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´╗┐Jessica Taylor: Oh.

Joe Forte: Now you're going.

Jessica: This is Jessica Taylor, and I'm interviewing--

Dennis Hines: Dennis Hines.

Jessica: Hines. Can you spell that?

Dennis: H-I-N-E-S.

Jessica: Great. And when were you born Mr. Hines?

Dennis: Uh, 1962.

Jessica: 1962? And here, or somewhere else?

Dennis: I was born in Galax Hospital.

Jessica: Okay.

Dennis: Started down here in Fries and they moved me to Galax, 'fore I got here.

Jessica: And where's your family from?

Dennis: Fries.

Jessica: Fries?

Dennis: Well, Fries and Stevens Creek--the surrounding areas.

Jessica: Okay, and what did your parents do?

Dennis: They worked in the cotton mill. My dad did. And then my-- grandma and grandpa, they worked in the cotton mill.

Jessica: So going far back.

Dennis: Uhh, my great-grandaddy worked in the cotton mill.

Jessica: Really, what was your great-grandaddy's name?

Dennis: Hurley Hines.

Jessica: Okay. And what were your grandparents' names?

Dennis: My granddaddy was Hobert Hines, he went by Hodey, and then my 1:00grandmother was Evelyn. And my dad was Carroll Dean Hines.

Jessica: Colonel Deen?

Dennis: Carroll Dean.

Jessica: Carroll Dean, okay.

Dennis: He led a strike at one time, at the cotton mill.

Jessica: Can you tell us about that?

Dennis: Well I don't--I got a newspaper article on it at the house. But they wouldn't even unionize. But my daddy got 'em all together, and wasn't getting things done like they wanted, so he led a strike out. Well therefore, I never did get hired in the cotton mill. [Laughter] So I never got to work there, but I worked in the cotton mill at Galax.

Jessica: Oh wow! What kind of person was your father?

Dennis: I'll have to say headstrong and leave it at that.

Jessica: Okay. Alright. I see some laughing in the corner of my eye there. Okay.

Dennis: Let's just say headstrong [Laughter].

Jessica: Headstrong. Okay. Well you were telling a story about someone being fired.

Dennis: I heard my grandaddy say that, I believe his name, he was a Kinzer, and I believe it was Cecil Kinzer. He played bluegrass music at that time, or old 2:00time, I'm not sure which. But he got to singin' the cotton mill blues. And they told him at the cotton mill, if he didn't quit singin' that out in public, then he'd lose his job. And he didn't quit, and they fired him. For singing the cotton mill blues.

Jessica: Why did they fire him?

Dennis: Well, back then they didn't want nobody making fun of the cotton mill. You had to be a, I guess an upstanding citizen. You couldn't drink, you couldn't have family problems. If you and your wife got caught fussin' in public, they'd fire you. If they found alcoholic containers in your trash can, which they would look, they would fire you.

Jessica: Wow. You were also telling me about maybe some, uh, policing of-- young women's behavior--.

Dennis: It's, uh, I don't know their names, but I remember my grandad talkin' about 'em. A girl, young girl, got pregnant, out of wedlock. And not only was 3:00she put out of town, but their whole family was put out of town. And they moved up next to Iron Mountain, into a house up there.

Jessica: Had they worked in the mill previously?

Dennis: They had. They was working in the mill at the time. So--

Jessica: So they continued to work in the mill after?

Dennis: Now, I'm not sure whether they got to keep their job or not, I know they had to leave town.

Jessica: Okay. What did your grandfather tell you about what it was like to live here when he was here?

Dennis: He musta liked it, cause he lived here all of his life. You know, and he raised me, so--

Jessica: Oh, he did?

Dennis: He sure did.

Jessica: Okay, what kind of person was he?

Dennis: My grandaddy? According to me: one of the best.

Jessica: Okay!

Dennis: According to some other people, he may uh, may not have been one of the best, but according to me he was.

