Violet Hittle and Doreen Myers

Recorded December 19, 2008 Archived December 19, 2008 00:00 minutes
Audio not available

Interview ID: MBX004727


Violet Hittle, 97, is interviewed by her granddaughter, Doreen Myers,50.

Subject Log / Time Code

remembers her 5th Xmas; got a rocking chair and a doll; doll had real hair
Violet was the baby; brother loved her the best; her brother lived to be one hundred years old; story of her brother carrying her downstairs to see the Xmas tree
“impatience that was me”; job in Philadelphia; story of how she was hired; getting to work, running for the train
husband was beat as a child; description of her husband, “the golden boy”; abused as a child
“I’m proud of my life”; living to be one hundred years old; falling, “The older you get the harder it is when you fall.”


  • Violet Hittle
  • Doreen Myers

Recording Location

MobileBooth East


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00:04 My name is Doreen Myers. I'm 50 years old and today's date is December 19th 2008 and we're in Tampa Florida and I'm interviewing my grandmother today violet.

00:24 Your name say your name. My name is Lola hiddle.

00:28 I'm not 97 years old. I'm dorian's grandmother.

00:36 And you're in Tampa. You're in Tampa, Florida here. We're in Tampa, Florida.

00:43 Okay, great. Okay Grandma. Well today I just wanted to ask you some questions about things that you might remember from your long long passed since it's almost Christmas time. I just wanted to ask you if there's anything that you particularly remember about Christmas or any Christmas has passed.

01:15 I remember very vividly my birthday or not birthday, but this is Christmas.

01:25 I got a rocking chair and a doll and Iraq the dolls.

01:33 All day Christmas in that rocking chair

01:38 And did you ask for a doll for Christmas? I mean is that?

01:45 I don't remember. I don't remember I think.

01:50 I just got the thing. I don't know.

01:54 The lady that works for us had the idea of making a doll for me. Okay?

02:06 It would start now.

02:10 What did the Dow look like it wasn't a baby doll with a girl doll. And this lady that gave it to me had a lot of flowing red hair so she has some of her hair made into a wig to put on this doll made a kind of special.

02:29 Anna

02:31 She's take care of us kids. Okay, and what did she do if court and why why did you have a housekeeper? I guess that was all we had we had pet shops.

02:42 And we had this Pet Shop on had the on the first floor and then the second floor was apartment and we lived up there and this lady kept house for us because my mother was busy in the store and where was the store?

02:57 And that store was at 35 North 9th Street in Philadelphia where I was 5 years old.

03:06 We have another store.

03:08 28 North 9th Street

03:12 When I was so I think I was six years old there.

03:19 No, I had another store 52 North 9th Street. And I remember I was there when I graduate from high school.

03:29 After that we moved.

03:32 To Lansdale

03:37 I keep on going with us. What does that and yeah sure. I'm well, I'm just I'm kind of curious. If no one time we talked about a monkey that used to have not just normal pets at the pet shop. Is that right? I mean you just didn't have dogs and cats and like normal everything. We had monkeys and even had a bear a Russian couple came there on time with a little bear cub on my sold it to my father.

04:10 And he put it in the small room in the back of the store and the thing kept growing so big.

04:19 I figured they'd better get rid of it. So they sold it.

04:24 Took her to the they put it in a crate and took it to the realization.

04:30 And then they came back to the store.

04:35 Then I got a call from the realization. They better come back with some reinforcements. There was getting out of the crate.

04:42 But they fix that and it turned out. All right.

04:47 Well, how did you get started in the pet business? I mean, my father came over from Germany. I don't know I couldn't hand say when because my mother just didn't tell me when he came over. She told me he came over long before she did and he got a job in this Pet Shop. He was the buyer.

05:09 Oh, okay. No, it did the Pet Shop have a name.

