Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with June Smith Tyler, October 28, 1989

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Tyler's grandparents / a poet in the family

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Partial Transcript: Okay, this is um, October 28th, 1989, and I'm interviewing June Tyler at her office at Dinsmore and Shohl...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler talks about her mother's and grandmother's family, and their lives in Eastern Kentucky during the Great Depression. She also talks briefly about a family member who published several books of poetry.

Keywords: Authors; Books; CCC; Eastern Kentucky; Food; Grandfathers; Grandmothers; Grandparents; Mothers; New Deal; Pinto beans; Poetry; Poets; Shakespeare; Stroke

Subjects: Alcoholism; Boardinghouses; Cerebrovascular disease; Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.); Depressions--1929; Families; Tennessee

00:06:00 - Tyler's wealthy grandparents

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Partial Transcript: Uh, you said a little bit about your grandfather. Um, do you know when that side of the family came into...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler remembers her wealthy grandfather, his three wives, his children, of which her father was one, and his businesses.

Keywords: 1918 flu epidemic; Attractiveness; Businesses; Companies; Death; Grandfathers; Grandmothers; Ice; Judge Middleton; Nancy Middleton Smith; Reconstruction; Soft drinks; Virginia Cornett Smith; Wealth

Subjects: Children; Coal mines and mining; Family; Industrial management; Marriage; Rich people

00:10:27 - Tyler's grandfather's house / his children

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Partial Transcript: ...You know, let me take you back just a step. Uh, do you know the name of the mine...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler discusses her grandfather's house, and his eight children, two of whom died during the 1918 flu epidemic.

Keywords: 1918 flu epidemic; Aunts; Authors; Clover Fork; Dermatologists; Desks; Grandfathers; Houses; Offices; Poems; Trade school; Union College; Writing

Subjects: Children; Depressions--1929; Education

00:14:11 - Tyler's parents' marriage

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Partial Transcript: For your, for both your parents, do you know how they met?

Segment Synopsis: Tyler shares that her parents met when her father was a teacher at Evarts School, and her mother was a student there. She talks about their wedding and describes their life in the first few years after marriage.
[there is a break in the tape]

Keywords: Chores; Elopement; Evarts School (Evarts, Ky.); Houses; Mountains

Subjects: Educators; Housekeeping; Laundry; Marriage; Teacher-student relationships; Teachers

00:18:05 - Childhood home / wash day / chores

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Partial Transcript: Uh-hm. Would you describe the inside of your house?

Segment Synopsis: Tyler describes the house that she and her family lived in when she was a child, how her mother washed clothes every week, and the chores she (Tyler) was expected to do.

Keywords: Bedrooms; Chores; Cleaning; Coal; Houses; Ironing; Kettles; Laundry; Porches; Pumps; Rooms; Running water; Tubs; Washing; Washing machines; Water

00:23:11 - Family mealtimes

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Partial Transcript: Would you describe a mealtime at your house?

Segment Synopsis: Tyler describes family mealtimes when she was a child, especially the food that was served.

Keywords: Biscuits; Chickens; Conversation; Cooking; Corn; Cornbread; Fried chicken; Gravy; Green beans; Lemonade; Mashed potatoes; Meals; Oatmeal; Pinto beans; Sausages; Sunday dinners; Sunday school

Subjects: Dinners and dining

00:26:59 - Tyler's parents' marital problems

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Partial Transcript: My mother and father did not get along. My mother resented my father from day one, I think almost.

Segment Synopsis: Tyler discusses her parents' marital problems, and their cause. She also briefly talks about how she and her siblings were disciplined when they were children.

Keywords: Arguments; Discipline; Fathers; Intelligence; Mothers; Shyness; Spankings; Swearing; Switches; Verbal abuse

Subjects: Discipline of children; Divorce; Resentment

00:31:26 - Tyler's mother's influence / parents' political views

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Partial Transcript: What, did, did your parents ever voice any uh, attitudes about women or men?

Segment Synopsis: Tyler discusses the negative influence her mother had on her. She describes her parents' political views, and, briefly, their religious backgrounds.

