Francis P. Metcalfe Oral History

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Record 6/16
Copyright HSKC and Tyler Campbell
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Date 06/13/1982
Abstract Frances Metcalfe (born c. 1900)

Born near Centreville in Queen Anne's County, Frances Metcalfe lived in the historic 18th century home Readbourne before she married and moved to Kent County. She remembers growing up during a more trusting time, and not worrying about crime. "I remember when I was first married why in the summer time…we went to bed and left the front door sitting wide open. You didn't have to [worry]….You see you were given your allowance on Monday that had to last you all week. You paid your maid, had a full time maid. Paid her five dollars a week and then I used to take that, I was given twenty-five dollars to run the house for a week so…I would put the change…and I hid all this change right ready you see to pay these people, we paid them once a week."

Family time and meals were spent at home in the early 1900s. "As I remember we didn't have any restaurants...Finally we had the one called Budd Hubbard…down at the end of High Street…at that was the only restaurant here for years." Metcalfe was fortunate enough to have a paid cook and a maid, as did many of her social group. "We paid them five dollars a week." Mealtimes became a ritual and the family always ate together. "I remember Sunday morning breakfast. We used to have broiled chicken and waffles. I can't think what we could have had for dinner if we had broiled chicken and waffles for breakfast."

Children and parents worked and socialized together. "In my generation…you enjoyed your children….Oh we'd go on picnics. Does anybody go on a picnic today?...Well we'd pack a lunch and everybody had a boat, not a great big elaborate boat but a boat with a little cruiser…maybe large enough to carry six or eight people and we'd go down the river." Metcalfe feels the loss of that sense of closeness. "Like the whole community was more or less like a big family, but not anymore. And of course another thing, when I grew up your mothers and fathers knew each other and even your grandparents knew each other. Well that's not today, you see we didn't have so many new people."

Transcribed. 4 original cassettes.
Interview date 06/13/1982
Media Compact Disc
Narrator Metcalfe, Frances P.
Object ID 2667
Object Name Disc, Compact
Title Francis P. Metcalfe Oral History
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION ~ Oral histories copyright Historical Society of Kent County. Images copyright Tyler Campbell. Duplication or publication only with permission.

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Last modified on: September 07, 2012