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The speaker is a 79-year-old White man with a grade school education from Dover, Delaware; he was recorded in 1968.



County: Kent
State: DE

Commentary:
Founded by William Penn in 1683, Dover is the second largest city in Delaware. The city was laid out in 1717; sixty years later, the state capital was moved from New Castle to Dover (a more central location, and one that was less accessible to British raiders). In this segment the speaker recounts childhood memories about neighborhood games played with other children, tasks at school, and interactions with schoolteachers.
FW: Did you have a lot of time to play games when you were a little boy here?

Inf: Well, uh, not too much. When I was a boy, they had, uh, you had a certain amount of chores to do at home [FW: Hmm]. And uh, when I went to school, usually you weren???t allowed to play on, uh, on your way home. You had to go home first, from school [FW: I see]. If your teacher came along and, uh, saw you playing marbles, she would very likely tell you to go home.

FW: What was the reason for that?

Inf: Well, uh, she uh, she knew your parents would expect you home at a certain time, and if you stopped along the street to, uh, to play marbles, of course you???d be late going home and might get a scolding. And I know what I would get when I went home. [FW: Laughter] I would have my privileges taken away from me on Saturday, the day we didn???t go to school [FW: Oh]. And my mother always remembered it [FW: I see]. And uh, the teachers when I went to school, they demanded respect out of the children [FW: Uh-huh]. I can recall a little, little, uh, verse that, uh, we had to learn in school. And uh, that was uh,

If a lady in the street Or my teacher I should meet, From my head my hat I take, And a bow, like this, I make.

And they made us learn that. And if we didn???t tip our hat to the teacher when we met her on the street, she would ask us if we had bird eggs in our hat. [FW: Laughter] That is true [FW: Hmm].

FW: Did they have you learn any more verses in school than that?

Inf: Yes, uh, we had what we called little memory gems. Uh, little four-line verses. And, uh, I remember one of the boys that, uh, I went to school with, he always had something funny to say, and one day he said, uh, ???George Washington,/ First in war,/ First in peace,/ And then in the hands of the city police.??? And the teacher said, ???Sit down, George.???

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