05:15 I don't remember now button grandpop's name was what when he came over from Germany, it was different than when he actually got to United States and he change his name Grandpa. Your father's name was Pace p a t h e butt William pay but he is so well, he kept that name until he was in business for himself, and he thought he changed it. He thought Albright would sound better. So we all went with over it. Is that because of maybe

05:52 Arno is that considered it not a very good name from Germany because you came because there's no there was nothing bad about it, but he isn't Albright would sound more American, you know, okay, and he never had it next time. I never heard him. I haven't asked that is fabulous what he was a buyer for this.

06:18 Barbie pet shop

06:23 35 North 9th Street

06:27 And that the person that owned it was Jacob hope and he was married to my mother's half-sister.

06:38 But there's a story about that soon. Yeah, but that's a good story. I mean, that's an interesting sister.

06:48 Came over here with a couple who wanted her to babysit their kids on the boat and they asked her mother if she could go with them.

07:00 And she saw Lola loud be nice, you know should be a babysitter.

07:06 And I'm not a sort of

07:09 But when they got over to this country, they left her here and they just took off 13 years old. Whatever. She was a very young didn't know how to speak English.

07:22 I don't know how she survived but she ended up married to this. Jacob. Hope he found her in my litter.

07:31 And that's a special then she wanted my mother to come over cuz it was her sister. So she came over when she was 19 and went what was her name many l in a moment was Wilhelm Ina reisch, but when she got over here in this country, she changed it to many rice. Okay, and she worked in this to help keep the store clean and she worked very hard and my father was there and he saw how hard she worked and he felt sorry for her and she got very sick.

08:06 So he asked the doctor to say to these to the sister and her husband that she had to go back to Germany for a while, you know recuperate so she did that.

08:19 And when she came back, I think she stayed over there a couple months and she came back.

08:25 From Germany my father met her on the boat and took her to a pet shop that he had.

08:34 Arrangement Maiden had a little business start up there then on the way home. This is what the crazy kind of thing but on the way home.

08:44 They stopped and they got married and the place where they got buried. This man called The Stranger in off the sidewalks to come in and be a witness.

08:54 So then she was married she got back into the car back to the store. And how old was she she was there I think about 19 or 20 or something like that and he had his sisters and brothers or something to living with him there. So they got out when she came there.

09:18 So I don't know what to tell you about that except he had this little business and I don't know what the where that store was. I don't know. I know I know all the other stuff. That's where you were born. No, no. No, that's where it all started.

09:35 My brother was born about 10 months after my mother came from Land of deer.

09:43 Charles I don't know his name Charles know William William William jr. And

09:54 I don't know what happened langostinos. Just what my mother told me and I tried to remember.

10:01 They went to some other stuff. Finally. They went to another store. They used to move around a lot different stores and sometimes that my mother was the kind.

10:13 Husky kind of a German woman. She had to have a lot of fresh air. She couldn't be penned up too much he would get sick. So every once in a while I moved to the country and they have a camel pack dogs and papa do mail order business advertising and so on and living for us. We never went hungry or without clothes, but did you have to take care of the animals to I mean, did you help I never do anything. I was the baby 3 years after my brother was for my sister was born. I was Elsie Elizabeth.

10:51 And three years I need about three years after that. I was born. Okay. Well my brother I guess he was only three years old when she was born and I guess he didn't think it was any big deal. But when he was 6 years old, I was born and he thought that was pretty wonderful and he made a pet out of me sort of I always stuck up for me and I'll boy nobody. Is there say anything or touch me or no?

11:19 And he lived until recently and he was 100 years old. He would have been a hundred and one if he had left three more months.

11:29 So I had a pretty good Guard from Isis.

