Thursday, January 12, 2006


Transcripting the Podcasts #1

    Someone recently and obliquely reminded me that it is easier to read than it is to listen to an interview, with which I sympathize. One can put down an interview at any point, when one is reading it, and go back when time allows. It's hard to do this with a spoken interview, especially if your audio software doesn't click off the seconds to allow you to note where you can pick up without difficulty, as mine doesn't. So, I decided to start transcripting the podcasts for easier access.
    This is the first, the transcript of the "Who Am I?" interview. Since the interviews are long, I've attempted to entitle parts of them for easier put-down-pick-up readability. It's not easy, but I think I've done a fair job of it. Although I am actually starting this project on September 23, 2007, I am back dating the transcripts in order to place them in the proper time context in my journaling.
    This transcript includes, as well, "Introduction to 'Who Am I?'", which explains some of the names used, locates some of the places mentioned and more clearly identifies some of the incidents to which the "Who Am I?" interview refers.

Comments on Reading versus Listening
    I'm surprised to find that Mom's and my conversations translate well into transcription. I can't help but note, though, that there is a lot about the way we interact with one another and our relationship that escapes the eye, and thus, the brain and the heart. The transcript definitely preserves the hard, cold facts of my mother's personal interpretation of Dementia-Lite, but I believe, now, that if you avoid the audio version, you will miss much that is pertinent, particular and pleasurable about our relationship and our lived-together life.

["G:" is Gail. "M:" is Mom.]

Transcript of "Introduction to 'Who Am I?'"
G:  My intention isn't to introduce every single interview that my mom and I do, but I wanted you to know that if you're interested in the experience of Dementia-Lite, either having it or living with someone who has it, the "Who Am I?" interview is the definitive interview on this subject. It may seem confusing to you, but I can assure you that it's not nearly as confusing to participate in as it is to listen to.
    There are a few names and places you'll probably be curious about as you listen to the interview.
Transcript of "Who Am I?"

G:  This is our usual sound test, oh yeah, it's looking good, go ahead and say something, Mom, anything.
M:  When are we going to start talking about what I do?
G:  We're gonna to start talking about what you do in just a minute.
    Welcome once again to Mom & Me The Podcast, this is our second interview, it's January 12, 2006, the time is 2:40 in the afternoon, and, today we're going to deviate from the questionnaire a little bit, what we're going to do is explore your relationship with me.

Reason for the Interview
    There's a reason why we're doing this. Earlier this morning you asked me why it was that Ernest and Pearl came from Iowa to South Dakota. I couldn't recall. What I want to find out from you is what you recall about me being in your life during that time.

Why Mom Thought I'd Know about Ernest and Pearl
    You mentioned to me earlier this morning that the reason that you thought I would know about why Ernest and Pearl [Ernest is your maternal uncle and Pearl is his wife] moved from Iowa to South Dakota is because I was there.
M:  Yeah.

Setting the Stage
G:  And so it would seem as though since you didn't remember, I did. How old were you when they moved from Iowa to South Dakota?
M:  Oh, I would say about 12.
G:  How old was I?
M:  Well, you're considerably younger, so you must have been just a baby.
G:  What's my relationship to your mother and father?
M:  Your relationship to my mother and father?
G:  Yes.
M:  You're, um, hmmm...
G:  I mean, you're their daughter, what am I to your mother and father?
M:  You would be their granddaughter.
G:  But, I was there when Pearl and Ernest moved.
M:  Oh yes.

How Long Have I Been in Mom's Life
G:  Okay. Have I been with you pretty much throughout most of your life? Do you remember a time when I was not in your life?
M:  Yes.
G:  And when was that?
M:  Yeah, when you were an itty bitty baby.

