|Betina:What is your name?
Wallace:Wallace Randolph Looney
Betina:Where and When were you born?
Wallace: I was born up Wolf Creek where the boys scout camp is now, was born in a log house and a doctor came to delivery me on a horse in 1920. I weighed under three pounds.
Betina: Who was your mother and father?
Mr. Randolph Looney is interviewed by his granddaughter Betina Looney in 1995.
Wallace: My mother was Vergas Territory Short, my father was John Harrison Looney.
Betina: Where was your mother born and raised?
Wallace: In Kentucky
Betina: Where was you father born and raised?
Wallace: In Buchanan County
Betina: What did they do for a living?
|Wallace: They farmed on a farm, raised cattle, and sheep.
Betina: What was your father like?
Wallace: My father was a good man he worked on a farm all the time, and raised cattle and sheep.
Betina: What was your mother like?
Wallace: They was born in Buchanan County and raised in Buchanan County.
Betina: What did he do for a living?
|Wallace: He was a farmer, also.
Betina: What was he like?
Wallace: He was good hard working man.
Betina: Who was your brother and sisters?
Wallace: Clyde Graver Looney was my oldest brother, Oscar Hicks Looney was my second, my third was Auther Looney, and next was the last one was Ralph Looney.
Betina: Did you have any sisters?
Wallace: Didn't have no sisters.
Betina: Where were you raised?
Wallace: I was raised up Wolf Creek with my dad and mother.
Betina: What did you do for fun when you were small?
Wallace: We played hide the switch.
Betina: How did you play that?
Wallace: We took a switch off a tree and one of us would hide and let the other one try to find it and the one that found it got to whip the other one.
Betina: What else did you do?
Wallace: Well, we played with little wooden toys and mumble peg, and we played marbles, played in the dirt and that was about it.
Betina: What kind of toys did you play with and what kind of games did you play?
Wallace: Well, we played with wooden toys, we would take a spool that the thread come off of, we put a rubber band though it and then we would put a crayon in there to hold the band in, then we would put a stick up trough the other end of rubber band and the crayon and all that and wind it up set it in the floor and it would crawl across the floor.
Betina: What were your chores around the house?
Wallace: Well, we cut wood, wood for a cook stove, wood for a heaten stove and carried it in the house.
Betina: What was you house like?
Wallace: We lived in a log house with three rooms and a fire place and then the barn was wagon length between the house and the barn that we put and stuff in for the cattle, and my dad farmed on the land there at the boys scout camp.
Betina: How was your house heated?
Wallace: Well, we had a fire place, a wood cook stove we cooked on, and the fire place my mother would cook taters in it a roast them for us to eat then she would throw pop corn the fire coals and it would pop out in the floor we'd run all over the floor eat it.
Betina: What did you grow in you garden?
Wallace: We'd grow potatoes, we'd grow cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, and carrots, turnips, beans, corn, pumpkins that's it.
Betina: What was you favorite meal?
Wallace: Sausage, gravy, and corn bread, and brown beans.
Betina: Where did you go to school?
Wallace: I went to school up Wolf Creek to a one room school house it was called Bogles school, and went from the primer to the seventh grade.
Betina: What was it like, what was school like back then?
Wallace: Ah, what was it like. Well, we just went to school, I had to walk to school a mile and mile back whether it was snowing or raining then we went in to class we studied our lessons until I recess then we had a ten minute break then back to school, eat lunch, then we would have another break too and school turned out at four a.m. Then I walked back home a mile.
Betina: What did you study?
Wallace: We studied spelling, arithmetic, history, and English.
Betina: What did you pack for lunch?
Wallace: Well, sometimes we would take sausage or homemade cookies and sometimes we would take a bucket with milk and cornbread mixed together.
Betina: How did you get to school?
Wallace: I walked to school one mile and one mile back.
Betina: Who were your teachers?
Wallace: Elizabeth Groseclose, Harry Foglesong, Claude Stowers, and Elizabeth Hamilton I think's right.
Betina: What years was that?
Wallace: That was the late 1920's and early 30's.
Betina: Do you know anymore teachers?
