Carolyn Davidson Hicks

"My Family, A Journey Through Time"

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Interview with Georgia Ledford, August 17, 1978

Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project
Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
University of Kentucky

Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project A/F006: 78OH151FNS11
University of Kentucky
Ledford, Georgia; Interviewee — Dale Deaton; Interviewer — Anne Campbell; Interviewee — Carol Crowe-Carraco; Interviewer
Members of Georgia Ledford’s family have served on the Clay County Committee of the FNS and have worked for the FNS in various capacities. Ledford recalls her association with Mary Breckinridge and details the activities of the nurse-midwives, commenting upon their effectiveness and the impact of the FNS in the local area. The interview also includes a discussion of handmade furniture.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . what I did may seem very silly to you, and if you don’t want to answer any of my questions, just say, . . .
1:00

LEDFORD: Okay.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . “I don’t want to answer.”

LEDFORD: All right.

CROWE-CARRACO: [Microphone interference] Today is August 17th, 1978. [Inaudible] sunny day. I’m talking to the secretary from one of the local FNS committees. Would you please tell me your name?

LEDFORD: Georgia Ledford.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. Mrs. Ledford, if you don’t mind, may I ask if you were born here in Marcum, Kentucky or Clay County or . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, I was born in Clay County, but the post office then was Spring Creek, Kentucky.

CROWE-CARRACO: That’s pretty.

LEDFORD: Spring Creek is a pretty creek, lovely. Fact is my mom still lives there.

CROWE-CARRACO: How nice.

LEDFORD: Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Have you lived in this area all your life?

LEDFORD: Yes, practically, off and on.

CROWE-CARRACO: Would you mind telling me who your mother and father are?

LEDFORD: My mother is [Ollie?] Ledford and my father was Walter . . . I’m sorry, Ollie Mullins, and my father is . . . was Walter Mullins. He passed away, oh, about four years ago.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. When did you first become aware of the FNS.?

LEDFORD: Oh, my goodness, the FNS has always been here. I was a little girl when they came, I think. I . . . I suppose my first memory of them was . . . well, two things maybe. One is when Miss [Mary] Willeford and, I guess, Miss [Gladys] Peacock lived in this little branch out here, just out the road from us now. It was . . . they called it “Buckingham Palace,” which my father-in-law, Dave Ledford, thought . . . he didn’t like that too well. But they really got along. I mean, you know, he thought, you know, let’s don’t put it down, after all! [Chuckle] And then the other occurrence was, we had 2:00spent the night with my grandmother [Dora Rowlett?] on Spring Creek, and when we went back home the next morning, which was . . . we lived in an old log house then. You know, it was just fantastic. To us it was kind of common place, but it was home and nice. And the nurses had stopped over and stayed overnight and my dad had gone early to feed the animals, and they were in the house. They had just made themselves at home, and they were trying to pound the coffee and they didn’t find the coffee mill. They probably didn’t know what the coffee mill was. So my dad helped out with breakfast. And I thought, “Well, my goodness.” You know, even hearing that mill . . . those days, why, they felt at home.

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh, very nice.

LEDFORD: I thought that it just turned out really good, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Do . . .

LEDFORD: . . . that we kind of through the years have kept that in our minds, you know, and gotten so well acquainted.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you remember Mrs. Breckinridge as you were . . . when you were a . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . child?

LEDFORD: . . . yes. Yes. Miss Breckinridge, she would come to Flat 3:00Creek. They had what they called “rallies” in those days. Everybody came. There was hot chocolate for everybody, you know. Unless you had an unusual mother in those days, that was a treat. They made it in what they call lard cans. I don’t know if the . . . you’re familiar with them or not, but . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah, I am.

LEDFORD: . . . I’m sure everybody’s seem them that’s been in Kentucky.

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh, yes.

LEDFORD: And there was a speech, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Did . . .

LEDFORD: . . . you know.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . Mrs. Breckinridge make it or some local committee . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . member, or like . . .

LEDFORD: . . . we all . . . we all did it. I mean, mostly . . . right at that time probably I didn’t have such a hand in it, but later on when I was older, yeah. We’d have ’em at schools and somebody at school would . . . they’d get it going, they’d set it on a pot-bellied stove and heat it all up, and I think sometimes some of the supplies came from the nursing center, but community people took part.

CROWE-CARRACO: What . . . what was said at the rally, “We need the nurses,” or, “We need money,” or . . .

LEDFORD: No, we never needed [enough?] money in those days.

CROWE-CARRACO: “We need support?”

LEDFORD: I don’t recall. I don’t recall that we talked about money. I 4:00suppose that some of the things were said . . . they might have told about delivery a baby, and about inoculations and how good it was for the people. I think that had to be talked up a lot because that was all new. And I don’t think it was necessarily ’cause it was this area that it was new, I suppose that that was just the frontier of inoculations.

CROWE-CARRACO: Probably so. Do you remember mid-wives in your own day, . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . granny mid-wives?

LEDFORD: . . . sure. My grandmother [Dora Rowlett?] was fantastic. She delivered me.

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh, she did?

LEDFORD: Yeah! [Chuckle] So I came out okay, [chuckling] didn’t I?

CROWE-CARRACO: Did your grandmother, as a mid-wife, approve of the . . .

LEDFORD: Loved ’em.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . nurse mid-wives?

LEDFORD: Absolutely. She was . . . they . . . they took care of her. That was the best service I have ever seen, when my grandmother was in bed. She stayed at my mom’s, oh, about a year, because she got to the place where she wasn’t thinking really good and 5:00yet she knew, you know, what was going on, too. And she was eighty- four when she passed away. And Miss [Joy] Broomfield and another nurse would come every day. And I complimented them one day. We always tried to have coffee or cake or something. You know, that was a nice time for us, ’cause we were teenagers then, you know, and . . . well, the fact is I was married then. And I just thanked them one day so much for what they had done for my mom. And they said, . . . and for my grandmother, and they said, “It’s not us. It’s Ollie that’s doing all this.” And, of course, you know, I knew that they were doing a lot, too. Because she’d gotten to the place where she was just in bed, more like a child. But they always came.

CROWE-CARRACO: Very nice. And when . . .

LEDFORD: They were friends.

CROWE-CARRACO: They were friends. Peacock and Willeford were friends?

LEDFORD: Yeah, we knew them real well. Miss [Margaret] Tinline was one of the ones we really knew, though.

CROWE-CARRACO: Can you tell me about Christmas, say, at Flat Creek? Was there a party?