How Mom Perceives My Past Relationship with Her
G:  Did we play together?
M:  Well, no, not really, because you were so much younger than I.
G:  Did we go to school together?
M:  No.
G:  Do you remember whether I was there when you were in high school?
M:  You were around, yes.
G:  Did I go to the same school as you?
M:  Well, we were in Mechanicsville at the time. I would say, yes, that you went to school with me.
G:  At that time, when you were in high school and I was going to the same school, did you and I play together much?
M:  No.
G:  I mean, did we have much to do with each other?
M:  No, you were so much younger.
G:  Was I there when you were in college?
M:  Yes, you were there, but...
G:  Did I go to the same college as you?
M:  Same college?
G:  Yeah...
M:  Well, I went to Cornel, did you go to Cornel?
G:  What I'm wondering is, do you remember whether I went to Cornel or not?
M:  I don't remember.
G:  There have been times when you've remembered that I was in the dorm that you stayed at, when you stayed, you went to the dorm for awhile, or you stayed in the dorm for awhile, is that right, th...
M:  No...
G:  Oh, you did not. Oh, okay. That's my faulty memory, then. Was I around when you were teaching?
M:  Yes, you were...
G:  What was I doing at the time?
M:  You, um, you went to school.
G:  I was still going to school?
M:  Yeah.
G:  Was I in elementary, junior high, high school, or college?
M:  Elementary, I think.
G:  After you taught, and you went into the Navy, was I around?
M:  I guess so, I wasn't there, but, uh...
G:  Oh, okay...
M: were.
G:  So I wasn't in the Navy with you.
M:  No. You were never in the Navy.

Mom's Perception of My Relationships with Her Family
G:  No. That's true. I wasn't ever in the Navy. Do you remember that I had any special relationships with any of the aunts, uncles or cousins? Was I familiar with the aunts and uncles and cousins?
M:  Yes, you acknowledged them as your aunts and uncles and cousins.
G:  Was there anybody special that I played with or hung out with besides you?
M:  I don't know. I don't think so.
G:  Who took care of me?
M:  Mother and Dad and James and I.
G:  When James was injured and Jean was sent to Aunt Carrie's, did I stay at home?
M:  No. You went to Aunt Carrie's, too.

Mom's Perceptions of What I Was Like
G:  Do you remember anything about my school career, elementary school, junior high or high school, for instance, was I a good student?
M:  I have no idea. At that time I didn't care.
G:  [Laughter] You...
M:  No, that's true...

Mom's Present Perception of My Relationship to Her
G:  Okay, you didn't care whether, what kind of a student I was. Okay. What relationship am I to you?
M:  Now?
G:  Yes.
M:  Well, you're my daughter, of course...
G:  Oh...
M:  ...and I, I feel very close to you, though, because we're living together.
G:  And what relationship was I to you then?
M:  I don't know.
G:  Was I your sister?
M:  Oh, yes.
G:  I was your sister, then.
M:  Yes...
G:  And I'm your daughter now.
M:  Oh, are you my sister? No.
G:  When I was with you in Iowa and South Dakota I was not your sister.
M:  No. You were my daughter.
G:  Oh. I was your daughter then, too. What do you remember about my birth?
M:  Oh, goodness. Well you were born in the hospital.
G:  How old were you when I was born?
M:  I was eight.
G:  [Stifling laughter] That's pretty young.
M:  What?
G:  That's pretty young. I'll bet Grandma and Grandpa were really surprised that you had a child when you were eight.
M:  They had a child when I was eight.
G:  I was born of Grandma and Grandpa. I was Grandma's daughter?
M:  Yes...
G:  And I'm also your daughter?
M:  Uh, that can't be.
G:  No, that's true. It can't be. That's why I asked you earlier how was I related to Grandma and Grandpa, since you've acknowledged that I'm your daughter and I was your daughter back then, too...
M:  ...couldn't have been.
G:  Who was I back then?
M:  You were their daughter.
G:  I was their daughter back then. Okay. So, back then, although I was there, you and I actually didn't do too much together is that...
M:  Oh, no...
G:  ...correct...
M:  ...huh uh...
G:  ...okay. Do you remember me dealing with James and Jean much? Was I closer in age to Jean than I was to you?
M:  No, huh uh, you were closer to me.
G:  So I fell someplace between Jean and you.
M:  Yeah.

My Birth
G:  Is that right? Where was I born?
M:  You were born in, I was going to say Mitchell, but that's where I was born.
G:  Do you remember where I was born?
M:  I know you were born in the hospital.
G:  Was this when you gave birth to me?
M:  [Silence, head shake implied]
G:  This was when Grandma gave birth to me.
M:  I never gave birth to you.
G:  [Laughter] You didn't, you make that sound like, "I would NEVER have given birth to YOU! My goodness!"
M:  [Laughter] Yeesss...

