Alfa takes a brief trip back to the past as she recollects the days when she grew up as a farm girl in Sampson county. She did not have very many memories of the river since she stayed at home on the farm to help out. However, she does recall fond memories of her father coming back from fishing or going out with her mom to collect reeds to turn into brooms.
As she grew older, life led her to work in the Sheriff’s department as a secretary – sometimes accompanying road deputies for cases where a female suspect was involved – to avoid harassment charges. She has, since then, retired and lives with her daughter and grandchildren. A couple days a week, Alfa will go to the Coharie tribal center, the home to the Coharie people as well as her old school, to quilt.
On Growing up Coharie
We thought it was wonderful! We thought it was wonderful back then, but we had to, raised on a farm – it was work; especially in the summer time, sunup, sundown, and when school time was, we had to sometimes leave school early to get home and help, depending on what season and what was going on you know. Did those things you do on the farm: pick cotton, pull cotton, we had tobacco, we had pickled cucumbers and they’d come off in June. And back then, we didn’t ride these pretty little things [vehicles], we would walk and bend and pick them with our hands.
…. back then we didn’t have toys either like the kids have now. We played with whatever we could get. Me and my sister played with, we had with broken plates, now that probably sounds crazy but anything to entertain yourselves.. We’d draw us a playhouse, well you know we’d lay hopscotch, my cousins would come over or we’d go to their house and do things like that as far as playing.
On Being Coharie
We’re a proud people. We’re proud to be who we are, and where we came from. We’re very proud of that. We look back at our parents and see how hard they worked to get this [school]. I was born in ’42, this[school] was built in ’42. My dad was one of the men who went to the older to Raleigh and trying to get this [school] into action. So you look back and see how hard they worked for us to try and have, because you know, we had the school, we never had a lunch room. But we survived, they made a way for us.
On the River
… my dad, when the notion struck him, he would go fishing, what they call the Daniel hole, or down at the bridge is where you saw today, probably where you went in at, different places. He loved to fish, I had one brother that really loved to fish, the baby boy. But my dad would come home with a string of fish, like you see on TV sometimes, a string of fish – of red fin we call them, which is pike, and catfish and brim and we thought we had something when he came home with all of that. Cause we’d clean them and have good fish.
…talking about the River. The closest I got the river- back then we made our own brooms to sweep the house. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen any of those long straw brooms…and I would go with my mom down, there was a big place down there that grew that kind of grass and we cut that broom straw, you know so…and back then, we, you didn’t have any grass in our yard, we kept it cut up. So we’d have to go and get reeds and put them together, then sweep the yards with it, you know.