Elizabeth Misko and Marsha Fulton

Recorded December 7, 2005 Archived December 7, 2005 01:17:14 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: GCT002346


80 year old woman is interviewed by her 44 year old daughter about her family, career in nursing, and her Catholic faith.

Subject Log / Time Code

My brother was always so loving....my Mom was very kind, gentle, prayerful. I’m very much like my mother.
Tell me about the dead cats story. Painted the cats with chalk. Mom got so upset. Made me wash the cats. I washed the cats with too cold water and subsequently they died from pneumonia. Had a funeral for them and 2 weeks later a family friend came over and we dug up the grave of the cats. My Mom was so upset, she sprayed us down with lysol.
This was the most difficult time in my life. he (Dad/husband) was going downhill. I remember the moment he forgot how to write a check. I could see it in his face. So sad.
He called you guys (daughters) I am going to die. He died several months later.
Picking out gravestone for Dad. I saw a big one and decided that was the one. It was the biggest one in the cemetery. I felt like it was him tapping me on the shoulder. That was the one.


  • Elizabeth Misko
  • Marsha Fulton

Recording Location

Grand Central Terminal


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00:01 My name is Marsha Fulton and I'm 44 years old today is December 7th 2005 and we're speaking from Grand Central Terminal and I'm speaking to my mother Elizabeth. Misko and is Marcia just said I am Elizabeth. Misko. I'm 80 years old and today is December 7th. I'm very memorable day for me. I forgot to put the Year 2005 and I'm speaking from Grand Central Terminal and Marsha is my oldest child.

00:37 Okay. Well, I guess we'll start with my first question which would concern memories of your childhood in particular your time at school and on the farm he grew up in Upstate, New York Groton New York and perhaps we can talk a little bit about your childhood.

00:56 Well, as you sad I grew up on our family farm. I have a My Father John my mother Margaret and my brother DJ who you know very well and I would say that we had I had a very happy time I learn learn to love animals and I learn to use my imagination and we had some games like deadly wings and things like that that we played but I made my own doll houses. And so a lot of my early years I learn how to make things in my used learn to use my memory and things like that. I learned made a big city wants out of a great big dirt pile with my brother and I remember that was very interesting and I had lots of fun. We worked on that City for days and days in the summertime.

01:52 My brother was always very loving and he has till this day and when I think about him, I always think the love I feel for him and I think about my mother and she was always a very gentle if you remember your grandmother very gentle very kind person very ladylike person and I was lucky to have her for a mother very prayerful and is I was telling you the other day. I thought I'm getting more and more like my mother. She always had a stack of prayer books and things beside of her chair and Shake sit down and she'd have her time for prayer. And as we grow older we used to kind of make fun of it to not look at my own she's praying for all of us and but you know, I find I'm doing the same thing at my age. I have a stack of prayer books. I do a lot of meditating and things like that, but I'm very much like my mother. My father was a very delightful man, and I know

02:52 I enjoyed him and I looked up to him. He was very strict. You know, we've talked about here and a very strict family and right was right and wrong what's wrong and that's the way it was but both my mother and father encouraged DJ and me to study hard in school. I love school and to do the very best we could with life and that always has been with me my whole life. I've learned to love to go to school and I can still remember the library in Groton New York. I might have taken you there still do with those old. Mahogany chairs around the big tables and I had many many happy times here. I go and get books or sit in the library and read I would like to directly to a specific story which is always my favorite of your childhood was the story about the dead cats. Could you tell us about the dead cats?

03:46 I wish I never told you that well, we had some kittens and I have been given talk DJ and I had been given chalk. I think it was around Easter time. And so we painted our kitty cats. They were quite in on the breast and underneath that. I think they were beige-colored kitty cat and we love them but we painted them and my mother said you can't do that. She came out just of those poor cats. We painted them all these colors and so I went in and I got my little girls bath, you know bathtub or Wash Tub and we decided we'd have to wash them all off and it was cold water and the poor little kitty cats probably got pneumonia and they died.

