Dolores E. Daluz and Jane Lowey

Recorded May 30, 2007 Archived May 30, 2007 39:47 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mbx002658


Jane Lowey interviews her friend, Dolores, about growing up in Dover, DE during segregation, her mother and father, the poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and her husband.


  • Dolores E. Daluz
  • Jane Lowey


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00:04 Hi, I'm Jane lowy, and I'm recently turned 50 years old. And today is May 30th 2007. We are in Orleans, Massachusetts, and I'm here to interview today. My dear friend Dolores. I'm we're Pals go friends. Hello. My name is Dolores deleuze and I am 73 Sunday. It's my birthday. And it's Jane said we're located here in New Orleans mass and Jane.

00:39 Is my good friend and today is May 30th 207?

00:45 Crate well, thank you for agreeing to come to this with me today Dolores because you're one of the treasures of my life.

00:55 And

00:57 Hi my love for you knows no bounds and I wish that other people could just have a taste of who you are. And that's the main reason. I invited you here today, and so much of your life inspires me, and perhaps it will inspire someone else. So thanks for coming. Well Jane. It's been my privilege to meet you and know you and you're always getting me into trouble good. I hope we can do that too, and you just take me places that I don't think I can go and yet I go and I'm always happy to be there and I'm happy to be here with you today. You are the light of my life and you are a great inspiration to me, and I love you. Thanks.

01:46 So with this Love Fest started I want to ask you a couple of questions. And the first one is really about Queen Street. I know you grew up in Delaware and Dover Delaware and a segregated neighborhood. And the main street is you told me is called Queen Street. So I want to hear more about Queen Street because it seemed to have produced a queen. That's what I want to know what it was like they're well Queen Street was the main street where we lived course loockerman Street was in Main Street in in in town. But right off loockerman Street was Queen Street and it was very important Street for me because a lot of our professional and professional people live there we had doctors and I don't think we had a lawyer on Queen Street and back this is back in the forties.

02:43 We had a dentist. Dr. Earl Charles Henry and then we had his brother who was a Doctor. Dr. William Henry. They both lived on the same street and dr. William Henry William. Henry's wife was named CeCe know she was very very flamboyant. I don't know where she came from but I think she must have been Creole maybe from Louisiana or somewhere because she just bought it a whole new style that nobody on Queen Street had ever seen before.

03:19 Everybody talked by ICICI Henry. She was beautiful and she was friendly and she was warm and outgoing and she was the Talk of the Town and of course doctor.

03:32 William Henry Charles Henry's wife was named Beatrice. And she was just the opposite of CeCe. She was very sedate quiet tailored, you know, what suits and stuff where CeCe were, you know dresses down to her navel almost.

03:53 But it was quite a contrast between the two ladies by the moving on down the street it will will you more like CeCe or what was the lady's name be because Beatrice yes, we were like 60 or Beatrice. But of course CC.

04:14 Yes, I'm by ICICI because I love people who were different who were Express themselves and without caring a lot what other people said I like that idea. And so

04:29 Yeah, I would say that. I was more CC. Yeah and right on down moving on down Queen Street. We had only two black barber shops in town and one of those mr. Jim Nichols and the other was understood Joe Shockley. He had a barbershop.

04:47 And this one was on Queen Street in the other was just around the corner just a wee bit. And then the Super C Blackburn and his wife Kerry lived on Queen Street and he was amused magician. Yes, and his wife was a poet and he would do little shows at the school and at church functions and I don't know what else he did for work, but that's what I remember that he was a magician and he was fun. He was a little short man in very funny even to look at but he was quite a bit and then we had Herbert's grocery store big store right on the corner and we seldom went downtown to get anything because we grew everything right in our neighborhood what we everybody had Gardens they had chickens.

05:40 And on Fridays the fish man would come from one end of Queens Street right to the end and go up down Kirkwood Street where all the black folks lives to come and bring fish in

05:56 So we've never had a chance to go down loockerman street too much. I mean it only took Maybe by clothes which was seldom because a lot of people took the feed bags from the grain store boosted the Grangers to come in these beautiful bags.

