Gemic

Meta: Older Adults Transcript Selection

Internship Interview – Round 2 Exercise

Transcript #1 – Ed

​​Interviewer: You have these sets of friends and then you have a big family crew. Do you have any other communities that you’re actively a part of or that you take part in?

Ed:  I do have another group of friends that we get together. We call ourselves Friday friends because we meet on Fridays. It’s a group made up of people Tony [Ed’s late wife] and I met when we were raising our families and these folks were raising their families. Our kids went to the same schools together. We were together quite a bit and developed a real nice friendship with them. Unfortunately, there’s a couple there now and then there was one, two, three, four couples total in this group. Only one couple is left intact.

Interviewer: Oh, wow.

Ed: There’s two ladies who are widows. They lost their husbands and then I lost Tony. To me, when Tony passed, I talked to those two widows, especially one of them, and she said some of the things that really helped me get through the early stages of grief. We still get together. We enjoy each other’s company. Right now we’re doing Zoom calls on Fridays instead. We have our wine and we sit at our own homes.

Interviewer: Some people say that it’s harder for men to maintain social contacts and social friendships, especially when it was their wife who led the charge in that. How have you found doing that?

Ed: I think you are absolutely right there. Yes. My wife was the social planner. I was always happy just to be with her and I knew I didn’t have to do a lot of talking. I was a little bit shy as I was growing up. I got out of it the more time I spent with my wife. She brought out the best in me. Yeah. She was the one that did all of the social planning. 

I kind of felt like I didn’t have a lot to offer in the beginning there. There are times when they’d say, “Are you okay? You’re very quiet.” I didn’t want to say everything but that’s just me. Sometimes I couldn’t get a word in edgewise because of the conversations going and other times it’s just part of who I am. I’m not going to be the one that really starts the conversations. I’ll add them but I wasn’t good at starting. I think I’m getting better as time goes on and as I’m realizing that Tony’s not there to carry the load.

Interviewer: That’s what I was going to ask. Have you learned or become a different kind of communicator since Tony passed?

Ed: I’m trying and I think I have.  I try to pay more attention and try to remember more things so when I see people, I can ask them. I can start out, “Oh, how’s your little Molly or whatever? I know she wasn’t feeling good.” I try to be more in tune with what’s going on with them so I can start things and so I can add to things there, too. I think I’ve done that over the almost 10 years now, which is hard to believe. It’s still, there are times when it’s more difficult for me than it would be for her. Sometimes I’m really just looking for a sounding board and it’s hard now – I want to be better at understanding how I’m coming across at times, which I don’t always do and without Tony I don’t have anybody to just remind me, “Hey, you seem like you’re down,” or, “Hey, what you said wasn’t appropriate,” or whatever.

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Transcript #2  – Ana

Interviewer: Before you retired, did you make plans for that time? Did you have goals?

Ana: To declutter my house. That was my goal. And it’s 10 years later, still haven’t done that.

Interviewer: You’re doing it right now.

Ana: I wanted to simplify the things in my life because I feel that especially when you work, you don’t get that opportunity. You just keep accumulating. And I’m not a hoarder by nature, but like, “Oh, the dress I wore 10 years ago, maybe I’ll wear it again.”

Interviewer: You just accumulate stuff, right?

Ana: You just accumulate. So, that was a big goal of mine, to declutter and simplify. I also had a goal in my last year of work and that was to write a cookbook for my children. So I did that.

And so, that was something that I really wanted to know because they kept calling me and saying, “Mom, how do you make this? Or mom, how do you make that?” And I said, ” Okay, I’m just going to write them all down.”

Interviewer: Was cooking a big part of family togetherness?

Ana: Oh, huge. Meals. I mean, you eat and socialize and you get together.

Interviewer: And are they recipes that you learned from your mom?

Ana: Oh, absolutely. Actually, in some of the recipes that I wrote down for my kids, I did a little postscript at the bottom and told them the backstory of how the recipe came about or who gave it to me or under what circumstances.

Interviewer: Oh, that’s great.

Ana: Yeah, it was fun. It was a fun project.

