George Waller Interview 6/15/02

Interviewer: James S [JS], grandson
Interviewee: George Waller [GW]
Also present: Lisa S [LS] and Jenn M [JM], daughters;
Becky H [BH], sister

JS: How old are you?

GW: 56

JS: Where did you live when you were my age? (James is 13)

GW: When I was 13, it was 1959, I lived in Ipanema Brazil.

JS: When did you move to Connecticut?

GW: In 1961

JS: What was school like when you were my age? Subjects studied? Size of school? Uniforms?

GW: I went to a private school called Escola Americana del Rio de Janeiro. It was a walled school because in previous years some Brazilians who didn't like Americans would drive by the school and shoot machine guns into it

BH: I'm glad I didn't know that!

GW: We studied Portuguese, Latin, English ...

BH: Math and science?

GW: Math. They didn't have teams. No uniforms

BH: Unless you did? Did you wear the same thing every day and we just didn't notice?

JS: Did you go to college? If so, what did you study?

GW: No, I did not study. Yes, the University of Connecticut, started in 1964.

JS: Started in 1864 ...

GW: Yes, started in 1864, smack dab during the middle of the Civil War. I was a draft dodger. And what did I study? History.

JS: What did you do in your "free time"

GW: Collected stamps.

LS: Did you use stamps back then?

BH: No, we just strapped them on pigeons.

GW: Collected rocks.

BH: You hung out with Earl.

GW: I hung out with Earl.

LS: Who was Earl?

BH: His buddy that was SO cute, and he called me one time, comin' through, you weren't even around, he said 'I was going to come see you Becky' and he stood me up! Broke my heart. And he was so cute!

GW: Went swimming at the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

LS: With all the naked women?

BH: There weren't naked beaches?

LS: They're famous for their string bikinis and thongs, or was that back in the days of bloomers?

GW: No, they wore very skimpy outfits.

BH: The beach was SO hot in the summer that you had to take a newspaper and you would take it in sections and you would throw it ahead of you and run and stand on it and pick up the other one, I mean it was THAT hot.

JM: So you really hoped for a Sunday Times for a paper.

BH: Well we would pick up the other sections. It would be easy if everyone had done it.

LS: Didn't they have flip flops?

BH: I don't know why we didn't wear them.

GW: We didn't have flip flops.

JS: What kind of punishments did you receive for misbehavior?

GW: I misbehaved?

JS: "They smacked the bad baby in the head!"

LS: Did you get that message from Aunt Nancy, in her baby book, her mom was writing in her baby book, and one of the things they said one Easter is that the baby was going around saying 'Whip the bad baby in the head'.

JM: Lisa used to write in MY baby book, there's a big spot for an 8x10 wedding photo, and there's me running towards Lisa going 'Where's my sister?' and my husband, "Rudolph", was saying "Where's my kiss?'

LS: So for punishment, we whipped the baby in the head, like your ancestral parents?

BH: We were spanked!

GW: Verbal admonishments ... sent to our room without dinner.

LS: They'd starve you?

BH: Except we had an in with the cook and she'd sneak us up pies.

GW: Smack on the bottom.

BH: I got it with a yardstick one time.

GW: Spanking with the hand.

BH: We're moving up the scale, this is how bad it is.

GW: Spanking with belt.

LS: Waaa you were belted??

BH: It wasn't called that, it was called spanking.

GW: They didn't use the buckle.

BH: Was that the max?

GW: Yup

BH: Between hand and belt could be yardstick.

JS: Wooden spoon.

BH: No.

JM: Hairbrush.

LS: Hairbrush!

BM: Oh, you know what! Mom used to say that HER mother, Ora Belle, used to - when they'd get in trouble - make them go out and pick their own switch off the tree, and they knew that if they didn't get a good switch she'd go out and get a branch, so they'd go out and go 'that's not good enough ... that's good enough but that's going to hurt'.

LS: How did they punish you in school? Did they take one of those wooden things?

JM: That's in fraternities

BH: Paddling. That's what they called it in our schools.

JS: What was your first job?

GW: My first full time job was 1962, I was 16. I commuted on a train every day during the summer to New York City and worked in a skyscraper delivering computer output.

JS: Were the jobs for men and women different or were there equal opportunities?

BH: Different, different, different! I can speak to that. I remember going to work in a shoe store one time and they said I couldn't work there because I was female. They wouldn't let females sell shoes.

JS: Were you married? Any children?

GW: No. No.

BH: How could he your grandfather if he weren't married and have children?

JM: Well, he wouldn't have to be married. It's the have children part.

JS: I do not exist. No author of paper.

JM: Wait, this means you don't have to do it!

LS: Yes, four children. Or do you have more than four?

GW: Four.

JS: How many grandchildren.

JM: This is a test.

GW: Five.

JS: How have the prices of things changed?

GW: They went up.

BH: Cokes used to be a nickle.

GW: That's what I was about to say. Cokes used to be a nickle.

BH: And gas used to be 20 cents?

GW: Yup.

BH: We got to use our Parents cars.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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