LEDFORD: Oh, there was a party, yeah. There was gifts. And children 6:00in the country probably never had those things before, you know, like clothing and toys. And it’s just a good memory. And, I mean, lots of those things helped out. I remember my youngest brother that was killed a few years ago, he got a toy train. [Chuckle–Crowe-Carraco] And, oh, boy, if you’ve never played with a toy train before, it was exciting.

CROWE-CARRACO: You were a child, I suppose, and when your father first became a committee member?

LEDFORD: Yes, I think so. Umhmm. My dad was a teacher, you know. He taught like forty-one and a half years. And that was just something he loved to do, go down there and do the paperwork.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. Did you ever, as a child, go to any of the committee meetings, or were they something that a child did not go to?

LEDFORD: No, I think children were brought. I can’t remember going to 7:00a committee meeting. I can remember going, you know, when they’d have the big days of examinations and the shots and all that some people were awfully afraid of, and all the nurses had dogs in those days, you know. Of course, I think most country people did. I remember [chuckle] . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: You . . . so you remember the dental clinics and the tonsil . . .

LEDFORD: Yes.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . clinics and that . . .

LEDFORD: My . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . sort . . .

LEDFORD: . . . husband has fillings that was done in those days there yet.

CROWE-CARRACO: Probably better than the ones you . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . can get [chuckle] today.

LEDFORD: . . . they were fantastic. He did . . . it . . . of course, he has such good teeth, and I suppose that was one of the beginning of keeping them, don’t you guess?

CROWE-CARRACO: I would imagine so.

LEDFORD: Yeah. Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you remember Mrs. Breckinridge at any of these clinics?

LEDFORD: Oh, sure. I remember one time she was there and we was having dinner. You must remember that the committee meetings . . . like I told the people at Red Bird the other night, I said, “You know, that was sort of an elite group in a way.” You didn’t go to make money. You 8:00went to have a good time and . . . and hear Miss Breckinridge and enjoy yourself and see the nursing center and, oh, it was just . . . and bring some food. And sometimes you didn’t even bring food, you know, it was there for you. Whereas now we probably carry in things more. Well, anyway, she was there one day and there was people that kind of used the centers, you know, for their own good sometimes. I guess that goes with most everything. But the nurse was very busy and I don’t believe she had time for–may I mention names?–. . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Yes.

LEDFORD: . . . time for Jim Smith, and we called him “Puny Jim.” He isn’t living right now. And . . . I mean, living now. So, anyway, she . . . she didn’t think she had time for Jim and she wondered if he couldn’t come back later. And Miss Breckinridge heard about it, and right down through the hall she went and she says, “Jim must have his medicine.” And Jim got his medicine. [Chucklee]
9:00

CROWE-CARRACO: What did Mrs. Breckinridge look like when you first remember her?

LEDFORD: What did she look like?

CROWE-CARRACO: Any striking . . .

LEDFORD: I suppose that . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . features you remember?

LEDFORD: . . . well, one of her striking features that you have to figure out in your own mind when I say this, that she wasn’t dressed up. I expected her to be dressed up. And I’m not saying by that she was dressed badly or poorly, not at all. But she was comfortable in what she wore. And I think maybe I have seen her dressed up one time. I admired her big laugh, and I thought she was always so intelligent. And when she talked to you, she . . . you were the person she was talking to at that time.

CROWE-CARRACO: You didn’t feel that she talked down to you as a child?

LEDFORD: Oh, no. Oh, never. Never. She was just one of those ladies that made you feel . . . she would always . . . if there was an older person come in the room and she . . . she herself was not 10:00young at that time, I remember, she would say, “Oh, come and have this chair now,” [chuckle] you know.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you remember her riding horseback at all or was she already crippled when . . . she broke her back in 1930 or ’31.

LEDFORD: I imagine that she rode a horse when she came to Flat Creek sometimes, but actually haven’t seen her on a horse. I don’t recall having seen her on her horse. But I’m sure that her horse was hitched out at the school when she’d come for some of the parties. I’m sure of that. Yeah, about what year was that, did you say, in ‘3-. . .

CROWE-CARRACO: About ’30 or ’31, I’m not . . . I don’t remember exactly.

LEDFORD: Well, in ’32 I would have been twelve, which . . . we’ll stop that little conversation right now.

CROWE-CARRACO: [Chuckle] See, I didn’t ask you when you were born when we talking!

LEDFORD: No.

CROWE-CARRACO: I . . . I guess I . . . see, since I never saw Mrs. Breckinridge–I was not over here in 1965–I have to kind of ask silly 11:00questions like what did she look like, if she had blue eyes or . . .

LEDFORD: Her eyes . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . gray eyes.

LEDFORD: . . . were gray. I think they were gray. And her cl-. . . complexion was smooth. And I think she had sort of a . . . oh, of a round face, and I think her cheeks sort of stood out. Not roly- poly, but just stood out. And she wore her hair short, which I’m sure was a convenience for her. Maybe a lot of women didn’t do it in those days, but to her it was becoming.

CROWE-CARRACO: I see. Do you remember if she ever told you stories about the giant killers?

LEDFORD: Oh, she told those. Yes.

CROWE-CARRACO: What kind of . . . I don’t understand exactly. What was a giant killer story?

LEDFORD: A giant killer story? This was this big giant that always came around, but he was friendly, if I remember correctly. By the way, there is a story in the Reader’s Digest that . . . it’s ab-. . . it’s, oh, I don’t know, four or five years ago, and it’s about this 12:00giant that comes into this garden. It’s a fantastic story and they were something on that order. Now, I don’t think I can tell you too much more about this. I believe that there was a lady . . . now, if this lady was here, Jeanetta Bowling, she could probably . . . she’s an old school teacher and she’s like, oh, eighty-seven now, and I believe she’s in Louisville, Kentucky, maybe, with one of her children right now. She could probably recall every one of the words that was spoken.

CROWE-CARRACO: I see. Well, in these stories, were there . . . were they scary and then had . . . then had a happy ending or . . .

LEDFORD: Yes. Uh-huh.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . something like that?

LEDFORD: And the children were just enthralled. They’d just sit there with mouths open and eyes big. She could really get your attention. There was no noise when those were being told.

CROWE-CARRACO: I see.

LEDFORD: She’d say, “Gather around, we’re gonna tell a story.” And we . . . when we were older, we loved ’em, too, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: I was . . .

LEDFORD: . . . you know.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . going to ask, did any of the adults ever . . .

LEDFORD: You better believe it.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right.

LEDFORD: They were there. Yes.
13:00

CROWE-CARRACO: Was this done after the meal or after the committee meeting or . . .

