INTERVIEW — TAPE #306, SIDE #1
Q: Mark Russell BellF: flight attendantC: captainM: Mel (airplane acquaintance)P: unidentified passengerN: Nancy Ferringer, cousinR: Roselyn Hamilton, auntK: Keith Hamilton, Roselyn’s husbandA: Alex Hamilton, Roselyn’s grandson
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: TAPES #306-314 INVOLVE MY TRIP TO PENNSYLVANIA TO MEET RELATIVES ON MY MOTHER’S SIDE OF THE FAMILY. I ARRIVED AT PITTSBURGH AROUND NOON ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3 AND RETURNED TO L.A. THE FOLLOWING MONDAY EVENING. I WAS A GUEST OF MY COUSIN NANCY FERRINGER IN COCHRANTON, PA. THE FOLLOWING WAS RECORDED ON MY WAY TO THE LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT GATE WHERE I WOULD SOON BOARD THE 1:30 A.M. FLIGHT TO DALLAS.)
Q: (speaking into tape recorder) So I’ve started my trip. The American Airlines person who helped me was named Michelle, of course. Michelle Elbeck. I didn’t get any psychic impressions from her name. She told me she was from Washington. But I’m too nervous. I did tell her that there was always something funny going on in her life since she’s a Michael-person and Michelle is the female equivalent of Michael. So the man who drove me in the van was very nice too. I think his name was Meyer. I can’t remember his first name. He told me he listens to Art Bell once in a while. A very well-read man.
( . . . )
Q: So I told Michelle to look out for pennies and I see one right on the floor beside me now. Sweet.
( . . . )
Q: Everything’s closed at the LAX American Airlines terminal. I’ve never been here before when everything’s closed like this. It’s lucky I didn’t listen to my brother. He said I shouldn’t have bought the See’s candy and made a special trip because they sell it here at the airport. Well, guess what — they do but it’s closed. There’s nothing to buy. No magazines. No anything. So I’m reading Granta. “We’re So Happy” is the theme of this issue. Number thirty-eight.
( . . . )
Q: I’m on the Tramm at Dallas/Ft. Worth. I enjoyed seeing the star formations out the window. It was very clear that far up. The most striking formation looked like a giant question mark. There was also lots of lightning.
( . . . )
Q: I’m at Main Street News looking at the magazines. Princess Di’s still on the cover of Star. There’s a special double issue of Life about the millennium. I think it’s a little early if you ask me. People features the secret Diana interviews with transcripts.
( . . . )
Q: I’m looking at the books. Belva Plain’s new book is entitled The Homecoming. The Miracle Strain by Michael Cordy. Vegas Sunrise by Fern Michaels. Ben Pimlott has a biography of The Queen. I guess Diana’s death was good publicity for the Queen even. There are also books such as L Flight, Timequake, Cold Mountain, Floodtide and Unnatural Exposure. William Diehl — Reign in Hell. He wrote Primal Fear. I can’t believe it — Son of Rosemary by Ira Levin. Just As I Am by Billy Graham. Fox has “Anastasia” tie-ins everywhere.
( . . . )
F: (very fast; parts unintelligible) . . . Flight 1534 to Pittsburgh. Pilot of the aircraft today is Captain Keith . . . with our first officer Barry Ware. Flying time to Pittsburgh will be two hours and twenty-one minutes at a cruising altitude of 33,000 feet. Current weather in Pittsburgh is partly cloudy with a temperature of 48. (“S”)
C: I do have one request of you this morning and that is while you are in your seats to please keep your seatbelts fastened at all times. And this is in case we happen to hit a few unscheduled bumps along our route of flight. And our route of flight today just took us up over McAlester, Oklahoma. From there we go to Springfield, Missouri and we’ll head towards St. Louis. From there we’ll go to Indianapolis, Hamilton — and then we’ll start the arrival over Hamilton. And we should be arriving into Pittsburgh at 11:55. And the weather up there today is — a real nice day. The temperature’s 54 under partly cloudy skies. Winds are out of the southwest at about ten miles an hour. I can now tell you to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight. Thank you.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I NOTICED THE MAN SEATED TO MY RIGHT WAS WORKING ON SOME EQUATIONS WITH A PROMINENT “M” SYMBOL SEEN IN A FEW DIFFERENT PLACES. MY REACTION WAS ‘WHO DOES MIGHAEL HAVE ME SITTING BESIDE?’ THE AMBIANCE INSIDE THE AIRPLANE MADE TRANSCRIBING THIS PORTION OF TAPE DIFFICULT.)
