Friday, 21 November 2008

Guest speakers 20-11-08

We had the opportunity to having two wonderful ladies (Marry and Fiona) reminiscing about their past, I found it very interesting and a privilege to hearing their personal experiences in front of our very eyes. I felt that a very welcoming and pleasant atmosphere was created before the interviewing began. The hospitality of "Tea and biscuits" managed to also enhance this particular atmosphere. I think that the use of props and costume was very useful as it was interesting in seeing Mary and Fiona making a connection with their past. As at one point Marry got up and had a proper look at one of the pieces of costume this being a very feminine pretty dress, as we later we found out the importance of that particular dress during the interview. Molly than introduced the two women as it than followed on to an introduction of our selves, we went round introducing our selves, which I particularly found it very interesting, as some people introduced them selves by their nick names, instantly Marry and Fiona double checked what their real name was, and than agreed to calling them by their real name. I think this particularly happened because the two women were born from a different era from our selves, therefore this disagreement occur ed due to the battle of a post modernist and modernist point of view, As the two women felt that the birth names should not be toyed with in a modernist way.

Marry was born in 1934 and she is now 74 years old. The London Waterloo Station has a very special place in Mary's hart.This was made clear by Marry during her reminiscence of her past. As she was a young child she had to travel back and forth via Waterloo to Gillingham to escape the war booms. She lived with her father above their chemist shop in West London at the age of fifteen Marys mother sadly passed away. During world war two Marry was not quite aware of what was really going on she believed that "it was the norm". She remembers her mother being very worried about her father not knowing whether he was alright, as the luxuries of today that I think we take for granted such as mobile phones, was of course not yet invented during Marys times. At the age of eight Marry finally realised who the people from above in their planes were, as she one night saw the "sky painted pink and later on began to turn into an angry red" than her father told her "Remember this Marry this will be something to talk about when you are an old lady" She than realised who those people were from above "They were some nasty people who wanted to kill me" I thought that this particular moment of Marys reminiscence was very emotional and touching, which I respect Marry in allowing us into a personal moment of her life.

In 1952 early 50's Marry began working for Scottish Widows, were now has turned into a coffee bar, she described the place as "An Electric atmosphere" as everyone walked around in suits bowler hats and umbrellas, As no one had television around that time only radio. everyone gathered around in the royal exchange talking about cricket as this sport was a very famous and talked about, most of the time hearing the sound of excitement and disappointment. This particular picture painted by Marry gave the impression that community was very strong during Marys times people were a lot closer to one another and appreciating each other company as television was not around which meant people relied on community to have a good time.

Marry than fell in love whilst she played tennis, it was the best way to meet guys, she than found her self going for coffee with on of the boys who criticised her tennis skills and than walked her home carrying her racket. Marry than married him in 1957 moved in together and realised that they could not stand one another, Later on in 1964 failed for divorce. I enjoyed this particular part of Marys reminiscence as I felt that it was very well told, it managed to capture the whole of the class attention as our response was very clear and sympathetic and took the freedom to indulge into Marys reminiscence, but than Marry managed to burst our bubble when she comically revealed that it all leaded to a divorce. Marry than had a space of ten years of being by her self, which than met her second husband a lot older than her self.

I feel that Marry talked very openly about her past, there many more reminiscence moments of Marys life that I have not mentioned, I particularly chosen the moments that I felt Mary made it clear that meant an awful lot to her, therefore I felt the need to put it across. Finally I found also interesting to hear Marry confessing the things that personally annoyed her. On of them being "Queuing" she made it very clear that she hates people not respecting queuing anymore, I believe this is another battle of post modernism and modernism thinking. She does not understand why people do not Que any more as they used to. Another thing that make Mary angry was the representation of the war, (i.e Land Girls) she finds it revolting that in this particular film the complete blackout is not put across in the film as this being the real thing that happened during the war.

On the other hand Fiona's reminiscences were not as deep as Marys the reason being is because the time Fiona was born in 1949 and she funnily turned 59 the same day of the interview, Fiona was not particularly affected by the war, but gave us a flavor of another time that was fun and vibrant.
Even though Fiona did not experience war time she did get caught up in reflecting her ideas about the Vietnam war and Northern Ireland in her trip to America during a dinner invitation by American hosts. Fiona was a special guest in the American house hold as she was a British citizen therefore her accent was very much appreciated by the American household as they rarely heard the English accent.