06:16 Fabric stripes and plaids and flowers and people would really go right down and get them it and make clothes out of them.

06:25 What year was so amazing to me about this? Is that my friend Vitae from Ghana does the same thing and she makes a lot of the inside of their clothes like there be two sides in the inside of it be made from grain bags and flour sacks and things so that African-American thing, I mean is African, I mean, it's also Thrifty and everything else has amazing to me. What's amazing how when people are going to say poverty-stricken but when they don't have a lot can make do with so I mean to get creative and do things that you wouldn't ordinarily think about doing it now, so it was great fun to have a have my grandmother make me a a flour sack dress. Yeah.

07:14 In

07:16 So what like I said, Roberts was the big store. They are where we go get candy and sugar and flour and small amounts and if we wanted big stuff, we would go downtown and then there was a Grace and John Parker on the corner and he was a principal and she was a dietitian at the high school, which was the black school. We didn't it was was segregated, of course in

07:49 We had our own principal the whole works in in the same building or two different buildings know we went from the first grade to the 10th grade. We didn't after that. We had to go to Delaware State College for our last two years of high school because we didn't have a high school.

08:10 But the year that I graduated from Delaware State High School, they built a new high school after the the Doctor William Henry that I was telling you about in the beginning. They built the first comprehensive black High School in Kent County in 1952. And so I never got a chance to go there but when we graduated from Delaware State High School and the teachers from the college with we had like three buildings on the campus where the high school students were and the teachers from the college would come down and give us some English and some math and so forth and so on and we all graduated the we learn how to read and write beautifully everybody when I look at the kids today, they don't do so well with the reading and writing in and have fancy buildings and you know PhD teachers and

09:10 And yet they didn't get what we get. What we got is the students. I don't feel.

09:15 Yeah.

09:17 So I wasn't there was it Sunday night. So there was the lady that made the chicken and opened up like a her own little window when she cook things and people came there for takeout for something going down going back down on Queen Street. Now, we have the the Seventh Day Adventist and then we have Hazel ducky Mass Massey and he was a chef at Delaware State College where my husband graduated from he was too big Chef there everybody knew ducky Massey and then the right family now this is they live right on the corner and she's so dinners. They had a

09:57 A longhouse on the side and they had windows and it was like a restaurant in their course. We couldn't go downtown. There was no place that we could eat downtown. So we had because it's all segregated and so a people used to have cook dinners in their homes, and she had like a little restaurant with tables and chairs and everything and then she sold dinners there. That was the closest we got to it real sit-down restaurant and

10:26 Across the street was Mr. Mr. Bond and his wife now. Mr. Van was really strange. He didn't fit in. He didn't look black. We never knew what he was but he was he was buying our black community at but we knew that his wife Rosie was black, but we couldn't figure out what he was he had so we thought maybe you might be Indian not Native American book from India of different language, and we never knew what it was.

10:57 He never said I don't know that he ever said what who he was and I think it didn't really matter and now he was just part of the community, but we do know that he had a little padded Penny Candy Store and you go and get your Mary Jane's in your gum balls in the coconut strips in Ohio, and he played the piano.

11:17 And he was singing this foreign language, whatever it was. We still couldn't or made. It was just gobbledygook.

11:28 And then this wicked live next door to them and she had a beautiful porch. I said her house was most was almost won most beautiful houses on Queen Street her Porto Portugal very important back. Then we had it was a socializing with people or people met have to work. They would go sit on each other's porches and talk and have iced tea lemonade, maybe some hard drink, you know, but a lot of chitchat and laughing and music and across the streets all the way down, you know having fun and not sitting out and she worked at the dinner bell in downtown which was very very exclusive. We still walk by this kids.

12:13 And I can go in and couldn't go in.

12:17 And only the people that work there went through the back door. So all your your worlds were so completely separate for the most part and didn't you tell me that your mother.

