Baby & Geriatric Care Nurses, 1966
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Narrator: Sarah Moore
Interviewer: Jane Bottner, The Hudson River Museum
Date: November 15, 2001
Location: Mount Carmel Baptist Church, Yonkers, NY


INTERVIEWER: I'm Jane Bottner from The Hudson River Museum. It's November 15th. I am at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Yonkers and I'm interviewing Miss Sarah Moore. Good morning, Miss Moore.

NARRATOR: Good morning.

INTERVIEWER: I'm going to be asking you questions about your life in the South, your journey up to the North, and then your life in the North. When did you leave? You said you were from South Carolina…

NARRATOR: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: When did you leave South Carolina, and why?

NARRATOR: 1925, at the passing of my mother. And traveled from there to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And there I lived with my sister. And my church background, I joined the church there, and also I participated in the choir and the ushers, missionary, and very active in the church. And once I was there I met and married Cleaves Moore, which was my husband.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. Let's go a little bit backwards. Let's talk about the South. How? You left in 1925? How old were you?

NARRATOR: Twelve.
INTERVIEWER: What town did you come from?

NARRATOR: When I lived in the South, I was in Orangeburg County, South Carolina. That's where I was born.

INTERVIEWER: And you lived there with your mother? Did you…

NARRATOR: My mother and brothers.

INTERVIEWER: When you came up North, did you travel alone? Did you come by yourself?

NARRATOR: No, my sister brought me from the South to Pittsburgh. And whilst I was there I know about working in the field…

INTERVIEWER: This was what you did in the South?

NARRATOR: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Why don't you describe what your life was like in the South? What did you do? Did you go to school?

NARRATOR: Yes, I went to school, there, in the South. And we had to work in the fields and we had to plant cotton and stuff like that. I worked in that. And we had like peanuts and corn. I worked in that. You know like you have to plant the cotton, you have to plant the corn. And a very large garden that my mother had, I worked in that. And I did all this work practically by myself because my mother was sick and I had to take care of two of my nieces and five brothers. And I had to do the washing and ironing, cooking, took care of my mother, plus working in the field. And so for his cooking, my mother started me off to cook, I guess, when I was about seven or eight years old. I was so small that I had to stand on a bench and I'd turn the meat because at that particular time the stove set on bricks on the floor, and that made it too tall for me to stand without the grease popping in my face. So my brother made this little bench for me to stand on and turn the meat. And also I had to make bread. I had to stand on this little bench and make bread. And many times, this is kind of funny; many times I'd fall off that bench trying to make these biscuits. And I guess that's the way I learned how to cook. But I think I was cooking ever since I was big enough to know I was in the kitchen cooking. In fact, I had all of that to do by myself because my brothers and things, they'd work. And so I had to do all the housework. And there we didn't have grass in the yard like we have now. It was just the sand and dirt. And we had to get out and sweep those yards, you know, clean. Because they had trees and they had to clean, you know, rake the yard and clean around the house. And that went on until the passing of my mother. And at the passing of my mother, then that's when I came to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with my sister.

INTERVIEWER: And so you were the only girl left at home…

NARRATOR: Oldest girl. The other girls was married. They was away.

INTERVIEWER: Your sister. When did your sister leave for Pittsburgh?

NARRATOR: Oh, no, they were gone ever since I was small.

INTERVIEWER: So you might not even remember her leaving?

NARRATOR: No, not really. I know they left, but I couldn't exactly tell you what year that they…that they got married, they moved. When they got married. As they got married, they moved away.

INTERVIEWER: So how did your family keep in touch with your sister who moved away?

NARRATOR: Then there wasn't telephones, we had to write.

INTERVIEWER: So you sent letters to each other?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: Did your mother know how to read and write?

NARRATOR: Yes, uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. And you said that you were able…you said that you went to school?

NARRATOR: Yes, uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: With all this work, how did you have the time to…

NARRATOR: We didn't go to school there like the children go to school here.

INTERVIEWER: How did it work?

NARRATOR: We started to school after everything was gathered from the field. We would start back in September and in April, we'd be out of school. And then sometimes we would work…after we come home from school we had things to do, after coming home from school.

INTERVIEWER: What kind of school did you go to?