04:31 And so then we had a funeral and we put the kitty cats and we were very Irish and very Catholic and we've been to a few of the place and so my brother was the priest an iPad lace top over him, you know, when he was the first was following we went through the whole rigmarole and we dug a grave and that was that then we came back. We had a satisfactory burial Jimmy Reese our dear friend had been away and he returned and Jimmy said all I want to see them so we went down and this was about a week or so later fortunately was kind of cold out and we dump the cats up to show some picture of me and all the sudden. I heard my mother say all children children and she was practically crying because we had dug them up and choose the first we get some disease that we all had to come in and have Lysol and everything put over.

05:26 Well, that's always been my favorite story of your childhood and you have many others and perhaps we'll get some of the others but I'd like to go into why you chose nursing as a profession because you chose to go into nursing and you spent your life in both practice and in teaching nursing. Well, I think if I look back on it, it was quite a while I wait to be influenced to make an exception decisis turn in my life, but I've been roller skating with my group and we were going past the local hospital and I looked at this nurse and she had a big white cap, and it was maybe 11:30 or 12 at night and I thought look at it. She is saving people. I was very traumatic in my younger days. And I thought that is what I'm going to be is a Norris and that is how I made my decision.

06:18 And I really wasn't a flaky person even then what have you enjoyed your profession as a nurse would little bit about your history as a nurse I graduated from st. Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing in Syracuse New York. And after I finish that I did General Duty taken care of people. I work then I went to Catholic University in Washington DC and got my back or white and nursing and when I was there I did I had a scholarship but I also didn't have a lot of money. So I had to work weekends and other friend. I had free time at Georgetown and some of the other hospitals and DC to make money to eat and to continue in school and in the summer, I would come home and I work at Cortland hospital and do General do hay and up. So that was how I faced my way.

07:16 Cut my way through into nursing and got my degree. And then after that I went to University of Michigan School of Nursing and Ann Arbor, Michigan and I stayed there and worked in various positions until I met your father. So I was there from about 1950 to 1968 and I worked first as an instructor at the very basic level foundations of Nursing and I enjoyed that and then the next year. I was off your position. I Was Made assistant professor and assistant supervisor of one of the can't remember all the Jonas. I think it was Orthopedics and Ophthalmology. So I was learning I do I had to do a position. I was learning about nursing service. I was learning about Administration as well as I also had teaching in the school of nursing so I had many aspects of I continued

08:16 Nap when I moved all the way up to supervisor and and and still maintain my dual position teaching in the College of Nursing and then after that I left nursing and

08:35 Let's see and that was so I left when I received you Marsha and then I did not work again. And then let's say that was in March 28th. 9:15. Help me out. 6161 and you were so can I just move into this year has the most wonderful thing in the world you were the most beautiful baby and then in a file a year-and-a-half, I receive Shelly and I can still refuse the cutest little tiny thing. But she was you were there always very easy and you laughed and very strong and Shelly was just a nervous wreck sheet Suites and ye'll a Carry On by remember one time you she was crying and I was I had you in your crib, it's bedtime and I had when I was going back and forth I said for the week, what if we going to do with your little sister and you said to me throw her in the garbage can or we want that known for pasta?

09:35 But we had many have had to happy time in your father then moved to the University of Akron and we were a summer more alone. Just the three of us that was tough. And then we moved to Cuyahoga Falls and daddy taught at the University of Akron and that was they were good times. I had to make friends all over again. And as you know that you went to school and the school system and you did take time out to go to Villa Maria is did your sister shower and you return to work in the early seventies. I think I was in the third grade. Yes, and then you return to work and how did you find the nursing teaching nursing was different when you returned? Well, I had to what I had to do is because your father had cancer and we knew that I had to be prepared in case he did not

10:35 Make it so I took a nursing they have nursing refresher courses and I spend the time and that and then Akron General hired me to do General. It was summer time. I can remember I remember how hard it was here. I was and you went to camp and Daddy had to pick you up and those were tough times, you know, and I want to talk to you after your experience of being at Camp Ledgewood, but I couldn't when I came home you both were full of mosquito bites that great and dirty. I stated Akron General for fuse then I moved into their nursing school and taught after I done general duty and because if you teach nursing you got it, your techniques have to be very good to so then when I was there after there for a few years then I had an opportunity to teach at the University of Akron and of course, I taught their what's 7 years or so.

