Theresa Quatrano is a friend of my seventy‑five year old mother. She refused to give her exact date of birth, but I assume from the year of her marriage and the age of her children that she is approximately sixty to sixty‑five years old. She looks to be in her middle fifties, and she is in remarkably good health.
She has one sibling, a sister, and two children, one boy and one girl. She has been divorced for many years (she refused to give an exact date of her marriage or divorce) and she has never remarried. She is very active, always on the go. Theresa is currently living with a gentleman named Dave. They reside in his home in Falmouth. Theresa never mentioned Dave in her life
I asked her about this recently and she said she doesn’t know why she never mentioned him.
Theresa has travelled extensively. We both have been to Ireland and have shared our experiences on many occasions. Her discussion about Beijing was most interesting in light of recent events there.
THE LIFE STORY
June 3, I am at my mother’s house and I’m doing a life history on Theresa Quattrano.
I want you to follow whatever schedule you feel comfortable with. This particular tape will probably be kept at the University in the Center for the Study of Lives at USM. I have a release form here that I will have you sign at the end. Essentially, I would like you to talk to me about your life, and you can start wherever you feel comfortable.
Being born one of two girls of an Italian father and an Irish mother, I was brought up in Catholic schools and born in the neighborhood where Italians and Jews got along very well. They were both a nationality that liked to be in business, and we were surrounded by all those businesses. Very close to the synagogue, we were able to watch many of the ceremonies that the Jewish religion and that the old‑timers partook in, more than the younger Jews do today.
Where was this neighborhood? Were you raised in Portland? Yes, and the Jewish part of it was Newbury Street, Where David D. Davidson started the first Day’s Jewelry Store. And backing the synagogue was St. Peter’ Church, a church which exists today, and so we had both cultures. There were a few Irish people there, but they were outnumbered by the Jews and Italians. I think they would have been accepted, but they just didn’t….
It was a good neighborhood to be born and brought up in. The people were very, very industrious and work was their middle name. This of course is how we acquired our work ethic, by being brought up that way.
Went to Catholic schools and was taught by Sisters of Mercy. Worked at my dad’s store, as he was one of the businessmen on Newbury Street, and work at Mercy Hospital, so during my high school years I was working on two levels, the hospital being medical, and my dad’s, which was the business end..
Which school did you go to, Cathedral?
Went to Cathedral High School. 12 years of the Sisters of Mercy, all the way through. I was in three operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan while I was in high school. Graduated First Honor from Cathedral Grammar School and salutatorian from Cathedral High School. At the time I graduated there was a war going on and at the foot of the street (Franklin Arterial) was a wharf where they bedded down the German and Italian POW’s that were brought here from the old country. We, my sister and I, were looked down on because the Italian prisoners were at the foot of the street and of course we were reminded very, very many times that we were of Italian descent. So, it was very difficult. The girls in Cathedral High School (and it was a girl’s school) were very cruel about and verbally abusive of us because we were of Italian descent.
What happened to the good relationship that existed in the neighborhood between the Italians and the Jews at that time? Obviously, with the treatment of the Jews during WWII, with the treatment of the Italians, did the Jews as well withdraw from you?
No, there was something about the camaraderie of the business people that remained despite the war. They were able to carry on their business. I can so clearly remember Mr. Levinsky and my dad sitting on what was Mr. Levinsky’s home at that time, at his little tiny dungarees store…
This was old man Levinsky and not the Levinsky we know, who is actually his son.
Yes. Well, of course now it’s his grandsons who run the business and it’s the grandsons who are really pushing it. They’re the ones who have expanded it, but the son is in Lifeline he’s about your age?
Yes, but the grandsons are college graduates who have different thinking than their father and definitely their grandfather.
We were very successful in business as Dad was in the priesthood, and when the First World War broke out his mother send him over to the United States, and my mother had graduated from an English grammar school in England, having also graduated from high school in Ireland with honors, and was supposed to go back to Ireland and teach English, but Ireland was afraid of the results of the war, so my mother was send to the United States. (And my mother met my father and that was the beginning ‑ I think I started on myself instead of starting there, but that’s the beginning anyway.)
Your father was studying to be a priest?
That was quite a switch. He came to this country and he got married.