11:34 Well, well, that's I remember one thing. It's fixing my mind and I don't know why I remember I must have been very very young. But I remember that he came up to my bedroom on Christmas morning and they put me on his shoulders and carried me down to see the Christmas tree and this is all I remember of it. It's just it just made me feel so

11:58 Grateful for him to do a thing like this. I feel like you know that stuck in my mind. I don't remember the year or the tree or anything else but I remember him doing it. He was very very very nice person Third Kind of very honest and very hard-working. He was a wonderful. He was just like my mother built like her blue eyes and blonde hair or did she learn English fairly well or did she speak German talk thing was pretty good, but not like my father. My father didn't have any accent at all. You think he was here all his life.

12:35 And I never can get over that then why he read the newspaper from cover to cover. He was learning everything he could you know.

12:43 But how he ever got rid of the Stearman I said, I'll never know.

12:47 I did but did you ever learn to speak German in the house not being really understand them when they talked it, but they didn't use it too much. They tried to make it.

13:00 America went out to tell me about I know you have Recollections of a working in Philadelphia when you were 15 you started to work. Can you tell me about that like when you eat well our first job

13:18 Well, I had to go back to lead up to this as I should go back to when we moved to Lansdale from that store.

13:29 My father took me shopping one day and just think how was your meal that still has your meals up on the way there to the store need to see that you can get a job in there.

13:42 The people that work there were sitting out front eating their lunch and they looked I didn't like that. So I went home. I was only 14 and 1/2 years old on home to my mother crying I said pop says it maybe I should work on how's your mom and she says now I put my foot down she slammed her fist on the table, and she said no girls allowed to go to work in a factory or going to Business School.

14:12 So then I popped but she put her foot down puff didn't say anything but usually he was the boss.

14:22 Anyway, I went to business school and how it went. So you are 14 you you wanted to go to high school 15 and the

14:36 I learn typing English and shorthand.

14:41 And we had tests all the time and class would go to.

14:46 You know, they will have to pass that test before they went to the next flight to 70 hours and minutes are yours and I passed the 90 word a minute with the rest of the class high school graduates are not and so I thought

15:09 They couldn't pass the one 100. I'm going to test you know, so I don't know. I'm not waiting around for them. So I quit school and I went and got a job. When that did you had you already met Grandpop your husband at the business school had you met her I think I just know I'm from there. Okay, so that's why you know, you're like, yeah. Okay. Well the swarm of the people

15:39 A cute story about the school where they had to think we're in dance class will we had to talk about women's suffrage and I lost it because I was supposed to speak about it in a week or so. So this this a boy that was in a class he was at

16:06 A nice kid but real Quarry Farm type red hair and freckles, but he was so brilliant and he's do that was upset about having to write something till I could talk it out of this. He said don't worry about it. I'll write it for you the next day. He came in with this paper. Well written. You know, so I read it a couple of times when I got up there to speak in the funny part remains in mind as well. I talked about it he had in there The Hand That Rocks the Cradle rules the world and I'm saying is if I did it.

16:47 I'll never forget him.

16:49 But it was so nice of them and one time he came in there smelling like a skunk, you know, so then just one report or something. I don't know. He came back the same afternoon early and I asked him with the same suit on today always wore his mother had washed it and try to somehow and he came in and he is very studious.

17:23 Then you owe. Yes, I think so.

17:27 But it was just a little incident that always stuck in my mind because he has a good heart and soul. That's funny. So after you graduated then you had to you wanted to find a job. I didn't graduate I just walked out, okay.

17:45 I didn't want to wait in patience. That was me. I want to get making money.

17:53 Cuz after all you know, and I went to Philadelphia I got to saw this ad in the paper. I went for the interview and it was in a Wholesale Hardware Store 5th and commerce.

18:09 And the boss was a

18:15 A real Quaker type

18:19 You are all black emojis Fresh Start shirts, you know, and I had a discussion to wait to go to you. So he her hit me and he found out that my middle name is Louise. So I was hired because his dead wife's name was Louise and he told me a lot cuz I just a greenhorn and you know, just a kid and told me a lot a long-distance calls and stuff like that cuz we had a factory in Terryville, Connecticut. I had a cool there and stuff and then I learned a lot there.

