Disclaimer: This is for a class assignment
This is an interview with my next door neighbor. I've lived next to her for two years now, and still didn't know anything about her!
We got an assignment in our media history class to interview someone about their memories of the media growing up, so I asked her and she was happy to do it! This is my transcript of the interview!
(p.s. sorry for the horrible formatting. It wouldn't copy over very nicely from Word)
Marjorie W. Winter Oral History Project
Interview with Marjorie Winter
Date of Interview: December 5, 2012; Provo, Utah
Interviewer: Lane Phillips/Scobee
Transcriber: Lane Phillips/Scobee
Time: 9:00 am
Marjorie: I’ve always walked everywhere. Growing up our entire street had 3 cars. That’s why I said to you the other day, “The Dinosaur Days.”
Lane: I know it’s weird to me. So you guys walked everywhere?
Marjorie: Well we had a bus- a double decker bus- that we could get which was only five minutes away, and they ran frequently, you know on usual occasions. If we needed to get further than the next little town then we’d have to get the train to get where we were going.
Lane: Let me first ask you a little about yourself. Where were you born?
Marjorie: In England in 1932. I was born in Folkestone Kent and later moved to Surrey.
Lane: What about your family? Any brothers or sisters?
Marjorie: I have 2 brothers and 1 sister. They are all older than me. I was the youngest. My sister passed away 2 years ago. My older brothers have both passed away also.
Lane: Why and when did you move to the United States?
Marjorie: I moved to the United States when I was about 30 years old, in 1963. We had 3 children and we moved here mostly because of the church. (she is LDS).
Lane: What are your earliest recollections of the media?
Marjorie: Besides the newspaper, we got a daily newspaper, I think I was about 8 or 9… I remember having a radio. There was a thriller serial program that we used to listen to. I remember running home from school to listen to it.
Lane: What do you remember about first seeing television?
Marjorie: We went to the cinema in those days. We didn’t yet have televisions. I think I was about 10 years old and for a special treat our class got to go to the cinema and see King Henry V. It was in black and white of course. We did go to see the Disney ones too- in color- we had to stand in line for hours to see them.
Lane: Where did you go to see the movies? London or…?
Marjorie: It was in Surrey. We did go to London when I was a teenager and saw Gone With The Wind. The seats were wooden and the show was 3 hours long!
Lane: That’s crazy! So were there any special programs that you liked to listen to on the radio?
Marjorie: There was a band leader, Victor Sylvester, and he used to teach how to do the fox trot, how to do the waltz, you know. It was good because it gave the factory workers a lift every day when they would listen to it and learn these dance moves.
Me: Do you remember when you first had a TV in your house?
Marjorie: I think it was 1956. We moved into our own home and got a TV. We went to friends houses once a week for an hour for an attorney show- it was in black and white.
Me: Talk about your feelings on the internet. Do you use the internet? Do you have a computer?
Marjorie: I don’t have a computer, I don’t even have a cell phone.
Me: So do you ever use computers?
Marjorie: No, well my daughter is the family historian so she does the genealogy work on her computer.
Me: I was going to ask you about what you did for work. Did you work?
Marjorie: I started work when I was 16. Over there the age for finishing school was 14 at that time and unless you were very smart and passed the exam to go on to grammar school or college or whatever. You had to pass that in order to do that, not many did.
Right at the time when I was due to graduate from school the government came out with a new plan where we could stay on for another year and take extra exams during that time if you wanted to, so I took some exams and I got two English exams and it was called the Royal Society of Arts Exams at that time. So actually I finished school when I was just over 15 and then I actually started work at 16.
Me: What did you do then?
Marjorie: I worked in a place called Boots the Chemist which was a pharmacy store. I was a senior in what they called the surgical department there. But then in the store was separate areas. If you wanted makeup you would go to a certain area of the pharmacy and you wouldn’t pay like you do now at a cashier when you go out. Each department was separate. And at the back of the store was a library as well.
I didn’t have a checking account until I was married. Always carried around cash, and of course it was pretty heavy. Let me show you. (shows me her coins from England and her coin purse that she used to carry around. It had different pockets/slots for different coins.)
We had paper money too, when we were little growing up. Like everybody else we didn’t have a lot. For me, because my siblings were so much older than me, (my two brothers were out to work) and so every week my parents would give me a little pocket money and I would save up and go buy candy at the store.
My mother had a container with three separate sections; one was for utilities, one for food, and one for something else. She’d put the money for each in the sections and then after they were paid, the leftovers were what we used to buy shoes.
Me: How often did you go back to England?
Marjorie: I went back to see my sister three years before she died. She had Parkinson’s.
Me: It’s good you went back before she passed away.
Marjorie: Yeah. But we corresponded over the years you know.
Me: What do you remember about war through media sources?
Marjorie: In the cinema they showed pictures of the war. That was probably the first we’d seen of real war pictures. But we did hear about things on the radio, but when I look back now I think there were a lot of things we didn’t know. We had to carry those awful gas masks around you know. There were square so they made square containers for them like square purses and we had to carry them over our shoulder wherever we went because we weren’t right inland, but we were close enough, like 40 miles. Close enough where the government said we had to carry gas masks.
Me: When did they show you the pictures of the war?
Marjorie: After. In fact it was later and they showed us the concentration camps and we knew nothing about that until that time.
Me: until after?
Marjorie: It was probably right after the war that they showed the pictures. There was a lot that we didn’t know, and I think a lot that people just never knew about.
Me: Once you got a TV, so this is later in your life, do you remember what programs you used to watch, like what your favorite TV shows were?
Marjorie: There was an American attorney show and I can’t think what his name was, of course it was black and white. And my dad used to come over, he used to like to watch it. He came over once a week to watch this program. Can’t think of what it was called. It wasn’t Perry Mason, but it was kind of that sort of thing. I think I remember watching the news… honestly can’t remember anything else. I think it was few and far between, the things that we could watch. We didn’t have 200 channels!
Me: So what happened to your husband?
Marjorie: It was at the time when they had stake 70s who were on missions- not a full time mission- but he was called as a stake missionary. He was going to baptize a gentleman on the Saturday and he had the accident on the Thursday- it was on a motorbike and a stray German Shepherd dog attacked him on the road. He tried to flip him once and he kept control, and then the dog got him again. Of course that was the only time he wasn’t wearing a helmet because the gentleman lived really close. He was in the hospital two months…
Me: Did this happen in England or..?
Marjorie: No, in California. He was in the hospital two months and had to have… (sound cut out here, but he had to have major brain surgery) He passed away in 2002, so he lived a few years after the accident.