Interview with Judith Carrington

Nakeiha Primus 2005

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Interview Participants
NP
Nakeiha Primus, interviewer (female)
PE
Pearl, unknown surname, interviewer (female)
SC
Sonny Carrington, interviewee (male)
JC
Judith Carrington, interviewee (female)
NP
It is Saturday, March 12th and we are talking with Mrs. Judith Carrington. Can you just tell us a little bit about yourself, your three careers, your, you know, and your relationship to Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood.
JC
Okay. Currently I am. How's the sound?
NP
Good.
JC
Currently I sell real estate. Prior to that I ran a research lab for Polaroid Corporation, developed new spin-off products and was an overseas liaison. Prior to that I was a medical technologist.
JC
And relationship to Ada and Jim Sherwood; Jim is actually the youngest, my father is the oldest. Jim's the youngest of the siblings, so we were the closest in age, but he's my uncle. He's my uncle. He married Ada who became like a sister.
NP
Can you describe how your relationship with Mrs. Sherwood was?
JC
With Mrs Sherwood?
NP
Uhuh. You said that she was like a sister to you?
JC
She was like a sister. I was probably nine or ten I guess, when she married Jim. Gee I wish I would have had some of these questions beforehand so I could've kinda just looked them over.
[Nakeiha gives Mrs. Carrington a copy of interview guide so she can look over it. Tape stopped]
[Tape resumed]
JC
The siblings were here within the community. He [James Sherwood Sr.] had a sister on Sharon Street, he had a brother on the corner of Sharon and Harvard Avenue. Of course my father in the house because it was a two-family so.
JC
We lived there, Jim lived with us, young Jim that you're going to talk to. I'm missing one, who am I missing. Oh and a sister next door actually.
JC
So my father was the oldest and there was Helen who lived next door; that's what was next to him. Sonny Sherwood who was the city messenger who lived at the next corner; corner of Sharon and Harvard. And then another sister who lived further down on Sharon Street; Ruthie, Ruth Sherwood Lassiter. Yeah that takes in the five and Jim.
NP
How was that living so close, so close together?
JC
Great. Really great. I'm an only child so it was really great for me because, you know, the cousins were all like sisters and brothers. So, Jim had just the only child James, junior. Ruthie had no children. Walter, Sonny had no children. I'm an only and the only other one with children was Helen who's next door.
JC
And you've met Delores Harris? Yeah? Well she's the oldest of, of the second generation. Okay? She doesn't like for me to say that. [laughs] That's a joke. But she's the oldest, then myself, then this is a thing I can do.
JC
Then Pammy, and then Carol and Hope; who's deceased, she's the youngest. So, and James, where did he come in? Actually Jim is the youngest, Jimmy.
NP
Uhuh. Their son?
JC
Their son.
NP
Okay
JC
So there were five children; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in the second generation.
NP
And he was, Mr. James Sherwood was the youngest?
JC
He was the youngest of his siblings [James Sr].
NP
Of five?
JC
Of five, and his son is the youngest of the next generation.
NP
We could do this this way or?
JC
Whichever way you want to do it.
NP
Okay. Lets just start with...
JC
It's easy. It's easier for me to just walk down this list.
NP
Okay, okay. We can do that.
NP
What was growing up like in West Medford? You mentioned that, you know, everybody was already close. So I figure, I mean I grew up in a similar kind of situation where all my cousins were right like, up the block and everything, it was good that everyone was there, but you can't really do anything.
JC
[laughing] See I didn't feel that. It was a great situation. It's funny because Medford is a small community, so when I grew up there were probably three streets, three or four streets of black folks and so everybody knew each other.
JC
And then some families, you know, they were larger, some families were large predominate families, you know and related. So, it was, it was a nice experience, really a great experience.
JC
And I just going to say, and then watched it grow from two or three streets Medford, of black folks, to being the most densely settled black community outside the city of Cambridge. So it went from one extreme to the other.
PE
Can you just say what streets they were?
JC
Jerome Street, Lincoln Street and Arlington Street basically. And Harvard Avenue.
NP
What would happen on a day, you know, as a young kid, going to go to school, that kind of thing? What was the...
JC
The routine; pretty much like any other routine. You know, any other, any other neighborhood. We had a community center which most of us couldn't wait to get out of school to, to, to attend and that was on Arlington Street actually.
NP
What kinds of things did you guys do there?
JC
Well they had after school studies for those that, that needed it. They had games, activities, you know for most of the kids, they had social, social clubs and things like that. Just anything to keep kids occupied, you know.
JC
Pool; that was everybody's favorite. Pool was popular at that time and you didn't find too many pool tables around, you know or pool parlors in a suburb like this. In the city, you probably did, but not in a suburb.
