Fern Zimmerman and Susan Diamond

Recorded November 19, 2020 Archived November 18, 2020 37:51 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: chi003412


Susan Diamond (64) interviews her mother Fern Zimmerman (91) about her childhood memories, some of the happiest moments in her life, meeting her husband, her love for sports, and meeting Michelle Obama.

Subject Log / Time Code

F talks about the most important people in her life, her close relationship with her mother, and her grandchildren.
F talks about the happiest moments in her life, and she reminisces meeting her husband in high school.
F talks about her grandmother, and shares a memory about going to lunch at her house.
F reminisces the day she attended a school graduation using fake tickets.
F talks about her love for sports, and reminisces the time the Cubs won a championship.
F talks about the time she met Michelle Obama, and gives words of wisdom for her family.


  • Fern Zimmerman
  • Susan Diamond

Recording Location

Virtual Recording

Venue / Recording Kit



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00:03 I'm Susan Diamond. I'm 64 years old and today's date is Thursday, November 19th 2020.

00:16 Where in Wheeling Illinois and I'm here with my mother Fern Zimmerman and we're going to be talking about your life's mom tags.

00:30 And be my pleasure and fern Zimmerman I am.

00:39 9091 years old

00:44 And it's

00:46 November 19th, November 19th -20 and we're in for an and a

01:02 I'm looking forward to doing this today.

01:07 Well, thanks Mom. So I want to start with some questions. The first question I want to ask you is do you think that I'm like you like me or am I not like you trying to like me?

01:24 And you're also like you you're a very special person different but

01:34 Are my daughter definitely you are definitely my daughter and I appreciate a lot of

01:43 Things that you've done and do that are so much like me. Wow. I love being your daughter. Thank you. Darling. Tell me tell me a little bit about Dad tell tell tell us about

02:04 Glory your honey. Yeah, he was handsome.

02:10 She was

02:12 Beautiful beautiful ways always kind he was a pleasure and I tell you a very very important person of my life.

02:28 Why know what you always tell me is that she was always good to you. Always always.

02:37 Ollie's but to me

02:40 Tell me about your tell me about your mom and dad my mom and dad were great people. They were very close. They.

02:53 We didn't we got along very well. So that was never any arguments with my mom and dad and me or even the family and everything was wonderful. I remember Grandpa is very even-tempered. Oh, yes, and I remember Grandma as

03:20 Spunky and butter play the piano beautifully. She was a great piano player. You can hum a song and she sit down and play it anybody else get that musical Talent so far now, I just tried we tried my parents sent us a piano as a gift so that I'll show you them would at least love now and even my children didn't they were not channel players the first six children, but not why I know I wasn't a piano player, but why don't we talk a little bit about how we and Marty and and what what they were like start with how he's the oldest. How is my oldest son all dark and handsome and outstanding athlete in high school and college and still lives.

04:20 And my younger son marry him in the same way. He too was a great athlete in high school and a wonderful son and still is my children are amazing. Just amazing. There's nothing they do they please me Beyond and I'm just very lucky lady to have this and then there's my daughter Susan who is

04:59 I Can't Describe her place. She's very bright. She does everything that's that she wants to and that she thinks it's right and it usually is and

05:16 I'm just a very fortunate person to have live the life that I have led to Camp have had the family that I and I thank God everyday.

05:35 Well, why were talking about the family? I know that I never had a sister but I have two sister-in-laws. Yes, you do two wonderful sister-in-law. Tell us about Linda. How is wife, how is wife Linda High School started in high school? And there was always beautiful sweet charming and very very dedicated and and Marty's wife.

06:11 It is very unusual and Marty and his wife are both their very religious in the Jewish religion and I don't like to be in their company. It's wonderful and we're all close and we all get along. Well, thank you enough. How anybody could not get along with Gail a tough call. She's outstanding. She's great scale way, but so are my son's very good. Very good to like that. Very very nice to be so close.

06:58 Is is I want to I want to tread carefully here because I know that this could take a long time but tell us about your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren and I may have to stop you. So unbelievable beyond words my grandchildren.