NARRATOR: It was a like a public school, but they didn't have…this was like one room.

INTERVIEWER: It was a one-room school?

NARRATOR: One-room school. And they taught the first grade on up to high school.

INTERVIEWER: So you were all in the same classroom together?

NARRATOR: I didn't understand you.

INTERVIEWER: All the children were in the same class?

NARRATOR: In the same room. And they had the smaller children, like in the front. And as the degree go up, they went and like the high school children, they sat in the back. But it was a one-room school with one teacher. And all the children in that neighborhood went to that school. With that one teacher.

INTERVIEWER: Wow. And so you went to school up until you left with your sister to go to Pittsburgh?

NARRATOR: Yes, uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: So after…when your mother died, your sister from Pittsburgh came down South…

NARRATOR: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: …to get you…

NARRATOR: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: …and how…were you the only one that she came to get?
NARRATOR: No. My younger sister…my oldest sister took one, the girl, and the sister in Pittsburgh took me, and my brothers was old enough to take care of themselves.

INTERVIEWER: Oh. So you were the only…from what I understand, you were the only one that traveled up North with your sister?

NARRATOR: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: And the rest of them stayed…

NARRATOR: Went to Florida. My other sister went to Florida, my baby sister, and my brothers stayed in the South.

INTERVIEWER: Stayed in South Carolina? Wow. How did you travel to Pittsburgh? Were you on a train? A bus?

NARRATOR: A train. It was in the train.

INTERVIEWER: And what were your ideas about the North before you left? Did you have any kind of image about what Pittsburgh would be like?

NARRATOR: No. I did not have any idea, only the things that my sister would tell us, you know, when she would come to visit.

INTERVIEWER: What kind of things would she tell you?

NARRATOR: She was just telling us, you know, how nice it was to live there, and the jobs and things, you know, the people could work at there. And she said it was much better for working people like in the North like than it was in the South, and that they made more money than they did in the South for the work.

INTERVIEWER: So from what I understand, your family…they were basically farmers? Is that…? That's the way you earned your livelihood?

NARRATOR: Yes, uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: Were there any stores…?

NARRATOR: Stores?

INTERVIEWER: …in the town?

NARRATOR: Yes. We had, uh, like two.

INTERVIEWER: Two stores?

NARRATOR: Two.

INTERVIEWER: And what did they sell?

NARRATOR: One was like a grocery store…maybe three. They had like a grocery store and one dress store, back then the people used cloth. You had make your clothes back then in the South. You made your clothes mostly. And mostly in the store was material.

INTERVIEWER: Fabric, yeah.

NARRATOR: You had to buy the material, you know, to make clothes. You would buy the men's shirts; they made the men's shirts and things. And the girls, they had all their dresses was made. And sometimes like if you was more than one girl older that got a dress made off that same material, like people now got to have so many dresses, you had so many dresses then. When you lived in the South back then, you had all the girls…all the girls dressed alike because the dresses was made off that one piece of material. So my mother would get some kind of a lace and she would fix the dress up a little different from the other one, but it was made out of the same material. And back then, the mens, they were wearing the pants and things was like here. There wasn't…the style of men that the men wanted came to here, to their knee. And then later on, they came out with the bellbottom pants and they were longer with the wide leg down at the bottom and it was small like up here, but wide but at first all of them wanted the pants that they came to here and buttoned on the side. And they also wore the shoes with the buttons. They had the shoes, men had the shoes…and they buttoned up.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, oh …

NARRATORThey did that and from the instep come to about a little above the ankle and there was buttons…had buttons on it. Then after that, then they put the buckle on. But the first they was wearing them with the buttons on their shoes.

INTERVIEWER: So when you left, well, actually, I want to get back…what kind of things did…oh, you told me what kind of things your sister said about the North. When you were leaving, did you…were you afraid, did you have any worries…?

NARRATOR: No, I wasn't afraid because I'd always wanted to live with my sister, because she used to say so many nice things about Pittsburgh and I always wanted to live there. And it was a joy to me just to get a chance to go to the city to see what the city was like, because I've always lived in the country, like. So this was exciting to me to go to the city to live.

INTERVIEWER: And this was the first time you'd every left your area?

