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Una Historia de Vida

Caroline Morphy de Genover


Antropologa del parentesco A1

INTRODUCCIN
A continuacin presento una historia de vida. La historia de vida es una
modalidad dentro de la investigacin cualitativa que se utiliza para recoger informacin,
esencialmente subjetiva ya que la narracin de una persona nunca puede ser narrada de
manera objetiva, de la vida entera de una persona. Tal y como comentan Wilson y Ross
(2003), somos lo que recordamos. La elaboracin de una historia de vida puede
elaborarse en cualquier etapa de una vida pero es ms habitual desarrollarla con una
persona de mayor edad por la abundancia de experiencias y momentos vitales ocurridos
en el transcurso de una vida.
Es por ello, que la persona a la que he escogido para la elaboracin de este trabajo
tiene 81 aos de edad. El nombre de esta persona es Richard y es un familiar afn a m.
Es el padre de mi esposo. Es estadounidense. Naci en Nueva York el ao 1935 en el
seno de una familia juda de segunda generacin de origen Rumano. Hoy, Richard est
jubilado aunque persiste muy activo profesionalmente en distintos medios de
comunicacin. Vive en una residencia de vivienda asistida en Corvallis, Oregn. La
mayor parte de su vida profesional la ejerci como profesor emrito de la Universidad de
Oregn, en la ciudad de Corvallis como profesor de medios de comunicacin as como
tambin trabaj como locutor de radio para la Radio Nacional Pblica (NPR) durante 13
aos de su vida. Tiene un hermano cinco aos ms joven, tanto su madre como su padre
murieron hace unos 25 aos aos, tiene 12 hijos y es viudo desde hace 3 aos.
Hay varias razones por las que he escogido a Richard como sujeto de la historia
de vida: es un hombre de gran experiencia tanto profesional como emocional. Ha escrito
una autobiografa, la cual public l mismo a la edad de 75 aos. Es considerado hoy da,
nacionalmente como un activista para los derechos civiles de las personas de la tercera
edad que viven en residencias de vivienda asistida y viaja por todo el pas procurando
conferencias sobre el tema. Adicionalmente escribe un blog en la pgina web AARP
(American Association of Retired Persons) mensualmente.

Mi relacin con Richard es buena. Hace 10 aos que nos conocemos y tenemos
varias cosas en comn que facilitan nuestra relacin social. Aparte de que ambos tenemos
una relacin muy estrecha con Joshua, mi marido y su hijo, compartimos una pasin por
la literatura, la msica jazz, el cine y el teatro. Cuando vivamos cerca uno del otro nos
veamos con regularidad, una o dos veces al mes, pero desde que me traslad a
Barcelona, hablamos por Skype con la misma asiduidad, aunque evidentemente la
relacin ha cambiado. As como antes nos reunimos para cenar e ir al cine o al teatro
ahora solamente conversamos.
Las entrevistas realizadas para este trabajo se han realizado a travs de Skype.
Aunque hubiese sido mejor realizarlas cara a cara no considero que el medio usado haya
dificultado el resultado de la narracin. Algo que s ha dificultado un poco el trabajo es la
mencin incesante de Richard a su autobiografa. Constantemente me apuntaba a que
leyera ciertas partes de sus escritos para que entendiera mejor su punto de vista de ciertos
momentos de su vida. No obstante, le reiter varias veces que la historia de vida era
precisamente un ejercicio oral y que prefera que me lo explicara por s mismo si poda
recordarlo y poco a poco dej de referirse a sus escritos.
Este trabajo se ha realizado a partir de de dos entrevistas que he fusionado en
forma de narracin en primera persona, un anlisis de la informacin obtenida y una
conclusin as como tambin un apndice que contiene las preguntas usadas durante la
segunda entrevista y un esquema genealgico de la familia de Richard.
Realic dos entrevistas largas: la primera de unos 55 minutos y la segunda de 75
minutos. La primera entrevista se realiz el 19 de noviembre de 2015 y la segunda el 20
de diciembre del mismo ao. Para la realizacin de la primera entrevista solamente tena
como objetivo final obtener una cronologa de su vida, tratando de ver cmo Richard
vea y narraba su propia vida. Mi intencin era de procurar una narracin muy abierta y
le ped simplemente que me explicara su vida. Las palabras que us fueron Richard,
explcame tu vida Inicialmente, antes de la entrevista, al pensar cmo respondera a esta
pregunta tan abierta cre que Richard sabra muy bien cmo responder y que me

dibujara una cronologa ordenada de su vida sin yo tener que dirigirle demasiado, cre
que disfrutara del ejercicio, pero la verdad es que estaba bastante equivocada y Richard
sinti que era una pregunta demasiado abierta y no supo muy bien cmo responder, no
entenda lo que yo quera. Comenz por explicarme lo orgulloso que estaba de su vida,
por sus logros y le fue difcil presentar una cronologa de su vida. Le tuve que dirigir, tras
sus primeros intentos para que me explicara cosas de su infancia.
Richard me ha hablado abiertamente sobre muchos asuntos personales y no me
ha parecido que tuviera dificultades para hablar de ninguna etapa o faceta de su vida
aunque al narrarme partes de su infancia tena dificultades para recordar. Igualmente,
hay ciertas informaciones algo contradictorias, tal como fechas y lugares que menciona,
por lo tanto me he referido a su autobiografa para clarificar fechas. Al hablar, me pareca
en varias ocasiones que Richard busca siempre la palabra ms idnea, ms expresiva y
compacta posible y ello me parece que en algunas instancias dificultaba o entorpeca la
genuinidad de la narracin ya que a menudo perda el hilo de lo que me explicaba.
Al concluir la primera entrevista, empero, tena una idea bastante clara de su
vida, aunque no cronolgica. Prepar el guin para la segunda entrevista, esta s que ya
ms dirigida. Quera saber ms sobre su vida familiar, sobre su matrimonio y su vida
como padre de 12 hijos. Para grabar ambas entrevistas he usado una aplicacin de mvil,
las he subido al ordenador y mediante el programa ExpressScribe, las he transcrito.
Al transcribirlas me he percatado de la manera que habla Richard y del orden
con el que explica las cosas, algunas cosas que menciona le recuerda a otros asuntos, tiene
una memoria dispersa, no es que no recuerde las cosas, ciertos recuerdos los tiene muy
claros pero parece que los haya l mismo reordenado jerrquicamente en su caja de la
memoria. Por ejemplo, no recuerda muy bien las razones por las que tuvo 12 hijos, no
recuerda si era planeado o no, si l quera o no una familia tan numerosa, no obstante,
recuerda muy claramente su primera cita con su esposa. Ello me hace pensar que quizs
al haberlo escrito todo en su autobiografa, de manera literaria, su memoria ha ido
moldendose a aquellos temas ms aptos, ms apetecibles literariamente hablando.

Esto ha dificultado bastante la narracin y se me han presentado obstculos al


pensar sobre qu orden seguir para esta narracin. Tena claro que quera presentar la
narrativa en primera persona y que lo quera hacer cronolgicamente pero a la vez cada
vez que vaciaba la transcripcin, que la moldeaba para seguir el orden que yo haba
preestablecido, senta que estaba cambiando la esencia de su propia narracin y la estaba
conformando al molde que yo necesitaba para elaborar un trabajo claro y descriptivo.
Por lo tanto, con el objetivo de tratar de mantener un orden pero a la vez conservar la
voz desordenada de Richard he intentado plasmar el orden de su narracin en los
momentos que me han parecido ms esclarecedores.
La narracin, por lo tanto la he dividido temticamente, por etapas de acuerdo
con el orden que Richard mismo ha seguido al explicarme el curso de su vida, as cuando
me hablaba de su infancia me hablaba sobretodo sobre sus padres, cuando me hablaba
de su adolescencia, me explicaba cosas sobre sus estudios e intereses y cmo estos fueron
determinantes para su futuro, al hablarme de la universidad me explica sobre Ginny, su
esposa y as sucesivamente. Los apartados para el anlisis, por lo tanto son:

infancia y relaciones con su familia de origen

noviazgo y matrimonio

hijos

profesin

jubilacin

La segunda entrevista fue mucho mejor que la primera, pudimos intimar ms y l


pareca estar ms cmodo relatndome su vida y opiniones al respecto. Yo le formul
muchas preguntas y ahora me percato de que muchas de las preguntas eran sobre cosas
que yo ya saba pero de las que quera or su perspectiva. Ello creo que ha suscitado en l
una intimidad que ha favorecido al trabajo.
Finalmente, he realizado una conclusin sobre la elaboracin de la historia de vida y
un esquema genealgico de los familiares ms prximos.

NARRACIN
I guess when I think back to what my life has been, I think about my accomplishments
and I now feel very fulfilled. I always knew what I wanted to be but I never knew why I
wanted those things. I wanted to be an actor, but I didn't know why, I wanted to write
but I didn't know why, I wanted to teach but I didn't know why, I wanted to broadcast
but I didn't know why, and in the last few years I've wanted to take a stand on politics,
I've become an activist and this time I know why, and its because I enjoy being fulfilled.
But today I also know I really wanted to become an actor when I was young although in
New York I decided I didn't have it in me to do what needed to be done to have a life on
the stage. I mean it takes too much of an intensity and a single mindedness I didnt have.
Now, in my older age, I have it more in me and thats why I act in plays here in Corvallis.
INFANCIA Y RELACIONES CON SU FAMILIA DE ORIGEN
My brother and I are 5 years apart and we were close to one another but I was the eldest
and I had to take him to the movies, which I disliked. I remember that. We shared a
room and I didnt like this.
I remember a friend of mine and I were playing around one day somewhere and I had his
hands tied and Brett had his feet tied and we were pretending we were going to drop him
in a fire and we actually did drop him. That's pretty much all I remember of us as kids.
My day to day life as a child contains memories about my brother and I who were at
school and my father did some clerical work and my mom never worked but I dont
remember my parents being at home much, although I don't think I was home much
either.
We became estranged with my brother for no reason at all when I went to university. He
was going through High School when I was away at University. So the distance kept us
apart. Later on, at one time, he came to live with Ginny and I. At Indiana University. I
guess this must have been when he had started college; he came to our place because he
wanted to switch colleges but then he left. And apparently he left because of his wife, his

now wife, Norma, who he must have been serious about when he came to Indiana. But
he left Indiana University after a short time and left our home to go back to Queens
College where he obviously had met Norma earlier and then they stayed together. So
that was the only time as young adults that we were together.
It was only in my 60s, he might have been around that age, late 50s, when Sarah, my
daughter, got married, about 18 years ago, my brother went to the wedding and I went to
the wedding of course and we sort of met one another for the first time as adults and, we
formed a bond and we both went back to where we were born, to the apartment we were
born in, I think I might've sent you the writing I wrote for my class, so we went home
together and since then we have been kind of close. We call one another twice a week.
Like today, which is a Sunday, so he will be calling tonight. Ive gone to the bar mitzvahs
of his grandchildren and he comes to visit me twice or three times per year now, so you
could say weve started a new life together. However, Junior has never been very talkative
so weve never talked about our past together, about our thoughts regarding our parents.
Hes pretty silent. I think our whole family was not very communicative. We all went and
kept our separate ways.
Norma, Juniors wife, I think I can say that we both understand that we dont have much
in common or don't like each other. It is not that I dislike her, I just feel distant. In fact,
my brother is very warm, but she is not. In my perception shes a distant woman. Now,
Juniors children have not faired too well in life. One son had early on Parkinsons, still
does. And his oldest son is clinically depressed and had a bad marriage; he had a truly
unhappy marriage and is undergoing treatment for his depression and suicidal thoughts.
Junior doesn't talk about that. He doesnt like talking about that. He has another kid,
Jennifer, who has three children and lives in Tampa.
Now, my mother I remember as a very sweet woman, a very caring woman but she didnt
do much. I don't think she had hobbies. I think my father would think that her hobbies
were spending money shopping. She had her friends and she took care of the home and
raised the children. She was Jewish. My father was not very religious but my mother

more so, because it was the thing to do, I think. I don't know how she felt about her
spiritual life. I don't think we ever talked that seriously growing up.
My father, on the other hand wasnt caring, Id say he was neutral. He was mostly neutral
all the time. He worked almost 7 days a week and one day of the week I would go into his
factory in NY, in the city and I would spend my time just hanging out there and wed go
and have a meal together. He liked classical music very much and once in a while he
would take me to a concert. I guess we also did the usual father son thing, played sports
together, he was a golf addict and he would go to the public golf course on Sunday
mornings when he wasn't working and I would go with him and hang out there but
despite this we were never really very close.
Then, as I remember, he was overly, unusually attracted, maybe not attracted but overly
concerned with my aunt who lived in the apartment next door to us and he paid more
attention to her than to my mother which aggravated me at the time and which I've
written about in a few essays. That circumstance really aggravated me more than I knew.
He was very mean to my mother and always in favor of my aunt so I think thats one of a
few reasons why we didn't have many moments of happy father-son relationships.
However, he never struck me, except once when he found cigarettes in my drawer and I
said they belonged to somebody else, he still struck me then. He never smoked you see.
My mother was a smoker.
It wasn't until I started really thinking about my father and his sister that I realized how
much it bothered me. She worked at his shop and so we saw her very often. She was very
attached to him and he to her. I was living it very closely too because he got my aunt an
apartment very close to ours and when Ginny and I got married we stayed with her for a
few months, that was our first home and she was a single woman and I guess she was
pretty neurotic since she jumped out the window and she always used to say that she was
happiest when she made people unhappy. She was strange.

