Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bernard Keninger; An interview from 1988

In an effort to organize my entire life, I have been doing a ton of cleaning, sorting, organizing, donating, and tossing.  And in doing so, I've uncovered some "gems" that I didn't even know existed in this house.  A few days ago, I found an interview that I had given my grandpa Bernie in the spring on 1988.  It was taken during "Grandparent's Day"--one of my favorite days of elementary school-- where Fairview Elementary invited grandparents in to spend the afternoon with their grandkids.  We always did fun activities, shared stories, and did some kind of project.  (And I think there was a snack of some kind too) Perhaps the coolest part of finding this interview is that every question is answered in his own distinct handwriting.  (He was an Architect--thus, the beautiful printing!)  Take a look:


My grandpa passed away almost a year ago in June and he had suffered from dementia the last few years of his life.  Because of his disease, his passing was a blessing in many ways.  But uncovering memorabilia from years ago--such as this little interview-- made the memories of my grandpa come flooding back.  I was fortunate to grow up with my maternal grandparents living right across town-- so they really were a part of my childhood.  When I think about who my grandfather was, it's hard for me to miss the frail and tired old man who vaguely remembered me when I visited, but I do miss my grandpa, the one I grew up with-- who was smart and witty and full of energy.  So when I found this piece of paper, it reminded me of who he really was.  Here's a little interview with Grandpa Bernie from 1988.

1.  Where did you go to school?  Saint Marys School, Ackley, IA

2.  How did you get to school?  Ran behind 3 neighbor houses

3.  What subjects did you like in school?  Geography & Drawing

4.  What was school like when you were my age?  Two grades were taught by one teacher.  Desks & seats were wider and two students sat in each seat.  Rest room was a small shed outside.  Coats and overshoes were kept in entry where large crock with spigot and tin cup served as a fountain.

5.  What games did you like to play?  Marbles, Baseball, Hide & Seek

6.  What was your favorite book? "Black Beauty"

7.  Who was your best friend?  Art Hofman
     What did you do together?  Go fishing, play with home made airplanes & cars, go sledding in the winter

8.  What were your hobbies?  Drawing and stamps

9.  What important even tin history happened during your childhood?  In 1927 Charles A. Lindbergh flew his single engine airplane "The Spirit of St. Louis" from New York to Paris in 33 hours & 27 minutes.  

What do you remember about it?  People talking about how great an achievement this was. I have greater thoughts about attending my first World's Fair called "The Century of Progress" held in Chicago in 1933. 

10.  Who was the president when you were born? The president of the United States when I was born was Harding.  


I'm so thankful that I had actually chose to save this piece of paper.  (I think it's a little surprising that I saved something that wasn't sporting a scratch 'n sniff sticker or some reference to Care Bears) As a mother, I think that once again, I'm looking at things through a totally different lens.  Suddenly, sharing stories with younger generations is much more than just "talking about the olden days".  It's tending to our family tree-- keeping those who have passed on alive in the memories we have and stories we share.  I find myself thinking about the future-- when C can interview his grandparents and learn about "the olden days"... only this time they'll be referring to the 50's instead of the 30's.  He'll learn that milk came in bottles, cameras had film, and phones had cords.  He'll realize that homes did not have computers or video games or dvd players.  He'll probably think that is all just so weird.  But then maybe he'll hear about the games his grandpa played with his friends, and the tricks his great-uncles played on his grandma, and the trouble his daddy got into when he was a little boy.  And he'll realize that all these people have woven together a life---and created a family--his family.  And someday, it will hit him that "his family" is a huge part of who he is.  And hopefully, that part will be strong and important enough to tell his own grandchildren about... and keep the memories going on again and on again.

1 comment:

  1. Aw. This makes me nostalgic. I need to go through my childhood box.

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