Vicki Wyatt(rghs 97) and Beverly Hall(rghs97) interview Kate Jackson of Bastian. She was a war bride from Italy. The interview was conducted at her home on April 25, 1996.
Vicki: When did you come to America?
Katrina: In 1948.
Vicki: Uh uh!
Katrina: I married ----------.
Beverly: Who did you marry?
Katrina: ----------- Jackson.
Beverly: How did you meet him?
Katrina: In the service, I was just, well, were he was stationed, I met him there, and -------------------.
Vicki: Did you come from the country or the city?
Katrina: I'm from the country.
Vicki: What did you think America would be like when you got here?
Katrina: Well, I didn't know until I came over here and there's not much difference ya know, just nonsense and same things are here that's over there.
Beverly: How old were you when you came to America?
Katrina: About 19.
Beverly: Ok, um, How did you come to America? By boat?
Beverly: Where did you first arrive in America?
Katrina: I arrived in New York City
Beverly: Did you see the statue of Liberty?
Katrina: Yes. Come back close to it when I came into here.
Beverly: So that's the first thing you saw?
Katrina: Nods (Yes)
Beverly: What was it like?
Katrina: A Big 'ol Statue?
Beverly: Did you feel anything, I mean, excited?
Katrina: I was scared when I first came over here.You know I didn't nothing about this place.
Beverly: Um, could you speak English?
Beverly: Was it hard to,um, understand Americans.
Katrina: For a while, didn't take me long though.
Beverly: Were people nice to you?
Katrina: Yeah, people were nice to me.
Vicki: When did you come to Bland County?
Katrina: I came here in 1950.
Vicki: Um, What brought you here?
Katrina: Well, My sister was living here, I lived in California, and, uh, I lived in Massachusetts, and then I come up here because my husband was going over seas, and while he was over there he wanted me to come up here where my sister lives. He went to Korean War.
Beverly: What is your sisters name?
Katrina: Maria, Maria Brunk
Vicki: Did you work?
Katrina: I didn't work then. But,I worked in 19, let's see when did I start working , yea, 1956.
Vicki: Where did you go to work at?
Katrina: Bastian, I worked at a factory, but I work at Tultex now.
Beverly: Bastian, we had it somewhere else , it's Bastian Manufacturing , yea something like that.
Katrina : Yea
Beverly: Yea, like I really know
Beverly: Ok, Um, Have you ever went back to Italy.
Beverly: Have you kept up with your relatives?
Katrina: Not good, my mom and dad is dead, I just have two sister living and one brother and I got lazy.
Beverly: Yea, I know how that goes. Do you miss it?
Katrina: Me miss it, no, I have been here for a long time
Beverly: Did you live in other places besides Bland County?
Katrina: Yeah, I lived in California, San Francisco.
Beverly: What was San Francisco like?
Katrina: It was ok. I did not like it too good.
Beverly: Did you get to ride on a trolley?
Katrina: I sure did.
Beverly: Where did you live in Massachusetts?
Katrina: No I don't. It was a long time ago.
Vicki: Looking back on you experience in America do you think it's been a land of opportunity?
Katrina: There is more jobs. People don't fight like they did over there.
Beverly: When did you live in the Bastian Hotel?
Katrina: When I come over here to get a job. I did not want to live with my sister so I thought I would get a place of my own in Bastian in 1956. I lived there for a few years. Maybe 3 or 4 years.
Beverly: Who owned it when you lived there?
Katrina: Leftwiches and the Bruces. The Bruces really.
Beverly: How good was the food?
Katrina: There was no food when I lived here.
Beverly: Susan what do you remember about the hotel?
Susan: All I remember is that it was a big building.
Vicki: Where and when were you born?
Katrina: I was born in 1929, September the 17th. In Italy.
Vicki: Who was your mother and father?
Katrina: My mother's name was Armelia and my father's name was Bienangeli.
Vicki: Where were they born and raised?
Katrina: My daddy was born in Naples and my mother was born in Yugoslavia.
Vicki: What did they do for a living?
Katrina: My daddy was a railroad man and my mommy did not work.
Vicki: What was your father like?
Katrina: Well just a wonderful man.
Vicki: What was your mother like?
Katrina: She was just a housekeeper.
Vicki: Do you remember your grandparents?
Katrina: No I can't remember them.
Beverly: Do you remember your grandparents?
Katrina: My sister, one is Maria lives in Bland. Then one brother, Kyle lives in Italy. He was a policeman. Then I had two sisters. One was Bertha and Clara. Then I have two sister's dead. They died of poisoned medicine.
Vicki: Did he mean to poison them?
Katrina: I don't know.
Beverly: What war was going on?
Katrina: Just a war in Italy.
Beverly: How old were you?
Katrina: I was eleven years old.
Beverly: Do you remember what your house was like?
Katrina: Yeah, just a big ole house with big ole walls.
Beverly: Did you have alot of rooms?
