Dolores Henson and Kathryn Wooten

Recorded January 24, 2008 Archived January 24, 2008 58:56 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX003444


Kathryn Wooten interviews Dolores Henson, her grandmother, about growing up with a working class family in Glouster, Ohio, where most of her family and ancestry worked in the coal mines. Dolores remembers the two most important people in her life: her mother, Gertrude, and her second husband, Johnny. She gives advice to Kathryn, who is leaving for two years as part of the Peace Corps program.

Subject Log / Time Code

While working a half day on New Year’s Eve, and out with friends and her boyfriend, Johnny, Dolores remembers hitting him with the roses he bought her when he kissed the barmaid.
Dolores remembers canning vegetables on Sundays, and “discovering” she was poor when she started school.
Dolores’ father was a coal miner, and participated in the strike with John Al Lewis.
Johnny never let Dolores put herself down.
While married to her first husband, Dolores once worked in San Diego, CA, in a raising packing factory.


  • Dolores Henson
  • Kathryn Wooten

Recording Location

MobileBooth East


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00:06 My name is Katie Wooten and I am 26 years old. Today is January 24th 2008 and we are in Orlando Florida and I'm going to interview my grandmother today Delores Henson.

00:20 My name is Dolores Hansen. I am 43 years 3 years old.

00:34 And this is

00:38 Is the s?

00:41 January 24th 08

00:46 And now I'm in Orlando Florida, and I'm the grandmother of Katie Wooten.

00:56 So I guess we'll just start then I wanted to ask you about your family and who some of your favorite relatives were when you were growing up o my favorite route.

01:12 I'm be at Marie Winger.

01:15 From Ohio, Millersport

01:18 My Uncle Ed who is deceased.

01:23 My grandmother and grandfather crew. Do you have any favorite memories of being with them? And yes my Aunt Marie mother sent me up there for a winner because I was ill and my Aunt Marie work to Borden's and so she and her friends would go out and so of course she take me her favorite niece out.

01:48 They like beer.

01:51 I drank a little bit too much one day. How old are you sipping from their glass 6th grade?

02:00 So when we got home while crew my grandmother was very upset.

02:10 In Amory should have known better that the last time that you're allowed to go out with her. Did you stay with your grandparents a lot when you were little know because we lived in Glouster Ohio, they lived in Columbus and then my other grandparents and moved to Columbus also for work because there was no work in our little town.

02:38 So the one year I went up because the doctor said I couldn't go to school any longer. So in the sixth grade, so they sent me for my grandmother Mulgrew to take care of me.

02:48 Why can't you go to school anymore?

02:51 Because I was having a lot of problems. I didn't know that there's a lot of things.

03:05 What is one of your happiest memories phone from when you were a kid happiest moments?

03:13 Happiest moments would be when I married Johnny.

03:19 Great guy. Can you describe that to me or how you guys met since we met I was living in his aunt's home in an apartment and he came home from service. He had been in Panama Canal.

03:35 Anna

03:37 I woke up and I heard this his sister Pat singing. We ain't in the Army anymore as loud as she could all the way and that's how I met Johnny, but we didn't start going out for about 8 months. Did he try to go out with you? Oh, absolutely, but you didn't want to go out with him. I didn't like men too. Well, then what did he do to change your mind?

04:06 Persistence like white. What did he do? He was around all the time. Very very good to my daughter Claire.

04:18 So that's what changed my mind going to take three years before you married him. I've heard this story before but I kind of would like you to tell it about I think it was Valentine's Day. It was one of your first date and you hit him over the head with a bouquet of flowers Sage. It's just a really funny story. So I would love it and hold it. I had to work. I was supervisor payroll and I had to work a half day for New Years. So he and some of his friends while he was waiting to get off work decided.

04:53 That they celebrate and his cousin Dixie and her husband. So we pick them up. We went out we were sitting there selling brand new year's eve in this little came over and sat and talked to Johnny for a while and then then

05:11 But once they start kissing and never let up so he had got me two dozen yellow roses. So I just picked up at two dozen a LaRosa's to hit him on the head with it.

05:22 What did he do? He look very startled as I walked out the door and got a cab. Did he apologize to the very next day but his mother said, you know, he even has two for sister and he even has scratches on his face from the roses and thorns.

05:42 Do you think that he was the love of your life? I absolutely.

05:50 What lessons did you learn from that relationship?

05:54 Just try to calm my temper.

05:59 Because he was very quiet.

06:02 And not to learn to enjoy myself more because I was always thinking I have to work I have to do this afternoon and head say relax.

06:12 Do you think he helped you to do that? Yes.

06:19 So when you were growing up who were some of your best friends.