Q: Do you mind if I ask you what you’re doing? Are you a physicist?
Q: What does the “M” mean?
M: . . . something relating . . . machine that has to crawl on the ceiling — robot.
Q: Wow. I’m very impressed. I couldn’t get passed geometry.
M: Well, we all have our strengths.
Q: Right. (“UM”) I’m a writer. I’m really more into metaphysics. I have a book on the Internet. It’s interviews with people who’ve experienced unexplained events like spirits, UFOs and things like that.
M: Say they saw UFOs.
Q: Well —
M: Alright —
Q: Yeah. (“SEE”)
M: — they’ve seen UFOs.
Q: It’s unidentified. (“I”) I didn’t say flying saucers. (“I”) Right. Do you go on the Internet?
( . . . )
Q: . . . significant letters — meanings within names. What’s your name, for example?
Q: Is that your full name? Or Melvin? Mel — okay. Well, you have the ‘el,’ (“WHICH IS”) which means — I guess that dates back to Mighael the Angel. I think it means “of God.”
M: It does. (“OKAY” “ZO” “SO”)
Q: That’s an ‘el’ name. Do you have a middle name?
M: I don’t use it.
Q: What is it?
Q: Okay. (“WHAT”) Last name?
Q: So another ‘el.’
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I NEXT TURNED ON THE TAPE RECORDER DURING THE DESCENT AS I DISCERNED THE TERRAIN.)
Q: What are all those big steam clouds? (“IS THAT”) Industrial part?
M: I think that is a steel processing facility about thirty miles west of downtown . . .
Q: Is the pollution very bad in —
M: No. Not anymore. It has a reputation but it was cleaned up by the early 1950s.
Q: It looks beautiful.
M: The air in Pittsburgh is better than the air in L.A.
Q: I live in Santa Monica, thank goodness. (“I CAN”) I know. It’s really bad in L.A. Well, it looks beautiful from here. (“VERY”) The trees.
M: Nice time of year.
Q: Too bad everyone can’t be a farmer.
( . . . )
Q: Look at all these huge shopping centers. Home Depot — the same ones all over.
P: Just like the one in Shreveport.
M: They’re exactly the same everywhere.
Q: Ohhh. I miss the little —
M: People don’t even have accents anymore.
Q: Probably (“THEY”) in Tokyo they even have the same stores.
( . . . )
Q: Bagels, anyone?
( . . . )
Q: It’s been nice meeting you, Mel.
M: Good meeting you.
Q: Good luck with your inventions and everything.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: AT ONE POINT WHEN I WASN’T RECORDING, MEL MENTIONED SOMETHING ABOUT THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE AND I RESPONDED BY COMMENTING: “UNLESS THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE CHANGE.” THE FLIGHTS HAD BEEN PROMPT AND WITHOUT ANY COMPLICATIONS . I WAS DISTRESSED WHEN NANCY WASN’T WAITING AT THE GATE SO I WENT TO GET MY LUGGAGE AND PAGED HER TO MEET ME IN THE BAGGAGE CLAIM AREA. SHE SOON MET ME WITH HER AUNT ROSLYN AND EXPLAINED THAT SHE’D BEEN DETAINED AT THE SECURITY CHECKPOINT BECAUSE OF A HAIR CLIP. ROSELYN’S HUSBAND KEITH WAS CONVENIENTLY WAITING OUTSIDE THE TERMINAL FOR US IN A NEW, LARGE CADILLAC. I EXPLAINED HOW INSTEAD OF TAKING NOTES I WAS GOING TO KEEP A JOURNAL OF MY TRIP USING MY TAPE RECORDER AND FIRST TURNED IT ON WHEN WE ARRIVED AT ROSELYN’S HOUSE. I DON’T TRANSCRIBE ALL THE BACKGROUND CONVERSATION.)