NARRATOR: Yes. Yes, uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: Wow. And what did you take with you on your journey?

NARRATOR: Huh?

INTERVIEWER: What did you take with you on your journey?

NARRATOR: Well, there was nothing much that I could take but my clothes, whatever I had.

INTERVIEWER: Did you bring a suitcase, or how did you…?

NARRATOR: Yes, we had to lug along a suitcase, and they had the, uh, they didn't have no zippers, you snap them together and then have a little strap that go around it, then you pulled that up and it buckled across the top. On each end it had a little…like a little belt back and you put it through there and then you snapped the top together, just like you would a pocketbook.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have a favorite story or a memory about your journey up? What do you remember?

NARRATOR: Well, uh, once I was sitting in the…after I'd moved from the South, I had a longing for music. And there in Pittsburgh, I got acquainted with this lady. She taught music. So I joined her, uh…I took lessons from her, like music lessons, voice from her. And she had this, uh, Angelic choir. And we performed many, many recitals in Carnegie Music Hall there, in Pittsburgh. And that was just a joy to me because I just wanted to get into new music. I just wanted to sing.

INTERVIEWER: How old were you?
[Inaudible - simultaneous conversation]
INTERVIEWER: How old were you?

NARRATOR: I was in my twenties, then, when I joined.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. So that's…when you, uh…you're on the train with your sister, and you were looking forward to going to Pittsburgh…

NARRATOR: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: …is there anything memorable about the journey?

NARRATOR: Well, it was just so beautiful.

INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh.

NARRATOR: Because I mean just to leave home for the first time, leave the South for the first time, everything is beautiful to you. I mean, things that wouldn't mean anything maybe to you, but you're leaving, everything was, you know, different.

INTERVIEWER: Right.

NARRATOR: And so when I landed in Pennsylvania, well, in a big town, everything's beautiful to me, and I just loved it.

INTERVIEWER: So, you came to the train station in Pittsburgh with your sister. Did somebody come pick you up?

NARRATOR: My … husband.

INTERVIEWER: Had you ever met him before?

NARRATOR: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Oh?

NARRATOR: Yes, because he lived in the South, too.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. So they moved up together.

NARRATOR: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: And again, what…as soon as you got off the train, what were you thinking, what was your…?
NARRATOR: I couldn't really tell you that. Because I mean I was just so glad to be there I couldn't say where my mind was then, you know. I was just enjoying the scenery.
[Inaudible - simultaneous conversation]

INTERVIEWER: How did you get from the train station to your sister's house?

NARRATOR: Streetcar.

INTERVIEWER: You went on the streetcar?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh, uh-huh, the streetcar then.

INTERVIEWER: What kind of house did she live in?

NARRATOR: She had a beautiful, uh…it wasn't a brick house, it was like, wood, you know. And it had an upstairs, and a downstairs, and that's the first time I'd lived in a house like there was upstairs and downstairs, because all the houses in the South, all of them is on the…it's all one floor. Like ranch-style all one floor. But there, mostly houses are like…had two floors. A kitchen, a dining room downstairs and the bedroom and living room and so forth, upstairs and all that. I just enjoyed it.

INTERVIEWER: You were twelve. Did you go to school when you got to Pittsburgh?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh. Uh-huh, until I got old enough to work.

INTERVIEWER: What time of the year was it when you arrived in Pittsburgh?

NARRATOR: It was still in 1925.

INTERVIEWER: No, but I mean, was it the summer…?

NARRATOR: In the fall of the year of that…August. August, August…

INTERVIEWER: So you started school in September when you got there?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: Did you…but in the South, you said you went to school from September until April; what was your schooling like in the North? How did it…
[Inaudible - simultaneous conversation]

NARRATOR: Well, it was kind of difficult, you know. But I made it through.

INTERVIEWER: What do you mean it was difficult? What was difficult about it?

NARRATOR: Well, the work that they give you was kind of difficult. You know, like your math and so forth and so on, but because, uh, when you was in the South, you…well, I guess with all those children you didn't get what you should have, because with one teacher and all of those children from first grade to high school, you wouldn't get very much. But whatever she gave, I made good of it, you know.

INTERVIEWER: What grade did you enter in the North?

