Individual Life Review Interview Data
SUBJECT NO: 1 GENDER: FEMALE AGE: 77
What do you do in terms of contributing to the society, like where do you work? I help run my community church and center and i mainly do that at the community hall down street, counseling couples on marriage mostly.
Are women the only people handling that role? Or can a man do that also? We have three women doing that but if a man comes by he can be accepted since couples are man and woman.
Mum, do you like doing what you do and are there other things you do like doing and do? Before answering, also tell me if they depend on a person being a man or a woman. I like volunteering at the community center; you know I have done that for the past ten years, it’s very refreshing especially after you see changes in peoples’ lives. Volunteering is done by anybody it isn’t like midwife restricted where maids have to be women.
Before you stated volunteering 10 years ago, what were you doing passionately? Well, before I came here I was a life instructor at the school talking to kids, until the board said I was old for the job, and I liked kids, I still see them at the community center
Did you have any male colleagues? Yes, in fact I was the only woman among four instructors.
Were you born in the U.S.? No.
So where did you migrate from and why did you have to leave for the U.S.? I came from England, just after WWI to join my husband who was then practicing journalism.
You are from England, has that affected how you raised kids? I mean if you got any kids. Being from England meant that we were tight held as a community, we just socialized with other people from England and very few natives, but I decided to let my two daughters be full Americans so I haven’t interfered with their views and experiences.
How about foods, holidays birthdays and things like that do you have special one you enjoy and celebrate, maybe every year? Thanksgiving is always when we get together as family. My daughters remember on mothers’ day to bring me flowers; it is the most memorable holiday.
How is your daily routine like? Am quite still active, I take walks in the mornings, visit the community center and if there is work I do it like sweeping the yard or teaching. On some evenings we have prayer meetings.
What are your experiences of getting old? Has it come with health issues? Well because I have always been active, I have less medical complications than my age mates; some of them have dementia, and are on wheelchairs since they have no strength to walk.
Do you feel like 77 years old, has your age limited your ability to do things you could when you were younger? Oh! I feel like am sixty or maybe younger, I told you am active and I always ensure my mind remains sharp, I have been swimming a bit you know.
What years do you remember fondly? I loved the 50s just after the war, everybody was happy and people were so hardworking and cooperative, and the government was good at providing services. Kids always played hop scotch.
Am sure there have been many changes in life, what do you notice as very different now than it was back in the day? There was one radio in the house and very few radio stations I remember. Nowadays I see iPods; even my daughter said she’ll get me one. Back in the day we didn’t have the internet, and I saw the subway built right through the CBD.
What about the society, has it changed a lot? There is no dignity today, people are always cursing and talking back at old people and you got to be hard on them, I tell young people I survived being young and they got nothing on me. Family is not very close as it was, I see less and less family dinners in my hood, kids grow up and leave town.
Is there anything you think if taken back you might change? I would make schools stricter, I see kids aren’t learning manners at home and at school, and this is bad for the society.
What happened nationally or even abroad that had tremendous influence in your life? The Patridge Family sitcom was the best thing to happen to TV in the 70s and is the first show I started watching on a color TV. The show influenced what music I eventually became fond of. It made my Fridays and my whole family gathered together. There is a lot of power to socialize people in TV shows.
Are you religious? Does that have an effect on you? I know God has a purpose for my life, my religious belief guide my way of life, as a good Christian I do not drink or smoke and I take care of the needy sometimes. I try to council couples having problems at the community center. I always ensure I do not miss a church service at my parish.
What pulls you through a tough moment in your life? God gets me through tough times like when my husband died, I prayed so much for acceptance, and my pastor helped me understand God’s purpose and plans and since then I know he (my husband) is at peace.
What time in your life is special? What makes it special? The times when my daughters were born. I remember taking them to school, they were very small and cunny. They have a two year difference between them.
What are you yet to achieve that given a chance you will do? I have never gone back to England, only my parents came to visit a year after I left. I wish to go one day and see the queen and feel the air of London; I have very few memories of that.
Do you have anything that you want people to remember you for once you are gone? I haven’t done much to be on the news, I know I have helped couples stay together and kids have their fathers back, and I know am a good example of an old person still able to swim, I use that to encourage kids to keep off drugs.
Tell me any of your plans in future. I want to live twenty more years, and coach the other mothers on the community center on counseling skills.
