Michelle Brown

Interviewees: Michelle Brown
IWY TX 082
Interviewer:   Laurel Shackelford
Date: November 18-21, 1977

 Michelle Brown, of Houston, was a steel worker employed by Armco Steel. An African-American woman, Brown reflected in this interview on how the federal government encouraged steel mills to hire women and people of color in the 1970s. Interview includes discussion of her position “hooking” steel, her time as a homemaker earlier in life, and the complex response of other steel workers to women in the plant. Brown discussed issues that impacted women in the plant, like access to women’s restrooms, childcare, and feminine hygiene products. She also described how men would post erotic photos in their work lockers and how this made her uncomfortable in the workplace. 

Sound Recording

Transcript 

Michelle Brown: They don’t really like the idea of women working side by side with them. They feel that the woman’s place in in the home, which I don’t agree. Most of us are single parents. We have families, and we’re out trying to make a living. You know, we’re trying to support our families. We could stay at home, take care of the kids, and, you know, wait for welfare. But I don’t want to do that; I want to be the independent person that I am. I want to work. And I find that type of work fascinating. It’s interesting.

Lauren Shackelford: How did you get into the steel worker business?

MB: How?

LS: Yes.

MB: I don’t know. I mean, from a kid, I’ve always found it fascinating. I’ve always wanted to be a part of seeing things that grow, and develop, and mature. And this is one way of doing it. This is fascinating.

LS: What company do you work for here in Houston?

MB: Armco Steel.

LS: Armco Steel. And what do you do?

MB: This is going to sound strange. I’m a hooker.

LS: You’re a what?

MB: A hooker.

LS: You’re a hooker. All right.

(Laughter)

MB: That means that I hook steel. Most people don’t quite take it that way.

LS: I don’t know what “hooking steel” means.

MB: Well, it means that . . . it depends on the form of steel that you have. We have rounds, and straights, and ingots, and billets, and so forth. And an angle. Which you use to for so many different things. And, say, if it’s got to be moved from one place to another for processing, you have a grain that comes through. And you have to hook up a particular lift of steel, a particular pile of steel, to take it someplace else. That’s a hook. And it’s . . .

LS: And how do you actually do that? Do you operate a piece of machinery that does it?

MB: No. Crane comes through, and it’s either a Mann Crane or a spreader bar, which is chains. And he lowers the chains, and you just pull the chain under the lift, which is raised up by a block of wood, or whatever. Pull the chain through the bottom. And you hook the link onto the hook, and it carries it away.

LS: How heavy is this chain?

MB: Oh, god, it’s pretty heavy. I would imagine that the . . . I really couldn’t give you the, even give you close to the, total weight of the chain. You wouldn’t even feel all the effects of it, anyway. You would just feel the effects of, say, one end of the chain — say, the loop of the chain, which would be, maybe, ten or fifteen pounds.

LS: Mm-hmm.

MB: Maybe thirty. You know, as high as thirty.

LS: Mm-hmm. So, then, you bring this around the load of steel, and you hook it on the . . .

MB: Right.

LS: . . . the part that leads back up to the crane?

MB: Right

LS:  How long have you been doing that?

MB: Almost three years. I mean, I’ve done various jobs. But this is just one that . . .

LS: How long have you been with Armco?

MB: Approximately three years. Almost three years.

LS: But were you with other steel companies before that?

MB: No. First experience.

LS: What were you doing before then?

MB: Before then, I was a housewife. I was married, stay at home every day. But now I’m divorced, and I have to work. And this is what I decided to do.

LS: How did you . . . . Was your divorce what prompted you to get into the steel work?

MB: No.

LS: Ok, what did you do when you got divorced? Just to support yourself and the children?

MB: What did I do then? Oh, I worked in a department store, as usual. Which wasn’t too much fun. It wasn’t very interesting. It does not pay enough money. It’s the type of job that makes you spend as much money as you make, in order to keep the appearance up to go to work. And that’s really not any good. And I’m just not interested in that. I wasn’t interested in that then, and definitely not interested in it now. The thing that I’m interested in is making enough money to survive. That’s the whole thing.

LS: Well, did you get the first steel worker job that you applied for?

MB: Yes, I did.

LS: You did? How did you get it? Were they reluctant to hire you?

MB: No. They were hiring, and they had a quota that they have to fill of minorities. And with me being a black woman, I’m what you call a double minority. So it’s two for one. And I guess that was the thing that made it so easy. The government said that they had to hire so many women. They had to fill the quota by a certain time. So that was how I got that.

