Barbara P. Stone

This interview was conducted by Lauren M. Miller on October 24, 2007 in San Antonio, TX. as part of Palo Alto College’s History 1302 – Fall 2007 class.

Introduction

Barbara Bady was born on June 8, 1934 in Houston, Texas. Her parents were Mike and Nona Brady. But later Nona divorced Mike and remarried Tommy Pace. Barbara moved to San Antonio with her family in her childhood. Barbara graduated from Burbank High School. Her first job was at National Bank of Commerce and later Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. Her jobs were repair clerk and stenographer. Barbara met Robert Stone at a Herman Son’s dance in downtown San Antonio. They married on February 13, 1954.

Their first daughter, Teresa was born on September 19, 1954. Then Rosemary was born August 28,1956, followed by their only son Robert Clay Jr. on June 2,1963. Barbara Stone retired from Southwestern Bell in 1991 with 30 years of service. In 1995 her husband, Robert passed away. Barbara currently has six granddaughters and one great grandson. She volunteers her time at KLRN for bidding confirmation and enjoys murder mystery novels at the age of 73.

Transcription

What do you remember living with your father and mother?
Well…in Houston. My daddy went in the Army. This was during World War II and my mother and my sister lived there in Houston. And we were pretty much on our own. And everything was rationed back then. You had to get coupons for butter; well…you couldn’t even buy butter. You had to have coupons for sugar, uh meat, nylons were…couldn’t even be had. And butter could not be had. We had to buy this white margarine in a little bowl, and they’d give you this little thing of colored food coloring. And we’d dump it in there and mix it so, it wouldn’t look so yucky. (Begins to laugh)You would go into a restaurant and order something, there was a sign on the tables “Use less sugar and stir like Hell” because everybody; you couldn’t buy much sugar. So many things were rationed then, and course my daddy was gone most the time, so it was just us. Our mother used to make our dresses out of feed sacks, cause we didn’t have much money (chuckles).

Was it unusual for parents to divorce back then?
No… See my daddy was Catholic and he insisted that Momma raised us as Catholics. So she did. But he was an alcoholic and he was very suspicious. Jealous. Possessive. She finally divorced him, and I don’t blame her. And my stepfather, he was wonderful. He was really a super nice guy. And he had this huge family here in town and they were all real nice. He was one of ten children. He had five sisters and four brothers.

How did you adjust to San Antonio after your mom remarried, and moved here?
I didn’t have any problem. I started going to Holland Park Elementary. And I went there for I guess it was two years. Then I transferred to Burbank and I went to Burbank for six years because it had Junior and Senior High School.

As a young girl, what do you remember about World War II and the draft?
Well, all I remember is my daddy went in and he didn’t need to. He was already over forty; he was past the enlistment age. I think he just wanted to get away. Go travel. But like I say, my mother and I, my sister lived there by ourselves and my mom had a lot of friends there in the neighborhood. And like I say when we’d go to the grocery store you had our little ration coupons. You had to buy whatever you could buy. I don’t remember what all was rationed but I remember sugar and meat and cigarettes because Mom smoked (chuckle). Oh, everybody did then.

When you were a teenager, what did you do for fun?
Uh, I wasn’t in the pep squad, I wasn’t a cheerleader, we couldn’t afford that. We didn’t have much money to live off of. And…just got together with all my friends and went to movies. Pile a bunch of kids to go to the drive-in. They used to have that special, a certain price and how ever many kids you could cram in a car, you got in. It was a lot of fun.

Did you date a lot as a young lady?
Yeah, I think I had my first date when I was about fifteen. I remember when I was about thirteen…at least I thought he was my boyfriend. He comes by to pick me up; we’re going to Baptist training. I quit going to the Catholic Church. And he comes up in this old Lincoln Zephyr, probably a fifty model. Knocks on the door. Mom says, “We don’t allow Barbara to date boys.” I was sooo embarrassed. But anyhow, we eventually started dating. (Laughs) It never occurred to me that I couldn’t, ya know, anyway.