06:24 We didn't have a lot of friends. There were the four of us. Wish you were staying together. But as I was in high school, it was Betty McClellan and her father owned had a large farm video shown to corn.

06:42 I've lost complete track of her. What was she like?

06:46 Tall Blond and love to sing

06:51 I bet you guys for repair. Did you did you ever try to to sing together and we always saying I had to walk from Glassdoor up to where their Farm was which was approximately 4 miles from 5 miles before 1 to go somewhere because no one had called her dad did and some reason why we want, you know, my beautiful voice. What were you like when you were in high school?

07:23 Very shy and also I was very unsure myself. I was always afraid I never wanted to hurt anybody's feelings. I wonder if they wanted me to do this. I would do it whether I want to or not. Do you think that changed over time? I think so.

07:41 I think so, too.

07:45 What kind of things did you do when you're in high school? Did you do activities to do have a job what you do when you're in high school? Where is the high school? I babysit for the manager of Kroger's and then one of my dad's friends and got paid $0.10 an hour. And then sometimes I didn't pay me. They didn't pay you know, so then one day I would come and say his friends wanted me to babysit. I say I'm not doing it. They didn't pay me and then what he told collect the money for me.

08:18 Little tough guy

08:20 Getting your money for you now.

08:25 I remember you telling me once that you played basketball that right. Yes, because I was a tall girl and most girls and Aunt were short. But at that time we had to wear bloomers and tops for both things and but they always divide us down the middle of the never allowed us were now the girls can play the whole whole floor at that time. They divide that you had your guards on one side and the four words on the other side, but you had a you had a high school team for basketball roster did have that.

09:03 Pretty cool. I didn't have much but I have that for you pretty good at it.

09:08 No, I wasn't been gone. I don't think we have any natural athletes in our family doing.

09:19 Is there anything else you'd like to tell me about when you were growing up for anything was hard it was very hard.

09:28 It was very poor. We were very poor, but we didn't realize we were poor to wish charter school trying to compare with the other children.

09:41 Because Mom tried her best and we had to have a dime for school like at Christmas time or something. She would somehow she come up with that dime, but we had outside Taurus we had no water in the house heated Vicor one and my mother and I would go to church on Sunday in and then would come home.

10:08 And if it was in the summer time, we can all day Sunday. So we have the food with her in the winter. It was rough.

10:18 So it sounds like you learned how to do a lot of things on your own. I learned how to cook and do all that because I work side-by-side with Mom.

10:26 What were they were you in the middle of your siblings to read the oldest and then sear in the middle?

10:42 Do you have any particular memories of your mom cartridge?

10:49 I could go on for 2 hours no moms.

10:54 Mom wants a wonderful person at her most important thing in her life was her church and her kids.

11:02 And no maid mess with her kids. Not even her husband.

11:07 Anna and the mom has a very hard worker and she saved the money to buy our first house my mom and dad's and because we were living in furnished rooms and not furnished rooms in rented houses and going from place to place. She seemed up the money to get the down payment and how she did it. I'll never know.

11:32 But we did. All right, and so my dad when he found out shit save, the money said we're not spending a dime on that house to the house is paid for so mother who never disobeyed him since I wonder where she got the month Gummer catalog out.

11:48 And we picked out paint and stuff. Now remember I was just a little girl. I was only like 8 or 10 and she'd start working at the Providence sense and Cents Store and

12:04 So at night she and I painted and there was cracks in the ceiling. So we have them up felled over so we can make a smooth ceiling. I have so many memories of mom, but she always treated every child in the same didn't matter whether what she did and I never saw a really ever get mad.

12:27 I remember her.

12:29 I don't have a lot of memories of her that I remember her being very quiet but very very kind and kroscher everybody at her funeral church was full and she's been living in my house for a while.

12:44 I remember I think it was the house you grew up in in Glouster cuz that's where she lived until she came to live with you and I remember walking out the back and there. Was that big hill did you ever when you walk out the back door up into the yard and it was no yard. That was bad to suck fruit trees and stuff. He had we were lying or run. Well in the before they made that it was a garden and we wouldn't hold the gardens and everything, but no know if we played you played in the street.

13:17 I don't remember us doing a lot of playing.

13:22 Cuz my brother Frank that the cold winter day ashes out.

13:27 And Grandpa was he a coal miner one time when the big strike come on with John L. Lewis to go to Akron. I was two years old and she just had everyone. And he didn't like the city soon as I mine startup. He came back and my grandpa crew.

13:51 Who came from Angela he was a coal miner also, but he was blackballed because the union they want on Union and he he was for the union so he was blackballed. So that's why they went to Columbus and my grandpa darling starred in the lines when he was like 6 years old leading the ponies really but his father originally came from Jackson County.