Q: So what are the names of the three black doggies? This one is what?
N: That’s Minnie.
Q: Hi, Minnie. Ahhh — a little love.
R: Yeah, we’ve got three dogs: Minnie, Mickey and Tina. Mickey, get down!
Q: And they’re all black. Ahhh, how cute. Which is the one that hurts his paws (from digging so much)? The big one. Oh, okay.
R: Now he’s been out digging again. Look at his nose, Keith.
Q: They’re all very gentle.
K: Oh, they are.
Q: And there’s a kitty — how many cats do you have?
K: Well, thanks to Clara, we’ve got two now. That orange cat’s twenty years old.
K: That cat’s been with us —
A: Grandma! (hugs Roselyn)
( . . . )
Q: So what kind of house is this? This is a —
R: This is a modular. They call it a modular home.
Q: And it’s weather-boarded.
R: Oh yeah. These are — well, this is siding on the outside.
R: Well, I think it’s vinyl.
N: Oh is it? (“UH-HUH”)
R: Vinyl. That’s what I — (“I” “AND THESE”)
Q: These wasps even look friendly — like they’re not aggressive wasps.
R: Those have got to go. They’re going to have to take up housekeeping somewhere else.
N: They’re not going anywhere. (“WHY”)
( . . . )
Q: Do they ever come inside?
R: You know, we’ve not had a problem with them. Now I noticed the other day when I was out there . . .
N: Isn’t this great?
R: . . . I saw (them) flying around.
Q: This is an interesting Jesus here . . .
R: My daughter’s in . . . and she got that over there for us. You know what? I don’t know who this — they’re in Germany right now but these are from Europe and so is — she’s sent me a lot of really nice — (“THINGS”)
Q: A cherub.
R: This is — (“THAT’S A”) that’s from the Painters’ Square in Italy. Or wait — where was Diana when she was killed? France.
N: Paris, wasn’t it?
R: Paris. This is from the Painters’ Square in Paris — (“THAT”) that picture.
R: She sent that to me.
R: And our nails and things like that are from — (“FRANCE”)
Q: (to N) I still think someday you will end up in Europe.
N: I don’t think so. Unless I take a slow boat.
R: I’m going next year.
Q: They have beautiful cruises there.
N: Do they? I’m not going in the air.
( . . . )
Q: This is much bigger than I thought. I thought it was just like a frame house but it’s huge.
R: No, it’s huge.
R: It’s got almost 1,900 square feet on this level and then there’s another — the whole full basement and two car garage. So —
Q: Unbelievable. Well, you did a wonderful job decorating it. Was the carpeting here already or did you put it in?
R: The carpet was in but fortunately it was the same type of carpet —
Q: It’s a nice choice.
R: I had a different — little bit . . . now these are my daughters. This is Mary, the one that’s in Germany and that’s her husband. (“SHE”) This is the same girl. These two are in Germany. She just left and went back to Germany. She came home to see Mum. (“YEAH”) And this is my youngest child. This is her here also.
Q: Which is the one who left the other one? Who “up and left”? Who was that?
R: Oh that’s my son. He’s not in here. (“HE’S”)
Q: Wow — you have a large family.
R: That’s my daughter and her ex-boyfriend — ex-husband now.
Q: Okay. Do you have any favorite? (“I”) Pray tell.
R: No, I don’t.
Q: You feel closest to? Like my mom says that she feels closest to me.
R: Is that right? No, I don’t. (“MY” “I”) All my children —
Q: My brother doesn’t have much time for her. (“YEAH”)
R: Her and I have a lot in common — (“UH-HUH”)
Q: How many children do you have altogether?
