Darlene Lodge and Lynn Payne

Recorded November 12, 2009 Archived November 12, 2009 01:18:04 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ATL000071


Darlene Lodge, 80, talks with her daughter, Lynn Payne, 56, about growing up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa during the Depression and about her marriages to Lynn’s father and to Donald Lodge.

Subject Log / Time Code

Darlene born in Cedar Rapids, IA
Darlene recalls her earliest memories
Darlene recalls a special Christmas
Three of Darlene’s grandparents born in Bohemia
Darlene’s father attends automotive school in Kansas City
Darlene recalls her uncle Neprash who attended Columbia University
Darlene recalls her first husband, Carroll Payne
Darlene receives social work degree
Darlene recalls why she and her family had to leave Birmingham, AL


  • Darlene Lodge
  • Lynn Payne

Recording Location

Atlanta Storybooth

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:12 Darlene eprouvage Lodge

00:16 Ajt

00:18 I'm Lynn Payne. I'm 56 years old. Today's date is 11 12 2009 where I live in Decatur Georgia, and today I'll be talking with my mother darling Nefra Champagne Lodge.

00:37 Mom here. We are in Atlanta. You were born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. How did you get to Atlanta?

00:44 This is a long story.

00:47 When your father and I married he was ready to do postgraduate Seminary work we went to

00:57 Louisville, Kentucky and they're at Seminary the man who did field placements looked at us and said do you work together and I cheerfully said oh, yes, we do. So he sent us down to West Tennessee where I was alone all week and your father enjoy living at the Seminary with the camaraderie and the stimulation of the Lively intellectual atmosphere.

01:29 Putting me there in the south after I'd grown up in the midwest was a little bit of a shock but I encountered a great deal of kindness and one of the reasons I love good southern food is that I had a next-door neighbor who invited me over to eat and learn about all the greens and cornbread and fried streak of lean and everything delicious and that he's my adjustment to the South

02:06 After Louisville Seminary, we lived in McKenzie, Tennessee and I gave birth to a daughter and then we lived in

02:17 Birmingham Alabama, and I gave birth to a daughter and then we lived in Greeneville, Tennessee and I gave birth to a daughter.

02:26 So I left Iowa is a young married woman and never turn back the South has been my home and during a time. I lived in the South they always said there's Atlanta and there's the rest of the south at Atlanta was the Mecca and we ended up here.

02:53 Back to your earliest childhood. Now. How would you describe it? And what are your earliest Recollections? I'm going to talk about the earliest wrestler Recollections first.

03:04 My first one of my first memories is being at my cousin's home.

03:10 And she was a little older than I and at that time. I was about 3 or 4 years old and my baby sister was in The Carriage my cousin looked down at her and said isn't she cute and I thought she's not so cute with typical sibling rivalry. Then my another strong memory and I think this comes from growing up in the north with the long Winters. I remember the first really warm day of spring.

03:48 And my mother put our little sand table a sand box on legs out against the back wall of the brick house where the Sun was shining and we weren't able to sit and play at that sand table with only sweaters on after being bundled up all winter and I can still feel that woman sunshine.

04:14 The rest of my childhood despite the Depression years, which I do remember was very nearly ideal.

04:26 My home was pretty brick home soda, like the homes in Morningside only smaller and it was built by my uncle who was a contractor and he lived across the street with my aunt in a similar home that he had built.

04:43 And I was able orally in the morning to go over and they had they had a lot next door where she kept a garden and I could go out slip away from my house over to hers and talk with her as she gardened and tended her flowers and vegetables. Their name was faltys if alt is and she was at Mary my mother sister.

05:15 All of the names nearly all of the names on our street were check names Bohemian names because the community I grew up in Cedar Rapids Iowa was largely check at the time. I was growing up.

05:35 And even though we did not live in what was considered the check part of town the names on our block were check names and aschenbrenner and Raymond and trunecek and melsha and stotler. So the rhythm of all those names was just part of my childhood also memories of being at the Social Clubs where

06:04 We went for dances or parties were part of it, too. I remember around Christmas.

06:15 We had big family Christmas parties and some acquaintances of my family came dressed as Santa Claus.

