Transcript from Cultural Interview #2 Me:

Transcript from Cultural Interview #2
Me: What is it like to get older Grandma? I am doing a cultural interview, and I figured the
best person to give me some advice is you.
Gram: as you get older, every ten years it’s different matter of fact, I haven’t figured out how
to use my hearing aid with the phone, so you’re going to have to speak up…
You kind of slow down, and realize that you can’t do all that you used to, you’re tired more
often, and I’m not the best at exercise so I have lost some of the ability to work out in the
yard like I used to.
Me: Have you noticed that people treat you differently? Have you changed anything because of
your age?
Gram: I don’t’ want to be gray because I’ve noticed that people all but take my elbow and
guide me….I dye my hair so that they don’t make me an invalid before my time. People are
nice; sometimes they are a little too nice. When I go to the grocery store, they ask everyone if
they want help out, but they say it in way that they almost expect it from me that I need their
help. I usually tell them that if they want to come home and put the stuff away they are
welcome to do that.
Me: (laughs) any takers? You should ask them if they can cook as well. How about when you
interact with people, is that any different?
Gram: my hearing has gotten bad, so I don’t socialize as much, especially when we are in a
group. All the different conversations kind of come through at once and create noise. I am
better with one on one conversation.
Me: I hadn’t thought about that, sounds like those are more a hearing amplifier than an aid.
How about at home? Have those activities changed?
Gram: my eyes have gotten worse, I still read but I don’t do some of the hobbies that I used
to indoors, there’s a lot of things that I don’t’ do as much anymore. I try and get outside and
do my gardening, but that is hard to do in the winter.
Me: How about the genealogy project? Have you made any more progress on that?
Gram: Well I did get an email from someone doing a piece on the Michigan regiment in the
civil war. She saw somewhere that one of my grandfathers was in that regiment, and wanted
to know if I had any information on that. I told her I have his war records, and she was
absolutely delighted. Just ecstatic, so I snail mailed her a copy. I was afraid that scanning the
document would shrink it some, and wanted her to be able to read it.
Me: How about the dynamics between you and Grandpa? Who does the driving?
Gram: your grandpa has dementia, so I do most of the driving but I still notice he’ll point out
a store and say, “hey they put a store there”, and it’s been there for years. He does his best to
cover it up. But you can see more and more that he gets lost when he didn’t use to before.
Me: How about retirement? Do you miss having a job to go to everyday?
Gram: no. when you work you have an excuse not to do stuff…. I’ve been busier since I’ve
retired. I wonder now how I ever get all that I get done in day because everyone assumes that
you have all this time….it fills up pretty fast.
Me: Not to pry Gram, but how does it feel to get older? I’ve always thought that the volume on
life would get turned down at bit, that it would feel calmer.
Gram: you feel the same inside, you feel 20 or 30 and sometimes when you look in the mirror
you’re surprised at what you see. If the volume is turned down, it’s because I don’t have my
hearing aids in….
Me: (laughs)
Gram: I don’t worry about the little things, that is true. You learn that they just aren’t as
important as they used to be….now I just worry about the big stuff.
-------( I have omitted the details of the “big stuff” details… per my Grandmother’s request)-------Me: Anything else you want to tell me?
You don’t have to look old, but don’t be inappropriate. I saw a lady the other day in her 60’s
that was wearing teenage clothes because she could fit into them…she was a tiny little
thing….but she looked ridiculous. That doesn’t mean you have to be frumpy either… A lot of
things are about balance.