Garland Scott Tucker, Jr.
“My name is Garland Scott Tucker Junior. I was born in this house at 420 North Blount Street in 1919 and lived in the house until 1942 and my mother lived in the house until she died in 1972. I believe the state property manager was named Mr. Carroll Mann. He called me and told me that the state had instructed him to buy everything from New Bern Avenue to Peace Street and from Person Street to Halifax Street. So we worked it out to give it to the City. I called Mr. Mann (laughing) and said, ‘Ya’ll are on the ball. I had hardly worked it out to get the deed signed and went back over there to get some of my clothes, and you had had my car towed.’ He said, ‘Well, you stay right where you are. We’ll bring it back to the front door for you.’
“My daddy was born on Hillsborough Street, in the house that is now the Democratic Headquarters. That was his grandfather’s house. And the Yankee army took that over as headquarters. And when they went there, they told my grandmother that General Sherman had sent them to get her carriage and she said “You tell him if he wants my carriage, he’ll have to come after it himself.” And they went back and told him and apparently he wrote a letter apologizing.”
“They talk about us having a Depression now, but you look at the football games and the stadiums are full and you look at the Rockettes show over in Durham and it’s sold out. It’s an odd kind of depression that we’re having. When I used to see a crowd during the Depression (in the 30s), it was people standing in line for soup. I remember people would knock at the door and want to know if you had any work they could do. Mother would always ask them if they’d had anything to eat, and she’d tell them they could come around the back and she’d sit them down and give them her plate to eat if they were hungry.”
“There was the prettiest girl you ever have seen. Her last name was Batchelor. She looked real pretty riding her horse and she often went riding down there on Fayetteville Street. I was down there one day when she rode the horse up on the sidewalk. A policeman came up to her and said, “Young lady, you can’t ride up here. you got to get her down onto the street.” She looked right at him and said, “When you speak to a lady, take your hat off.”
The good thing about back then… you were happy with what you had. It seemed to me that life moved a whole lot slower. I would get out of school on Friday afternoon and it was a long time until Monday.”
“It was a good life and I thank the good Lord that he’s left me here as long as He has to see as much of it as I have.” – Garland S. Tucker, Jr.
Garland Tucker was born in 1919, four years after his father built the Tucker House at 420 North Blount Street. He lived there until he moved out to marry his wife of over sixty years. His mother lived in their house until she passed away in 1972, at which point Garland donated the house to the State of North Carolina.
To hear his interview, press “play” below.