My Relationship to the Family Mom Created
G:  [Laughter] So you didn't give birth to me. How is it, then, that I ended up living with your family, you, after you married Dad and when we moved around and moved to Guam? Do you remember me being there?
M:  Well, yes, James was, too, for awhile.
G:  Oh, was he?
M:  Mmm hmmm.
G:  I was there with Robin, Linda and Mary Lee, right?
M:  Well, not so much them.
G:  I wasn't around them?
M:  No, they were quite young.
G:  Do you remember me being in Maryland?
M:  Being in Maryland?
G:  Mmm hmmm.
M:  Yes.
G:  Do you remember me being in Rhode Island?
M:  I don't think you were.
G:  Do you remember me being in Oxnard?
M:  No.
G:  How about in Hawaii, where Linda was born?
M:  Well, you must have been there then if Linda was born there.
G:  Right. And Robin was born in Oxnard, but you don't remember me being in Oxnard?
M:  I don't remember anything about it, be, but I should.
G:  Do you remember me being in Spearfish Canyon between the time that Dad retired from the Navy and we went to Guam and he joined FAA?
M:  Yes.
G:  Yes. Do you remember me being on Guam?
M:  Yes.
G:  Do you remember me being on Guam the whole time that everyone else was there?
M:  Yeah.
G:  What relationship am I to Robin, Linda and Mary Lee?
M:  You're sis...
G:  My memory is that Mary Lee is the oldest, then me, then Robin, then Linda.
M:  That's right.

Mom's Perception of My Sisters in Her Pre-Marital Life
G:  Do you remember Mary Lee, Robin or Linda being around when you lived in Iowa and South Dakota when I was there?
M:  Iowa and South Dakota, let's see...
G:  Were Robin, Linda or Mary Lee in South Dakota or Mechanicsville or Iowa with you and me...
M:  ...uhh, let's see...Mary Lee was there, Gail was there, yeah, you were all there.
G:  So, well, I'm, I am Gail...
M:  You're Gail. No wonder you were there.
G:  [Laughter] Back, when you, you said that you're earliest memory, or one of your earliest memories of me being there was when you were about eight, no, I was born when you were about eight...
M:  ...yeah...
G:  ...or something like that, had Mary Lee already been born?
M:  No.
G:  What about Robin and Linda?
M:  No.

My Presence During Significant Events in Mom's Early Life
G:  So I was the only one that actually was born when you were eight. Was I with you during the time of the fire, in, I think it was White Lake?
M:  Fire? No, that was in, oh goodness...
G:  It was in South Dakota. The one that came up over the mountain.
M:  Uh, no. That wasn't in White Lake.
G:  Well, was I there?
M:  No.
G:  Where was I?
M:  I don't know. You were quite young.
G:  I was quite young but I was still alive at that time, right?
M:  No.
G:  Oh. I was not alive at that time?
M:  I don't think so.
G:  How old were you at the time of the fire?
M:  I was about seven or eight.

Mom's Perception of My Existence after Her Marriage
G:  Oh, okay. So, maybe I hadn't been born yet. That's possible. What became of me when you got married?
M:  See, I was married, we were married in, uh,
G:  ...1947...
M:  ...'47, and that was...where were you in '47?
G:  I don't remember. Do you remember where I was? I don't think I attended your wedding ceremony.
M:  You did but you didn't know it.
G:  How did I attend your wedding ceremony and not know it?
M:  [Patting her tummy] You were in my tummy.
G:  So I hadn't been born yet.
M:  That's right.