Wallace: Yeah, Burt Stowers lived up Clear Fork.
Betina: How did the teachers make the students behave?
Wallace: They would draw a ring in the corner of the black board and make them stand there with there nose in that ring on one foot for fifteen to twenty minutes. Then the other punishment was to make them sit in after school.
Betina: Did you ever get into trouble at school?
Wallace: NO, I never even got a whippen.
Betina: Did you graduate?
Wallace: No, I went through the sixth grade and then quit.
Betina: Do you remember what year that was?
Betina: How were holidays celebrated?
Wallace: Well, at Christmas we eat,ah, eggs my mother would cook a cake and we'd eat a chicken, we get to eat a chicken about once a year and that was Christmas. Then on Easter my mother would fry us boiled eggs we could eat but we did not hide any eggs.
Betina: What games did you play at school?
Wallace: Well, we played a game they called round town with a ball made out of a rags and when they caught the ball out in the field they run up and down and hit you with the ball to get you out or they would throw it in front of you and get you out.
Betina: Do you remember any funny stories that were told?
Wallace: Well, my dad told about this man going huntin one time and he had a rope with him and he seen a bunch of turkeys lite on a limb and he shot at the turkeys and missed the turkeys and hit the limb and split the limb and the turkeys toes got hung in it. He left and he lassoed the limb with his rope, climbed up and cut the limb off and the turkeys started to fly and he was hanging on the rope. They flew across a holler where the big holler stopped and he cut the rope and fell in a stump and he said there was a bear come down in there. He got the bear scared and turned around and he climb up the stump and got his knife and started poking the bear in the behind until the bear fell off the end of the stump and he climbed out of the stump and run.
Betina: How did teenagers court when you were young?
Wallace: Ah, teenagers did not court back then when I was young.
Betina: Did you go to the movies?
Wallace: We went to one movie when I was young at Bastian Virginia and we walked all the way from the boys scout camp. The movie was under a tent, black and white movie, and there was no voice it was just the moving of the people.
Betina: Did you go to town?
Wallace: When I was about sixteen we went to town when some of our kin people took us. But, when we went to places we had to walk or ride a horse it was the only way we had to travel, so we didn't get to go to town much.
Betina: How did you meet your wife?
Wallace: How did I meet her? Well, I meet my wife when she was a little girl about twelve years old and there wasn't no daten or nothing and we just met. My brother married her sister she'd come over his house we'd pick blackberries and blue berries and stuff like that to can. Then in 1940, ah, we'd bought a brand new 40 Chevrolet truck and we was all in the mining timber so. They was having a fiddlers contest at GlenWood Park. We went to that fiddlers contest and I met my wife at that park.
Betina: Where were you married?
Wallace: Sandlick West Virginia
Betina: What was the ceremony like?
Wallace: We did not have a ceremony we just went to the preacher's house and he asked us questions, I will or I do and all we said was I do or I will.
Betina: Did you ever go on a honeymoon?
Wallace: No, we did not.
Betina: How come?
Wallace: We didn't have nobody to go or no way to travel.
Betina: What is you wife's name?
Wallace: Gladys Elma
Betina: How many children did you have?
Betina: What were there names?
Wallace: Euva Lee Looney, Wallace Randolph Looney Junior, Wayne Looney, Debra Gene Looney, Karen Beth Looney, Guy Edward Looney, and David Duane Looney.
Betina: Where were they born?
Wallace:Euva Lee Looney was born up Wolf Creek one mile above the boys scout camp. Wallace Randolph Looney Junior was born in the same place. Wayne Looney was in the same place. Debra Gene Looney was born in the same place. Karen Beth Looney was in the same place. Guy Edward Looney was at St. Lukes hospital, and David Duane Looney at St. Lukes hospital also.
Betina: Do you think it was easier to raise your children back then than it is today. Why or Why not?
Wallace: Yeah, I think it was easier raise children back then because they didn't have no way to travel and they stayed at home and played with there closest neighbors. About the food and clothes, stuff like that I was kindly rough about it.
Betina: What was Rocky Gap like when you were growing up?