Keywords: CCC; Congregational church; Drinking; Politics; Republicans; Smoking; Verbal abuse; Yoga

Subjects: Baptists; Church; Civilian Conservation Corps (U.S.); Law schools; Poverty; Religion; Resentment; Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945; Women

00:36:36 - Family interactions with African Americans

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Partial Transcript: What about any racial attitudes that your family...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler remembers the relationship her family had with several African Americans who lived in her town when she was growing up.

Keywords: Fathers; Housework; Ironing; Maids; Mothers; Mountains; Nickles; Prejudice; Rocks

Subjects: African Americans; Detroit (Mich.); Divorce; Poverty; Prejudice; Race discrimination

00:40:46 - Poverty and Tyler's parents' divorce

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Partial Transcript: So, in terms of the chronology, uh, your father, your parents were uh, separated fro, around 1956?

Segment Synopsis: Tyler discusses her parents' divorce when she was a child, and tells how her father moved to Detroit to find work. She recounts his sending money to her and the rest of her family, and states that her mother refused to apply for welfare.

Keywords: Chrysler; Electricians; Fathers; Money; Mothers

Subjects: African Americans; Detroit (Mich.); Divorce; Public welfare

00:43:41 - Attending school in Evarts, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Let, let me ask you a little bit about your early school?

Segment Synopsis: Tyler talks about her education through high school in Evarts, Kentucky. She describes both the school buildings and her classmates.
[there is a break in the tape]

Keywords: Classmates; Coal mining towns; High schools; Mining towns; School buildings; Schoolmates

Subjects: Evarts (Ky); Poverty; Public schools; Schools

GPS: Evarts (Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 36.863485,-83.19839
00:48:26 - Classmates and teachers / being pushed to be a nurse

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Partial Transcript: You were, you were talking about this school...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler discusses her high school classmates and teachers. She tells how her mother pushed her to become a nurse, even though she herself wasn't interested in becoming one.

Keywords: Aptitude tests; Doctors; Friends; Grades; Guidance counselors; Mothers; Nurses; Principals; Restaurants; Skipping class; Store owners

Subjects: Education; Evarts (Ky.); Schools; Teachers

00:53:27 - Sex education and dating

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Partial Transcript: What was, what would you say would be the greatest influence that this school had...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler describes her sex education as a teenager, some of her misconceptions about sex at that time, and her high school boyfriend.

Keywords: Bones; Boyfriends; Drug stores; Movies; Sex education

Subjects: Dating (Social customs); Menstruation; Sex instruction; Theater

00:58:06 - Tyler's childhood best friend

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Partial Transcript: In terms of your friends during that time period, who were your best friends and...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler tells how she met her best friend when she was three years old. She talks about their relationship in high school, and the influence that her friend had on her.

Keywords: Best friends; Boyfriends; Friends; Jane Lou Wallace; Popularity; Sex

Subjects: Friendship; Nurses

01:01:31 - Attending nursing school

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Partial Transcript: After um, after high school, what did you do?

Segment Synopsis: Tyler describes attending college to become a nurse. She states that she disliked the classes she needed for her major, though she liked the general classes she attended.

Keywords: Appalachian Regional Hospital; Cancer; Cancer patients; Doctors; English professors; English teachers; Hospitals; Miners' Memorial Hospital Association; Money; Nursing school; Physicians; Uniforms

Subjects: Morehead State University; Nurses; Nursing; Public health

01:05:56 - Dislike of nursing school / working as a nurse

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Partial Transcript: Uh, what, what did you not like the most?

Segment Synopsis: Tyler shares the reasons why she did not enjoy nursing school, stressing that she felt it was demeaning. She also talks about working as a nurse after her graduation, and why she preferred this to her schooling.

Keywords: Assistant head nurse; Babies; Bedpans; Chemistry; Dignity; Husbands; Nursing; Public health

Subjects: Childbirth; Harlan (Ky.); Marriage; Nurses; Teaching; University of Kentucky

01:10:50 - Decision to get married / Tyler's plans for her husband

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Partial Transcript: Well, let me take you back towards, where, when you met your husband.

Segment Synopsis: Tyler tells how she met her husband. She shares her expectations and plans for him when she was anticipating their marriage.

Keywords: Coaches; Husbands; Sisters; Union College; Walton Verona (??)