14:18 And they have a grocery store.

14:22 It's 8 6 years old while and then mine's a work done with your your 60.

14:33 Who do you think has been the kindest to you?

14:37 In your life

14:40 Who's been the car had to be my mother and Johnny?

14:45 Why do you say that? What are some other things dated?

14:50 I said that because

14:53 There's just we always called when your mother and I go on vacation now and something goes wrong World calling the Saint Gertrude that she was just that kind of person and Johnny will you know what your grandpa was like?

15:11 He's a really good guy.

15:13 Do you know I don't know if you were with her or not, but my parents always tell the story of when Grandma Gertrude was visiting them in Minnesota the shrimp story won't that talks a lot. I had just save every penny.

15:29 To buy a stuff

15:32 And so I pulled an old trailer and was Grandma and two boys and I

15:40 Actor

15:42 Minnesota, Minnesota

15:45 So your mother and father?

15:49 Your mother and father new Grandma never goes out to a nice restaurant. If she goes McDonald's it was wonderful after the restaurant that was called the bank that used to be a bank. It was like a bolt down and step aside.

16:07 And before you got your meal they brought.

16:13 A big bowl of shrimp. My mother had never eaten shrimp.

16:19 So I'm mom.

16:21 Since we never had a lot you always have to clean your plate no matter what she kept reading it and they bring another big and bring another big back black bowl down. They brought the third one and curses and your mother said Grandma. You don't have to eat that. Yeah, and you don't weigh stuff, you know, she ate shrimp on her own and then your mother wouldn't let her see the men because the price was too high. She's in now Grandma over and he's off to you.

16:51 Mom picked one and curses and Healthcare. Then the next morning. We woke up grandma looked at me and said I don't think that shrimp agrees with me.

17:05 Didn't she tell you later that she didn't even really like it that much thought you had to eat it.

17:13 Grandma well, that was a woman then we could take one chicken feed six people with us, you know.

17:21 On Sundays, who do you think has been the biggest influence on you?

17:28 Turn your life to People John Hanson and my mother.

17:35 Why you think Johnny was such a huge influence and you met him a little later and you're like because like when he was ill and I want to start taking test to get better jobs.

17:48 And I failed a test and we was laying in the hospital and I come over and I was so upset and he said sure don't give up. You can go back up there and take that test over. He never let me down put myself down or anyting.

18:04 I never let anybody else not even my uncle Frankie.

18:08 The big difference from your first husband, I think.

18:15 Not going into that.

18:18 Me neither

18:23 What was it like to become a parent for the first time? Wonderful? I have to say that.

18:30 I had to I they we had a farm.

18:34 And 133 acres and but the doctor made me command. So I lived with your grandma and grandpa won't back. So when it came time, they had to call Nana wants to come and get me cuz they said I was going to deliver the baby. Well, his father went out to the farm to get him and when he came and he was mad. He said I have my dogs take care of.

18:59 So they took me to the hospital while when an ambulance and I was there almost there like 48 hours for your mother dope women two days before date and I'm wake up.

19:14 And there would be your grandma and grandpa won't look beside me, but he had other things to do rather than come in but when churches and was born

19:23 She was the most beautiful baby. She had this dark dark black hair like Grandma darling had Anna.

19:34 It was all curls and then nurses would come in and take her.

19:39 And put ribbons in her hair and then they come at it where you take my baby and I was in the hospital for two weeks afterwards, but that I said where you taking my baby and it said we weren't sure if somebody else.

19:53 Why were you in the hospital for so long lot of trouble deliver?

20:01 That's it. How do you think being a parent has changed you?

20:08 I will never learn to appreciate more things. You learn to appreciate the things your children accomplished and you learn to be very very proud of no matter what happens. God gives you these children to love. He doesn't say you have to like them all the time give some to you to love.

20:26 Well said and I guess another one in this is about your childhood to so I should have asked you this earlier about what this is about your childhood to so I should have asked you this earlier, but did you ever get into trouble?

20:44 What was the worst thing that you did?

20:46 Disobeying my father

20:50 Remember our particular tell us there was a girl or not and high school was that I was not allowed to associate with

20:57 And so I had a date with this boy.

21:02 And when he came up there was this lady if you want to call her that and her boyfriend the back seat, so we went out and I might curfew was 10.

21:14 Why was home one time and when Dad came home? I was in bed next day Mom and Dad come home from church, and there's a knock on the doors. Mr. Schwartz. She said Frank the Loris home.

