John A. Lomax:Can’t you tell a story about the, uh, uh, when, about your girlhood days, and about who raised you? Go ahead.

Unidentified Woman: Talking about James?

John A. Lomax:No you.

Joe McDonald:Yeah you, you.

Unidentified Woman: Oh I always was a good girl. I don’t know any stories on me, you know. [laughs]

John A. Lomax:Well did you work in the field or you work in the house?

Unidentified Woman: I work in the field and the house too. Both places. But I like the field the best.

John A. Lomax:Uh huh. Why did you like the field the best, best?

Unidentified Woman: Well just because I catch more good breeze and more good fresh air out in the field than I does in the kitchen, uh, in the house. Now you know that.

Joe McDonald:I didn’t go the field till I was nineteen years old.

Unidentified Woman: I know the field.

Joe McDonald:I, I went to the field when I was nineteen years old. I remember the old boy says, “Well Joe,” we, we always had three Jims there. We had, uh, one Jim, that two Jim M. and one Jim T., K. And uh, my brother Jim M., he was a colored fellow, and the white Jim, you know, he went with my old boss look for the Jim K., you know. And they put me plowing, you know. Says, “Joe.” Says, “Sir.” “I want you to go up yonder while the baby’s asleep and plow.” Say, “When Mrs. D. call, you go back to the house and see if the baby stir.” Baby went to sleep, you know, slept two or three hour and I plowed till the old boss got back. [laughs] But I didn’t like the field, didn’t go the field till I was nineteen.

Unidentified Woman: I love the field.

Joe McDonald:[laughs] Didn’t go to the field till I was nineteen.

John A. Lomax:What kind of work did you like best in the field?

Unidentified Woman: Picking cotton.

John A. Lomax:Picking cotton.

Unidentified Woman: Picking cotton.

John A. Lomax:How much could you pick in a day?

Unidentified Woman: Well a hundred an fifty, sixty, seventy.

John A. Lomax:Uh, you weren’t picking very hard.

Joe McDonald: Now in them day, as I, Mrs. D. had a horse name John. And say, “Joe, you reckon you can plow old John?” I say, “Yes sir, I know I can.” “Which had you rather do? Go down in the field plow old John or nurse the baby?” And I say, “Oh, I want to go to the field.” He looked at me and laughed. [laughs] He knowed I’s telling a story. He knowed I’d rather be in the house than be in the field. He said, “Well you go out there, and catch old John and go down there and plow Mrs. D.’s [patch (?).] And you know I went, caught old John, hitch him to the turning plow, went down there, plowed the pasture, he come down, I was sitting there by a big old oak, bigger than that yonder tree. I was sitting down there asleep. And he said, “Joe,” I said, “Sir.” “Did you plow Mrs. D.’s patch?” I said “No, yes, yes sir, yes sir” [laughs] He say, “Take out old John, go in the house, feed the baby.” [laughter] That was a time. I remember that day ??? All right [Miss girl (?)] ???

Joe McDonald: Yeah.

John A. and Ruby T. Lomax: All right.

Joe McDonald: Yeah. I was raise in the house with him.

Ruby T. Lomax: Mr. F. M.

Joe McDonald: Mr. F. M., and uh, they taught me mighty good, they teach me good. They said, I remember, says, “Joe?” I say, “Yes sir.” “When we are dead and in heaven,” they said,” we wants to raise you as an intelligent nigga. We wants you to have good friends like we have got.” Say, “You’ll never be scratched by good rich, sensible white folks because they can tell who you are by your raising and your compliments. That show that you been raised,” he said, “not by the colored but by the white.” I washed and ironed. Some days I’d wash a hundred pieces. Some, every morning I’d have five beds to make up, five fires to mix, and the childrens to dress and churning to do. And after that, well then I’d have some parts of the day. But I had all that to do every day. Raised right up in the house, you know, I, I, I remember telling one story. You know they, now, I slept like in this room in here and they slept ajoining rooms to me, you know, Say, “Joe, if you get cold come in our room by the grate.” [recording gets stuck and repeats]