18:51 But that's only one of the places. I work out to get to my job. I go down. I walk a mile to train station get on the train ride into Philadelphia to 12th and Market train station go seven blocks down and a half a block over.

19:10 To the store

19:13 They tell me today that I have a perfect heart and I think this is the reason I went from a seven and a half blocks.

19:22 And no time flat because I had to be at work at 8 and I got I got in there about 5 minutes late for the train at night the same distance to train station trailer leaving Friday after 8. And this one day the train was just pulling out as I come up there. So I ran after it. I grabbed hold of bar in the back end of the trail and pull myself Rihanna to the steps and walked up to the top or what is the back door? And I told my boss about next day. Just don't you do that again, but the people said, why don't you take the trolley down Market Street? I couldn't wait for them.

20:11 Again impatient impatient. Yeah, but I think that's what made my I have that to think that I am here today.

20:20 I think that made my heart strong. I know he's in the hospital not long ago to come you got a perfect and I said I said, I guess it's the bowling and the dancing and I guess if the dancing but then I thought about it later and I think it was starting to him. I was just young that's what I started to get strong because of exercise I had but I've worked a lot of places in sandwich and have to run that far.

20:52 I know you you worked for a long time and as a secretary in that kind of thing, but tell me a little bit about when you first got married because you know with Allison your great-granddaughter getting married and next May. I'm sure you know that it's kind of interesting to her to maybe care about you as a newlywed that you like. Some of that may be the funny things that happened when you first started to learn to cook or I don't know. I don't remember too much about that. Now your first house that you first first place that we lived in was just a little apartment in Lansdale.

21:38 But we didn't stay there long cuz it was kind of corny at all.

21:43 Not too big.

21:46 And then we went to

21:50 Logical that neighborhood

21:53 Was a little house but kind of a bungalow type that it was Stone and that was a nice little house, but I don't know how long I stay there. I don't remember all that stuff. Now Mom. My mother Shirley was born in 1931. So right ninth and she was 20 years old cuz just had her 777 right? So you had her when you were 20 years old.

22:27 Oh, I was married when I was sort of engaged it was you know understood when I was just only about Seventeen and I got married as a teen and I had her when I was 22 know that my run is 19, but I had her when I was 20. She was a palace and a half ounce of beautiful baby. Oh, she was such a beautiful child. You had their Pink Cheeks and sparkly eyes, they sparkled and curly light brown hair and the cutest dresses. So sorry, but I can see her like she was perfect. But she turned out pretty good. She has all the things that I had that done to her. You know that Shirley was perfect, but they had knocked me.

23:27 Yeah, yeah, but that we got everything fixed when you are older to when you are so that that was almost like when she was like a difference between you know, Mario and and Carol being born. So that must have been kind of a a difficult well and she was a little bit bruised, you know, ya was it hard to have a daughter so far apart so that Mom was already pretty much grown up and on the road so I can babysitter. Oh okay for her, but I never never kept her from she was young when we lived in Flourtown.

24:07 I

24:10 Count and Shirley was in high school.

24:14 But I never kept her home to mind.

24:18 Carol

24:20 If she has something to do, but if she didn't have any Jewish to go to be home. She used to babysit Carol.

24:26 So Callahan all kinds of babysitters and nothing. Did you work at that time or were you I wasn't working at when we go out.

24:39 That was only looking for our town. That was a nice home. How much did that cost? You remember 5343 red brick English style house brand new. It was a nice place. It had three bedrooms one bath.

25:06 Nice basement looks we fixed up for parties and stuff.

25:12 But it was that my first real nice home.

25:23 It's hard for me to remember that how long it was. I think we moved to prospectville from there. And then we moved there when Shirley was 20 years old. How are you member? That is she is married when she was 20 and I had to hurry up and get things fixed up cuz she wanted to get married that time. I don't know what the rush was.

