As the editor of Them Days, I get to meet a lot of really great people. Researchers, summer students, Katimavik volunteers, subscribers and customers, collegues, interview subjects, bed and breakfast owners…tons of people! I especially feel close to my interview subjects–after all, I’ve talked with them a few times, probably had tea at their kitchen table, looked at their family photos, and listened to their life stories.
But, as you know, most of them are elderly, so even in my four short years at Them Days, I’ve had a lot of my interview subjects pass away, sometimes even before we get to do a proper interview. (That is sad in another way, as it means we didn’t have a chance to record their life stories and put it on paper, so I hope that they were recorded in some way previously.)
The other day, I was showing Grant photos of my time in Postville, and he was giving me updates on everyone. When I was there, I had interviewed his grandmother, and he informed me that she had since passed away. She was an incredibly sweet lady, and I remembered my visit with her well, so I was quite saddened to hear about her passing. I also interviewed a man in Postville named Albert Flowers, and when I showed Grant his picture, I said “This is my friend Albert! You probably know him too.” Then he informed me that he, too, had passed away, only a few months ago.
Albert was one of those interview subjects I kept in touch with long after the initial interview. He’d call me up at the office and have a chat, tell me what he was up to, and I’d tell him the same (nearly yelling into the phone, since he had problems hearing me). He’d always ask me when I was coming back to Postville, and while I’d tell him I wasn’t sure when I’d be there, I told him I’d make sure to visit him right away. I never did get to visit him in Postville again, which makes me sad.
So while I love my job, sometimes it brings sadness. But I wouldn’t change getting to meet all these people and make that connection. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to meet all the lovely people I have. Thank you, friends.