Trying to Resolve Competing Perceptions
G:  I'm gonna ask you a difficult question.
M:  Okay...
G:  Or, it's a question that's difficult for me to ask, I don't know if it's gonna be difficult for you to answer or not. Your memory tells you that you gave birth to me after you married Dad...
M:  ...yes...
G:  ...right? But I was also around when you were at home, young, etcetera.
M:  Depends on how young you mean.
G:  Well, you said that I was born at, when you were about eight.
M:  Yes.
G:  So, in other words, my relationship to you has switched throughout your life, is that right? First, I was, I mean, obviously, you didn't give birth to me when you were eight.
M:  No.
G:  Who gave birth to me?
M:  Who did?
G:  Yes.
M:  I gave birth to you.
G:  How is it that I was around when you lived in South Dakota and Iowa?
M:  [Ironic chuckle] I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that.
G:  Was I there?
M:  No.
G:  I was not there.
M:  No.
G:  So, now, I wasn't there when you were younger.
M:  That's right.
G:  Okay. And you gave birth to me after you married Dad.
M:  Well, yes.
G:  Okay.
M:  [Soft chuckle]
G:  That's what I wanted to know. You don't have a memory of me being around when you were a kid and you lived in...
M:  Goodness no!

Was Mom Confusing Me with Someone Else?
G:  ...okay. Who was it that you were talking about when you were telling me just a few minutes ago that I was there but I was, like, a baby when you lived in South Dakota and Mechanicsville?
M:  You weren't there in either South Dakota or Mechanicsville.
G:  Who was it that you were talking about, though, when you were saying that I was there?
M:  I'm not sure.
G:  Would it have been Jean?
M:  No, no, no, no, Jean's lots younger than you are.
G:  Wuh, who was my mother and father?
M:  I was.
G:  Okay.
M:  And Dad.
G:  Okay. If Jean is much younger than I am, than I would have to be only a couple years younger than you.
M:  You're younger than that. When, uh, you were born you were eight years younger.
G:  When I was born [stifling a chuckle] I was eight years younger than you.
M:  Yes.
G:  Who gave birth to me when you were eight?
M:  I did.
G:  That's what I was trying to get straight.
M:  Oh...
G:  So you have...
M:  ...okay.
G:  ...always been my mother, regardless of where we've been and what we've done.
M:  Yes.

Mom's Perception of the Continuing Quality of Our Relationship
G:  Have we always been gotten along really well together?
M:  Yes.
G:  When you were much younger you pretty much ignored me because I was so much younger than you. That's what you said. Is that correct?
M:  I suppose, I, I don't remember.

More on Where I Was When...
G:  So, from your point of view I, I pretty much have experienced much the same things that you did when you were a child, and, that's why you ask me so often about when did this happen, when did that happen, because I was there. Is that right?
M:  Not necessarily, it depends on what you're talking about.
G:  Well, like when you asked me about Uncle Ernest and Aunt Pearl. Apparently I was there when they moved from Iowa to South Dakota.
M:  Oh, yes.

Sorting Out Competing Ages
G:  How is it that you gave birth to me when you were 34, after you married Dad...
M:  Well, let's see...I don't think I was 34, was I?
G:  Yeah. You married Dad when you were, well, actually, you got married the day before you were born, so you were 29, and then you had Mary Lee when you were, just before you were 31, and then you had me when you were 34.
M:  Could be...
G:  Okay...
M:  I don't remember that now.
G:  Okay, so how is it that you gave birth to me when you were 34 and yet I was around when you were a kid?
M:  Well, if you want to call being 34 a kid, that's true.
G:  Okay, now you say that I'm only eight years younger than you...
M:  ...yes...

Reconfiguring Earlier Perceptions
G:  ...and that I was around when you were a kid.
M:  I haven't said that.
G:  Well, yes...
M:  You said that.
G:  ...well, I, I asked you and you said, "Yes". That you had memories of me being around when you were a kid. You didn't pay much attention to me, you said, because I was so much younger than you, but, uh, but you said that you remember that I was around.
M:  I don't think ya, I did.
G:  That's kind of what I was getting at, was, whether or not I was there. So I was, I was not there.
M:  No.
G:  Okay. I didn't actually come into your life until after you married Dad and had kids...
M:  That's right.