My father was raised by his sisters, by 4 sisters and all but one were pretty weird. I didnt
know them very well though, I only knew one very well and that was sister Francis who
lived in upstate NY as we would visit her occasionally and this aunt Gene.
He was never very kind to my mother; I dont think he felt like she was up to his
standards in terms of intelligence, and awareness and his love of music. But he really
depended on her.
I remember two incidents. Once, I went home from college vacation time and one of my
neighborhood friends said that he had heard my mother say she would drop everything
and leave my father, so she was apparently quite unhappy but that never happened. She
never left him.
He worked very late so we never ate together as a family and then he'd come home late,
she would have his meal ready and he would eat and then go listen to his classical music.
I have fond memories of that, not about him leaving my mother in the kitchen but
actually hearing the music, it was pleasant.
My one big bad memory of my father is when my mother died and we had a memorial
service here in Corvallis and, he got up to speak and he criticized her for dying and not
being able to take care of him. So that was a pretty bad scene and it led to a few years of
resentment from my part because he apparently didn't want to live anymore, he died in
92, he was in an independent living residence in Corvallis.
We had moved my mother and father to Corvallis because she had a brain tumor, which
was promised to be recoverable, but it never was, so she was in a different hospital in
Corvallis and I don't think he ever visited her. Ginny and I did. Ginny more than I did,
really. Then, when she died he moved into our house, he lived with us, which was
horrible and the kids just kept arguing about everything, he was very selfish, he wanted
everything for himself and it put a strain on my wife, Ginny, So we decided that he
needed to leave and we set him up in the independent living residence again. He used to

have his so- called neighbors and then he moved to the same nursing home where my
mother had died and he demanded a lot of attention and he was mean to the people who
were there, the caregivers, and finally he just stopped eating and he died. So I think he
killed himself and he lived to be 93 years old, his mind was very sharp, he still was a very
bright man.
Now, on the other hand my mother's family was very gregarious, very outgoing, very
loving and very much full of one another. And for years, her sister Claire had wanted to
be with our family and because of the distance between where we lived and where we
lived it was hard to make that happen. We lived first in Pennsylvania then in the South,
and then in Iowa, she never was able to come live with us. She finally came to Oregon
and when she was there she had a heart attack and died. So that was very sad. She had
gotten her last wish, her wish to come be with her sisters family but it turned out to be
her last wish. But she was a very entertaining person; she was very much the performer.
She liked to perform. She sang, I remember she did all the singing at the family
ceremonies; she would lead in the singing and the dancing. There was a Jewish performer
named Sophie Teckner, and everybody compared Aunt Claire to her. She was a very
lovely woman and as I said gregarious and outgoing. And her whole family was very
tight and united. They all lived together in the Ken Manor, eventually in the Ken Manor
apartments, where we grew up. Judy, my other aunt was next door.
My mother's brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren, were scattered in various
other apartments in the apartment complex, the Ken Manor apartments. They were all
together except us.
When I met Ginny and introduced her to my family, my mothers family was very
welcoming to Ginny. I don't think my father's family knew much about Ginny. I think
my mother's family was the typical Jewish family concept, maybe the Italian concept of
family. They were very important to each other; all loving one another. I don't think my
father's family enjoyed one another.

My mother had always dreamed of me being married in the temple by a rabbi in a


religious ceremony. But since Ginny wasn't Jewish she couldn't get married to me at the
temple, we could not have married at the temple. So in her senior year in college she took
a course of study from the Rabbi at the college, which gave her a certificate of Judaism.
So she had converted to Judaism, and then we were able to get married in the temple.
Ginny wasnt very religious, partly because of her family, who were ultra fundamentalist
Christian religious and she had a terrible time with her family because of that. She and
her brother left the home as soon as they could. Three women just like my father, who
was raised by four women, raised my uncle and mother. I guess that is not very good
being raised by one sex only.
NOVIAZGO Y MATRIMONIO
I met Ginny in University. We went on a double date. She had a date with another
guy. I was in the backseat with my date. There was not much chemistry with my blind
date and me but apparently there was some chemistry between Ginny, and me who was
in the front seat with her date. He was a friend. So after the movie, I asked this guy if he
would mind if I called her to ask her out and he said no. So I called her and she
remembered me, which is a plus, and she said "yes", she would accept the date. And so
we went out and neither of us went out with anyone else after that.
She was very young, 16 years old and I didnt know that until we talked about our
families and I knew that she had left home to get away from her very bad environment
and so there was this high school teacher that was going to work on his degree at Indiana
University and he volunteered to be her guardian while she went to school. He was going
to school, living with his family. She was in the dormitory going to school but he was
officially her guardian. Which is what got her away from home.
I found a lot about her childhood later in life, She didnt talk about her family. I didn't
know she was claustrophobic because her mother put her in a closet. I didn't know that
until one of our visits to St. Croix, which was years later. I knew her mother made her
sort of like ISIS, her mother made her shield her body; wear long sleeves in the summer

because they were fundamentalists. All I know was that her mother and grandmother
werent good people and abused Ginny throughout her infancy. This to me explains
Ginnys desire for a family of her own.
I don't like the expression street smart, but she was socially smart. As well as book smart.
She had the ability to mingle socially although she was a very shy person. It is
paradoxical. She was very shy but at the same time she traveled on the subway for an
hour to get down to the 14th street station and work in this, I don't want to say ghetto,
but it was, all of New York was divided into ethnic conclaves, so this was a poor
neighborhood and they didn't speak much English either, but she would take the subway
in the city of millions of people, travel by herself. You can't be too shy and maybe she
was outwardly shy, but inwardly strong. And she got along with people.
She didn't have any friends in New York. Not that many in Pennsylvania either. That
mostly developed in Indiana, where she had a few more. In Oregon we had a couple of
friends. She loved to do domestic activities. She loved to cook and bake and sew. She
sewed many of our clothes.
I think our love developed after the marriage really. I don't know what she saw in me.
Seriously. I imagine she must have seen my personality and knew who I was and what I
saw in her. I don't think consciously I was aware of personal traits. Maybe
unconsciously- I mean I noticed what she did, she worked very hard, in school and out of
school, she was independent, which conformed to me, and she was a good partner. We
seemed to fit. I don't know how you define love. We wanted to be in each other's
company. Obviously we were young, 19 and 17, so there were vulnerable aspects - sexual
aspects as well.

I don't know how you would say or define that one word. It is hard

to. There was a feeling of attachment.


Ginny was very close to my mother. We lived with my aunt for a while, and then very
close to my parents for the first year, my mother got us an apartment in the same
community, in Kew Gardens, and, I think we might have gone to see my mother quite a

few times a week for dinner, and she might have come to our place to see us. But we were
pretty much on our own. Ginny was younger than me. When we married she was 18,
going on 19. I was 21 going on 22. She stopped studying. I don't know how she felt about
that. I never asked. I know she had a career as a PhD lined up in her mind. Clinical
psychologist. But in those days, if the man had to leave, the woman left. So I was done
with school and I wanted my Master degree and I was going to Columbia so she came
along.
She got a job in New York. In the Hispanic section of New York. She worked for an
ophthalmologist and treated welfare cases. So it was a tough neighborhood as city
neighborhoods go. And I was going to school but I was also working and I was working
at school and also working at a place located in Times Square. Let me back up. I
worked before entering school when we were married. So we were both working while
we lived in that apartment. Then when I went to school, I worked at the school but we
had this double life prior to starting school. She worked on 14th street and I worked in
Times Square so at lunch I would take the subway and meet her at her subway stop and
we would go out for lunch. In a real greasy, excuse the expression, Hispanic restaurant. I
always had eggs and French fries. And they were greasy. Afterwards, I would walk back
to the subway and I would buy an ice-cream sandwich and I would eat it on the way back
to the subway station and those were the same ice-cream sandwiches that they serve
today.
HIJOS
We ended up having 12 children: there must have been financial stress because I had
many jobs and then Ginny eventually worked out of the home. I don't know if that was
because we were in terrible financial need or if she just wanted to work out of the home.
But she worked in the Kid Shop, she was around children and mothers to be which she
liked very much and then she was around other people in the Birkenstock store, in the
selling of Birkenstocks. She enjoyed what she did very much. I mean she was using her
mind especially in the Birkenstock store, as she had to do the books. And that was what

brought her down at the end because she couldn't do that any longer. Her mind didnt
take to mathematics.
Ginny loved children, she loved having a family. It was just something inherent or
chemical. There was something between her and children. It was just an innate
togetherness.
We were demanding as parents. I think at first we were over-demanding. I think we
expected perfection and too much excellence. I remember standing over Dan's shoulder
when he was in grade school, correcting his work and I think that has led him to be very
protective of his children.
The kids remind me that if their drawers were not perfect she would throw everything out
the drawer. She was very demanding but very soft.
The kids now have a perception of us not being as demanding with the last 6
children. She was that way when Elisa was born, because she was the first girl. She spoilt
Elisa. She was very happy when she got the girl. I think she was over domineering with
Rachel. She ended up, and I was really very responsible for that too, she now has trouble
with her eating disorder; she is depressed and has attempted to commit suicide twice. We
were continually telling her dont eat this, youll get fat, dont do that, its wrong and
then Rachel ended up how she ended up.
We talked about parenting. We both read the same books. Bringing up teenagers. One
of the books was about raising teenagers. So we talked about it, and we would say, you
are too easy or too hard. Don't do that. So we had those conversations. I think she won
most of the time.
I was away a lot either working or exercising. I thought the house was not very chaotic. It
was well organized. Ginny had certain rules which everyone followed as you know. No
shoes in the house. No standing on the furniture. I think overall it was orderly. But

there were things we didn't know. Aaron was growing marijuana in his bedroom. We
didn't know that.
With the first six kids, Paul, Dan, Elisa Rachel, Ed and Sarah we went on trips together
on the weekends. And then during the holidays we would be away for a week during
spring break and do the same thing during winter break. We would rent out a place, a
home or a resort. We did that a lot. But we stopped with the other 6.
I think I influenced them in terms of what I did and their absorption of what I did. I won
the love of physical fitness and bodily exercise and physical activity. It was always that
way. Even as a youth in Kew Gardens. So I think they got that from me. Jeremy, Joshua
and Joel were swimmers. Paul was a swimmer. He is still a runner. Paul lifts
weights. Elisa rides bikes and runs. Sarah runs and lifts. Eddie skis and works out. Dan
plays basketball and he is doing triathlons. Howard is a runner and of course Rachel.
I think all my children are independent, and individualistic. I used to buy Joel and Ed
books that would emphasize individuality and independence and standing out from the
crowd. And so that was talked about and implied. We wanted them to be concerned with
others. I think both of us exhibited that. So I think that also was part of the
influence. We had the same values. I think most of our children are liberal, socially and
politically liberal in their beliefs. Not all, but most.
PROFESIN
I didnt tell you about my profession, my aunt Claire inspired me. It was my mother's
sister that put those genes in me, but as to why I chose to become a broadcaster I dont
know, I guess I always wanted that, in those days, radio was a major medium, and when I
chose my college because it was good in radio and I thought I wanted to do that and then
that led to television and that let to being in plays, being in the theater. My degree wasnt
in teaching theater; it was in speech back then. My degree was basically in Theater Arts.
My master was in the school of dramatic arts of Columbia. And my PhD was also in

