I’m with my great grandmother here, and I was thinking about asking her some questions on video, and I have seen some great AMAs of elderly people so I was hoping I could come on here and maybe get some help with some interview questions.
I plan on taping the interview as best as I can and hopefully try to tape as I go. Helen, at the age of 90 just retired, she had worked on her sons farm, (my grandfather) doing work such as sorting dry beans, picking out the rocks and split beans, and making wreaths in the winter. Helen was married for to Frank until he passed in the early to mid 2000’s I believe, I will get the numbers once she is back. (she will be with me in just a couple minutes, hopefully we can get the questions rolling a little bit first)
Gram, (or Helen) is as sharp as a tack, and has a pretty good sense of humor, and hopefully you guys will have some good questions. I’ll probably post an update regardless if this gets any attention. I’ll try to answer the questions in her words as best as I can. Thanks!
What is your favorite technology that’s been invented in your life?
[grandma] I loved my bread mixer, i sure loved that, I don’t make as much bread as I did, we didn’t update stuff like that too much, if it worked we used it, if it broke, we fixed it.
When you talk with your grandson, what do you have in common aside from family? Do you share similar views on life?
[grandson] We mostly chat about everyday life. (gram doesn’t follow politics much, and she doesn’t keep up with technology as much as I do) however we share similar views on life. I guess, sorry this is tough to answer in grams word because of how much we just chat.
What’s a story you wish someone would ask you about?
[grandma] none in particular but I hope theres some no one does ask me about
What was your first job? And did you go to college?
[grandma] First job was picking strawberries for the man down the road, for 4 cents a quart. I didn’t go to college, I did graduate high school though with 15 others, and i’m the last one left!
Is there anything you’ve done in your life that you feel that everyone should do at some point?
[grandma] I really like helping people, I think everyone should try that out! Frank and I have helped a lot of people in our day, most evryone has appreciated it. Even where frank is gone, people might say, remember what you and Frank did for me? it feels good to hear, it’s like an investment.
Who was the best president you saw, and why?
[grandma] no particular favorites, not interested in politics, now i’m just interested in families, church, the people I associate with, and do what i can to help other people
What’s the farthest you’ve been from home, and what were you doing there?
[grandma] when i graduated from highschool, we hadn’t been very far, maybe bangor, or dover, our graduating class had a class trip, we went to Boston, which was the first time i left the state of Maine, since then probably California or Colorado, lived in calorado a bit when frank was in the service, when my folks died, i worked for 1 and a half years to pay for the funeral, but then i headed out to Colorado, I had to go down later than I expected, I worked for continental airlines in Colorado, where we made maps, where they came through on a belt, and you had to fold them in a certain way really quick, no one would go in the dark room because they would have to take their wedding ring off, so I was excited to do that for work because i would hve made 50 cents an hour, but then the war ended and i didn’t get to.
What is your favorite holiday dish and why?
[grandma] Minced meat turnovers are a favorite, I try to put some venison in whenever I can! I also make a good rum fruit cake. I used to make indian pudding, raisins, dates, corn meal, molasses, it had a good lemon sauce I’d have to look up the recipe. I used to make some good canned brown bread too, you have to steam it.
People often say life was better before technology such as mobile phones and the internet. Would you agree with this?
[grandson] She likes the phone, and tv, but doesn’t really mess with cell phones, and internet, and she seems certainly happy, she thinks people would have likely used the same way, but she enjoyed the entertainment of her youth, fishing, croquet, swimming, basketball, etc.
What’s your favorite joke?
[grandson] not so much of a joke, but a story that got her laughing…
[grandma] My first impression as a mother in law couldn’t have been great, my daughter in law used to bring her fish with her in a coffee pot, and I tried to be helpful by cleaning up a fish tank I had in the basement, so I cleaned it but I guess I didn’t rinse it well enough, because there was still too much bleach in it and that gold fish was just white as can be.
How did you meet your husband?
[grandson] She met frank at a toller rink called luckys landing. Frank fell on her, they met, and for the rest of his life he said it was a lucky landing.
Do you think it’s possible to utilize every waking moment so that one doesn’t find themselves at 92 wondering if they could have done things differently? Or is it inevitable to look back and regret something?
[grandson] gram says “you’re getting out of my line” she is focused on the now. she says “live day to day, live more of a relaxed a life than she used to live.”
What are your thoughts on drugs? Any stories you can remember?
[grandson] I have asked this a while back, and she hasn’t really done much, but she doesnt think anyone doing drugs is other peoples’ business, she has a couple glasses of wine on the holidays and drinks a lot of black coffee, but otherwise, she seems pretty indifferent about it, she has mentioned before though, seeing peoples lives ruined due to alcoholism, so i think she is wary of drugs in general.
* * * * * * * * * *
[grandson] Hey everyone, this hasn’t gone exactly as i thought, so i apologize, i was hoping for more questions, but she gets derailed on other stories (partially due to my grandparents who are here with me) so sorry about that. the video is kindof different but if anyone has any interest maybe i can upload a video of my great grandmother story telling for an hour or so. sorry if it hasn’t worked out as you expected. we are getting ready for thanksgiving now, so i will have to probably wish you farewell, i will try to post some updates but i’ll probably be slowing down, Gram and i say thanks! sorry i didnt get to as many as i had hoped.