Gloria Darrow

Duration: 1hr: 3Mins
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Uncorrected Transcript

Interview with: Gloria Darrow
Interviewed by: Vince Lee and Jacqueline Bartha
Date: December 8th, 2010

Archive Number: OH.GS.0023

 

Vince Lee (VL):  Good afternoon we are here at the African American library at the Gregory School it is Wednesday December 8, 2010.  I am joined here by Ms Gloria Darrow.  My name is Vince Lee and I am the archivist at the African American Library at the Gregory School.  I thank you for joining us today, Ms Darrow, for part of the Houston Oral History Project at the Gregory School.

Gloria Darrow (GD):  You are more then welcome!

VL:  Thank you!  For…to-to begin and to lead off the record, could you please state your full birth name?

GD:  My name is Gloria Dean Derrow.

VL:  OK, and your birth date?  And… I’m sorry, your birth date and place of birth.

GD:  OK.  My birthday is January 1, 1953 and I was born here in Houston, right in the 4th Ward.

VL:  OK, I understand you were a former alumni and student at the African Am….at the Gregory School, I’m sorry.  Could you tell us the years you attended the Gregory School as a student.

GD:  I started at Gregory in 1958, at the age of 5.  In the kindergarten and I attended for six years—through the 6th grade and graduated from Gregory and went on to Lockett.  That was our Junior High School.

VL:  OK.  I’m…I…I’ve…I am familiar with Lockett as I have heard so many others, individuals, had mentioned it and I believe another gentleman also donated a yearbook from Lockett Junior High.  But anyway, I understand you lived within the 4th Ward Community?  Could you tell us where your house was located in regards to the school.

GD:  OK my house was at 1016 Crosby St.  And that was closer to the downtown area; it wasn’t that close to Gregory.  Like W. Gray is right here.  I was closer to W. Dallas.

VL:  OK, so you weren’t in Freedman’s Town?

GD:  Well it was all Freedman’s Town.  But I was on W. Dallas.  You know, you got W. W. Dallas and W. Gray which runs parallel and W. Dallas is just kind of…it gets you right on into the Hyatt Regency, that’s the street that it’s on.  Uh, but the Hyatt wasn’t there when I was a kid.  We actually lived across the bridge over there by the Hyatt.  It was a residential…and Antioch Church was the only thing that’s remaining that was there when I was growing up.  But I lived on Anti…so we had to walk, you know, down from W. Dallas area to Gregory.

VL:  You read my mind…I was…

GD:  We had a distance!  We had a little distance.  It’s…You know, it was…it was just fun though.  It didn’t seem like…I don’t know about walking it right now! But…

VL:  How many miles would you say it was? 

GD:  Well, it was just about uh, about a mile, maybe….uh…maybe a mile.  I’ll give it a mile.

VL:  About a 30 minute walk or so?

GD:  uh…actually it didn’t take that long.  Your young it don’t take 30 minutes to walk a mile [both interviewee and interviewer laugh].

VL:  At the time when you walked did, would you say any other siblings attending with you, would you walk together?

GD:  Oh we walked as a group, everybody was like…just…just…just full of people and kids and everybody, we walked together!  Everybody was walking.  I don’t know too many people that was riding.  [laughs] You know?  That’s all we did was just walk.

VL:  And what time did you say the school days started in the mornings for you?

GD:  Well it was pretty…uh…I guess it was about 8 o’clock.  It seems like everything was 8 o’clock.  I don’t know, but I…you know my…I…I would say 8 o’clock.  8 to about 2 or 2:30 somewhere like that…maybe even 3…

VL:  OK, so that sounds like about six periods of class or so? 

GD:  Something like that.

cue point

VL:  Could you give us some of the names of teachers you recollected when you were attending at the Gregory School?

