So here I am...after some let downs and feelings of defeat. A new plan is on the rise. What is most refreshing is that the "bones" of the original project are there. I am actually excited even though the original methodology has changed and reworking needed to be done. I think going forward, I need to remember my lowest moment and know that I made it through that moment. That may come in handy around the end of November when I am feeling crunch time. So after a helpful video conference with Dr. Zamora, I feel ready to start digging in.
The interviews: So I have had two sessions with my dad. It has been really fun, but also really hard! There is definitely a learning curve when learning how to interview well. I guess maybe I thought it would be easy because it's my dad, but now I'm thinking maybe that has made it harder. Since I know him so well, it is hard for me to think about how to pose my questions to him. Sometimes as I'm asking questions I think to myself, "am I leading him?" "did that sound ok/ was it clear?" It's important for me to keep the interviews authentic. I don't want them to ever feel as though I am guiding or leading them. So far, I think I'm doing a good job. The most important thing that I have realized is to just let him talk. My job is to listen.
What has been interesting for me is thinking about how my dad's childhood may have had an influence on me and my life. There are certain themes that keep coming up that I feel have carried over into my own childhood and even have had a trickle down effect into my adulthood. For example, he shares so much about the neighborhood and the apartment house he lived in and of the bond he felt to the kids that made up his "gang." If he grew up elsewhere, how would his friendships and loyalties have changed? The neighborhood that was their endless playground would never have been. The fact that he recalls, at eighty five years old, all of the mischief and moments that he got into as a kid tells me that this place and these friends were and are important to him. I too was a "neighborhood kid." My dad encouraged my siblings and me to play in the neighborhood with our friends. I didn't get into the same predicaments he did, but living in my neighborhood did have an impact on me.and the person I have become. Did he and my mom buy a home in a place that felt like it had the same qualities that they grew up in? It wasn't the city but it had a feel to it, similar to what my dad describes in his interviews. I grew up in a neighborhood filled with kids, corner stores, and parks. I could have stayed inside and played with Barbie dolls or Atari, but more times than not, I chose to be outside, a "neighborhood kid." Bike riding. Playing at the park. Kickball in the street. Exploring St. Georges Pharmacy. Climbing Trees. Would my dad have been happy if his kids did not follow in his footsteps as kids who embraced their neighborhood?
There are other threads that seem to be rising to the surface. We'll see how the next few interviews go!