R: — thinking-wise. I’ve got four — three girls and a boy. And this one — I worry about this little bugger so much. This one here. (“SHE”) This guy here — (whispers something) . . . but you know you can’t tell kids.
Q: Is this the same person here? These two?
R: Those two are the same. (“JUST”)
Q: The hair is a little different. He’s bad news.
R: He’s a good kid. It’s just that he doesn’t want to grow up. He doesn’t want to get a life.
Q: Can you blame him?
R: He doesn’t want —
Q: What does that mean — (“TRANSLATE”)
R: Laziness is terrible — evil. (“SO”)
Q: So how does that translate to? (“HE” “WHAT DOES”) He doesn’t want to work or —
R: He just doesn’t want to work. He wants to bum around with his friends.
Q: He wants to be in a rock group?
R: No. He’s not somebody — he likes the loud music and that kind of stuff and smoking cigarettes and likes his beer. Just that scene that the young people are going through right now. (“SO”)
Q: Playing pool?
R: Yeah. That kind of stuff. These are the girls when they were little.
Q: Oh how nice.
( . . . )
R: This looks like — look at your eyes. And Nancy look at this. See? Brian looks a lot like him.
N: Yes, they do.
R: And this is him over here. Now here’s your mother’s baby brother.
Q: The dogs want — do the dogs ever come in?
R: Once in a while we let them — here’s my brother Jim. There’s Mother right there.
N: That’s a recent — (“WELL” “YEAH”)
R: And there’s Jim when he was a baby.
N: I have one of those.
R: Yeah, I made these when he died.
N: Yeah. (“REMEMBER”)
R: But this is my mother here. This is one of the —
Q: Oh there she is.
R: Then I’ve got another one that’s a lot better picture than that.
Q: I’ve got those ones (sent to me in L.A.) with me too just to compare.
N: Oh did you?
K: Well, honey, first let him have something to drink.
R: He — oh yeah — but see your eyes?
Q: Where’s your son — you were going to show me your son —
R: See, you’ve got the eyes. That’s your mother’s baby brother. (“K” “NOW YOU”)
Q: And where’s your son?
R: Okay, here’s my son over here.
Q: What’s his name again?
R: Brian. And this is his Marine Corps. — he looks mean in that one but he’s really not. Here are the girls when they were all eighteen. Or seventeen probably.
Q: Guys are always supposed to look mean and the girls are always supposed to look sweet.
R: Pretty and nice yeah. But he —
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: ALEXANDER APPEARS AND IS HOLDING ONE OF HIS TOYS AS HE SAYS SOMETHING UNCLEAR. HE ONLY KNOWS A FEW WORDS.)
R: The best picture of Brian —
Q: A “Hercules” cassette.
N: I like this one the best.
( . . . )
R: . . . in Saudi —
Q: What was he doing there?
R: He was in the military.
Q: That wasn’t the Gulf War, was it?
R: And he was in the Gulf War.
Q: Have you heard about that Gulf War Syndrome?
R: In fact, there was a big documentary on TV and what do you know —
Q: He isn’t sick, is he?
K: No no.
Q: Like so many of them.
R: No — why — hope not.
K: They interviewed him.
N: Yeah, he was on — I saw him.
R: He was on CNN news.
Q: Small world. (“HE” “WAN[T]” or “JUAN”)
N: He was on “Today” show.
R: Just before they went into battle, they asked him what his feelings were about war and interviewed him. My daughter called me from Texas and — “Mother, Brian’s on television. Call . . .”
Q: Dumb questions like “What do you think about war?” (As if) . . . someone’s going to say, “I like it.”
R: Look at this. This looks like him. This picture here looks like you. (“NO”) Now see?
Q: Yeah. There is a faint resemblance.
R: See here — look at this.
Q: The eyes. (“YEAH”)
R: The eyes and the face.
Q: So these are all Kings right? (they were relatives through the Mc Elhattan line)
R: He looks a lot like my brother Jim.
Q: Shows the King — even though your (mother) — (“RE”) remarried.