25:48 And

25:50 Cuz I think cows trying one when she got married.

25:56 That was a that's the nicest place we ever had he had this big long trees all across the lawn and carport and garage prospectville Whitemarsh Memorial Park, right? That's that was my favorite house. That was the house. I use we used to have a lot of picnic yet remember picnics and we actually live there for a year when our house is being built at I was about 12 cuz I was in sixth grade and night my mom used to drive me to school and that was that was my favorite house in the lady next door. I don't know what her name was. She has to give me Life Savers big pack not just a couple Lifesavers, but she's to give me an entire world. Well, I love that woman because every time when I came to visit visit you I knew I could slide next door and she'd give me a whole roll of Lifesavers and

26:56 Switching she was so cute. And we were at that time. We were living in Montgomeryville with my parents and then she went across the driveway to this is like a where they sold gas in the building that the house was like a store kind of living quarters of upstairs.

27:27 They had a grandmother that with Tom their lives with them off awhile or something. I don't know. Anyhow, she went over there and grandmother gave her cookie. So you know, she

27:38 Over there to get a copy so much when we heard that the grandmother poured kerosene in the dishes strawberries at the younger woman had prepared for the Amelia.

27:53 And so he's all she's little don't go don't go out as you might give you something danger and he held her don't go over there, but he was too much of it.

28:05 Enjoying car. She goes over there. He gets a little switchblock switch needs a little bit of the legs.

28:19 Madewell since I gave him have to 12th and put that I think made her afraid of daddy. She said she love Daddy, but she feared them to this day. She'll tell you that.

28:33 No, I didn't like that.

28:36 So when he started to say something one time when Carol did something he didn't like I said don't touch her. I'll take care of her and you never did it. I said she's a young lady now and he was beat so much when he was a child on I think that they think that's what you got to do when children disobey, but it's not yet. He had a hard childhood. He had a terrible childhood.

29:03 So

29:06 Well, do you have them?

29:12 Any any kind of advice for Allison cuz I you and Grandpa were married how many years before he passed away and he died in 78?

29:25 I think I am 71 years old blowing sweetest man that lived my mother used to call him look old and boy cuz he never would let her carry a pail of water for the dogs, you know, anything like that. He always helped her. He's right in there when she had to do everything. He was such a good person. He was so abused as a child but yet he's turned out to be such a sweet person and it was wonderful today gosh.

29:58 I know you guys used to have one of my favorite memories was you and Grandpa and Mom and Dad playing cards. Remember that used to play pinochle all the time and you would set up the card table in the living room at prospectville. And and and I remember this because you know when we are living there for a year and I had Carol's old bedroom in the back and I would go with me I would go to bed and then I could hear you and Grandpa and Mom and Dad playing Pinochle in the living room. You member that on the card table, or or maybe that was the dining room table his wife.

30:48 Friends about how they became friends of ours. Was it the cow when she was 13 years old went into the junior high school and she met the genie who is their daughter? So the kids got families together. So we used to go every Saturday night will be one house or the other playing cards. And what would go play golf with the herb sometimes? Okay, Hutchinson Hutchinson.

31:22 And then he that he later became a very important person in your life even just down here in Florida when you lived in and they were friends of ours for a long time and he was he had a heart problem when he was and had died, but he was in the hospital eight times in one year and in November. He's at the doctor. I don't know whether I want to live anymore. He says I feel so

31:55 Depressed and he said look you just go someplace where the weather's nice. It was a very nasty weather at the time go somewhere where the weather is warm. Well, he thought of May of course because we were friends for years and I he called and asked if he could come down stay there for a while see how he would be how it would affect him, you know, so I thought well, I'll fix him. I am three good meals everyday and I made him go for a long walk sand and he really kept up now and I thought he was strong enough. I got him to bowl and he got very good at it and he loved it.

