- Emma: In Her Own Words — The Background & The Beginning
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Childhood
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Employment
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Elopement & Early Marriage
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Work & Travel
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Bits & Pieces
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Papa
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Grandparents & Relatives
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Mama
- Emma: In Her Own Words — The Flood
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Teaching
- Emma: In Her Own Words — The End
Transcription of my grandmother’s notebook. See Part 1 in the series for a full explanation.
Three Jobs and a Few Notes on the Family
“When I graduated at 16, I was too young to teach. No one around there went to college. A few went to Normal school to try to pass teachers examination but I did not need that as I knew I could pass it when I was old enough.
I got a job in the Post Office working for Mrs. Cleo Brown. I loved it and had such a good time meeting the public and making new friends. It was very interesting work. But I had my head set on teaching. So when I got 17 I took the teachers examination and made a first class certificate. I went to teaching before I was 18. Had to board away from home but I went home every weekend.
I taught in a County school near Stanford, Ky. Had all 8 grades. Had to clean and build my own fire.
It paid $48 per mo. and I paid $12 for board. A winter coat at that time was only abt $7.
The first people I boarded with were from the city in Michigan. They knew nothing about farming. They milked their cow 3 times a day. Her cooking was so different to Mama. I could hardly eat it but I later learned to like it. Hot cakes and gravy for breakfast. Johnny cake (sweet corn bread) for supper. Green beans cooked in milk.
I had been used to Mama’s good cooking. I can just taste her good biscuits, butter, jam, fried chicken, gravy, fried apples, macaroni, slaw, corn bread, white beans, chow chow, potato salad. These were some of my favorite dishes she made.
She was a good seamstress and sewed for other people all the time. Was always busy as a bee, never an idle moment. Papa was a hard worker too. He pounded the anvil all day. He shod horses and kept wagons, farm machinery going for farmers. And most everyone had horses and buggies then. There were no cars. He was a blacksmith which is called mechanic today.
My sister Susie had 2 girls. Henrietta & Marie. We thought they were the only babies at that time. She later had Tiny and Bill but I was married then.
My sister Gracie never married and lived at home til she died at 75.
I was 5 yrs older than Hartford and was his caretaker. We went to the country to visit my uncle and some of the country boys decided to team up and whip the town boy. But I beat them up. That was my first and only fight and I don’t imagine they ever tried to whip a town boy again. We were always very close. He married Betty Mulliner. They had 2 children. He died at 58.
In 1918 the flu epidemic closed the schools and I came home and never taught any more. People were sick and dying like flies. The Post Master was sick. Her ass’t had to go to the Navy. I opened the Post Office and worked for her till she was able to work. I would wait on people and they would go home, take their bed and be dead the next day. But I did not take the flu. I would work all day by myself. 6–6.
Then I got a job in Peoples Bank as Asst Cashier and Bookkeeper. I worker there about 18 mos till I married. I really like to count that money. I learned to know about everyone in the county. Floyd Miller was the cashier and later on they hired another girl to help with the books — Mattie Chesnut. We had awful good times and we very close friends. Floyd took small pox and I had to be cashier for a month. I learned to do all the work tho and liked it very much.”1
- Emma Ewers Taylor Hopkins, “Journal,” 1974–1978, Loyall, Harlan County, Kentucky; privately held by Faye Hopkins McCauley, Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, 1978. Spiral notebook in which Emma wrote about her life, in possession of Faye (Emma’s youngest daughter) since her death in 1978. ↩