Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"I Don't Want to be Sued."

I'm transcribing Sunday's interview with my grandmother. I asked her about her experience on the base -- I wanted to flesh out what I already knew about her getting to know Sammy Davis, Jr., in Wyoming, as well as some more about the race relations. She said that the guys there gave Sammy a hard time: "not physical, but mentally. They tried to humiliate him." In order to situate her anecdotes within a firm timeline, I did some research on Sammy Davis and his time at Fort Warren. He said, "Until the Army, nobody white had ever just looked at me and hated me--and didn't even know me."

Anyway, as we finished, Nana said to me, "I hope you can use some of this -- be careful -- I don't want to be sued." I told her we wouldn't have to worry about that. But it was striking how much her descriptions align with his--not that I'd expect anything different--just that I imagine the past as fuzzy, shaped and reshaped by our memories of it.

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