LEDFORD: Yeah. And after . . . when we had the parties, you know, like when the cocoa and things were served, then they would tell a story. Everybody was comfortable and warm, and she’d tell the stories.

CROWE-CARRACO: I see. Which of the nurses do you remember besides Peacock and Willeford from your youth?

LEDFORD: Well, Miss Stevens was more . . . Joy Stevens was later in my day, and she was such a fantastic person that I guess that’s why I remember her, because my step-grandfather had a stroke and she . . . I noticed what care she took of him. She knew exactly what to do. Keep him warm, you know, and all that. And then Clara Bowling, the postmistress at Flat Creek, had a stroke and she overcame it, and I’m sure that was from Miss Stevens’ care. Now, who else do I remember? Of course, Miss Tinline, Miss Broomfield. Miss [Ruth Peninger] Penny, who 14:00delivered my oldest child, Mary Lee, that lives in Naples, Florida now.

CROWE-CARRACO: I was going to ask you, did you have your babies at home or . . .

LEDFORD: Just the one. Yeah. And it turned out just fine.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you remember what the midwifery fee was when your oldest one was born?

LEDFORD: It seems to me like it might have been two dollars. Five dollars?

CROWE-CARRACO: And it . . . so that included all that prenatal care and then the . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, sure. And then she came back the next day, you know, for how many days? I don’t know what . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Ten probably.

LEDFORD: . . . ten or fourteen.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah, quite a long period of time.

LEDFORD: Can you imagine doing that? Just coming and being so patient, you know, and putting the clothes on the baby and, oh!

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you have your other babies at . . . at the hospital in Hyden or . . .

LEDFORD: No, I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . [inaudible]?

LEDFORD: . . . wasn’t living here when my next child was born. We were living in . . . in Hazard. And then the next one we were 15:00living in Cincinnati. And then the next one, we had moved back here, and I was older then so you, more or less, went into the hospital. . . the nurses sent you. You didn’t have too many home deliveries. So my husband was . . . had been hired to work at Red Bird Mission Hospital, so that’s where we . . . Mark was born.

CROWE-CARRACO: I see.

LEDFORD: Yeah. Fact is today is his birthday. He’s seventeen.

CROWE-CARRACO: Is this the one that’s coming home for dinner in a . . .

LEDFORD: Yeah.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . few minutes? Oh!

LEDFORD: Yeah, he goes to school at . . . at Clay County High. He’s a ball player there.

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh.

LEDFORD: This one here, [Jada?], is just now . . . she has a job at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington. She’s . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh, “Good . . .”

LEDFORD: . . . a nurse there.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . “Sam”, huh?

LEDFORD: Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh!

LEDFORD: She’s real happy there.

CROWE-CARRACO: My husband went to law school in Lexington and . . .

LEDFORD: Really?

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . in fact, coming to Bowling Green, he is missing Lexington so much.

LEDFORD: Lexington’s a nice town.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah, Lexington’s a fun town. [Microphone interference] also [inaudible] when did you did you first become active in the committee, the Flat Creek committee, or have you always been, or is this just part of your life?
16:00

LEDFORD: I guess it’s just part of my life. I guess we . . . my father-in-law and mother-in-law were committee members, and my dad and mom, and . . . and then when we had been gone a while and moved back, we just sort of went into it. Like I would go help serve, you know, when the committee was there, you know, and help with the dinners.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you feel like in the . . . in the older days, maybe when your father was . . . well, you said your father’s only been dead four years. Let’s say . . . let’s say in the ’30s, do you think the committee had a great deal to say about what was going on, or was the committee meeting a social affair?

LEDFORD: Partly social and partly what was going on because, you see, the committee . . . if there was a road to be fixed into the center, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Yes.

LEDFORD: . . . like [Carlo Wagers ?], Dennis [Bray ?], Walter Mullins, [Bascom ?] Bowling–I can name right on and on– Henry 17:00Ledford, John H. Sizemore [chuckle], they saw to seeing the right people, getting the lumber there, calling what you called “a working”, you know, and just had people there. And then the ladies cooked the meal and they’d come in and do that job, fix the fence, paint, any number of things. I think it was both.

CROWE-CARRACO: Think it was both.

LEDFORD: Yeah, I think it was both.

CROWE-CARRACO: What about now? Tell me about the committee now, 1978. Who was your chairman here at Flat Creek?

LEDFORD: Lester Langdon. Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: And you were the secretary.

LEDFORD: Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: What about a treasurer?

LEDFORD: Bonnie Smallwood. She lives at Mud Lick. And if all works out, they’re gonna have one clinic day a week at Sand Hill. Well, Sand Hill or Mud Lick, they’re both the same. They have different names. And when I started teaching up there I had to sort that out. But it’s . . . it’s the same place. Bonnie was our treasurer. The committee 18:00is in a little different situation than they used to be. See, money’s got short because of what? Well, we’ll say inflation, that dear little word? So the committee took on a different . . . hmm, what would you say?

CROWE-CARRACO: Position, attitude or whatever.

LEDFORD: Yeah, and that went in with it, that’s for sure, when we discuss monies. We had to start making money, or thought we did, to keep Flat Creek here. And, of course, Shamrock Coal Company, are you aware that they give a good bit of money?

CROWE-CARRACO: No, I was not.

LEDFORD: Shamrock Coal Company is one of the bigger coal companies in the United States, and they operate just south of here, Flat Creek.

CROWE-CARRACO: Is it surface mining or underground?

LEDFORD: Underground. Fantastic. Yeah, people were disturbed about that. But still and all . . . I mean, when it first came in. You know, you’ve got your beautiful country, you don’t want it messed up. But they give a good bit of monies to Flat Creek and to the church up 19:00here, and they wanted it all used in the community. Which, when they gave the first check–I don’t know what it was, like five thousand dollars–they didn’t stipulate Flat Creek Center only, which had to be turned into the main fund. That’s natural. Some people were disturbed about that. I think especially those that didn’t understand that how, sometimes you make a check, you know, and then you . . . you don’t change it or it can’t be changed. But anyway, after that then they put their monies to where it . . . you know, they wanted it to go. But we had to do things like rummage sales, bake sales, country sings, and actually we didn’t do bad. And so that’s the difference in the committee.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. What do you mean you didn’t do bad? Did you . . . did you raise five thousand dollars to . . .

LEDFORD: No. No, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . match the Shamrock or . . .