Yes. I remember growing up in that neighborhood, my dad was an engineer on the ships that would come into the harbor to deliver materials, and of course our harbor was definitely very well protected. Coming through was very difficult and you had to have all kinds of identification; my dad qualified very well for that, even though he was a foreigner. By then he had become a citizen.
But they had mined the harbor…
Yes, Portland Harbor was mined. Yes, definitely. Some of the forts and every thing were there for…
I thought they were just for decoration. I mean, did they actually use them?
Yes, there were guns and everything there.
Did they ever shoot at anybody?
Yes. Two V‑boats ‑ they were German. One of them is down between two of the islands. They sunk it there.
Anyway. having graduated from Cathedral High School. I went to work in office and 1 continued working at Mercy Hospital part‑time. And of lawyer course my mother and dad stayed in the business, so you relieved them for suppers or if they wanted to go to a wedding or something.
Then I met Anthony Quattrano. He eventually went into the service, and..
Was he from the same neighborhood?
Yes, he was from a little lower down, nearer the water. Newbury Street is, Commercial, Middle and Newbury. They were on the upper part of Middle, possibly on what is known as “The Hill.” There were two sides of the hill.
The southern part of the hill.
You got it! So, anyway, I married and….
What year was that?
I think it was 1947. I don’t remember all that ‑ that’s another life. My husband worked for ( Chicago Bridge and Iron???? ), repairing digester, which are boilers for pulp and water for the paper factories, and of course I traveled up and down the coast, setting up bank statements for the company and for the fellows that worked with us and doing all the bookkeeping and taking care of all the materials and ordering and reordering. And the two children traveled and they got an education beyond all education because it was really great to travel and go to school here, there and the other place, for different grades, meeting different children, having different types of education, and I think they sincerely benefited by it.
Both my son and daughter graduated from Portland High and somewhere along the line we decided that we didn’t want to stay on the railroad any longer, working for (??????? Bridge and Iron???????), so I established a set of bowling alleys. 20‑lane candlepin bowling alley known as Westport Lanes on Main Street in Westbrook, and it got its name from Portland/Westbrook, being Westport. I drew the diagrams, did all the interior decorating. Had to go to the University of Maine to learn all about wind weight, snow weight, and all this in order to have a column‑less building, which they said would never exist. Talked everybody in the Westbrook government into allowing it to be built, and it is now in existence, and it must be standing there now 30 years.
This column‑less building that would never stand.
Yes, still there 30 years later still to be seen.. Westport was the only building from the corner of Warren Avenue to the Westbrook line, and I had pegged it at one time to be the Golden Mile, and of course it did become that because right after Westport came Bradlee’s and then an automobile business (Rowe, now ) and of course since then there’s been a senior citizens development and it’s way past a million dollars now.
What year did you put up Westport?
1964. So, anyway, we stayed in the business maybe about 10 years, establishing bowling leagues, attending bowling league parties, polishing lanes, cleaning up rubbish after people and doing the bookkeeping. It was a happy time because my kids grew up there. My daughter got very, very good at pool, and my son got very, very good at bowling. Sort of strange extremes, but that’s the way it ended up. It was sold, and somehow, selling that ended a marriage. The kids got a little bit too hard to handle as they got older and my husband couldn’t cope with them. Not that I could, but I think I did a better job of coding with them than he did.
After the divorce I started a beauty shop, and I was only allowed to do a certain amount of the work in it because I didn’t have a beauty license. All I had was an operator’s license. The building that the shop was in was then sold for the very first car‑washing store and it was in Marl’s Corner and that’s the first one that was started, even though it’s long gone or forgotten and recently there’s been a new one put in it’s place. But that’s how that business got closed.
What about N.C. Fox (chatter ‑chatter about N.C. Fox) Well, at least I know where you are now.
Yes, what’s known as Marl’s Corner. There’s a McDonald’s there and Cap’s and there was a lumber company there, so that’s the general area that it was in.