theater arts. And in dramatic arts, theater arts, dramatic literature. I couldn't just get a
degree in the creative aspect of it. It had to be in the literary aspect of drama.
I do remember one of my High School experiences. I must have been interested in
writing because I was an editor, one of the editors of the high school yearbook. So I was
involved with compiling that and writing that. So I must have had a writing desire at that
time. And I remember one English teacher told me that my style was terrible and I
would never be able to become a writer. But yet I have done all the things I do now,
back then, and so screw her.
I do know I was always trying to please my father. Even as an adult, when I got a grant at
a University, I would let him know that I got this grant, that I had received this award. I
think psychologically I was always trying to please him. And so I wanted to make known
what I had done and I think that has been carried over into my life now, I like to try and
make it known what I have done. Although I don't really brag, and feel humble, but self
affixing, but at the same time I'd like to say 'hey I did this, I made this part, I got this
part." I never knew how to make my mom proud though.
I enjoyed teaching very much. I was very active with my students, I still am. I am in touch
with many of them. I am proud of my career. I was never a social part of the university
social life. Its not my style.
JUBILACIN
My years as a retired man are different except for what I do. I still engage in the
community and I engage outside the facility that I am living in. One of the dial-a-bus
drivers, they provide rides for senior citizens and disabled people, so I spoke at the
Christmas party that they had last year, in December, so I was there and I spoke
unbeknownst to me that I would speak, the audience was told that I would speak. And,
one of the dial-a-bus drivers that I know from the university, said that she couldn't wait to
pick me up this one particular time because she was struck very much by what I said to
the group there. And what I said to the group that struck her so much was that I may live

in this assisted living facilities buy my life is lived outside and if it were not for dial-a-bus,
there would be no life outside. Except for friends. So, being retired allows me to do
things that I might not have had time to do before. But it is carrying forth the same
things I did. I had always written, I had been a teacher, I think I am teaching now
although it is a different classroom and students are different, I had always wanted to be
involved with theater and media, which I still am. So I am doing things that are an
extension to what I did in my professional life. Not an extension but a nuanced different
shade of the same thing.
Ginny died 3 years ago but I havent been with her for almost 20 years since after she was
diagnosed with Alzheimer disease we never were a couple anymore. I took her of her for
about 5 years at the house but it was just too much. I was very depressed, taking antidepressants and losing my sense of purpose. I decided, despite the awful guilt to take her
to a home for Alzheimer patients and she spent the rest of her life there. Our life as
husband and wife once she was sick cant be considered a conjugal relationship anymore.
She was often aggressive and very sad and I had no idea what she was going through. Its
an awful disease, we dont know enough of it and so we never know what that person is
thinking if thinking at all, we never know theyre feelings, nothing. Its extremely lonely. I
have felt guilt for abandoning her there ever since. I visited her daily for many years and
after I had my accident, since I wasnt as mobile anymore, I depended on my children to
drive me out to see her and my visits reduced. I saw her maybe once or twice a week. I
wrote a lot of poetry for her and I wrote my memoir for her, it was mainly about her,
anyway.
My relationships with my kids are good now. I don't approve of all the parenting that
they do. I don't think Ginny would have approved of all the parenting either. But part of
that are the times we live in. We live in different times. Just think of the span of time from
when we had children in the 50s into the late 70s. A lot happened in society during those
time periods. So I think there is bound to be an influence of the society and culture. I
dont tell them what I think though. For example, I think Joel overprotects Ezra, although
he is dealing with a teenager and that is really hard, but I think he wants her to follow his

way, rather than her own way. You know, eat your broccoli, and eat your vegetables.
Keep away from this candy. Keep away from this TV show and he comes on too
strongly. He needs to cool it a little bit. I think Ezra also manipulates Joel. Easily, too
easily. And I think that Kevin and Elisa did wrong with their older child. You know,
their kids call them by their first names. Rather than mother and father. So I
disapproved of that all along. I think Ginny would have also.
Im not very much in touch with my grandchildren either. Maybe Ezra. And I don't think
that many people get close to Kaleb anyhow. I don't see them that often. I see more
Cassie, than Kaleb and she is my step granddaughter. Definitely Ezra I see. And I don't
see the Portland kids at all. I hardly see them at all but I see their personalities developing
according to their parents.
So I can see a direct line between me and Howard and Matthew and between Ginny and
Andrea and Philip. And Abby and I. I think Keelin has a lot of Ginny in her. According
to the children, Ginny was pretty anxious and had anxiety. I didn't see that and didn't
know she was. I see Ginny in everything Elisa does. She is always cleaning the counters,
which Ginny did. That was a compulsion. She is always doing up the dishes. And that
was an activity that Ginny did. It was compulsiveness. Maybe out of anxiety. I don't
know.

ANLISIS
En este anlisis examinar el contenido de la narracin biogrfica de Richard. Al
analizarla me detendr en identificar los cambios que se han producido al largo de su
vida as como los cambios en su percepcin de la familia y sus relaciones de parentesco
tanto con su familia de origen como con su familia de procreacin.
Richard tuvo una infancia que l considera corriente. Naci en Nueva York en el
ao 1933, por lo que vivi la Gran Depresin, una crisis econmica mundial que se
prolong toda la dcada. Richard no menciona la crisis en absoluto al contarme acerca
de su infancia durante la primera entrevista. Por lo que explica, la crisis no pareci
afectar a su familia de pleno ya que su padre mantuvo el mismo empleo durante toda su
vida y su madre como tantas otras mujeres en esa dcada no trabajaba. Los recuerdos de
Richard son intermitentes, es decir recuerda momentos como si fueran imgenes Mi da
a da de nio contiene recuerdos sobre mi hermano y yo en el colegio y mi padre que trabajaba como
administrativo y mi madre que nunca trabaj pero no recuerdo a mis padres en casa aunque tampoco creo
que yo estuviese en casa a menudo1.
Durante las entrevistas me contaba pequeas ancdotas que podran parecer
frvolas al oyente pero que evidentemente, al quedarse registradas en la memoria puede
que tengan un peso significativo en la vida de Richard, recuerdo como yo y un amigo mo
estbamos jugando un da en algn lugar y haba atado las manos de Junior y mi amigo haba atado sus
pies y estbamos fingiendo que lo bamos a soltar dentro de un fuego y de hecho as lo hicimos. Esto es casi
todo lo que recuerdo de nosotros como nios2. Aunque dice que es lo nico que recuerda sobre
su infancia con su hermano, a medida que hablamos sobre el tema aparecen otros

1 My day to day life as a child contains memories about my brother and I who were at school and my
father did some clerical work and my mom never worked but I dont remember my parents being at home
much, although I don't think I was home much either.
I remember a friend of mine and I were playing around one day somewhere and I had his hands tied
and Brett had his feet tied and we were pretending we were going to drop him in a fire and we actually did
drop him. That's pretty much all I remember of us as kids.
2

recuerdos e imgenes as que no es cierto que sea lo nico que recuerda Mi hermano y yo
nos llevamos 5 aos y nos llevbamos bien pero yo era el mayor y tena que llevarlo al cine cosa que no me
gustaba. Compartamos habitacin y eso tampoco me gustaba3 pero esta ancdota del fuego me
hace pensar que quizs la recuerda ms que otras por el hecho de que l y su hermano
dejaron de estar en contacto durante muchos aos durante su vida como adultos. Quizs
lo explica un sentido de culpa de no ser un mejor hermano mayor?
Richard me cuenta que no haba ninguna razn explcita por la que se
distanciaran con su hermano, simplemente lo razona por ser ms mayor que l y por el
hecho de que cuando su hermano era adolescente Richard ya estaba en la universidad,
viviendo fuera del hogar familiar. Se distanciaron tanto que no volvieron a verse hasta
que Richard tena alrededor de 60 aos, en la boda de su hija Sarah. En esta boda
reconectaron y fueron de viaje juntos a Nueva York a visitar su casa de la infancia y
pasear por el barrio. Hoy estn en contacto y se llaman semanalmente. Sobre la relacin
como adultos entre l y su hermano, Richard dice que es buena aunque no hablan sobre
su infancia ni tampoco sobre asuntos demasiado personales o ntimos. Me explica su
relacin con su cuada a quien considera fra y distante y l lo atribuye a su personalidad
Norma, la esposa de Junior, creo que puedo decir que ambos entendemos que no tenemos mucho en comn
o que no nos gustamos. No es que me disguste ella, simplemente me siento distante hacia ella. De hecho, mi
hermano es una persona muy cariosa pero ella no lo es. Es mi percepcin, es una mujer fra4.
Richard me habla sobre cmo recuerda a su madre y padre. De su madre no me
explica mucho y me da la impresin que no la conoca muy bien, lo cual es normal si la
nica relacin que tienes con tus padres es durante tu infancia. Richard, cuando se
march de casa para irse a la universidad tena 18 aos y aunque volvi a Nueva York

3 My brother and I are 5 years apart and we were close to one another but I was the
eldest and I had to take him to the movies, which I disliked. I remember that. We shared
a room and I didnt like this.

4 Norma, Juniors wife, I think I can say that we both understand that we dont have much in common
or don't like each other. It is not that I dislike her, I just feel distant. In fact, my brother is very warm, but
she is not. In my perception shes a distant woman

con su esposa durante un par de aos, no tuvo mucha relacin con sus padres durante esa
poca. Cuando sus padres se hicieron demasiado mayores para cuidarse de s mismos,
Richard los traslad a Corvallis, que es donde l viva con su esposa e hijos pero tal y
como me dice, l no estuvo demasiado presente en sus vidas ya que ambos vivan en
residencias de vivienda asistida. A su madre la describe como tierna y cariosa pero no
me sabe decir mucho ms acerca de ella: Recuerdo a mi madre como a una mujer muy cariosa
pero no haca mucho. No creo que tuviera aficiones. Creo que mi padre hubiese dicho que sus aficiones eran
gastar dinero comprando. Tena a sus amigas y se ocup de la casa y de los hijos. Era juda5.
No obstante, vuelve a hablarme de su madre al hablar de su padre. Richard me
cuenta sobre la personalidad de su padre, Edward quien no era carioso, estaba en casa
muy ocasionalmente. A partir de lo que narra Richard me parece que est describiendo
un hogar muy patriarcal; su padre trabajaba casi cada da de la semana, llegaba a casa
despus de que la familia hubiera cenado y se sentaba slo en la mesa con la cena
preparada y al acabar de cenar, al ser un gran aficionado a la msica clsica, se retiraba a
su estudio a escuchar msica. Richard lo describe como una persona neutra. Al
explicarme sobre la relacin entre su padre y su madre, Richard dice, l (padre de R.)
nunca fue muy amable con mi madre. Creo que la consideraba convencional, que no reuna sus estndares
en cuanto a su inteligencia e inters por la msica. Pero dependa mucho de ella.6
Por la narracin de Richard, el tono y las expresiones faciales que sugiere al
hablar de su padre y en especial contarme la historia que sigue, entiendo que este evento
en particular molde la opinin de Richard sobre su padre para siempre. Richard explica
la relacin de su padre con su hermana, Gene. Su padre fue criado por 4 mujeres y una
de ellas era su hermana Gene. Richard relata que la relacin entre ellos dos era extraa,
en sus propias palabras l estaba excesivamente, extraamente atrado, quizs no atrado pero

