Interview with Alva Childers, August 22, 1987

Alva Childers was born on Pond Creek near Draffin, Kentucky, in 1907. Her parents were Harriet and Grant Hawkins, mountain farmers who were known for their fine apple orchard. Childers remembers peddling apples as a child in the nearby coal camps on Marrowbone Creek for twenty-five cents a peck. Her family stored apples in a cellar and would bring them out to sell on Election Day and Christmas for ten cents. Childers met her husband, Lawrence, a miner, at a box supper, and they had nine children. She describes the fear she had while he was in the mine. They lived in a section of the coal camp called "Titanic." The other section of the camp was called "Noah's Arc." She describes the ordeal of cleaning up each house they moved into. They also made their own paint by digging clay out of the mountains, mixing it with water and adding dye to it. Childers recounts delivering one of her children without a doctor present. She also recalls being a "hired girl," doing housework, ironing, and caring for other people's children. She mentions that they attended the black church in Edgewater because "they had the best singing." She also talks about the mining accident that left her husband's right hand permanently disabled.

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