R: My mother’s side. Yeah, I have the Hamilton —
Q: That’s interesting.
R: It is my mother’s — it’s through my mother’s line. But Jim and him to me look a lot alike. But, anyhow, this is the laundry room . . .
( . . . )
Q: Well, you’re a wonderful maid as well. Let me tell you.
R: Thank you.
Q: Everything’s immaculate.
R: Now are you guys coming back tonight?
( . . . )
Q: And, look, you have pumpkins on the windows so you have time to celebrate the holidays. I never have time to celebrate the holidays in L.A.
N: Really? Halloween and —
R: You know what?
K: All we do here — all we’ve done is —
R: (to A) What do you want, sweetie?
K: — just enjoy relations.
R: You want a soda? We don’t have any soda.
K: It’s easier —
R: Hey wait a minute. Let’s fix you some dinner.
K: Well, they . . .
R: What do you want? Some of this soda here?
R: Well, get up and I’ll get it for you.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: SOFT DRINKS WITH ADDICTIVE CAFFEINE HAVE HAD A DISASTROUS IMPACT ON SOCIETY, HAVEN’T THEY?)
Q: What a change from your air force days. But it’s nice. There’s a time for everything.
R: It’s time that he don’t have to worry about his weight.
K: We worked too hard.
Q: So how long were you in the air force exactly?
K: Twenty years.
Q: So they take good care of you once you’ve been in that long?
K: Well — the retirement pay isn’t anything. They retire them out — ’81 — sixteen years later — their pay is up to right now is, you know, five times more than I made.
Q: Do they still have those (“WHAT WERE THOSE”) missiles — what are they called? The Minute —
K: Minute Man. Yeah — 550 of them.
Q: They still do?
K: Plus they have a hundred of the —
K: There now. See? I haven’t done it since ’91. Now I can’t remember the name of the missiles. Cheyenne, Wyoming has them. They’ve got a hundred of them. The new ones.
Q: I remember there used to be a myth going around that there was some secret track where they’d move them all from different bases.
K: No, that was a dream. That was one of their dreams — to put them on tracks. (“NOW”)
Q: How did they move them? I guess by truck.
K: We just semi-trucked them.
Q: They don’t really need to move them, actually.
K: Well, the only reason they moved them is if they broke — shipped them back to Hill Air Force Base, where I was at, and we fixed them — shipped them back out to the bases. Shipped them to Vandenberg and they shoot them off.
Q: I wonder where they were aimed at. I guess this was Russia. (“RUSSIA”)
Q: The ‘bad Russians.’
K: There’s none aimed at Russia right now.
Q: Where are they aimed now?
K: Well, they’re not.
N: They’re not supposed to be.
K: They’re all basically stand-down.
Q: They’re aimed upward to the sky. (“WHERE THEY’LL”) They’ll come back down on us.
K: They can be aimed in two seconds.
N: I used to dream that would happen.
Q: Two seconds? But you’d have to be the President or something, I guess.
R: Mark, I’ve got some canned pears and we can have fresh oranges. Would you like me to fix you something like that?
Q: When? You mean right now?
R: Right now. If you’re hungry.
Q: For some reason, I’m not — I don’t know I mean. I guess anything is fine. I guess I should eat something. (“MAYBE” “MAYBE YOU” “WHAT”) What kind of fruit do you have? (“ORANGE”) I’ll have an orange. Where’s that book by Michael Collopy about Mother Teresa? Have you looked at this here?
N: I was just looking at it this morning before we left.
Q: Works of Love Are Works of Peace: Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity.
N: It’s a fantastic—
Q: That’s a great picture of her on the cover.
N: Oh the whole book is nothing but absolute —
Q: Can you imagine both her and Diana going in the — (“LIKE” “WITHIN”)
N: What a coincidence.
Q: I was with my mom when that came over her television set —
N: Oh were you?
Q: — about Princess Diana.
( . . . )
Q: So you have seven chickens and from three to four eggs each a day?
N: It has to be. You go out there and its loaded. I mean I could be wrong.
Q: Do you actually see them lay the eggs?