NP
How late did they stay open?
JC
Oh God that's a good question. Probably until about nine or ten at night because there were evening activities too and of course the older you were the more, you know, you could do in the evening, in regards to evening activities. But I'd say nine or ten. I'm gonna say nine or ten.
NP
And everyone kind of walked together and went together?
SC
Yep. Yep.
NP
Can you recall a specific story about you being in the community center? Something interesting that happened or?
JC
See those are the kind of questions that would take some time for me because I haven't given it really any thought, you know. So just spur of the moment. Let's move on and maybe I'll get back or something like that, cause I don't want to loose too much time, you know.
PE
Okay, usually [clears throat] the more you talk.
JC
Yeah, the more you talk the more you remember. You're talking about going back sixty years so [laughs]. That's a long time to just say oh do you remember from your childhood at the community center.
NP
Oh, okay.
JC
But it was a gathering place for other, you know, communities. With Cambridge, the kids from Cambridge came to Medford, you know. We had functions and vice versa. So, it kinda pulled black communities together those community centers.
JC
Cambridge,the Cambridge community center was a larger community center, much larger than ours and they had tremendous amount of functions at that time. But, we're talking Chelsea, Everett, Malden; there's a lot of activity there.
NP
Did you go to the Hervey School as a child?
JC
Did I go to Medford High School?
NP
The Hervey School.
JC
Oh, the Hervey School. Yes.
NP
Question do you recall the first day of school? What was it like?
JC
I really can't recall my first day of school, I know most kids can but I can't. so it must have been pretty uneventful. [laughing] I know I liked school, I always liked school. So I had no problem with, with school.
NP
What was it, what was the Hervey like?
JC
I can still recall some of the teachers names though there, that I can do.
NP
Okay.
JC
Ada and Jim were not in the system at that time.
JC
But there was Mrs. Lee, there was Mrs. O'Brien, there was who else, McTaggette. Those kind of things I can recall and even the layout of the school, you know. But as far as special things, not off the top of my head.
NP
Well what was the school laid out? 'Cause we passed it on our way here?
JC
Yea, they're going to make condominiums I'm told.
NP
Out of the school.
JC
Uhuh. That was the layout. This was a typical school, you know. The gym in the basement and you know, your typical corridors and rooms on each side.
NP
What was the environment like? Do you think you had a unique kind of environment because it was such a small school and most of the people in the community went to that school?
JC
Well, you know, if I think back, we probably did because, because the area, there's so many elementary schools; at that time there were so many elementary schools in the city of Medford.
JC
And they weren't bussing kids around or anything like that. So it was really community. So that in itself is probably unique to what goes on today. But, I hadn't thought about that.
NP
[clears throat] So it was more like a family at the Hervey because everybody, I mean, pretty much were family anyway?
JC
Classes were relatively small at the time. I don't think they exceeded twenty.
NP
And it was k to 8?
JC
They had two of each grade; no, l through 5.
NP
1 through 5?
JC
And kindergarten.
NP
And high school. Your experiences growing up here and going to high school.
JC
Well I left school, lets say I left a year early, it wasn't quite a year. There was few of us decided that we, we really at that time we could do that sort of thing and, you know, just came back for graduation. But it was probably like six months and started working.
JC
I, myself, wanted to work and make some money before going to medical school, you know, so. But there was a couple of us that did that, forged our ages and [laughs] worked for an electronic corporation because they paid really well.
NP
What was that like? You know, being a young lady and working in the world and then going on to med. school, and stuff like that?
SC
Well to have a job making probably as much money as your parents was really, really was a good feeling.
NP
Wow
JC
No because the electronic companies paid really well, so a friend of mine and myself were lucky enough to get into, what would it be called today, a test lab. We were testing diodes. So we were sampling, you know, the production diodes, so it was kinda nice job for a young kid.
JC
Like a quality control situation, you know. So it was really, that's what, the word I was looking for. So it was really, yeah, so it was really a nice, a nice job making good money. We worked at that, both of us, for six months before we started school.
NP
And this was for school for medical technology?
JC
Medical technology. Yeah.
NP
That's where you started your first job as a medical technician after that?
JC
Uhuh.
NP
You, you didn't, you didn't personally experience going to school during the desegregation arrangement?
JC
No, I didn't.
NP
Did your children?
JC
My daughter did though, yeah. When they started the bussing, and I was really opposed to it because she wasn't, you know. See Medford, and then maybe you may get a lot of disagreement from some people on, with me on this one.
