What Was Learned From the Interview


An oral history project can teach a student many important lessons. I learned much from interviewing an older citizen. First, I learned that my life is much easier than older generations'. Second, I learned that a person need not be a member of the interviewee's family to be interested in his or her family history. Third, I learned that older generations know a lot more than I ever thought they did.

After interviewing Mr. James Hurst, I have realized how fortunate I am to live in today's modern society. He grew up during the late 30's and early 40's, a time when there were few of the conveniences of which I took advantage while growing up. It is difficult to imagine living without refrigerators, air conditioners, and cars. This project has really made me stop and appreciate the many wonderful inventions that make my life easier.

I was a little hesitant to interview Mr. Hurst because I am not a member of his family. I knew that during the interview many aspects of his family life would arise. I thought that because I was not related to him, I would be bored with his stories. Was I ever wrong! I left the interview with a sincere interest in every word he had told me. Now, I am proud to have the elite privilege of calling him "Uncle Jay."

At times, I have felt intellectually superior to some of my elders. But, after interviewing Mr. Hurst, I realize I know nothing in comparison with what he knows. For example, Mr. Hurst knows the importance of respecting a person's elders, a lesson I too often forget. Mr. Hurst also knows how to survive and live off love instead of money. He lived during the Great Depression, a sad and impoverished time; yet, he remembers little of suffering. In fact, he said, "We was all as poor as everyone else. We didn't know no different." I wonder, how many members of my generation would be content without their expensive brand-name clothing, cd collections, newcars, and cell phones?

Mr. Hurst taught me many lessons during the interview. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to learn about his family's history. This project has inspired me to do an oral history of my mother's mother, the only living grandparent of mine. I can't wait to hear all of her wonderful stories and learn my own family's history!


Interview and writings by Hanna Friend
Put on web by Wade McBee

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