I liked listening to people complain and talk about what their problems were and how you couldn’t really figure out who had the worse problem of all the people you knew, so it was kind of nice to know that even though I thought I had problems, mine were nil compared to everybody else. After that was sold I started a grocery store in Thornton Heights, and then Thornton Heights got into a growth thing and out of my reach and I sold that. Now that area has developed greatly. It always was a beautiful area and it still is, and the people there were gentle and maybe a little on the richer side than the average Thornton Heights people
I started a senior citizens’ co‑op and that was very invigorating because getting the people’s confidence, that a business was going to be set up that was theirs, they were going to manufacture the article, they were going to set the price, and then return as little as 20~o to cover expenses. That’s rent, insurance, repairs, cabinets. And the other group of people were going to be the people who sold the merchandise that they made.
Now where did you open that up?
Rines That started on Casco Street, in Portland, behind ~fi~¢~ Brothers.
And what year was that?
That had to be in the seventies. (Because Rines wasn’t there in the eighties.) The bookkeeping was done by senior citizens. There were three girls who had retired from the unemployment office. One had been in Social Security when it first started and one was from the Internal Revenue office, so I had all angles covered. Nobody could make a mistake. (P.S., they did!) Human error is there regardless what you might think or how you might plan otherwise.
So anyway, the store on Casco Street got too small for us and the city had a space that was nothing, just a walk‑in at the parking lot on Free Street. I was standing there one day, waiting for a senior citizen to bring in some boxes/that he had made, And I was going to take it over to Casco Street rather than have them walk from the parking lot to Casco Street, and I looked at the space and I said, “Wowee, that would be a great place”because we would catch people coming in from their automobiles, going over to the stores, and we had nothing but handmade products and they were bound to be better than, well, not better than but of more interest than what was being sold in the stores.
So anyway, it meant going to City Hall, convincing everybody there that really, they should rent that piece of space to the senior citizens, and somehow or other, after much, much talking I convinced them that this was the thing to do. I had to go before the city council and show them that we had no one but senior citizens in our group and that there was a need for this, and I sincerely believed so because a lot of people had come in and said they had nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do, and they were so glad to have some place, if not to sell, just to display what they were able to do, and that meant a lot to them, and of course gave me another reason…..
Yes, they just wanted, it was as clear as that, people wanting something to do and would enjoy people seeing it. That was joy fora lot of them and they were really happy. I never knew how bad it was to live on Social Security until one woman came in one day and said to me, “You know, I do get bread, meat, milk and butter out of my Social Security and I pay my rent, but what I get out of here gets me ice cream and I love ice cream.” So all of a sudden it was worth all the stress of working with the City of Portland. That gave me a lot of satisfaction. I got many police tickets from parking in front of the place, trying to unload the merchandise that I picked up at somebody’s home who couldn’t bring it in, because there were a lot of them who were confined to the home and so I would go pick it up.
Did you ever pay the tickets?
Oh, I argued with a couple of them and ended up paying a couple, so I think we came out about even. It worked out to be okay, so I don’t think anybody lost anything out of the shop. Not only did it do a lot for the senior citizens’ ego, but it also did a lot for my ego because I had gone to the University of Maine for three years and taken therapeutic recreation and how to handle those senior citizens is what I got out of the University.
Now when was that?
Somewhere in the sixties.
So it was before you opened the Co‑op.
Yes, definitely, because after three years I did not get a degree at the University. I went out in the field, working at senior citizens’ meal sites, exercising senior citizens, and I found that to be a very difficult job. Once they ate, all they wanted to do was sleep. but if I could get half of them up on their two feet, and I worked for the city doing that, and there were three sites where I did that, the church on State Street, one on Munjoy Hill, and the church on Stevens Avenue, that gave us space to exercise these senior citizens, so that was another good thing that I’m proud of.
And, when my mother and father died they left my sister and I four houses on Hampshire Street, that neighborhood that is near Newbury Street where I was brought up, and all through the years my sister and I have rented and done all the repairs. And we still do all the repairs. and rent the real estate.
You still have all four houses.
We still have all four houses, and that’s where I was this morning before coming here. I was a little late, but everything didn’t go the way I wanted it, so I didn’t lose a lot of time. So, as far as completing anything, every time I complete an apartment it feels as though I’ve completed a whole house because you have front stairs and back stairs and somehow or other you get involved in the whole thing., and it seems as though something I just completed two years ago I’m not satisfied with and I re‑do it the next time I re‑do that particular apartment.
Let’s see, what have I missed?
I don’t know, it’s your life. You’ve told me more about you in the past half‑hour or forty minutes than I knew in all these years. I never know you were part Irish, (etc….)