11:35 Shop again to professor and my time at I made wonderful friends at the University of Akron it gave me a chance to grow professionally and I felt that I had a great deal of

11:54 Conflict because in order to continue developing and I was raising children. I felt torn you know with you too and getting my degrees mean while I got a masters and it was really tough. I would and working two at the same time, but I got my degree and education.

12:19 And then I turned around and started working on a degree in nursing know and I know there were times that I didn't probably give you the attention. I really wanted to and I'm sure you and I have talked about that many times and I am very old times. I remember the nights he'd spend in the dining room table working on lesson plans and grading papers and also studying yourself you were working and going to school and those were for those were difficult years, but but we survived them and we done through them we survived and is we talked before some other time? And these were a very low-level type of Crisis, but you can go it one way or the other and you and I talked about how important it is that you just do the very best you can and move ahead and you do grow as we talked about your life and my life before so let's see after that what happened? Well in the mid-eighties you and dad retired and went to North Carolina and you found work down there.

13:19 I did have I think I had about 2 years did entire year-and-a-half when I thought well, maybe I'll just retire but I did I had an opportunity to teach at in Jacksonville and I taught at Coastal Carolina Community College. And again, this was a very this was a wonderful time for me cuz I met new friends who are still my friends and they come down to see me and I went to teach for two years and how many years did I stay? I stayed until I was 68 years old and then I realized it was endangering my health because you to drive from

13:59 Up from Jacksonville, but we had our beach home then yet halfway between topsoil but that was still 35 mile drive. And if you had clinical during the day you were driving out, you know, and I decided it was just time for me to leave daddy felt that way to it was just not good for me. I was getting too tired, but I made wonderful friends. They're both of us students. And with the faculty. In fact The Faculty. Can I still do very close we get together and they come down for lunch and I go up there and we write and call each other. So every place you got you do bring power to that place for the people with you. It should go on to know what I'd like to talk about some of the important people in your life. You've mentioned your parents and your brother and I know their significant, let's talk first about Dad and talk a little bit about how you met dad and and your relationship with him while I was at the University of Michigan Ann.

14:56 And they had evening divisions for faculty and grad students and everybody and we would have programs and boys and girls boys and girls we were all the top men and women and so I'm at Daddy and till afterwards we would go out sometimes after our meetings and our discussions and go out for a glass of beer in so who you would go to the night to come as they probably have the cheapest beer if I'm sure since it was my dad. We would go out there the whole group of us and we danced together and finally it just he danced with me. And then one time he said do you want to go to a football game and Detroit? I said sure So I met some of his friends and we went to football games and you don't know what usually happens after what you keep going together. And then you decide to get married. I think at this point we should mention his name because he would like to be your pal would like to have us in our wishes Edward Jerome Moscato. That's right, and he took

15:56 Take pleasure in Annunciation annunciating every name.

16:04 Let's turn to your Aunt Mary Jane who is also very important person in your life Aunt Mary. Jane was my father's sister. My father was as you know, he was precious and loving but he also was very strict and very proper. Yes, you always look just so and he spoke just oh and Aunt Mary Jane said whatever came right off of her mind and she was very pretty and very my father said she was very popular with the boys and I could well imagine it and so it my mother was very gracious is you remember Marcia and she was very gracious and quiet and loving Aunt Mary. Jane was fun-loving and she checked both my mother and father.

16:51 Education she say words like damn and my mother would say. Oh Mary Jane don't do that. My father would say your mother would die if she knew you were speaking like that Jody so but Aunt Mary Jane made a part of me be fun like that. I think she helped me develop my fun size and Marsha you did. Well, I gave you my sense of humor. I told you that when I when you were a little girl you looked at me and you we were talking about people we got attribute from do you remember the day you said to me I gave you my sense of humor. Well, Jimmy and Mary Reese were also very important people. See you and we lost them both last year. It's very sad time for me still talk about both of them and their relation. Well, first of all Jimmy lived it was my mother's and father's got a child and he lives near us and he spent a lot of time with us and we were all very close.