Wallace: Well, I don't remember, I didn't visit Rocky Gap when I was young and I really don't really know what Rocky Gap was like till I got older.
Betina: What business were there?
Wallace: Well, the had one store that I remember. Then they had a saw mill set here below the high school at Rocky Gap were the Caudills Trailor Camp is at and they had another pen down here at the end of the road that people drove cattle from Grapefield up Wolf Creek to load them on there train, thats about all I can remember about Rocky Gap.
Betina: What was the weather like?
Wallace: Well, in the winter time when the first snow fell it usually laid on all year round and sometimes snow would get way over top of the fences along the road couldn't travel. Then when the spring of the year come it got warm it stayed warm until the next fall.
Betina: Do you remember any bad snow storms or floods?
Wallace: Well, I remember we had some deep snow storms the mail carrier had to walk from Wolf Creek to Bastian post office to carry the mail and the snow was so deep he have to walk and hold to the wire fences as he went along.
Betina: How deep did the snow get?
Wallace: It was over top of the wire fence, about ten foot I'd say. When the ice froze over ail winter it got thick when it thawed that spring we'd have ice floods the ice would break up and the water would get behind em and push'em out on the land. It would break down the trees and make its way all the way through till it got to were it was going to. It would leave big piles of ice out in the fields and the banks, that about all I remember.
Betina: How did your family celebrate Christmas? Did you have a tree?
Wallace: .No we didn't have no tree we just hang up our stockings and wait for Santa Clause to come and he would bring us an apple or piece of candy and maybe a little wooden train or little wagon or little doll or something like that.
Betina: So thats the presents you got?
Betina: Did you have any meals at Christmas?
Wallace: Yeah, we had a cake, cornbread, chicken, dumplens, beans, and cornbread.
Betina: Do you remember any pranks that you played or heard about at Halloween?
Wallace: Well, I know a few at Halloween people told me that they would put there wagons on top of there outside toilets and they would push the corn stalks over so the people would have to set them back up.
Betina: What other holidays were celebrated? Did you have any?
Wallace: Well, on Valentines Day we would cut our hearts and write little words or verses on them and give'em to each other, thats the only thing we for done it.
Betina: who is the first president that you can remember?
Wallace: President Hoover.
Betina: Where there any automobiles when you were a little boy?
Wallace: Oh, when I was a little small boy there wasn't no automobiles, there was just horses and wagons.
Betina: Who was your favorite movie star?
Wallace: We did not have a television and we didn't go to the movies.
Betina: Do you remember the first movie you went to see?
Wallace: Yeah, the first movie I went to see was at Bastian Virginia.
Betina: How much did it cost?
Wallace: Well what I remember it cost about a dime for each person.
Betina: Do you remember WWI?
Wallace: No, I don't!
Betina: Did any of you family have to go?
Wallace: Well, my dad told me was suppose to go like tomorrow and they come along that morning and told him the war was over.
Betina: What were the 1920's like?
Wallace: Well, the 1920's we just played around with each other and helped our dad work or we thought we was helping him work and we'd go to school and in the summer time we'd go fishing and we'd have to cut us down a pole down in the mountain and tie us a string to the pole and tie a hook on the end of a string. We would tie a nail or something for a weight and we just throw that in the water and let a fish bite it and jerk him out on the bank.
Betina: Do you remember anything about President Harding?
Wallace: No, I was just three years old when he was president.
Betina: Do you remember when women go to vote?
Wallace: Yeah, I remember when they started voting.
Betina: How did you feel about it?
Wallace: Well, I felt it was alright they had as much choice to vote as men did.
Betina: Did you like president Calvin Coldridge?
Wallace: Well, I didn't study anything about presidents and I didn't know what they did or what they was suppose to do or anything, I just let it go.
Betina: Did you like president Hoover?
Wallace: No, I didn't.
Betina: Why or Why not?
Wallace: Because we had hard times back then we couldn't get a hold of nobody to buy clothes or food stuff like that we had to raise our food.
Betina: He was the cause of this?
Wallace: I think he was. Because he was president.
Betina: Where your people Democrats or Republicans?
Wallace: They were Republicans.