06:25 And one year when he came and then was ready to leave I insisted to my parents that I was going with him. And there was nothing they could do to talk me out of it. Finally. My mother said but if you go with him, they'll be nothing to eat but fish and so I stayed

06:47 We lived where there was adjacent unimproved Park land with a creek and woods and we played endlessly in the creek in the woods.

07:01 And in the winter, it was snowy and we still would pray Play Breaking the ice on the creek and having a great time. I'll remember one Thanksgiving day went.

07:14 The neighborhood children all went down to play in the woods and played all afternoon in the snow and the along the edge of the icy Creek when I got home somebody mentioned that it was zero degrees if we had played out all that time and that temperature didn't bother us at all.

07:34 So that was growing up in the north, but now I don't want to be there.

07:42 We also rode our bikes in the summer if we wanted to go downtown when I was young. We went with mother on the streetcar and then there was bus service as I got older and we could go downtown anytime to a movie or to shop whatever else we wanted to do.

08:04 Where were your grandparents born?

08:10 Three of my grandparents were born in Bohemia part of the Czech lands, but was later known as Czechoslovakia. And what is now known as the Czech Republic the fourth grandparent was of the same ethnic origin, but he and his siblings were born the Census records say and

08:34 Poland Russia and course those borders shifted around through the years in Europe, but I don't know how that part of the family and it up where the children were born there. And then when they immigrated they emigrated from St Petersburg, but they were checked they were not Russian.

08:56 They all came to this country as teenagers.

09:00 My paternal grandmother came by herself not with her family. She had been reared by a grandmother after her mother died. And when she was a teenager her father wanted to marry.

09:16 A widower on adjacent Farm who was a landowner in a substantial person and she didn't like him. She didn't want to marry him. So her grandmother helped her to immigrate to this country where she had a brother.

09:31 I still think of that determined young woman setting off alone to come to live to this country rather than marry a man. She didn't want to marry me Lincoln.

09:46 Is there a special story about your great-grandfather? Nip rash? Yes, there is and I've learned about this from a relative only in recent years that me and my great-grandfather was the father of the grandfather who was born in in Russia Poland, Russia.

10:08 Was Maximilien Chef when Maximilian went to be emperor of Mexico sent by the habsburgs to try to establish a claim on the land of Mexico? And that was an ill-fated Arrangement because Maximilian was executed. My grandfather was present at great-grandfather excuse-me was present at his

10:39 Execution of Maximilian had on had some Flames because of the shots that were fired at him and my grandfather put his coat over him to

10:55 Extinguish the Flames event stayed with Napoleon with maximilian's body and returned to Europe with it. There is also a rumor that the grandfather was mentioned.

11:11 In maximilian's will but we've never been able to establish that in the accounts that are written. His Chef is referred to by the name to those which is sort of a nickname meaning someone who has all the answers are all the recipes and we do not know why that nickname is there.

11:34 But I've talked to genealogists who say the strain of our story is just

11:40 2 unusual and improbable not to really have truth in it. So that's a fascinating story for us. It certainly is he was one of the habsburgs who was going to he was not in line for the throne but he was much more of a personal person than the other hapsburg royalty. This was the austro-hungarian Empire and some people think they sent him to Mexico just to have him out of Europe. So people wouldn't develop a loyalty to him and not and would reject the succession to the throne. That was his siblings.

12:33 What sort of work did your father do?

12:36 My father only went to the 10th grade in high school and at that point a teacher said to him you have a paint box with too many colors in it. And that was the last straw for my father. He left high school and never went back. He did go to Sweeney automobile school to become a mechanic. This was in Kansas City. And recently we were in Kansas City and saw the Sweeney automobile School building which now looks like an office building. It's beautifully restored 5 or so stories and it's close to the beautifully restored Kansas City Railroad terminal.

13:22 The school was like a boarding school. They learned everything including how to build car batteries his roommate.

13:32 Died in the Spanish influenza outbreak

13:39 He came back and established an automobile repair shop and later was a Chevrolet dealer for the Bohemian Czech ethnic part of town, which had its own.

13:52 Business district Banks doctors offices and

13:59 Entertainment

14:02 And the

14:05 We often drove the new car demonstrators and I can remember I got very tired of the new car smell which is supposed to be very nice, but it's not when it's always a new car that he been sold.

14:21 Later, excuse me later. He became a manufacturer's representative.

