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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Getting to Know Another's Past

I had emailed my Grandma Michele about this interview. Apparently, she found the email on Friday and decided to just come here to surprise me! She arrived on Saturday and I was so excited! We officially  started the interview on Sunday. We just finished eating brunch when I remembered about the interview I had to do. She wore her pajama t-shirt and pants, her hair in a messy bob from not brushing it before hand. We sat down in the kids’ study room where I started a Google Docs to take notes. She took a seat next to me, blowing away the slight bangs in her face. I started off with a question that she commented, “Why so deep?” This made us both laugh until she decided to actually answer my question. Her sense of humor always brightened my day.

My first question was, “what are some life lessons you have learned along the way to adulthood?” She really opened up to me and gave me several lessons she learned. She started out being really serious and this showed me a different side of my outgoing, happy, funny grandma! “My mom was nothing like me,” she said in a tone I never heard her spoke before. She kept telling me that she learned by watching and observing others do things. My grandma told me about being the oldest, and being so poor it made her dread the next day. Listening to her talk about her mom not knowing how to do things really made me think of my life and how great it is. The big life lesson she had learned was taking care of her family everyday because she was the eldest sibling.
I moved right along to the next question, which was, “how do feel about your life now than before?” It did not surprise me when she said, “so much better now.” She went on about a story of when she was in high school. She told me it was an all white school, containing of only about three Chinese kids. Of course it was only natural that it was hard for her to know what to do for the rest of her life. She kind of rambled on, not  much about the actual question I had asked her. I tried to veer her into answering my question by saying, “what exactly helped you get where you are now?” Her face brightened when telling me about a teacher who gave her the job of locker assistance. She told me about being paid and graded for being at school! I was so fascinated by this. Because she was poor, she had to work in the school cafeteria to get free food from the school. My grandma told me that it is so much better now because now she does not have to worry about when her next meal will be.
My grandma asked me how many more questions we had left and I told her about three. We laughed because we both knew why this interview was taking so long. She would ramble on and on I had no way of stopping her! I finally got to the next question, “have you ever wished your life before was different?” She replied by saying, “I mean of course I do wish it was different. I wish we weren’t poor, we had enough food to survive, and I mostly wish that we didn’t have to worry everyday if we could not make it.” She was also wise when she said that she did not want anything to change because if it would change, she might not be sitting here talking to me about this interview! She told me that, “basically, if I could change the past, my heart would say yes, but my mind would outwit my heart and say no.” This surprised me because it was yet another wise saying.
The third question I asked her was, “did you ever play any games back then?” She answered by saying she and her siblings made up their own games. My grandma stated that, “since we were poor…” they created their own way of playing games that did not include spending money for it. She told me this wonderful story about them riding in a cardboard box down a steep hill. Her statement after this is, “it was so much fun, we loved doing this with our friends!” She continued saying that their mom always ushered them out of the house to go to the park and be active. I was really amazed by their creative way of having fun!
When I asked the question, “what is the difference between now technology and the technology back then,” my grandma started laughing! She told me, “ sweetie, I am so not up-to-date with all this Apple stuff!” I told it that was fine and to just tell me about the technology back then. She started off by saying there was black and white television, a telephone in the kitchen, and a radio. She told me that they had a washing machine that had a tub that made the clothes all wet. Then you would put the clothes through a ringer and it would squeeze out all the water. She started laughing for some reason and I asked her why. She said, “I am so used to a clock just being a clock. A phone just being a phone. I am just so used to one thing only have one purpose!” We both started laughing at this.
My last question was, “are you happy where your life has taken you?” My grandma said she is so glad she had my dad. She said that if she did not have my dad, she never would have met my mom. And if she never would have met my mom, she never would have met her great grandkids! She looked down and said, “I remember just being really poor, but when I went to church, they would tell me that the past does not define who you are. Your future is the true you.” She told me that it is about making your child’s life a better life than what you experienced. She said she was so happy to have a beautiful family in the end!

My Grandma Michele got up and started walking upstairs to get ready for the day. We had hugged and I thanked her for taking the time to answer my questions. I am so glad that I got to do this interview about her because now I know more about my grandmother!
From Left to Right: Joshie, Caleb, Grandma Michele, Jonathan, Jessica (ME)


  1. Love it! Great job Jessica. You are very lucky.

  2. Love it! Great job Jessica. You are very lucky.