NARRATOR: In the North?

INTERVIEWER: Yes.

NARRATOR: Eighth grade.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. And so everybody in your class was in the eighth grade?
NARRATOR: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: Everybody was in their separate classroom?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: And what was the, it was a big school building?

NARRATOR: What…do you mean, like in the South?

INTERVIEWER: No, in the North.

NARRATOR: Well, actually, it was a little like here.

INTERVIEWER: Okay.
NARRATOR: A school like here. Different teachers in the school, like school is, like here.

INTERVIEWER: So yeah, I imagine it was very difficult because it was so different.
[Inaudible - simultaneous conversation]

INTERVIEWER: You were, uh…so you felt like you were a little bit further behind than the other children in the class?

NARRATOR: No. Because I found out that everybody was nice.
[Inaudible - simultaneous conversation]

NARRATOR: Uh-huh. Everyone was just so nice.

INTERVIEWER: In Pittsburgh.

NARRATOR: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: And they accepted you? I mean there was no difference because you came from the South?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh. No.

INTERVIEWER: Nobody made fun of the way you talked?

NARRATOR: Huh-uh. No. They was very, very nice teachers. They all were very nice.

INTERVIEWER: How did your sister end up going to Pittsburgh?

NARRATOR: I guess that's where she wanted to live.

INTERVIEWER: Did you have other family members there?

NARRATOR: No, it was just her and her husband and her children. And just like my sister was one in Florida, and her and her family…we just scattered. And then I had a sister that lived in [Inaudible] South Carolina, and my brothers was in the South. We just…

INTERVIEWER: What was it like for you to go to school all year around and not have to work in the fields?

NARRATOR: Well, I just made the best of it. Because when I came home from school after I got my lessons, when I was in Pennsylvania, I had the privilege to go out and play.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah.

NARRATOR: But down there, when you got home from school, you always had work to do.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah. And how did you keep in touch with your other family members after you scattered?

NARRATOR: Well, as I said, we wrote to each other. You know, we didn't do too much…there wasn't a telephone out there for us as there are now, and we just kept in touch with each other.

INTERVIEWER: And did you continue visiting now that you were North?

NARRATOR: Oh, yes.

INTERVIEWER: How often did you get to go back down South?

NARRATOR: Oh, maybe once about every two years or something like that.

INTERVIEWER: Uh-huh. And who did you go visit? Your family was scattered…

NARRATOR: My brothers was still down there, you know, because they'd, you know, died off you know cause…I had cousins and things that was still down there so I used to [Inaudible phrase]. And my brothers they would visit them until they passed, and, in fact, they're all gone but me. We had twelve.

INTERVIEWER: Oh, you had twelve children in your family all together?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh. And I'm the oldest one.

INTERVIEWER: Did any of the others come North eventually, or did everybody stay down South?

NARRATOR: No, they scattered. Because now, uh, …my nieces are still living in Florida, and some live in Indiana, I got some nieces in Pittsburgh, and we just scattered around, you know? We wasn't very close together…I mean, lived close together. Besides, my son is here.

INTERVIEWER: Did you finish high school?

NARRATOR: No. No. I had to go work. Because I went through…after I came here, I went to, uh, to school here. I went back to school.

INTERVIEWER: When did you come to Yonkers?

NARRATOR: '62.

INTERVIEWER: '62. So, uh, okay, I'm just trying to…
[Inaudible - simultaneous conversation]
[telephone ringing]

INTERVIEWER: You were in Pittsburgh ...You stopped going to school …What kind of work did you have?

NARRATOR: House work.

INTERVIEWER: You worked as a domestic in somebody's house?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: Did you live there while you stayed…was it live-in, or you stayed at your sister's home?

NARRATOR: Well, I hate to say this, but my first job was a terrible job. I
don't even wanna to talk about it.

INTERVIEWER: Okay.

NARRATOR: That my being so young…so, you know, and that was my first job. I don't know how she treated me. And you talk about slave…she would…she had these children. Six. And I had to clean the house, wash, iron, get those children ready for school, help cook, and I was sleeping in the dining room and she had a little cot built up over her heater. And it would be so hot I would sit up all night, because the cot was directly over the heater vent. They had these…what did they call these heaters…they sit off on the wall…

INTERVIEWER: Radiators?