14:28 And so will the car business and represented Eastern manufacturers of heavy industrial equipment that was sold to war plants in the midwest. So that's how he ended his career.

14:42 Now tell me about your Uncle Jerry Neff rash. This is my father's brother. Remember, I had a father who dropped out of high school at 10th grade Uncle Jerry went on to attend the local College in Cedar Rapids School College. Then he went to Columbia University and got his Advanced degrees. He ended up with a PhD in sociology and then went on to be the head of the Department of Sociology at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. So it's sort of amazing that out of the family. My father was one of five siblings one ended up with a PhD at Columbia University and these were children whose parents had come from the Czech Republic and they grew up, of course in a bilingual household when my mother and father's wanted to talk about something and not have us know they spoke.

15:42 I would give anything now to have been taught the language.

15:48 Uncle Jerry passed away at age 50 with a heart condition and at the time of his death, he was regarded as the most brilliant man on the campus.

16:00 So you can see that I'm very proud of him. And oh how I wish I could have had time to talk to him when I was really mature.

16:11 Now about my father Carol Payne tell me how you view his life. Carol Payne was born in South Central, Illinois. You went to college on the GI bill after serving in the Second World War.

16:33 And then went to Seminary after Seminary he decided he wanted to serve in the Presbyterian church and

16:44 Is things developed we first had a pastor in 1952 as a first as a student and then as an ordained minister in West, Tennessee.

16:58 And we were present for all of the changes that happened from 1952 on.

17:06 He was a student.

17:10 And it's Google. He had been an athlete he lettered in basketball college and he was a lifelong tennis player. And of course athletes like to have a son to follow in their footsteps, but if you remember, you know, there were three daughters. There were no Sons, but later in life. He said I wonder if a father could ever love someone as much as I love my three daughters.

17:43 So he never expressed regrets for the athletic son. He didn't have he did study more than a lot of ministers did and he had an inquiring mind and inquiring mind that really let him ultimately to not be in the Presbyterian church, but be in the Unitarian Universalist Church

18:07 He was deeply committed to civil rights and it explains why we moved around quite a bit. But he ended up last part of his career in the u.s. Office of Education the Civil Rights division trying to work with communities before.

18:33 Court orders came that maybe didn't were written by judges who did not understand the communities as well as the local people did.

18:44 He was a very gentle person and always deeply concerned about what happened to people as a Unitarian. He was the liazon to Transylvania in Romania, which is the birthplace of the Unitarian Church. The church is their struggle because they're an ethnic community of hungarians in the middle of the Romanian.

19:12 Politico area so he made trips there to take computers to the schools and to bring back word about the church there in to establish gift programs for some of the Pastors in need.

19:31 So he was active to to the end of his life and doing the things that he deeply believed in.

19:39 Now in your life what sort of work did you do?

19:44 I had my degree in social work and then went on for some theological study at New York Theological Seminary and ended up in the School of Social Work graduate school at the University of Iowa. So obviously I became a social worker.

20:04 I worked in DeKalb County as foster home finder and Foster Care supervisor. I worked in Gwinnett Rockdale in mental health clinic the Dekalb schools in a Private Pilot project for autistic and schizophrenic children and once directed the daycare center had a variety of experience and then

20:33 I retired to

20:37 The Internal Revenue Service where I was a taxpayer service.

20:44 Specialist we were answering questions and helping people with problems in their tent with their taxes on the telephone.

20:55 I was using the same skills as I used this as social worker listening and pulling together resources to try to help people. It was a good experience 13 years. And in those years. I perhaps only five people were ever so I radar were people that I was not able to really help as much as I like to most of the time. I had a wonderful experience with every one of those hundreds of telephone calls, I answered

21:28 What are your hobbies and your interests?

21:33 I'm interested in art I do a little painting and

21:40 I'm interested in music. I'm interested in.

21:45 Architecture

21:48 Particularly Regional local architecture. One of my greatest Alliance is to find a small town where nothing has happened and time has stood still. I like to travel. I've traveled back to the Czech Republic back I say because my parents grandparents came from there once while it was still behind the Iron Curtain and wants after and been very privileged to see a lot of Europe. I'm interested in history. I'm interested in archaeology and I'm interested in the origins of man the origins of thought.

