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The speaker is a 62-year-old White woman with a high school education from Helena, Arkansas; she was recorded in 1966.



County: Phillips
State: AR

Commentary:
At the time of its incorporation in 1833, Helena was already an important port for steamboat traffic. Mark Twain wrote in Life on the Mississippi, ???Helena occupies one of the prettiest situations on the Mississippi. Her perch is the last, the southernmost group of hills which one sees on that side of the river.??? The town later became a terminal point on the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad. Although it is no longer a hub of passenger and freight transportation, Helena remains home to the longest-running daily radio program in the U.S., King Biscuit Time. On the air since 1941, the show has inspired generations of Delta blues musicians and won the 1992 George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting. In this segment the speaker reads an excerpt from a paper written by her son, describing his childhood caregiver???s innovative tactic for keeping him out of trouble.
Inf: With such a witty, clever mind, _____ seldom, if ever, had to resort to physical punishment for disciplining us. She devised a new, a unique and brilliant plan to instill a conscious in me, conscience in me. This device was an omnipotent spirit called Mysterious Mose. To add to her mystery, her birthday was on Halloween, but she was never pictured as the usual witch, just as an indescribable figure. I was sure Mysterious Mose could enter the house only by slipping through the keyhole. And even though I never knew exactly what she looked like, _____ would tell me she was walking around when I could hear the house cracking and popping. And _____ was, also told me that the hot, vaporous air I felt coming from the ground on a summer afternoon was Mysterious Mose breathing.

If I disobeyed my mother or misbehaved in other ways, Mysterious Mose might hide my shoes, or even my clothes, in the attic. And sometimes she left notes saying that she might be back, back to see me that night. _____ never pictured Mysterious Mose as vicious or mean in any way, but certainly an effective force which expected proper behavior and especially respect for my parents. I often entertained thoughts of capturing Mysterious Mose and trying t-, to get rid of her. But _____ assured me this mystical personage could only be captured in the flour sifter and then she would turn into a glass of jelly. There were many times when I withstood temptations to do wrong because I sensed the presence of Mysterious Mose.

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