GD:  I can remember my first…my kinder…my first teacher I ever had.  And that was Miss Hill.  I was a pretty bright student and uh….but I liked to talk and socialize a lot!  So you know they kinda got…we had a little recognition right there.  You know, just I learned very easily but I just kinda liked to talk a lot in class.  So I remember having a [coughs] [she] hit me in….in my hand.  And she had a little bolo bat.  You know a bolo bat?  That round stick, it has a ball on it, and you do it like that [makes gestures with her hands describing size and shape of paddle; it is a game similar to Paddle Ball.  A ball is attached by cord to the center of a small ping pong paddle] you play bolo….it’s a little… but that’s what she…she hit me in the hand with.  But I learned so much from them and I remember….
I remember two of my classmates very well in the kindergarten.  They for…they lived in the Fourth Ward and their mothers actually still live in the Fourth Ward.  Mrs. Becker.  So it was Renee and Jane Becker.  We all were in Miss Hill’s class together.  Renee and Jane….I guess they were like about eleven months apart—so they got to come to Kindergarten at the same time.  And after the kindergarten my first grad teacher was Mrs. Armbruster. I remember her very well, too.  She was pretty stern but they were all great teachers.  And we learned a lot here at Gregory.  We learned a lot.  I was…later…in my work experience I got to work with one of her nieces at Southwestern Bell.  But, Mrs. Armbruster is…uh…was my first grade teacher. 

My, uh, second grade teacher, I think was Miss Dina Williams.  I just remember her…and you know, just kinda slightly.  I remember that she was a slender lady, attractive, nice teacher, you know..  You know, I don’t remember anything bad about…  I don’t remember anything bad about her.  Just nice…some of them were a little bit sterner than others but they were all great.  They were all great teachers.  And they gave us our foundation.

My third grade teacher was Miss Anderson.  I remember her being a little bitty lady.  I was a kid but she was a little lady.  You know, and in, stature.  She was small.  And she was great.  I remember being in the class and being a pretty active student and a pretty, you know, easy to learn.  An easy learner.  She would get me to help some of the other students in the class.  You known, that were… having a little tough time.  I remember one girl, Betty….Betty had a little problem learning.  So Miss Anderson would give me…”Gloria you go and help Betty” and I would do that.  I remember that. 

My fourth grade teacher, I think it was Miss Lampley…. I remember being in her class and I remember being in different type of, uh, recitals.  Different things were I had to, you know, we had speeches and things like that.  I was always ready to talk.  I guess that’s why you got me here today [laughs].  Because like I am ready to talk! (GD: cell phone ring) excuse me I meant to turn that off

cue point

VL: Okay were back with….

GD: My fourth grade teacher I think that was Miss Lamprey was her name. But I remember just being in programs, you know the one that was chosen to get up and speak, and just learn speeches and go to different schools. Some times we go to different schools and speak. You know, just some different… things that we had to do to help us and hum I guess experience in public speaking. [Laughs].

VL: Possible move for debate….

GD: unhum you didn’t know, it was just… I was young and and, and at that time, it was just, I don’t know about kids now, but it was just so exciting. School was, and this was and exciting school. I was glad to be in.

VL: Do you have any recollections of who you, I’m sorry, that was your fourth grade teacher?

GD: Fourth grade.

VL: And then now going to…

GD: And at fifth grade I think Uh I like I said that I think that was Mr. Williams….uhum Mr. Williams said he was just that’s what we were kinda growing up. You know kinda get a little bit, a little bit more developed and you know and stuff like that. Maturing a little bit you know…. We’re growing. I think that’s uh. I don’t remember any things special but just you know some of the boys in the class and you know they were kinda of liking girls right then, and you know, and poking at you and stuff like that…., you know , we was all fun just  innocent kind of stuff.

VL: Anybody getting more rowdy or what not in the class?

GD: No just you know boys just looking you know just saying all kind of things to girls and uh. I think that was about the fifth grade that little stuff started going on. But it was not that I wasn’t out of control. It was still pretty….

VL: It was still pretty pre-adolescent, yeah

GD: Yeah, yeah they just being goofy and things. And I was trying to see who that sixth grade teacher was, but…

VL: And we can return to it if it comes to you. That’s alright. Can you name some of the classes you’ve taken here, or some of the courses that were taught?

