Sample Interview Transcript



Jon:                 This is my interview for Michigan history and I’m interviewing my grandma. 


White:             This is Marion White.  Ah, I’m 80 years old.  I was born August 15th, 1918.  And I married James E. White Jr. and I have four, I had four children.  Uh… Pat, who is 50, now wait a minute, he’s, he’s going to be 60- 60 Jim is 50, 45.


Jon:                Yeah.


White:             He is going to be, 55 and Dan is 53 and Maryellen is 40.  What is she?


Jon:                 49, I think mom is.


White:             49, and James Edward III, IV, no he’s the III; is, ah, 45 years old.


Jon:                 Ok; um I’ll ask you some questions about like when you were a kid.  When you were a kid, what were popular things to do for fun?


White:             Well, roller-skating, uh… ice skating, and uh oh, playing ball.


Jon:                 Like baseball?


White:             Baseball, yeah. 


Jon:                 Ok um, when um, how old were you when the Great Depression started?


White:             Oh gosh, I was about 10. 


Jon:                 Um did your dad have a job still during the Depression, or…?


White:             Part of the Depression, towards the end he didn’t. 


Jon:                 Towards the end he didn’t?


White:             Uh huh.


Jon:                 And um, what did he do during the Depression?


White:             Uh, worked for the city.


Jon:                 Worked for the city?  The city of Muskegon, or…?


White:             Uh huh.


Jon:                 And uh, what did your mom do during the Depression?


White:             She never worked.


Jon:                 Didn’t work?


White:             Uh um.


Jon:                 Um, what kind of… did you have a car?


White:             No.


Jon:                 No car.  Do you remember like the kind of cars that were around, though?


White:             Oh Fords, and Chevy’s.


Jon:                 Did a lot of people have cars or not many?


White:             Oh, about half and half.


Jon:                 Um I don’t know, but this might be a little older, but, uh do you remember prohibition?


White:             No, just, just faintly.


Jon:                 Just faintly?


White:             My dad ran a saloon. 


Jon:                 Oh really, uh, what what did they call them um…oh, I can’t think of them.  We went over it in class but I can’t think of the name of it, but yeah um…. So he ran like a bootleg saloon or was it a…?


White:             No, a regular saloon.


Jon:                 Oh, a regular saloon?


White:             Uh huh, and that’s when prohibition… then his saloon went out of business.


Jon:                 Oh ok.  Oh, and um well how many brothers and sisters did you have?


White:             I had uh, five brothers and sisters.


Jon:                 Five brothers and sisters?


White:             I had two sisters and two brothers.


Jon:                 What um were you the oldest or in the middle…?


White:             I was in the middle.


Jon:                 In the middle? 


White:             Uh huh.


Jon:                 Ok.  Um, during the Depression um do you remember your parents talking about  Franklin Roosevelt at all?


White:             Yes.


Jon:                 What did they say about him?


White:             They thought he was wonderful.


Jon:                 Oh, they liked him?


White:             Uh hum.


Jon:                 Um…did it um…when he did…when he was elected… did uh your dad was he the one they voted for?


White:             Oh yes.


Jon:                 Oh yeah um. Um, what neighborhood did you live in when you were a kid?


White:             Um, by the Brunswick.


Jon:                 Oh, ok, so um that’s just regular Muskegon right there isn’t it?


White:             Uh huh, in Muskegon uh huh.


Jon:                 In Muskegon?  Um what was your house like?  Did you have to share a bedroom or…?


White:             Oh yeah, I shared a bedroom with my two sisters.


Jon:                 Oh, and uh, how long did you live at that house?


White:             Oh, quite a while.


Jon:                 Um, what school did you go to like when you were younger?


White:             Saint Jeans.


Jon:                 Saint Jeans?


White:             Uh huh.


Jon:                 And um how old were you when you were done with school?


White:             Uh, 18.


Jon:                 18?


White:             Uh huh.


Jon:                 Did you uh get a job right out of school?


White:             Yeah, not long after.


Jon:                 Not long after.  Well, what did you do?


White:             I worked in a factory.


Jon:                 Oh, ok…um  I don’t know uh.  I’ll ask a few questions about grandpa.  Is that ok?


White:             Uh huh.


Jon:                 Um. I know, something that I find would be interesting to talk about.  Didn’t he play minor league baseball?


White:             Uh huh.


Jon:                 And um, do you know what team he played for?


White:             He tried out for the Tigers.


Jon:                 Oh, he tried out for the Tigers?


White:             Uh huh.


Jon:                 And um, what position did he play?


White:             Catcher. 


Jon:                 Catcher?  Um.  Was baseball his favorite sport?


White:             Uh hum.


Jon:                 So, uh…what was his favorite-do you know what--


White:             He played football in high school too.


Jon:                 Oh, ok.  What high school-oh he was born in Detroit, right?


White:             Yeah, but he went to Muskegon high school.


Jon:                 Oh, ok, um let me see.  Um, where did grandpa work?


White:             Um he worked at um…uh Bennett Pumps and then he worked at Anderson Packing-meat company.


Jon:                 Ok-ham? [unclear]


White:             And then he was county clerk.


Jon:                 County clerk and not?  He had to be uh elected for that, right?


White:             Um huh.


Jon:                 Um, what was that like, was it fun to be in the campaign?


White:             Well, he wasn’t in very long he went uh January 1st and he had his heart attack February 12, 14 and then he died March 4th.


Jon:                 Ok uh, when you guys had to campaign how did you do that?


White:             Oh we had a lot of fun. 


Jon:                 Lot of fun…


White:             We had a truck and we had a band and we had a uh clowns, Mary was a clown.


Jon:                 Oh, my mom was?


White:             Yeah. [laughing]


Jon:                 I think I’ve actually seen pictures of that.


White:             Uh hum.


Jon:                 Um, what, what political party did he run under?


White:             A Democrat.


Jon:                 Democrat?


White:             Uh huh.


Jon:                 OK, um what do you remember about um World War Two, like about how life changed during the war?


White:             Well, yeah my brother-in-law uncle Fred went to war, and my brother Bob went to war.  Bob was in Italy… it was really bad.  And uh well Aunt Dor [unclear] got a job in a factory and worked.


Jon:                 That’s your sister right?


White:             Yeah, and dad we thought had to go to the army, but they rejected him for high blood pressure.


Jon:                 Oh really?


White:             He really went you know to Detroit, but he came home.


Jon:                 Oh, um during the um war did you have to have like rations…like you could only have like certain—like what was that like—could you only have a certain amount of…?


White:             You had books with stamps in it.


Jon:                 For like, what stuff?


White:             Meat, gas, and uh.





Return to US History Page