When did you start working?
Uh, when I was a senior at Burbank. I was in what they called Distributive Education. We went to school in the morning and work in the afternoon. So, I started to work at the National Bank of Commerce.

Were you a teller or…?
No. Uh…feeding stuff through the… they call it the recordeck. Make copies. That’s all I did while I was working there part time. Then, I got on there full time and I was a posting clerk. They called us bookkeepers. What we used were NCR posting machines. They posted the banks that we; we divided a book in half. I would have half of the statement and the other girl would have half of the leaguer and we had to balance each day. We had a lot of customers that went overdrawn. If they were big money accounts the boss would just put initials and we would pay it. Because we knew they would have the money. In fact when I went to sign up for Distributive Education, I had this beautiful long hair and I was real dark from laying in the sun all summer and this jerk teacher…his name was Mr. Quinn. He says he would not send me on a job interview unless I cut my hair. So I went home balling and boohooing and I went and got in front of the mirror and cut my hair off. Then, I came back and he signed me up. Then he says “Well, you’re entirely too dark, but that will fade with time.” Oh, he was a real jerk. (Grunts)

What did you use your money for?
Hmm…clothes. I could go downtown with ten dollars and buy all kinds of stuff. You could buy a shirt and a blouse and a pair of shoes. And… I was into roller skating. So, the first thing I did, I went and bought these real cheapy used roller skates. I was taking lessons at the Midtown Rollercade. It was right there behind Joskey’s. It s been gone for a longtime but it was this huge roller skating rink. I would go down there and take dance lessons and I was working part-time at Winn’s on Nogalitas. My first paycheck, we had our purses in the back and somebody stole my money. They stole all my money. It was maybe twenty dollars or so. But that’s what I spent my money on, was clothes. Could you imagine going downtown and buying all that for ten dollars? (Laughs) This was in 1953.

When did you move out on your own?
When Bobby and I got married. We got married on February thirteenth, nineteen fifty-four. Yeah, and we lived for ourselves for a few months, then we moved in with my mom whenever my stepfather died. That’s where we were living when Teresa was born. But I didn’t have a very eventful teenage years. Not much. Just a few boyfriends. Not many (laughs).

When you were working at the bank, were there many women in the workplace?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, in the so called bookkeeping department there was all; well nearly all women. We had two male supervisors and a lot of the women in the lobby were tellers. I always thought I wanted to be a teller, I’m glad I didn’t get that. The banks were the poorest paid place you could work.

Back then?
Oh, yeah. Back then I think I was making two hundred dollars a month, (laughs) Whoopi. And paying half of that for a babysitter.

Where was your favorite place to hangout after work or on the weekend?
Well we had a; there was a place on South Military drive called Robert’s drive-in. Of course it’s long gone, but its where all the high school kids used to hangout. Then there was one place on Nagalitas, called Root Beer Stand, that was another place. Oh, and Terrell Wells, that was our favorite hangout. That was a wonderful place. They don’t have anything like that now.

How did you get around the city?
Bus. Yeah. I didn’t get my own car till two or three years. I had this old fifty-one ford.

How much was the bus fair back then?
laughs) I don’t remember! Maybe a dime. I have no idea. Well, I know my boyfriend and I’d go out on a date, he’d stop to buy gas for fifty cents worth of gas. I guess that bought two-three gallons. I don’t know. Now you need two or three dollars to get one gallon. (Laughs)

How long after you started dating Grandpa, did ya’ll marry?
Uhhh, I met him in, I think around May or June in fifty-three. There was another place we used to hangout, all the kids.bHermann Son’s used to have a country-western dance on Sunday night on the roof.

That’s where ya’ll met?
Yep, yeah. It was all the kids from Burbank, Harlandale, South San, Jefferson. It was a good hangout. And you know it was mostly teenagers that hung out there. We had a lot of fun. It’s been closed for years, I think. Though I still belong to Hermann Son’s but they don’t have the dances up there anymore, cause it’s not safe. But that’s where we met.

Roughly how much did your house cost? This one?
Eleven thousand, seven, seventy-five. (Laughs) Oh, and I just got my tax statement. (Reaches for an envelope on the table) Guess what it’s appraised at now? Sixty-nine thousand.

