Carolyn (Ewing) Short

Carolyn (née Ewing) Short
Born: August 17, 1918 Died: October 19, 2010
Classmate of Stanley Dunham

Carolyn (Ewing) Short Interview

Interview ID: 02
Recorded: March 3, 2009
Location: In her home, El Dorado, Kansas
Videographer: Steve Cless
Interviewer: Sonja Milbourn

Interview Summary

Caroline remembers growing up in the 1920’s and 1930’s and shares a glimpse of the culture and times from a female perspective. She went to school with Stanley Dunham. She claimed not to remember him well, but the details she did remember are not found elsewhere in these interviews.

Run Time: 1:02:18

Transcript/Finding Aid:

Finding Aid Notes

00.00-00.19 Camera, sound adjustments
00.35-03.55 Personal information: Carolyn gives her name and describes the old family home purchased by her grandfather, a stone home that was once used as a way station.
03.56-05.24 Memories of El Dorado in the 20s and 30s: Carolyn describes dust storms from her childhood.
05.25-16.02 Livelihood, unusual characters: Carolyn remembers her father. She recollects the spirit of cooperation during WWII (saving grease, giving up pots and pans). She remembers having a horse, walking everywhere, her horse, some town characters, where she worked, and some businesses in the town.
16.03-16.59 Community, hard times, how El Dorado has changed: Carolyn reflects that families took care of each other because there were no nursing homes and most women did not work outside the home.
17.00-23.19 Local gatherings and events: Carolyn remembers that the Kaffir Corn Carnival was a major event. One year she was on the little queen’s float (for the younger girls) She remembers playing jacks and lists some of the activities available to girls (newspaper, pep club, girls’ reserve). She notes her favorite teachers in high school.
23.20-30.38 Relations with African American community: Carolyn remembers the African-American cook they had when she was growing up, whom she called Aunt Cora. She shares more memories of the house in El Dorado (at Central and Emporia). She remembers where the African Americans lived, south, toward the refinery and the men’s limited access to jobs. She could name the families. She notes that interracial relationships stopped beyond being classmates and teammates.
30.39-34.59 Major historical events: Carolyn shares memories of home efforts during WWII: saving, collecting items to send to factories; Victory Gardens. She notes the location of the family home south of the old cottonwood tree by the site of the current Farmer’s Market (1 ½ miles south of the middle of El Dorado, now called SE 20th Street, first west past underpass and up the hill, Aikman Hill, and shares how mechanics would drive repaired cars up the hill for test drives).
35.00-36.09 Memories of Stanley and Ralph Dunham: Carolyn remembers seeing Stanley in hallways, hearing him speak in class, and that he wore glasses; she did not know Ralph.
36.10-43.59 Thoughts about President Obama and influences from grandfather’s upbringing: Carolyn remembers the community’s attitudes toward school, multigenerational families living together, roles of mother, church, friends, being in National Honor Society with friends, attending K-State (graduated in ’40) after a year of junior college. After college she worked for Oklahoma Natural Gas Company as home service director (her job was to teach people how to cook).
44.00-48.59 Advice based on life experience: Carolyn says she didn’t know there was a depression on, perhaps because of her youth, perhaps because girls were less involved in the community (couldn’t work as paper boys for example), notes feeling some guilt in looking back over not being aware. She shares memories of siblings, again recollects that most girls’ activities revolved around the home. She notes memories of boys she knew and their paper delivery jobs.
49.00-55.43 Memories of high school, junior college, school friends: Carolyn shares memories of high school. She notes that her grandmother was a DAR member who donated a picture of the Mayflower to Jefferson School. She describes teachers, classmates, and tells a story about being in a play. She explains how a former classmate insisted she add herself to an insurance policy she took out for her daughters—over her protests—and how grateful she was for it when she came down with polio.
55.44-1.01.42 Experience with polio: Carolyn describes her experiences with polio: how she was diagnosed with flu when six months pregnant, her symptoms, her girls being 6 and 4 at time, the awful headache, being diagnosed, leg paralysis, going to Wichita for treatment. She shares memories of doctors who were also friends and how the epidemic affected everyone personally.
1.01.43-1.02.18 After the interview ends, there is brief footage of a painting, an old clock, and some post interview conversation.