JC
But my feeling is, and I thought I had the good knowledge too by having Ada and Jim in the school system, that, you know, Boston had its problems no doubt about it; the city of Boston, but I didn't feel that Medford did and neither did they. He was a permanent teacher, she subbed and so she traveled from school to school here in the city.
JC
And a lot of the problems that some people were trying to create. You always have those people that just try to jump on bandwagons. I didn't feel and she didn't feel were in the city of Medford, so there was a group that wanted to bus the kids from this neighborhood to other neighborhoods and I was opposed to that, especially with the school on the street here. And I didn't do it.
NP
Mrs. Jordan told me that your daughter was actually a student of your, of...
JC
Ada? Yeah.
NP
Ada. That was interesting.
JC
Yeah, she had her on occasion because Ada was a substitute teacher, so she traveled around the city wherever she was needed.
NP
So she wasn't based at the Hervey School. Because I was under the impression...
JC
There was a time when she, you know, she, when she first initially went back into the school system when, when her son was old enough for her to do that, she felt old enough to do that, she went back in as a substitute teacher.
NP
Oh okay.
JC
And then became a permanent. Yeah.
NP
Did your daughter ever, was she bussed? Or did you not?
JC
Ummum.
NP
You didn't. I understand a lot of parents, they, they took their kids out of school and, you know, home schooled them or, you know.
JC
Went to private school. Yeah, I wasn't a believer in private school either, not if the public school was, was fairly decent.
NP
Right. So she stayed in the community for school? Did you, did you experience what any of the other parents', you know, what their kids were facing on these buses or?
JC
No. I think that was pretty uneventful most of the activity and the problems were in, outside of the city of Medford. They were Charlestown and Boston primarily.
NP
Okay. So a lot of the parents were talking about. Well you said that some people might disagreed with you with... Some people thought that the bussing was good?
JC
Some people thought that the bussing was good. That they weren't getting the proper education at their little community school here, and that the books were different. And these were some of the comments that were made and I know for fact that wasn't the case.
NP
Because of who you knew basically?
JC
Uhuh. And then some people probably honestly and sincerely thought that their child needed some type of social whatever, I don't know what you want to call it, because it wasn't a predominately black school, you know, so.
NP
The Hervey school wasn't predominantly black? [inaudible]
JC
The Hervey. The Hervey always had a fairly good mixture, based on the community.
PE
And some parents bussed, like they wanted their kids to be bussed because they would be exposed to more white people, was that it?
JC
Um, yeah. Just a more, how do I want to put this, not just more white people, but, I mean you can get that exposure with, but more balanced racial school society I guess.
NP
Were you...
JC
And I. Huh? I was going to say I didn't think it was that unbalanced here at the Hervey. That's my issue.
NP
You're daughter went to Medford High?
JC
Uhuh
NP
And how was that experience for her? Did she ever come home and tell you anything?
JC
No, I think she had a relatively good experience there. Medford High at that time was probably one of the top high schools in the state.
NP
What time was this? Like late 1970s, early '80s?
JC
It would go with dates, I'm terrible with dates. She was born in '65 so.
NP
Late '70s?
JC
Yeah, exactly. Well actually, it would've been later than that. She wouldn't have been in the high school until...
NP
'79?
JC
late seventies, early eighties. Yeah.
NP
Okay. So she'd most of the time at school, like, during the whole desegregation/bussing, she stayed in the community and then for high school, she went to Medford High? [inaudible]
JC
Yeah. And she did, you know, Medford High had great programs. They had the international, what?
NP
Advance with excellency.
JC
They had the, what do they call it? group, cause she spent, she went to school in Germany. They went over there for a month and the kids came here. But what's the word I'm groping for?
NP
Exchange?
JC
Exchange. Yeah, yeah. They had wonderful programs, so I didn't see a problem.
NP
Okay.
PE
Does she ever be continuing practicing her drumming in school? Did she learn from school? Or was it...
JC
Believe it or not she didn't participate in any musical activity in the school because she basically, she was a child prodigy. So she was basically so far ahead of the other children. She was just, all of her music participation was at Berkeley, because she was at Berkeley College at fourteen.
NP
Wow.
PE
She was out of high school at fourteen or?
JC
No. She was still in high school, but it was combined.
PE
And did she graduate from Berkeley?
JC
Yeah. She just received an honorary doctorate in September. This past September, a year ago September. Time flies, a year ago September. And she's now coming back to Berkeley to teach this year, this coming year.
JC
Yeah. But the, she was there, she won a full scholarship given to her by the founders of Berkeley, the Berks. Berkeley is now the largest international music school in the world. I know it seems, a lot of people still think Julliard in New York is, predominately it's Berkeley College of Music now. Yeah.
PE
Do you feel like the West Medford community...