LS: Well, you started out talking about . . . you were working in a whole sea of men. What’s that like, day-in-and-day-out?

MB: Well, it’s kind of hard to describe. It’s fun. But, yet still, it’s inconvenient. You can understand what “inconvenience” means. It means that . . . you need to go to a restroom. You’ve got to run around and find a guy, stop him from his work to get him to accompany you to a restroom.

LS: You’re kidding.

MB: No, I’m not kidding. Now, that’s one of the problems that I’m faced with. I’m faced with a number of problems right now. I am what you would call, I guess, the women’s representative for my union. And these are problems that I have fought with the company about. I’m still fighting with the company about. (Sound gets more distant at 6:53) And I’m sure it’s going to take, you know, quite a while to get all of these things done. But things need to be done. They don’t have enough child facilities. They were aware that they had to hire women. Ok. My point is, why is it that women don’t have the same facilities that the men have. And you provide showers and everything else for the men. Why can’t you provide it for the women? They have a few facilities here and there for the women. They’re sparing, you know: here and there. But, for men, they’re all over the plant.

We have what you call clock alleys. These are places where you enter and leave the plant, punch in and out, you know, by time clocks. In the main clock alley, they have child facilities. Unfortunate, that’s where I am right now. But, having worked down on the glass furnace end of the clock alley, they have no child facilities. If, at the end of my working day, if I had need, or have need, for a restroom, and some guy is going to be nice enough to give me a ride back around to my main clock alley, which is at the opposite end of the plant. I have to stand in the clock alley. If the call of nature occurs, I’m in trouble. Because I have to wait for him to shower, and get clean, and nice. And then I have to wait for him to punch out and ride all the way back around to the main clock alley, where I can go in and do the same thing. I’m in trouble.

LS: What kind of distance are we talking about? Why couldn’t you walk it?

MB: Why couldn’t I walk it? Because you’re talking about . . . my goodness… I don’t know how to estimate that in distance. I would say, like from seven, eight, maybe nine blocks.

LS: I see.

MB: I mean, when you finish a work day, you’re not in a mood for walking that distance, because here you are with your co-workers, people that you work with all day long, all night long, or whatever the case is. And they have the convenience of walking, you know, a few feet, you know, a short distance to a clock alley to sit down and punch out. I mean, why should you have to walk all the way across the plant to do the same thing? Which is very unfair. My company says that money isn’t allocated; they can’t build extra restrooms. They say that the law does not state that they have to provide shower facilities for the women. Granted, they’re partially right. They don’t. But they provided them for the men. The law didn’t say they had to provide them for the men. But they provided them for the men. And it has not been that many years, in that particular plant or elsewhere that it wasn’t such a black-and-white situation. Like with the restrooms, so. In most places, they have two restrooms right together. One was black, one was white. Now, what I’m trying to do, is to get those same questions converted. I mean, you have two restrooms, give one to the women.

LS: Well, now, are both of those restrooms, that were formally one black one white, are both used by men regardless of color? Or are they still segregated?

MB: No, they’re just used by everybody now.

LS: But not you.

MB: We use them. But we don’t have a restroom of our own. In other words, we don’t have the privacy. If there isn’t a sliding bolt latch on the door, you have to have a man stand outside and guard the door while you use the restroom. In most cases, you know, that problem has been solved, because that was one thing that I asked for that I did get right away. Because there have been some situations where a man has taken me to a restroom, and he’s been standing right outside. Some guy came along and decided that he was going to come in. And the guy said, “hey, you can’t go in, because there’s a woman in the restroom.” And he just disregarded the whole thing. You know, he decided that, “while I’m going to go in and wash my hands.” And they just come in. You know, if you don’t have separate facilities, then you’re going to run into these problems. You know, if you don’t have sliding bolts on the door, you’re going to run into these problems. We still have the same problems; I still have to take a man to the restroom with me to check it out first to see if it’s clear for me to go in. He doesn’t have to stand there and wait for me, because I can lock myself in.

But the . . . at one meeting, one of the fellows asked me, he said, “Well, Michelle, I can’t understand why you have to have all of these restrooms, where we have the two restroom situation. I can’t understand why you have to have one. You know, take one of those for the women, when you have, say, maybe five hundred men to three or four women in, say, a particular area.” My point is, if you have a thousand men, and you have one woman, you still need separate facilities. But they feel that you should walk, you know, two or three departments over to use the restroom. I mean, you have a few places inside the plant where they have designated certain restrooms for women. They’re not too many of them. I mean, I can count ‘em all on one hand and still have fingers left over. But my point is, why should I leave my immediate work area and have to go so far away to get to a restroom when there is a restroom only a few steps away from my immediate work area. You know this is (unintelligible at 14:11).

