Carl Wolfe 300

Interview done by Jessica Dehart, Georgia Dodson, and Tiffany Munson and they are interviewing Carl Wolfe on the 27th of December in 1999. (narration by Bethany Bowling)

Well I was born in 1918 up in Clearfork. The house was beside right beside my grandmother’s house where Arlie lives there now up on the mountain. My mother was Rosemary Willis and my father was Wiley Wolfe. My mother is actually from the Laurel part of the county but my father has been on this creek all of his life. I’m really not fore sure where the houses are though. For a living, my dad just farmed all the time and my mother was a housekeeper. She never worked anywhere that I remember. The farm that my daddy raised consisted of corn, sometimes wheat, oats, and just like any other garden your vegetables.

I don’t remember much on my parents except for when they got sick. I also remember when my parents died. My mother lived in a nursing home until she was ninety-six years old and at that time she was blind. My Daddy had a stroke and died in the hospital in Bluefield. And that’s the last I can remember.

 I only remember my grandparents on my mother’s side. I can’t remember my grandfathers first time but he was a Willis and my grandmother was Rebecca Willis.  I’m not for sure where they were born or raised either. Nor do I know their occupation. I was told that my grandfather was a stone maker and that he laid stone. I was also told that the big will on Bland Street before you get to the top of the hill going into town is something my grandfather built.  My grandparents were both dead before I was born so the only thing I know of them if what I was told.

 I have six sisters and no brothers. My sisters are Lucille, Anna-Lee, Lorrene, Catheline, and Ethel. And they too were also raised around me.

 For fun, me and some other boys would run and play. In the wintertime when there was snow we would ride sleighs. Some times we would go out and go opossum hunting over night. Mostly just me and my friends and that was fun. When we went opossum hunting, we would just take a dog or two and a lantern. We would let the dogs loose and they would catch ‘em and then they would bark. We would come up behind them and kill em. We never ate the opossum but the black people did. We just skinned them and then sold them and that’s how we made out money. We would get around thirty-five cents to one dollar for one. They would take them and send them over to make for clothes. 

 There really wasn’t much to do back when I was younger. I don’t recall much but I’m sure we did do some stuff. I do remember that some more boys and me would get a wagon or a buggy and take the seat out of it and the top and we’d take two chairs and a wheelbarrow wheel and make a steering wheel. Then we would push it on a bank somewhere, where we would roll it off. We usually never went to a place where we would get hurt.

Also when I was younger I didn’t have many chores. I mostly cut wood. I also hauled corn and stuff like that. I had to help my daddy all the time. My least favorite chore was getting the wood in.

 The house that I lived in was a three room. It was kinda built like the one I’m living in today. Two rooms here and then there was an “L” shape to it that came back this way. It was heated with a stove and wood and that’s how I heat today. We did have running water into the house. It came from a spring and a pipe run to it and water trough. We did have an overflow pipe at the end of the trough and it just ran out down the holler and the branch and then back to the creek. We cooked the food on a woodstove. I have one in my house today but I don’t use it. My clothes were washed on an old washboard hung out to dry on a line. When I was younger and I had to get my hair cut, I went to Bluefield Virginia. We had an outhouse but don’t remember much from it. The gardens we had were filled with potatoes, ears, horse nips, sweet corn, carrots, onions, and tomatoes.

I went to school in Sunny Farm. That’s just right down the road around the curve. We had to walk to school every morning. We started out in a primary school, what they call a preschool. And then when we got in the 8th grade it was considered high school. I only went to Preschool. For lunch we would pack biscuits, eggs, meats and stuff like that. I do remember my teachers very well. Truddle Stowers and Hazel Stowers were some of my favorite ones. Rosie Stowers and Angel Wolders were some other teachers but I never liked them much. Me and one of my friends, Herman, would trade junk in out pockets at school and we would practically get whooped by them two for over nothing.

 During Christmas we would look forward to Santa Claus. Also at school we would have parties and little plays and I was actually in one. The play was called Rube and His Ma. People told me that I did good in that play even though I didn’t think that many people came to watch it. Others that were in it where Leena-Mae, Junior Stowers, Lee-Anne Sawyer, Virginia Rose and some others but I don’t recall. I was Uncle Hermen Warden in the play.

In the summer time we use to go swimming in the creeks. I use to be able to dive into them. Until one day I dove in there and hit a rock and I never done it again. We use to fish a lot when I was younger too. My daddy used to run a mill down here and it was old and water run through it and we caught a ton of fish that away.

When people courted when I was younger, I remember most of them would get together on Sunday evening. I never really went on dates until I met my wife. I did however to go West Virginia a lot and I had a bunch of girlfriends over there. I had about three at one time and ran up on all three of them on the same night so I quit going with them and started going with my wife. At the time we dated she was a neighborhood girl and I knew her very good. So we finally got married.

We got married on Laurel Fork, Church of Christ. We went to my sisters up in New Hope for our honeymoon. We did go to the movies a little but not a lot. I have six children and their names are Sandra, Sue-Ellen, Janice, Barbara, Carl Jr., and Larry. They were all born in a hospital in Bluefield. I think that it’s easier to raise children back then, then it is now.

Rocky Gap back then is pretty much like it is now. It only lacked a few stores. All I can remember of the stores were Bill Beamer and the Honaker Store. I hardly ever went to the store unless it was with my daddy.

Several years ago we had a big snowstorm before they built the highway. The snow drifted so high we couldn’t get out. We weren’t snowed in too long because Kinzer came in and opened the road for us with this tractor.

 When we celebrated the holidays, we would all get together with friends and family and have a great big dinner. For most of the dinners we would have chicken or turkey. We did put up a tree for Christmas and we would put candy and oranges under it. We didn’t get presents like yall do today. We would get one thing and that was it. One time I got a wagon and another time a drum.

For the Fourth of July, it was just basically another day for the most of us. At night we would go and watch fire works in Bluefield.

 I don’t remember much on the 1920’s but I do remember some of the 1930’s. I am a republican. I remember when the Stock Market. A lot of people lost their money. I think that today’s country has changed. I think it’s changed for the worse and I don’t see it getting better.


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