22:35 Very interested in tracing the origins of what we now know as the Christian church.

22:43 And

22:45 I play the accordion now.

22:49 This comes from the ethnic background and there are accordion player to our musicians and their accordion players who are accordion players, and I'm the ladder I played when I was a child dropped it when I was a pre-teen teen and picked it up again after I was 60 years old had a little irony because I always played with music I said, I cannot memorize and after picking it up again at 60. I said, absolutely I'm old now. I cannot memorize I cannot play.

23:24 Without music. I sold one of my accordions but kept one and then found my amazement that I had played some things over and over and I could play them from memory and I now play maybe 40 songs from memory play once a month at Mountain View personal care home with my

23:46 Present husband who plays a washboard with an attachment with attachments and with a friend who plays piano, so I don't know how much they enjoy our music they say they do but we enjoy bringing it to them even more.

24:07 You have been married to my stepfather Donald Edward Lodge for 37 years. What would you like people to know about him?

24:16 I'd like them to just know him.

24:20 Don is modest unassuming intelligent committed to caring about what happens to people particularly people whom our economic system to pass by he is an Avid Reader. He was an avid model railroad Builder and I don't mean toy trains. I mean the kind of railroad that was run the way a real railroad is running that had six men with trainorders and directions and handling that he gave all those up and we are now in a retirement home, but he maintains his interest in railroads. And of course, I learned that it was fun to wait out in the country to see a special train go by and hear the Roar of the locomotive.

25:14 So I got hooked on the app after I married him he loves babies and young children when we are in the grocery store if I turn around and can't find him. I know there's probably a baby down the aisle that he's talking to.

25:33 He's also up.

25:36 Devoted father and we share so much because our mothers were girlhood friends. So all of my memories of growing up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa are some of his memories to he has been wonderful to my children.

25:57 And

25:59 He spent hours with his carpentry skills helping daughter's rearrange houses and repair things. His field is economic development and he's worked with Georgia Tech and other state and local agencies and economic development is travel to the Philippines Korea Ghana, Nigeria.

26:30 Guatemala and

26:37 In the meantime, I was home taking care of my step-children, but we all got along wonderfully every time he left to go out of the country. I think I can't stand this and then we get very adjusted and if he comes back home, but he is a wonderful companion because he shares my interest he's been through

26:59 Dozens of art museums with me he he is a much more musically in time that I am he identify music as we're listening to wave. He says, oh that sounds like Strauss and of course it is and I'm thinking I hope we're driving right in this traffic. I'm not even aware that there's music on the radio. Do you remember what you told your mother when you married on

27:31 You told me that you told her being married to Don was like never having to leave the party.

27:39 That's right. That's right.

27:44 Can you tell us the famous pecan pie story? Oh, yes.

27:50 I'm a bride in West, Tennessee from Iowa.

27:56 The Presbyterian ladies are doing the luncheon for the Baptist ladies the whole association of which has met that day there and they look at me and they say you bring a pecan pie. I had never seen pecan pie. I had never tasted a pecan pie and there I Was preparing one which would be surveyed first by the Presbyterian ladies. And then by the Baptist ladies, they gave me the recipe and I made it. Thankfully. I never heard the comments. Maybe maybe it never revealed Source, but I could not believe my ears when they said you make a pecan pie.

28:50 Could you talk a little bit more about why you and Dad and the girls my sister and I had to leave, Birmingham, Alabama.

29:03 My husband was one of the first pastors to meet with the black Pastors in Birmingham and the church had very subtle ways of pushing you out. They just indicated when it time came for you to get your annual salary increase that you wouldn't get it and

29:31 It was evident that they no longer wanted to hear some of the sermons. He was preaching. You have to remember that your father grew up in a part of Illinois. That was not open.

29:47 2

29:49 Civil rights. This was not a border state, but it was closed and when he realized what Justice meant for everyone he was passionate.

30:04 Like any convert to a cause and so anywhere we went.

30:13 This is what he was going to bring to the congregation as his concern that

30:24 There should be no discrimination.

30:29 And

30:32 You girls all know how you were reared and what you were taught.

30:40 I guess.

30:42 He said he became the first moderator of the combined.

