††††††††††††††† INTERVEW WITH SANDRA STEWART OF DE SOTO, MISSOURI

Transcribed by Betty Olson

Note: The first seven minutes of this interview were accidently erased by the interviewer

Sandra Stewart was a De Soto Resident,†† and worked atDe Soto Elementary School in the office.)

 

 

IVE:†† Everyone had credit,you didnít have to paywhen you went to the grocery store, they just put it on your bill.†† Everyone knew who you were.The people in the store usually were friends of yours or acquaintances that you knew fairly well.

IVR: Do you think it was harder to operate a business then?

IVE:I think the businesses were easy, easier to operate then, because they didnít have the wide variety of things we do now.And also, I donít believe that their bookkeeping was quite as hard.Now we have a lot of computers that do bookkeeping for the larger businesses in this area.

IVR: Do you think that farm life in this particular area of the county has changed any?

IVEYes I do.At one time the farmer raised a lot of food products.†† Nowadays they have mostly cattle.They used to sell milk a lot from these cows.But now we all buy our milk at the store.So they canít do that anymore because of sanitation laws.Also, I believe that more of the cattle in this area are beef cattle.There ae just a few people who have these large cattle farms.

IVR: Do you think that agriculture has changed very much?

IVE:†† I believe it has changed, but actually I can not really tell you how. Because I donít believe there is really too much agriculture,in Jefferson County anymore.

IVR:When you were young what kind of school did you attend and how was the education program?

IVE: I attended the public schools here in De Soto from kindergarten all the way through high school.Basically, I think that it was a good education.†† It seems like the teachers were more strict.Maybe we didnít have all the fancy things that the children have now to learn.But it seems like the teachers were more patient.A lot of them were more dedicated.It seems like now days theyíre just in for, a lot of them,although theyíre not into it for the money, they donít really dedicatetheir life to teaching the children like teachers once did.

IVR Doyou believethe quality of the school now is equal or better than the quality of the school, say, oh, from 15 years ago?

IVE: The quality as far as new inventions is a lot better.But as for the moral attitude of the students and a lot of the teachers, I donít think it is nearly as high as it was fifteen years ago.Or maybe itís just because I donít know whatís going on now.Although it seems like, say, fifteen years ago whenever I was in school, a lot of the things that are happening now , you wouldnít even have thought of then.The teachers were placed more on a pedestal, really.Your parents taught you to respect the teachers, because they were there to help you.Not only this, but it seems like there were more students participating in the activities.†† Nowadays it seems like they will be in one activity and devote all their time to that, whereas several years ago maybe one person would be in two or three, maybe even four organizations and would do a good job in each of them.

IVR You mention activities,were there special activities that you can remember, that maybe they do not have now?

IVENo, I believe that the activities that I was in,they have now.The band, the different choral groups, Yearbook Committee, and other clubs and groups. t

IVR ††How do you rate the churches in your area as opposed to ten or fifteen years ago?Their services and other activities that they perform?

IVE I really can speak only for the church which I attend. I believe that at least in our church, the people are coming close together.We do have an exceptionally fine minister.And it seems that he is trying to draw people closer into relationshipwith each other and with God.I know that several years agothat ten years from now we wouldnít even have churches.But I believe thatpeople are needing spiritual guidancenow more than ever.

IVRWhat realimportance to a community do you believe that a church has?

IVEWell,I believe that the church sets a basic moral code for the community.I there were no churches people would not have to worry about whether what they were doing was right.There are a lot of church groups anda lot of people belong to therm.†† There is a ministerial alliance in our town that oversees a lot of the things that happen in De Soto.†† There is a churchmenís group whichmembers of every denominationbelong.†† And I believe this helps;it gives members of all the various denominations time to be together, and they candiscuss their religions,if they like, and in this way are more able to fully understand how the other person feels and what he believes.

IVR:Do you think there are religious conflicts in your area?

