Alice H. Hopkins Oral History

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Record 13/16
Copyright HSKC and Tyler Campbell
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Date 12/31/1982
Abstract Alice Hopkins (born 1909)

Alice Virginia Hopkins was raised in Edesville and Rock Hall where she attended school. "I remember my first teacher was Ethel Johnson and I loved her to death because she never spanked me.…Because in them days we respect the teacher and they respect us and we know if we didn't do right, we did something or we didn't do our homework we'd get a spanking or a crack on the hand." After her father's death when she was 10, Hopkins left school worked as a nurse taking care of babies for local white families, living and working in their house. As an adult she worked at the explosives plants in Elkton and Chestertown, and as the cook at the Kent County Jail.

Within the community, families spent leisure time together. Hopkins recalls the simple games like jump rope and hide-and-seek that she and the neighborhood children played when she was young. The family's church was Aaron's Chapel. "You had to go, you go, whether you wanted to or not. They didn't ask if you wanted to go, you had to go," recalls Hopkins. People of all ages participated in the life of the church. "We had… Children's Day and all the children would be dressed in white and every child had to take part in it." Every year, the church members went to Roach's Wharf for their Sunday school picnic by boat. "They would have baseball and things like that…and take up big baskets of lunch and sit up under the trees."

At home, children had to do their own share of the work. "I had chores to do in the morning before I went to school and I had chores in the afternoon and you had better to it…You made the beds, you cleaned the kerosene lamps, the shades had to be shined every day, we had to bring in the wood after my father chopped it, stack it up in the house, we had to pull grass for the hogs in baskets and take a great big basket of it and pout it in for the hogs. And then in the fall of the year we had to shell all this corn by hand." Her father raised chickens, hogs, potatoes, dried beans and a full garden, most of what the family needed. In the summer, they kept perishables cool by dropping them in a bucket down into the cool well and preserved food for the winter. "Put everything in jars: string beans, beets, all that stuff. Asparagus, peaches, apples, pears, yes sir. We didn't have no freezer." Despite all of the chores, Hopkins remembers her childhood fondly. "Them was the good old days…yes indeedy."

Indexed, 1 original cassette tape
Interview date 12/31/1982
Length of interview 40 minutes
Media Compact Disc
Narrator Hopkins, Alice H.
Object ID 2662
Object Name Disc, Compact
Title Alice H. Hopkins Oral History
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION ~ Oral histories copyright Historical Society of Kent County. Images copyright Tyler Campbell. Duplication or publication only with permission.

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Last modified on: September 07, 2012