LEDFORD: . . . we couldn’t do that. No, Shamrock’s not what you call a poor company. I’m sure they could give us twice . . . three times that much. They put their monies other places, too. They . . 20:00. they did . . . like Flat Creek Church maybe got three thousand at one time. Well, if Flat Creek Church hadn’t have been here which, thank goodness, it is, we would have probably got eight thousand, you know what I mean?

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. Why do you think . . . what happened at Flat Creek? Why was there the need to close it? No patients, no money to keep it going, a combination, or . . .

LEDFORD: Well, yeah, that’s . . . that’s why, but back of that, the reason for no patients and no money . . . well, if you don’t have patients, you don’t have money. But, see, the roads has changed everything. And then Manchester has a nice hospital, Red Bird has a nice hospital, Hyden has a new hospital, and whether you’re sent out from the centers or not, I’m sure lots of people go into Hyden to the hospital. So that’s three hospitals surrounding us here. And we don’t have as big a committee . . . a community as Red Bird. I think they have, oh, like maybe three times as many people as we do.
21:00

CROWE-CARRACO: Do people over here in the Flat Creek community do like they do in Bowling Green, they won’t go to the doctor and they go into the emergency room at the hospital? Or they won’t go to the nurse, they go to the emergency room of the . . .

LEDFORD: They’re . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . the hos-. . .

LEDFORD: . . . learning that. You know why, though, don’t you? It saves time.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah.

LEDFORD: And if you’ve got money or lots of medical . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Cards.

LEDFORD: . . . cards to cover this, that is one thing that has hurt the FNS here in our area right here, is the . . . not . . . well, it didn’t cover . . . the medical cards and Medicare, it wasn’t covered for a long time. Now, how that is worked, I don’t know, because we talk about that a lot, but I never went into that with detail because I don’t work with that sort of thing, and I just don’t know exactly how that works. Probably you do or maybe somebody in a hospital . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah.

LEDFORD: . . . that takes care of those records could tell you 22:00exactly. But that hurt us a lot. Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did it hurt . . . was there a great deal of community feeling about closing Flat Creek?

LEDFORD: Absolutely. I myself, I just thought, “Oh, I can’t live.” It’s just like losing a good friend. And I . . . I just get really attached to people and things, and . . . and it was very emotional for me. Fact is, I asked Dr. Beasley the other night at Red Bird after the meeting was over, I said, “C-. . . did you notice anything Dr. Beasley, that I was different?” And he said, “No, Georgia, you did real well.” I said, “Well, thank goodness for that.” [Chuckle] Yeah, sure, people didn’t want to give it up. And, you know, if you’ve ever been to one of our centers, it’s just a fantastic place to live and go and visit.

CROWE-CARRACO: Huh.

LEDFORD: You know, it’s a landmark.

CROWE-CARRACO: What do you think will happen to the building per se? Do you . . . will it be preserved as a historical landmark? I . . . I can’t remember exactly how old it is, but I’d say forty- five years at least.

LEDFORD: I think. Yeah. I don’t know. There has been talk of selling 23:00it. I would hope that if it was sold, there would be a stipulation in the contract someway that, you know, it wouldn’t be changed drastically.

CROWE-CARRACO: Who owns the center, the FNS or the community?

LEDFORD: The FNS. It was given by . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Is this the Caroline . . .

LEDFORD: Atwood.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . Atwood Butler or . . .

LEDFORD: Right.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . Caroline Atwood Butler, Butler Atwood, . . .

LEDFORD: Yeah. This lady gave this. Fact is, her niece . . . or who was it? I don’t know if it was her niece or her herself came to Flat Creek and we had a meeting. I believe it was her, if I remember correctly. Naturally she would want to see what she’d invested her money in, wouldn’t she?

CROWE-CARRACO: Yes, of course.

LEDFORD: And I think she was impressed. Because, you know, you’re just back there in that beautiful clearing and . . . and it’s peaceful and quiet. And the center is rustic and it . . . it . . . it’s 24:00just exactly what you need in the mountains. I think, you know, like you’re sitting in our house now and our house is . . . everybody says our house is odd, and I think it is, too. But I think if I were building it again I’d probably put rough . . . more rough boards and things in it. Once those are painted, you don’t have all the upkeep. And Flat Creek is just unique. It’s just beautiful. I think it’s the prettiest one.

CROWE-CARRACO: Well, I haven’t ever been to Flat Creek. I’ve been to Red Bird . . .

LEDFORD: You can’t go . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . and Beech Fork?

LEDFORD: . . . while you’re here?

CROWE-CARRACO: I’ll try to, yes.

LEDFORD: Oh, my goodness, you must go. You’ve got to see the old- fashioned chairs that this lady, Lula Hoskins, made by hand. My goodness, the strips of, you know, bark in the seat is about an inch. Oh, it’s . . . it’s just beautiful. It is one of the prettiest centers. And it’s just surrounded by trees.

CROWE-CARRACO: Why were you, as a community, willing to let it go? You couldn’t . . . couldn’t dig up any more patients, shall we say, or whatever?

LEDFORD: We worked on that. I prob-. . . we probably didn’t work hard enough. I think that Dr. Beasley and Ron [Hart] . . . admire 25:00them both. Dr. Beasley’s a friend of ours rather than just somebody you talk business with. And we’ve learned to know Ron and really appreciate what he’s doing. But, you know, if this . . . if we’re losing money and the whole FNS is gonna be broke then, I mean, bankrupt. We’re using . . . or so we’re told, that we using reserve funds and our . . . all our endowments, I mean why not say I’ll let this center go, as dear as it is to me, so we can preserve some of the good nursing care that we’re getting. And since Red Bird was larger, had more people, and most of Flat Creek and Mud Lick are willing to work with the Red Bird people, why not go down there? I don’t think you can be selfish enough, or your heart could be hurt bad enough that you don’t get it over sometime, that you want that person over there to 26:00have a better . . . you know, that’s the way you had to think. If you didn’t think like that, why, I don’t think you would have gone to the committee meeting the other night. And I was very anxious to go. I wanted ’em to know that I was supporting them.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you think when the . . . what is there, a meeting in two weeks of . . . of the combined groups . . .

LEDFORD: Yeah.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . for . . . for new officers, is this it, and . . .

LEDFORD: Well, it’s the s-. . . first Tuesday in September, right? Yeah, I believe that’s what I have on my calendar. I think the officers there are great, myself. They talked about changing the other night, but I told them . . . Lester couldn’t be there [inaudible], and I think he’d be very happy with Joe. I think Joe does a fantastic job and Glenna does a fantastic job. And since I have other work that I have to do at other meetings, I probably will just say, “Well, no, I don’t want to get into any writing deals right now. I have enough.”