12:30 Who really like the Finer Things in life would organize like dinner parties and what people get dressed up and downs and everything and have dances and that kind of thing. My mother was kind of headed for time. I think she she used to work for a Jewish lady named mrs. Brown and this is Brownwood have dinner parties. And of course, my mother would go sir. And so I think she just picked up on all that, you know, y'all decided all this is fun and I can do this so she would tell her girlfriend. She had a little Posse or friends who always were to the house and we call aunts and cousins and there were no relation, but we just saw them all the time. They're like part of the family and so she would have them dress up and I'll put on your gown long gown, and we're going to have dinner at my at my mother's house and we had a course of dining room when we moved to a new place we had

13:30 Dining room we never had a dining room. We came from like three rooms.

13:38 Wood outside toilets in

13:42 Water outside and no running water in the house course, no bathrooms outside toilets. Yeah, you had a triple header I here and then we moved to Cedar and then to six families in the little block that we lived.

14:09 But our house like setup on on cinder blocks and what it was hot it we would go on to the house and play it was full of sand there in the course all the dogs and cats would go there, too.

14:23 We go in itching and scratching because of dogs had fleas and my mother would get so annoyed with us, you know, when we'd have to stand in the tub and be sponge down and had water poured over several night. We couldn't get a bath every night. It was just too much work to heat water on a two-burner kerosene stove now, so it's not going to do it when we moved into our new place across the tracks. Well, we just thought we'd died and gone to heaven. We just ran through the house screaming and yelling. So is this our house for sure daddy that me up at your house and have beautiful hardwood floors. It had a front and back porch.

15:06 Yeah, I had a nice big kitchen for the windows. It had running water hot and cold and a bath and upstairs. It had a bathtub Hot. Charlotte to heaven and it was just a beautiful house and my mother picked it up. So beautifully this is where she's had her dinner parties. She tell a girl friends to come over. We're going to have dinner tonight where your gowns and the men with dress up and tuxedos just like they were going downtown to dinner and she would have a couple ladies at the church come and serve them she do the cooking and but she go upstairs and dress up and come down like Miss Astor You Know download

15:55 And it was it was a fun time. Yeah, it was a fun time. My mother was quite a lady. Well, you know, maybe this is the giant Segway, but I'd like to if it does bring me to Paul Laurence Dunbar because this generations of making the party, you know, like your mother making the party in her home and kind of making a world, you know, you make your own world there. And so I remember meeting you it was to do something at church, right? Are you at your church and it was some a dramatic reading? Well, no not that time. He wanted me to speak in a Reverend Jim. Yeah, and he says why I know you have something to say and I'm saying I don't speak at church. I don't know what to say. He said I'll tell you Dolores you did you just take your time and you'll think of something and it just upset me so much because I I didn't want to say no to him what I did say, no.

16:55 Convince me that I could do it and I'm thinking what am I going to talk about? I don't know what to talk about.

17:03 But I did I did a talk I talked about my dad is my in fact it was I think doing Martin Luther King celebration of the first time. I talked to her and we talked about heroes and I talked to my dad with my hero and all right. Well, maybe it was right. First time I met okay, but shortly after I think we went maybe it was Black History Month it and you did the party and I was smitten with the beauty of the experience and your ability to capture it. And so I wonder if you do some little piece of that for us now because this is really taking me off guard. But yeah, I can tell it what part of Paul Laurence Dunbar is my favorite poet most of his stories were

18:03 About slavery because his parents were slaves and

18:09 Nice grandparents, his mother was free and his father was too but they told him of the slave experience and he just took off on it and he is known for that type of poetry. Although he wrote books and he did papers and magazines for Time Magazine and it was from very popular during that era doing a 1892 or something like that when he was born in a little bit more after that. And so I was at the store negro history week once at the college to to do a poem and I found this poem by him and I read it the first time and everybody loved it. And I thought wow, this is good. I'll learn it. So I did I learned it and it goes like this.

