Bernita Pearson Interview

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Interview: Bernita Pearson (BP) Medium: Digital Camera Date: April 26, 2011 Collected By: Kaytlin Watson (KW) KW: Please state today’s date.

BP: April the twenty-sixth two thousand eleven.

KW: Please state the place of the interview.

BP: My home, Six thirty East Highland, Marion, Indiana.

KW: And please state your name.

BP: Bernita Pearson.

KW: And your date of birth.

BP: March the twenty-second, nineteen twenty-eight.

KW: The people attending this interview are Bernita Pearson, the interviewer or the interviewee; Kaytlin Watson, the interviewer; and Elissa Watson, the camera girl. (Pause) What years did you attend Marion High School?

BP: Between nineteen forty-three and nineteen forty-seven.

KW: Uh, please describe your family life.

BP: Uh, I had two sisters; there was just the three girls, my daddy and mother, and after my old- younger sister, uh, started school, mother went to work and we girls were at home. We had a happy life. Was kinda getting close to the war times and we kinda lived in close. We didn’t get out and do too many things on the outside.

KW: Um, what were your extracurricular activities and tell me a little bit about them?

BP: Ok, I went, you mean at home here or at school. I went to the ballgames, basketball and football. I attended dances and I was a, a Y Teen girl, and I liked my, my uh, art. I liked to do artwork.

KW: Um, (pause) describe your social activities.

BP: Well we, we went to church. We had church, that’s, that was the one thing that we, we did. On Sunday morning, we had a man that picked us all up and took us to church, First Christian. Um, and like I say, the ballgames and with the war, we didn’t have a whole lot of that we got out to do too much at because we had to be careful and I was not from a rich family so I had to be careful of the spending. I also done so work part of the time so that I wouldn’t, uh, that I would have money to do those things that I wanted to do.

KW: Um, Who was your best friend and what type of hang out th-things did you do?

BP: Uh, My best friends was Olida Moore, and she just lived a block down the street from me. I had, uh, Lois Parks, who lived in the same block that I did. She’s now Lois Runyon, and, uh, Wanda Pearson, she’s now Wanda Jacobson. Um, we just kinda hung out together. We, we had drug stores downtown in Marion that we went in and out of. There was a Hook’s Drug Store and a Frill Mason’s and neither one of them are her in town now. One was on the south side of the square and the other on the north side of the square. That was about, and we walked. We didn’t have cars to ride in. We walked, you kids are lucky. (Laughter)

KW: (Laughter) What was your favorite class and your favorite teacher?

BP: I- I really can’t say I had a favorite teacher ‘cause (laugh) teachers was too far-fetched for me. (laughter) I couldn’t understand them somewhat. But I liked my art. Now I- I, we had, we had in our classes. They weren’t all just drab. We had, we had a good time. But I liked my art, I could hardly wait ‘till I could get there. So that, that was about the extreme of- Miss Cleveland was my art teacher and I guess I had more to do with her than any of them. Miss Cleveland was old at time I was there, so (laughter) she- we got along. But, the class was fun too.

KW: Um, what was the most significant event during your high school career?

BP: Oh! The painting that I have that I done. It went to Indianapolis and it got judged and it got to go from Indianapolis up east to a John Harem Art School in New York. That was quite a- an honor and my mother gave me the reward of taking the bus from Marion to Indianapolis to see my picture and I got to (laughter) climb up the, the steps there in that big old building and look out the window. And my cousin took me there for this and we run all the way up them steps and all the way down. What a run (laughter)! It was a big, long run.

KW: Um, what was your greatest difficulty during high school?

BP: (laughter) It was all difficult. I was not a very good student and I didn’t apply myself as I should. Had I’ve known what it might mean to me later on, I would have done differently. That’s all in the past, (pause) so I’m done with it now (laughter). Well I- I’ve survived it. I have my own, my own home. Uh, it’s been nice. It did and I’m not suffering any from it. To be eighty-three years old, I’ve done pretty good.

KW: Um, what was high, what was high school like when you were at Marion?

BP: The high school was the old high school where now, um, Norman Manner, or not Norman Manner, (pause) Hill- Hilltop Towers and, um, it got taken down by tornado and it’s been rebuilt. We had, (pause) we didn’t have the classes anyways near that you have today. It was a, a two store with a basement and the basement, the gym and some of the shop classes and home economic classes were in the basement. And the middle floor was like history and math and so on and then on up on the art floor was that more type things like the art and things of that nature. It was a brick building and we didn’t have air-conditioning. We just had to use the heat that was there or shove the windows up. They also had what they called a study hall, more than one, and they were double seats and if you got in there to study, if you could get a party- a partner, why you were, you could work together, but you had to be quiet. That was- it was just a, just a big, old, uh, the steps were s- ah, marble like and they were quite a few of them. And we had the three, three different levels. (pause) We had good times. (pause) Walked home in the rain, and the snow from the ball games, all that kinda thing. That’s, that’s kinda the way it was. Nothing really, it was just a big, old brick building; had a lot of steps going up the front to it. And in the front of it, it had a wall, a fairly high wall. And when we’d go out for lunch, a lot of them would sit on the wall after lunch and watch the passersby and whistle and holler and talk, boys mainly. That’s about the way it was.

KW: Um, did you work during high school and if so, what was your job?

BP: I did work at the high school, when I was going. Um, I worked at the hospital as a nurse aid. And I had thought at one time I might be a nurse, but (pause) I decided I didn’t want to do that after all. ‘Course it was right close to the school, the school was right close to the hospital, so I could just dart over there- I- I only worked when, about a half days my last year in school, ‘cause I was mid-term. So, uh, I just run over there and work till six or seven o’clock in the evening after school, then I could get home. I didn’t live just across the river from the high school up on, up, clear up the end of Grant Street, quick was quite a little walk, but it was worth it. I enjoyed my every minute of my working at the hospital. Met very many nice people up there. Patients were good and we liked them.

KW: Okay, well thank you!

BP: Mmmhmmm, you’re welcome.