Katrina: Yes we had alot of rooms.
Beverly: Did you have a garden?
Katrina: Yes a big garden.
Beverly: What did you grow in your garden?
Katrina: Potatoes, onions, beans, garlic, cucumbers, and tomatoes. We had alot of fruit too, like pears and figs.
Beverly: What is a fig?
Katrina: It's a good fruit but you can't find it here.
Beverly: Do you remember your favorite meal in Italy was?
Katrina: Just spaghetti, like it is now.
Vicki: Where did you go to school?
Katrina: In Italy, but I can't remember the school.
Vicki: What was it like?
Katrina: Just like school.
Beverly: Where there lots of people in the schools?
Katrina: They were big ole schools but the kids were about the same as here.
Vicki: Did you have the different grades together?
Katrina: Different grades were separate.
Vicki: What did you eat for lunch?
Katrina: I usually just took sandwiches.
Vicki: How did you get to school?
Katrina: I walked.
Vicki: Do you remember any of your teachers?
Vicki: How did the teachers make the students behave?
Katrina: They gave them a good whippen.
Vicki: How were the holidays celebrated?
Katrina: Well we had Christmas, but not the same kind as over here. Here kids get a bunch of toys, but over there we just got candy.
Beverly: What religion are you?
Katrina: I am Catholic.
VIcki: How did teenagers court when you were young?
Katrina: I don't have any experience with that.
Beverly: How did you meet you husband?
Katrina: He came to my house.
Beverly: Was it love at first site?
Katrina: I guess so.
Vicki: When were you married?
Katrina: In 1947.
Vicki: Where were you at when you got married?
Katrina: In church in Italy.
Vicki: What was the ceremony like?
Katrina: It was a small wedding.
Vicki: Did you go on a honeymoon?
Beverly: How many children did you have?
Beverly: What was their names?
Katrina: Jimmy and Susie.
Beverly: When and where were they born?
Katrina: Jimmy was born in Italy in 1948. Susie was born in 1954 in San Francisco, California.
Beverly: Do you think it was easier to raise children today than it was back then?
Katrina: No, children minded better back then than they do today.
Beverly: What was Bland County like when you came here?
Katrina: The interstate and GIV wasn't here.
Vicki: When you first came here did you go to any church?
Katrina: I used to go to a Catholic church in Wytheville.
Vicki: How would you get to Bland to catch a bus?
Katrina: I just walked.
Beverly: Do you remember any bad storms?
Katrina: The only thing I remember is a flood in Bland.
Beverly: What dam busted?
Katrina: The one over at Dunn's.
Katrina: When I came over here there was a bad case of polio going on.
Beverly: Do you know anyone that died from polio?
Vicki: Did you celebrate Easter?
Vicki: What about Valentines day?
Vicki: Who is the first president you remember?
Katrina: Golly, I can't remember.
Beverly: Do you remember WWII?
Katrina: Yeah it was all bad.
Beverly: Were you around any bombing?
Katrina: Yeah, me and my sister heard bombs dropping everywhere.
Vicki: Did any of your friends get killed?
Vicki: Do you remember any movie stars?
Katrina: I never payed any attention to movie stars.
Beverly: Did you have any movies in Italy?
Katrina: We had movies but I never went to any.
Beverly: Do you remember when JFK was shot?
Katrina: Yeah I remember. It was so sad.
Beverly: Did you like him?
Katrina: Yeah I liked him.
Beverly: Do you remember Vietnam war?
Katrina: My son was in it.
Vicki: Do you remember when Jimmy left?
Katrina: In 1969.
Beverly: Do you know where he went?
Katrina: He went to Vietnam.
Beverly: Can you remember what working at Tultex was like?
Katrina: When I went up there I was shaky because I did not no nothing about the work.
Beverly: Where the boss' nice or mean?
Katrina: They were nice.
Beverly: How long did you work at Tultex?
Katrina: 38 years.
Beverly: How has it changed?
Katrina: Yeah it has changed. It is much cleaner and better taken care of.
Vicki: What other places did you go when you rode the bus?
Katrina: I rode the bus to travel to other states.
Beverly: On Sunday did you go any where else besides church?
Katrina: I went to church and straight back.
Beverly: Did you go to Wytheville for any other reasons?
Katrina: I went there shopping, but not that much.
Beverly: Since you have been here what kind of shape is the country in. In your own opion?
Katrina: Yeah it has changed. There is a lot more crime than there is today.
Beverly: How do you think Italy is today?
Katrina: I don't know. I haven't kept up with it.
Beverly: Got any good stories to tell us about Jimmy and Susie?
Katrina: I don't recall any. They were good kids. People were always bragging on them. They were always getting compliments.
Vicki: Is there a big difference in the weather here in the U.S. than in Italy?
Katrina: I don't really know. In Italy we had a lot more of deep snows.
Beverly: What is your name?
Katrina: Katrina Jackson.
Beverly: This is April 25, 1996.
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