1. Week Fourteen

    Today was officially my last day at Pritzker and I must say, I’m kind of sad to be done. I ended up learning way more than I thought I would, especially about what it means to practice history outside of the classroom. 

    I didn’t get to finish the project I was working on. So I’ll be left hanging until someone else can finish it and post it to the Pritzker website. I left still pretty early in the interview so Celli was still trying to relay the timeline of his time serving to the interviewer and explaining what sort of training he received. For training, he was stationed in Hawaii (which considering our extra long winter this year, doesn’t sound like a horrible place to be!) and they mostly did jungle training. 

    One of his first jobs after being drafted was a food runner. He would pick up the rations and then distribute them to all the different companies. He said it was a “gravy job” and that it beat a lot of the other jobs people had. 

    He was just about to talk about how (if you can at all) mentally prepare yourself for war before I had to leave. I’ll be interested to hear his answer once the transcription is finished. 

     

  2. Week Thirteen

    As my internship is winding down (it kind of snuck up on me) I really want to finish working on the Celli transcription. I don’t want to leave my internship without hearing the rest of his story! 

    At this point in the interview he is describing what it was like to be drafted, some of the training he had, the friends he made in his unit. He talked about how he didn’t mind being drafted and that he was “gung-ho” about going. At first I was a little surprised, but I was thinking about what it would be like to be drafted in terms of today, not in the context of WWII, so once I switched mindsets I definitely got where he was coming from. 

    He told a quick story about his mother, which I thought was kind of endearing. He had sent her a photograph of one of the patches he wore, which worried her that he got involved in some kind of military “cult” group. He ended up getting some time off and went home to comfort her. She was so worried about him, as I can imagine all mothers—regardless of what decade it is or what war is being fought—of people in the military are. 

     

  3. Week Twelve

    Making progress on the Celli interview. It’s been a little hard because he went straight into talking about the training he went to after being drafted and didn’t really give any background information. Definitely different than the other project I worked on. But hopefully I’ll be able to piece things together with information that’s already in that brain of mine. His voice is also a bit quiet and hard to hear on the recording which is also making it difficult, but I still think I’ll be able to get a lot out of his interview once I’m finished with it!

     

  4. Week Eleven

    I started a new project this week and I am extra excited about it! I think I may have mentioned it once or twice on this blog, but I a total WWII nerd. I’m talking reading WWII books for fun. I can’t get enough. The new transcription I’m working on is an interview of Louis Celli, a WWII vet born and raised in Chicago. This interview is right up my alley, which I think is why I’m more excited about this one. He’s not as outgoing as Wayne from the last interview was, but I’m still at the very beginning, so I think once the interview goes on, he’ll warm up a little more.

    Since I’m such a WWII buff, I have a pretty solid background knowledge of the it, but I’m excited to be able to here stories from someone who experienced the exact situations I’ve read since I was old enough to have a library card. 

     

  5. Week Ten

    I’ve officially finished my project! Kind of glad to be done with it but I learned so much from it! This internship has definitely taught me how important it is hearing other people’s stories. Even though there is room for bias or error (as we talked about in my Historical Methods class last semester) listening to people’s personal stories adds something to history. It makes it a little more relatable, rather than just reading about it in a textbook. I’m excited to get started on the next transcription and to see what I learn from it!

     

  6. Week Nine

    I know I’ve been saying this for the past couple of weeks but this time I really mean it…I’m almost done transcribing the Fischer interview! It’s definitely winding down, so he’s basically done talking about his military career and is talking more about what he did after he returned home. He wanted to be a commercial airline pilot but the airline industry went south and he wasn’t able to get hired. He went in to sales and eventually worked his way up to a management position. Even though his post-war career had nothing to do with the military, he was still able to apply things he learned in the military to his work and he thinks those lessons made him more successful at his job. 

     

  7. Week Eight

    Getting towards the end of the interview. Fischer is talking about his return home from Vietnam. He said it was nice to be home, but he didn’t really have much to talk about with his wife, parents and brother. He didn’t really want to talk about combat (understandable), so they mostly talked about small, everyday things.He said, “I think we talked about the weather.” He also said that they looked at him like he was a different person, like he’d changed. Which isn’t surprising but I’m not sure I would have like being looked at like I was on display (which is what I’m imagining happened to Fischer and other veterans too.)

     

  8. Week Seven

    This week most of what Wayne talked about was PTSD and how important dealing with it is. He said he was fine but sometimes he would have a dream or a thought and it would take him back to his time in Vietnam. He considers himself lucky that what he experienced was pretty minor compared to other veterans. 

    He said a lot of men in Vietnam had trouble sleeping because they would relive what had happened before or would try to guess what the next day would bring…something that was and is impossible to do in times of war. He said the only way to really deal with it was to try not to think about it. He kept saying that it “truly is mind over matter.” A good mindset in my opinion. 

     

  9. Week Six

    In this part of the interview, Fischer didn’t talk so much about himself, but about returning back home from war. He sort of talked about it in terms of Vietnam, but mostly about people returning today. 

    The one thing that stuck out from the interview this week was a story he told about seeing the Vietnam wall in DC with the names of all the casualties of the Vietnam War. He got very emotional—and hearing his emotion even got be a little choked up. He said it was hard for him because some of the names were people he knew. I can’t imagine what it would have felt like to see that wall and all the names for the first time. 

     

  10. Week Five

    Made it to the halfway point of the Fischer interview. The most interesting part about this chunk of the interview is him talking about returning home from Vietnam. He said Vietnam veterans had become somewhat of a joke and were not treated very well on their return trip home. He also talked about the times he was on leave. He and his wife went to Hawaii both times—-and he RAVED about a singer named Don Ho. He got very distracted when talking about him, but I probably would too if I got to meet my favorite singer!

    Looking forward to getting through the rest of the interview. This interview is very interesting but I’m definitely ready to move on to another interview.