Ok, then we have other problems. Ok, being a woman, you know, you have physical differences at that time of the month. All right. This is something that I have had to discuss on a very, very open basis with a lot of men. You know, it’s not a very pleasant type of conversation. But, in order to get things that you need, or changes made, you got to sit down, you got to discuss these things.

LS: What are you talking about? Like getting a Tampax machine?

MB: That’s right. I had problems getting that. I finally got that. But now what they’re saying is that we can only have them in the clock alleys. Which I feel is unfair. If we can get the restrooms, throughout the plant, I can’t understand why that cannot be provided throughout the plant in our restrooms.

LS: Wait a minute, they’re consenting only to put sanitary napkin machines only in the clock alley restroom?

MB: Only.

LS: Why? What is their rationale for that?

MB: They don’t give a very clear answer on that. I’ve tried to figure out why. They seem to feel that we should put them in our hats, put them in our pockets and take them down when we know it’s our time. You can’t time such a thing. Everybody’s not regular. Even a regular person can’t mark it right down to the minute. You know, she might come very close to the day, and then she could be a day early, or a day late. And if you’re caught, you’re in trouble, and it could be . . . it could prove to be a very embarrassing situation for everybody concerned: for the woman as well as the man. And it’s kind of hard for a woman to hold her head up after that kind of thing happens, and she’s around practically all men. I mean, it’s a little bit better, I mean, if it’s women. I mean, you know, you’re embarrassed then. But being around practically all men, it’s pretty degrading. You know. But I can’t understand why we can’t have them in all of the restrooms. And this is the thing that I’m fighting so hard to change at this particular time. I’ve even had problems with getting as simple a thing as a mirror. I mean, we have a mirror. But it’s . . . I would imagine the mirror’s about eleven by fourteen. Maybe a size larger. But it’s only one mirror. And it’s placed pretty high up on the wall. And most women are relatively short. I myself, I’m approximately five seven. And I wear heels. So that makes me tall. The mirror’s just fine for me. Now, you take a girl who’s much shorter, say, five foot even. She’s got problems. And then you have, you know, several women in there at one time, and everybody’s trying to take the pin-curlers out, or rollers, and put on a little make-up to look a little decent. We have a menagerie.

LS: Is this when you’re coming to work, or going home?

MB: This is coming to. Or going home. Because, when you’re coming to work, you have people getting off of work. When you’re leaving, you have people that are coming to work. And everybody’s busy trying to do the same thing. Either they’re trying to use a mirror to roll hair up, or tie a headscarf on to cover their hair, or to take it loose and put on some make-up. So, you have this little teeny-tiny mirror. So, then you go down and sit in on the plant. Then you have to go into the men’s locker area, because, like I say, you don’t have a woman’s restroom on that end. And a guard takes you in, or he’s, you know, he checks it out to make sure that it’s empty. And he stands outside. And they just have a whole wall of mirrors, you know? Mirror from one end of the wall to the other. Great big, long, convenient thing. Men don’t use make-up. Or have that much hair to comb. You’re not trying to check stockings, or check to see if slips are showing, or whatever. But they have the conveniences. Women don’t. And then the men tells me, “Michelle, if I give you a full-length mirror, then I’ve got to do the same thing for the fellows.” That’s bunk. That is, that is just . . . bunk.

LS: All you have to do is take one of the men’s mirrors, which is horizontal, and turn it vertical.

MB: Right.

LS: Put it in your room.

MB: Right. But they . . . I don’t know. They tend to argue about everything. They don’t really wanna do a lot of giving, as far as women are concerned. It’s like I said, they’re not exactly ecstatically happy about women being out there. It’s a forced situation of the law. The government says that, you know, you have to hire women. So, they had to. They’re not happy with us being out there personally.

LS: I’m surprised to hear you say you would curl your hair, and wear make-up, and even wear heeled shoes to go to work at Armco.

MB: In the first place, I don’t want to lose my identity. I am a woman.

LS: Um-hmm.

MB: And I feel that I’m a feminine woman.

LS: Um-hmm.