5 Now, my mother I remember as a very sweet woman, a very caring woman but she didnt do much. I
don't think she had hobbies. I think my father would think that her hobbies were spending money shopping.
She had her friends and she took care of the home and raised the children. She was Jewish.
He was never very kind to my mother; I dont think he felt like she was up to his standards in terms of
intelligence, and awareness and his love of music. But he really depended on her.
6

excesivamente interesado con mi ta que viva en el apartamento vecino a nosotros y le prestaba ms


atencin a ella que a mi madre lo cual me irritaba en esos momentos. [] Esas circunstancias me
agravaron ms de lo que saba entonces.7 Prosigue narrando que ella trabajaba con l y que se
vean muy a menudo, que ella estaba muy unida a l y l a ella. Richard describe a Gene
como una persona neurtica que acab suicidndose y que siempre deca que era ms feliz
cuando entristeca a otros. Era rara.8 Richard y Ginny, su esposa, vivieron un tiempo con
Gene poco despus de casarse.
De su padre, Richard me relata otro recuerdo, el peor segn me dice. Transcurre
durante el funeral de la madre de Richard. Edward, su padre, se erigi de la silla y quiso
hablar y homenajear a su esposa pero lo nico que hizo fue criticarla por morirse y no
poder cuidarle ms .
Conoci a su esposa Ginny en la universidad. Ginny era muy inteligente y se
gradu de la educacin secundaria con tal solo 16 aos. Richard no habla mucho sobre la
infancia de Ginny ya que ella no hablaba mucho sobre su familia. Haba sido criada en el
seno de una familia ultraconservadora, fundamentalistas catlicos. Su padre se haba
divorciado de su madre cuando Ginny era muy pequea y haba sido criada por su
madre, la hermana de su madre y su abuela. Tena un hermano dos aos ms joven con
quien no mantuvo ninguna relacin despus de marcharse de casa. Uno de los profesores
de Ginny se ofreci a ser su guardin mientras ella iba a la universidad y hasta que
cumpliera los 18 aos. Una vez se march, no volvi jams.
Richard y Ginny se conocieron cuando ella tena 17 aos y l tena 21. Richard
relata que no fue amor a primera vista y de hecho reitera varias veces que nuestro amor se


7 Then, as I remember, he was overly, unusually attracted, maybe not attracted but overly concerned with
my aunt who lived in the apartment next door to us and he paid more attention to her than to my mother
which aggravated me at the time and which I've written about in a few essays. That circumstance really
aggravated me more than I knew.
8

[] and she always used to say that she was happiest when she made people unhappy. She was strange.

desarroll tras el matrimonio9. Me dice que Ginny era muy independiente, muy tierna,
extremadamente vergonzosa y considerablemente fuerte. Estas cualidades son las misma
cualidades que usa al describir las razones por las que se enamor de ella, aunque reitera
que no se enamor de ella sino que el amor se desarroll con el tiempo. Ginny se convirti
al judasmo para que pudieran casarse en un templo, lo cual era el sueo de la madre de
Richard, que sus hijos fuesen casados por un rabino y en un templo. A pesar de que tanto
Richard como Ginny vivieron su infancia en hogares donde la religin imperaba su da a
da, ambos decidieron no criar a sus hijos de manera religiosa aunque contemplaban
tanto al judasmo como al cristianismo durante las celebraciones ms importantes.
Richard y Ginny tuvieron 12 hijos y no hay ms razn que el simple deseo de
tenerlos que explique el por qu de tantos hijos. El primer hijo, Daniel, lo tuvieron
cuando ella tena 19 aos y los ltimos dos, Joshua y Jeremy que son gemelos, los tuvo 22
aos ms tarde. Richard dice que Ginny quera incluso ms hijos despus de los gemelos
pero que ya no se volvi a quedar embarazada. A Ginny le encantaban los nios,
Richard dice A Ginny le encantaban los nios, le encantaba tener una familia. Era algo inherente o
qumico. Haba algo entre ella y los nios. Era simplemente, una unin congnita.10
Richard lo describe como dos generaciones distintas de hijos ya que como
mximo haban 6 hijos viviendo en el hogar familiar y por lo que explica parece que sus
roles como padres cambiaron a lo largo de los aos. Cuando explica su vida con los 6
primeros hijos, la vida en familia era muy activa: l trabajaba pero Ginny, por aquel
entonces no. Se ocupaba de los nios. Cenaban todo juntos cada da y durante las
vacaciones iban de viaje y esquiaban todos juntos a menudo. Los seis hermanos y ambos
padres estaban muy unidos. Richard recuerda hablar con Ginny sobre el tipo de
educacin que queran para sus hijos, leer los mismos libros de crianza y recuerda que
ambos eran muy estrictos y esperaban lo mejor de sus hijos acadmicamente. Las

9 I think our love developed after the marriage

10 Ginny loved children, she loved having a family. It was just something inherent or chemical. There was
something between her and children. It was just an innate togetherness.

expectativas sobre sus hijos no cambiaron con la segunda generacin de nios pero la
rigurosidad s. A pesar de ser estrictos, Richard recuerda a Ginny como una madre muy
tierna, cariosa, atenta y comprensiva. La vida en familia, no obstante s cambi. Ginny
empez a trabajar y al vivir en un pueblo bastante pequeo los nios era ms
independientes por lo tanto la familia estaba ms dispersa durante la semana. Cada uno
de sus hijos haca deporte de manera muy rigurosa, siendo nadadores competitivos,
corredores tambin competitivos, esquiadores o jugadores de baloncesto.
Richard considera que su rol como padre era una parte natural de quin l era
como hombre. Recuerda que sus valores y creencias las comparta mediante el regalo de
libros y la conversa. Considera que sus hijos han heredado su pasin por el deporte y su
ideologa liberal de izquierdas. Ve en sus hijos caractersticas de Ginny tambin en la
manera cmo ellos cran a sus propios hijos, la compulsin y ansiedad Veo a Ginny en todo
lo que hace Elisa (su hija). Siempre est limpiando las superficies que es lo que haca Ginny, y en su
ansiedad compulsiva.11 De ambos, sus hijos han heredado el sentido de ser independientes e
individualistas. Al hablar de sus hijos, Richard parece tener un sentido de culpa bastante
profundo por cmo su manera de criar y educar ha afectado la vida de alguno de sus
hijos, en particular su hija Rachel que sufre de depresin y padece de un trastorno
alimenticio y es en general una hermana bastante distanciada del resto de la familia.
Creo que ella (Ginny) era demasiado tirnica con Rachel. Ha acabado, y yo soy responsable de ello
tambin con un desorden alimenticio, est deprimida y ha tratado de suicidarse dos veces. Y nosotros como
padres, tuvimos la culpa por estar siempre encima de ella no comas esto, te engordars, no hagas aquello,
est mal y Rachel est ahora tal y como est.12 Creo que el sentimiento de culpa en normal a
partir de estas circunstancias y me imagino que una vez uno es padre o madre esta culpa
es parte del rol como progenitores.


11 I see Ginny in everything Elisa does. She is always cleaning the counters, which Ginny did. And with
her compulsive anxiety
12 I think she was over domineering with Rachel. She ended up, and I was really very responsible for that
too, she now has trouble with her eating disorder; she is depressed and has attempted to commit suicide
twice. We were continually telling her dont eat this, youll get fat, dont do that, its wrong and then
Rachel ended up how she ended up.

Teniendo en cuenta que Richard se cri en una familia nuclear, juda y


relativamente fra y que su madre fue educada por tres mujeres en una familia de
opiniones extremistas, ambos obtuvieron por s mismos un tipo de familia totalmente
contraria a cmo ellos vivieron su infancia. Richard s menciona que no estaba mucho en
casa y su rutina as lo demuestra, levantndose a las 2-3 de la madrugada para hacer
ejercicio, trabajando como locutor de radio por las maanas durante la emisin del
primer telenoticias y ejerciendo como profesor en la universidad el resto del da, pero no
parece que se compadezca de ello. An y trabajar tanto y no estar demasiado en casa, l
siente que fue una parte integral de la educacin y crianza de sus hijos. No obstante, la
manera cmo se expresa parece indicar algo ms de tono patriarcal y distante: Estaba
fuera mucho o bien haciendo ejercicio o trabajando. Creo que la casa no era demasiado catica. Estaba
bien organizada. Ginny tena ciertas reglas que todos cumplan, como bien sabes. No se poda andar con
zapatos en la casa. No se podan poner los pies en los muebles. Creo que en general haba orden. Pero
haba cosas que no sabamos. Aaron tena marihuana plantada en su habitacin. Eso no lo supimos.13
Richard fue muy activo profesionalmente y lo contina siendo durante sus aos
como jubilado. Se ocup de Ginny durante los primeros aos de jubilacin ya que ella
enferm de alzhimer tan pronto como los gemelos, los ms pequeos de la familia, se
fueron a la universidad. La enfermedad les cambi la vida por completo a ambos y fue de
un alzhimer leve a muy severo en tal solo unos pocos aos. Richard trat de mantenerla
en casa y cuidarse de ella pero con los aos empez a darse cuenta que no poda cuidarla
bien y que su propia estabilidad mental peligraba, empez a tomar muchos
antidepresivos. La intern en una residencia para pacientes con alzhimer y Ginny vivi
all durante 10 aos hasta que muri en el ao 2013, durante las Navidades. Richard no
me habla de cmo la muerte de su esposa le afect pero s dice que a partir del momento
que enferm la relacin conyugal ya no era lo que haba sido. Nuestra vida como esposo y


13 I was away a lot either working or exercising. I thought the house was not very chaotic. It was well
organized. Ginny had certain rules which everyone followed as you know. No shoes in the house. No
standing on the furniture. I think overall it was orderly. But there were things we didn't know. Aaron
was growing marijuana in his bedroom. We didn't know that.

esposa una vez enferm ya no se poda considerar como relacin conyugal. A menudo era agresiva y estaba
muy triste y yo no tenia idea alguna de lo que estaba viviendo ella.14
Considera que su relacin con sus hijos, hoy ya todos adultos y muchos con hijos
propios es buena. Daniel, el mayor con 56 aos vive lejos de Richard y es polticamente el
ms alejado en conviccin de la familia. No est muy en contacto con el resto de la
familia pero se comunican con Richard varias veces al ao. Con la mayora de sus hijos,
Richard mantiene una relacin estrecha e ntima. No obstante, siente que no conoce muy
bien a sus nietos aunque traza paralelismos entre ellos bastante lcidos. Por ejemplo, lo
ilustra as Pues, puedo ver una lnea directa entre Howard, Matthew y yo y entre Ginny y Andrea y
Philip15 Siente que no juzga a sus hijos por como han educado a sus propios hijos pero s
comenta que no est de acuerdo con varias de las maneras cmo sus hijos han educado a
sus hijos y considera que Ginny tampoco lo estara. Atribuye varias de las causas a los
tiempos y la era en la que vivimos, empero no dice nada a sus hijos, manteniendo sus
opiniones para s mismo, creo que Joel sobreprotege a Ezra y aunque ella es adolescente y ello es muy
difcil creo que quiere que ella siga sus pasos en lugar de sus propios pasos.16
A da de hoy Richard, escribe un blog en el que reivindica una vida digna para las
personas de la tercera edad, escribe poesa y ficcin, lee vidamente, es muy aficionado al
cine, tiene buenos amigos con los que conversa, es voluntario de su comunidad y
universidad e imparte algunas clases tanto de educacin secundaria como en la
universidad. Es muy activo intelectualmente a pesar de no serlo fsicamente. Richard tuvo
un accidente hace unos 8 aos que lo inmoviliz mucho. Con el tiempo ha ido
recuperando su movilidad pero todava necesita de una silla de ruedas para trasladarse de
un lugar a otro.

14 Our life as husband and wife once she was sick cant be considered a conjugal relationship anymore. She
was often aggressive and very sad and I had no idea what she was going through.

15 So I can see a direct line between me and Howard and Matthew and between Ginny and Andrea and
Philip.

16 I think Joel overprotects Ezra, although he is dealing with a teenager and that is really hard, but I
think he wants her to follow his way, rather than her own way.