GD: While the classes were….

VL: Or did you have a homeroom teacher?

GD: We had, we just had, I think we all just had at first, see they didn’t have, you just had one like teacher, most of the time in elementary school. And you stayed with that teacher throughout the classes. They taught everything.

VL: Okay.

GD: It didn’t start happening until maybe we got to Locket, where we had you know different class periods and changed classes. I think basically we stayed in the same class here.

VL: Okay. But they still taught….

GD: Well they taught, well of course you had you know the “Three R’s”, Reading Writing and Arithmetic. You had Social…Geography was something that we had that, I don’t think they have in school now. I…Geography since elementary now. Geography and a little of History… you know the “Three R’s”. hum…..and we would have Recess which I guess which I guess that Physical Ed., but it’s called our recess and which is true…Science all those things were taught. We were physically pretty active. We did you know just different…just running around having the school outside, as far as relaying, playing, and different things. Just keep us active and…

VL: Was there a playground here at one point?

GD: I was, it was right down in the front, kind of like where we are here on the way I came in, where I parked. That was kind of like the playground around in that area. And that’s were the May Fay (sp) was too.

Okay. And could you tell us a little about May Fay and when this would occur.

It occurred I think just before the school ended. It was like, almost like the end of the school. And like I say we had a costumes and we have to get our costumes made, you know for the guys, sometimes they would have like a cummerbund and you know, and we’d have maybe aw little frilly dress or something and each class or grade or whatever would have different dances that they would do. And we would practice you know until the time of the May Festival. And then you know they have popcorn and different little thing for you to buy out there. And you family and parents and everybody would come out, and music and everything was going on. It was just great.

cue point

VL: So it was like the end of the school year…before summer began. Gotcha. Also I forgot to mention. During your attendance here, who was the principal?

GD: Miss Bradley was the principal when I was here. Lois Bradley.

VL: Okay and any memories of her or what she was like towards the students?

GD: Uh huh, I’m sure she was great, cause everybody was great I don’t know [Facial expression and voice crying], I don’t remember being any thing but great. But I know she was a disciplinarian and most people were at that time they had the right… to be, you could whip a child., and I remember one time we at school and it might have been about I don’t know if it was the fifth grade or sixth some where fifth I. One day these two girls one was called, one name is Nursey and one was name Marcia. They got in a fight after school and everybody was talking about its going to be this fight, everybody wanted to see the fight…so we all went to see the fight, we watched and they were just pulling hair and stuff like that and fight. And when Miss Bradley found out that we all went to see the fight…eeeverybody that went to see the fight got a whipping. [smiles] I got one [laughs]. Miss Bradley whipped everybody in that went to see the fight. It was like that, but it was all good you know those days it was okay to do that.

VL: Do we know what it was all for but two girls fighting over?

GD: No, they were just you know just some old silly, we just out here just any how.

VL: Was it over a boy or anything like that?

GD: It might have been [laugh]. It probably might have, that’s more than likely it could have been I don’t know. But it was just some times uh… living out here it was so many people some many kids. It was just, just people so some times we would just like you know [ slurred words] I don’t know your recollection but in the neighborhood like that some times people like that just want to fight you and then they want to be your friend…right after that. I had a fight and this girl she followed me all the way down the street and wanted to fight me. We were friends I thought in class, we were about the fifth grade her name was Renae they family live there. We went to the same church and
I was playing in churches, everything around here all when to church. We went from church to church to church to Bible school here Bible school what ever church, this bible this church have Bible school and the summer,  after that one, then that church. We go to each one. And we were all like church members and friends and she wanted to fight me, for what I don’t know. But then I had fought her and the next day she came back and she was my friend.

VL: Got it all off of your system…[laugh]

‘GD: She got it out of her system. She told me I had burst her head open or something on the ground. I didn’t … [laughs, both laughing]. It was just funny.

VL: To be young.

GD: Yeah, you know…it was just, you know, she came right back and say “Gloria, are you d###(?)… oh it was, it…it’s amazing how the time, you know, passed and things that, uh, you know since you mentioned it, how those things come back to me and more than that too.