17:51 Family, and so Jamie was just like another brother and we just grew up together. In fact, he took me to my first prom. I didn't know that help people. That was nice and we had a very good time pictures from that will have to find time to go back into the water we go in but we did and we were we were just we've always been good friends with them. And of course then when he met Mary and I had known Mary before they became close and decided to be married. Well, then I was in their wedding party and my brother was of course Jimmy's best man, and then we apart at cuz I went on to school and I went on these eyes and I didn't see them for a number of years. But of course, they always visited my parents and then when we move to Wilmington Mary and Jimmy had a home in Boiling Springs, and we picked up the Friendship then and and we have been close friends. I miss them, you know, very

18:51 Watch because I think I'll come and get me maybe they can come up for dinner on Sunday, or I can go down and I realize they're both gone, you know, so within the same year so it's very sad to say goodbye to them and no, is there any other people in your life that were significant that you'd like to know about my mother imprecise? Okichi a very positive she's made me as feminine as I am. I remember Grandma's being very tall and stately, stating in nice figure and she had a little laugh that you've developed. I have I developed the timeline little laugh with the Finger by your lips swell. She was my mother. I can remember my mother and my friend Midstate are very similar as they've gone older Mitzy gets laughing so hard when she's telling you a story that chic.

19:51 Harley go on and my mother did the same way to remember anyone else in your life that you like to mention. There's quite a few people Ernestine who lives next door to me and Cuyahoga Falls. She was in probably the most probably the best friend I ever had and I think she made me value myself and she also made me very aware that you have to Define yourself no matter what other people see and when I was going to different grad school cheap read my book and week in my my books up, you know for my classes to him. We would have great. She was very smart. She was an artist as you remember and we would discuss these books and she would emphasize the importance of know about what anyone ever said to get to and become the best student and here she was my age and oh maybe a little bit older but I think

20:51 He made me believe in myself and growing myself is the person she was one person and I think we were. Recently talked to you my real about it burn my ass. And then I know from University of Michigan and she really influence my decision to move.

21:09 More into the emotional and the psychiatric I would say in the social aspects of nursing to bring it back into more of just the nursing that was such a specialty and I think I've gained a great deal about learning about families and that's what I got. My second Masters and in nursing was I was a family nurse practitioner and I think because of this people that influence you both as a friend and you know professionally it made me see how important it is that we look at the social and emotional aspects of people as well as the physiological so she had great influence as a friend and as a profession to

21:57 Anyone else? Did you guys get everybody I've ever had and talked with except for a few. I really have have.

22:06 Help me. Well, let's talk about some of the important experiences in life in your life. What would you say are some of the most significant events or experiences that you had?

22:17 Well

22:19 I think graduate from high school. I think I graduated from Catholic University. That was a wonderful for your experience in the school of nursing to St. Joseph all those experiences. I thought I would have complish something but I also was looking at forward to pushing me onto other things, but I value all the experiences in the people that I met when I went through them and then

22:49 Meeting your father, you know and having you two girls that was a wonderful experience becoming a mother and every experience I've moved into

23:03 Is has been very important to me, you know in graduating with my two master's degrees. That was very important. Whatever I did was important to me and I tried to do the bath and in retirement retiring with Al and coming down to you know to North Carolina that that was very hard for me to do if your father wanted to go and if you would call if that was very very difficult for me because I had to start all over again, you know, and I remember calendar can thank me. What isn't it beautiful the pine trees with the moon not shutting down and then what I thought I thought I do not give a damn about Moonlight and pine Trace vessel that shows you what my mental state was when I first moved down there now was still in often and I and I was living down there by myself and that was that was a difficult time with a different.

24:03 What time do the Hurricanes didn't help I want to turn your thoughts to your three. Beautiful. Granddaughters Alexis Brooke and Mackenzie Wangler, and I was wondering if there is any words of wisdom you would like to pass down to them things. You've learned in your life things that are important my precious little granddaughters.

24:23 What are words of wisdom be as good as you possibly can have fun in life, but be very serious about school and doing the very best that you can do. And also I think it is important that we do do things to help ourselves. Go to go. But remember we are on this Earth to serve others and help them to

24:50 Okay, what are you proudest of in your life?

24:55 Oh, my goodness sakes ask me what I'm most proud of or proud of you has for one of the most the things that you are most proud of.