MB: And when I leave the plant, I want to look as feminine as any other woman any place else. Say, one leaving an office. Well, just like the women that do leave the offices, right here in the plant. So, when you see me, you can’t just say, “well, I can look at her clothes and tell what her profession is. You know, what she does for a living. I mean, you look at me, and you see me. A woman. And that’s all. When my day is over, I want to leave the steel dust and the grease right where I find it: inside the gates. I don’t want to bring it home with me.

LS: So, you don’t wear the same clothes home that you’d . . .

MB: No, I do not.

LS: . . . work in?

MB: And, I mean, and for other reasons. I’m comfortable when I leave work. If I decide that I want to the Hyatt Regency, or anywhere, I can feel comfortable. I can stop any place that I want to stop, if the mood says stop. I can go to dinner right after work. I don’t have to worry about going home to shower and change clothes. I can stop any place I want to stop. I can go straight to the airport, catch a flight, go anywhere. There’s nothing that says that you got to leave work dirty.

LS: Mm-hmm.

MB: I mean you can leave that, you know, inside the gates. You don’t have to bring it out. I just never believed in it. From the first time that I started here until now, I just never believed in it. I’d think a lot of other women have gotten a message because they have really changed.

LS: Oh, really? Were you one of the first women hired by Armco?

MB: Well . . .

LS: To work in the plant.

MB: No, not one of the first. I would say one of the . . . . well . . . in, say, the first year that they hired, yes. From that point, yes. But not the . . . I would imagine I was probably in the second or the third group, which is to say, maybe, about a month or two from the first group. And I like the work.

LS: What do the other women . . . . How many other women are there? Working in the plant?

MB: I don’t know right now. Before they hired the last group of women, we had approximately forty-one permanent women. You know, from the first hiring. I don’t know how many women they have now. It’s not that many more.

LS: How many men?

MB: Oh, god. I really couldn’t say. It’s, oh, it’s hundreds. Just literally hundreds of men. They laid off over fifteen hundred. I don’t know what . . . I really couldn’t say how many. I haven’t . . . that’s something I haven’t bothered to keep up with. I’ve had too many other problems on my mind.

LS: Have you found that your views about working with Armco pretty much mesh with what the other women’s views are? Or are you somehow different?

MB: Oh, they’re pretty much the same.

LS: Are the women in there trying to get Tampax machines, and . . .

MB: No.

LS: . . . mirrors, or not?

MB: No.

LS: You’re taking a more active role than . . .

MB: Well, this started with me . . . . When you’re hired there, you have to work a probationary period. And, during a time of probation, you have to be careful about the things that you do, because, you know, they will fire you for anything. And what really made me go over to my union and start to raise a little sand about this was, I was put in a very awkward position. I mean, the women were constantly talking every day. And, “don’t like this, don’t like that.” My point was, you can’t get anything done if you’re going to stand here and argue and talk about it among yourselves. You’ve got to get together, go across the street as a group, sit down, and talk, and let your views be heard. And maybe you’ll get some action. Nobody ever bothered to do that.

It was my time of the month. And I asked my foreman if I could go to my locker to the front. And he wanted to know what for. And I told him it was very personal. So he says, “Well, nobody leave unless they tell me why.” You know, “I don’t care how personal it is, I have to know before you go. If you don’t tell me, you don’t go.” Ok, so I still tried to tell him it was very personal thing, and was something I didn’t want to discuss. And also, the man wasn’t going to let me go. So I had to tell him. And he was very nice: “Well, after all I am married. I have a wife. I understand these things.” I said, “Yes. But. That’s very personal to me. And I don’t think that I should have to discuss that with any man.”

LS: Right on.

MB: Ok. So, I went across the streets to the union hall. And I really didn’t have a right there. I really could have lost my job. But that was just the last straw for me. I went over there and I explained a lot of things. I told them what had happened. Told them that the commodes didn’t even have stalls. I just, you know, “look, when you go to the restroom, and you’ve got to go, and you’ve got to change your napkins, you don’t even have the privacy of doing that alone.” I say, “you’ve got to share that with your co-workers, you know, the other women. You don’t wanna share that.” So the man had stalls put on the doors. And he had a dispenser put down in my work area, which was the labor pool at that particular time.

LS: The labor pool?

MB: Labor pool, yes. Ok, that’s where all new people go. And, well, it made me happy. Because I assumed that, if they were in the labor pool, that he’d probably put dispensers all over the plant. But he didn’t. You know, just put them in the labor office area. You know.