IVE: No, I donít think there are any conflicts.†† It seems like the ministers or priests, or whatever, are trying to work these conflicts out, if there are any large ones at all.†† I believe that De Soto basically is a very good place to live, and I think thatthe churches here are good, and no, I really canít see any conflicts with religion in De Soto.If there are any conflicts I think it is a good conflict, because each organization is probably trying to raise the standards around here and I donít believe that is a bad conflict at all.

IVR What do you think about the doctorsor the drug stores, the medical program in your area as opposed, as well, as they may be been ten to fifteen to twenty years ago?

IVE: Although we do have doctors in this area that we did not have ten years ago, I canít really say that itís any better.Ten years ago if you were really sick you could get in to a doctorís office.On days you canít, becauseyou have to have an appointment.And if youíre sick on Monday you donít want to wait untilFriday to see a doctor.Of course, there are doctors in De Soto who will take you right away.But there are doctors too who will not, and a lot of times their receptions wonít even call them to the telephone.

†††††††††† As far as the drug stores. I believe thatbasicallythey are pretty good.I think are good, because a lot of times if you cannot get to the doctor.As far as the drug store are concerned, ††nowlike my husband has a card which enables us to buy some prescription drugs at lower prices, although not all of them.The pharmacies in this are good, because a lot of times if you cannot get to the doctor, they are able to help give you some kind of medicine which may alleviate any pain or discomfort which you may have .

IVR: What kind of social life did you have when you were young?What kind of things do you dofor a good time?

IVE: My social life was very active.I was in a lot of organizations in school.Wehad a lot of parties and we had dances and not only that, but we would just get together to have a good time.We did not need any special reason.Maybe you would get together in someoneís basement or someoneís house and just have a good time.

IVR: Has your family changed in any way since youíve grown up, pertaining to holidays and celebrations?Do you have a large family? Do they get together a lot?†† Are there holidays that seem to be big days for you?

IVE: Yes, the holidays are big events around our house.We have three children .We try to make each holiday something a little special.†† Usually we get together with my parents or his parents and with other relatives, and try to make it an even bigger occasion.†† We try to have little traditions, especially at Christmas.We make our own ornaments.We make a lot of candy and cookies.And we have little traditionsespecially I believe, at Christmas time.†† We make our own ornaments.We make a lot of candy and cookies.†† We have little traditions thatwe have accepted from year to year that we now doe with our children.Weíre trying to teach our children thatfamily life isimportantnot only every day, but especially during the holidays.†† Like birthdays or anniversaries.

IVE:A Are there any arts or crafts, that you might be interested in, that they did not have when you were younger?

IVR. As far as I know they didnít have the opportunity for ceramics that they have now.††† I have become very interested in ceramics and have made a lot of things for our home, which normally we could not have afforded.††† It helps, not only to relieve the tension, because youíre doing something with your hands,but also it beautifies your own home.And it makes a sense of pride in not only yourself but also in yourfamily.When someone admires something that you have made, you can kind of say, ďoh, I made that.Ē And really you are proud that they have noticed something that you have done.††† But not only that, it seems to me that people are doing more making things for their own homes now than they used to do.†† And basically I think this is good because people are trying to do things themselves instead of going out into a store and buying them.

IVR ††What was the land especially used forwhen you were younger?

IVE†† I did have an uncle who hadlarge farm, at least I thought 500 acres was a large farm at that time.It was in Victoria,until, oh, maybe ten years ago.He did own the farm.He had cattle.He had a lot of wheat, I believe.I can remember at Christmas time, instead of buying a tree, we would go out to his farm, find the tree that we wanted and cut it down.Not only that, but weíd go there for a family reunions. We would just go visit because it seemed like it was much nicer out in the country.They would always have things there that they had grown, and it seemed to me like it tasted better.

IVR I realize that you do no hunting or anything of that sort, but can you remember your father or your grandfather or anyone talking about hunting in Jefferson County?It seemed to be better in those days†† than in the current time.