CONCLUSIN
A modo de conclusin me gustara exponer que este trabajo ha sido muy
gratificante. He disfrutado mucho con la ejecucin de las entrevistas. As como la primera
entrevista me pareci algo forzada durante la segunda entrevista ambos nos sentimos
muy cmodos y pudimos profundizar muchsimo ms en varios aspectos de su vida. Creo
que las entrevistas me han proporcionado una buena cronologa de su vida y tanto
mediante su narracin como por medio de las preguntas que le realic hemos podido
establecer un guin de los momentos ms esclarecedores de sus etapas vitales.
No obstante, siento que podramos haber efectuado una o incluso dos entrevistas
ms y habra habido mucho ms contenido pero por falta de tiempo no las hemos
realizado. Me hubiese gustado preguntarle ms sobre el contexto social y cultural en el
que transcurri su infancia, sus opiniones polticas, ya que s que estuvo implicado
polticamente durante sus estudios universitarios, formaba parte de una asamblea
universitaria comunista y sobre cmo sus ideas acerca de la religin han cambiado a lo
largo de los aos. Una vez realizadas las entrevistas y el anlisis de su narracin tambin
me percato que al conocer bien a Richard he dejado de preguntarle cosas bsicas como la
residencia o la herencia y transmisin de bienes. La residencia ha sido un tema del que
hemos hablado, tanto la residencia de su familia de origen como la residencia que l y
Ginny crearon pero considero que podra haber profundizado ms acerca de este tema
tan importante en el parentesco. Igualmente, no hemos tratado de la herencia y la
transmisin de bienes pero este tema no se me haba ocurrido hasta escribir el anlisis.
A pesar de los cambios que podra realizar al volver a forjar un trabajo como
este, considero que he tratado los temas ms importantes de su vida y he podido plasmar
la voz y personalidad de Richard en la narracin y analizar algunos de los temas surgidos
ms interesantes y definitorios. Siento que entiendo sus vivencias en relacin a sus
relaciones de parentesco, sito bien las etapas de su vida, he tratado los temas ms
importantes del parentesco, tal y como su matrimonio, la paternidad y sus relaciones con
sus hijos.

Por ltimo, tras finalizar este trabajo debo decir que no volvera a realizar una
historia de vida sobre una persona a la que conozco. Creo que tanto el ejercicio de
realizarla como los resultados finales seran ms favorables. Asimismo, una vez realizado
este trabajo advierto la necesidad de escoger a una persona a quien le guste hablar y que
tenga buena memoria

APNDICE
Temas abordados:
Infancia
Hogar en el que transcurre la infancia
Relacin con su hermano
Relacin con sus padres y opinin que tiene de ellos
Universidad y estudios
Ginny: noviazgo y matrimonio
Paternidad
Profesin
Alzheimer de Ginny
Relacin con su familia en la actualidad
Preguntas realizadas durante la segunda entrevista
He traducido las preguntas a efectos de este documento. Como he mencionado antes, la
segunda entrevista era bastante ms dirigida y quera cubrir con ms profundidad la
relacin matrimonial, la paternidad y su relacin con los hijos. Este es el guin sobre el
cual bas la segunda entrevista, no obstante, tal y como se puede comprobar en la
narracin y las transcripciones, se realizaron otras preguntas a partir de las respuestas
obtenidas.
NOVIAZGO Y RELACIN CONJUGA
-Cuntame sobre tu primera cita con Ginny.
-Habas tenidos otras novias? Y Ginny?
-Fue amor a primera vista?
-Cunto tiempo de noviazgo tuvisteis?
-Sentas presin por casarte?
-Conociste a su familia antes de casarte? Y ella, conoci a tu familia?
-Cmo eran las relaciones parentales?
-Qu hicisteis tras casaros?

-Qu hacas en Nueva York despus de la Universidad? Y Ginny?


-Os veais con mucha frecuencia durante esa poca?
-Por qu te enamoraste de Ginny? Y ella, por qu crees que se enamor de ti?
-De qu temas hablabais? Tenais intereses conjuntos?
-Cuntame sobre Ginny? Cmo fue su infancia? Cmo era ella de adulta? Qu le
gustaba?
HIJOS y PATERNIDAD
-Hubo algn momento concreto en el que decidisteis tener hijos?
-Cmo te sentiste la primera vez que cogiste a tu primer hijo?
-Por qu tuvisteis 12 hijos? Lo hablabais?
Quin tomaba las decisiones sobre la crianza y la educacin de los hijos?
-Cambiaron las maneras de criar a vuestros hijos durante los aos? Qu diferencias
haban?
- Crees que los hermanos todos disfrutaron de una vida familiar tan extensa?
-Qu cosas recuerdas del hogar?
-Qu piensas de tu rol como padre? Tanto el actual como el rol de padre de nios y
adolescentes.
-Qu rasgos crees que han adoptado tus hijos de ti? Y de Ginny? Y en qu se parecen
todos los hermanos? Y cmo se diferencian?
-Cmo es la relacin con tus hijos ahora que ya son todos adultos y padres/madres?
PROFESIN y JUBILACIN
-Disfrutaste del ambiente acadmico en la universidad?
-Cmo era tu da a da laboral?
-Qu es lo que ms te gustaba de tu profesin?
-Cmo es tu da a da ahora que no trabajas?
-Trabajas mucho para la comunidad, qu te aporta?

TRANSCRIPCIN ENTREVISTA 1
Hi Richard!
Ok, Richard. Let's start. So, as you know we are going to talk about your life,
and as such, I'd like you to talk to me freely about your life, you may start
wherever you want, childhood, profession, marriage, and children... Whatever
you feel like telling me.
Ah, well, that's an extremely open question. Well, I guess when I think back to
what my life has been, I think about my accomplishments and I now feel very
fulfilled. I always knew what I wanted to be but I never knew why I wanted
those things. I wanted to be an actor, but I didn't know why, I wanted to write
but I didn't know why, I wanted to teach but I didn't know why, I wanted to
broadcast but didn't know why, and in the last few years I've wanted to take a
stand on politics, I've become an activist and this time I know why, I enjoy
being fulfilled. ....
You were vey close to your brother but you were 5 years apart?
5 years apart and we were close to one another but I was the eldest and I had to
take him to the movies which I disliked going with him I remember that . I
remember a friend of mine and I were playing around one day somewhere and I
had his hands tied and Brett had his feet tied and we were pretending we were
going to drop him in a fire and we actually did drop him. That's pretty much all
I remember of us as kids.
Laughing.
Did you share a room?
Oh yes, we did. I never liked that.
You lived in Queens, New york, didn't you? did you live in an apartment or in a
house?
Apartment, in Queens. It was small, and dark.
And what did your parents do?
Well, my brother and I were at school and my father did some clerical work and
my mom never worked.
Do you remember your parents being at home much?
No, I don't remember my parents at home, but I don't think I was home much
either. We became estranged with my brother for no reason at all and when

Sarah got married, my daughter, about 18 years ago, my brother went to the
wedding and I went to the wedding and we sort of met one another for the first
time as adults and uhm, we formed a bond and we both went back to where we
were born, at the apartment we were born in, I think I might've sent you the
writing I wrote for my class, so we went home together and since then we have
been kind of, uhm, close. We call one another twice a week, this is a Sunday so
he will be calling tonight and uh, Ive gone to the bar mitzvahs of his nephews,
no his grandchildren's and I'm their grand uncle, so we've started a new life
together.
Now, my mother I remember as a very sweet woman, a very caring woman and
uh, my father was sort of, uh, he was, uhm, neutral l, he was mostly neutral all
the time. He worked almost 7 days a week and one day of the week I might go
into his factory in NY, in the city and I would spend my time just hanging out
there and wed go and have a meal together, and he liked very much classical
music and once in a while he would take me to a concert and then I guess we did
the usual father son thing, played sports together, he was an addict to golf and
he would go to the public golf course on Sunday morning when he wasn't
working and I would go with him and hang out there so we were never really
very close and then as I remember he was overly, unusually attracted, not
attracted but concerned with my aunt who lived in the apartment next door to
us and he paid more attention to her than to my mother which aggravated me at
the time and which I've written about in a few essays, that really aggravated me
more than I knew. and uh, he was very mean to my brother and in favor of my
aunt so that we didn't have many moments of happy father -son relationships.
However, he never struck me, but once when he found cigarettes in my drawer
and I said they belonged to somebody else, because he never smoked you see.
My mother was a smoker.
And your dad and you never talked about how you felt, you never told him that
his relationship with your aunt aggravated you, had an affect on you, although
you say that you didn't know how it effected you at that time?
I didnt know at the time, no. It wasn't until I started really thinking about it.
and I was living it too because my aunt, he got her an apartment very close to
ours and when Ginny and I got married we stayed with her for a few months,
that was our first home and she was a single woman and I guess she was pretty
neurotic since she jumped out the window and she always used to say that she
was happiest when she made people unhappy.
Goodness
Was that your mom's sister?
No, no, that was my father's sister.
Oh, that was your father's sister!

My father's sister was very... my father was raised by his sisters 1, 2, 3, 4,


sisters and all but one were pretty, well I didnt know them very well, I only
knew one very well and that was sister Frances who lived in upstate NY and we
would visit her occasionally, my father would drive us and we'd go to the
baseball games, and I guess we didn't know much about family at that time,
well, seems like my brother and I did do other things, we went to football games
together. We would go upstate to Franciss stay the day and drive home. His
other sisters I remember little about them, my aunt Gene, who was the one he
looked at, she was single and the closest to him and she worked at his shop and
so we saw her very often. She was very attached to him and he to her. He was
never very kind to my mother, I dont think he felt like she was up to his status
in terms of intelligence, and awareness and his love of music. But he really
depended on her. I remember two incidents. Once I went home from college
vacation time and one of my neighborhood friends said that he heard my
mother say she would drop everything and go after the ... 7.47 so she was
apparently.... and he worked very late so we never ate together as a family and
then he'd come home late, she would have his meal ready and he would eat and
then go listen to his classical music and I have fond memories of that. And my
one big bad memory of my father is when my mother died and we had a
memorial service here in Corvallis and uh, he got up to speak and he criticized
her for not, for dying and not being able to take care of him. So that was a pretty
bad scene and a few years, because he apparently didn't want to live, he dies in
92, he was in an independent living in Corvallis. We moved mother and father to
Corvallis because she has a brain tumor which was promised to be recoverable
but never was so she was in a different hospital in Corvallis and I don't think he
ever visited her. Ginny and I did. Ginny more than I really. Then, he started to
live with us, in our house which was horrible and the kids just kept arguing
about everything, he was very selfish, he wanted everything for himself and then
he went to the independent living, he used to have his so called neighbors and
then he moved to a nursing home, where my mother had died and he demanded
to have a lot of attention and uh, he was mean to the people who were there, the
caregivers and finally he just stopped eating and he died. So I think he killed
himself and he lived to be 93 years old, his mind was very sharp, he still was a
very bright man.
He'd had enough...
He had enough but he was taken care of and that's what he wanted.
And let me just go back to Junior, you said that with Junior you were estranged
for a while and then at Sarahs wedding you were kind of reunited. During your
adulthood, did you talk about how you felt about your parents? Do you think
Junior also feels kind of the same way as you do about your dad and mom?
Junior was not very talkative about that kind of thing. Hes pretty silent. and
he's read what I've written. But he has not really commented upon it.