19:04 They had a great big party down at times the other night was idea you bet you never in your life seen such a sight all the folks from for plantations was invited and they come they come trooping thick as children when they're here is a Fife and Drum everybody dress their finest. Hush your mouth can get away why I ain't seen such fancy dress and since last quarterly meeting day and girls all dressed in silks and send their wrinkled neck crease eyes about antifa shining and hairbrush back as slick as grease and skirts all tough and puffed and ruffled every breath. It seemed & Stitch why if you did see them with them mrs. Couldn't swear to it, which was which in men's all dressed up and Chris Albert's hush your mouth and get away. Why is he such Fest dressing since last coordinates?

20:04 Who was there that who you're asking how you Speck I going to know my think I stood there counting everybody out the door and I'll leave you with that thought to tell who was at the party and what happened. It's a wonderful. I like the part with the minister. You know, he's yeah, he was yeah, I forgot but how that goes right now.

20:35 I forgot I forgot but I contact Seattle and sequence but I love doing that poem. Thank you. I love hearing and I could hear that over and over and over again. I know what's up. Did it at a white church in Chatham and

20:53 Is the old man in the audience? He just kept saying what do it again?

20:58 Love the sun. I can't do it. Well as parts of when you speak that it don't bleed through the Two Worlds like I am at the party and you you know what? I'm like this, it's Timeless, you know in this beautiful part when you're speaking that you are the poem, you know? Yeah. And so anyway, thanks for doing this them. So you last mentioned your father before we were talking before we went to the the party the poem and so I wanted to kind of move to your influence by your father and

21:37 Cuz he sounded like it was pretty special in your life. Well, he was dad was a very but he came to Dover when he was I think it was 18. He left home while he only had like a sixth grade education and my mother really taught him how to write his name and how to read he didn't hear from a really Country School back in a place called shelltown Maryland, which is way back in the woods and when he came he

22:15 Open his own garage. Yeah, he had a gift of fixing cars was just like a doctor who could just you drive the car up in the yard and you know, Bill something's wrong with this car and it needs it would turn it on. Let me listen. Okay, I know what it is.

22:34 List of the list. Yeah just do the listening. You could tell what it was and so everybody in the community knew Bill Holden.

22:43 And he had quite a life. He didn't really want to work for he wanted to be his own boss and old man and which was very hard in those days to make a living doing your own thing, you know, but he managed to do so many things and talking to my brother last night trying to refresh my memory a little bit. He just told me stories and fact, he's the one my brother should be in there because he just has Story upon story about my dad. He spent more time with him that I did being the only boy I have three two sisters.

23:20 And one brother and I'm the oldest of the four when you were the Troublemaker. Yeah, I was admitted that I know if I said anything different in isn't in my family's going to hear this you do not have yeah, I gave my mother kind of a fit. I guess I was before my time to cuz I was coming on into the 50s, you know then and now I got a lot of stuff from the movies. I love the movies. I would spend so much every Saturday in the movies and I especially love Ginger Rogers and the dancing Fred Astaire and Sonja henie on the ice skates and Loretta Young and I could just go on and on about the people that I loved in the movies and Clark Gable who you had a you had somebody related to him maybe in your family.

24:20 Was William Holden and courses William Holden the movie star, so but I didn't call my well. I called my dad dark Gable. He was the real movie starring as a real movie star.

24:38 So, I don't know if I lost my train, where am I going to place? Yeah. Well, it's hard to

24:48 You Know cover lifetime live so many worlds and you know been so many places I know you were asking me about my dad yeah. Yeah and I went on to tell you but has he had his own mechanics and then he had his own trucking business.

25:05 And he would haul produce from the southern markets, Leica.

25:11 Virginia and you went down as far as Georgia and sometimes he went to Florida to get produce and bring it up on these god-awful trucks. I mean the nothing like the trucks they have today hard Bounce Town in it was just but he loved it. He loved being on the road and he would bring up the the produce to New York and New Jersey.