CROWE-CARRACO: I see.

LEDFORD: So we’ll just support them.

CROWE-CARRACO: Here at the Flat Creek community, how often did your committee meet? Did it meet monthly?
27:00

LEDFORD: We were meeting sometimes more than monthly since we got into this dire states of need, you know. But before that you h-. . . you had a special meeting called maybe once a year, and then you had your regular committee meeting once a year where you just really had a . . . made a big evening or a day out of it, you know.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you feel like that women have taken an active part in the . . . the committee meetings or have men always led them? Have you ever had a . . . a chairman who was a woman, for example?

LEDFORD: We never have, but I’m sure that any of us probably could have. Like Jeanetta Bowling and her husband, they were both teachers, and my mom’s not a teacher, but I’m pretty sure she could have done a fine job. And I don’t know that I recall a lady being chairman, but I think they could.

CROWE-CARRACO: But you don’t . . . and you don’t feel there was ever . . . nobody paid any attention to you because you were a woman? You were still allowed . . .

LEDFORD: No.
28:00

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . to give you . . . say your . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, no. I think the women actually mostly spoke up as much or more than the men in the meetings.

CROWE-CARRACO: I see.

LEDFORD: I was really pleased to see a lot of men at Red Bird, though. Now, you know, things have changed, like people have moved out or maybe some people have gotten older, some have passed away. We have always had really a lot of good men that helped at Flat Creek.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you yourself see any changes from the time that Mrs. Breckinridge died and . . . and “Brownie” [Helen Browne] took over, and then “Brownie” retired and Dr. Beasley took over? Has the Service continued pretty much on an even keel or ha-. . . has each of the directors given a . . . their own personal stamp to the Service? Or is that too hard a question to ask?

LEDFORD: I don’t know that there has been a change. I think all the nurses . . . m-. . . I’ll say most of the nurses that have been sent to our centers have been fantastic ladies. I think Tina Guy was one of our . . . I mean, you know, she really built this clinic up 29:00up here and had paying customers and all that. But each director, I think, has done their part. I think Miss Browne–of course, I know her really well ’cause my sister was the maid there- -she’s a fantastically intelligent lady. And Dr. Beasley is . . . he is just so . . . I’d say he’s like one of those smooth, nice characters, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. [Chuckle]

LEDFORD: . . . you know? You just enjoy him. No, I think there . . . there’s not an awful lot of difference. I think the difference has been brought about more or less by the people and change of times, like inflation and . . . and moves. Not by . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: A change in . . .

LEDFORD: . . . no.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . administration.

LEDFORD: No, not the administration.

CROWE-CARRACO: Were you here when Mrs. Breckinridge died? Were you . . .

LEDFORD: I was at the funeral.

CROWE-CARRACO: In Lexington or . . .

LEDFORD: The . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . the Service here?

LEDFORD: . . . funeral here. The service here. No, not the . . . I guess that was more or less private there, wasn’t it?
30:00

CROWE-CARRACO: Got a cold . . . we’ve got a warm son, huh? Get that kid warm . . . cool. What was the . . . kind of . . . what was your feeling when heard that Mrs. Breckinridge died, a bit of sadness, an end of an era. or was . . .

LEDFORD: Well, I guess . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . it kind of a . . .

LEDFORD: . . . we just sort of wondered what was gonna happen. Yeah, it was sad. We just kind of felt like we’d lost a good friend. Yeah.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you remember the last time she . . . you saw her?

LEDFORD: I suppose the last time I saw her was at Flat Creek. She wasn’t well, you know, right there for a while and she wouldn’t stay very long because her back hurt. And Miss Lewis . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Miss Agnes, yes?

LEDFORD: . . . yeah, she . . . I think they came and went together some, and she would always go back a little early. Can you excuse me for a minute?

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. LEDFORD: He isn’t coming till tomorrow night, so 31:00that’s a change in our lives. You have that also.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. Well, I don’t right now, but I will. Let me ask you just a few more things about Mrs. Breckinridge since . . .

LEDFORD: Umhmm. Sure.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . she is the main focus . . .

LEDFORD: Yeah.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . of my attention. Do you remember any other stories that we haven’t talked about about her? Maybe I’ll tell you one and . . . and maybe that’ll start you thinking. I read a letter last night where . . .

LEDFORD: Well, we were . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . she . . . go ahead.

LEDFORD: . . . we were talking about her memorial at Hyden.

CROWE-CARRACO: Uh-huh. Yes.

LEDFORD: It was in the high school auditorium. Probably you know all about this but, anyway, she had just the wild flowers. The request, I guess, was no flowers. Maybe two bouquets. But she had the philodendron or the mountain laurel on her casket . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh, I bet it was lovely.

LEDFORD: . . . which impressed me. And I thought, “My!” And she just 32:00wanted things that she loved there. Not a lot of things that you . . . people think you have to have. She was so down to earth. That was . . . what she probably did was just part of her.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you ever go to Wendover? Have you . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, sure, I went to Wendover. Had supper there.

CROWE-CARRACO: In the dog-trot?

LEDFORD: Oh, it was nice. It was one of the nicest places. We went when Kenny was . . . he’s our ne-. . . he’s our oldest son, he’ll be thirty-one in–and he’ll kill me for this– in October, and we went for supper and took . . . that was our two oldest ones then, and we have these two, of course. And, you know, children were special, weren’t they, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh, yes.

LEDFORD: . . . when they went there? They took ’em to see the horses, and, oh, it was just great. And we even had a committee meeting there once. Loads of people, everything served beautifully, and she saw that 33:00everything was done right, you know? Not necessarily on a big, we say, scale, but just everything was nice.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you ever hear Leslie countians or Clay countians call Mrs. Breckinridge, “Mary”? Or was she always “Mrs. Breckinridge”?

LEDFORD: Well, I’m sure she was always “Miss Breckinridge”. She was . . . she was . . . and I don’t say that saying “Mary” wouldn’t be nice, but to h-. . . us she was so important it was “Mary” . . . “Miss Breckinridge.”

CROWE-CARRACO: What about the nurses? Were they always, “Miss So- and-so”?

LEDFORD: Absolutely. Umhmm. Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Was there much fraternization between the nurses? In other words, did the nurses date the local boys?

LEDFORD: No, there wasn’t. But there was a nurse from Big Creek . . . I mean Red Bird I believe married a boy from Big Creek, and I believe 34:00there was one from Flat Creek that was interested in a boy. Whether they married or not . . . and probably there’s more than that, you know. Fact is I believe somebody was saying something about another person had married a local boy down at Big Creek the other day. But personally I don’t know them. See, I only knew Miss Summers that was down there.