N: Well, I don’t stand there and watch them do it but everyday you go —
Q: What time do they do it at? (“LIKE AT”)
N: I don’t know when they do it.
Q: Early morning?
N: I go out at all different times. Sometimes I’ll go in the morning if I have to go out there. Or sometimes I’ll go in at night. Mazie’s constantly going out there. She takes care of retarded people at a group home. And she’ll bring them up to the house.
Q: I just feel very — it’s very good karma here. Everyone’s so nice and — like you give your eggs away and — (“PEOPLE HELP”)
N: Why wouldn’t you?
Q: — people help the less fortunate.
K: Everybody’s getting rid of tomatoes.
N: Everybody is giving to me —
K: It’s like I’ve got tomatoes out here —
Q: It’s like a different world from L.A. where all you care about is how much money the movies grossed during the weekend. (“I DON’T” “WW”)
N: We’re just laid-back people sheltered from all that —
Q: It’s nice to see beautiful trees.
R: We have a lot.
Q: Cute little doggies.
R: Simple life. It’s just wonderful.
N: It doesn’t seem simple to me.
K: What you want to do is go out to L.A. for a while.
N: No thank you.
K: And then you go there for four or five days and then come back here.
Q: I’ve always wondered about that. Where does that fear of flying come from?
N: I don’t have any clue. I’m just scared to death of it.
Q: When did you first feel (“LIKE”) you were scared of flying?
N: When I was a teenager probably. Friends would be going flying here. I belonged to an international club when I was in high school. And they went to France in my junior year and I didn’t go because they flew.
Q: Oh my gosh.
N: I did not go.
Q: And they survived too.
N: Well, they survived but that doesn’t mean — I don’t know what it is. I’m just scared. Every time I turn the TV on — plane crash, plane crash.
R: Mark, do you want to come in? Here’s — I peeled you an orange.
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I TURNED ON THE TAPE RECORDER AGAIN AFTER NOTICING THERE WAS A LARGE NUMBER OF FLIES INSIDE THE HOUSE.)
(“SO I MEAN”)
Q: Flies are normal for the country.
Q: We don’t have very many of them in Santa Monica.
N: You don’t?
Q: How many do you have out here?
R: Well, see, they get out and spray. When we get our spraying done we won’t have them either. (“DO”)
N: Do they spray here?
R: Yeah. You can get the stuff and spray yourself. Insecticide. You just spray your whole lawn.
Q: Where do they come from? Why do they come to the house, though? Is it cooler?
N: Because it — no. Because it’s (“THAT’S”) a time where the weather is changing. (“YOU KNOW” “WHICH MEANS”)
R: Coming in.
N: And that’s when they die off so wherever the warmth is — that’s where they come to.
Q: I see.
N: Flies are unbelievable.
R: Oh I never had flies in Utah. But see they come spray.
N: Yeah. See — and I worry about the spray.
R: I know but they all do it.
N: I really do. (“AA”)
R: They spray. They call . . .
Q: And what’s that little insect there? (on outside window pane)
R: Looks like a potato bug.
N: Yeah, it’s a little hard shell bug.
Q: Are those —
R: Nancy, don’t you want something?
N: I don’t. (“I”)
R: This was your plate.
( . . . )
R: . . . grow every night.
N: I’d rather have fried green tomatoes. (“SO”)
Q: Who did you say was having meat and potatoes?
N: My husband.
Q: And that’s just the way he was brought up.
N: Yeah. His, you know, his parents farmed. And I think their parents farmed. And it’s just you sit down in the morning you have eggs. You have — everything like that. Bacon, sausage — I like bacon and I like sausage.
R: I like crisp, crisp bacon.
N: Although he’ll eat turkey bacon which is really pretty good. I tried it and it’s not bad.
Q: But it’s amazing — like when I stopped — because I’d been, for most of my life, a meat eater. You lose the taste for it.
N: You do?
Q: You do. You just lose it altogether.
R: Did you just quit cold turkey?
Q: Uh-huh. Cold turkey.