T and Dennis: [Laughter]

Jessica: Why would he not have been the best according to some other--

Dennis: Well, no, you know, he just, you know, he was just a hard worker. He would work all day, and then he'd go in the cotton mill, work in the night. And Horace Hill, he'd deliver, had a coal yard down here, right below the rec 4:00center, and my grandad would even haul coal for Horace Hill. Well he worked a lot trying to make ends meet.

Jessica: So not a lot of time for fun?

Dennis: Well, I never wanted for nothing.

Jessica: Mm-hmm.

Dennis: But you know, he worked hard.

Jessica: Okay. So what part of Fries did your grandfather live in?

Dennis: At one time, he lived down here in Fries. Then he moved out of Fries, moved up into what they call Stevens Creek. Then he went from Stevens Creek to Green Valley, and then that's where I come along, was in Green Valley, and then he built him a house in Taylors Chapel.

Jessica: Okay, so do you remember Green Valley?

Dennis: I do.

Jessica: Oh, what are your earliest memories of that?

Dennis: The old diner with the--wasn't a diner--it was a little restaurant was up above us. The Grill, was what they called it. And we was right in behind The Grill, and I can remember The Grill. That was back in the day, if you got a hot dog, man that was a treasure. If you got a bottle of pop once a week, that was a 5:00treasure. Cause you didn't get that all the time. Not like we do now.

Jessica: So The Grill had hot dogs and, and pop.

Dennis: They had hot dogs and hamburgers.

Jessica: So you could probably smell it from your house.

Dennis: We could smell it, and I'd get one once in a while, so-- But I would think I was five or six when we moved from there to Taylors Chapel.

Jessica: Okay. And what was Taylors Chapel like?

Dennis: Wonderful.

Jessica: Mm-hmm.

Dennis: Just a little small house here and there.

Jessica: Okay. Did your grandfather ever talk about what it was like working at the mill?

Dennis: He never would say a lot about it. It was--he'd say it was hard work, and you know, and he is, he worked, he done his job, like everybody else. He was a fixer at one--I believe the last job he had was fixin'.

Jessica: What does that mean?

Dennis: Keepin' the machines runnin'.

Jessica: Okay. And you said something about the last bolt of cloth. What was that about?

Dennis: Well, They's a guy that's got the last draw of cloth, I know.

Jessica: Okay.

Dennis: When uh, when they shut down, I think they's a lot of 'em in there, 6:00dreading leaving, and they walked over and everything completely quit running, he cut the last draw, last roll of cloth off. And he's talked about donating it to different ones now and then, but he's never decided what he wanted to do with it.

Jessica: Oh wow--

Dennis: And I won't give his name out of respect.

Jessica: Um, so, do you remember when the mill closed?

Dennis: I do.

Jessica: What was that like?

Dennis: It was heartbreaking. A lot of families suffered. You know, and that's what kept the town of Fries going. You know, at that time it was a boomin' little town. And it was just sad to see it go. You know, you lost the railroad, you lost everything when that happened.

Jessica: Do you remember hearing about it? Like, what it was like to hear about it closing? Or that it might close?

Dennis: I remember it happening.

Jessica: Okay.

Dennis: So.

Jessica: Okay. Did it happen over the course of a day, or like a couple weeks?

Dennis: Well they just started layin' 'em off, you know it, it went gradually. And then when it finally shut down, you know, that was it. And then, you know, the most, the most heartbreaking thing was seeing it tore down and took away. 7:00Y'know when it went out of here on trucks.

Jessica: So people watched that happen?

Dennis: Yeah, y'know, we had to, we live here. Y'know you had to see it. Y'know, your trucks coming in and tearing it down and left out. Y'know, they tore it down and it was gone. The only thing left is the-- where they make the power now.

Jessica: So what happened to Fries after the mill closed?

Dennis: It just started suffering a little along into the where we're at now. Y'know, it's become a retirement community, what you might say.

Jessica: Okay.

Dennis: There's no real work here. Y'know, you have to go to Galax to work. Unless you work for one of the small businesses around here somewhere. Y'know, you could be fortunate enough to do that. There's no big factories. We have a small upholstery factory, it makes furniture, or the supermarket used to be up the road. And really, that's the only factory we have in Fries.

Jessica: What do you hope for the future of Fries?


