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Q: What was your family size?
A: I was born in 1942 in a family of six children. I was the third born with the oldest child been seven years older than me while the second child was four year old. My younger siblings are two, five and eight years younger than me respectively. I have three brothers and two sisters who are younger than me.
Q: What was it like when you were a child?
A: Growing up in a family surrounded by five siblings was interesting as well as challenging. This is because they were all different from each other and therefore my interaction with each of them was different from the other. For instance my oldest brother was the independent type and would want to things his own way irrespective of whether he was doing in the right or wrong manner. Conversely, my youngest sister was the timid girl who was afraid of wronging anyone and could not do anything without being told by our father.
Q: What was it like when you were an adolescent?
A: I think my adolescent years were one of the most interesting times in my life. This is because I had many friends at the time and being the oldest of them was regarded as a leader. All my friends respected me and would follow what I told them without asking questions. I was like a king whose subjects were loyal and ever ready to serve their king. We had several things in common amongst ourselves such as having our birthdays in the month of June, going to the same school, having dogs as pets, and loved playing soccer. We were all mischievous and liked playing pranks on people hence landing us into trouble most of the times with my mother giving a through thrashing that made me a laughing stock among my brothers and sisters who were seen as well behaved than I was.
Q: How did your parents make a living?
A: My father worked as mail man at the local post office while my mother remained at home taking care of us. She used to do some knitting and sold the scarves she made to earn money to supplement my father's income. She also had a small garden in the backyard where she grew various vegetables that she would sell at times to our neighbors.
Q: Did your extended family have any role in your life?
A: I think my extended family had a great role in my life due to the nature of our family. Both my parent came from the same town and therefore our grandparents and most of our uncles and aunts lived around town. We grew together with most of our cousins who apparently were around the same age as we were in our family. This made us to have a lot of time to interact with our grandparents especially during the holidays when we would go to live with them for a week at a time. We were taught to regard our uncles and aunts as our own parents and therefore we respected them and had to do as they instructed. In addition, they used to offer us advice as we grew and therefore were an integral part of our lives.
Q: Did most children go to school and for how long?
A: No. Most of the children came from poor families and therefore could not go to school while most of those who joined school were not able to complete their education due to various reasons such as poverty and the Second World War that broke out in 1945 as some of their fathers died while at war.
Q: What was school like?
A: At first it was the most annoying thing then as the teachers appeared to be very strict that made me to hate school. This feeling changed with time as I got used to school work and routine and as some of my friends and cousins joined school ending my loneliness as most of the students I met when I joined school were all new to me. There were fewer girls in class than us boys.
Q: What was it like when you were a young adult?
A: Life as a young adult was both interesting as well as demanding as one was expected to act like an adult and yet one wanted to enjoy life as it were. In addition, the Second World War had already ended and life was coming back to normal slowly.
Q: How were decisions made in your home?
A: Decisions were made by our parents and were to be followed without question. As children, we did not participate in the decision making process at all. My father had an authoritative way of doing things and did not welcome any form of disobedience from any of us.
Q: What role did the church play in your life?
A: The church did not have a major role in my life since we did not go to church when we were young. I have only started going to church at the age of 54 after the insistence of my wife and children.
Q: What were the dating practices during this time?
A: Dating was an important part of our lives during this time and I started dating at the age of 19. Most of the young men dated ladies of their own age or younger than them though some would date ladies older than them though this was rare.
Q: At what age did most people get married?
A: Between the age of 22 to 27 years.
Q: What was it like when you were an adult?
A: I spent most of my adult life in the forces where I served in the marines until 1989 when I got injured on my left leg by a bullet. I got to travel around the world during various assignments in different capacities. I think I enjoyed serving my country and I am proud of that.
Q: How did you entertain yourselves?
A: Entertainment entailed having fun with friends and family compromising various activities such as games, meeting new people, and getting involved in our hobbies.
Q: What was transportation like as you grew up?
A: There were vehicles that only belonged to the wealthy in our town. As time went by, better cars were made that were better than the earlier ones. People from the rural areas used horses to move around.
Q: What were holidays, weddings and funerals like?
A: I was ever busy during holidays as it was the best time to spend time with my extended family especially my grandparents. It was also the best time to date as well as catch up with old friends. Weddings were a time of merry when people came to celebrate as two lovebirds celebrated their love in the presence of others. With time weddings have become an integral part of our society as compared to some years back. Funerals in contrast were a time of sorrow as we lay to rest a loved one.
Q: Do you remember the first time you watched a T.V.?
A: It was in 1967after joining the marines.
Q: What about using a telephone, radio, or washing machine?
A: We had a radio at home that my father used to listen to the news strictly and were not allowed to touch it. I used the first telephone as a marine during the Gulf war while I have a washing machine that my wife bought 12 years ago.
Q: Have you been aboard an airplane?
A: Yes. Several times during my assignments.
The interviewee is aged 69 years, male, and lives in Detroit. He was born in 1942 in a family of six; three brothers and two younger sisters. He had many friends as he grew up who regarded him as their leader since they respected him. His father worked as mail man at the local post office while his mother remained at home taking care of the children. His extended family had a great role in his life due as both his parents came from the same town and therefore his grandparents and most of our uncles and aunts lived around town.
Most of the children did not go to school with boys being more than girls. He did not participate in the decision making process at all. He stared dating at the age of 19 while most people got married between the ages of 22 to 27 years. He spent most of my adult life in the forces where he served in the marines until 1989 when I got injured. Entertainment entailed having fun with friends and family with holidays and weddings being times to have fun while funerals were filled with sorrow. He used his first telephone while in serving in the marines and has been boarded a plane several times.