How has your neighborhood changed from when you first moved here to now?
Oh well, there’s some pretty bad people living here. Especially down at the apartments. (Towards the beginning of the street) The cops are there a lot and across the street two houses down, there was this family living here, I’m sure they weren’t paying rent. But Angie, the lady that lives next door, she said they always coming over to borrow stuff. Marshall that lives right there, (as she points across the street) somebody broke into his store room and took things. They broke into Angie’s store room. This was about a year ago. I’d been lucky. Nobody’s tried anything. I can’t go anywhere else. This is home. And I’m Happy here.

When did Grandpa and you both Start working at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company?
I started working… (Reaches for a pen and paper to do the math).Okay, started working in nineteen sixty-six and when I retired I had twenty-five years. And Bobby started working at Western Electric in…I think it was about…Oh, he was already working there when we met in nineteen fifty-three.

It was called Western Electric then?
Yep, see Western Electric was a manufacturing and supply unit for all the Bell companies. Then in the vestiture in 1983 they split up. Then it became Lucent, then it was uh, AT&T. But when he retired it was still Western Electric. And then it changed it to Lucent. So he retired in eighty-six and I retired in ninety-one.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Well…like what? (Chuckles)Well I mean. We had a lot of fun. There were sometimes that weren’t so good. But we had a lot of fun. Some of the neat places we used to go. Like Edge Falls. You probably…I don’t know if you’d ever heard of it. We’ve been there several times. You’d drive out in the middle of nowhere, looks like nothings there and then you get down and there’s this beautiful… It’s like a pool of water. You have to climb down to get to it. It was very popular, thirty-forty years ago. It was beautiful.

Analysis

I have learned from this interview that it’s important to preserve our history. The most important points made in this interview are history is a part of us weither its good or bad. The good memories are remembered in our hearts and the bad just teach us to learn from our mistakes. Most importantly, things are not as they seem to be. With a little time and effort, I have discovered that you shouldn’t underestimate your relatives. this project has benefited me by showing me what has been missed and overlooked. We not only hear the stories of those we interviewed but you hear the stories of others and what they have to say. Overall, oral history is an effective way to learn about the past. Sure you may here the fishing stories,”the fish was this big” but somewhere in there is truth and character of the individual. I have a better understanding of my grandma because of this oral history project.

Timeline

  • Barbara Stone born on June 8, 1934 to Mike and Nona Bady in Houston, Texas.
  • Moved to San Antonio, Texas in 1944 after her mother remarried Tommy Pace
  • Attended Holland Parks School beginning in 1944
  • Began working part-time at National Bank of Commerce
  • Graduated from Burbank High School in 1953
  • Began full-time work as Bookkeeper in National Bank of Commerce
  • Married Robert Stone on February 13,1954 in San Antonio,Texas
  • Stepfather died in 1954
  • First child born September 19,1954
  • Second child born Aug.28, 1956
  • Third child born June 2,1963
  • Retired from Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1991
  • Death of her husband in 1995
  • Interviewed by Lauren M. Miller on October 24, 2007

Annotated Bibliography

  • Cost-of-Living Calculator. The calculator uses the Consumer Price Index to do the conversions between 1913 and the present. The source for the data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Consumer Price Index reflects the cost of items relative to a specific year. The American Institute for Economic Research. P.O. Box 1000. Great Barrington, Massachusetts. 01230.
  • Lincoln Zephyr.
    This website is used to represent a Lincoln Zephyr car that was mentioned in the interview. It is not the exact model year but reasonably close. Yahoo!Custom Autos Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc.
  • Southwestern Bell History. Barbara and her husband worked for Southwestern Bell and its supply company, Western Electric. It is there to provide the history of the Bell companies. Wikipedia.Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
  • Photographs and/or documents on this website were provided by Barbara P. Stone and Teresa A. Miller. The two black and white photos are from Barbara’s collection that she had in a kitchen drawer. The colored family photo was taken by Teresa and belongs to a family album from a closet full of old photo albums.

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