25:07 I don't know if there's anything that I'm most proud of I'm proud of most of the things that I've done in my life. I am proud that I guess I am proud that I managed to get where I'm getting cuz once in awhile, I thought I'd only worked a little harder. I could have done more research and I'm after I came down and and really done more after I came to North Carolina and then I thought that's nonsense. You just didn't sit around and do nothing and occasionally, I think maybe I just didn't push hard enough, you know, and then I realize it's too late to think about it because it's past so those are some of the things that I'm proud of and I'm proud of

25:52 I'm proud of all the things that Alan I did together and after his death, I am glad because he I remember when he was so sick. He said, you know, buddy. I am not going to worry about you because I know you're always be involved in everything and he said if you hadn't been like that, I'd be worrying about you and I died and I wanted him to live up to that. So I am sincerely proud that I've been able to make a life. You know, it's some it's now a five and a half years will be six years in April that I've been alone and I have enjoyed my life. I have studied join things and that traveled and I truly enjoyed life as you know, I've gone and done whatever I wanted to visit to my children. Will you had a very difficult time with dad's last few years would you say that was probably the most difficult time in your life getting through those last few years with d

26:52 Illness, and I think that was some probably the most difficult time I had my life and if I hadn't believed in God, you know, and that we all have a path each one of us to live I think to all of life. I don't think I could have done as well as I did. I mean but with Daddy just seeing him go down here now and then I can remember things that just jump out at me and one of the things was it was so sad for him and I hurt so bad. We went someplace to get something. He couldn't remember how to write a check and I settle out I said that is the wrong checkbook or something. Like I said, I have one in my purse. Let me get that and I said, I'll fill this out since it's in my name and I'm sure he was grateful. He didn't say but I could see he was so sad and I looked at when I realized.

27:45 You know things like that, he could no longer remember how to write a check and then and then another time and where we went over to see Dave Jones and he had this area outside of their nice Beach Hawks that we would go up to but I remember he got part way up and all the sudden. I thought he just stood there and then David said real eyes to we both real daddy did not have bloodborne how to get down from there a sitcom on the days to come on now. He's a let's go down. He said I don't like it up here and so we both but he didn't know how to go up any further and he didn't know how to come down and you know things got like that worse and worse and I covered up a lot and you know, how daddy love parties and going out with people? Yeah, and I know towards then why are we still on the island? He was isolating himself and we wouldn't go out to eat need saying no, I don't like that food and I'm not going to make it and I was so so, you know when you're close to pay

28:45 You don't and I thought what is happening to him? And sometimes I feel very angry and then as time went on I realized he mentally he was going downward. He couldn't keep up with the conversation. So he was making all these other excuses cuz he wasn't able to follow I felt bad because I hadn't picked up early enough on it and I felt very bad for him. Cuz he was fully aware. You know that he just wasn't there and I supported him when they told him. He had to have that drastic heart surgery and he was so hopeful and not in the cardiac surgeon was very hopeful but then when it kept getting one complication after another

29:32 I knew he knew that he was just going to slowly go down now and he knew and remember the morning. He called you girls and told you he was going to die. If we didn't believe it with you didn't because yours would have liked the guy who called wolf and I said oh out he's in Betty. I'm handling this and he said I'm dying and I know I'm dying. So I thought well he's saying it but I still can't believe a bit. Of course you were very, but you only went into his steroid. Guess I know but I did fly down but you flew down right after a date and he was gone within a few months. So he definitely knew when you got down you knew that he was dying and none of us really knew that, you know will dad passed away in April of 2008 was about a year later that you decided to go out and pick out his stone for his grave as well.

30:32 The story of when we went to pick at Dad's grave Stones. First of all, I was so glad that you and David came down with me when we went to pick up the monument figured out rather. And so I thought I'm going to get something little and sensible and Annie had a flat one, you know, and he was another good friend of mine and enter the ground and I thought that sensible but I was growing and growing up in the era of big Monument. You know, how we'd visit with Grandpa and Grandma all but the monuments in the relatives and in Cortland St. Mary's. Well, that's kind of what I had in the back of my mind. So I look at it. She said I would not remember her saying to me I would not Advocate those they are not durable. I would get one this fansubs. So she showed me a little one and I don't know why all the sudden I saw this much bigger Monument. It was the biggest one on the lot. I just want to make sure you know that yes, March. Are you sure? Yes it was.

31:32 Play the music. That's the one I want for a while. And remember what you said to me I said that was Daddy tapping you on the shoulder pointing you in the direction for they've been doing a little bit better than that. You would not have settled for one of those little bones. And then what happened when you got it to the cemetery when I got to the cemetery.

