GayleGreer Clutter MEMORIES OF SARAH VIRGINIA GREER: SUMMER 2004 Recorded by Gayle Greer Clutter (Sarah's neice) Gayle: What do you remember about living in Woodville GA? (c 1920-25) Sarah: I don’t remember much. The house we lived in had a breeze-way and then another room. When they picked the cotton they put it in this room. Part of selling cotton was that it was fine and not “packed”. I had a close friend from across the cotton patch was visiting and we decided to dig tunnels in the cotton. We were having a “glorious time” and then Daddy came in & of course that cut things short real fast because when you tread on the cotton, that packs it and that cuts done on the price you can sell it for. Another time I remember this same friend of mine and I had to baby sit Betty one day. We had a shed that was build over a cellar. You had to go down stairs to it. We didn’t have freezer or deep freezes back then. So this is where Mother stored canned blackberries, and all the different things that she had canned, and pickles, and everything. We took Betty down to the cellar and let her fall through the ladder, & she hit one of the jars & it was one of the jars with blackberries in it and we thought that she was bleeding and we went screaming out and left her down there and then I decided I had better go back down. I screamed enough that Mother came out and I went back down and Betty wasn’t badly hurt, but the blackberry juice looked like blood running down. Gayle: How old do you think you were? Sarah: I came to Florida when I was around six I think. So it had to be before I was six or seven. Betty is five years younger than I am and she was very much a baby, so I must have been 5 and a half between that and six. In the first place we weren’t supposed to be carrying her down there. In the second place, run out and leave her down there. But I did go back though. But I tell you, my friend didn’t go back. The last time I saw her she was shooting down through the cotton patch. Gayle: So you think you were about six when you moved to Florida? Sarah: About six or seven, but I think it was about six because see we went to a one room school and I didn’t have to study very much because either Henry or Dewittte (her brothers)one, went with the school teacher. I don’t know which one it was. So when I came to Florida I was a rather ignorant so and so. I didn’t hardly know my A-B-Cs. Gayle: You were telling me about Uncle Durham and Uncle Howell, Grandma Campbell’s brothers. You said that you thought that they were railroad engineers. Sarah: I don’t think, I KNOW! And then she had, I think it was Uncle Tom, that was an engineer too, and he was killed on the railroad. He had a gold watch, and he was cut to pieces and the watch was pressed through his back. And how I happen to know that is because I was invited, when I was about 13, to go to a Séance with Mother’s friends. And they started to tell me about Henry and Dewitte and Daddy getting oranges where they weren’t supposed to, but she ended up telling me that in my bedroom was an old trunk and that sometimes a headless man came and sat on it, and went on and said, you know, different things. Well, I came home that night scarred spitless. I crawled in bed with Momma & Daddy. And so the next day I asked Momma about it - - was there anybody , they had gone on to say something about him being cut up and everything, and I asked Mother the next day and she told me about her brother, the engineer, that the biggest piece that they found was his chest where his watch was pushed through. And boy, I’ll tell you, that trunk went out of my room! That was my first séance that I went too. Gayle: Do you remember anything else about Momma’s brothers, Durham and Howell? Sarah: One thing, when I used to go from Woodville down to Union Point to visit Frances & Dot, & Uncle Howell, he was an engineer too, and when he went by the house, he would hoot the whistle, which was NOT kosher, but anyway, we knew then that that was his train and we stood on the front steps, and waited for him to come home. And when he came home he would bring us ice cream sandwiches with a crispy coating. This was unheard of for us country folks. Bunny: Do you remember if that house was anywhere near the city hall or a highway? Sarah: Oh no. It was country. We were way out in the country. I do remember there was a pretty heavily traveled road between our house over here and the house where the teacher lived. I don’t remember too much about it, but I remember that their house set up a little higher than our house did. Gayle: Like on a little hill? Sarah: More like on a bank, or a tiny, tiny rise. It was a much better house, of course, than ours was. Gayle: Who were Frances and Dot that lived in Union Point? Sarah: That was Uncle Howell’s children. Sarah: I liked Haywood's