JC
This is my husband. This is Sonny Carrington.
PE
Hello
JC
Nakeiha and.
PE
Pearl
SC
Nakeiha?
NP
Uhuh. I'd like you to meet Pearl.
JC
Pearl.
SC
Pearl.
SC
How are you doing?
NP
Alright.
JC
You wanna, did you want to interview him with some of these? Well I don't know about Medford? He's not from Medford so... Yeah.
PE
I was curious how, if you could, West Medford or James and Ada Sherwood, I guess if her [Teri Lynn Carrington] growing up in that community kind of gave her more to be able to go so far? Like if the, if the community was something that showed her how to handle it.
JC
Um, the community. Well when she grew up it was really, even though the community itself had grown, everybody was still; you know they say "it takes a village," but that's just what it was like. Because everybody knew everyone else's kid and so it was like, you know, their own almost.
JC
It's not that way now, but it certainly was when I grew up and then when she grew up even though the community had grown. So yeah, everybody had a hand in it, you know. She was close to all her aunts and uncles. She was like the daughter Ada didn't have.
NP
Can you tell us a little bit about that relationship?
JC
About that. Well that's basically it. She really was like the daughter Ada didn't have
NP
Did they go places together?
JC
Hmmm, um. Ada got her ear's pierced. See now I'm getting emotional with some of the...and I can't afford to do that. Jesus. [chuckling]
NP
It's okay. From what I understand, you guys were really close and you shared, you shared your children with each other.
JC
Yep, yep. Jimmy even though he's a cousin, was like my son.
NP
And that was [indeciperable]
JC
Uhuh. Yeah. Plus we lived together so, you know.
NP
Everybody was in the same place.
JC
You know all of this. Somebody told you already. Delores? Yep. I got to collect myself because I have to work.
NP
That's okay.
JC
Where were we? What was the question? Their relationship, yea, very close, very.
PE
Did she rely on her as like a second mother figure? Go to her with teenage problems?
JC
Oh yeah, Oh yeah. She did that too, yeah, even though we had a pretty open relationship, she did that with Ada too. Yeah. Yeah.
PE
How did Ada respond?
NP
Like her personality? You know, how she was as a person? Like if, if, I don't know her and if you could describe her.
JC
Well that can't be done with just a spur of the moment conversation. [laughs]
JC
But, but she, everybody liked Ada. She was very, she was fun-loving. She had a great personality. She loved being around people, meeting people. Always had a thing about accents; she could always tell where a person was from, from their accent, what part of the country. She just had that gift, you know, and we used to tease her about it. You know these things seem insignificant because I can't think right now.
PE
You're doing great.
JC
Off the top of my head.
NP
She was from Indianapolis?
JC
Yeah. Indianapolis. She was an only child too so, and I was an only child, and Teri was an only child. So it was kind of like a, and, and Jim was an only child.
PE
So did you all kind of act like sisters and brothers for each other?
JC
Exactly. And as I say we lived in the same house until, when? Well, I moved out and moved into this house when Teri was a year old. That, you know, was just down the street. My father was still living and still there. So it was like, you know, there was no change really, just a slightly different space.
NP
But you lived in West Medford your whole life. You've never lived...
JC
Anyplace else. Yep. Born in that house, lived there, Ada and Jim lived there.
NP
How come?
JC
How come?
JC
Well let's see, when I got married, my husband loved this community and loved this area, so and his work was in Cambridge, so that kind of, you know, made it so that he didn't especially want to leave the area. And that was fine by me because I loved the convenience of Medford. I really do.
JC
I wasn't, didn't think I was a city person, although now I wouldn't mind living in the city. I'd love to live in a big high rise somewhere right now [laughs] where I wouldn't have to worry about anything. Go in close my door.
JC
But that's basically the reason I stayed here, you know. The family was here, he loved it here, he was close to the family, no reason to leave. Traveled a lot, so its not, you know, that didn't know what was going on in other parts of the world, but wanted to stay right here, you know.
NP
Do you feel like it was a good place to raise your daughter?
JC
Hmm. Uhn.
NP
You've been great. Ok now I'd like to got a subject that may be emotional but it's more personal, specific dates, and information about James Sherwood and Mrs. Ada Sherwood.
JC
See that's a toughy, you have to. Those are the questions that I need some, the chance to think about, you know. That's why if I had had seen this before I might have been more helpful today. But we can still, you know, pick this up at another time and I can make some notes, you know, as I remember things.
NP
Okay.
PE
Just so you know you are doing great in telling us a lot of information.
NP
You might not think it's important but it is helpful.
JC
Jimmy will give you a lot of information. He's, he's a talker too so and, and can express himself quite well, so. But he'll give you a lot of information. He wouldn't, he will enjoy doing this sort of thing, trust me.
