Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Hanging Too Good.

Some scoundrel Monday tried to wreck the cars on the Hamilton railroad, and only the having to run an extra train to the Shiloh Oil Mills to carry cotton seed prevented a horrible and harrowing disaster.

It was not determined until after one o'clock to send this train so the dastardly deed was done in order that the train going to Hamilton leaving here at 5:30 should be wrecked.

The extra left the Princeville depot at 3 o'clock and ran off the track at the Y switch, the one next to the Lloyd farm where there is a deep ravine, the deepest on the road. At this point it is the custom of the engineer when carrying freight only to Shiloh to switch his engine on the Y, let the cars pass and then push them to the station.

When he reached the point he was therefore going slowly and to this is due the reason why the entire train was not thrown down the tressel [sic].

The switch target showed that the way was opened and the engineer ran along until he forced his engine off the track. Examination showed that the switch had been uncoupled so that the flanges of the engine and the car wheels would not switch the next rails.

It was a bad run off, for eleven hours elapsed before the train was on the track again. To take the passengers down another engine and cars had to be telegraphed for one from Hamilton.

[Tarboro Southerner, 1888. This story was published in The Connector, newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Spring 2000 issue.]

Monday, July 5, 2010

Eagle Hotel
Halifax, N. C.

The Permanent Wave Machine
Told by Juanita Bloodworth Howell

My mother, Sadie Bloodworth, had a love of fixing hair, or, for that matter, she loved making anything and everybody pretty. She would ask the neighbors that she knew real well to come over and let her try working on their hair. She took them to the lavatory in our bathroom and let them bend over from the waist and washed their hair, and she set it with setting lotion she bought from the dime store. She never charged, but sometimes people would give her ten or fifteen cents.

In 1940, when I was ten years old, she decided to take a beauty course and open a shop in our home. My daddy loved her a lot and was agreeable and supportive. She had to go to Fayetteville to beauty school. Since my daddy worked for the railroad, he had passes for her to ride the train free. She would go to Fayetteville on Monday morning and come back on Friday evening and spend he weekend at home cramming for tests. I would help her study by holding the book and making sure she called out the names of the different parts of the body or types of skin or whatever correctly.

When my mother got her diploma, daddy went with her to Koster's Beauty Supply in Wilson [Wilson Co, NC] to buy a few essentials to start her business. They bought a manicure table and a wash basin and two dryers and a permanent wave machine. When Mama first opened her shop, she had to hire an experienced operator so she could work as an apprentice under her for a certain period of time, maybe six months.

I was a guinea pig for trying out new products. I will never forget I was first to use the permanent wave machine. I was excited about doing it. They told me, "Oh, it is going to make you so pretty. You are going to enjoy this. Everybody is going to love the way your hair looks." There were several people who came to observe. They were just standing around, looking and wanting to know what was going to happen.

[This ad features Joan Blondell and appeared at http://makeupbeat.com/blog/page/44/?s]

My hair was rolled up and connected by clamps and wires that stretched from the top of the machine. I thought I was going to be electrocuted. When they turned on the current, it got hot and let out this awful chemical odor. The wires felt like they were pulling my head right off my shoulders. I really probably cried a little bit. After all the fuss and trouble, my hair looked pretty; so I guess it was worthwhile.

My mom was successful in business, enlarging her shop several times and employing quite a few other operators to work for her. She continued fixing hair for thirty-five years.

[This story was one of many collected through the Nash County Cultural Center's Oral History Project during the late 1990s. Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount has the full collection of stories. This story was first published in The Connector, the newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Summer 1997 issue.]