CROWE-CARRACO: That would be Vanda Summers?

LEDFORD: Vanda.

CROWE-CARRACO: Could you describe her to me? I’ve never met her. I know she and “Brownie” lived together.

LEDFORD: Yeah. Well, Miss Summers was a nurse . . . was . . . she was Dr. [John H.] Kooser’s nurse, I believe, when my first child was born. And I know that we were having a little trouble with breastfeeding, and when I went over and Mary Lee had gained just so much of an ounce–I . . . I used to remember that, five- tenths or something–and she was as excited as I was. I think she got excited because I did, and she just had to bring me right out there to the jeep. [Chuckle–Crowe-Carraco] And she was those . . . that kind of lady, was enthusiastic. A very attractive lady.
35:00

CROWE-CARRACO: Blonde, brunette?

LEDFORD: No, brunette.

CROWE-CARRACO: Brunette.

LEDFORD: Umhmm. Not tall tall, but rather tall. But speaking of “Brownie”, I think she’s . . . her eyes are what always impresses me so. And when my sister was home from St. Louis a few years ago, we went to Wendover to see “Brownie”. And we took a couple over, too, that was from . . . from Illinois. We was taking them to the places we thought would be interesting. And we took ’em over and they just couldn’t get over her just coming out and sitting down and talking to us. [Inaudible] [Chuckle]

CROWE-CARRACO: What about [Anne] MacKinnon? Did you know MacKinnon, or Anna Mae January?

LEDFORD: Miss January, yes, I surely did. I always thought she was such a lovely lady. What impressed me, she always remembered my first name. And I don’t think Georgia is all that easy to remember. And another 36:00lady I think is fantastic is Kate Ireland . . . two ladies, Miss [Betty] Lester.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yes.

LEDFORD: We were at Hyden the other night at a wake and, of course, the da-. . . the girl they had the wake for was one of Miss Lester’s babies, which was my second cousin. And we were talking, Miss Lester and I, because she’s coming back to my mom’s to eat dinner. And she had been there last year for chicken and dumplings and she . . . she wants that again, which makes me hungry. But anyway, I said, “You know, I think if we didn’t know you as well as we do, and took you for exact . . . your exact word,” I said, “I wouldn’t think you were your age.” She says, “I know that, Georgia.” I said, “Well, do you eat well?” “Sure do,” she said, and she started telling me what she ate. [Chuckle–Crowe-Carraco] She’s a lovely lady.

CROWE-CARRACO: I met Kate Ireland for the first time today.

LEDFORD: My niece works for her.

CROWE-CARRACO: Is she the lady in the house? Did I meet her today, too?
37:00

LEDFORD: No, I guess that she . . . she’s the secretary.

CROWE-CARRACO: No, I didn’t meet the . . . meet . . . I met the housekeeper, I think.

LEDFORD: Yeah, I did know her name, but I forget. It’s not Wooten, is it?

CROWE-CARRACO: No, I don’t think so.

LEDFORD: It’s not Mosley?

CROWE-CARRACO: That doesn’t sound right.

LEDFORD: Yeah.

CROWE-CARRACO: Well, you . . . you’ve said all the nurses that you’ve mentioned were lovely ladies.

LEDFORD: Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you ever get any sourpusses? My goodness, sounds like you’ve done . . .

LEDFORD: No, I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . very well.

LEDFORD: . . . haven’t run into that. But I have heard of some people saying, “I couldn’t get seen at certain hours,” and so forth, but I think what people forget sometimes that they are human, you know. And . . . and the nurses have . . . there is a change. See, used to, you never paid for anything much, and we were spoiled people, you understand? That was a free thing that Miss Breckinridge got going. You know, it was a charity thing. And . . . because she wanted the mountain women taken care of so bad. She saw such a need, and there was a need. But through the years there has been a change. People 38:00got to be more of . . . they just wanted a person that was on duty twenty- four hours a day. And now I hear talk of five days a week thing. So if we set this up at Red Bird in a better way . . . I’m not saying in a better way than we have had it, but it might be better for the nurses if they won’t be worked so hard, and will be better for the community if they can have like two nurses and possibly . . . Dr. Beasley says if it all goes well, could be that there would be three nurses down there some times, and naturally they could be able to give better service.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. I have wondered, if must have taken a very special sort of person to come here as a nurse.

LEDFORD: Absolutely.

CROWE-CARRACO: Because I have never heard anyone say that anyone was less than kind.

LEDFORD: Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Maybe you all are covering up and you don’t want to tell me somebody was a . . . just hateful or a sourpuss or hard to get along, or maybe they didn’t hire anybody who was like that.
39:00

LEDFORD: Well, I think when they hired them . . . I suppose Miss Breckinridge had that little talk with them that says, “Either you’re this kind of person or you don’t stay,” you know. I think she was almost that strong, and yet everybody admired her. And that was probably almost one of her rules. Now, that doesn’t mean that that nurse couldn’t get upset and probably would say, you know, “I have to take care of John before I can see you,” you know. But, yeah, I think that was probably . . . she probably had talked to ’em about this thing. See, something else I wanted to tell you that I can’t recall. Oh, yeah, I know what it was. See, the horses . . . in those days you were called out at night to deliver babies. Babies never picked the minute. And the father would go . . . the dad would go. And I think that was a rule, that you went to get them and you helped get them back home, you know. Because like Stevie [Joyce 40:00Stephens] and I were very good friends and she would come to eat with me, and she . . . her horse was named Rex, and she would mention him so often. When she went to England she would write me these letters and tell me what . . . it was just sort of she was over there but she was remembering here, and she wanted to stay here but her folks, I think, had become ill. Although she took time to work her way around the world [chuckle]. [Inaudible].

CROWE-CARRACO: What about Lydia Thompson? Did you know her, . . .

LEDFORD: No, I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . too?

LEDFORD: . . . didn’t know her.

CROWE-CARRACO: Okay.

LEDFORD: But, anyway, she would say, “I would just give Rex his head and he would take me home at night.”

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you think that attracted you to the nurses as a child, the fact that they had the horses and the dogs, or did everybody have a horse and a dog?

