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Audio Recording "I don't know why my mother can't do something like this."

"I don’t know why my mother can’t do something like this."

About this Item


  • "I don't know why my mother can't do something like this."


  • Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
  • Todd, Zenna, 1916-2012 (Interviewee)
  • Todd, Zenna, 1916-2012 (Creator)

Created / Published

  • Ennice, North Carolina


  • -  income
  • -  artistic hobbies
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Interviews
  • -  United States -- North Carolina -- Ennice


  • Ethnography
  • Interviews


  • -  Mrs. Todd started making quilts for her family to use when she was 25. She teaches quiltmaking and makes quilts to sell through a local shop to supplement her income. Geraldine Johnson described her as "a bubbly, enthusiastic person who would be a natural à interpreter of Blue Ridge quilts." This interview includes good information on the economics and practice of making quilts to sell, criteria for selection of materials to use in quilts, and how quiltmaking has changed over time.
  • -  Transcription: ZT: You know, the funniest thing, Nora Virginia's sister Lena, I don't guess you ever met her, me and her went to a flea market. And we didn't know whether they'd set up our quilts and so on to sell 'em, you know. And we had quilts and dolls and, had a little, we just had a variety of stuff, you know. And it was down at Yadkinville, and, one woman come through, and everybody was looking, you know, and, and we sold a lot of stuff, too. And I just loved to do it. And this woman come through and she says, My goodness, she says, I don't know why in the world that my mother can't do something like this. Says, says all she does is take nerve pills and complain. And walk through the house and rub her hands together. Says, she picked up something, I forget what it was, that it was very simple. She says, now it just looks like that she could do that right there, says, if I knowed she could do that, I'd just buy it, and go get her the material and let her do that. And she stood there and looked at it and looked at it, and after a while she says, no use of that, says, she won't do it. Says, she won't offer to do that. Says, since she's quit work, and retired, says, she just walks the floor and just worries herself to death. And that's why I say, the younger people needs to do this, so, as they grow older, and they retire, and they can't work on a job, and they can't do, they can at least keep theirself busy. Even if they don't sell it, they can make it and give it to their children, grandchildren, and accomplish something.
  • -  For rights information please contact the Folklife Reading Room at


  • Sound tape reel : 7 in.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R102

Source Collection

  • Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1982/009)


  • American Folklife Center

Online Format

  • audio

Rights & Access

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Credit line: Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project collection (AFC 1982/009), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Zenna Todd, and Zenna Todd. "I don't know why my mother can't do something like this.". Ennice, North Carolina, 1978. Audio.

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Todd, Z. & Todd, Z. (1978) "I don't know why my mother can't do something like this.". Ennice, North Carolina. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Zenna Todd, and Zenna Todd. "I don't know why my mother can't do something like this.". Ennice, North Carolina, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.