One of the Carson sisters, Louella Pettway made quilts into her eighties for relatives who had migrated to live in other parts of the United States.
My mother and father were Elizabeth Carson and Sim Carson. We ain’t had but one brother and six sisters. I was the youngest one. My mama had some more but they died when they was babies. When I was little I hoed and picked cotton, and we growed corn, sweet potatoes, peanuts, peas. I ain’t never seed quilts made when I was growing up. I didn’t start to making them till after I was married. I just got hold of me some pieces to work on. Yeah, Lord, we did work hard. I went through just the first grade, had to quit to go to the fields.
Got a lot of help from our loved ones. Had to send to my sister Aolar’s house for stuff sometime. She and her husband, Wisdom, always help us out with meal, lard, meat. She was a giving woman. God don’t bless everybody the same: we work hard but just didn’t have it sometime.
I made a lot of quilts, and a heap of time I give quilts away. Just made them and give them away. I ain’t never stopped making quilts. I ain’t making nothing now, but I ain’t never stopped. Arthritis got me. Oh, Lord, it gets so cold back in here, and we wash outdoors and rinse the clothes outdoors. Then when we hang them out, they freeze to ice. My hands went to hurting me ’cause I got old.
I had a good life here. I liked it down here. My daddy moved from down here to Selma. Just stayed a little while and come back. He carried us with him. I guess the worst part was the hard work, working in the fields. Yes, Lord. Ground got so hot it burned my feet when I’m out there hoeing. Didn’t have no shoes, even when it got cold, and we even get on our knees to work. My mama made my clothes while she was living, but she died early. Daddy took care of us after that. I was his only child he had there, but he had a lot of grandchildren he had to take care of—Mariella’s children (she had three girls) and Sugarpie’s children. Prissy was my oldest sister, and she had a boy that stayed with us till he was grown. And when they got big enough they all work in the fields.