IVE My father really did not do hunting, but my grandfather did.†† He used to talk about what all he would get when he would go hunting.†† I know that when my mother was younger a lot of the food, especially meat that they would have, he would get from hunting.†† And I can remember my grandmother telling about how maybe he would come home with three or four rabbits, or squirrels, and she would cook them up and hey all really enjoy them.†† I donít think that hunting is as good now because of all the land development that is going on.For example, behind our house theyíve built lakes back there and have used a lot of dynamite.I believe that this has scared a lot of the animals away.

IVR Do you believe that the wildlife management and game wardens have had any effect on the wildlife population of this county?

IVEYes, I do believe that theyívehad an effect.I can remember years ago very seldom would you see turkeys along the road or deer or really, for that matter, very many rabbitsBut now you can ride along the country roads and see a lot of them.

IVE Do you remember any stories or legends about this part of the county?

IVRI know a story about the lady in black that lived in De Soto.She was usually seen all over town, but usually she was in the north end of town, aroundLansdownand Perry Streets; in that area. My grandfather was a Constable here years ago, and he said that a couple of times he did talk to her.But the story was, shewould dress all in black,and would stand under a light.For a long time no one knew why.But it finally came out that her husband was seeing another woman, and she was following him and trying to catch him with her.

†††††††††† But there was more than one lady in black.The first one, I believe, was the one who was after her husband.But the second one would just go out and stand under a street lamp.†† I can remember my father and mother both telling stories of the ďlady in blackĒ and how the children at night would not get out of their houses because they were really afraid of her.

††††††††††† There were other stories about some, well,one wealthy, very wealthy business man inDe Soto who lost a legone time because he was jumping from a railroad car, andhe didnít quite make it, and had an accident and his leg was cut off.As far as other stories about the De Soto area, they used to saythat there were wild panthers, what they used to call panthers,down in the fair grounds area.†† I really doubt that there was anything big, although Iíve heard a few people in the family talk about†† they heard them scream at night.†† And how at night, something big and black would runpast them in evenings, especially in the winter evenings.I canít really remember too many stories that my parents especially told.But, as I said, the main story I know was aboutďthe lady in black.Ē

IVR When you were younger where and whatdid you do during Summer vacation time?

IVEUsually we would take a rather large vacation.We would go to different states, most of the time.I can remember going to Oklahoma.Weíve been to Tennessee.We went to Kentucky when I was small.We did go to Illinois, our neighboring state.Many of the places we went to see usually were of historic value.We would spend, oh, maybe two days I one place so that we could see everything .My parents, my sister and I were usually the only ones who went on these trips.†† Although I can remember going with my grandmother one time and with friends..We would go a lot of times to Lake Taneycomo, down in the Ozarks, where we went to see the lake.We woulddofishing and water skiing, and we took boat rides.

††††††††††† We went to see the ďShepherd of the HillsĒ play which is really fascinating,It was a wonderful play; not only that but to see Old Macís cabinand to see where the story actually took place.†† I think a lot of Missourians should really try to take advantage of this.

††††††††††† Weíve been to Silver Dollar Cityand saw the arts and crafts there.I think this is most beneficial to the younger people , because now they can see how people used to make things.The candle making, the weaving or baskets,how they carve.Thereís a horse down there thatís life size that children, especially little ones and little boy especially just love to see.You know, they can image this in their rooms or something.††Not only that, but I can think of places that we would love to go visit, because we would think, ďOh, if we could only live here.Ē

††† Nowadays our vacations arenít so long.We used to go and stay the entire two weeks.†† But now people can hardly afford that because of the gas.†† Gas is so expensive.†† They canít go long distances like they used to.Motels are much more expensive than they were years ago.Use to be our whole family could get a motel for $4 or $5 for one evening.Now it is sometimes triple or even quadruple that amount for a family.†† Meals are much more expensiveÖ. Have to have a good meal once in a while.Most of our vacations now that weíre married with our small children you canít really go to the bigger places.So we use it in spending times with our relatives, in neighboring states.They like to see how much the children have grown from year to year, and although we enjoy it, I know that whenever our children get older, we will enjoy taking them places that we went to as children, and letting them see the more historical places like Salem, Lincolníshome,and other different places.Even in this area there are a lot of places where we can take them..

(Conclusion of Interview.)