07:22 Are beautiful handsome

07:26 Intelligent smart

07:29 Lovable

07:32 I don't know what I would do without them. They just bring every bit of joy into a person's life. Remember when Michael was born your oldest. Do I remember when Michael is born? Of course, I do remember when Michael was born and I still remember Michael for doing so many of the

07:58 Things that he did that thing that he does not with being there for you is their prey Steph Curry children. I can't I can't

08:12 Possibly

08:15 Talk about them.

08:18 So many words

08:22 I can't. All right. So he was your number one. Remember one and then Craig came along what you think about when Craig came along so I love that you are you kidding my friends and my Michael are still the best. Yes. Nobody could compare to those two guys. They are something else and then they they both chose the most wonderful wives that I could ever have four daughters the laws and absolutely I've never had I've never had an argument or something. I've never had any problems with them talking about Linda Gail and Linda the boys had problems with the boys. They always did what they should they knew they should do and my daughter-in-law is our daughters.

09:22 Unbelievable. Yeah, I kind of think that when Linda came along and shared your passion for shopping call. Yeah, she kind of eclipse me what ShopRite and they all turned out to be an excellent. Yep. Yes. She sure is a nice Shabbat dinner and it's just something. I look forward to I want to ask you Mom. I don't know if you could.

09:57 Even though I get this particular, but what what was the happiest moment of your life?

10:04 The happiest moment of my life.

10:09 The happiest moment of my life with everything.

10:14 It was always happy. It was always something I cherished and I still do and I

10:25 I had wonderful parents wonderful brother and sister-in-law I had.

10:37 Wonderful children grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and they are grey. I am a very fortunate person and I appreciate

10:55 What is what they all have done to make it possible?

11:01 I want to ask you something because I don't want to have any regrets about not asking you questions. But are there any regrets you have something that you never asked your parents there anything you'd like to know about your parents that you never did? Yes. I don't think so. Cuz we select always talk about I'm realizing I know is I know my parents families and anything you could ask me to pin down. I mean it was wonderful family or you talk you talk to I remember being with you all the time. And in what time in the morning. Did you have to talk to Grandma every day? I had to talk to her every morning.

11:59 And if I didn't have we didn't have cell phones then sometime. I was out. I have to stop and get gas station and use a cellphone there to tell her everything is good. Everything is fine. I did speak with my mother basically two to three times a day. That's something she like that she likes and I liked it to let me ask you something about how you met dad.

12:33 When did you meet Dad when I was in my first year of high school? Where did you go to high school? Marshall High School in Chicago and I

12:48 Like I had a very dear cousin of mine brand Fran and I could be like twins and she was giving a party at the house and she wanted to invite somebody there for me to amaze and that somebody was my husband who was most unusual from the moment. I met him.

13:20 We got along beautifully. We had a beautiful long marriage. We had wonderful children as I said before and I miss him very much, unfortunately, but he lived a good life too, and I am very happy about that. And did you guys go to school together? We went to all through high school together from where he was already in his second year and we went to prom we went to

14:05 I can't even describe all of the wonderful things. We did together. We travel we travel all over the country and I love this country. We

14:22 It was just something. I don't know.

14:26 Undescribable life that I am and I'll I could never forget that however anything about it tell me about your honeymoon when you got married and went on your honeymoon with all of our friends to this day the levels that are still alive. Of course, we had a very very close clothes men and women friends that all knew one another and we were very close. We did everything together. And when we got married with a lot of us all got married around the same time, I was 19 years old and my my girlfriends were the same age and his he was

15:26 One when we got married and we all got along well and then it was time. Everybody was getting married and one of my very dear friends and to this day still the other Louis Louis and her husband Gene who has James has passed away, but Louis and I are still Inseparable. We decided to get married a day apart and go on our honeymoon together and we have my cousin had just gotten a new car and Jaden Louis for going to drive we decided to drive to Florida.