21:26 Haitian sure, he says if she was out with someone so that's my daughter last night his adopted daughter and mistress. What's my daughter's not allowed to search a date with your daughter?

21:43 And I thought oh God, and so

21:47 They had run off and they found her. I think either in Pennsylvania or New York. She run off quite often.

21:54 Do you ever go with her? I am so I've got three months in dog house that man I could go to church with Mom and I could go to school, but I could not talk to anybody. I couldn't do it if you stayed in the house.

22:11 What was it like during the war?

22:15 What were you doing during the war during the war?

22:18 Moved around a lot

22:21 During the War I was married to my first husband.

22:26 And I was spotted before marrying a muslim with Grandma darling and Columbus and I was working at Bordine's. I've got through Business School.

22:35 Anna

22:39 Grandma want to fix me lunch and everything. I remember this so Chloe and I don't know they'll have stuff on the train while you're ever been on Troop Train. That's what it was. Soldiers. So I sat with this one in stuff is running down the aisles the whole thing, and these are boys want to go home, but at every stop there would be women out there with sandwiches and something to drink so, but it was for the soldiers so this and he was Jewish boy, and he was wonderful and he was from the Bronx in New York, and so he brought me back stuff also and we talked and he said now when you

23:23 Get up here. I want you and he gave me his parents address and he said you come over and have dinner with my parents and that meant we never did but then from there we went to Mississippi or there in Newark, New Jersey. I worked in what used to be a leather factory and I made like bones and stuff just that a little instruments. You couldn't touch me. I had to use the tweezers and stuff. Then I went to La Ley Jackson, Mississippi and there I worked in a fountain pen store. And why did you have to move there? He was in the Army transfer and then we moved out to San Diego and California and I work in a raisin Packing House.

24:11 I always worked women and many many talents. I worked everywhere we moved and then he was sent overseas and he was on Iwo Jima.

24:23 I didn't know that.

24:28 What was the most difficult. Of your life?

24:35 Married to

24:39 Game board, but

24:43 The other one was when Johnny died.

24:47 I remember that too. It's really hard.

24:51 Did you know that that was coming or was it really sudden? The Johnny was going to die. Yes. I know it was coming from the time. He was 37 years old because he was Ill from them till we die toys 5556

25:11 I guess.

25:13 One thing I wanted to ask you to as you know that I'm about to embark on it a pretty big journey. And do you have any words of advice for me?

25:21 Just take care of yourself when you're down there in Bolivia, Bolivia.

25:30 Well, I'm just went blank. It's not Bolivia doors wrong. I just want you to take care of yourself and learn while you're down there. Learn how other people live in and we here in the United States who we heard me say we're so poor we weren't poor compared to this some of those people true.

25:57 I think that I don't really have any other questions for you now.

26:04 Think I'm all finished. Is there anything else you wanted to talk about today? Yeah, I'm like talk about ancestors alone build. My mother's father came from when he was 16 family of 14 came over their older son was here and they didn't like it. They went back. My grandfather was a baby might his wife Mary Wolfe come over when she was 2 and her from Germany and her brother died to see when was buried at Sea.

26:38 And then my father's people they both have four main one, but

26:47 His father his people come over in the 1700.

26:52 And they

26:55 Lived in Massachusetts, and I went to get to Virginia and then they ended up in Jackson, Ohio. And and that's grandma darling. I don't speak months they also but it was a little later but it was in the 17 hundreds that they come over.

27:14 We've been here for a while then. Yeah, I'm with Mom side. Mom was first generation or second generation.

27:24 I didn't know that I did not go so soon.

27:27 I actually do have another question. I guess I wanted to know what it was like when my mom was a kid and it was just the two of you what what are some of your memories from that time?

27:41 I'm remember trying to do the very best for and I worked in Cincinnati and she was going to Saint Anthony's in Bellevue. And I remember we had it one time with the Russians and everything. You know, they thought they were going to invade and all that and

28:01 They was going to have a big sound or Bell or something or horn if something happened and I used to think what's going to happen to her with me on this side of the river and she's on the other but she and I did. All right.

28:21 As you well know.

28:23 Very smart lady

28:26 Do you have any particular memories of your time together wouldn't do you any particular memories of of the two of you together.

28:34 No, not really.

28:39 There's a lot but I I mean can't get a man.

28:44 I know she and her brothers are very close.

28:51 I'm sure that's in part 2 to erase them know you think I hope so.

28:58 I hope so. I try to find follow mom's example course there was an Old Fashioned.

29:06 We definitely don't have an old-fashioned family.

29:13 Well, I think I'm there anything else you wanted to tell me today?

29:19 Just some very proud of my children. My granddaughter very proud of you.