PE
And if you think that, afterwards, that you forgot to tell us something you can write it down.
JC
Well, see that's what I'd like to do. You know, within the next couple of weeks or so, just write things down and then, you know, be able to either have a converstion with you over the phone or whatever, you can come back. However you want to do it. Because I think for me that would be more meaningful and you'd probably get more out of it than just me trying to stumble through this and reflect back over forty years, fifty years.
NP
So would you prefer that we do that? I leave you this list.
JC
That would be great and then I can just put together, you know, those things as they come to me. And I'm a great one for notes. [chuckles] Jim was that way too, we were the people, two people in the family that had notes on top of notes. And to-do-lists. Which used to drive Ada crazy.
NP
Right. So if I was to leave this...
JC
Leave this with me, yeah.
NP
Maybe by next Saturday or so.
JC
When are you meeting with Jimmy?
NP
On Saturday.
JC
This coming Saturday. Yeah, yeah, but I'll try, the only the I can say is I'll try. And I'll tell you why because I have jury duty Saturday to Thursday. I know, and I started to try to get a pass.
JC
Very unspecific things, you know. It's, it's just all..
NP
All together?
JC
All together, yip.
NP
So if you want..
JC
I should have moved here.
NP
Oh no it's fine.
NP
Would you want me to, I mean I, I'll be here for my Spring break. It just, I mean it doesn't, I want. I really want this, whatever I write up, to be meaningful. I want it not to be "this person was..." You know that kind of very bland thing and I understand that, you know, you need time to think about stuff and really reflect on things. So I will be here for, for most of my Spring break, which is the time, the timeframe I'm working with to produce a rough draft for my professor so even if
[recording stops]
NP
You can just start where you...
JC
Where I want. [chuckles]
NP
Wherever you want to start.
JC
Well tell me what you need because, as you said, I know you got quite a bit from, from Jimmy.
NP
Well, I'd like, I'd like your perspective on living in such a large household and...
JC
So he told you about all that hah?
NP
Yes.
JC
Yeah, that was the family homestead and so there were grandparents and the youngest being his father and then the oldest being my father.
NP
Okay.
JC
So it was like one household actually.
NP
And as far as the personalities of Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood, how did you perceive them to be as your aunt and uncle, with, you know, growing up?
JC
Well at one point they were, you know, clearly aunt and uncle and then because of the proximity, you know, in age, as you get older that kind of diminishes, you know, and so then it became almost like sister and brother.
NP
Oh alright. And you were very close with Mrs. Sherwood?
JC
Both of them actually.
NP
Yeah. Can you recall any experiences that you had with both of them that might be distinctive?
NP
Like if I didn't know them and you wanted to describe them to me, if you had a story, that you guys went somewhere or you took a trip somewhere or you guys sat down and talked about something. How that might have gone?
JC
Well we talked about a lot of things and this is what I'm saying, it's hard to capture when you're that involved with somebody, it's hard to capture, you know, incidents.
NP
Right.
JC
If you're, if you're not familiar with a person, you know that close to a person, it's easy to pick those things that stand out, so that I really can't do. But I can tell you a little bit about their personalities, especially his. Hold on just a second can you.
NP
Ahah.
JC
He had a really dry sense of humor and could really speak spontaneously. So to me that's a gift. His son can do it, but not to quite the same degree his father could.
JC
His father could speak in front of a crowd at the drop of a hat. Um, and hold your interest because he had that dry sense of humor and he... I'll tell you who he reminded you a lot of, and when I see the beginning of the show on television it's, it's him all over, and that's Bill Cosby.
NP
Really?
JC
Yeah. Same mannerism, same little dance, very much like him.
NP
Mr. Sherwood mentioned that, you know, he, he was, they liked to party and he was very personable and very...
JC
Right. Oh yeah, did a lot of partying; both here and on the island.
NP
Oh, the Martha's Vineyard?
JC
Uhuh.
NP
Can you describe what was life like there? .
JC
What it was like? It was just like a continuation. It was like bringing everything from, from here to the island.
NP
So that you guys had a home out there?
JC
Right. He had. He and Ada.
NP
Okay Was that kind of unheard of during, during those times that you had a second home.
JC
Not really, but they were some of the, I won't say first, but they were like maybe the second generation of folks to have a place on the island, you know. A lot of people visited and during their, their era people, more black folks started to buy and own property there.
NP
So it was kind of like...
JC
You know, 'cause I had been going to the island since I was nine years old, but you would go there and rent a week in a cottage or something. You know.
NP
Okay.