30:48 African American and and white presbyteries in the South and we went to a synod meeting and where we were the only white family at the Synod meeting Sandy fell off a swing and so kindly black doctor assured us. Her knee wasn't broken. But we we had a lot of experiences and were very very fortunate and we just wish that some of the progress that was made then had been Consolidated in would be stronger now than it is.

31:29 I remember being so proud when you reminded me after dad had passed away that Martin Luther King jr. Came to speak at the predominantly black church. We attended and that Dad made a point of going up afterwards to speak to him and to shake his hand and meet him and even as a child, I remember, you know, how devastated he was in our family was when dr. King was assassinated.

32:05 So tell me about also dad and the other rural Tennessee Minister who became involved in the hierarchy of the Presbyterian Church. This was some years before.

32:22 In the general assembly was meeting in Seattle.

32:26 They always elected moderator someone to be the titular head of the church for the following year.

32:33 And they had two nominees one was a very well-placed man wealthy and no leader in the church. The other was a real Pastor who had really put

32:48 His face to work in dealing with the economic needs in this small, Tennessee town where he was Pastor your father ended up getting the nominating speech for him the content of his speech and your father's quiet. Demeanor. Is he proposed this man as the moderator was so persuasive that even though the plan really had been to just have sort of a token opponent. He won the

33:23 Moderator ship in recognition of your dad's role in that he was assigned to a assigned to a committee that was meeting in Washington DC regarding the Vietnam War. This was a Presbyterian Church hierarchy committee and the outcome of that committee's deliberations was that they were basically rubber-stamping the continuation of the Vietnam War your father registered the lone dissenting opposite of vote in opposition to that position. He was a man of great principle.

34:06 How did you and dad meet?

34:10 We were in the same college, but did not know each other but that this was Wheaton College in Illinois and

34:22 One of the officials of the college Rani

34:26 Summer camp on Cape Cod

34:29 We ended up there as counselors. I had not known him before we dated a while then we did not see each other anymore. Then we met again at a

34:44 Homecoming reunions started dating again, and the rest is history.

34:53 And can you talk a little bit about?

34:58 Check food what things your mother and your grandmother's made?

35:05 One of the things I love most was a carefully braised pork roast with unbelievably brown gravy and then she made dumplings and the Czech word was knedliky and they could be wrong naughty knedliky which were made with potatoes or they could be bred knedliky. And I don't know what we said for the other word bread was delivered, but I'm not sure that's what they said. But those with that brown gravy were wonderful and sauerkraut always and it wasn't just sauerkraut. It was sauerkraut tweaked with a little flower a little sugar and some of the pork drippings and I was able to get that in a local restaurants with their Oktoberfest menu, and I was very very happy. I also had it.

36:00 Emil like that in a hotel restaurant in Prague and even the smell from the kitchen with all the seasonings and things my mother used wonderful. Yeah. I remember granny would make you have to talk about kolaches.

36:20 Our pastry was gotcha. It was a circle of yeast dough with a large depression in the middle and feeling that feeling could be sweet cottage cheese. It could be cooked prunes with walnuts. It could be poppy seed apricots.

36:44 Peaches any fruit in season apples cherries grapes

36:50 And the dough was soft and tender they were sweet and wonderful, and I have been back to Cedar Rapids where a church at a festival and they baked dozens and dozens of these pastries and they are authentic. They are like my mother used to make

37:12 Do you have any check phrases you could tell us and translate? Well one is universal in all languages yoyo. Thought she thought both of which means yes. That's the way life is our AC is La Vida in Spanish?

37:36 We would enjoy hearing a few bars of the Prince song.

37:41 This song is known in Cedar Rapids. I don't know if they even know it in the Czech Republic st. Charles holiday yanis going to be dumb.

38:04 And give us a little translation it's a story. There are fruit trees planted along the roads in Czechoslovakia not gathered in Orchards, but Panda along the strip of the road and back in those early days when this song was written the teenagers were sent out to watch the fruit when it was ripe so that nobody came by and took it and a boy and a girl were friends serious boyfriend and girlfriend. They're out watching the prune trees.

38:36 Problems with plum trees that would be pruned and the singer says another boy came and stole my girl away from me. And so I have tears in my eyes story. That's lovely Mom. Thank you so much for doing this for us was thank you for having me do it.