Dennis: Boy, you put me on the spot there, didn't you? I just hope it prospers and does good. Continues on like it is.

Jessica: Mm-hmm.

Dennis: Everybody knows everybody, and everybody speaks to everybody. And you get away from here and you speak to somebody out on the street and they wanna know what you want. If you don't speak to someone on the street down here, they gonna think you're mad at 'em.

Jessica: Um, what other stories do you want to share with us today?

Dennis: That's-- That's enough.

Jessica: Did you have any questions for him?

Joe: I'm curious about, uh, the complexity of the mill closing in your perception, right? So, you described earlier on, I think you said the mayor, wouldn't--with the drinking, and looking through the trash for liquor bottles--


Dennis: It really wasn't the mayor that would come through, it was just policed.

Joe: Oh I misheard, okay. What was the connection with that policing to the degree to which the mill exercises control on the town?

Dennis: They had con--you, the-- Really I guess you could pretty much say the mill owned you. Because when they paid you, they paid you in scrip.

Joe: Yeah.

Dennis: And when the scrip was spent in the company store.

Joe: And what was your memory of your grandfather's perception of that arrangement?

Dennis: Now, when my, by the time my grandaddy come along, the scrip was no longer around.

Joe: Oh, okay.

Dennis: My great granddaddy may have had some script and done that, but to my knowledge, my grandad never had to do the scrip, cause he got paid. But it wasn't a lot, but he got enough to live by.

Joe: So when the mill closed, and you speak of that as the, it was a very sad time for the town. Folks were sorry to see the mill go.

Dennis: Well you, I mean you can imagine, y'know, that was where everybody worked.


Joe: Right.

Dennis: And they lost their way of life.

Joe: And by that time, a lot of the, sort of tight control the mill had over the town had--

Dennis: It had let up.

Joe: It let up. Okay.

Dennis: By that time, by that time it had let up. Cause the people owned the houses in Fries, the town no longer owned the houses. And, y'know, you got paid in money. And you could go to Galax or wherever you wanted to go to spend your money. You didn't have to spend it in Fries.

Joe: Okay. Yeah, I just wanted to clear that up a little. So by the time the mill closed, it had ceased to become the kind of company town that you described in the earlier stories.

Dennis: Yeah, by the time the mill closed, it, a lot of changes had made place. Cause that was up in the [19]80s. Y'know, things was a lot different then.

Joe: Yeah.

Dennis: Y'know, in the [19]80s and [19]90s it changed, y'know. It wasn't like it used to be in the [19]20s and [19]30s.

Joe: I also was curious, at the end you talked about, that you did have hope that the town could sort of revitalize in some sense. I mean, is there a way 11:00forward that you envision? Is there-- is you'd like to hold onto the smallness and the quaintness, the friendliness of the town. You'd like to see that remain.

Dennis: Well, I'm seeing that slip away.

Joe: Oh yeah?

Dennis: As, as more people move in, they're bringing their ways with 'em. And they want us to adapt to what their ways was. Instead of coming and adapting to our ways.

Joe: Yeah.

Dennis: Y'know, cause when people move in here, they want to bring their ways with 'em, they want to push our ways out, if you know what I'm trying to say.

Joe: Yeah.

Dennis: Cause have a lot of people comes in here, and then they fit right in, right with us, the adapt to our ways quickly. But I guess you can say, we're not really hillbillies, but we're-- we have our ways. Y'know, we're still friendly, we still believe in working and speaking to everybody, and a lot of us still believe a handshake means something. You can't deal on handshakes no more like you used to, but some of us still believe you can.

Joe: Alright, well, thank you for letting me ask these questions.

Dennis: Okay!

Joe: For the recording, I'm Joe Forte.


Jessica: Thank you sir. Alright, feel good about it?

Dennis: Mm-hmm.

Jessica: Thank you so much Mr. Dennis!

Dennis: Y'all have a good day!

Jessica: See, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Dennis: It wasn't bad.

Jessica: [Laughter]

Dennis: My grandaddy must be proud of me, he might regret I said some of it.

Jessica: No!

[End of recording]