Oh, my mother was very influential in my life.
Which parent died first?
My father died first. No, my mother died first. My father had been in nursing home for 2~ years and my mother was home alone, running the real estate, collecting the rents. As a matter of fact, the night before she died she had set up the light bill, the tax bill, the water bills for all these houses, and with the money all piled on top of it, all ready to go the next morning to pay those bills. My sister or I would drive her. She was 87 years old and had lived a real hard life.
Did she live in one of those houses?
Yes. She lived at 40, and I was born on the third floor of 40 Hampshire Street,
Now, did they own that when you were born?
Yes. They only rented for about ten years and I was born ten years after their marriage.
Is your sister older or younger?
My sister’s five years younger than I am. And, when my mother died my father said to me, shortly after her death “It seemed very funny that your mother and I were just talking about going over to Ireland first, then to Italy, then down to Florida to see if we wanted to live in Florida. Then we were going to come home and tell you about it. And I think the devil took your mother away from me because he didn’t want me to leave Portland, Maine.” And I said, “Dad, if you want to go to Italy that bad, I’ll go with you over there.” So I went and bought the tickets and got his passport and did all of this, because he would have to have a wheelchair….
Is that why he was in the nursing home? Because he needed… He was alert, he just couldn’t physically care for himself.
Right. And my mother was getting too much older and he didn’t want my sister and I to do anything, he had such an ego… P,S., that’s very much my ego… but he didn’t want us girls taking care of him. He had a great deal of devotion to the blessed mother and had a great deal of respect for women, and he wouldn’t even consider my sister and I touching him. That wasn’t our responsibility.. And so he had to go the nursing home. So, I had the tickets all bought and we were within six weeks of leaving and Mom died the week of Thanksgiving and he died the second week in January.. The reservations were all made and the tickets were available, and he died and was buried, and one day I got a call, I think it was Delta, was I ready to leave, did I need any nurses and all that was what they were questioning me about, and I said, “Oh my goodness, my dad died, so we won’t be going.” So, she said, “Okay, I’l; send you your money.
So the check came and it was such a small amount compared to how much I had paid that I called them and asked them, you know, why didn’t I get all the money I had paid them. And they said, “Well, you’re living. It’s your responsibility to use that ticket.” So I did. I took my dad’s passport. I went to Italy with a cousin, took my dad’s passport and we buried it in the tomb, a gorgeous tomb that the ( ) have in Italy, and we walked by Mussolini’s stone where he’s buried, and everybody that walks by spits on the ground. And then they take you over.”Here is his girlfriend. His wife is with him.” They want you to know that he was buried Yes. So anyhow, I did that and I went to Ireland and that also has its own story. When I was talking about going to Ireland I tried to convince my mother to go, and my mother said no, so I listened to her say now five or six times, and I said, “Mom, why?”, and she said, “I ran away from a famine. Why would I go back, want to go back to those cold, cold memories?” Well, when I got there I found out why. I saw the fence that they built which was hard, hard work, and it was girls and boys together. Girls were not..
Yes, they were really something to see.
People who listen to this tape will never understand if they haven’t been there.
Well, you have to see it to appreciate that in order to plant a row of potatoes, you had to make a row of stones cause you had to get them out of the way. All those stones aren’t there for decoration. You had to move them so you could plant potatoes.
Right. You built your own wall around the premises. So anyway, after being there and having to use hot bricks to keep my feet warm….
It’s still the same. It’s cold and it’s damp.
You know, I didn’t quite understand when my mother would talk to my aunts half in English and half in Gaelic what they were truly saying. What they were saying about going to the pub, it seemed to me that everybody lived in the pub. Well, it’s true. The pub was the warmest place in town. You didn’t stay home, you were cold. So you’d quick bring the bricks down and put them on the stove to heat for tomorrow night or tonight and off to the pub.
One of the thin~s that I did notice…..
They still go to the pub and they don’t heat the bricks anymore.
What I did like, though, was to see everybody carrying groceries home on bicycle, with the basket in the front. That was something to see.
Even the old women ride the bicycles.
I know, isn’t it wonderful? I swear that’s how they keep their joints moving because they have to do something.
