Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Interview on Media with Grandma

Here is an interview I did with my Grandma about her experiences through the years with various media mediums. My professor also wanted us to post the transcript on our blogs, so here it is.

Jordan: This is the Janet Kane Christiansen Media History Oral History Project, session number one with my grandmother, Janet Kane Christiansen on April 7, 2009. It is being recorded as I interview her via telephone; I am in Provo, Utah, while she is at her home in Lehi, Utah. The interviewer is her grandson, Jordan D. Christiansen, a current public relations student at Brigham Young University.

Jordan: Grandma, when and where were you born?

Janet: That’s easy. Salina, Utah, October 26, 1938.

Jordan: Though you lived in a small town, did you have easy access to different types of media as they became available? Let's first start with the radio.

Janet: You know, we moved away when I was five to California. I was just little. First time we had a radio was when in California we had a big tall radio.

Jordan: Can you tell me more about it?

Janet: It was quite tall. Have you seen those old radios? It had big things down where the speakers came out, sort of square. Plain old radio, no fancy things like AM, FM, no record player. I don’t remember listening to it in California, but it was impressed on me when they were talking about WWII because everyone was so depressed. Oh, and we hid money on the top of the radio; it’s where we put our money.

Jordan: How did you do that?

Janet: There was a silver dog, two feet high and we stuffed the money in it. One time I told my babysitter that’s where we hid our money.

Jordan: Why did you stick the money there?

Janet: That’s where mother and dad put the money. I guess it was better than the drawer. When I was older, we moved back to Salina when I was six and Dad went in the army. I remember rushing home from school and going to the basement to watch different shows like The Shadow Knows, Sky King, Roy Rogers and Trigger.

Jordan: Sounds fun
Janet: On Saturday we would always listen to Let’s Pretend. That’s the program where I would hear “Cream of Wheat is so good to eat and we’d eat it every day…” Let’s Pretend was a program where they’d tell Fairy Tales, then advertise. There was another ad for Skippy peanut butter. I heard it and it sounded so good I went in and got a sandwich.

Jordan: Effective advertising! So there were just programs?

Janet: Yes. We didn’t listen to music, we’d just listen to programs.

Jordan: Okay, let’s switch gears a little now and talk about TV.

Janet: Let’s see, when I was in the eighth grade we moved to Gunnison. I was 13 maybe. My dad owned a car dealership and I just remember that we were the first ones to get television in Gunnison. Before that, we’d go to Dad’s brothers. We all thought it was wonderful. It was an old thing with rabbit ears, the snowy stuff. I looked through it and could see Ed Sullivan and just thought it was so wonderful.

Jordan: So how and why did your Dad get your first TV?

Janet: We sold them as part of the car dealership so we got one of the first ones.

Jordan: What else did you watch, do you remember watching?

Janet: I don’t remember sitting and watching a lot; it’s not like being glued to the TV. We’d watch the Ed Sullivan Show with singing and different acts. Movies were never on. It was all black and white; when your dad was a little kid television was still in black and white. Only later did they get to be all color. But television wasn’t a big part of my life.

Jordan: So you stuck to the radio for music?

Janet: We did have a radio with a record player. Oh yeah, we had records because when I was in high school we’d do these 45s. We listened to a lot of records.

Jordan: Do you remember the first time your car had a radio or tape player?

Janet: I don’t. I didn’t even know whether cars had radios in them. When I got to high school, it wasn’t a big thing to turn up your radio and go down the street like young people do today.

Jordan: Hmmm….okay, let me see if I had some more questions. Well, let’s take a big step forward and ask about the Internet. When was the first time you remember using it?

Janet: Oh my gosh, school, I taught school. I am trying to think…I kept records and things but I don’t think they let us get on the Internet. We did e-mail, but the school didn’t let us get on the Internet. It’s taken a long time to get Internet. When you were sleeping upstairs in Grandpa’s room we had it really slow. I’m sure we had it at least by then because Grandpa looked up church talks and things. I don’t know the computer like you guys do. I can look up things and do church work.

Jordan: There have been a lot of changes over the years. You’ve seen a lot from the time of the radio to the Internet. What are some of your feelings on that?

Janet: It’s really something; it’s changed a lot. Your dad can remember when we didn’t have computers. We got your dad and Mike three or four hundred dollar calculators once, and that was a big deal. We had typewriters at home.

Jordan: Has the change been more gradual or really amazing every time?

Janet: It’s been gradual because you learn things a bit at a time. I thought it was wonderful when we could get rid of typewriters. You couldn’t make mistakes, you had to have these white erasers to make corrections. We evern had to make carbon copies because we didn’t have copy machines. I don’t know, I guess I’m pretty old, things have changed a lot.

Jordan: Let’s see, I think I had one more question. Oh, do you remember hearing about or watching any big events?

Janet: Well, we had a young marrieds party and we watched the men land on the moon. That was a big event. Of course, everybody saw 9/11. When JFK died, we saw all that. I remember exactly where I was when he died. I had two boys and was feeding them lunch. Your dad had just put a pea up his nose and I was trying to help and they announced that. Still remember I was making dinner, hot dogs, and they announced that.

Jordan: So you heard about it through the TV?

Janet: I must’ve because we had this little TV on a stand. It was black and white until after your dad was older.

Jordan: What has been your favorite parts about the media?

Janet: The television. It keeps me company. I enjoy movies and things on the television. The internet is fine and I do genealogy, but the TV keeps me company. I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Jordan: Do you listen to the radio much anymore?

Janet: No, but I do some. Sunday morning I listen to Manti’s station. A little bit but not a lot. Of course, when I get in the car I turn it on because they have some old-fashioned song channels and things.

Jordan: Well, Grandma, I think that’s it. This has been great; we’ll have to talk again more.

Janet: Well, I don’t think I said much, but hopefully you can write up a nice report.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tabernacle Choir Tidbit

My boss is a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and told me a sweet story today. The secretary for the choir was contacted by a Relief Society president with a song request. A man in her ward was just diagnosed with stage four terminal cancer and was slated to die in just a few short weeks. Since his trial, this man has found the most comfort in the song, Consider the Lilies, and this sister was wondering if there was a chance the Choir could sing it.

Only problem is that the song list is submitted months in advance to be reviewed by the First Presidency and so the Choir can begin practicing. The secretary checked the list and didn't see Consider the Lilies and told the woman the news. However, a little bit later she reviewed an updated list and that song was listed. Apparently after director Mack Wilberg had submitted his original list, he felt impressed to substitute another song with Consider the Lilies, something he had never done before. The sister was called again and the small miracle was told.

Isn't it interesting how God works in small ways? I sometimes wish very much that I could understand how, with "worlds....innumberable unto man" God can say that "all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them" (Moses 3:35). Yet I bear my testimony that despite not being able to understand, I have felt and experienced so many of His very personal answers to me that I know He does care. As small and as sinful as I am, He still loves me and wants to help me, and that gives me the power to go on.

My boss showed me the other music the choir will be singing, including one of my favorites, O My Father. Don't forget to enjoy the wonderful music as we listen to some wonderful talks this weekend!