Subjects: Marriage

01:13:01 - Experiences with segregation / the Vietnam War

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Partial Transcript: Here's this period of time, as we move into the sixties, with all this turmoil happening in the United States...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler shares some of her personal experiences of segregation in the late 1950's and early 1960's. She also tells how her husband was drafted during the Vietnam War, though he did not have to fight.

Keywords: Boycotts; Husbands; Injustice; Integration; Students; Valley Forge (Pa.)

Subjects: African Americans; Boycotts; Children; Civil rights movements--United States; Draft; Morehead State University; Nurses; Segregation; Vietnam War, 1961-1975

01:18:02 - Tyler's wedding / her mother's move to Michigan

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Partial Transcript: Uh, let me take you back just a, one little step. Would you describe how you got married?

Segment Synopsis: Tyler discusses her wedding, and how little money she and her husband had then. She talks about her mother's move to Michigan, after her father was injured at work.

Keywords: Accidents; Elopement; Grandsons; Mothers; Rings; Wedding rings

Subjects: Children; Divorce; Marriage; Wedding

01:23:26 - The birth of Tyler's first child

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Partial Transcript: So uh, how was, uh, the whole process of being pregnant and having children for you, after being a nurse?

Segment Synopsis: Tyler talks about the birth of her first child, which occurred while she was working at a hospital as a nurse.

Keywords: Babies; Doctors; Fathers; Food; Husbands; Labor; Labor pains; Midwives; Mothers; Obstetricians; Sisters; Walking

Subjects: Childbirth; Hemorrhage; Miscarriage; Nurses

01:28:24 - Hemorrhaging after having children

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Partial Transcript: Did you take care of the baby? Did your... family stay and help you...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler states that she hemorrhaged after the birth of each of her children, eventually severely enough that she had to be taken to the hospital.

Keywords: Babies; Bleeding; Blood; Doctors; Hemorrhages; Hospitals; Husbands; Obstetricians

Subjects: Children; Pregnancy

01:32:26 - Decision to attend law school

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Partial Transcript: How was it being up at Good Sam after, after being, you know, having the original services of your, the physician who delivered you...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler talks about her decision to attend law school, also briefly touching on her divorce.

Keywords: Aptitude tests; Civil liberties; College; Doctors; Political science; Scholarships

Subjects: Divorce; Feminism; Law schools; Nurses; Student loans; Teachers

01:36:05 - Moving to Cincinnati / accent discrimination

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Partial Transcript: Um, I, I want to backtrack just a little bit, and ask you what it was like for you coming into Cincinnati.

Segment Synopsis: Tyler talks about coming to Cincinnati. She states that people frequently made fun of her accent, and that her sister was embarrassed by it.
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Keywords: Accents; Coworkers; Donors; Embarassment; Sisters

Subjects: Accents and accentuation; Cincinnati (Ohio); Discrimination; English language--Accents and accentuation; Law firms; Nurses

GPS: Cincinnati (Ohio)
Map Coordinates: 39.111948,-84.515076
01:41:10 - Accents and job interviews / Smith Tyler

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Partial Transcript: Even today, people who don't... on my first job interview, uh, out of law school, I clerked for a judge.

Segment Synopsis: Tyler tells how her accent potentially influenced the way she was perceived in job interviews. She also discusses Smith Tyler, a lawyer whom she was mistakenly assumed to be related to.

Keywords: Accents; Chase Night School; Dinsmore and Shohl; Interviews; Job interviews; Lawyers; Smith Tyler

Subjects: Accents and accentuation; English language--Accents and accentuation

01:44:23 - Discriminatory jokes and tokenism / working with nurse attorneys / career plans

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Partial Transcript: Well, I only have a few more questions, and one is, um, um, do you feel that you have been discriminated against...

Segment Synopsis: Tyler states that, while she has not necessarily been discriminated against, she has been hurt by her coworkers' jokes about Appalachian people, and feels like her workplace engages in tokenism. She talks about her work with nurse attorneys, and her plans for the future. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Activism; Appalachian Urban Council; Attorneys; Dinsmore and Shohl; Jokes; Lawyers; Nurse attorneys; Professional organizations

Subjects: Accents and accentuation; Bar associations; Discrimination; English language--Accents and accentuation; Law firms; Medical personnel--Malpractice; Nurses; Organizations