VL: Were there any programs in the school itself, uh recitals or plays or things like that that parents would come to? Was there expense for that?

GD: Oh yeah, they always had something like that. It was always that going on. They always had something, enrichment, for kids. It was always, uh, this, you know…if it was a holiday or you know, something, you know, or it was just always something. Just say it was Columbus Day or something, you know, you might have a proper program for this or a program, you know, it was always some kind of program and the kids got a chance to do a, you know, maybe do a little skit, or to sing, to [inaudible] and singin’ and you know you had the Glee Club, you know we had the…we always sang. [laughs] So, you know, there was always something going on at this school.

JB: Were most of the programs during the day or during the evening?
GD: In the day. In the day. In the day. Not at night. During the day.

cue point

VL: Okay, and I realized you went to school here in the 50s and you walked to and from school.  I’m taking it that you parents didn’t have time to pick you up because they had to work or something.

GD: No, we all just walked together with all our neighbors to cross that street and if it was something neighbor that maybe, you know, was an at home or something they would walk and we might walk with their parents, you know, together. But, uh, that’s…that’s, that’s what I remember, you know, and then, uh, we, you know, and we were early on, you know, our parents brought us. But when we were able to come, like about the… I guess the third grade or something like that, you know, uh we could walk with the group. At early on, they used to bring us. Yeah, because we had, my mother had a lady that was like a nanny for us. She was just my mother’s friend that needed a place to stay, and you know she lived with us, so she took us everywhere we needed to go. And my mother gave her, you know, we all lived there together.

VL: Did you notice any businesses or buildings or organizations that were around then that you remember that are no longer there as you walked to and from school?

GD: Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm.

VL: Could you tell us maybe some names or…???

GD: Uh, now…uh, there was, uh…a lot of places, uh… they had the drugstore where we’d go and eat hamburgers. That’s, you know, I’m getting a little bit older now, you know…but, uh…when we could walk we’d go to the P&P Drugstore right on West Dallas, see because I was on down on West Dallas. Now somebody else might’ve lived closed to West Gray and they may have some places they went, but we stuck to down on that end over there. And see, we see…we had, like “Oh, she lives on this end” or “They live on the other end”. That’s how we, you know, separated because we were close to West Dallas and they was close to so. They say “oh, they live on the other end” and we said “oh, they live on cross West Gray”. But we were all in the Fourth Ward.

VL: Okay.

GD: But I remember, uh, the drugstores. I remember the little place where we would eat the hamburgers.

VL: Were these like soda fountains and stuff?

GD: Yeah, well and malts. They made malts, they made hamburgers and they were the best. If you could eat greasy, good hamburgers. [laughs] And you could eat ‘em! I would eat a hamburger, French fries, and a shake, but now I wouldn’t dare eat that now all at one time. But it was just easy and um… they had a donut shop right on West Dallas. We’d get donuts.
VL: Were the proprietaries or the owners African Americans that ran the stores?

GD: Yes, everybody was African Americans [not sure]. We had a theater, the Rainbow Theatre right there on West Dallas. So I guess everything mostly, kinda was on our end. [laughs] Because, you know we’d go to the movies and um… a lot of restaurants.

cue point

VL: Were the streetcars still in operation at that time?

GD: I have no idea. At that time I was on the bus. We had the bus…the bus system. I didn’t street no streetcars.

VL: Walking through, um…when you were walking to school, I’m sure you had to walk through the neighborhoods here. Could you describe how it was in the 50s back then? I realized a lot of the houses, some of the houses…”row houses” haven’t been kept as well (???) ?

GD: There was houses, houses, houses and they were always kinda…looking at it today I say dilapidated,  not everybody. But you know a lot of them was kinda inferior, you know. I didn’t see no mansions. [laughs] See, you know. But uh, we were house proud. Whatever, we had…we were proud of what we had. So, um there were a lot of places like, um, rooming houses where people roomed in those houses.

VL: Right…

GD: Yeah, you know they just stayed there and just kinda roomed in ‘em.