JC
Yeah. In fact there was a big group of us that went down to the island when they decided to buy. So I feel kinda like I influenced that, you know.
NP
Oh, okay. So it was like a vacation, getaway for...
JC
Right. We'd go maybe 12 to 20 people at a time. Just get together and go on vacation. So that's, you know, the type of relationship we had.
NP
Okay
JC
It was a real close knit group of folks.
NP
So it was, it was just your family or other families from West Medford that kind of meshed together?
JC
Oh no, it was a mixture. It could be anything from just mine to, you know, the mixture.
NP
Okay.
JC
Yeah.
NP
A little, a little, a little more about Mrs. Sherwood. I've, I've heard like she was a great cook and she was very, she, she wore white gloves and she, you know, was very particular about looking well and speaking well.
NP
And she as a teacher, would, wouldn't, wouldn't hesitate to correct a child if they were speaking incorrectly and she was just very, you know, wanting to make the children shine in the best way that they could. Was she like that at home?
JC
She was, but she, that, that sounds like somebody that's pretty, pretty prim and proper and pretty structured. And even though she was structured, she was like a free spirit. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it really isn't because she was hung up with those kinds of things, but when she would do that, it was done very gently.
NP
Okay.
JC
Nobody would take offense to it but, other than maybe their son. [laughs] You know and that was just the regular, just the parent, you know, child relationship I think.
NP
Right
JC
And peer pressure that made things a bit difficult for him and maybe thought his parents because of being educated too, you know, were, a bit more strict than, than other parents. But in essence, they weren't.
NP
Oh, okay.
JC
But she was a pretty free spirit, you know, very open, very, very open. Probably ahead of her time then.
NP
Ahead of her time and, and what do you mean by that?
JC
Accepting people's situation, you know, circumstance as they were. Worldly is maybe another way to put it
NP
Okay.
JC
He was, she was very outgoing, but not to the same extent that he was. You know, there was, there was a difference. She was great one-on-one and he was great in a crowd.
NP
She was great one-on-one?
JC
Uhuh.
NP
Yeah.
JC
Yeah two or three people at a time. He was, he was great in a crowd and pretty much known as the organizer.
NP
Do you, do you remember any instances where she was great one-on-one, maybe with even you? You know, was there a particular...
JC
Too many for me to even, you know, to even speak of.
NP
Too many.
JC
Oh sure.
NP
She was just that type of person where she would be able to sit down with you and...
JC
We sat down, we were, we were with each other almost everyday of the week.
NP
Almost everyday of the week.
JC
So that what's makes it, you know, now you understand why it's difficult to capture one or two instances, you know, it's almost an impossibility.
JC
You know, even in this week that I had to, you know, to try to think these things over, you know, and highlight significant things that might be significant, that was difficult to do.
NP
Right. I mean anything, I mean anything, any personal experience that you think might be irrelevant might actually help, so you know if there was an incidence...
JC
Oh I understand, but it's just difficult to come up with those, you know. I'll tell you something, I don't know if Jimmy mentioned it, just to give you insight into his personality also. But he bought her a car, a new car one day and, with Jimmy's help, and drove up in front of the school and put a huge, huge, huge bow on top of it.
NP
Really?
JC
Rang the bell and one of the students, of course, had answered, you know, answered the door and went back in for her and said there was somebody there for her, to see her and they pulled her out of the classroom. And lo and behold there was a car, you know.
NP
Do you know how she reacted to that?
JC
Well, I wasn't there [laughs], but, I mean, you know, how unusual is that.
NP
Right.
NP
I'd, I just, I, it just seems like you know she was a great person, one-on-one. But I'd like to return to Mr. Sherwood. You said he was a great man in the crowd and he had a good...
JC
He was the organizer, in fact we used to tease him about it.
NP
What, like with what things? 'Cause he was, you know, like this ringleader.
JC
Whatever he got involved in, with, if a group of friends decided they wanted to do something or if it was no more than playing cards, we used to like to play a lot of, a lot of cards; whist, poker, bridge.
JC
He was always the organizer and so it reached the point where, you know, people used to tease him and say well, you know, you're, you're programming us you know. [laughs] And he'd just laugh it off and continue to do it. But he was always the organizer whether it was at his house or someone else's.
NP
Really?
JC
Hmm. Um. Or if it was going to be a social event at some public place. He was always the organizer. He'd be the one to make the phone calls, sometimes Ada would help him, but basically him.
NP
Okay.
JC
He's one of those kind of, what's the term, I don't want to say domineering Virgos but. But, but you loved him, don't get me wrong.
NP
Right
JC
Passive aggressive [Laughs]
NP
Okay, but he got things done and they usually turned out pretty well.