Interviewer: And what else has been occupying your time?

Ana:  I’ve been trying to learn more computer stuff. I have to say, the first time I ever used a computer was to take attendance when I was working. They made us go from paper to computers when I was at school. I wasn’t born on the computer. It was more challenging. I mean I have a pretty decent idea of what I’m doing, but I had to call my grandson over because we had an issue with the TV, you know?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Ana: I have no idea. I didn’t know how to do the WiFi with the Fire Stick. He came over in three minutes and fixed it. No problem. Easy peasy. So I wish I was better at that. But I’m online that way. Like I said, I text a lot. But online, I check my e-mail a couple of times a day, check into Facebook, see what’s going on with other people’s kids and their pictures. I love the pictures on Facebook, other people’s kids, if not, I would never seem. And I have a lot of family out of town and out of the country. So we also get to see each other’s photos that way.

Interviewer: Yeah. So it’s primarily just to kind of keep in touch with more distant family members and friends.

It seems like you kind of enjoy using tools like Facebook and stuff like that to keep in touch. Do you find that there are any drawbacks to it?

Ana: Yeah. Stupid people.

Interviewer: Yeah. Okay. Tell me more.

Ana:  Stupid people. I don’t care about your political views. Not the place for it, you know. Go on with a conversation with somebody else or something. I like to enjoy the photos and the jokes and people give you updates on what’s going on in your life. Somebody had a baby, I wouldn’t know about it otherwise. Some people are just too sensitive. They get offended about something, then they go on these huge rants, which I immediately go past. And politics is a personal thing. I don’t care what your politics are.

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Transcript #3 – Glen

Interviewer:  So what about your own experience of getting older? Has that been what you thought it would be or has it been different? Like what has surprised you about it or what has what’s been remarkable about it?

Glen: I would say the answer to that question is you really don’t give it a whole lot of thought until you’re there. Now the only thought that I had… My mom ran out of money, that’s why they kept shrinking her living space.

Interviewer: Right.

Glen: My mother in law who died in hospice in our dining room, we’d set up a hospital bed for her, she died of cancer there. But her money ran out. She’d been in a retirement community and didn’t have any more money. So we took her in with us.

Interviewer: Wow.

Glen And I can see this happening with my neighbor. We had another former neighbor who my wife kind of looks after and she’s isolated now because she’s in a retirement community. I’ve done her income tax for her. That’s another thing that I do. I used to work for H&R Block for a while.

Interviewer: Oh, great.

Glen: But she… Well I just did her taxes this year? I said, “What’s Betty going to do? She’s about out of money.” And I don’t think… Though I’ve tried to position things that I’d have enough money to retire, which I did a few years ago but my wife is still working, obviously, at Thule but my concern was having financial resources.

To be able to, what do I want to say, not outlive my money but have my money outlive me. Not that I was terribly interested in passing anything on to my kids, but more concerned about being able to take care of myself.

Interviewer: Yeah. So it’s that sense of independence was always super important to you. 

So… How long did it take you after you retired to kind of start to figure out how to fill your days?

Glen: It probably took a few months. I quit … I remember the day like it was yesterday, on May 31st, and then it was summer. I kind of was thinking before, and I thought, “I’m not going to quit when the weather’s really bad and I can’t get out.” The last straw hit the camel’s back, and I’m like, “I’m out of here.” I had the whole summer, so you could get out. I do bike riding in the summer, my tennis, so I had activities. But then, in the fall, I started getting more involved with the classes and the book groups and things that kind of drift off for the summer because people don’t have the same things going. I think in the fall I signed up for a few different things and picked and chose what I liked and stuck with it.

Interviewer: How did you find out or figure out about the book clubs that you joined or the lecture courses? Where did that all come from?

Glen: The lecture courses I knew because the community college is two blocks from where I live. But they send brochures every semester,  so I found stuff through that. I’ve been doing it for quite a few years now.

Interviewer: What do you like about it?

Glen: I feel like it keeps my brain active; not just physically active, but mentally active. The lecture group is about … They have all different professors from really good universities come speak, and it’s about usually current events, international current events. It’s really interesting.