VL: Because I think even today a lot of those properties are still rental???

GD: I don’t know, but I’m talking about rooming where they stayed four, five, six different families of people just individuals, you know. It’s like you go in the house and they’ve got a room here, a room here, like you rent this room, you may rent that room, that kind of place. Not just rental property, but rooming houses, like boarding houses, you might call it something like that. You had those.

VL: Different individuals in each room…?

GD: Right, right, right, right. They would stay in places like that. They had those. All our cleaners, all our shoe shops, everybody was African American. Now, uh, our grocery store was, uh, we had some grocery stores, but they were –even back then—they were wouldn’t call them Chinese, they were [of] Asian decent, no matter what. And they were very, uh…they were very, uh…kind to us. I mean we could go in the store and one store that I know that we went to, I my godfather and my mother, well you would get credit. You would get, buy the groceries, they would write it down on a little pad and then you pay it at the end of the week, two weeks, a month or something like that.

VL: Do you know the name of the grocery store?
GD: One of them was called, uh, well I don’t know if we got credit at this one, it was some of them called “Foremost”. Okay now that one was on West Dallas. Now we had this one way back before that that I remember as a young girl because it was across the bridge over there…when I say across the bridge, it was over there by the Hyatt (hotel), where the Hyatt is, and it was called, well we called it Booker T. Booker T. I don’t know why it was Booker T., but it was a Chinese man, you know, family that owned the store, and they, uh, they were… my godfather, he worked there right by the store. Uh, he was a mechanic, and at the mechanic shop there was also a cab stand “Ed’s Cab”(???). And so he was [a] very nice man, my godfather and he could get anything. He was just a great person and he let us get what we want to eat or whatever, and just put his name on it and you know he’d pay it(???). And that’s how we did.

VL: Okay. What would you say would be the finest memory or your “takeaway” from having attended the Gregory School during your formative years of kindergarten and elementary?

GD: Well, I think it was just the fact that I got the BEST beginning here. My basic, my foundation…because I know everybody didn’t learn the way I learned and they didn’t, you know, as… it wasn’t as easy to learn as I was, but I was so enthused and excited about learning. So I remember phonetics. I remember learning how to sound out a word and how I was just a great speller. I was a great math…you know, just great in math and spelling and everything, but I had to give it to Gregory, [be]cause that’s where I started at. A lot of times kids now, they don’t seem to get that…in school. They[‘re] not teaching the way they taught things then. So my fondest memory, because even I don’t know;  I know it’s more than just Gregory, but I pride myself in that I can still spell. I’m still good with numbers. I’m still working. I’m still, uh, you know, my mind is still alert, but I think I had a good foundation. And to me, and uh, that’s pretty…I’m fond of that. The fact that my education started right here. And I had a lot of good teachers that was very interested in us, interested that we learned, and that we would make something or ourself. Now whether you did it or not, that’s a different story [laughs]. But the teachers was just like your parents. And that had the right to chastise you, too.

VL: Absolutely. None of this “time-out” thing.

GD: Uh-uh. No-no-no-no-no. [If] you don’t act right, you get a…whooped here, you get whooped when you get home. [laughs] It’s like, you know, uh but it was just great to me.

cue point

VL: And you had mentioned early to me that one of the teachers that you had was still alive and that you were…could you mention…???

GD: Ms. Armbrewster.

VL: Yes. And you had met her at the…

GD: She came here to the Grand Opening [of the Gregory School]. So at the Grand Opening. Yes.

VL: And here we are at 2010, and um, just this past November we had a reunion…

GD:  And amazingly that lady still looks great.

VL: How old would you say Ms. Armbrewster is?

GD: Well, I’m… I’ll be 58 on January 1st [2011], and… you know, um…she probably… 58… I think, maybe, I know she’s 20 years older than me, huh?

VL: At least.

GD: Uh-huh, yeah. See at 20, you know yeah. But you know, that was… I was about six or seven and uh, I don’t know (unable to determine).

VL: And this was you second grade teacher.