32:36 So then that was in November when he came down the more she said well, I feel so good being down here. I hate to go but I have to go up like a business to take care of it something about his stocks. He's always told him. So he really felt real good. And from then on he has to say and that if it wasn't for me, he wouldn't be here anymore, you know his life to me. I still wish you'd knock it off. I don't want to hear that. I didn't do anything. All I do is give you a few decent meals, but he always paid well for his food and lodging he eat. He didn't get it for nothing here at all. I'm not that I wanted I never asked him for a penny, but he was very generous with her cuz he felt he owed it to me and I already being good friends, you know that all those years. That's that was kind of nice, you know, so I think he's I don't know whether he's getting Alzheimer's or not.

33:36 Who is the last one of 10 children and that his niece came down and got him took him up to Pennsylvania. And that's where he is now and he called me not too long ago while ago. He sounded pretty good, but I don't know where these kind of losing it or not. He's the only 87 or 88 but he seems to be satisfied of being there and I said you have your car he had a Cadillac he said yeah, they sent their son down to bring it up cuz they took him in a plane, you know.

34:17 Anna cuz when his when their mother died when the nieces mother dies, she should take care of her be all right now.

34:25 See that he's taking care of her so I took him up there.

34:32 Well, how when are you talk to me? I said, where's your car is Old Town, Florida and brought it up to me. I just do it in the garage there. He said they don't have another garage. He said. It says sitting out and he says I go out every once in awhile brush the leaves off of it and I thought I loved poor guy. He's so fussy about his house and his car is always Immaculate, you know, and he has to go out and almost cried when he told me that you're not here to brush the leaves off his car. Yeah, but well if there's if there's one thing that that you would want people to remember most about you, what would it be?

35:16 Haha, I don't know.

35:18 I'm no big shakes.

35:23 I need any important lesson that you've learned in life for I feel good about one thing. Maybe this is trifling but

35:37 When I started to go to work, I took care of myself from Thais 15 years is 15/2 years old was 16. I was saved I said it was 16. I was just before 16 white my job, but my parents didn't spend they calling me myself and I dressed well and I had every Saturday we work Saturday mornings in those days and they afternoon I go to beauty parlor. I get my hair done. I get my nails done and I paid for all this myself.

36:10 Until you're proud of the fact that I was in deep. I was always a very independent person and they have trouble with me at the place there. I won't, you know break down and do things from each other so independent I have to be less dependent or more dependent they want to help you, you know.

36:32 When when you need it?

36:34 But

36:37 I've always been independent brat. I heard my mother say that sings because I my mind I don't know why it hit a nerve or something. I heard my mother say to the brother and sister. They said don't you ever hit Wireless and her German accent? She could not take it and nobody has ever hit me I said, I think that I'm so spoiled that I think of anybody laid a hand on me and anger. I think I would explode I think I would just go ahead. I was a frat to sometimes I said my mother sometimes wish I regret very much, but you never

37:19 Got angry with me now. Nobody ever did they say I was a spoiled brat. So that must have served you. Well, since I've made it so far. Are you now, it may be independent and

37:35 Maybe it when I was a little baby. I thought I heard that maybe I said, I won't nobody can hurt me, you know, maybe.

37:42 Strength to be independent and carry on do what I have to do.

37:50 But I'm proud of my life. I think I should be because I tried hard and I did and never hurt anybody and

38:02 I'm living to a ripe old age. I'm waiting for you to be a hundred Grandma definitely going to see you and David Davidson Grandma. You got to get to be a hundred. Yeah, you have four more years or something like that and I felt like saying is that all I have to go at least that far?

38:28 Yeah, well, I know a boy. Sometimes you when you fall and hurt your dignity when you're full a full and so many times that I never been to doctors about arranging. I was just got right up and

38:43 But sometimes it's the older you get the harder it is when you're full of dignity gets so hard.

38:53 Well, thank you so much. Grandma. Mike had a great time. Thank you.