groups of people and cultures. She mentions hearing the word 'hunkies' in her house a lot, referring to Polish people, and then she notes that her parents were still friends with Polish people. Clifton states that she believes there was not a lot of prejudice in her area and asserts that she and her family were friends with everybody. She also discusses her brother's service during World War II, and sentiments toward Italian immigrants during that time.

Keywords: "Hunkies"; Immigrants; Italian immigrants; Polish immigrants; Racial prejudice; WW2; WWII; World War 2; World War II

Subjects: Families.; Family--history; Housing--Appalachian Region; Immigrants--Kentucky--Van Lear; Johnson County (Ky.); Race relations--Appalachian Region; Religions; Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:50:09 - Childhood / mine workers

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Do you think you were raised well?

Segment Synopsis: Clifton discusses how she feels she was raised well. She describes her mother's emphasis on education in tasks such as sewing, cooking, and gardening. She also emphasizes the importance of friendship growing up. Clifton describes how it was growing up when her father was working in the mines. She describes it as simply a part of life. She also mentions some of the neighbors she had growing up, remarking particularly on an adulterous father who did not look after his children.

Keywords: Adultery; Childhood; Communities; Community; Cooking; Friendships; Gardening; Mothers; Neighborhood; Racial prejudice; Sewing; Women's labor; Women's work

Subjects: Coal miners; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Families.; Family--history; Johnson County (Ky.); Marriage; Van Lear (Ky.)

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:54:23 - Socializing amongst women

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Do you remember, um, things that women did as a group here in Van Lear?

Segment Synopsis: Clifton talks about how she and the other women helped each other out a lot and how tight-knit of a community they were. While the men sat on the bridge or the front porch the women would gather and socialize inside the house. At first these social events were more family-focused but then they also began to include friends and other neighbors.

Keywords: Family doctors; Gender roles; Marriage; Wives

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Families; Johnson County (Ky.); Van Lear (Ky.); Women

GPS: Van Lear (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 37.771111, -82.758056
00:57:35 - Company charity / poverty

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Were there any, uh, sort of charity things that the company did for very poor miners? Ones that were sick a lot and didn't work very much? Can you think of anything like that?

Segment Synopsis: Clifton describes how the mining company always made sure that their sick employees were taken care of. She talks about several different families with various ailments that the company looked after.

Keywords: Adoption; Caesarean section; Charity; Class differences; Mothers; Poverty; Socioeconomic classes; Starvation; Tuberculosis

Subjects: Coal miners; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Consolidated Coal Company; Families.; Family--history; Johnson County (Ky.); Social classes--Kentucky--Van Lear; Van Lear (Ky.)