Well, that was fine for right then, because that’s where I remained for quite some time. So, like I said, I never really knew about anything else. But from that time, up until this, I guess maybe I’ve been one of the main ones to go over there and do the most screamin’ about problems. And the union president decided that he was going to form a restroom/lunchroom committee, to kind of solve some of the problems, and find some of the problems out. And he felt that he had talked to a couple of other people who had been over there to complain. But he felt that I was the most vocal. So he just appoint me to the committee to try and iron out a lot of the problems. And I just . . . I don’t deal with problems of women. I deal with problems that everybody’s having. You know, they see me, they tell me what their problems are, and, once a month, I meet with the company — me and two other union representatives — and sit down, and we just kind of throw these things back and forth to see what we can do about making various improvements.

LS: What are some of the subtler forms of . . . subtler problems that you’ve had besides the flagrant restroom things?

MB: As a whole, or . . . woman?

LS: As a woman working in the Armco plant.

MB: As a woman? Well, when we first started, we had to . . . all of the lunch rooms were just loaded with pin-ups.

LS: You’re kidding.

MB: I mean, not just your calendar-type pin-ups, but you’re really, really . . . how would you put it? I mean, I can’t really describe . . .

LS: Pornographic?

MB: Yeah, really. Triple X-rated type pictures. But grandually [sic] the fellows have taken them down, and now there are very few places that you go to that you would even see them, unless somebody would maybe open up a locker, or something, and you might see a picture tacked inside. And usually, this happens where, say in a department where they haven’t really had any women to come and say, on a permanent job, that . . .

LS: How have you gone about getting rid of those?

MB: What, the pictures? I haven’t. I didn’t even think about that. It’s just something that the guys just . . . they realize that these things just shouldn’t be around, I would imagine that that was . . .

LS: That’s interesting.

MB: They just took them down. I mean, nobody really said anything to them. But I mean, it’s . . . I can understand what it is for them, because it’s, basically, that’s been a man’s world. And all of a sudden, you know, you’re invaded, bombarded by, a bunch of women. And they’re accustomed to saying what they wanna say, and telling all of their little dirty jokes. And they don’t always use the restroom. You know. They just go wherever it’s convenient. And I have caught so many men still doing that, because they forget. They forget that women are there. And you catch them. And there are people who have lockers in their work areas, which are kind of like outside. And you just catch ‘em with their pants down — you catch ‘em with them off: really changing clothes. And, like I said, they forget. I mean, they’re aware that the women are there. But it’s a thing that’s going to . . . it’s just going to take time for them to get totally adjusted.

LS: Have you ever had any problems, Michelle, with wives of any of your male co-workers judging your being there?

MB: I haven’t. No. I would imagine that somebody’s had some problems. But usually I hear everything that goes on around the plant, and — just one of those people, I guess. Not nosy. But they generally come to me, and mention certain things. But I haven’t heard anything. But I would imagine that it goes on.

LS: What about your personal background? Are you originally from Houston? What did your parents . . .

MB: Yes.

LS: . . . do?

MB: I, well, my parents were divorcées. My mother lived here. My father lives in L.A.

LS: Did you come from a big family?

MB: No. A very small family. Very very close family ties.

LS: Did your mother work?

MB: Yes she did. Quite a bit. She wasn’t a professional woman, but, see, the lady had . . . I don’t know how to describe it. She had a wonderful personality. She’s a very, very impressive person. She’s a very well-read person. Most people just thought that she had education coming out of her ears. She really didn’t have that much, other than a high school education.

LS: What kind of work did she do?

MB: Selling. Basically, selling.

LS: Same kind of job you started out in after you got your divorce?

MB: Same kind.

LS: What do you think she would think of your work now?

MB: Well, I think she’d like it. She would . . . I think she’d be proud of it. I really do.

LS: How does your father feel about it?

MB: My father? My father doesn’t know very much about what’s happening with me, or with my work. And, I don’t know, maybe it’s because we’re so far apart. We’re not very close. At all. We communicate now and then on the phone. That’s about it. See each other . . .

LS: Said you were a close-knit family, though, when you were young. What happened to change that?

MB: Well, my family started moving away, and that’s what happened with that. Most of them moved to Los Angeles, and I’m basically the only one that’s really left here in Houston.

LS: How old are your children?

MB: I only have one.

LS: Oh, just one.

MB: I have a ten-year-old son.

LS: And have you had any trouble with him as far as accepting what you do, or . . .