GD: That was my first grade teacher.

VL: First grade.

GD: First grade, Ms. Armbrewster. Uh-huh. She… I wish, uh… I wish I had her picture with me. Um, I had it in the car for the longest, but I think I took it out. Yep.

VL: And I guess to, since we had our last reunion of the Gregory School one year anniversary and also the Gregory Alumni reunion in November, what was that like for you? Just to come in and uh…

GD: Well when I came in, this was…that was in November. I think I had…there was one on the 20th and one on the 13th. I didn’t come to the one on the 20th, I came to one to uh…Saturday anyway, and I think it was the…

VL: Yeah it was a Saturday, the 13th.

GD: Uh-huh, uh-huh and uh, I didn’t see, uh, as many people as I thought I would see, because I had seen a lot more on that first day. The Grand…uh…

VL: Grand Opening.

GD: Grand Opening.  I had seen a lot more people than I saw on that day. But I did see a lot of people on that day. In November. But, uh, I saw more older people! Older ones!

VL: I was gonna ask if you saw any classmates that you recognized that went to classes with you?

GD: I saw people because I was from Fourth Ward. I saw a lot of Fourth Ward people older than me. And I saw, uh, I saw a few that was…uh I saw one, I know one I saw that was in my age group. [Be]cause she had just come from  the church around the corner, I think they had a funeral or something, but uh, I knew a lot of people because I lived here and that, but they were older than me. They weren’t my classmate[s]. And I had, uh, called on of my girlfriends, but I didn’t get her that…I don’t see… I don’t see a lot of people from…just from my elementary that was in my class. A lot of people died. I’ve seen a lot of people die. And um…

VL: You mean that you went to school with?

GD: Yeah.

VL: Okay.

GD: Yeah. And in my neighborhood around here, you know lifestyle, different things, you know. I’ve seen them die so… uh… I don’t have a lot of people that’s …uh, that I know of in my actual age group. I know a few.

VL: Okay.

GD: Um, my sister that’s younger than me, sometimes they’ll see…I’ll see people and [they] say “Oh, you’re her sister!”, “You’re Sheila’s sister!”, or “Darrows” because they’ll know my family members, you know, my siblings or something. And sometime[s] they’ll say “You know this person?” I say “Oh no, I don’t know ‘em” because uh, really when I became like 19, I left out of the Fourth Ward…about 19 or 20. I left out of Fourth Ward. I went to TSU when I got out of high school, and uh, I just kinda moved out. You know, Fourth Ward.

cue point

VL: Okay. You mentioned that, um, you had children that attended Gregory?

GD: I have one daughter, yes, that attended Gregory.

VL: Okay, do you know what year that was?

GD: Uh, well was born in 1971 so uh, she went to kindergarten so we’ll say about ’76 thru, uh 82.

VL: So she would’ve been here, basically toward the end before Gregory School had closed then. And I, correct me if I’m wrong,  I think Ms. Johnnie Hart Brooks was the…

GD: Ms. Brooks, uh huh.

VL: …the principal.

GD: Ms. Brooks was the principal they had.

VL: Okay. Any of the teachers that you had that she, um, still had as a teacher as she progressed thru elementary?

GD: That’s the only one that I knew of, Ms. Armbrewster. You know, they start changing some, you know, so uh… Now Mr. Henderson was here when I was here and when she was here. I think she got to have Mr. Henderson. He wasn’t my teacher, but he was a well know teacher here. He was like a, uh, a science… uh, I don’t know if major or anything because, you know, everybody, um… you stayed with the same teacher. But some of them concentrated in a certain study more and I think he was more like a science teacher because every time you went into his classroom they always talking about you had to dissect frogs. So, I guess he was a science teacher. But also homeroom teacher, you know.

VL: Sounds right. I remember my days in dissecting frogs in biology.

GD: Yeah, yeah. And he was just…that’s was just Mr. Henderson so I know he was still here. And a lot of the teachers were still here, but we didn’t have the same teachers but just that one that I know of.