NARRATOR: Yes, but they sit back over in the wall. And she had this cot built over the top…looked like it might have been a seat or something, you know. That's where I slept…and I had to sit up all night because it was too hot. And when I'd get up in the morning I had to get up and get those children off to school. And they'd come home from school and they tore up that house like it had never been cleaned, and I had to stay up… Give everyone a bath …
[telephone ringing]

NARRATOR: …and had to clean the house before I went to bed. Then in the morning, the first thing, I'd get up and start breakfast and get them off to school. And all day long I'd wash windows, scrub, iron, and by the time the children get home from school I'd go all over again and clean house. I'd clean the house every morning when they left for school. And they'd come in from school, the same thing. And my day off, she would keep me on that job until two or three o'clock in the evening. So I just hate to talk about it.

INTERVIEWER: You don't have to talk about it. When did you meet your husband?

NARRATOR: In, uh…

INTERVIEWER: Do you want me to turn that tape off for a few minutes?

NARRATOR: Yeah.

(Turned off tape, then resumed)

INTERVIEWER: Okay. You were talking about your husband.

NARRATOR: When I met [Inaudible phrase] and he was a miner. He came
out…he was in service.

INTERVIEWER: Where are you now?

NARRATOR: In Pennsylvania.

INTERVIEWER: Okay.

NARRATOR: So he'd been…he worked in the mine before he went into the service. And so when he out of the service, instead of going back to West Virginia, he went to Pittsburgh, and that's where I met him. And we have two children, my son and a daughter.

INTERVIEWER: Where did you bring them up?

NARRATOR: Huh?

INTERVIEWER: Where did you raise them?

NARRATOR: West Virginia.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. When did you move to West Virginia with him?

NARRATOR: '27.

INTERVIEWER: 1927?

NARRATOR: I meant '47. '47.

INTERVIEWER: 1947? All right? This is after WWII?
[Inaudible - simultaneous conversation]

INTERVIEWER: Uh, you moved to West Virginia in 1947. And what was
that like? What was…?

NARRATOR: What, my married life?

INTERVIEWER: No, West Virginia.

NARRATOR: Oh. Well, it was different.

INTERVIEWER: Did he go back to the coal mines?

NARRATOR: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. So you lived in a rural community?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh. It was nice there, but it was just different. The whole town was different, it was just…

INTERVIEWER: What was the name of the town?

NARRATOR: Gary West Virginia.

INTERVIEWER: Okay.

NARRATOR: Well, it was just different. You have like one store called the company store, but it was great big. You got everything…

INTERVIEWER: You mean the mine company owned it?
NARRATOR: Yes. Uh-huh. It was a great big store. And you could shop there and get all your clothes or food or anything you want there. Or else you could go to Welch, West Virginia, and you could shop there. That was a little town, too. And so we lived in Gary, and then we bought a house and moved from Gary to Elk Ridge, West Virginia. Oh, it was just a little town, you know, about five or six miles apart, and so we bought this house and we moved in there. And there, mostly, the women didn't work. Just the men. And that's when I got involved in most of the church work because I didn't have nothing to do not having to work. And there I spent my time mostly in church activities.

INTERVIEWER: So did you do anything with the choir? Because you said that you were interested in music and you had studied in Pittsburgh?

NARRATOR: In…after I moved to Pittsburgh, I joined the First Baptist Church and they had these many, many children. They didn't do anything. They didn't go to church, and I joined the church, and there would be a Sunday School, and after Sunday School, all the children would disappear. And I couldn't figure out to myself, where were they going? And come to find out, they were…the parents would give them money and they would go to the store and buy candy and potato chips and things like that. And some of them would come back to church, and some of them didn't come back. So since I wasn't working, I made it in my mind to investigate to see what were they doing with their time and their selves? And I started going around to each parent's house, checking to see what the children was doing, where they were spending their time. They wasn't doing anything. So in the end, I asked the parents could they come to church…meet me at the church. And they did. And, oh, oh, I had this tremendous crowd of children and, I'm telling you the truth, that's when I started organizing a baby choir, uh, I think there was about forty in this baby choir. And then I got the teenagers to (inaudible) the children and from that baby choir, I got the older ones from the baby choir, and I organized a junior choir from this baby choir. And in this, I had these young men that was singing in this choir, all without music. I'm doing this without music. And I organized a little deacon for the little children, but these young men, and I took them over to the church. And I said, now you all take these and use them. And those junior deacons [Inaudible word] and then from that I had the baby choir, I had a junior choir, and there was some women there. They wasn't doing anything either, so I got all these women together and I organized an angelic choir. All women. No men. It was all women. And I just got this group together. And I worked with that group, also with the missionary. I had a group of missionaries, and in Pittsburgh, (I left that out …) I had this missionary with me, maybe fifty. They were young children, with missionary, and even in West Virginia, I still had this little missionary, I think about twenty-five members in there. And I worked and worked and worked with those children until I came here. And I sang in the choir myself.