It’s cold and it’s wet. I don’t think it actually gets any colder
in the winter than it does here. It doesn’t get anywhere near as cold as it does here because they don’t get snow. But it’s the dampness. Nothing dries.
About snow, I was in a bed and breakfast and I was standing, looking out the window, and I said, “If I ever get hold of Bing Crosby I’m going to scream at him,” because there it was snowing on Galway Bay. Of course, it had to do it while I was there, just to prove a point.
I was there for three years and I never saw it snow.
Of course, everybody teased me the next morning because it was snowing and I was there and I brought the snow with me, so that was the impression.
So anyway, from there I decided that I had put my mother and father in a casket and said, there’s a great big huge world out there, why don’t I try to see as much as I can of it. So that has been my goal. Other than the Holy Land and Russia I’ve seen all I want to see of the world, but I’d really like to see, well, there are three places ‑ Alaska, Russia and the Holy Land. Having been to Rome, you feel as though you’re missing something by not going to the Holy Land. If intentions become reality I would like to go to the Holy Land, but today I was listening to what’s going on in Beijing, and it is so great that it’s happening, because when I was there everybody was happy, but I don’t think they realized what true happiness is. The old are fully respected and lead real good lives. Exercise is something they do every single day. Intentionally they go to exercises. They do it in groups. And I think it will be good to go to China some day and not have that green hat with the red insignia on it follow you around as though you were up to something. And I think one of the things that I will always remember is landing in China and having to pass over my passport
and visa and not being able to have someone know what happened to you if something did happen, because they’ve got the only two things that are important to you. So you traveled around always looking over your shoulder and watching for that man in the green uniform because you didn’t know what you were doing wrong, even though you knew down deep you weren’t doing anything wrong.
One of the things that was very impressive, and became even more impressive today as I was listening to the news, they mentioned how many people were in the hospital, and God forbid that they should be in those hospitals because they are not as not as sanitary as we expect our homes to be, not to mention our hospitals. Although there are some beautiful hospitals in Beijing, there are ten that are merely houses that have been taken over by the government, and what was a house or a mansion in those days has just become a wooden floor, plastered walls, with metal tables that look like they hadn’t been washed in ten years. Uniforms are taken off, put on a hanger, and put back on by the next guy, whoever goes on duty. I sometimes wondered if they ever washed the acupuncture needles.
What year was this you went, ’84?
No, it was nearer 1980. When I was there women were beginning to cut their hair and curl it with what we have given up ‑ curling irons? ‑ that was what they were using to curl their hair with. They were no longer all in robes; there were some in skirts and slacks, such as we, but not the older people. They were still in the blue uniforms that everybody wore, exactly alike. But they were always pleasant when they saw you, and they were always wondering what you had around your neck, and to us it was just a camera of one sort or another, but they were just learning what a camera was. And no makeup,
only the younger generation had makeup, and this was in Beijing, in all those parts that we were allowed to visit going north. As we worked down to Singapore you could see where things were beginning to change, because although there was not a lot of makeup or a lot of hairdo’s, they were beginning. Although there were not a lot of pocketbooks ‑ in Beijing you used a brown bag to take out what you wanted, be it your wallet or a comb or whatever ‑ as you got into Shanghai you began to see pocketbooks, and instead of all bikes, you were beginning to see tricycles and other forms of transportation, even some military cars and military trucks, which you did not see in Beijing.
There was a lot of beauty in China ‑ there is ‑ the fact that there are no trees, and all there is brown ground, and what they try to do to hide it, they try to put something on the ground. They’re beginning to have little sprigs of grass, but they’re not growing so good because it’s really sand that you walk on. Of course, then you proceeded and you went to Hong Kong, where all of a sudden all you saw was size 2 girls and beautiful French fashions and the men were not much bigger than that. Both the men and the women in Hong Kong ‑ I’m talking about the Chinese people ‑ were very, very small and wore very small clothes. I wear a 12, and you know, when you got up to 12 you didn’t have a selection. Anywhere from 2 to 10 you’re fine, but anything over that you didn’t have much of a selection because there was no need for it. And everybody has their clothes hand‑made, anybody who is anybody, because Hong Kong doesn’t have too much farming or anything like that. Everything is all business. The buildings are gorgeous, the banks are gorgeous, the people are gorgeous.
