February 12, 2004

“The Great Depression in Alexander, Maine”

(Names and other words that could not be transcribed are in italics. Unknown voices are referred to as “man” or “woman.” Comments, explanations, and additional names are in parentheses.)

Barbara McArthur: (Indistinct words)

John Dudley: We just have some questions for you and - and - - -

First Girl – Amanda McDonough: Like that?

John Dudley: No (indistinct words) this thing.

Second Girl – Justina Goodine: Ok, your name?

Barbara McArthur: I’m Barbara McArthur.

Second Girl: I know who you are. And, how old were you in 1929?

Barbara McArthur: I was four years old.

First Girl: Where did you live?

Barbara McArthur: Right here.

First Girl: (indistinct words)

Second Girl: What was it like growing up from 1929 to 1935?

Barbara McArthur: Well, I was four years old by then. I lived here with my grandmother and grandfather.

(Girls talking in the background)

Barbara McArthur: I went to school down past the (indistinct words) where (indistinct name) lives. I went to school when I was four years old. They sent me to school. And the superintendent and he came in one day, he had this big fur coat on and scared me and I just got right up and run right home.

John Dudley: Do you remember who that was?

Barbara McArthur: Mr. Day. Mr. F. A. Day?

John Dudley: From Princeton?

Barbara McArthur: I guess he was from Princeton. F. A. Day they called hiim. He was superintendent.

John Dudley: You went to school at four years old?

Barbara McArthur: Yes, they - Ida Rosen I think was the teacher and I think she must have - boarded down to Alison Holder’s I think that’s where she boarded. Of course she was from up here where (indistinct words) was and I guess she thought that, you know, (indistinct words)

John Dudley: Well, we were asking about your time going to school. What subjects did you study, can you remember?

Barbara McArthur: Oh, (indistinct words) math. We used to study history and English and geography and all the subjects we had. Reading. I know I was kind of slow in reading and I used to sit on the superintendent’s knee and read to him. (indistinct words)

Second Girl: So, do you know what your grandparents did - like for jobs?

Barbara McArthur: Yes, Grammy and Grampy lived right here. They just farmed, and cut wood, had big gardens and Grampy never had a car - never drove or anything like that.

Second Girl: About the clothing?

First Girl: Yes.

Second Girl: Ok. Like what kind of clothing did you guys wear - wear?

Barbara McArthur: What kind of clothing did we wear?

Second Girl: Yes.

Barbara McArthur: I know I had to wear long stockings. I didn’t like that very much when I was growing up - wearing long stockings. Of course that was, you know, in the winter time to make us warmer. But, just a - I had to wear a snow suit and just regular clothes like you kids wear.

Second Girl: Ok. (indistinct words) What kind of toys did you have?

Barbara McArthur: What kind of toys did I have. Well, I used to have - I had 27 dolls all at once. And, I gave those away to Flora Sutherland and - after I got through with them - and I had skies and I had a sled. I never had any skates. (indistinct words) I had a croquet set and used to play horse shoes and swings and, you know, stuff like that.

John Dudley: Skied down over the hill? Gooch Hill?

Barbara McArthur: We used to slide down there (indistinct words) recess time.

John Dudley: Actually my grandmother, Eula, used to come to this school in the winter term because there wasn’t any school in North Union. And so I said to her, “You must have really liked school.” And she said to me - she said, “No,” she said, “I liked the kids.” Because she was - she was young and fun - the only one left home and she didn’t have anyone to play with. She - she came to school so she could - the kids could - sliding down the hill.

Barbara McArthur: At recess time, we used to slide down over the hill and walk back and then we’d slide down through the pasture - and be - you know, Harrison Wilber’s - Les Will’s pasture - go down through there. That was a wild bunch (indistinct words) just like a whirl. We’