Ok.
I think our whole family was not really very communicative. Uh, all going our
separate ways. Now, on the other hand my mother's family, I think you might
have, I hope you, I wrote about that, when I wrote about the family. My
mother's family was very gregarious, very outgoing, very loving and very much
full of one another. And for years, her sister, Claire, had wanted to be with our
family and because of the distances we lived , first in Pennsylvania then in the
South, then in Iowa, she never was able to. She finally came to Oregon and
when she was there she had a heart attack and died. So that was very sad. She
had uh, gotten her last wish, her wish but it turned out to be her last wish. But
she was a very, uh, entertaining, well, she was very much the song. She liked to
perform. She sang, she did all the, at the family ceremonies she would lead in
the singing and the dancing. And her, uh. There was a Jewish performer
named, uh, I think Sophie Teckner, that everybody compared Aunt Claire to.
She was a very lovely woman and as I said gregarious and outgoing. And her
whole family was very tight and united. They all lived together in the Ken
Manor, eventually in the Ken Manor apartments, where we grew up. Judy was
next door. As I said, but uh, my father's sister, but my mother's brothers and
sisters and grandchildren, adult grandchildren were scattered in various other
apartments in the apartment complex. And so they were very welcoming to
Ginny. I don't think my father's family knew much about Ginny. But my
mother's family was very welcoming. And uh, they were a family. I think my
mother's family was the typical Jewish concept, maybe the Italian also concept
of family. Very important, all loving one another and enjoying one another. I
don't think my father's family enjoyed one another.
Before we get to Ginny, um, your mom, you remember her as being very kind
and maybe not being treated great by your father.
Did she have a lot of autonomy? Did she want to, did she work? Did she do
anything outside of the house. Did she have hobbies?
Not in those days. I don't think she had hobbies. But I think my father would
think that her hobbies were spending money shopping. She had her friends and
uh, she took care of the home and raised the children.
And they were both Jewish.
yes. My father was not very religious and my mother more so, because it was
the thing to do, I think. I don't know how she felt about her spiritual life. I don't
think we ever talked that seriously growing up.
But you were raised quiet seriously in religion, no?
Not really, no.
So how come Ginny was obliged into converting into Judaism?

As I wrote about, I don't know if you read that or not, anyhow, uh my mother
had always dreamed of me being married in the temple. By a rabbi in a
religious ceremony. But if Ginny wasn't Jewish she couldn't have, we could not
have married at the temple. And so in her Senior year in college she took a
course of study from the Rabbi at the college which gave her a certificate of
Judaism. So she had converted to Judaism, so then we were able to get married
in the temple.
How did Ginny feel about that. Was it in anyway important? Did she not really
care? Did she end up actually believing?
No she was not very religious. partly because of her family, who were ultra
fundamentalist Christian religious. and she had a terrible time with her family
because of that. Well, she and her brother left the home as soon as they could.
They were raised by three women, as my father was raised by four women. I
guess that is not very good being raised by one sex only. She chose to be
episcopal when she was living on her own. I don't know how firm that was so
she might have thought she had to have a religion and had to go to church so she
chose Episcopal. I don't think she went to church when we were courting. I am
not sure, I think we were together mostly Sundays anyhow. And then came the
conversion which she did. And she was never really Jewish.. Nor was she very
Christian during our lives. We were not a very religious family. However, she
followed the rituals. She used to light, if not the Friday night candles, she
followed Chanukah and lighted the Chanukah candles. We didnt celebrate it
except for the candle lighting and the prayers. And one of our children has
followed that. Rachel did that, or does that. And uh, she calls every year and
asks me how to say the prayer. She has stopped nowadays as her life doesn't
allow her to do that. But we also had a Christmas tree and we didn't go to
church or mass or anything like that and we had a Christmas tree and we had
Chanukah candles. So we were a bipartisan family. As far as the outer
circumstances go.
Uh huh. And Richard you were saying that you and Jr. were estranged. Did
anything in particular happen? Or did it just naturally kind of fade apart with
University?
It just naturally faded apart.
At University? When you left home?
Oh yeah, because he was going through High School when I was away at the
University. At one time, he came to live with Ginny and I. At Indiana University.
Uh, he hadn't, I guess this must have been when he had started college he came
to our place to switch colleges but then apparently, then he left. And apparently
he left because of his wife, his now wife, Norma, who he must have been serious
about when he came to Indiana. But he left Indiana University after a short time

and left our home, living in our home. I don't know if he lived in our home or in
the dormitory. But he saw us and he left to go back to Queens College where he
obviously had met Norma earlier and then they stayed together. So that was the
only time as young adults that we were together. And I think in the time of us
getting together I must have been in my 60s, he might have been also.
And do you remember, Um, what, um, your parents. You said that your mom
and her family liked Ginny straight away. How did they -Did you know that
they would all appreciate Ginny when they met her. Were you nervous?
No. I don't remember that. I probably was. But they didn't give me time to stay
nervous.
Not even your Dad?
I don't really know. I don't think so.
How did Ginny feel with your family and your dad and?
She was very close to my mother. And as I said, we lived with my Aunt, next
door to my parents for the first, I don' t know how long of our marriage, then
my mother got us an apartment in the same community, Kew Gardens, and uh,
I think we might gone to see my mother once in a while for dinner, something
like that. I remember. And uh, she might have come to our place to see us. I am
sure she did because she shopped in the neighborhood as well. But we were
pretty much on our own.
And at that time, how old were you at that time?
I guess in my early 20s.
And Ginny as well? Was she a little younger than you?
Yeah, she was younger than me. When we married she was 18, going on 19. I
was 21 going on 22.
And by that time, Ginny was pregnant with Dan?
In the second year, yeah, in 1956.
So, you had finished college and she had to stop?
She had stopped.
She had stopped. And how did she feel about quitting university.

I don't know. I never. I know she had a career as a PhD lined up in her mind.
Clinical psychologist. But in those days, if the man went, the woman went. So I
was done with school and I had my Master degree I was going to toward for in
New York so she came along. At one time during, when I was on my first
teaching job she took a few courses in the field that she was interested in, in
Child Development, and that was about it.
Child Development was what she wanted to do?
Uh, psychology. I don't remember the exact courses but I think those were child
development classes as part of psychology.
And later on in her life she never said, 'oh I wish I had finished' or 'I wish I
was...'
No.
No.
No, not to me. I don't know what she said to her friends.
And you never intuitive anything?
pardon me?
You didnt have time or intuited maybe that she was feeling regret in anyway. I
mean maybe having 12 children was her part of psychology.
....raising children.
with having as many children as you had something that just happened very
naturally? And I know you have written about it, I can't mention, I have to
pretend I havent read anything.
We had one accident.
One accident.
One.
And it wasnt the last one.
No.
So why would you consider that one an accident?
She wanted children and I guess I did too. I mean I went along with her.

Of course, you must have.


Mentally as well.
But when you say you had one accident, if you had more afterwards, why do you
consider that one as an accident?
Because I didn't know that the child was coming.
Ok
And I remember very distinctly we, I dont know the name of the restaurant,
and there was this place outside of Corvallis and I remember having a beer, and
she said had something to tell me, lets go out to tell me, so lets go out to dinner.
So we went to this restaurant and she told me that she was pregnant.
Was it never a surprise anymore or was it always a surprise? Always as if it
was the first one when she told you she was pregnant.
No, I don't think any of the...there were no surprises. Let's put it that way.
Except for this one occasion.
And as the number grew, was there any moment of stress, financial and...
Well there must have been financial stress. Uh, because I had many jobs and
then Ginny eventually worked out of the home. And I don't know if that was
because we were in terrible need or if she just wanted to work out of the home.
But uh, she worked in the Kid Shop, she was around children and mothers to be.
Which she liked very much and then she was around other people in the
Birkenstock store, in the selling of Birkenstocks. She enjoyed what she did. Very
much. I mean she was using her mind. Especially in the Birkenstock store as
she had to do the books. And that was brought her down at the end because she
couldn't do that any longer. Her mind didnt take to mathematics.
Richard, at the beginning you said that you always knew that you wanted to be a
teacher and that you always knew that you wanted to be an actor you just didnt
know why or how. When do you think you first though "I could be a teacher"?
When I couldnt be an actor.
Ok. And when did you realize that you couldnt be an actor?
New York. And I had decided I didn't have it in me to do what needed to be done
to have a life on the stage. I mean it takes too much of....it takes much of an
intensity and a single mindedness...a singless probably too.

And as a child you remember going to theater plays or to cinema.


No, never really. We did go to movies, but uh, that was not what inspired me. I
don't know why I had that. I think genetically, it might have been from my aunt
Claire. My mother's sister that put those genes in me, but to why I chose that, I
guess I always wanted that, in those days, radio was a major medium, and
when I chose my college because it was good in radio and I thought I would
want, I thought I wanted to do that. and then that led to television and that let to
being in plays, being in the theater. And many of my friends, that was our goal.
To become professional theater people. A few of us made that. Most of us did
not. And some of us did that in the community theater. Uh, And I did it in my
way being in broadcasting and teaching. That field.
What was your degree exactly.
It was in the teaching theater, it was in the speech back then. IT was basically in
Theater Arts. My masters was in the school of dramatic arts of Columbia. And
my PhD was also in theater arts. And in dramatic arts, theater arts, dramatic
literature. I couldn't just get a degree in the creative aspect of it. It had to be in
the literary aspect of drama.
And during your whole childhood were you academic? Or did it happen
towards the late teens.
I think that happened. I do remember one of my HS experiences. I must have
been interesting in writing because I was an editor, one of the editors of the high
school year book. So I was involved with compiling that and writing that. So I
must have had a writing desire at that time. And I remember one English
teacher told me that my style was terrible and I would never be able to become a
writer. But yet I have done all the things I do now, back then, and screw her.
Did your parents have any high expectations of you?
I don't know. I know I was always trying to please my father. Even as an adult,
when I got a grant at a University, I would let him know that I got this grant.
That I had received this award. I think psychologically I was always trying to
please him. And so I wanted to make known what I had done.. And I think that
has been carried over into my life now, I like to try and make it known what I
have done. Although I don't really brag, and feel, I want to say humble, but self
affixing, but at the same time I'd like to say 'hey I did this, I made this part, I got
this part."
Yea.
Which I didn't get my last audition.
You didn't.

No.
Oh well, next time. You are traveling a lot. You are non stop. And what do you
think made your mom proud. Did that even make your father proud. When you
did tell him.
I never knew.
You never knew.
One comment I do remember was "how are you going to pay for all of those
shoes". It was his comment about having kids.
And your mother.
And my mother was loving to the children. And I dont know if she had seen all
of them. I don't remember...the twins were born. I am not sure if she came out
to see them or not.
Ok.
She had been through two cancers and a brain tumor. So she had been through a
lot. In fact, one of the cancers was diagnosed when she was here. Had it
operated on when she was here.
Good.
The in-laws there were none. I didnt have any relationship with my in-laws. I
didn't know my mother in law very well and my uncles and, my mother's
brothers, my mother in law's brothers. I didnt know them well.
What about cousins. Did you have any cousins.
Many cousins.
All through the years, as adult cousins when I was living in NY, or even visited
NY we used to have regular monthly cousin club meetings.
What are those.
They were social events. We called them the cousins club. Get together, have
dinner, drinks. Sing songs. Tell jokes and all that kind of stuff. And I know I
went as a kid to some of these and I was surprised at the rowdiness? of some of
the songs my older cousins were singing. We used to meet very closely as a
family. That side of the family, the Neimans, were very close.

So all of these cousins are from your Mother's family.


Yes.
None from your dad.
No.
Your dad did have a brother or a sister?
There was one cousin who lived in upstate NY and he is closer to my brother
than I. I think part of that is geographically. I think it is always geographically.
He is in his 90s now. Officially he is my cousin. and I knew him as a kid
because he lived in the country and we saw him when we visited the country
side.
And do you have a relationship with these cousins from the cousin club?
They are not around any more. But I did. I had a distant relationship.
However I think on Facebook there is still one cousin that I am connected with.
And a cousin's child that I connect with. And my closest cousin who was my
confidant as a teenager, I saw him as an adult, and their child also lived in
Seattle and I went up there a few times to see them. But distance kept us apart.
Are you close to Norma, your brother's wife?
No.
Is that something open, do you both understand that you dont have much in
common or don't like each other.
It is not that I dislike her, I just feel distant. In fact, my brother is very warm,
but she is not. In my perception. Distant woman.
In general, so you feel that she is distant with the whole of your family as well.
Yeah.
And does Junior notice that?
I don't think so. Now Jr. children have not faired too well in life. One son had
early on Parkinsons, still does. And his oldest son is clinically depressed and
had a bad marriage and had an unhappy marriage and is under going treatment
for his depression and suicidal thoughts. Junior doesn't talk about that. doesnt
like talking about that. Jennifer lives in Tampa.

