Interview with Lorene Lewis, June 14, 1991

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:06 - Childhood on a farm

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Partial Transcript: This is Elizabeth Albert on June the 14th, talking to Mrs. Lewis. What's your full name?

Segment Synopsis: Lorene Lewis tells the story of her life from when it began in Eastern Kentucky, where she was raised on a farm. She speaks about her family and the responsibilities they shared in managing the farm and providing for themselves.

Keywords: Appalachian Mountains; Boardinghouses; Childhood; Cows; Cumberland (Ky.); Grandparents; Logging; Roads; Sweet potatoes; Trains; Trucks; Woodwork

Subjects: Children; Employment; Family; Farming; Gardening; Leslie County (Ky.)

GPS: Leslie County (Ky.), where Lewis was raised.
Map Coordinates: 37.09, -83.38
00:08:14 - Gardening

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Partial Transcript: Well, what did, did you have--did your parents have a garden?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis goes into further detail about growing up on a farm. She talks about the ways in which she and her family would grow food for themselves. She talks about how she and her family kept farm animals and how they took care of the animals. Lewis also talks about seeing her family infrequently and how they would play together.

Keywords: Animals; Beans; Chickens; Cleaning; Clothes; Coal; Coal mines and mining; Corn; Cousins; Cows; Discipline; Employment; Horses; Laundry; Logging; Milk; Parents; Recreation; Responsibilities; Soy; Swine; Washing machines; Water; Wells

Subjects: Childhood; Children; Chores; Gardening

00:16:45 - Making a living

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Partial Transcript: Was there any other time that you'd hire somebody to help?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis talks about making a living farming in the 1930s and 1940s. She talks about how different it was then from the time of the interview. She also talks about the kinds of food they grew or raised. She talks about how her family was able to provide for themselves through support of the community.

Keywords: Animals; Butchering; Chickens; Corn; Cows; Eggs; Marriage; Molasses; Sausages; Socialization; Sugarcane; Swine; Tobacco

Subjects: Children; Families; Family; Farming; Money

00:22:07 - Being a mother

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Partial Transcript: Now when do you remember getting electricity?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis talks about when she first had electricity installed in her home, soon after she was married. She then goes on to talk about what it was like for her to be a mother. She talks about raising her babies, and then further about adopting children when her children left the home.

Keywords: Beef; Chickens; Leukemia; Livestock; Pork; Swine

Subjects: Adoption; Babies; Childhood; Children; Marriage; Parents

00:28:19 - Parents' employment

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Partial Transcript: Now let's see you, um, you said you moved to Leslie County because of a job that your dad got up there?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis talks about her parents and how they supported her and her family. She talks about her father working in the coal mines and for the logging companies. She also talks about doing laundry with her mother.

Keywords: Brothers and sisters; Cancer; Children; Cleanliness; Laundry; Parents; Rivers; Sanitation; United States Air Force

Subjects: Coal; Coal mines and mining; Family; Logging

00:34:58 - Childhood memories

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Partial Transcript: Well do you have happy memories from your childhood mostly?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis talks about her childhood memories. She talks about her family, how close she was to her siblings, and her parents. She also talks about school and first meeting her husband.

Keywords: Boarding schools; Childhood; Diseases; Herbs--Therapeutic use; Memories; Tea

Subjects: Brothers and sisters; Cars; Education; Leslie County (Ky.); Marriage; Schools

00:41:55 - Marriage

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Partial Transcript: How did you and, and, uh, your husband meet?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis talks about meeting her husband and their early marriage. She talks about managing a garden for the both of them, as well as managing the household for their family.

Keywords: Coal; Coal mines and mining; Fear; Gardening; Groceries; Laundry; Logging; Snakes; Soap; Stores; Vegetables

Subjects: Age; Marriage

00:48:39 - More on being a mother

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Partial Transcript: Now when you first got married and you had this big garden, did you do that all on your own?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis talks about being a mother. She talks about how she would take care of the children by letting them sleep with her, or taking them out to the garden with her while she worked.

Keywords: Birth; Chores; Motherhood; Mothers; Parenting; Pregnancy; Sons

Subjects: Babies; Children; Employment; Gardening; Marriage

00:55:38 - Managing a homestead

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Partial Transcript: Now, you said you had one son. Was he in the middle?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis talks about the appliances she was afforded in her house throughout her marriage and the kind of effect it had on her ability to take care of her children.

Keywords: Childhood; Community; Cooking; Dancing; Employment; Laundry; Parents; Refrigerators

Subjects: Appliances; Children; Electricity; Real estate management; Washing machines

01:02:39 - Electricity and appliances

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Partial Transcript: Hmm. Now when did that stock law come along? Do you remember?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis talks about the introduction of electricity into the area and her first experiences with the new technology. She talks about getting a new refrigerator and replacing her old gasoline powered washing machine with an electric washing machine.

Keywords: Childhood; Cooking; Dancing; Electric apparatus and appliances; Employment; Parents; Refrigerators; Washing machines

Subjects: Community; Electricity; Real estate management

01:09:19 - Raising children / farming

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember--did you--do you think you worked hard as a kid too?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis talks about what it was like raising her children, and compares her children with the children now. She also talks frequently about the logging companies and their effect on the surrounding area.

Keywords: Budget; Coal mines and mining; Diapers; Employment; Farm equipment; Farming; Gardening; Logging; Oil wells; Real estate management; Water--Pollution

Subjects: Children; Parenting; Work

01:16:28 - Farming as a way of life

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Partial Transcript: But what about as a way of life, farming?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis talks about farming as a way of life, describing all the animals she takes care of and how much she enjoys taking care of them. She also talks about her husband and his military service, as well as his cancer.

Keywords: Animals; Birds; Children; Country life; Cows; Employment; Family; Farm life; Geese; Horses; Kittens; Pets; Retirement; United States Air Force

Subjects: Cancer; Canning and preserving; Gardening; Parenting

01:23:22 - Eastern Kentucky way of life

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Partial Transcript: Which way do you think is better?

Segment Synopsis: Lewis compares society at the time of the interview to society when she was younger. She talks about the differences in human behavior and her opinions on what causes these differences.

Keywords: Fiction; Home Box Office (HBO); Respect; Respect for persons; Rivers; Television; Violence

Subjects: Alcohol; Children; Drugs; Emotions; Family; Parenting; Social change