Betina: Do you remember when the stock market crashed?
Wallace: Yeah, I remember a little bit about it.
Betina: Did you thing it was going to affect you any your family?
Wallace: I didn't have no idea.
Betina: What was it like during the Great Depression?
Wallace: Well, our family couldn't get a hold of money we had to were patched clothes and we couldn't get nothing to eat unless we raised what we eat. We had to can a lot of stuff fruit, berries. We lived like that.
Betina: How did you feel about president Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal?
Wallace: Well, I think president Roosevelt done a pretty good job that's when we started making money and having automobles to ride and I think things picked up good.
Betina: Do you feel that he helped the county during the hard times?
Wallace: Yes, I think he helped the country a whole lot.
Betina: Did any of his programs like the CCC help the people of Bland County?
Wallace: Well, I think the CCC helped the county a lot because they built roads down through the mountains in case the mountains caught on fire they could get there f ire trucks and people to fight the fires and they were quick to get there.
Betina: Do you remember when Franklin D. Roosevelt died?
Wallace: Yeah, I remember it, but I don't remember what year it was.
Betina: What was you reaction?
Wallace: Well, you just hear of another death and thats about it.
Betina: When did you get your first radio?
Wallace: We bought our first radio in 1935.
Betina: What was it like?
Wallace: It was something terrible, Ha Ha Ha. No, it something everybody enjoyed.
Betina: What were your favorite shows?
Wallace: Well, I really didn't have a favorite show because I had to work all the time.
Betina: When did you first get electricity?
Wallace: It was in the late 30's. I don't know the exact date.
Betina: How did it change your life?
Wallace: A lot, we had bright lights.
Betina: When did you first get a telephone?
Wallace: Well, we didn't have a telephone. My grandmother on my dad side and my grandmother on my mother side had these old timey crank telephones, that you wind to crank up, and it would rang. You had to dial the number somewhere or other but I don't know how they done that.
Betina: What were party lines?
Wallace: Well, a party line in my dads mother's day you could, someone would rang the phone and you could pick up the receiver and listen to everybody talk. My dad and his brothers used to play the fiddle over the phone to people on Clear Fork and they lived on Wolf Creek, by listen threw the telephone.
Betina: Going back to the question on what was your favorite show radio?
Wallace: Well, Amos and Andy was my favorite show. I also liked the Grand Old Opray on the radio.
Betina: When did you get your first television?
Wallace: In 1945 or 46.
Betina: What were some of the first shows you watched?
Wallace: Well, I remember watching boxing and watching shows but I don't remember the name of the shows.
Betina: How has T.V. changed things?
Wallace: Well, I think this rockin roll music changed it from better to worse.
Betina: Do you remember where you were when you heard that Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor?
Wallace: Yeah, I lived up Wolf Creek with my dad and it was announced on the radio. There was another guy there and my dad told him to listen; said somethings gonna happen.
Betina: How did you feel about it?
Wallace: Well, I didn't like it, it scared me, thats about all I know.
Betina: Did any of your family have to fight in WW2?
Wallace: Yeah, I had two brothers, my youngest brother and my oldest brother.
Betina: What was it like during the war at home?
Wallace: Well, we had to work ;we was cuttin and hauling mining timber and worried about my two brothers in the war.
Betina: Was there rationing?
Wallace: Yeah, there was.
Betina: Did everyone support the war?
Wallace: Yes, as far as I know everybody supported the war, they hauled junk iron, tin cans or anything they could get to support the war.
Betina: Where were you when you heard the Germans had surrendered?
Wallace: Well, I think I was at home or either somebody told me about it.
Betina: What was your reaction when you heard the atomic bomb had be dropped and the Japanese had surrendered?
Wallace: Well, I didn't like it because I had two brothers and some cousins in the war.
Betina: Did people support the Korean War?
Wallace: Well, I think they would support there country and my wife had a brother fighten there.
Betina: What kind of shape is the country in today in your opinion?
Wallace: Well, it in pretty fair shape.
Betina: Have things changed for the better or the worse?
Wallace: Because we didn't have anything when we was kids and they have more today than we had.
Betina: Thank You!
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