Monday, June 15, 2015

Our First Duo: Teenagers in the War

For our first two-person interview, my partner and I went to the home of Mackey Dutton, where we would be interviewing both her and her cousin Jerry Bristol. I was very excited to interview them because Mrs. Dutton provided so many names to us for interviews and research.

Both of them defied all of my expectations. Both Mrs. Dutton and Mrs. Bristol told fascinating stories about what it was like to be a teenager during the war, whether it was about how simple and joyful life could be or the sense of unity that was felt across all of Chestertown. When one family grieved, everyone grieved with them.
Mackey Dutton shares some wartime ration books.

What's more, I was able to ask questions that I was dying to know the answers to, but would never think of during the actual interview. Some examples and their answers were:

How did you all feel about the Japanese compared to the Germans? (There was more anti-Japanese sentiment because of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the reports of the cruelty that Japanese soldiers inflicted on civilians and POWs.)
Was Italy even relevant to people at this time? (Not really, though it should have been, considering how many people were lost fighting in Italy.)
What about our friends across the pond, what did you think of them? (France was cool, but there was a more specific connection to the British, since they knew of the bombing that England was put through and because Mrs. Dutton's ancestors were all British.)

We also asked them about the to which they were aware of the Holocaust during this time. They responded that they had heard of some of the things that Hitler was doing, but either didn't believe it to be true or never received the full story. It was not until after the war that they knew the entirety of Hitler's atrocities. This subject is so widely discussed and debated, concerning not only how much the European people knew but the American people as well. It was wonderful to have a new story to interpret and research.

I loved interviewing both Dutton and Bristol. Their insight was so valuable and both women were a pleasure to speak with. Plus, I found some more Big Bang Theory and Modern Family fans to gossip with.

-Emma Buchman

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