K: Give me a good old hamburger on a grill.
N: Now I like hamburgers. I love hamburgers.
K: On a grill. If you cook it. Well, I’m just saying if I cook.
R: And it’s good meat. No flour like you get at McDonald’s and places.
N: Well yeah. (“THAT’S”)
Q: Does anyone really know what they put in McDonald’s?
N: You don’t want to know.
R: McDonald’s solely is stuffing. Filler.
Q: Well, you know in pet food they put dead animals and dead cats and dogs. They mix it in.
N: They always do.
R: They do that? Not dead cats and dogs, do they?
Q: Yes. (“THEY EA[T]”) Cats eating cats. Dogs eating dogs.
R: Now how do you know they do that?
Q: From the Internet and from Art Bell’s radio show.
N: Well, Dad’s dog went through the meat mill.
R: What do they do? (“THEY”) Pick them up at the pounds?
Q: Well, you know, it’s very expensive to get rid of (“DEAD”) dead animals.
(“SO THEY”) They just —
R: I thought they burned them.
K: What do they do? (“THEY GG”)
Q: They grind (“NO”) them up and use them to feed cattle.
N: You look in the — do you guys get the area shopper? (“YEAH”)
N: Okay, you look through that and you tell me how many ads you said that say, “Buying downed, crippled, old animals.” You tell me the next time you read that.
Q: Now you know why.
N: That’s why. . . .
Q: Wouldn’t it be funny if — no, I don’t want to say it. We’re going to lose our lunch. (“WHAT IF”) What if McDonald’s — oh no no no no no.
N: Well, I don’t think they’re — (“YOU GET”)
R: You know what? You just can’t put past anything what people will do.
Q: Oh I know.
R: That’s the bad — (“PROBLEM”)
A: You know.
R: And we’re going to get some spray for these flies. I cannot stand them.
N: I hate it too and my kids won’t quit running in and out.
Q: I didn’t see any when I first came in here. They just came in just recently.
R: I don’t know. They are around. They just catch us now.
K: They’re just around.
N: Yeah. And at night — if you’re in a house at night they fly up to the light.
R: Oh I can’t stand them.
Q: It’s always something. I think, well, once you get rid of them — is there a way of getting rid of them?
R: Yeah, they’re gone.
K: You never get rid of them.
N: You never get rid of them.
Q: That’s what’s also good about the country is that you can have fresh air. Maybe if you just left the window open. They would just fly in and out.
N: No, there would be 500 more that would fly in.
N: Screens are a must.
Q: At your house too is it like that?
K: No. All our screens that the dogs are knocking down — I’ve got to get some brace — some stuff and put across them.
N: It’s mainly my kids running in and out of the door.
R: That’s what this here — the kids.
N: In and out, in and out, in and out. Cammille will run out and leave it wide open and then run back and shut it after forty flies came in. I’m sick of saying “Shut the door, shut the door, shut the door, shut the door.”
Q: Oh my gosh. “Shut the door.”
N: At least fifty times. “Shut the door.” “I wasn’t the last one out. She was out last.” So I usually shut the door.
R: Mom would ask you about killing flies.
K: Would she ever. . . . (“THAT WAS HER”)
R: That was her — I mean she couldn’t stand a fly.
N: I hate it . . .
R: “Please kill my fly.”
Q: Am I going to meet her, by any chance do you think? (“YEAH”)
R: We’ll go to the hospital.
N: We can go up tonight.
Q: Well, whenever’s convenient. I mean you know. I’ll let you plan —
K: Well, most any — there’s always somebody up there with her.
( . . .)
R: Here’s your lunch.
K: It’s going on 3:30.
Q: . . . whenever’s most convenient.
N: Or do you want to take your stuff . . .
R: . . . yourself a pear.
Q: That probably would be a good idea so they don’t get wrinkled. Whatever. I’m very —
N: Yeah, we can go over and I just have to get my . . .
(TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: I TURNED ON THE TAPE RECORDER WHEN I SAW A QUARTER ON THE FRONT SEAT IN NANCY’S CAR. THE WINDOWS ARE PARTIALLY DOWN, CAUSING SOME AUDIBILITY PROBLEMS WHEN THE CAR IS IN MOTION.)
Q: Oh my goodness — a quarter. Did that just appear there? (“YEAH” “I”)
N: . . . always — who knows? Now my car’s not as luxurious but it works.
Q: Now it’s reminding me of Oklahoma because there were, like, pennies that were — I have to tell you that whole story sometime. (car engine doesn’t start) Uh oh.
N: No, it just — (car engine starts) my husband is a mechanic. Did you know that? You wouldn’t know —
Q: Maybe it’s just —
N: No. We just bought this in an auction for like —
Q: Isn’t that, though, amazing how the first two times it doesn’t but the third — why is it different the third time?
N: I have no — it’s a charm.
Q: It’s not (“DOESN’T”) heating up. It’s just —
N: It’s just a charm. This needs a little coil. (stalls)
N: (starts engine again) The battery takes like two minutes to charge and it’s just — but it was only $800 and my husband will replace the windshield and everything. And we’ll sell this for $2,000 if that’s — does that seem — I don’t know.
Q: So this isn’t your permanent car.
N: No, this is just a dealer car that we — I’m always driving something different.
Q: Oh that’s a good idea. It does need to warm up a little bit. (“UH-HH OH”) Maybe it’s the spark plugs.
N: No, it’s just that —
Q: Look how beautiful it is over here with the trees.
N: This is nothing. In a week it will be unbelievable.
Q: I just worry about everybody eating meat, though. Where I come from, everyone’s so health conscious about not eating meat.
N: Now see — my mother and you would be perfect.
N: This car is such a pain. Trust me, though — it’ll get us home. See, the battery needs to go up to thirteen, which it’s doing but it takes its time. (“PUT IN”) This is how me make our living — buying these at auction and my husband fixes them and inspects them and — (“SELLS”)
Q: And where are the auctions held?
N: Everywhere. All over. He goes to Harrisburg. It’s going to be the Mennonite people here. Do you know what a Mennonite is?
Q: Not really.
N: They were Amish at one time and they left the clan because they didn’t want to be — the Amish are the horse and buggy-drawn, dark clothes — you know, they don’t believe in driving cars. And the Mennonites got away from the Amish and they believe in driving cars but they believe in wearing the head covering. The little farmhouse right here . . .
Q: The sky is so beautiful. We don’t have clouds like this in L.A.
N: You don’t?
Q: Not this large. We have lots of little ones. We don’t have big, large ones.
Q: Maybe we do some days. I don’t know but it’s just they seem more beautiful out here with the clean air. No streetlights. Is it dark at night?
N: Everyone has a pole light. See those lights? They come on automatically as soon as it gets dark.
Q: Wow. I see.
N: This is the county line.
Q: What county?
N: Right here. This side is Mercer County and the other side is Crawford County.
Q: And you’re in Crawford.
N: Yeah. We’re Crawford County people and so are they. See there — it went up to thirteen. I always hate to be the guinea pig. This is where a very good friend of mine lives and my babysitter lives right here.
Q: What’s her name?
N: Neica. You’ll meet her. She’s a great teenager. (small laugh) She’s a teenager, though. Trust me.
Q: So now the other aunts who live in the area are?
N: My mother. Well, I’ll drive you right past my mother’s. Hanna lives in Meadville, which is fifteen minutes from here. Marilyn is in Conneaut Lake, which is just another five minutes from Meadville. . . .
Q: I’m very comfortable.
N: I always have to be right on top of things. (“I”)
Q: I just can’t believe we had a quarter.
N: I don’t know. It just —
Q: I know.
N: Who knows? Somebody that got out — maybe it came out —
Q: After you read my book, you’ll — I’m always having — this is always happening to me.
N: This is the home Grandma was in.
Q: Ohh — was in.
N: Where the accident happened.
Q: Oh my God.
N: And there’s a Mennonite church.