Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Opal Shouse, June 22, 1992

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:02 - Childhood

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Partial Transcript: This is David Rotenizer with the University of Kentucky Family Farm Oral History Project, Cane Creek Study Area.

Segment Synopsis: Shouse recounts significant experiences of her early life. Topics of conversation include siblings, parents, and the environment she grew up in. Additionally, the origins of Shouses' parents and grandparents are examined, as well as their various occupations and trades they were involved with.

Keywords: "Odd jobs"; Childhood; Family; Grain elevators; Grandparents; Illinois; Parents; Pennsylvania; Rigs; Siblings; Tractors; Wheat

Subjects: Agriculture; Families.; Farming; Life; Occupations

00:07:54 - Childhood farm

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Partial Transcript: Uh, could you describe to me the farm that, that you grew up on?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse gives a description of the farm she grew up on, located in central Illinois. The outbuildings of the property are listed, along with how long her father owned the farm. A layout of the property and its various elements is also given. The types of plants present at that time are highlighted. How the family primarily made their livelihood, and their division of labor is revealed as well. Lastly, technological elements of the farm are briefly mentioned.

Keywords: Acres; Butchering; Cisterns; Eggs; Electricity; Garbage; Grandparents; Heating; Homes; Illinois; Livelihood; Orchards; Outbuildings; Pastures; Prairie; Trees; Wells; Wood

Subjects: Agriculture; Crops; Farming; Life; Livestock; Plants

00:36:37 - Home remedies / school

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Partial Transcript: Did your mother, um, do any kind of, uh, folk medicine, home remedies?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse relays her grandfather's home remedies used to cure ailments. Next, Shouse illustrates her level of educational attainment. This leads into a discussion of the consolidation of several central Illinois school districts, which took place in the late 1920s to early 1930s. Activities that Shouse participated in during this time are also documented.

Keywords: 4-H; Colds; Consolidations; Grandfathers; High schools; Hot toddy; Illinois; Illnesses; Sassafras tea; School

Subjects: Education; Farming; Health; Medicine; Traditional medicine

00:41:39 - Life after high school

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Partial Transcript: Now what, um, what happened after you graduated from high school?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse explains what she did following graduating from high school. The interviewee remained in Illinois for six years then moved to St. Louis and gained employment there for a short period of time. Following this stint in St. Louis, Shouse moved to Cincinnati with her sister, and remained there for several decades. A friend of Shouses' (who lived in Cincinnati) with both Kentucky and hometown connections is also mentioned.

Keywords: 4-H; Cincinnati (Ohio); Cleaning; Cooking; Factories; Friends; Illinois; Kentucky; Lee County (Ky.); Rural; Sisters; St. Louis (Mo.)

Subjects: Farming; Life; Occupations

00:47:42 - Move to Cane Creek / Cane Creek then and now

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Partial Transcript: Now, when, when did you meet, uh, Charlie?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse tells of her move to Cane Creek with her husband from Cincinnati in the late 1970s. Shouse also compares Cane Creek to when she first arrived in the area to more recent times. It is found that there has been an increase in trash and dumping of waste along country roads recently. Despite this, Shouse says that tighter regulations have helped to diminish this problem in both the county and surrounding area.

Keywords: Cane Creek (Ky.); Environment; Future; Husbands; Littering; Moving; Mutual friends; Parents; Past; Powell County (Ky.); Trash

Subjects: Farming; Life; Refuse and refuse disposal; Travel

00:56:23 - Farming

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Partial Transcript: Now, uh, you got married in '77, did you all come down here immediately, or?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse talks of her current and past farming duties while living in Cane Creek. Current chores include housework and mowing the yard. One notable former chore was shucking tobacco as well. Additionally, Shouse gives her thoughts on the state of farming. Money and weather are found to be negative aspects of the profession.

Keywords: Cane Creek (Ky.); Capital; Chores; Cleaning; Corn; Husbands; Machinery; Money; Mowing; Opinions; Tobacco

Subjects: Agriculture; Crops; Farming; Occupations; Weather

01:04:54 - Comparisons between farms / life at Cane Creek

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Partial Transcript: What were the major--if its possible, what were the major similarities or differences like between the farms around here as opposed to where you're from?

Segment Synopsis: Shouse compares the farms in central Illinois to those in central Kentucky. Two main differences are the Kentucky farms tend to be on smaller plots of land, and tobacco is the only crop that is grown. Farming of the past in general is also contrasted with the occupation currently. Many recent farmers have a job outside of the farm as their primary source of income, which conventionally has not been the case. Shouse elaborates upon her life at Cane Creek over the years as well.

Keywords: Acres; Cane Creek (Ky.); Canning; Eggs; Illinois; Incomes; Kentucky; Knitting; Land; Tobacco

Subjects: Agriculture; Farming; Gardening; Life

01:10:14 - 4-H / farmhands / socializing

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned, uh, after you had gotten out of high school there were six years you lived at home.

Segment Synopsis: Shouse recalls the six years she lived at home after she completed high school. The interviewee was heavily involved with 4-H at this time, along with several siblings. The farmhands that Shouse's father employed are briefly mentioned. Next, Shouse describes the social landscape on Cane Creek, including several active homemaker's clubs. An annual farmer's community supper is another element of the social scene as well. Lastly, a new corn festival in the town of Stanton is explored.

Keywords: 4-H; Bankers; Brothers; Dancing; Duties; Farmhands; Festivals; Homemakers; Illinois; Payment; Powell County (Ky.); Sewing; Sisters; Social life; Stanton (Ky.); Suppers

Subjects: Clubs; Education; Farming; Life