25:37 And that was summer produce and then during the fall he would bring a go up to Upstate New York and bring Apples and down to New York City in New Jersey and then during the winter. He would haul coal anthracite hard cold because a lot of the buildings and very odd say influential people that had big homes had furnaces and they burn coal everybody else burn wood or kerosene. So when we move to our new house out in Forest Street, the one we love so we had a furnace with coal stove with a coal furnace. So we were like the people on all we had moved up like this I could judge this moving on up.

26:24 And so he would and he had a contract with the town with the town and he would bring he would furnish cold for the state buildings. Cuz Dover is the capital. So we have what we call Capital green where all the state buildings were. So he furnished anthracite coal hard cold for them.

26:44 And then doing Demi was Hogg glass during the war. He had Ben's where they would people will collect glass cuz we use a lot of glass bottles and in tin cans with saber 10 cans during the war and he would give people money for their bushel of glass and he would smash it up and put it on his truck and take it up to New Jersey to the Anchor Hocking plant where they made a glass jars and Anchor Hocking. Do you know Anchor Hocking is yeah. So wherever there's a way to make money my dad knew how

27:24 He had raised had a chicken farm 20,000 chickens, and my brother tells me last night on the phone that he had their only two-story chicken and Olive Garden.

27:42 360 no one man to do that much. I tell you he was a Marvel and

27:51 Course, I was the Troublemaker in my house so I can the oldest so my mother said so she used to put me on the truck with that. It was like take her please get her out of my hair take the Lord. She's a troublemaker in the house with you gone building that was so hard but having kids, so if you just could take her off my hands for a few days. I'll be happy and that work pretty well. You know, I'd 830 watermelons and

28:25 Tomatoes and cantaloupe until I got sick and sleep under the car under the truck rather at night with my dad and all his buddies. They took good care of me and saw that I did the right thing and eat right but it all came to an end. Once when one of these trips I came back with my hair or pressed and curled and I'll brand new dress brand new patent leather shoes. And so when I walked in the door, my mother says well, well, who is this? Where'd you get all this? And I said well miss miss CeCe or Miss. Whatever her name was. Mrs. Miss Hattie Miss Hattie.

29:14 You know took me to her house and gave me a nice hot bath mom and she could wash my hair and curled it for me and bought me these new shoes and dress. Well. Okay. Well, do you know that night in the front bedroom with a whole lot of bumping and knocking on the door slamming and that was the end of my trips on the truck with my dad.

29:43 Okay, then.

29:45 No arrest on that story now doing we know the rest of that story, but my day was real special to you the whole Community real real special.

30:01 And I don't know how he did this, but he managed to.

30:06 Building Development

30:09 Yeah, right across the street, right?

30:12 Thunderstruck route the house that we bought when we first moved to Forest Street right across the street from that was this field Big Field on by this you just went out of my head.

30:26 And my dad used to say to my mother rocking on the front porch and be looking at the Lots over there. He says that God is that I'd like to do put some homes over there. So black folks could have some homes of their own and my mother says, you know old man whistling old man. Memphis not going to sell you that land where you know, he got that land and he built those houses.

30:53 And it was amazing because I didn't know the man could even build but with the dunkards will recall them dunkers, but they are Mennonites. He got a 2in they do building. They just beautiful building would work. So he got hard and crew of them and the start building houses, but the town gave him a fit Jo there goes the neighborhood knows all black out there. All I thought far as Street was on the well where he was across the street was

31:27 Was a lot and black people slowly moving out because once we move there, you know, we can't time and date of the area. So the white started moving out so the town gave him a fit they they didn't want him to have the water. They gave him a time about the electric going out there poles. I mean he just like but he never gave up the man just would not give up and they put him through fire, but they felt that he built it and both for 5 years ago.

32:02 Well, this is after he died. Yeah, so yeah, he's been dead since 1999 and we have a plaque the town and my nephew got together and put a plaque out there William Holden and the mayor came down and the people from the middle State House came and honored my dad and so it was quite a quite a

32:30 Send off and a recognition of all the things yeah. Yeah. Yeah mean he really had an impact. He has he did. Well, then, you know the interest of time we I want to bring you into like you married a guy just as fabulous as your father or husband that he has the greatest guy. Yeah he is and I thought that all the way to because my mother like the minute I didn't like yeah he persisted and we he saw it you saw me when I was in the ninth grade. I mean, I was like 15 years old and the only redhead redhead girl around and it he came from the college. He was his first year college.