Calculating Current Ages and Dates
G: that right? How much younger tha, am I than you now?
M:  Well, let's see. I'm, how old am I now?
G:  Will you believe me if I tell you?
M:  Yes...
G:  You're eighty-eight.
M:  Oh, that's, yo, you keep telling me that and I don't believe that.
G:  Why would I lie to you about how old you are?
M:  Well...
G:  No. Please. Tell me. Why do you think I would lie to you about how old you are?
M:  Because I think you're making me older than I actually am.
G:  What advantage would there be to me to do that?
M:  I don't know.
G:  I just was wondering, why I would do that.
M:  How old are you now?
G:  I'm fifty-four.
M:  Fifty-four, and I am, oh dear, how old am I?
G:  You tell me. Since you don't believe me when I tell you how old you are, you tell me how old you are.
M:  Okay. Well I'm in my was gonna say sixties, but I'm not even sure of that.
G:  Does it matter to you how old you are?
M:  Yeah, well, actually, no.
G:  Do you remember what year you were born?
M:  1917.
G:  And do you know what the year is now?
M:  The year now is...nineteen...mmm...goodness. What year is this?
G:  It's two thousand and six.
M:  Two Oh Six.
G:  Two Oh Oh Six.
M:  Two Oh Oh Six.
G:  I don't know that you can do this in your head, but basically what you wanna do is you wanna subtract 1917 from 2006. You know what you come up with when you do that? You come up with eighty-nine, but you haven't turned eighty-nine yet. You just turned eighty-eight last August in 2005. So now do you believe me, or do you think I'm lying to you about what year it is?
M:  [Laughing] No, I believe you.

Discussing the Relative Value of Age
G:  Well, it's good that you don't feel eighty-eight, Mom.
M:  Well, how do you feel when you're eighty-eight?
G:  You tell me! [Gentle laughing]
M:  I don't know.
G:  [Continuing laughter] Okay. So, how old am I?
M:  You're...
G:  Take a guess.
M:  Didn't you just tell me?
G:  I did just tell you. But how old do you perceive me to be?
M:  Well, I think of you as being my little girl.
G:  How old of a little girl? That covers a wide range.
M:  Yes it does. Well, I'd say in your thirties.
G:  Well, you know it's interesting because a couple of nights ago when we did this interview you said that you thought of yourself as being in your thirties. So, would it be accurate of me to say that you consider us contemporaries?
M:  Yes...
G:  I like the idea that you think of us as contemporaries.
M:  Well, I do, too.
G:  Do you expect me to outlive you, or do you think...
M:  Oh, yes...
G:  ...oh, you do, I was gonna say, or do you expect us to go about the same time...
M:  ...noooooo...
G:  ...or...okay. And you, you certainly don't expect me to die before you. I'm not that old...right...
M:  ...oh, nooo...

Final Tabulation
G:  Okay. Just to clarify what we've been talking about, I am your daughter...
M:  ...right...
G:  ...and, which daughter am I?
M:  You're my first daughter. Second daughter.
G:  Okay...
M:  ...sorry...
G:  ...and you do remember my name, do you not?
M:  You are...let me see...
G:  [Gentle laughter]
M:'re not James...
G:  [Heartier laughter]
M:  [Joins in laughter] Yes, I remember you're name.
G:  Well, tell me what my name is.
M:  Gail.
G:  Okay, that sounds good.
M:  Gail Rae.
G:  Gail Rae...that's right. And I was born after you married Dad...
M:  Yes....
G: do however have a memory of me being around after you were eight on...I'm getting a look of surprise on your face...
M:  ...yes...
G: you don't have that memory anymore, right?
M:[short laugh]
G: it wouldn't surprise you to know that I don't remember a lot of things that happened to you when you were younger, is that right?
M:  That's right...
G:  Okay, that's good. That's fair. I think we're going to stop this interview right now, but if you want to go on talking, we can start another interview and do the questionnaire. Would you like to do that?
M:  Oh, we can try it and see what happens...
G:  That sounds good. So I'm going to bid good-bye to our audience...
M:  Okay...
G:  Say good-bye to our audience...
M:  Bye-bye, audience.

originally posted by Clare Finkel : Mon Sep 24, 03:48:00 PM 2007

Your mother ( you too) really does have a great spirit. I think the stimulation is very good for her memory, thinking, etc. There is also a purity about it with things like who technically you are ripped away, and who you really are is left.
My mom gets very upset with fear of "losing it," or maybe I just do not ask the questions in such a way to stimulate her as you do your mom. In fact, I think a lot of your mom's spirit has to do with you!
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