So, it’s a lot more modern.
Yes, maybe like Paris. There’s some comparison with Paris as far as style.
And then you could go to Beijing and find it almost backward?
Yes, almost believe that that’s how God made the world.
So, in one country the cultures are extreme.
In Beijing when we landed there on the airplane, our guard barked when all of the women headed for what was the ladies room. And women who didn’t speak to you on the plane, and who probably wouldn’t have had anything to do with you if it wasn’t for this one incident, were asking you to hold their pocketbook while they tried to get their pants down and aim into a hole in the ground. No flush, no cage in which to stand so you could urinate, you just urinated in public. And somebody had to hold your clothes while you went, and you held their clothes while they went, and of course when we came out we were all very surprised and disgusted and probably a little bit ashamed, and the guard who was there with us, who was actually an American, thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen, and he said that he gets the same result from every troop of women that comes in there, they’re all devastated. They all have to ~o to the bathroom so badly, you’ve been on a plane for so long.
Well, if you’d known what was going to happen you’d have gone on the plane.
Yes, but you couldn’t.
They didn’t have bathrooms on the plane?
They had a closet and you had to have something that you brought with you to
to urinate in. You were told, you were told to bring toilet paper, cause there’s no such thing as toilet paper in China. There was no such thing as toilet paper in those days; I’m sure that has changed now because of the big hotels in Beijing. They had a McDonald’s, and….
If they didn’t have a McDonald’s, I wouldn’t have gone there.
They were starting a Disneyland, believe it or not, not too far away from one of the palaces.
When we got to Hong Kong I was very, very happy because I saw the United States battleship, and I know now if anything happened, there was somebody there from America who, even if it was just a battleship, there was a certain amount of security that you felt. And it was only after one full day that they could check us out and make sure we were the same. They took pictures when they took our visa and passport. They made each one of us go in, they took ~ look at the picture and they took a look at us, and if it looked like the sam~person then you got back your passport and visa, because that evidently is still English property.
Hong Kong? It has reverted back or is about to.
I hate to see it go backwards because it’s a beautiful city.
I doubt if it will go backwards, but it’s going to revert back to China.
I just wonder if that will destroy the class that is there. I think the word is class that I want actually.
And of course, coming back to the United States was great. and it was
nice to be in San Francisco, but it was certainly greater to be in Portland, Maine.
Another thing was trip to Hawaii, which I will definitely go back to someday.
Hopefully not in the monsoon season.
Yes, but even though we were there in the rain I loved every minute of it. I wouldn’t have passed it up for nothing. To be able to be on an island that has so much going, you know, and there was no pain. You know, there is no arthritis ln Hawaii. l met two friends from Portland there, and they hadn’t had a pain from the time they left Portland for all the time they were in Hawaii. The temperature was great.
I’d like to go just to eat the pineapple and drink pina coladas.
Yes, although I think I was a little tired of pineapple after a week. You had it in everything. If you had duck, you had pineapple, if you had a drink, you had pineapple if YOU had a slice or bread….
A staple, like macadamia nuts.
That was great. I loved every minute of it. As a matter of fact, I loved Ireland to a certain degree, but there was a lot of bitterness there and all the rest of it. There still is, or there was in the 80’s when I went.
hard country to live in. Italy is a much easier country to live Yes, it in. Chlna o~ course is an impossible country for an American. I mean…
You had to speak Chinese?
No, they all speak English. They speak magnificent English, they really do. They’re taught it in their schools. They have to learn English, but they don’t have to learn Chinese. But you learn it growing up with your parents, so it’s there.
I understand it’s the same in Russia, that English is taught as the second language ‑ English or French.
And I think that’s a good idea.
Oh definitely, in this country you’re not taught a second language until you get to junior high school at least, unless you come from a family where there was a second language. Coming from Irish English combination, there was no second language so I never 1 ~ArnP~ n~
Well, I never all the slang of two others ‑ Irish, I could swear beautifully in Irish and can do a very good job still. I’ve gone away from the Gaelic though, because I don’t know anyone that speaks it as well as my aunts did and they are all dead, my mother and my aunts. When they got together and talked, that was Gaelic.
Well, it was outlawed in Ireland.
Yes. so this took care of it.