wife. She liked to come out to the house. But Pete really never got over the war. I told you about the time when he was a bombadeer during the war and he was flying V formation and some of the Germans got in the V and they shot down some of their own men. Pete wouldn’t tell me about it for the longest kinda’ time, and a lot of the boys went berserk while they were in the mission. I was in charge of the USO club there, it was noon and I was going up to have my lunch. It was rare, but I was walking by myself, and I started shaking, and crying, and just going all to pieces. Two sailors were coming towards me, and they knew who I was, and they came up to me and took me back to the USO club and into my office. I had no idea what was going on, and I still didn’t for the longest kind of time, until Pete came home. He wouldn’t talk much about the war, until one time, something triggered him off, and he started talking, and he said “You know Sarah, one time, when that was happening, you know what went through my mind? All those dumb things you and I used to do, like when we were swiping pears, and then we jumped over the fence and you caught your britches, and the man shot at us. When we went swimming and you ran and jumped and you begged me not to the same thing, because you couldn’t hardly talk when you got through, but I did it anyway. He said that is the only thing that kept me sane. So we figured it out. We had ESP. I knew that Pete & I had ESP. I was living his fear. After the war, Pete started drinking, and he died with cirrhosis. Gayle: Do you remember Aunt Janie (Zora’s sister)? What do you remember about Aunt Janie? Sarah: Oh yes, we loved Aunt Janie. She was very loving and very kind. She was older than Momma .There was some rivalry between Aunt Janie and Momma. Aunt Janie was a perfect lady, you know. She was very dignified and everything, and Momma was harum-scarum, climbing trees and everything. Daddy always said about Momma, he had to get her out of a tree to marry her. And that’s why he always called her “kid”, he always called her “kid”, all of his life. Momma felt that her parents showed partiality, because Aunt Janie would always get the better dolls, because she took care of them, but that doesn’t make you feel any different when you are a child. Gayle: Martha Berry Campbell was Momma’s mother. Do you remember her. Sarah: I greatly disliked the old woman. Heaven’s yes, I did I ever remember her! She was short, about as tall as Bobby Jean, Bobby is 5’2. She was heavy weight & every time she would come to see us, she would talk about the family that she just left, so we knew when she left us, she would talk about us. And one time, it was my job to hold her chair at mealtime and help her get back up, This one night, I still can see her, I pulled the chair out – - - and she hit the floor. And Mother tried hard to keep from laughing. Daddy gave me hell, because Daddy and grandma was close. I was sent to bed without my supper that night. Betty tells me she brought my supper up to me. I think Momma prepared my supper and asked Betty to bring it up to me. Momma didn’t like her Mother, because my grandfather apparently would beat the boys, not whip them, beat them, and Mother always said she would kill anyone that would beat a kid of hers like that, & Grandmother would stand by and watch it done. Gayle: Where did your grandparents live? Sarah: We lived in Florida. They still lived in Georgia. She would visit with Uncle Howell. I don’t know if she stayed with Uncle Durham or not, but she came to stay with us for a while. Gayle: Do you know where in Georgia they lived? Sarah: I think they lived in Union Point. I don’t know where. The grandmother that they said everyone loved so much died before I remember her. I don’t remember visiting them in Georgia before we moved. I remember going to Uncle Howell’s, they had a scuppernine arbor. That’s a form of grape. The arbor was bigger than this room and the trellises were all made of wood, and overlaid the top with the grapes all hung down. We were told definitely not to ever climb on them, but we did. I don’t think it was me that broke my arm, I think it was Frances. One of us broke our arm. I expect we got our buts beat too. I tell you, my mother believed in switches. Sarah: There is a little town outside of Athen’s Georgia that Daddy was sheriff for a while. Just right outside of Athen’s. Where Aunt Gussie’s family lived. Gayle: Was that Watkinsville? Sarah: Yes, Watkinsville. Gayle: So he was sheriff in Watkinsville for a while? Sarah: Evidently, for a while. And evidently, Daddy was a good looking man. Very well built. He had more Indian features, high cheekbones and all. Sarah: I think it was when we lived in Woodville, that Momma said the dearest friend she ever had in her life was a negro. And that whenever