INTERVIEWER: In West Virginia?

NARRATOR: And that's what I did with my life. I worked with children until I came here..

INTERVIEWER: Were the communities in West Virginia…were they
segregated or were they integrated?

NARRATOR: Well…the…what do you want to call it? They were nice but the children went to their school and, but they're just nice. And they got along. And then after awhile and after that, they made them mix.

INTERVIEWER: Your husband, he worked in the mines?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: So did everyone work together, no matter who they were? Were the mines segregated?

NARRATOR: No, no, no. No. Uh-huh. All of them worked together there.

INTERVIEWER: And what made you decide to come to Yonkers?

NARRATOR: I have always, always like to work. And I heard - so much of New York work and I have always liked to work. 'Cause I worked in West Virginia, but I was a partition. I wasn't satisfied with that. I wanted to do something else. And it was in the papers, newspaper, where they was getting girls anywhere. From the South, North Carolina, anyone, to come to New York on a job. And they'd furnish you…you'd have your own television, and you have use of your phone, you had your own room, your uniform and everything; they offered you that in the paper.

INTERVIEWER: What year was that?

NARRATOR: '62. So it was a lady who left West Virginia, she was on this job here. And she come back to visit, and she was telling me what a nice job she had.

INTERVIEWER: What kind of job did she have?

NARRATOR: Domestic. They used to send…in the paper, and you look in the paper. And if you wanted to come, they would send for you. So she was telling me, when I tried. So then, I made up my mind, I wanted to come this way. And so at the time, my husband and I was separated, and so I decided I'd want to come this way and see what it was all about. And so I tried the wanted job, and because my…I had lost my daughter some time ago, so I left my son in West Virginia and I came to see about the job, and I went - it was in New Jersey, to Clifton, New Jersey. That's where I was sent on this job. And the people was so nice to me. I said I never wanted another domestic job, but those people were so nice to me. And … But I had friends here…

INTERVIEWER: In Yonkers?

NARRATOR: Yes. From West Virginia. So then I found out where they was at, and I left there.

INTERVIEWER: Clifton, New Jersey?

NARRATOR: Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER: How long did you have that job for?

NARRATOR: Oh, I stayed there a year and a half.

INTERVIEWER: Okay.

NARRATOR: Because she told me that she wanted to build a room onto her house so your child can go to school with my children, and you can stay here with us. And it was nice. I didn't want to stay. I wanted to come to where my friends was at. I came over here in Yonkers and I've been here ever since.

INTERVIEWER: And what kind of work did you do in Yonkers?

NARRATOR: Uh, started off with domestic work. And then I went to school. I wanted to be a nurse, and I met this lady…she was working, and she had a job, she said…she told me, she said I could make money on the weekend, as much money on a weekend on one job as you can all the week. And so I asked her, and so she was telling me. This school was in the paper, so she cut this address out and she gave it to me. She said, "call them," and she said "go to school so you don't have to do domestic work so you can try this job." And they called; I went to school geriatric nurse, they called it. Something like a nurse's aide, but you are registered with the nurses registry, instead of the work that they have now. Like when the ladies come in that help you now? It wasn't like that then. You worked from the nurse's registry. Like in the hospital, a private duty…you could do private duty. So I went to school and I started out, you know, I wanted to be a nurse, and the…I couldn't go to school and work. I mean, I had to study. And so after I finished school and I finished that school, they told me that I could go into a hospital and work, or a nursing home, or I could do private duty. I had three choices to make. So I took the private duty. And when you do private duty, all your patients, like in the hospital, if they need you to go home with them, then they you take care of the patient until that patient gets better. And then they give you a job. They paid you a hundred and twenty-five dollars a year. They could keep you in a job all year around in that job. And so that's what I did. I liked that idea of being a nurse. And I just latched onto that, because I'd made enough to take care of my son until he got old enough to work himself, so I just stuck with that.