JC
Exactly, yeah, he was a programmer. True Virgo.
NP
He was a Virgo.
JC
True Virgo.
NP
Okay. Well that's good. We talked about going to school, we talked about your daughter's experience during segregation, desegregation and how you guys kept her in the community and we talked about their personal, personalities and how their home life was because you all lived in the same home for a number of years.
NP
As far as your perspectives on what they did as educators, it sounds like in many ways, they both, though they had different personalities, were fit to be teachers in some kind of way.
JC
For sure. Yeah.
NP
Can, do you, did they ever talk to you about what it was like to be in the classroom and how that made them feel?
JC
No, not really. I know they both enjoyed it. In fact, Jim tried to encourage me to go into teaching, but I knew, you know, that it was not the profession for me. I didn't have, I didn't feel had the patience.
NP
Okay.
JC
He used to love his time off, so they did a lot of traveling, you know. Although they did work with children, I don't know if Jimmy mentioned that, you know, they worked the playground during the summer months.
NP
Oh the, the, the, in Dugger Park?
JC
Uhuh
NP
They did, in the summertime they worked a program for kids together?
JC
Right, exactly.
NP
Together as?
JC
A day program together, uhuh.
NP
And that just ran in the summer?
JC
So that was, that was in the summer. That was sponsored by the city.
NP
And they did, you know, day trips and things like that?
JC
Day trips, but, you know, they were there from like 9 until 4. Because when Jimmy was young, I, I mean they started that when he was less than a year old because I was the babysitter.
NP
Oh, okay.
JC
So they did that for many, many years.
NP
And were they chosen for those positions or were they just kind of...
JC
No, that, that, there was something you have to apply, you had to apply for but.
NP
Oh okay.
JC
Yeah.
NP
Umm, that's good.
JC
So it was both a way to keep their fingers, you know, keep working with children and also the additional income that teachers needed at that time.
NP
Right. There wasn't another way to do that. Let me see what else I have because we did talk a lot while we were at you house and even right now we've gotten a lot.
NP
I didn't know your cousin worked for Polaroid too!
JC
Jimmy?
NP
Yeah.
JC
Yeah, uhuh.
NP
That's, that's interesting.
JC
Yeah he was, oh I don't know, maybe 8 or 9 years behind me.
NP
Uhuh. Yeah. Well I guess I could just try to wrap all this up together in a few final questions. And then if you have any other stories or...
JC
If anything pops up I can give you a call.
NP
Yes.
JC
Yeah. Okay.
NP
If you wanted anything to be remembered about Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood what would it be? And I'm going to give you a few minutes to think about that. And if they were alive, how do you think they would handle being nominated to be remembered and what do you think they would say about themselves? So you can take a few seconds.
JC
Yeah. I know that they would love it.
NP
They would love it?
JC
Now, Ada probably wouldn't say very much, that was her personality, but you would be able to tell, you know, how proud she would be of it.
JC
Jim would probably, that dry humor would come out, you know, he'd be thrilled. In fact, when he retired, I don't know if I told you that, he was number two in seniority.
NP
Oh really?
JC
The city of Medford.
NP
The whole, in the city?
JC
The entire city.
NP
So he had worked at...
JC
He had taught a very long time.
NP
And when, do you know when they retired from teaching?
JC
Oh goodness. I don't remember. I don't have that year. You might want to give Jimmy a call, he might remember.
NP
Okay.
JC
Well I'll tell you who may remember, you talk to Louise Jordan.
NP
Okay
JC
Yeah, she would probably have those dates. Things that you tend not to, you know, pay much attention to at the time.
NP
And if, if you wanted anything remembered about these two people, who you were very close to, you don't have to, you know, think about just one word but...
JC
Yeah, that's something that I'm really gonna have to get some thought on, and probably give you a call back.
NP
Okay.
JC
Because it's hard to separate the personal from, you know, community, so to speak.
NP
I understand.
JC
You know, kids loved them, students loved them and they took pride in that.
JC
And on occasion I will run into people across the city and you know, they say, they will say "Sherwood" and "oh was that your family that taught at the Roberts," you know, because at that time it was predominately white. There might have been maybe three or four black students in that school.
NP
Roberts Junior High?
JC
Yeah. It was in that part of Medford where there weren't many, you know, African Americans living. And, but the accolades that I get, you know and have always received about him are just amazing, you know.
JC
So the parents, the parents liked him, the children liked him. So they were definitely cut out for, for that, for that type of work, no doubt about it.
NP
And, I mean, I know this may take a little more time to think about, but for you personally, if you could think about what they meant to you in your life and growing up. And not necessarily growing up, since they were close age, but, you know, how they helped you be, be, you know, be who you were and support you.