TRANSCRIPCIN ENTREVISTA 2
Tell me about your first date with Ginny, your wife. Was it a double date?
Yes it was. We went to the drive in.
I remember you telling me that you guys didn't talk very much.
No, we didnt. She had a date with another guy. I was in the backseat with my
date. There was not much chemistry with me and my blind date but apparently
there was some chemistry between me and Ginny, who was in the front seat
with her date. He was a friend. So after the movie, I asked this guy if he would
mind if I called her to ask her out and he said no. So I called her and she
remembered me which is a plus, and she said "yes", she would accept the
date. And so we went out and neither of us went out with anyone else after that.
And was Ginny your first girlfriend or had you had other girlfriends?
I had others in University.
And Ginny was, how would we say it, love at first sight or was it more of a love
with the years where it became stronger and stronger?
I think it was more developing.
Did you feel like it was time for you to get married when you met Ginny?
No. I mean, when I asked her, yes. When i first met her and was courting her,
as they say, no I was not thinking about marriage.
And how long were you courting each other?
I think two years. Not quite two years.
Was that considered a long time, at that time? Was this the 50s?
It was the 50s. 1951. We got married in 55. We left school in 54. So it was two
years. From her freshman year to the end of her sophomore year and my junior
year to my senior year.
Was that considered to be a long time of courtship, two years or so, or what
were your friends doing? Were they getting married very fast?
They were getting married. But I don't know the length of time of courtships. I
would think it was long, but I don't know.

You didn't know her family, so you never asked for her hand. But did you
introduce her to your family before getting married?
Not until we went to New York to plan the wedding. That was the first time she
met my family.
So, none of you asked permission from your families or anything like that?
No.
Is that something that in the United States you don't do? Here in the 50s, you
most definitely had to have permission from you parents.
No I think so. And we were both independent people. She was not that close to
her family. I told my family, and the only stipulation, which really wasn't a
stipulation, was to be married in a temple, synagogue. So I guess this was
during Christmas vacation because we went back for my last term, which was a
winter term and Ginny started her period of conversion to judaism.
But that was because your mother really wanted that for you, it wasn't a
stipulation, it was more of making her wish come true?
Yes.
So then you were married, you lived in New York with your aunt Gene and after
that, your mother bought you an apartment in the same building or area?
Same area.
And you and Ginny lived there because you were studying in Columbia?
Right.
What was Ginny doing at that time?
She got a job in New York. The Hispanic section of New York. She worked for
an ophthalmologist and treated welfare cases. So it was a tough neighborhood as
city neighborhoods go. And I was going to school but I was also working and I
was working at school and also working at a place located in times square. Let
me back up. I worked before entering school when we were married. So we
were both working while we lived in that apartment. Then when I went to
school, I worked at the school but we had this double life prior to starting
school. She worked on 14th street and I worked in Times Square so at lunch I
would take the subway and meet her at her subway stop and we would go out
for lunch. In a real greasy, excuse the expression, Hispanic restaurant. I always
had eggs and French fries. And they were greasy. Afterwards, I would walk
back to the subway and I would buy an ice-cream sandwich and I would eat it

on the way back to the subway station and those were the same ice-cream
sandwiches that they serve today. In the stores around here.
So was that pretty much all the time you would spend together at that
time? Have lunch and that was it? Were you very busy to actually be together
very often or no?
When I got into school, I was there all day. And sometimes at night. So we
would be separated until I got home.
What do you remember about Ginny? What made you fall in love with
Ginny? What was it about Ginny - the very young Ginny, that made you fall in
love with her?
I think our love developed after the marriage really. I don't know what she saw
in me. Seriously. I imagine she must have seen my personality and knew who I
was and what I saw in her. I don't think consciously I was aware of personal
traits. Maybe unconsciously- I mean I noticed what she did, she worked very
hard, in school and out of school, she was Independent which conformed with
me and she was a good partner. We seemed to fit.
And you think she felt kind of the same way.
She must have. She wouldn't have kept going out with me and she wouldn't
have accepted my asking to get married, if she didn't.
Ok, and so what was it that did make you guys fall in love for each other?
I think it was just a long period of living together and developing ourselves as a
couple. I think we still kept our independence all the way through. But also a
dependence. Its not like I am not dependent on people, but we depended upon
one another to carry out the experiences of living. Domestically and financially
and in parenting.
Were you Ginny's first male in her life?
I think so. When I met her she did have a boyfriend in Michigan but that is all I
knew. I don't know if she had dated on the campus or not.
Excuse my nosiness, but the fact that you now see that maybe you fell in love
later on in the marriage, does that mean that when you were young you didn't
believe in love?
I think falling in love isnt the correct verb. I think we developed love. It grew.
Does that mean that you weren't in love when you first met?

I don't know how you define love. We wanted to be in each other's


company. Obviously we were young, 19, 17, so there were vulnerable aspects sexual aspects as well. So I don't know how you would say or define that one
word. It is hard to. There was a feeling of attachment.
After New York, you left to Indiana?
Ginny and I worked hard together while I was going to school. She wrote letters
to look for a job for me because she was pregnant with Daniel. And so I was
graduating in the summer and I needed a job. So I would compose these letters
to various schools and she would type them and mail them out. Finally there
was one acceptance and I accepted right away. It was in Lewisburg,
Pennsylvania. At Becknell University. And so that is where we spent our first
year of marriage. On that note, our first year away from New York. After
Becknell, I went back to school for a PhD and that is when we went to Indiana.
And that was when Dan was born?
No, he was born in Pennsylvania in November.
And he was the first born. How old were you then?
I was 22 and Ginny was 19. We got married in 1955 and Dan was born in 1956.
You were young when you met. Ginny was 16 years old when you met?
Yes. 16 and months. I didn't know that. Not until we talked about our families
and I knew that she had left home to get away from her very bad environment
and so she - there was this high school teacher that was going to work on his
degree at Indiana University and he volunteered, he and she must have been
talking about this prior, but he agreed to be her guardian while she went to
school. He was going to school, living with his family. She was in the
dormitory going to school but he was officially her guardian. Which is what got
her away from home.
And her brother also left home at the same time?
No. Maybe two years later. As soon as he graduated High School. They wanted
to get away.
Her dad was not alive? She lived with her mom and her mom's sister, correct?
And her grandmother. Her father had divorced early on and uh, before Paul was
born in 1958, her father died and Ginny went back to West Virginia, where her
father lived.
When Ginny lived at home, she didn't have much of a relationship with her dad?

He wasn't there.
But did they see each other even though her parents were divorced?
I don't know. He must have left when she was very young.
She went back when he died, so she knew about him enough for that. Right?
She had a picture of him in our photo collection.
So she had memories of him and must have spent some time with him, at least?
Maybe not. I don't know. Whether it was a matter of duty or emotion, I have no
idea. She left Paul with me, so she must have felt that she had to go.
And she didn't talk much about her family at all?
No. In fact, a lot of the stuff, I found out many years later. I didn't know she was
claustrophobic because her mother put her in a closet. I didn't know that until
one of our visits to St. Croix, which was years later. I knew her mother made
her sort of like ISIS, her mother made her shield her body, wear long sleeves in
the summer.
Because they were fundamentalists?
Oh yeah.
And, obviously Ginny was super smart if she was able to graduate from high
school at 16. What was that kind of intelligence like? Was it a book smart? How
did that intelligence become a part of who she was?
I have written about this. I don't like the expression street smart, but she was
socially smart. As well as book smart. For example, I guess you have heard the
story of her ability to take things back after many months of use. One incident I
remember, I think it was called White Star, and they were the predecessor of the
McDonald's, fast food hamburger place. 19 cents a hamburger. It was called
White Castle. So we went to a White Castle in Kew Gardens in Forest Hills and
she ordered a hamburger and it came out but it wasn't well done enough so she
complained to the server that she wanted it well done and you know, it seemed
out of place to go to a cheap dive like that and be fussy about your food. But she
did that. And she was, when I met her, part of her working her way through
college, was she was, again a predecessor of McDonald's, she worked at a place
called, Furgies, it was a man in Bloomington who owned one, or two,
hamburger joints. Drive-Ins. And the servers, the waitresses, all wore uniforms
and they roller-skated to the car and you gave the order to them, and they skated
back to the building. Got the order and roller-skated it back to the car and left it

on the front window. She did that. That gave her the ability to mingle although
she was a very shy person.
She was shy?
She was.
But yet, whenever anyone mentions Ginny, family or in-laws or at her
memorial, her neighbors...all I heard was she was such a beautiful, kind and
friendly person. Shyness doesn't always go that way...
It is paradoxical. She was very shy but at the same time she traveled on the
subway for an hour to get down to the 14th street station and work in this, I
don't want to say ghetto, but it was, all of New York was divided into ethnic
conclaves, so this was a poor neighborhood and they didn't speak much English
either, but she would take the subway in the city of millions of people, travel by
herself. You can't be too shy and maybe she was outwardly shy, but inwardly
strong. And she got along with people.
Did she have a lot of friends? Did she feel that a social life was important to
her?
She didn't have any friends in New York. Not that many in Pennsylvania
either. That mostly developed in Indiana, a little bit. In Georgia not too
much. Nor I. Then in Iowa, it was more spread out and in Oregon it bloomed.
It was a growth process. Close friends in Iowa. Maybe another couple and then
it expanded here in Oregon.
What interests did she have? What did she like, what were her hobbies. I know
she wasn't - you were very much into sports and running and cycling and she
was not. She walked to work for an hour but did she have hobbies?
She loved to do domestic activities. She loved to cook and bake and sew. She
sewed many of our clothes.
Even before you had children, she was comfortable around the house and
wanted to be doing these things?
No. Having children took up a lot of time and especially when you are a new
parent. That is pretty much most of what you do.
That is why I am asking, before children, what did she like to do? How did she
spend her time? What did she talk about with those friends that you guys had?
There weren't many times without children. I was busy at school and work, we
were both busy getting me a job, and we lived in an apartment house in New
York where most people didn't know each other anyhow. Neither of us had

friends there. She didn't know anybody. I knew some people but I had grown
apart from them for four years so we were pretty much friendless in that respect
and when we moved to Pennsylvania, we were busy taking care of Dan, and I
was very busy at my job. I imagine, I know that she would talk with the other
people that lived in the faculty departments there. Because we were on an
acquaintance basis. Not a friendship basis. But we were very young and most
of them were older and so they looked upon us as friendly advisors to
us. Showing us the ways of teaching at a University, being a faculty member
and a wife of a faculty member. I remember she dreaded going to these
affairs. Where the President had an affair and you went to the President's
dinner or their home or these kinds of things, she disliked those. She liked
home.
What about you, did you enjoy the intellectual scene at the faculty?
It wasn't intelectual so much, it was academically social. I didn't really enjoy
it. I was too young and I knew it was expected of me.
DId you gradually come to enjoy that more and more or was that a part of your
job you didn't really like?
I still keep away from that. I don't go to the 30 year retirement dinners, or stuff
like that. I was very active with students and activities. It was just the
university. I wouldn't have joined a faculty club.
For any particular reason? Why?
That is just not my style. Im kind of shy also. So I shy away from these places
of forced meeting.
That is interesting. We will come back to that because it seems that now, it is
changing a little bit?
No, it is still there. All the way. I do many extroverted things and public things
but I am no good at social conversations though. Once you get past the weather,
what do you say? But I do go to an old mans group on Fridays and we talk.
And you feel comfortable there?
Yeah. Monday I went to a conference and spoke and I felt comfortable with the
people I knew. Being introduced to people I didn't know was uncomfortable. I
used to go to the Oregon Broadcaster's meeting to promote our program at
Oregon State and I was even on the board of directors at that time but I didn't do
well. I had to go, unbeknownst to all the people there. I didn't know all the
people there so I had to go and I had to engage in these social conversations. It
was hard but I eventually started to warm up. I didn't really enjoy it that
much. It was fun to do because of the conversation but it was hard to engage in