VL: Okay. Did you guys have a lunch room? A cafeteria or sorts? I’ve heard mention of it, but I wasn’t sure.

GD: Oh well as far as I remember we had a cafeteria, but I can’t, you know, I can’t describe it or anything like that. Uh…

VL: Was the food any good?

GD: Well, uh, you know, um… As a kid, we didn’t complain. [laughs] We didn’t have no complaints. Uh, I mean I don’t remember no complaints about it, you know. If we wanted something too, you know my mother would fix us something to take.

VL: Oh, so sometimes you’d pack your lunch, sometimes you’d buy something. 

GD: Right, right, right.

VL: Alright.

GD: I’m sure. And, uh, being out here if I don’t remember it much…My mother would, you know, cook a lot. She stayed at home when we were little and then she went to work you know a little bit after that. She worked in private homes and then she worked at the Hyatt Regency after we got older, you know, when Hyatt got out here, she got a job and she retired from the Hyatt. And she worked in the school! She worked in the cafeteria at some of the schools. So my mother would work and uh do everything that she could to help out.

VL: Well thank you for sharing that…Oh, I’m sorry!

JB: Oh, I’m sorry, I wanted to ask you said that you went to other schools when you were doing speeches…and things…

GD: Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh…

JB: Do you remember what schools you went to?

GD: I don’t remember the name of them, but I tell you what… I remember being a white school. Some of them… [laughs]. [Be]cause the reason I remember, one time I went to the school, [be]cause you know they would take certain students and stuff, and they would…you know, all my class went to school and uh, they told me when I got back here I was chastised because I got out of my seat. You know, I’m the one that likes to get out the seat and socialize and everything, so they told me that they had this blackboard, which was, it was at this white school, and they told me that it was that they could see me through the blackboard. Like you’re in jail or something and you can, they can see you [laughs]…

JB: Two-way mirror.

GD: Yeah, that thing. Thank you. I don’t know if that was true or not, but they told me that I got outta my class, outta my seat, you know, it was doing some of the things… I don’t know, they might have had a snitch in there. [laughs] I don’t know, but that’s what they told me, so you know, uh…but uh… I don’t remember the names of the school, that we attended but we went to different schools and, you know, just kinda interacted and did this… I don’t know, I guess just for some experience. We always had, um, like the opera, the symphony, you know there was always things like that they took us to, you know. With Gregory. It was just enrichment. We did everything.

cue point

JB: So the schools that you visited to perform in when you were small and this was before desegregation, and you said that some of them were white schools. How were you treated? Did you feel kinda uncomfortable?

GD: Well, I don’t feel… I can’t say I can’t feel uncomfortable because if I had felt uncomfortable, I would’ve had a more recollection of it. I can’t remember. The things that impact you affect you the most. Those are the things that you remember the most, and I learned that. So it couldn’t have been that bad, you know. Not for me. I didn’t experience anything like that, you know. I just know we went to different schools, you know, they do different things, and I guess for some studies and stuff too that we went in those classrooms. So it wasn’t impacting enough for me for me to say that. I had some good memories.

JB: Now based on the season that we’re in, December, and talking about the May Fay, how did they do Christmas? How were the Christmas holidays celebrated here at Gregory?

GD: Well, they would have programs, you would have programs. You know, there would be the singing of “Silent Night” [laughs] and people on the, you know, uh, doing little skits. And then you have, uh, I’m thinking this was like, uh, you know, Christmas speeches because I was in that in church too, so you know I’m trying to remember that it was the school and the church, because we always had something. The church and the school, you know, they all worked together. The school and the church. They intermixed and intermingled. We did a lot of spirituals. And uh, you know, we just had, uh, the little Christmas program all the time. We always had Christmas decorations, the place was decorated. Just…programs. Same speaking, and role playing, you know, Mary and Jesus, and manger and you know, all the whole little Christmas things. It was always here.

VL: Okay. I thank you for your time today…

GD: You’re welcome!

VL:…and for sharing your memories as a student at the Gregory school. I thank you again Ms. Darrow.

GD: Alright.