JC
Well being an only child was, was difficult, although there were, see all of the siblings didn't have children.
NP
Okay.
JC
There were two that did not, two of the five did not have children. So, and it wasn't a big family. In fact, Jim, James Jr. is the only male
NP
Oh really?
JC
Of that generation. You know, Dolores is the oldest, then myself and then there were two other girls and then, and then Jim. So he is not only the only male but the youngest in that generation of children. But we were like everybody's child, you know.
NP
Right.
JC
I said that, I just lost my whole train of thought Nakeiha.
NP
That's okay.
JC
God I said that to say something else. But, oh, so my, my relationship with them two, you know, went through many transitions. So that's why it's difficult for me to, to, to quickly answer that.
JC
You know they, initially, were like, almost like parents. Then to like brother and sister and then to just extremely close friends, probably that being the most important.
NP
How so?
JC
So that we did everything together.
NP
You did everything together?
JC
Very little that we didn't do together. You know, that includes my husband and even his family. And it was a really tight knit type of situation.
NP
Right.
JC
Yeah.
NP
Okay. Do you, do you have any other things you want to talk about after, after you've looked at the stuff that I...
JC
Quickly because I made some notes. Let me quickly make sure I touched on everything that I intended to.
NP
Okay
JC
You know about the homestead. I knew Jimmy was gonna take care a lotta that.
NP
Yeah.
JC
Jimmy and I were, were, were also very close because when he went through difficulties, you know that difficult period with his parents, I guess I became the big sister.
NP
Right.
JC
Surrogate. I don't know if that was mentioned, but. His older son is my daughter's godchild.
NP
Okay.
JC
Yeah. Let's see. The other thing about him, he was alway surprising, trying to pull surprises on people.
NP
Mr. Senior Sherwood.
JC
James. Yeah.
NP
Yeah.
JC
Yeah. James Sr. took great delight in pulling off a surprise. So on occasion we tried to get him back and we'd go to great expense in trying to do those things. Like Delores and I on Christmas day flew out to Indiana and surprised them. They were out there with her, with Ada's mother.
NP
Was he the type of person to kind of get the surprises before they happened?
JC
Most of the time, but on occasion we could get him and that was one time. Delores and I caught him. I mean so people would go to great expense to do that.
JC
I think I covered pretty much everything. So I'm afraid you got quite a bit from Louise Jordan also.
NP
Yes. So altogether I've gotten quite a bit of information from you all.
JC
So I guess that's about all I can think of at the moment.
NP
Okay, that, that sounds good. If you do think of anything else, or you wanna, you know, talk again I'll be calling again just to wrap up and, you know.
JC
Okay.
NP
I'll send you what I write, for your eyes and to make sure everything is on, on point and as you want it to be. Everybody is going to get a copy of what I write so.
JC
Oh good.
NP
And then, you know, make suggestions if there's holes in it, you can say "well here this happened," that kind of thing.
JC
And I might forward that to my daughter because she has her own memories. She was extremely close to, to both of them.
NP
Really. Yeah, I remember you told me that Ada Sherwood actually taught your daughter in school.
JC
Uhuh
NP
Yeah. Alrighty, well thank you very, very much.
JC
Your quite welcome.
NP
I'm glad that we've gotten this done and if I've got a lot of information even though you said you don't know what to say, but you said a lot.
JC
Well it is difficult, you know, when you're that involved with somebody.
NP
Right.
JC
You know I find it easier if you're a bit removed, you know, like I can talk about incidences with Lucinda Fields and, you know. Somebody else I was very fond of but you know, you don't have quite that same relationship. Such a closeness there, that you can, you know, more easily cite incidences.
NP
Right.
JC
Whereas with, in my case here with Ada and Jim it just all runs together.
NP
Right. Well it's understandable, you all lived all close together.
JC
Exactly. Yeah. So give me a call I'll, you know as I said, I'll probably forward it to Terri, maybe she might be able to cite something.
NP
Okay. That sounds good.
JC
Because she would, you know, go off with them down the island. In fact, when they would leave, usually two or three days after school closed they usually took her with them.
NP
Oh okay.
JC
And I'd catch up with them, the first week in July or something, or around the fourth. But that's the type of relationship she had with them.
NP
Okay.
JC
Yeah.
JC
From the time she was maybe, you know, old enough to, for them to take with them, and toilet trained and walking so to speak.
NP
Right.
JC
You know.
JC
So anyhow.
NP
Yeah.
JC
Should I think of anything I will call you.
NP
Thank you very, very much Mrs. Carrington.
JC
And I will be very interested to see what you put together.
NP
Okay.
JC
[laughs]
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