31:52 The month ahead and handled it, but the priests had a fit and said it had to be removed and if it was too big is too big and he said well, he said I have all the I do all the I do all these monuments all around Wilmington and this was Castle Hayne and he said I don't know he said about that. He said I didn't realize there were restrictions there were but these are well within the restrictions in the new polish priest said we just had new rules and he said well, then you better send them out to us and I'm sending my lawyer out to talk to you and he said poor. Mrs. Miss goes to Old poor little old thing. He said she's so she's so fragile, and I'm going to call her lawyer, but she will be devastated about it. I never heard another thing. How would you like to be remembered?

32:52 How would I like to be remembered?

32:57 I would like to be remembered as the person that was fun to be with a x i could be very but I could at times be very serious and very sad, but I would also like you to remember me as having this funny and see the funny side of things and giggling with you and everyone else.

33:16 And I I don't know if this comes across but I would like to be remembered as a person who lost my family and my friends with really deep devotion, you know, and I'd also like you all to remember that even when I die, I'm going to go to my stack of prayer books and I'll be praying for you every single day except I do a lot more. I don't read from prayer books very much. I make up my own prayers. I'm sure that's true. Is there anything you've never told me but you would like to share with me right now and he stories or anything about your life that you haven't mentioned.

33:56 NC that's something to really think about it and I think my

34:03 I think that I kind of shared most of the things with you.

34:10 In my life some of the things, you know privately that I won't talk about. Okay, that's okay. Is there any other events of your life that you'd like to mention or and has pissed I have to stop and talk about events of my life that I think my life has been pretty open most of the way. Oh, I know, you know, one of the things I never really did was I wanted to go on and do research cuz I always like to research and as you know, I did several studies but I do I feel bad that I didn't push myself after I got to Wilmington to get connected and then later on when I did get connected with people. I just I just probably it was hard to with particularly when I was teaching again to have time cuz we searched as you well know takes a lot of time and it develops slowly. That's one of the things that I would have liked to have done and I don't

35:10 If I do one of those things now that I wanted used to do and it sounds funny. I used to journal all the time and after Hurricane Diane and remember we had break up our home and do everything and moved from the island. That was a sad time and I read some of them and I thought I don't want anyone to read these I wouldn't care if you and Shelly had read them. So I burned them all now, I would like to journal every day. And again, this is one of my problems. I don't put it in my schedule. So I Journal certain things but I think you're annoying is a wonderful thing. It makes you look at your behavior where you at are spiritually how you have gone. And I think it's nice for your children to see what it's like the humanists of me of what I was liking some of my struggle something. So one of my New Year's resolutions is to journal more frequently and leave it as hell give it to you and thought if you don't like it, but I think it shows

36:10 I give you insight and for me as to what I am like as a human being and you you know, as I am your mother and it's I have lived my life. I think for a final question. I would like you to talk a little bit about your Catholic faith. Important to you talk about how it's influenced your life and your ideas about faith and spirituality.

36:35 That is a big task my dear. I know we got 5 minutes 5 minutes. Okay. Well, I thoroughly believe in that I am a Christian and a Catholic Christian and I nurse this by all my Bible studies in my readings in my meditations and going to Bible studies and going to conferences and I think the main thing that I have gone out of even at my age, I feel that as long as God has given me good health. I have to pray for other people and I also have to serve other people. I believe that's why I go out and give communion to people and I travel around and I make food for people who are dying or sick and I generally contribute to things like that because I think we're here to serve and you and I have talked about this before I think not only to take good care of yourself, but I

37:35 That all comes out of my life as I have lived as a Christian and I mean, I feel very strongly about about Christianity in about the bat in my life. It's made me who I am. I think so very much though. Well, I would just like to take this opportunity for in recognition of your eightieth birthday to just tell you how much I love you. Thank you Marsha new show it all the time. I don't want to cry. I know I'm trying not to either but I don't want to let you know that we've had our ups and downs we have had I think and I think we have I think that's what if you can test each other I think and then come to it and be loving and love and respect each other. I think that's all my show weekend ask absolutely. Well. I think this has been a wonderful experience and I'm glad that we were able to share this. Thank you Marsha, my dear.