16:17 And which were there are many people could never understand that we got along great and we had a wonderful honeymoon and a Wonderful Life afterwards and

16:36 It's just hard to believe that you could be their clothes and they are friendly to people and many many of them are gone, of course, but they're a very good very good life of friends. Where you spent a lot of time in Florida. Oh, yes we did and we bought a house in Florida where we stayed in Florida in the winter and enjoy yourself with our friends and our families and it was quite an experience. I have the type of traveling licensed home license Florida life that we had and I'll never forget. What was it like when the grandkids would come?

17:36 Wow, right around the swimming pool. There were my grandchildren the best swimming staying with us. I hated it when they had to go home, but they went to school and they have things that they had I do but they came every single year to Florida and we always had a good time. Definitely. I was part of our life. That was very important. Sometimes those guys have too good of a time. Well, that's true, but that's alright. I don't regret everything and neither do any of their yeah, we will because we didn't go with that's right. I will give you a great example of we were going home. I was putting them on an airplane.

18:36 In Florida when they came out and mentioned that they needed and I have I don't know if there were four or five of them, but I think they're more 5 and they asked for some people to raise their hands and they could stay overnight and I just sat there and took a look at those killed and said nobody no not one of you that are raise your hands.

19:09 I loved every second of her what no hand raising you are so get on this plane and go home that your parents are waiting for you. What kind of a little kid, were you?

19:26 I don't know. What kind of a little kid. I want or you good in school and I never had a problem in school. What did you eat lunch in school at school or well no and grammar school. I didn't die at my grandmother's house. What was your grandma's name? She was a wonderful woman unusual and my daughter's name was she never loved too much for Susan and I ate lunch there was her house was right near the school and I walked out for lunch and walk back to school. Was that your mom's mom. My mother is my father's mother and father were both.

20:18 Go on before I was born. I was named after my father's mother. Her name was Fanny Marion, and I'm trying Marion.

20:30 And in did you have cousins that you were close to us. We are so many of them. But especially I had my cousin's friend who died at an early age, unfortunately, but she and I were never apart. We did everything together. We we we loved we see we just I can't explain it. But we live next to one another. We got married at the same time in unfortunately. She died at an early age. What was she like

21:15 What was she like, how can I how can I describe her shoes?

21:22 She was hot and she was smart she was.

21:32 She would do anything for anybody.

21:36 And I can't tell you she was just outstanding. I wasn't that was an outstanding remember being funny joke everybody entertained. Yes. That's true. It's true. It brings back memories is hard to even

21:59 Talk about it here alone. Think about it very difficult when you guys were kids. What were some of the fed's like what was in style when you were in grade school and high school? What was the style? I like your stylish by all means it was wasn't really blue. Jean, particularly.

22:47 Everything that was one of the things that at that time we definitely were conscious of it at all time. Do you remember when you got your first pair of blue jeans? I can't remember but I know I know you did to ya.

23:11 But I can't remember exactly what what was your favorite hairstyle all all the years. You must have had a lot of different hairstyles a lot along here. I always had long hair. I never had real short hair and was always dark. I'm in my I was born with them and then later on in my life. I put some blonde streaks. I basically speaking I it was a dark haired person. How are things different now for the kids than they were for you when you were in school?

23:59 I don't know how they were.

24:03 I might be if so different. Unfortunately right now at this time, the kids are having a problem with school. I mean school is in school.

24:21 I don't know they seem to be just as happy as I was in school and they participated in many many things. They think they got in as much trouble as soon as the dad did when he was in high school and get into so much trouble. The graduation tickets wasn't trouble. Nobody knew about it when it was graduation time several of the young man. There went ahead and have some graduation Checkers French a lot.

25:05 And pass them out to their friends so they could all attend the graduation and we did.

25:14 So happens weekend, there were just as many friends there is there were terrorists there and it was quite enjoyable and nobody said a word that is so true. I didn't do some things like always.

25:35 Left out. Okay. They were happy. They were happy to what time there's so much technology around today.

25:45 Do you have any any thoughts about how technology is good or bad compared to a well that was are you it's so it's so it's so much more of that. I mean

26:02 We have telephones but we certainly didn't tell.

26:07 All of the state what I'm doing right now talking into a machine. We didn't have that I can say

26:22 Delaware

26:24 Real elaborate things but we did have we did have a lot of enough at the time greatest invention since since you've been alive. What do you think is the greatest thing Mia play? Really? Yep. I always thought the airplane was unbelievable beyond words dance, Belleville.