LEDFORD: Oh, everybody had a horse and a dog, unless you were just so . . . so poor. My dad had a fantastic horse, and I remember that. I think what’s . . . was striking with this horse, though, I don’t know where he had picked him up, but evidently he had gotten a good . . . he called him part . . . his racehorse. And, yeah, I think 41:00the nurses had better looking horses maybe than some people, but maybe not either. ‘Cause I know my grandmother said they always kept two big horses to ride. And I think that was just a way of li-. . . life here. Yeah, and they had the mules, too, for plowing. You had your mules for plowing and your horses for riding, unless you just couldn’t afford them.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you ever feel like . . . or did the people in the community feel like that the nurses had more than . . . the nurses were the “haves” while the community people were the “have nots”?

LEDFORD: No, I don’t . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you ever . . .

LEDFORD: . . . think so.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . find any jealousy of this type?

LEDFORD: No, I don’t think so. No.

CROWE-CARRACO: The nurses were willing to share then or . . .

LEDFORD: I think that most of the community people shared with the nurses because they respected ’em so after they learned ’em. And they knew they were here for the reason that they were. Naturally they had to get used to them. But still even then I don’t think that feeling was there at all, no.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did you find it hard to understand, say, the English 42:00nurses?

LEDFORD: No. No, I didn’t. I remember some English nurses coming to my father-in-law’s when he was a stroke patient in bed, and they said to him, “Where did you learn to speak like you do?” So, you know, after all you . . . you wouldn’t any trouble understanding people. No, I don’t think so. Now, if we’d had Spanish or some of those . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Well, see, I think [microphone interference] I meant by . . .

LEDFORD: Well, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . words that, you know, . . .

LEDFORD: . . . no, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . maybe . . .

LEDFORD: . . . I don’t think . . . there was one incident that I recall, and I wasn’t around then. I hadn’t married into the Ledford family then. The nurses came by Mama Ledford’s. Her son, “Hamp” [John Hampton], used to wash the horses for them in the river. And the . . . the lady . . . the nurse, I don’t know which one it was now, asked Mama Ledford did she have rhubarb. And she says, “Well, I don’t have rhubarb. No, I don’t have any of it.” And she says, “Well, Ollie, I know you do. I see it out in the garden.” But Mama had always called 43:00it pie plant.

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh!

LEDFORD: See, that’s . . . that’s the country name for it. Well, you know, you . . . you don’t understand everything all the time, but I don’t think we ever had any trouble. I guess, you know, [End Tape #1, Side #1]

LEDFORD: …I was kind of fortunate because my dad, being a school teacher, you know, it made a little difference. Not a lot of difference, because we associated with everybody. But we have a girl that’s from Canada now staying with Mama Ledford here. She works at Red Bird hospital. She just uses different words. They mean a different thing and ours means a different thing, but we kind of talk that over. No, I wasn’t aware of that when I was growing up that we couldn’t understand ’em.

CROWE-CARRACO: Are there any Flat Creek stories that you’d like to see preserved in this oral history project, say?
44:00

LEDFORD: Flat Creek stories?

CROWE-CARRACO: Yes. Anything that is particularly Flat Creek. Is Flat Creek the one that was the prefabricated . . .

LEDFORD: No.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . clinic?

LEDFORD: Oh, prefabricated clinic.

CROWE-CARRACO: That . . .

LEDFORD: Let’s see.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . that Willeford and Peacock brought the lumber and . . . to build or . . .

LEDFORD: Flat Creek is where they were. I imagine so. Now, whether they moved to Red Bird or not, I don’t recall. I don’t remember that. Well, I don’t know. I know the nurses used to do things like having parties for young people. That’s not exactly a story, but we had a party there one night and we had . . . oh, let’s see, what is the game you play when you–and we’ve done it here already–you hide everything in different places . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Oh.

LEDFORD: . . . and you have to go hunt. What are we thinking about?

CROWE-CARRACO: Treasure hunt or . . .

LEDFORD: It’s like a treasure hunt.
45:00

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . scavenger hunt?

LEDFORD: Scavenger, right. Scavenger, that’s the word. And they just had this, it was fantastic. And we had . . . oh, I bet we had twenty-five young people. And it was just such a good time. We had games and we had lots of things to eat. And I suppose, you know, the nurses had different food than we had been used to. You know, they cooked different things, probably something strange. I can’t recall right now what it would be.

CROWE-CARRACO: What about tea? Did you ever have tea at Flat Creek?

LEDFORD: Oh, sure!

CROWE-CARRACO: Or you may have had tea as . . . in your family.

LEDFORD: Oh, yeah. We . . . we’re tea lovers. But I remember Miss Broomfield had gotten this . . . she had the regular loose tea from England and . . . and that was when I learned to take my tea kettle to the . . . pot to the tea kettle, not take the tea kettle to the pot. That way you kept it bubbly boiling. And, yeah, we had tea.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did . . .

LEDFORD: It was . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . Nora Kelly . . . excuse me, go ahead.

LEDFORD: . . . no, the tea was stronger than I was used to, but it 46:00was good.

CROWE-CARRACO: And you drank it hot.

LEDFORD: We drank it hot. I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: With cream in it?

LEDFORD: . . . still drink . . . I still drink it h-. . . I’ve changed the cream. That was [chamomile?] tea, wasn’t it? I’ve changed that. I . . . I don’t put cream in mine anymore. We had a friend that used to always have to have milk in his tea when he came to visit me. I finally got away from that.

CROWE-CARRACO: I like lemon better personally. [Chuckle]

LEDFORD: We use lemon now, but the tea . . . and that was what my children were brought up on, milk with tea and lots of sugar, you know, when we’d have a little tea party.

CROWE-CARRACO: Did Nora Kelly teach you to knit by chance, or did your mother?

LEDFORD: Both. We had knitting class when Nora was there. Umhmm. I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Tell me a little bit about Nora as a . . . as a nurse here.

LEDFORD: Nora was a person that if you didn’t know her, you would think she was short-voiced. You know, like sort of . . . not cross but she had a short cut off to her voice. But she was a fantastic nurse. She visited my dad when she came back from England, oh, and that’s 47:00been like ten years ago. And actually he . . . she hadn’t changed all that much.

CROWE-CARRACO: I can recognize her in the pictures.

LEDFORD: Do you? Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: She’s going to Canada this fall.

LEDFORD: Oh, really? Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: Maybe she’ll come down, but she says she won’t have time but . . .

LEDFORD: Oh, wouldn’t that be lovely. I’d like to see her again, take her up to see my mom. And Miss Tinline came, she visited my folks and my in-laws, and I’m sure a lot of other people in the community. Yeah, Nora had a fantastic knitting class. Just fantastic.

CROWE-CARRACO: Nora told me that people here would remember her. She was feisty. Do you [chuckle] remember her as feisty [chuckle]?