INTERVIEWER: So your son moved up here with you?

NARRATOR: Yes, he's here. I went back and got him and brought him
up here. He only stayed until I got settled.

INTERVIEWER: So he went to school in Yonkers?
NARRATOR: Yes. Adult. At night. You know, so many hours…you have so many hours…

INTERVIEWER: So you do go back to the South?

NARRATOR: Yes, I visit once in a while. Well my brother passed, I haven't been now for a couple of years. And after he passed, I haven't been back. I have two ministers in my family.

INTERVIEWER: You had what?

NARRATOR: Two ministers. Two brothers.

INTERVIEWER: But they stayed down South?

NARRATOR: One was in Massachusetts. He lived in Massachusetts but he passed, and the one in the South, he passed.

INTERVIEWER: And your own son continues to live in Yonkers?

NARRATOR: Huh?

INTERVIEWER: And your son lives in Yonkers?

NARRATOR: Yeah, he stayed with me.

INTERVIEWER: And do you have any grandchildren?

NARRATOR: No, no grandbabies. I wished I did, but no grand…

INTERVIEWER: Well, I think you've said a lot. You've told us a lot about your story. Is there anything else that you would like to say that I haven't asked?

NARRATOR: No, I'd just like to say I enjoy myself here. I still do a lot of work, you know, active in the church, I belong to the missionary, I've been President of the missionary twice. And I served in the nurse unit for twenty-nine years; I retired from the nurses' unit. And I sang in the choir for quite a few years, until I got older and then I had to give it up. My voice. I told them I sang like a choked chicken. That's all. I'm still very active in church, and I [Inaudible phrase] from '70 up until about, uh, last year. Did all the repass, you know.

INTERVIEWER: I don't know what that means.

NARRATOR: You prepare food like you lose your…or someone lose someone…

INTERVIEWER: Oh, okay. Right.

NARRATOR: …and prepare for them. And I did that with more women, and I served in that capacity from '74 up until last year.

INTERVIEWER: And how has Yonkers changed since 1962?

NARRATOR: Oh, my gosh. All of the stores that closed, and still closed now. Because when I first moved to Yonkers, it was so beautiful. All the stores and things were open and had such nice things, nice stores that you could shop. And now, it's just gone. And still closing. You pass a store and can't go back tomorrow because it's closed. One day I was going home from prayer service and one half of the street [Inaudible phrase] is closed, you know, where the Salvation Army used to be in Getty Square. But that whole side is gone. All of the stores is closed over there.

INTERVIEWER: I'm just curious…was your nursing program…was it integrated?

NARRATOR: Huh?

INTERVIEWER: Was your nursing program…the school…integrated? Were
there all kinds of people that took your nursing course?

NARRATOR: Yes. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. That was nice, too. The people were so nice, so nice. But you worked with that. I worked with that. It was the same as a nurse. We were called geriatric nurses. It wasn't nurse's aide, it was geriatric nurse. Because we worked with the nurses. We were hired from the nurse's register. And like the girls they have now, they come from an agency. Like you have a girl to come in to help you now so many hours a day. I was different from that. We worked from the nurse's register. You were sent out from the nurse's register.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you very, very much for sharing your story.

NARRATOR: Well, you can pick it apart and fix it as you want it.
{laughter}

Sarah Moore

Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY, Museum Purchase Fund.
Photograph 2001 Hudson River Museum
, Yonkers, NY


 

 

 

 



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© 2001 Hudson River Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Sumter Moore's brother, William Sumter and his wife Ethel, South Carolina
Sarah Moore had five sisters & six brothers

 

 

 

Sarah Moore on trip to South Carolina, with brother William Sumter and wife Ethel