26:51 What about the computer? What do you have to say about a computer's I think computers are terrific but I am not a computer crazy person. My husband always we always had a computer and a house that my husband was the computer work or not me and I think it's a wonderful thing, but it and never took took over my needs.

27:28 Well capable on the computer now. Why do I need help with give it to me. I just remember you on the telephone all the time. Yeah, something's don't change. No that's that's for sure. And then is there any highlights as far as world events good or bad?

28:09 What do you mean there were my goodness gracious ever?

28:19 Warless near what was World War II like for you guys watch who was not easy? My brother was overseas and members of our family were all in the service. My father was not but he worked for the for the I donated his services for the Army service for the area that we lived in he was part of that worked out out there every day after his Ultra is office work. Do they are and do different things. I remember he used to be in charge of the gas.

29:11 Coupons for people in their first time in the service bad, Lori. Oh

29:30 Lorde with Lori in the service was Lori and the surface Navy. Yeah, we was in the National Guard for the Vietnam War before World War. I didn't get in for the last few months cheated on a test. And yeah, that was a classic story you hold on to the other stuff. But I guess what about what about sports? Are you a sports person going to all the baseball games to football games are the basketball games hockey hockey games

30:30 Yeah, we went to hockey games. Are you I hate that I should say but no no, no, I we used to go to professional games. Always. Yeah. Yes. And what about now? Are you still watch sports? Yes, I sure do. I watch the football game is on TV. I watched everything I watch the baseball games. I watch the basketball games. I love or tell us about when the Cubs won the World Series doing absolutely.

31:29 That's very excited. And so you got the beers and you've got the cops. Well Supply that I know I did the Bulls and the singer of this the time with the basketball unbelievable. We went to games we saw games. He lived we lived in the same neighborhood. Basically with him. We saw him and it was it was quite a time of life for everybody in those years. What about what about presidential elections? Who was your favorite President?

32:36 Supposed to do a lot of presidential election and who was my very favorite.

32:45 What I was a staunch Democrat, let's put it that way so.

32:52 I fought every Democratic president was outstanding and one time in my life.

33:02 I will say that I did not.

33:07 I did not vote Democratic. I voted Republican and I was not happy with my fault and I will never do it again. Who did you vote for me today? That is nice, but I did vote for Trump. And why did you vote for Trump?

33:28 Why did I vote for Trump to be the president at the end of horse was not still listens and

33:50 I betcha. I don't know. What about what about Barack Obama?

33:55 That was that was quite a lot to have a black president, which is something that we never really thought about it because they never really Ranch. What happened when you met Michelle Obama Michelle Obama with her daughter that was Barack Obama was running for president and they were having a meeting at at one of the hotels downtown and not my daughter my granddaughter, right? I took Rosie downtown and we went to get fixed so she could color of Barack Obama and his wife with

34:54 Her children, and that was quite an interesting thing a very friendly warm person shook hands with anybody who came up and she was she was just this is as pleasant as he was as her husband. Definitely they will learn the most important lessons you've learned in life.

35:24 Roots important lesson, I learned I learned so many of them important things all over if you get too if you wanted to tell your your grandchildren your great-grandchildren your great-great-grandchildren how to live a happy life like you had what advice would you give?

35:49 Michael Myers

35:56 I don't know if I have to give them advice. I think that they live in a family's they do now live in families that are wonderful with each other and therefore they they learned from that they know from that they they wouldn't do the things they do. Very very conscious very very,

36:29 Good together to all the adults and I have no complaints. Remember a rule that we have in our house growing up never hold grudges and we still don't know if that's true.

36:51 Anything else you would like to share before we close?

36:57 There's nothing I can say except thank you my children my grandchildren my entire families and friends. Thank you for the life that you

37:13 Help me to have a appreciate every minute of it.

37:20 And any last words for Dad for your sweetheart. I say goodnight to him every single night and anything I have to tell him he and I have a very good conversation going on. We all we and we always will

37:44 Thanks, Mom. Thank you.