33:26 So he used to come and get the professor's kids that went to my school and he saw me I don't remember ever seeing him but he told my neighbor down the street and when the college and she told me that Joe de Luz had eyes for me and says what who is he so she says well, it wasn't football boys come in early and Karen Medicare Mae Drummond is having a little party and he'll be there. So do you want to go as I don't know if my mama she says well and her name was Helen going so and mom like telling him it's nice. Yeah, you can go with Helen to the party. So Joe was there and I got to see him and I didn't like him. Well, we're going to fast forward to you bury him and have how many children you have six and you moved to Cape Cod from Delaware. Yeah. I'm up this neck of the woods. Yes, he was he's from he's Cape Verdean in New Bedford.

34:23 So then the two of you become pretty much those like king and queen of the n-double-acp on Cape Cod from when I was President for 20 years and continues to kind of hold a place of leadership in that way both of you Julia and and he was also the building inspector for the town the first black building inspector ever.

34:48 In Town of Barnstable. Yeah, and he held a job for about 20 years too. In fact, he was president of NAACP and building inspector at the same time. So and you were busy out knocking on doors to do the fair housing center housing. We getting their heads when we first moved here was pretty segregated.

35:11 Cape Cod was pretty segregated. Yeah. Yeah. What was just think about how would you describe it down?

35:17 It still has its Pockets. Yeah, yeah.

35:22 Well, I wish I could talk to you for about three days right now on all of this, but one of the things I wanted to we just kind of joked about earlier is

35:35 Have you experienced any miracles in your life? I thought it was such a beautiful question and your responses even as beautiful which was

35:45 Everyday, it's alright, it's all America It's All American absolutely it's it is all America that I'm even here talking to you who knew from Queen Street to Cape Cod. I mean how long it's a long journey a lot of Road and stuff in between. Oh, yeah, and the thing that I'm so struck by is that you've changed you've gone through immense changes from 1930s tonight to 2007 and form of segregated world where you would have been having a conversation with a white woman and

36:20 Is that you going to these changes with I can't find a trace of any kind of edge or bitterness or?

36:28 Hold out anywhere on the all that's left is love after this life, you know or in this part of your life and to me, that's the miracle. Yeah, that is true. Well, yeah, it was a time when I didn't like white folks at all couldn't didn't want to be in their company now the whole thing, but I found somebody nice since I couldn't be mean anymore.

36:54 Same here and is just changed my life baby size. It takes too much energy to hate and you know, it just it just it just messes up your whole spirit and your whole soul to be always angry and all this. I don't want to live my life. I want to be I want to be free to be me and if you like it, that's fine. If you don't I've always had that very much independent. Like my dad. I don't like to have people telling me what to do. But yes, I did. I am very risky like he was he would step out on faith that it was that it would happen for him. And if it didn't well, we're going to the next thing.

37:52 Well, then as we is there anything like that?

37:59 You would want to go away with her not having said or is something that you need to say before we end this I would like to tell us a little bit about my wonderful husband. You did mention it. Yeah General. Is it his blessing to me? He he is the kindest.

38:19 He lets me be me warts and all and he loves me for that. I'm he is I don't ever remember him being angry with me about what I'm doing or what I said he eat just that's my Dolores.

38:45 My hero my hero after my dad was my husband and he he's a wonderful guy and I I give every all that I am to him really.

39:00 And I can do that in both of you and it's a gift to the world just to see the two of you together 55 years in July. We've been married. Yeah. Yeah, it is. Well Dolores. I love you dear. Yes so much and thank you for sharing your life and your stories with me and sharing your joy with me sharing your truth your expression your rowdiness your wildness and all the all that you are. Thank you.

39:35 You're welcome Jane. It's been a pleasure and wild women don't get the Blues.