What advice do you have for the young people? Young people ought to know that life is what you make it, if you mess your youth you miss your sunset years.
SUBJECT NO: 2 GENDER: MALE AGE: 83
What do you do in terms of contributing to the society, like where do you work? Am on pension, I do no formal work, am too old for that, but I keep busy writing mainly poetry. Sometimes I go to the community center and help especially on administration issues of our town.
Are men the only people handling that role? Or can a woman do that also? Anybody can come in and help, no restrictions.
Sir, do you like doing what you do and are there other things you do like doing and do? Before answering, also tell me if they depend on a person being a man or a woman. I was an accountant; it’s a normal job, nothing special about it. I like literature much more than that. Right now I deal with people directly on a personal level which is good.
Other than accounting, was there something else you did passionately? I played football for the town’s team, it was very competitive I liked it but later on had to retire because of age.
Did women play? No they didn’t.
Were you born in the U.S.? Yes.
So where did you grow up in? I was raised in Illinois, Chicago.
How was your upbringing in Chicago? Has that affected how you raised kids? I mean if you got any kids. I am a Jew and therefore mingled less in public places, always maintained low profile, only interacted with the Jewish community when I was young until I went to college. Other than religious practices I let my son be himself.
How about foods, holidays birthdays and things like that do you have special one you enjoy and celebrate, maybe every year? Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is special of all the holidays I observe.
How is your daily routine like? I visit the library and read books, I like poetry, I also visit my friends in the elderly home or at their houses. Most of them are just around the block.
What are your experiences of getting old? Has it come with health issues? I can’t eat some foods like meat, my teeth won’t let me, I try walking a lot however I have to rest after every 200m because of my back, it’s a stubborn one. I not much concerned like my son is, I tell him that it’s just because am old that’s all.
Do you feel like 83 years old, has your age limited your ability to do things you could when you were younger? Well I feel like 80, maybe one or two years older, I think am doing fine, I can still walk and I haven’t been admitted to hospital for anything.
What years do you remember fondly? I know the 50s and 60s were fine, and there weren’t any bottled water then, you drank your water from the hose. I remember fast foods were just starting and all over people played rock and roll.
Am sure there have been many changes in life, what do you notice as very different now than it was back in the day? Shopping has changed, we used to walk to the store and get what we want, there were many small store, now I have to have a list of shopping because you go into Wal-Mart and don’t know where the bread is, you might end up with a doughnut instead because the store is huge, you get tired looking for bread. And McDonalds is at every famous junction I know of, it didn’t used to be like that in the old days.
What about the society, has it changed a lot? People are having a lot of say in the government and I think it’s become more transparent than it was in the 40s because now there is a lot of TV and my son can look up anything on the internet.
Is there anything you think if taken back you might change? I don’t know, but the economy isn’t doing good as it should, maybe I could change my career and go into cinema or something like that.
What happened nationally or even abroad that had tremendous influence in your life? The cold war influenced my career, made me decline an offer to go to Korea as a shipping crew; I don’t know how that would have turned out.
Are you religious? Does that have an effect on you? I am a practicing Jew so I only eat kosher foods and observe Yamim Noraim you know the days of awe; it helps me be focused in life and reminds me that there is a higher purpose to daily living.
What pulls you through a tough moment in your life? My upbringing years serve as my guardian when I go through tough times, I remember how it was tough when I was young to conform to society, and if I passed that then I can get through anything.
What time in your life is special? What makes it special? College was a time when I was my own self, without parents to tell me to do this and not do that, I was in a class with people from other states, and I felt like the world was so nice to explore, plus I could come up with my own projects no one would question, there was so much energy in me. I miss that.
What are you yet to achieve that given a chance you will do? I’ve been talking to my son; I want him to take me on a sea cruise across the ocean. I know if I had chosen another career, I would be on a ship now.
Do you have anything that you want people to remember you for once you are gone? I want to be remembered for helping to raise funds for development of playgrounds in our neighborhood so that no car knocks a kid again on the street. I write poems sometimes and when am gone people will read them and remember me and how it was when I was alive.
Tell me any of your plans in future. Right now I think of having my own anthology, besides that I want to see if doctors can fix my back, so that my son stops worrying.
What advice do you have for the young people? I tell them that when the chance comes they should take it despite the views of others, just follow their hearts and grab that opportunity, whatever it is like a career, with both hands. You don’t wanna be 80 and wish you chose to go to Korea.