Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Interview with my Brit Grandma

Four years ago I did an interview with my Grandma for my college history class. In spirit of celebrating her life this week, I thought I'd share it with you all! It was passed around at the funeral and brought chuckles and remarks about how you can hear her voice when you read it. She had such a fireball spirit with a witty British mouth on her!

Age: 70 Race: White Heritage: Irish Born: England 
Gender: Female Eyes: Green Hair: Red 
Marital Status: Married Date: November 22, 2008 Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Left: Grandma and I last summer in Texas for the Ranger/Yankee game as always! 
Right: Grandma styling my RayBans last September in her native London.

What was a typical day for you as a child?
(Did your dad tell you to call me because I'm seventy? Don't you know anyone else that's seventy?) Hm. I remember gettin' up and going to school and then after school you went to church. Back in the Catholic days ya know, you had to go to church. You had to be in the choir, and I still cant sing. They were fun days back then ya know, you didn't know any better.

What did you do for fun, games you played, etc?
We didn't go to the movies much 'cause we didn't have no money, no body had much money back then. I spent all my money on Black Bob books, he was a dog. It was a nice story like Lassie, you know that story? It was a long time ago I wonder what happened to them books. I'll probably get homesick today, you know rememberin' all this stuff and talkin' about it. 

What was your favorite thing to do as a child?
Uh, Let me see, probably just play outside with all our toys, home made toys what we had. Jump rope. You know we didn't have all this stuff you have today. We played outside most of the time.
How many brothers and sisters did you have?
Let me add em' up here, I had 'em all wrote down at one time..John, Phil, Martin, Joe, Thomas, 1..2..3..4..5..6 brothers... I keep thinking there's another one but I don't remember. Kate, 1..2..3 sisters. They had big families back then, all the Catholics ya know.

Were your parents still together?
Yes forever. My father died when I was fifteen months old but mother never remarried. I don't remember him, I only know 'cause my sister told me the other day.

When did you move out of your parents house?
Oh, when I was 21.
Left: My dad, Grandma and Uncle.
Right: Beautiful Bride in the palm of Groom's hands.

What did you do as a family on the weekends?
Sunday we'd go to church, have lunch and din din, and go walk in the park in the afternoon. Saturday's we cleaned house, did the drapes, all the big stuff.

Do you think families were closer then?
Oh yes, very close. We knew everyone on our street. We used to have block parties, the police would block off the road and we would dance and have music. (There goes my damn phone ringin' again.

Do you think life was better when you were younger, or now?
Well there's so much crime now and every bone in my body hurts 'cause I'm old. Life is pretty good right now, it was still fun in the past too but  was younger then.
There's Freddy the cat, hello Freddy are you mad at me? Fred's pountin' over there on my couch.

Above: The famous Fred the Cat! My Grandma's pride and joy.

 What was your first job?
Well I was in England but it didn't last long cause I stayed home most of the time, I was a sickly person. Officers mess is what it was called, on the base. It was a club where they serve lunch and din din with a bar and they had dances and get togethers for the people on the base. 
Also I picked peas and potatoes on the farm after school, stuff like that. That's probably why I like potatoes and peas so much, that's some of my favorite food, potatoes and peas haha! 

What were major current events going on while you were growing up?
The second world war, I was what, three years old?
Do you remember if the war impact your childhood, was there a shortage of things?
Yes, one of my girlfriends got killed in the library there and I remember the bombs in London, we had to hide under the table. There were black table clothes and black drapes in the window. A pack of cigarettes would last you all week because you would smoke one and save them for later, like now people smoke smoke smoke all day long. There was shortage of everything, just like it's gonna be if we have a depression now. We had ration cards that you used to go to grocery stores and you could only have a little of each thing. You'd get one card a month depending on the amount of kids you had. You had to stand in the church line to get hand me downs, and you had to wash clothes on the stove, using a scrubbing board.

So you must like having a washer and dryer now?
Ah yeah I love it! That was one of the things I learned real fast, how to push a button. Along with toilet paper, we didn't have toilet paper.
Left: Grandma's gorgeous gold wedding ring she left for me to use in November!
Right: The sweetest newlyweds.

How old were you when you came to America?
Let me see I came in 63' so I would have been what? I'm 70 now, you have to add this up I can't remember, I have my calculator upstairs...hmm 63' (thinking) I think I was 23 or something.

Why did you want to come to America?
'Cause I always said the sidewalks were paved in gold. I read about it and thought It'd be nice to get out of cold rainy weather in England. It was one of my desires to get over here and so I married a GI and I came over here. A GI is a soldier, an American soldier.

What was it like living on a base?
Oh wonderful, 'cause I enjoyed it, security, you didn't have to worry about all the crime, you could leave your doors unlocked. Everything was on the base, it was like a little city. You didn't have to leave the base. You had lots of friends because everybody was in the same position. All their husbands left and all the wives stayed home and we were all like family. It was stay at home wives mostly back then and wait for the children to get out of school. Loads of parents didn't work back then.

What's going on tonight?
It'll be a hot town in Oklahoma tonight, ballgame on.
Left: My brother Chris and I last weekend at Grandma's funeral.
Right: Chris and our Dad at the cemetery after the funeral.

Are you going to the game?
Are you kidding it's too cold out there! You know how much tickets cost 5, 6 hundred dollars! They go crazy for them tickets. All those college kids'll be yellin'. When your 70 years old you don't need to be sittin' in those bloody bleachers! (giggles) I hope you get a good grade on this.

What is your typical week like these days?
Well, I'm gonna go to the boody shop Wedsneday and get my hair done, and Thursday I'll go to Remington with my girlfriends the red hat ladies ya know. We're gonna go lose twenty dollars in the machine or win twenty either way. There's nothing to do in the winter time.

Do you think life is easier now?
Oh yes, there's all this equipment now. A big thing for me is toilets. You used to have to go to out houses and pee and it was cold, brrrrrr! There were good times and bad times.

Do you think there is more stuff to do?
Oh yes, you got all kindsa stuff to do now.

Has fashion become better or worse?
People dress better now, 'cause back in the past we had to wear a dress all the time and nylon stocking and your guarder belt. In school we wore long black stockings and long black skirts and white blouses. Girls had nice slim figures and the pointed boobies, they always had the pointed boobies, they must have different bras these days. I don't really like when girls wear little clothes, I think it's disgusting. It's alright on the young ones but they don't have to over do it and show everything. If they're slim it's alright, it's in style, but you don't wanna see Rosie O'donald with her belly hangin' out, bloody hell if anyone wants to see that!

Do you like the idea of the internet and cell phones, or was communication better before?
No, that took a long long time to get telegrams and mail. I like the internet, yes, but a lot of kids abuse it. Like this morning in the paper this boy, he said he was gonna kill himself and all these other kids got on there and said go go go, do it do it! and he did, he killed himself right there on the internet. Like us, we just do our work on ours. And pay the bills. And we check on you and your cyberspace or myspace or whatever. We're just bein' nosy grandparents! (chuckle) 

RIP Red,
Drey $ Nicole


  1. That was really great to read, she sounds like an amazing woman. I think it's interesting she said that people dress better now! This was beautiful to share. Thank you :)


  2. This is so cool. I have actually been planning to interview my grandma with one of those tape recorders you use in classes and stuff. She was born in the 30s and I want to ask her so many history related questions and since she's totally all there, have her answers and her voice saved so I can listen to it whenever I want. I love that you did this too!

    1. You absolutely should do it, it really is somethin' special. I think I was a little young when I did it to appreciate it fully, but to have something to go back to when you're missing someone is the neatest and most comforting thing!