Mother and Daddy wanted to go somewhere, she would take Henry, Dewitte, and Pearl she would take them up there and she would put them in the bed with her children. And Mother reciprocated when they wanted to go somewhere. Gayle: Aunt Janie had a bunch of kids. Do you remember any of them? Sarah: Alma is the only one I knew and we kept in touch with. Betty kept in tough with Alma. She was Dewitte, Henry and Pearl’s age or maybe younger. Frances, Dot and I were the same age. Dot was younger than Frances and I. Bunny: Were you in the service? Sarah: No, I worked at the USO. That was before I was a nurse. I was never in the service. After I was a nurse, I was all shined up to go into the Navy until the very last line and our family Dr. said “Sarah, you will never last in there. You’ll spend more time in the brig, than any thing else. I wasn’t a yes person. When Alex was sick, he’d say “Have you called Sally, have you called the Dr.?” When the Dr. got there he would say, have you called Sally?” I was with Alex when he died. Gayle
Jan 24, 2006 · posted to the surname Greer
GayleGreer Clutter Gayle: You told me another story about Daddy and some vultures. Sarah: That was when Dewitt and Henry had to take care of Pearl and that devil of a father of yours was an instigator; Dewitte was a follower. They found this buzzard’s nest, and they knew that if anybody tried to fool with the fledglings, the mother would regurgitate on them. Pearl was always so dainty, apparently, She was very, very petite and evidently a very gorgeous little girl. So they held her up where the buzzard could vomit on her. Sarah: They had to take care of me one day, and they were damned disgusted about it. So they tied me to a tree with my face in the sun. They made sure I was facing the sun and tied me to a tree. Then another time they had me in an old fashioned carriage, and they took it to the top of the hill, and gave the carriage a push. How we ever got raised, I’ll never know. Henry was always ready to fight at the drop of a hat, and Dewitte was always trying to get him out of it. Dewitte was telling about one day they had been to school, and on the way home Henry and another guy were fighting, and they were down in the ditch. It was the fall of the year and so many leaves in there that Dewitte said “I couldn’t find out which one was which”. Dewitte said ” I was always trying to separate Henry from a fight”. He looked for trouble. Gayle: You told me a story about some buttermilk on the porch. Sarah: That was Henry again. We kept our milk down in a spring in back of the house and they had built a kind of a shelf where you could put it on. And the buttermilk was being missed, it was being taken. And so Henry decided he would fix that up. So he put castor oil in it. And he found out who was taking the buttermilk because they had diarrhea. If there was any mischief, it was Henry that did it. Pearl had the most golden pretty hair. I saw a swatch that had been cut of it once. She was also very petite. Daddy didn’t want her hair cut, but Mother wanted to cut it because she raised such hell when Mother tried to comb her hair and all. One thing, you never ran away from Mother. If she was going to whip you, you got twice if you did. So Mother was trying to do her hair, and Pearl got lose and ran. Daddy was up on the roof, trying to fix a leak, and he hollered “Run, Sis run”, and Momma stopped dead still and they said took a brick and liked to have knocked Daddy off the roof. And then she came back in the house and was standing at the door, and Pearl was walking back to the house dragging a corn stalk as long as an adult and she was muttering, “God damn, if she hits me, I’ll knock hell out of her. God damn, if she hits me, I’ll knock hell out of her ” And Momma grabbed it and said “Who did you say you were going to hit?” Mother said Pearl was about five. She said she couldn’t have lifted the stalk of the corn if she had to. Gayle: Another story you told me was about when you were driving to Florida and Daddy was driving. Sarah: Yes, that’s right, there was a no fence law, and they hit a pig and they were afraid that we were being followed. So I was posted to look out the back to be sure nobody was coming. This was a great big ol’ Buick that we came in. Daddy came to Florida first and got a job before we came. Daddy tried to tell exactly where the house was. It was the Anderson place, but we went to the wrong house. The house across the way and wondered why Daddy wasn’t there. So we went in and spent the night there. There was Betty, and Dewitte, Henry, Momma and I. Daddy was across the street waiting for us. Gayle: Do you remember anything else about that trip to Florida? Sarah: I remember that it rained, and we had isingglass windows that you snapped on. We had that Buick for a long long time. I