Fiona described in her reminiscence that she found it strange to have questions fired at her about her personal thoughts about the Vietnam war and Northern Ireland, as she funnily revealed to us that "I was only there for the dinner" this made me realise the concern of the American citizens had about the war of Vietnam and asking Fiona what was her feelings about the war gives me the impression that American people were quite insecure about what Americans were doing to Vietnam.
Fiona reminisced about her days as a adolescent, she told us about her love of Motown music and the Beatles, In 1967 she was able to afford her first concert tickets to a Beatles concert due to the fact that she was in work, the concert took place at the Hammersmith Odeon which is now known as the Hammersmith Apollo, Fiona remembers the concert only because of the screaming not the performance of the Beatles as she could not hear them singing as the screaming covered it all. It was really cool to also hear that Pink Floyd played at St Mary's. Fiona also mentioned that smoking was practised as part of a fashion statement and the fact that it was done for self image and because it was seen as "cool" thing to do. This particularly shocked me as the knowledge about skin cancer and the affects of smoking did not get found out until later on.

Furthermore I found interesting to hear that Fiona's highlight of her holiday to Spain was the privilege of a shower, as back home Fiona had a tin bath and an outside toilet, things that we take for granted now our days. In addition Fiona reminisces of being a young girl she was left out playing with a key round her neck, whilst her parents went to work, which now it is seen as not the right thing to do, but I feel that as time went on people become a lot more scared and less open about leaving their children alone whilst they at work, this makes me realise that community was a strong factor in does days as people look out for each other, which now rarely happens as people do not care for one another and community is not as strong as it used to be.

Fiona also talked about her first love and the same as Marry her first love did not last, but the second one managed to remain. I found both stories very amusing, firstly Fiona had a holiday romance which ended after 3 dates as the guy's girlfriend came back into the picture, Fiona made it very amusing when Fiona said that she was fine to move on as the girlfriend had a similar build to her which made her realise that the guy had a particular taste. Than Fiona shared with us her second love which ended in marriage. She went out dancing "Bopping" with a friend a in (Tracadero) and found herself tripped over by a guy as she dusted him off he asked her for a dance, but was slightly put of by a big shiny watch. I founded her story very funny as she explained that as the were trying to go home the guy did not know were he parked his car or how to get home. Fiona also told us that her main frustration concerns computers as she feels that the older generation is been socially withdrawn as they do not have IT skills, This made me think about a possible project that could enhance community but also help this frustration disappear.

Finally we than had to present to Marry and Fiona moments of their stories back to them, I found this particular task quite scary as felt really conscious about not disrespecting their memories. In the end I was proved wrong as both Marry and Fiona enjoyed the feed back very much, and from their response it showed that they felt really privileged in having their life's played out before their very eyes. Marry felt that constant journey from Waterloo and back was very well put across, also her first marriage being played out made her laugh at it. The same as Fiona's story made her aware that her mannerisms were well captured and the screaming fans managed to take her back as she said "I wanted to join in once again". This I thought was very interesting as reminiscence theatre is able to bring people back to their past and as both Marry and Fiona said "Thank you for bringing us back to our youth" this satisfied me an awful lot as I felt that we managed to do something nice for this two wonderful ladies.


Mark Griffin said...

Great entry Simona and wasn't it a good session?

I think the insistance on finding out your real names was a mark of respect. It's about establishing a sense of trust. In the same way as punctuality is vital to many in the older generation, so is knowing who they are talking to. In as much as it's the establishment of a certainty this is more a modernist than a post-modernist attitude.

Did you know that Fiona was so concerned that she might be late and let you guys down that she was actually here at 9.10am. For her being 50 minutes early was preferable to being 2 minutes late.

Pink Fairy said...

Awww bless her that is so sweet. I must say that it is something including myself that we are quite bad on as a generation, lateness! Although when I was on my work experience I was on time every day but my friend was not and she said to me she got into so much trouble, so I think lateness is much stricter in a work place than in colleges and universities.