So there’s a whole generation that never learned it. But now it’s required in Irish schools that you have to learn Gaelic. So the English tried to extinguish it, but it appears that the Irish are now trying to bring it back.
Yes, of course that’s why my mother was sent to England and taught English, to come back and teach the Irish people. Way back there it was starting to try to eliminate the Gaelic.
Now, what year was that?
Who sent her to England?
The English government.
The English government sent her to England, and then she was to go back to Ireland~
She came to the United States.
Did they send her to the United States, or did she just do that.
She just did that. I think, they were in fear of what was going to happen, as England being bombed and they figured they were going to be next.
This must have been..
Right. They didn’t want their families or anything destroyed, so they sent them
to the United States.
So anyway, that’s just about the story of my life. Any of the other details would be too boring to fit in.
Well, you never know.
Other than my two grandchildren. One is graduating from high school on the 11th of June, and my grandson is graduating from grammar school the 22nd of June.
Now, does your son have children or your daughter?
My son has two and my daughter has two.
So you have four grandchildren.
Yes, the other two are little. One’s like two and the other’s four.
Now is that your son?
That’s my son. My daughter’s are the two that are old~r
And is your daughter the one that’s older.
No, my son is the older of the two.
Is he local?
He’s in the sheriff’s department in Portland. Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department in Portland. That’s it.
And your daughter’s somewhere between here and…
Las Vegas. No, she’s all the way home this particular week to be to her daughter’s graduation which is the 11th. This is the 3rd.
She’s been living in….
Las Vegas, Nevada.
I knew from talking with my mother that she was ill in the past.
Is she in remission now?
in remission now, although she k~jaUdsta tumor removed from her face.
Yes, she At age 3~ she had had 29 cancer surgeries, so she’s got another outlook on life that none of us have. Her first cancer was removed at age 16, and the next was 18. This is not anything surprising in the Quattrano family; they grown tumors like you and I grow hair on our head.
What time is it?
3:12. Do you need to go?
Yes, we have to ~o to church, don’t we?
Yes, but I thought it was 4:00 mass.
No,no, he starts at 20 minutes of four.
Well, we can stop now if you like.
Yes, because other than waiting for my daughter to come back from the graduation exercises, which I’m sure you’re not too much interested in, that’s about it.
Okay, thank you.
When I was a carefree young woman, I did not like Theresa. I found her overbearing, opinionated, nosey, and uneducated. I resented her involvement in my mother’s life. But as I have grown older our relationship has softened into a mutual respect, if not friendship.
I believe that part of our initial difficulties can be traced back to our life situations at the time. Based on Levinson’s model of adult development, I surmise that both of us were in transition. I was twenty‑eight years old and struggling with the death of my father. He had been a major force in my life. Much of my life’s direction was related to my relationship with my father. His death, compounded by the Age 30 Transition, had me searching in all directions for meaning and possible changes.
Theresa, at this same time, was in the Age 50 Transition. I believe she was also struggling with direction. I base this on her comments in the life history in which she seems to be a “jack of all trades”. The intervening years have been quiet compared to 1980. But another transition is upon us. Theresa is entering Late Adult Transition. She is working part‑time for an employer (not herself) to gain “enough quarters of paying Social Security” to receive benefits upon retirement. She wants to sell her apartment buildings (her sister won’t agree) as she is tired of managing them. Theresa and Dave have no intentions of marrying because the benefits are less when they retire.
As well as Levinson’s model, Perun and Bielby’s Timing model seems to offer some insight into the events in Theresa’s life. When Theresa’s daughter was first diagnosed with cancer, I would tend to believe that asynchrony occurred. Changes would be necessary to reduce the stress and achieve synchrony. Theresa’s divorce produced asynchrony, and she changed and shifted priorities to get remeshed.
Although I believe that Levinson’s model of adult develop ment is helpful, it does not encompass the individual factor. In thinking about Theresa and the adjustments she has made in her life, most appear uniguely hers. She reacts like no other person I have ever met. Her growth appears to be at her own rate to meet her own specific requirements.
Theresa has not answered my question about how useful the exercise was for her. She told me a lot of things about her life that I never knew. But she didn’t share any feelings about the events in her life. That, however, may have just as much to do with my interview style and skills as her reluctance to open up emotionally.