the solid conversation. Just the peer, superficial social conversation. I have a
man coming in soon. He is from Iran and we are conversational partners. He is
getting to learn English by talking to me. It is through a community based
organization.
Do you learn something from him?
The external language absorption. But we talk about serious things. When I last
did it there was a professor from Korea who I was a partner with and we talked
about his profession and social and cultural life in Korea.
That is yet another example on how you might not feel the most comfortable in
social situations but yet you are so resilient and keep doing it and you are doing
theater and you do a writing class where you are constantly put in situations
where you might not be the most comfortable but yet you keep going and persist.
In classes like that I do feel comfortable.
I don't want to jump too far but we are here now so maybe just think about
this. What would you say the biggest changes are since you have retired? Apart
from the accident. I know the accident made your life as a retired man different
to what you might have imagined or to what it might have been but tell me how
it is now as a retired professor.
No different except for what I do. I still engage in the community and I engage
outside the facility that I am living in. One of the dial-a-bus drivers, they provide
rides for senior citizens and disabled people, so I spoke at the Christmas party
that they had last year, in December, so I was there and I spoke unbeknownst to
me that I would speak, the audience was told that i would speak. Say
something. And, one of the dial-a-bus drivers that I know from the university,
said that she couldn't wait to pick me up this one particular time because she
was struck very much by what I said to the group there. And what I said to the
group that struck her so much was that I may live in this assisted living
facilities buy my life is lived outside and if it were not for dial-a-bus, there
would be no life outside. Except for friends. So, being retired allows me to do
things that I might not have had time to do before. But it is carrying forth the
same things I did. I had always written, I had been a teacher, I think I am
teaching now although it is a different classroom and students are different, I
had always wanted to be involved with theater and media which I still am. So I
am doing things that are an extension to what I did in my professional life. Not
an extension but a nuanced different shade of the same thing.
I am going to go back to your life with Paul. It is Ginny, you, and Paul and
before getting pregnant, had you said, ok this is time for us to have
another. Before Ginny got pregnant did you talk about having kids. Did you
know that it was the plan. Was it a plan at that time?

It was a plan. And we did talk about that. So we would go to the Stardust bar,
and sit at a table during the day. We had three children picked out, David, Paul
and a woman's name. My brother had a David in his family before
Dan. Because my brother had a David, we couldn't name him David. So we
discussed that and we discussed the three children we were going to have. And
the synchronization of sexes didn't turn out right and we kept trying and I think
Ginny sort of manipulated the continual growth of the family.
12 children. Was there any moment where you said, should we stop?".
She wanted to continue after the twins. She was 49 by then, with 12 children.
What!? Did she ever explain why?
No, it was just something inherent, or chemically or, it is hard to explain. I
don't know. There was something between her and children. It was just an
inherent togetherness.
How would you describe her as a mother? What was she like? How do you
remember her?
Demanding. I think at first we were over demanding. I think we expected
perfection and too much excellence. I remember standing over Dan's shoulder
when he was in grade school, correcting his work and I think that has led him to
be very protective of his children. And not really protective, but domineering
over his children. Both of whom, the adults, veered away from that. And only
Marcus has felt that domination. And Bridgette is that way too. They were
perfect for one another. The kids remind me that if their drawers were not
perfect she would throw everything out the drawer. She was very demanding
but very soft.
Which is again paradoxical. Isn't it?
It is paradoxical. She was very independent. She had to be to do what she
did. Very individualistic.
Was she that way with her children too? Did she let them do? Or was she over
protective of them if she was demanding?
No. But she didn't let them do whatever they wanted. She let Paul have a
motorcycle which was a big mistake. I am trying to think of everyone and what
they wanted to do. I think not. No.
Did she change gradually as she had more children? I mean, the twins were
allowed to do anything and they were spoiled, according to the family. Was that
their perception or was it Ginny mellowing down?

It is their perception. She was that way when Elisa was born. Because Elisa
was the first girl. She spoilt Elisa. She was very happy when she got the girl. I
think she was over domineering with Rachel. She ended up, and I was
responsible for that too, she now has trouble with her eating disorder. And
continually making a fuss about not eating that or the other, you'll get fat. No
cookies, and then Rachel ended up how she ended up.
Did you agree on parenting or did you talk about parenting?
Yeah we did. We both read the same books. Bringing up teenagers. One of the
books was about raising teenagers. So we talked about it, and we would say, you
are too easy or too hard. Don't do that. So we had those conversations.
Would you say that you mostly agreed or disagreed, or a bit of a mix?
Both. A mix. I think she won most of the time.
As a family, I am moving towards Corvallis, where, maybe you had a larger
family, 8, 9 of them living together. Or I guess there were never 8 or 9 living
together, mostly 5 or 6.
Six and six.
What was your life like as a full house? What do you remember? What was the
day to day like? How do you remember that chunk of time...what was it, 30
years?
I was away a lot. I thought it was not very chaotic. It was well
organized. Ginny had certain rules which everyone followed as you know. No
shoes in the house. No standing on the furniture. I think overall it was
orderly. But there were things we didn't know. Aaron was growing marijuana
in his bedroom. We didn't know that.
Your life, I have heard you would get up at 4:30 in the morning and exercise and
then you would broadcast the news?
It depended. Sometimes I did, and then I stopped doing the broadcasting. But i
still got up early and when I was on the radio it was earlier than 4:30. It was
2ish when I would run. I did my exercising as well.
And then you would go to work and spend 8 or 9 hours at the University as a full
time job?
Not that many hours there.
Do you remember having dinner all together?

Yeah. Well, not when everyone did their own thing. Jeremy and Joshua were at
swimming practice. And Joel. So all three of them were gone. And Sarah left at
18 but we did use the kitchen as a gathering place. For dinner. Mostly in Iowa
we did that with four children. We would sit down at a specific time.
Who was in Iowa?
Paul, Dan, Elisa, Howard, Rachel was little. Ed was a baby.
I think that kind of generation of brothers remembers more skiing together,
more family vacations together. I think they remember more family time than
maybe the younger ones do. Am I correct?
Yes. So that would be Paul, Dan, Elisa and Rachel and Ed. And Sarah. Yeah,
she would come because she would stay in the skiing lodge. So we did these
trips together on the weekends. And then during the holidays we would be away
for a week during spring break and do the same thing during winter break. We
would rent out a place, a home, a resort. We did that a lot.
So during the first generation of kids there was a lot of family time or more
family time than the second generation of kids? As in the first six and second
six?
Yes. I think that the period of the first six there was more family time. But then
Dan was away when Jeremy and Joshua were born. He was home and away.
He wasn't with us all the time.
How do you see your role as a father now? or then? What do you think that
meant for you? What did it mean for your children? Your role as a father, what
does that mean to you? How do you think you influenced your children?
Well all of the children aren't the same. Josh and Jeremy are not the same. I
think I influenced them in terms of, well Ginny is part of the influence as
well. Because her DNA is in them as well. So I think I influenced them in terms
of what I did and their absorption of what I did. I won the love of physical
fitness and bodily exercise and physical activity. It was always that way. Even
as a youth in Kew Gardens. So I think they got that from me. Jeremy, Joshua
and Joel were swimmers. Paul was a swimmer. He is still a runner. Paul lifts
weights. Elisa rides bikes and runs. Sarah runs and lifts. Eddie skis and works
out. Dan plays basketball and he is doing triathlons. Howard is a runner and of
course Rachel.
Did Ginny encourage it? She was into the swimming right?
Ginny was into it for all of the kids. Yeah. We had the same values. I think
most of our children are liberal, socially and politically liberal in their
beliefs. Not all, but some.

Did you talk about politics? Did you talk about that stuff at home?
Yeah, I think they are independent, and individualistic. I used to buy Joel and Ed
books that would emphasize individuality and independence and standing out
from the crowd. And so that was talked about and implied. And being
concerned with others. I think both of us exhibited that. So I think that also was
part of the influence. More in both speaking and being.
Was it in any way persuasive coming from you or was it a natural kind of "this
is who I am and here is some of it"?
I gave Joel a book by Jack Kerouac for example. You know that kind of
encouragement.
What do you think they got from Ginny? What did she instill in them? Maybe as
adults you can see more of a reflection of Ginny in them. What would it be? As a
general trait?
A sense of responsibility. Parenting.
The parenting. Seeing your children being parents, you see Ginny in their way
of parenting?
And me. Yeah, I think it is a mix. I don't approve of all the parenting. I don't
think Ginny would have approved of all the parenting. But part of that are the
times we live in. We live in different times. ust think of the span of time from
when we had children in the 50s into the late 70s. A lot happened in society
during those time periods. So I think there is bound to be an influence of the
society and culture.
Do you keep your approval or disapproval to yourself or do you share that with
your children?
To myself. So what do I see, I see Joel, Jeremy is too new of a parent. I see
Aaron except he is heavily influenced by Maureen. The whole family is. I see
Sarah, I keep it to myself with her. And the others are all adults. Ed and Rachel
are childrenless. Paul has college graduates and Dan I kept to myself too. And
most of what I keep to myself is disapproval.
You say you keep to yourself and that it is disapproval. Do you feel as a parent
you have kind of set barriers between yourself and your children as to what you
think about them or not?
No. For example. I think Joel overprotects. But he is dealing with a teenager
and that is really hard, but all the time I think he puts too much of, follow this
way, rather than your own way, with Ezra. You know, eat your broccoli, eat

your vegetables. Keep away from this candy. Keep away from this TV. shows
like this and he comes on too strongly. He needs to cool it a little bit. I think
Ezra can manipulate Joel. Easily. And I think that Kevin and Elisa did wrong
with their older. You know, their kids call them by their first names. Rather
than mother and father. So I disapproved of that all along. I think Ginny would
have also. Maybe she did, I don't know. I don't know how Aaron raised Kaleb.
But Kaleb is a lot like Aaron. He doesn't say too much. Good athlete, good at
school. I don't think we were as hard on our younger children as we were on our
older children. So over the years, we must have mellowed. I think that would be
a truism.
Have you ever seen one of your children do or behave in a way that you might
not do in the same way yourself. Would you tell them? Or, as an adult father,
with adult children, have you set a very clear boundary as to what you can say
and what you can't say to your children?
Except in judgement. I don't think I would set any barriers to my adult children
and I don't say, you better be a good teacher Joshua, or else I'll be absent. Or
treat your wife well." I mean if he was beating you, I would notice that and say
something. But I guess you live as you both see fit. So I mostly keep to myself.
Has there been a change in the relationship with your children? The
relationship with your children who don't have any children themselves...Josh
for example and the relationship that have had their own children, like Joel or
Howie. How does your children having children affect your relationship in a
way?
I don't think it does.
Do you think it affects relationships among brothers?
I don't know. It seems not to. But there is such a wide range of ages of the
children and their geographical locations are different. I mean, Dan and Paul
are distant from one another and also, their wives play a role in their behaviors
as well. So the variables that affect these things are many - but I think overall, I
would say, not at all. I don't think that my relationship to my children is any
different with those that don't have children than with those that do. There
aren't that many that don't. The grandchildren are distant. Geographically and
in terms of the busyness of families.
Do you feel that you know your grand-children? Do you feel close to them?
No. Maybe Ezra. And I don't think that many people get close to Kaleb
anyhow. I don't see them that often. I see more Cassie, than Kaleb and she is
my step granddaughter. Definitely Ezra I see. And I don't see the Portland kids
at all. I hardly see them at all but I see their personalities developing according
to their parents. So I can see a direct line between me and howard and matthew

and between Ginny and Andrea and Philip. And Abby, me. I think Keelin has a
lot of Ginny in her. According to the children, Ginny was pretty anxious and
had anxiety. I didn't see that and didn't think she was.
How did you learn that? From your children? They remember her more
anxious than you do?
Yeah. Especially Rachel. I see Ginny in everything Elisa does. She is always
cleaning the counters, which Ginny did. That was a compulsion. She is always
doing up the dishes. And that was an activity that Ginny did was...it was
compulsiveness. Maybe out of anxiety. I don't know.

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