LEDFORD: Yeah, kind of feisty. Cut up a little bit. Said some of those things that you wouldn’t think ladies would say, but it was all sweet. [Chuckle] Oh, she and my dad could have long talks. She was one of those intelligent ladies that you wish you could just store a little bit of that up that she’d say, you know, and then you could go back and take it off the shelf and listen to it. She was nice.
48:00

CROWE-CARRACO: I did en-. . . I did enjoy meeting her, I must admit.

LEDFORD: I’m sure you did.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah. Had a lovely time at her house.

LEDFORD: Yeah. What kind of house does she have, a nice house?

CROWE-CARRACO: She called it a bungalow, and it really didn’t have any steps, so it could be easier, kind of, to get in and out, I guess, in her old age. She and her sister Violet live together and I think their house has three bedrooms.

LEDFORD: Well, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: And . . .

LEDFORD: . . . you know, Miss Stephens has bought a place.

CROWE-CARRACO: In the [Cotswolds?] . . .

LEDFORD: Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . in . . . in Gloucester.

LEDFORD: Right. This is her first home she’s ever owned, I think. And they said they were . . . I was just reading in the Bulletin, because my mom gets the Bulletin, and they were . . . she was setting trees until dark, they said. And this area at Flat Creek, you know, here is . . . here is the center. Back here’s a little garden, and here is the . . . you know, the yard, the driveway. And this whole yard . . . and it’s . . . it’s as big as that area out there, she had that all in different flowers in the summer. I mean 49:00that was just beautiful. She loves that. It was just fantastic. And I’m sure her place in England, I’ll bet it’s something.

CROWE-CARRACO: Kelly told me that once–and I don’t know if she was at Flat Creek, or if she was at Confluence–Mrs. Breckinridge came out and says, “Kelly, what’s wrong? It’s not pretty like an English garden. Plant some flowers.” [Chuckle–Ledford] And she said . . . she said, “I don’t know how.” And Mrs. Breckinridge said, “Learn.” [Chuckle]

LEDFORD: Learn. Right. That was probably her attitude. You learned what you didn’t know and you learned to, you know, improvise a lot probably.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you–and this is a question you may not want to answer–do you think in the early days the Frontier Nursing Service did too much for the local people? It robbed them of their independence?
50:00

LEDFORD: Oh, no, not of their independence. Surely not. The only thing I would think maybe too much that was done that might have bothered us at all, or hurt us at all, would be now that we’ve come up against inflation and not enough money, we had been so pampered from getting all this good care that it was hard for us to change there. No, I don’t think anything was ever taken away from people.

CROWE-CARRACO: I don’t know if you’re familiar with Harry Caudill.

LEDFORD: Oh, I know his book.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. You know, this is one of the points that he makes in his book, that outsiders often times . . . the missionary influence, the coal companies, the timber companies, they, in a sense, exploited the people. They took away some of their ability to be independent, gave them too much, perhaps. And I wondered if you felt 51:00that the FNS had in any way been guilty of that, too?

LEDFORD: Not in this case. I think that was more of a helping hand. Now, I don’t think if come into somebody’s house and want them to change their furniture, or change the way they cook, or to change the way they wear their clothes just because you want ’em to, unless you have a good reason behind it, I think you’re doing absolutely wrong. Now, if he sees that side of some of those things, I think he has his right to that belief. But FNS, I can’t see that.

CROWE-CARRACO: Do you think the FNS still has an important mission? Well, I guess you do or you wouldn’t have gone in when . . . this idea of . . .

LEDFORD: Right. I . . . I think there has been a change, and I think if people . . . if we can get the people still to come into the clinics and keep what we have and maybe let it grow a little bit in this area, yeah, I think that they do have. I mean, just like up at Mud Lick. Now, when the nurse goes up there that day, there may 52:00be any number of people that couldn’t get out to Manchester, Red Bird, or whatever. And if she has the time, she’s gonna go into that home. And . . . and, you know, even if it’s just a bad wound that needs clearing out or whatever, clean it up. Sure, I think it is.

CROWE-CARRACO: I am pleased, personally, to see that the FNS seems to be em-. . . employing in, you know, the nurse practitioner or the mi-. . . nurse midwife capacity more Kentucky people as opposed to all outsiders.

LEDFORD: Well, you see, Carol, the thing . . . yeah. You see, what it is, those nurses are fantastic. I mean they have been trained to do so much. But the . . . the thing of it is, so many times here we have been taught, you know . . . the nurse took care of a lot. But then when the hospitals came in, people got to going to the doctor’s and somewhere along the way we think maybe the doctor is the one to 53:00say, “Well, do so-and-so,” and when in reality if you would get to that nurse right when you should, why, she can do so much for you, . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah.

LEDFORD: . . . you know. And the people have to have . . . you know, get to believing in her and know that she can do this. So that is one of the things that’s so good about not moving the nurses from center to center. That has really hurt sometimes.

CROWE-CARRACO: The turnover, then.

LEDFORD: The turnover, yeah. See, each person has a different personality. You get used to a personality, why, you’re gonna either like or dislike. And maybe if you dislike sometime, you’re gonna learn to like. And that person is changed to another person, you’re gonna have to start all over again in your thinking along those lines.

CROWE-CARRACO: I know in the early days the contracts that the girls signed . . . the nurses signed were for two years, and I suppose really what you’re saying then is in two years, you really haven’t gained enough confidence or anything to . . .

LEDFORD: Well, you might have gained enough confidence, but if that’s broken when you have to leave there, you have a let-down.

CROWE-CARRACO: Yeah, and you have to start all over again.
54:00

LEDFORD: Right.

CROWE-CARRACO: I see what you mean.

LEDFORD: Umhmm.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right. I think I’ve probably taken much more of your time than I . . .

LEDFORD: All right.

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . should have. I do appreciate this. And if you think of anything else you want to tell me, and I’m sure that Dale [Deaton] will probably be back again to pick your brain . . .

LEDFORD: Okay. He’s welcome to come back. I . . . I can’t think of anything else, but I’m sure there’s things, you know, you just . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: The minute I drive away you’ll probably say, “Well, I should have said . . .

LEDFORD: I . . .

CROWE-CARRACO: . . . thus and such.”

LEDFORD: . . . know. Well, I might jot down a few things on paper if I think of something.

CROWE-CARRACO: All right.

LEDFORD: Well, I think you’ve been very pleasant, you know. Sometimes you’ll just be wondering who’s coming . . . [End of Interview]

OFF

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Carolyn


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