remember when I was in my teens I would have liked to used the car, but they would unhook the spark plugs or something all the time and I finally learned how to fix all of it. So one day after I had jacked the car up and fixed a flat tire because someone had let the air out of it, Daddy said to Henry, it was usually Henry, “My gosh you might as well let her use the car she can fix everything. “ From then on, I had to take all of them to work. Dewitte & Henry and Daddy, and latter Momma sometimes too. They always did citrus work. When we first came to Florida they worked for Kepler. Aunt Fanny and Aunt Mithia always thought they were much better than we were. They looked down on Mother. Pete and I were the best of friends though. Gayle: What kind of work did you all do? Sarah: If you worked in groves you did a lot of things. When you worked in groves you budded trees. That’s the way you got good oranges. There was budding and then there was grafting, and I learned to both of them. That’s why I never learned to cook. Betty and Pearl got the advantage of helping Mother. I helped Daddy in the grove until the horses shied and threw me off the herrer(sp) but it didn’t run over me. That’s the last time Daddy would let me work in the grove. Gayle: What is a harrer? Sarah: It has blades and cuts the weeds and turns the soil. This is driven between the tree rows. Gayle: Do you remember Papa’s mother? Sara: No, she died before I can remember, but they say she was a lovely person, and Grandpa Greer everybody loved him. I don’t even remember when he died. Gayle: Do you remember Frances Greer that used to visit you all in Palatka? She was married to Albert Greer. Albert was the son of David Greer brother to Ernest Greer. Sarah: Albert Greer came to visit one time when we were living in Palatka. The first time he came to see us, he left his suitcase at the bus station. But after that he came to see us when ever he could and we dearly loved him. He was in the war, and they tell me he died an addict. He was shot through the chest in Europe in the war, and he was also injured in Fort Benning. Fort Benning was reputed to be a hell hole, and he was sent in to do undercover work. He also did undercover work over seas. When Albert went to war he told his brother that he had to be the man of the house until he got back, and within two weeks of Albet’s return, his brother died. Gayle: You told me you went to live with Aunt Fanny for a while. What do you remember about her? Sarah: I lived with her for a year. Despite the fact that she always looked down her nose at our family. She had the keenest sense of humor. She would say some of the damnest things and then she would apologize for it I said” Aunt Fannie, I’d give anything to have been able to come up with that.” She told her family, of all things, that that was the happiest time of her life, the year that I spent with her. And Haywood’s two kids would come and spend the week-end out there there. They would practice putting on a show for me when I came in at 11 o’clock and we would stay up to probably 1 o’clock laughing and having a good time. Another thing I remember about Aunt Fanny. I came home one day and she was really sick, and I said “Aunt Fanny, we better take you back up to see the Doctor”. She said, “No honey, you’ll have to wait till I get better.” Lordy! Gayle: Do you remember what she looked like? Sarah: She had very nice features, well built, and very active. And boy could she ever cut corn off the cob. It had to be a certain way and she had a place outside the kitchen, a shelf, because corn splatters the way she cut it off. She always tried to have something that I liked. I’d come home and I’d say “Aunt Fanny, let’s go - - “ and she’d say wait till I do this or that, and I’d say “Goodbye” - -. So it got so I’d say let’s go do this, and she’d say “Wait till I lock the door” and off we’d take and do something. She was very good to me. Pete lived just up the road from there. Aunt Fanny had a very, very keen sense of humor and so did Daddy. I don’t remember Aunt Gussie much. I met her and Aunt Fannie and Aunt Gussie looked a lot alike, but I thought Aunt Fannie was better looking than Aunt Gussie. Gayle: Do you remember Aunt Mithia? Sarah: Oh yes. That was Daddy’s sister. I remember her most of all, but she always brought a cake when she came, a coconut cake, and we were forbidden to eat any of it. It was my Daddy’s cake. In fact, Aunt Mitha and Uncle Henry came here one time. We have a picture of them and I have a picture of a large Poinsettia.
Jan 24, 2006 · posted to the surname Greer
GayleGreer Clutter Where are your Campbell's from?
Mar 04, 2006 · posted to the photo George & Minerva [McKenzie] Campbell
GayleGreer Clutter Son of David & Sally Reynolds Greer.
Dec 20, 2005 · posted to the photo Ernest Greer 1883-1944