Sadie Hill Gass Interview Text

Subject: Sadie Hill Gass, 75 years old

Interviewer: Cassidy Shrope


Interviewer: What was it like to grow up in your family?

Sadie Hill: I was the oldest, so I had to help my mother with my brothers. My younger brother was deaf, so my mom would have me try and teach him the alphabet.  And I remember Bill because he was only 15 months younger.


Interviewer: Did you have a hobbies when you were growing up?

Sadie Hill: My mother liked to sew, so I guess she had me to do buttons. That was the first thing. And then I made clothes for my dolls.


Interviewer: Did your family listen to music?

Sadie Hill: We had a radio on a stand, and I would listen to it and make believe I was playing the piano. Because my grandmother had a piano.  


Interviewer: Have you ever have a pet?

Sadie Hill: We had a dog. And my dad used her for hunting.  And once in a while she had puppies.  We couldn’t get to the coup to see the puppies, but since Stevie was hard of hearing he could just crawl in the barrell with the dog– and the puppies.


Interviewer: How and where did you spend your summers?

Sadie Hill: I used to go to my grandmother, my mom’s mom.  I was over there a lot.  


Interviewer: Was there a family member you considered a character– who was very eccentric or something?

Sadie Hill: I don’t think so.  .But, you know, if you’re not exposed to anything else, everything around you is normal.  


Interviewer: Where did you live growing up?

Sadie Hill: Always in Stillwater. Always.


Interviewer: Always?

Sadie Hill: Always.  


Interviewer: What was it like?  

Sadie Hill: Well,we were family oriented. My mother was very young, and she was young when we had us kids, so we just did a lot of things together. Like we didn’t have running water, so she had to go to the spring and carry the water to the house for all our uses. You know, if bathing or washing clothes or bathrooms em, or whatever. But she had to take and– and heat water. We did not have much, but we didn’t know.  


Interviewer:  Did you have your own room?

Sadie Hill: Yes.  


Interviewer:  Did your brothers ever share a room or anything?  

Sadie HIll: They shared a room.  But then as Davy got older, he went away to school.  


Interviewer:  How is Stillwater different now from how it is today?

Sadie Hill:  We could walk and we didn’t have to be afraid or anything.  Because we would walk from Wall Street to grandma’s, and my grandma had state kids, so I had other kids to play with.  We would play jump rope and hop scotch, and once we even found an old baby carriage, and the wheels were still on it and we;d push each other up and down the road.  


Interviewer: What was school like?  

Sadie Hill:  I went to Stillwater School.  It was the first year, we had it consolidated, which was four rooms.  And we had everyone from Stillwater,  Swartswood, and Middleville, Paulinskill.  It was very close; everyone knew each other.  


Interviewer:  Was formal education valued in your family?

Sadie Hill: Well when I got to high school, my dad said, “just take a common general course, because you’re just gonna be a housewife.”  And that wasn’t too smart, I didn’t think.  Because I would have liked to learn to type or bookkeeping, or things like that.  


Interviewer:  Did you join any sports teams or join any clubs?

Sadie Hill:  We had 4-H in school.  And I used to make things and take them to the fair.  I don’t know what it is that I painted, but I painted something, and that was fun.  Oh, we also had church.  You always went to church on Sunday and Sunday school.  We used to meet with Presbyterian youth and go on hay rides.  We were doing more away from home, and my grandma wouldn’t let her state girls go anywhere, so we’d go down and say, “Well if mom says we can go, they can go.”  And that’s how we all used to go out.  


Interviewer: How is life today your could not have imagined when you were younger?

Sadie Hill: Having three families. I never thought I would have three families. I started with nothing every time.

Interviewer:When you graduated from school, what were your plans? Did you go and get a career?

Sadie Hill: I would have liked– I thought at one point that I would go and be a cop or something. But I knew I had to help my mother.  


Interviewer:Looking back at your life, what are you most proud of?

Sadie Hill: My kids.