Family History Interview The person I choose to interview was my mother Elizabeth . The reason I chose to interview her was that I wanted to gain a closer bond with her. She is the closet relative living from which I could gain the most knowledge. (Q11) She was raised by both of her parents. (Q1) Her father Marlyn , was the Mayor or Morgantown, WV, as well taught law at WVU. Her Mother was Jerry , a graduate of WVU with a bachelor’s degree in zoology. Jerry was a woman of many talents. She sold a clothing line out of their house as well as being a housewife, mother, and secretary of their local Methodist church. Q2) Betty grew up in Morgantown, WV, in an exclusive area called South Park. The neighborhood was a well kept area with manicured yards, brick roads, and larger houses. It was a great area to grow up with many middle to higher income professional families, which maintained close family ties. (Q4, 5) Betty’s earliest memories of childhood were her many neighborhood friends that played outside until dark during the summer. In the winter with her friends, they played many board games. She also enjoyed alone time in her room with many hobbies. Another early memory was attending church every Sunday with her family.
After church they would go to the local dairy store and purchase homemade ice cream cones before going home. (Q6, 7) My mother earned an allowance for doing chores such as cleaning her bedroom, setting the table up for dinner and cleaning up when dinner was finished, as well as helping her father wash the family car and cutting the grass. Her allowance consisted of ten cents per grade level and she was paid weekly. After sixth grade she was no longer paid an allowance due to all the extracurricular activities she participated in during junior high and high school.
She saved half of her allowance and spent the rest on wooden cap guns, wooden airplanes, and candy. Childhood games consisted of board games such as Life, Monopoly, Chinese Checkers, and Clue. She received a monthly magazine, Highlights, which had a monthly play script. All her neighborhood friends would act out a play each month which consisted of costumes and props. Outdoor summer games played were Red Light Green Light, Hide and Go Seek, Red Rover, and Swing the Statue. (Q8) She did not have many childhood heroes, but she loved watching Walt Disney westerns. Q17) As a young child her mother received Home and Garden Magazine, from which she was inspired to draw lay outs of houses dreaming that one day she would become an architect. Betty was also a very sports minded person. She once saw the Harlem Globetrotters play in person, which inspired her to become a better basketball player. (Q9) Betty feels that the world today is very different from when she was a child. Today’s world is much faster paced and everyone relies on technology. Communication was more personable with hand written notes. Children today are not as able to spell well with use of texting and spell check.
Because of fast paced lifestyles, not as much time is spent with family discussions over the dinner table. She also feels too much money is spent on closets full of clothes, shoes, and make-up. (Q16) In her school years she participated in many extracurricular activities. She played basketball against other home rooms because girls were not allowed to play organized sports against other schools. As well she participated in Glee Club and Tri-Hi-Y, a girl’s civic organization. (Q13) During her high school years the girls wore weejun loafers, saddle oxfords, poodle skirts, and sweaters with dickeys.
Boys wore blue jeans with white tee shirts and penny loafers. Some of the popular hairstyles for girls were, beehives and paige boys, while the boys would wore ducktails and flat tops. Some of her favorite music in the 50’s were Bill Hayley and the Comments, Pat Boone, Elvis, and Bobby Darin. Music of the 60’s was Chubby Checker, The Beatles, Fifth Dimension, Mommas and Poppas, The Supremes and The Temptations. Betty’s favorite grade school friend was Patsy Johnson. Her father taught at WVU Dental School and her mother was a housewife. They were both tomboys and spent much of their time playing sports such as football and baseball.
Her best friend in high school was Cindy Chivers. Cindy’s father was deceased and her mother worked in the office of Seneca Glass Factory, makers of cut crystal ware. They spent most of their weekends together talking about boys, trading clothes, and going to church dances together. (Q14) Family holidays were spent at Betty’s family home because of the size of the house. Her mother would always fix the turkey or ham and the aunts would bring the side dishes. They would prepare days in advance setting the table with sterling silver, china dishes and crystal goblets.
At Christmas the house would always be decorated inside and out. The family would go hunt for a live tree and cut it down. Her father would set the tree in the stand then decorate with lights. Afterwards the children would place all the ornaments and tensile on the tree. (Q19) In the summer the family would travel to Fenwick Island, DE for a beach vacation. They stayed in the same motel every year they went. Other trips were made to Washington, D. C where her father spent two weeks a year participating in Naval Active Duty at the Pentagon. Q12) Betty’s mother used to tell her about her summers spent in Watkins Glen, NY on the lake with her uncles, aunts, and cousins. (Q10) The oldest relative she can remember was from her maternal grandmother. She raised chickens and made the best scrambled egg ever. She remembers seeing her board a DC-9 airplane to fly across the United States to Washington State to visit with her sister. As she boarded the plane she wore a dress hat, as Betty remembers her wearing anytime she went out for the day. (Q32) A special place in Betty’s heart is Charles Town, WV where here father and aunts grew up.
She spent many family reunions there as a child. Also special to Betty, are the many items that were her mother’s. She collected antiques, books, paintings, and cut crystal glassware. (Q24) Another memorable item of my mother’s is the autograph of President John F. Kennedy. He was tragically assassinated while she was in junior high. Her father was mayor of Morgantown at the time and the family had personally met JFK, while campaigning for president. (Q23) One of my mother’s most tragic or difficult times was the loss of her husband to pancreatic cancer.
They had not been together many years, and both felt they had a lifetime to live together. Living alone was a hard adjustment for my mother. (Q25, 26) What helped my mother most in her darkest moments were close friends, family and her love for God. (Q21) Betty grew up in a Baptist Church until her junior high school years. At that time she began attending the Wesley Methodist Church where her mother was a member. She felt her beliefs were more that of a Methodist than a Baptist. (Q20) The role that religion plays in her life today, she believes keeps her true to herself.
She does for others before she does for herself, has great belief in her friends and family, and says her prayers every night before she goes to bed. (Q18) Her first employment was stocking shelves at the WVU bookstore, where her father obtained the job for her. She also worked as a clerk for Judge Baker in his office and as a sales clerk for the Roundtable clothing store. She worked for Huntington Banks as a proof operator, teller, Customer Service Team Lead, and as an Operation Specialist, where she retired after 35 years of service. (Q33) If he had chosen any other profession it would have been an English teacher. She did not finish college because her parents were going through a divorce and she had a hard time becoming motivated. (Q34) The things Betty felt she learned from her parents are, do unto others as they do unto to you, never prejudge people, treat people well and love them for who they are. The most important things she feels her parents taught her are, her work ethnic, importance of friends and family, and her enjoyment for travel. (Q31) Betty feels that she has passed on the lessons her parents taught her to her children.
She has taught us to work for things we want, as opposed to giving us things we want. As well, she feels it is important to teach your children how to be grateful by giving to the needy before buying for yourself. (Q29) As a parent, Betty’s proudest moments are boy her children have found their career paths from lessons she has taught them. (Q35) In life, my mother is most proud of the accomplishments she has made while working at Huntington Banks through many promotions. The most joyous and fulfilling times of her life were the birth of her two children and two grandchildren. Q30) She is most grateful for her family, a good childhood, a loving mother and father, loyal friends, and great health. (Q36) The things that Betty would like for people to remember about her are that she enjoyed life, was a good friend to others, and hoped they felt she was a good friend to them. In conclusion my mother lived an overall joyful childhood. She had wonderful parents to raise her and teach her great values and ethics. My mother is a phenomenal woman and I can only hope that I myself can follow in her footsteps and show the same values to my own children one day.