MB: Oh, he thinks it’s great.

LS: He does? He doesn’t get any flack from his school children friends?

MB: Are you kidding? No.

LS: No?

MB: Nah. None whatsoever. It’s a different kind of job, and he’s happy about it, so. I would imagine that, even if he did, he’d probably just turn a deaf ear to it, because he is excited about it. I try to keep him informed as much as I possibly can, whenever I find pictures or magazines of some of the things that go on. You know, inside of a steel plant. I cut them out or show them to him. Make a point, you know, of showing these things to him, so he’ll have an idea as to what really happens in the process of making steel. Just how it’s done. He finds it very, very exciting. You know, as exciting as I find it.

LS: You mentioned at the beginning of our talk that one of the reasons that you came to the IWY conference was you were looking to find solutions to problems that you’ve had at work here at the conference.

MB: Right. Right, right.

LS: What kind of solutions were you looking for?

MB: Well, I really need to know more about organizing, how to get the women organized inside the plant, without it being a conflict. Without it conflicting with the union. And I don’t really know how to do that. And I felt that, maybe, I would meet someone, or a group. And maybe they would give me some ideas on how to do this, or give me ideas on just how far I could go with this. You know, without getting in trouble.

LS: Have you ever been to another women’s meeting?

MB: No.

LS: No? This is your first one?

MB: This is my first one. And it’s not going to be my last one. I assure you that.

LS: Michelle, thank you.

(Tape pauses at 38:03-38:06)

MB: I’ve even asked them to just to put a pull machine, to put the pull machines throughout the plant. And, eventually machines will pay for themselves. And the man still says, no. And that’s what I can’t understand.

LS: Is the separate facilities between — that Armco provides for it’s female . . . ?

MB: Company and union.

LS: Company and union

MB: Right.

LS: And the women in the company have lounges?

MB: Right.

LS: You said free sanitary napkins.

MB: Right. Coffee, and beds, and chairs, and mirrors, and, you name it, they have it.

LS: They get free coffee?

MB: Yes. Free coffee.

LS: Do you get free coffee?

MB: No. We kind of get together, and we decide what we’re going to have. And we all put in, and we buy coffee, or whatever it is that we’re going to have. This is, we work in groups. We work in crews, I should say. But they have everything, and they won’t even make it convenient enough for us to buy them throughout the plant. Only, like I said, in three places. Go and actually purchase them. The first time I really brought this up, and we really, I guess, maybe did a number on one of the guys across the table, he had them taken out of first aid. They were in first aid free. You go to first aid, you get them. One of the girls came to us and said, “You know, they took ‘em out of first aid.” I said, “You got to be kidding.” She said, “yeah.” They’re not in first aid anymore, so. He’s just determined that he’s just going to make us buy them. Then, practically every place that I’ve gone, the dispensers have been, say, maybe five or ten cents. And this is just practically any place you go. But he wouldn’t get a five or ten cent dispenser. He got a quarter dispenser.

LS: You’re kidding. A quarter per napkin?

MB: (Laughs) That’s right. A quarter per napkin.

LS: And they’re free for the office workers?

MB: So I . . . and they put the machine in, and they took it out. And I went across the way and asked to see, “What happened to the dispenser we had?” You know, “Why’d they take it out?” So, they made a phone call. And he said, “Well, it was the wrong size napkin for that dispenser. So I said, “Well, in the first place, since it was the wrong dispenser, why can’t we have a ten cent dispenser?” Ok, this means, I would imagine a nurse that’s over in first aid and the female guards would probably have to use our restrooms from time-to-time. They would have to pay a quarter, too. Then again, those people have access to the free napkins. And, I mean, I would imagine they could possibly wait, you know, and run over, or who knows, to the supply and pick up some free ones and never would have to pay anything. But even the nurse was in in accord with us. I just don’t understand why we can’t have ten cent machines, you know? And the man say, you know…

LS: So, what do you have now?

MB: Quarter machines.

LS: You mentioned earlier that somebody suggested that you should, when you know you’re getting your period, keep the napkins in your hat. Did you mean inside your hard hat?

MB: Right. And your hard hat falls off of your head, it falls into water, it falls into dirt, and, besides, who’s going to put that inside of a hat? And have the hat fall off, and have that roll off? That’s very personal. It’s private, you know. You don’t wanna tell the whole world, hey, you know, it’s my time of the month. It’s nobody’s business.

End of Interview

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