Horace G. Nelson, Carol Nelson, and Tricia Nelson
DescriptionTricia Nelson interviews her parents, Horace and Carol Nelson about their decision to marry and immigrate to the United States at a very young age.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Horace G. Nelson
- Carol Nelson
- Tricia Nelson
Recording LocationGrand Central Terminal
- birth of first child
- economic beliefs and practices
- family expressions
- family heroes
- family in-jokes
- family members in history
- family naming and nicknames
- family trips and excursions
- first impression of America
- Guyana, South America
- personal experiences
- political beliefs and practices
- Richard Nixon
- social beliefs and practices
- Village Life
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00:04 My name is Tricia Nelson. I'm 37 years old today is November 23rd 2007 the day after Thanksgiving or in Grand Central Terminal and I'm here to interview my parents Carolyn horse Nelson.
00:18 I am Carol Nelson. Trish's mom just a few days ago. I celebrated the 20th anniversary of my 38th birthday.
00:32 My name is Horace Nelson on Trish's dad and I am 59 years ago.
00:41 Take me to start. I want to ask you. Have you ever been interviewed in this type of way before?
00:49 No, I haven't what kind of expectations do you have of this?
00:56 When was this interesting? I kept asking you what are we going to be talking about? What are you going to be asking us and you very cleverly and definitely carried those questions. So it's it's it's we're not sure but I'm sure it'd be wonderful.
01:18 Well, I'm sure it's going to be very interesting. This is the first time I will get to see my daughter perform as a journalist.
01:25 Here here. I'll let's start at the very beginning and you guys met and married very young. And what kind of expectations do you did you have a marriage back then?
01:41 Well, you know when you
01:45 Are married as young as we were I'm not sure you're thinking way into the future. Although in my family. I don't recall that we had any divorces Iram call that my grandmother and grandfather celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary while we were still in the George Town which was in which is British Guiana at that time since then the country gained its independence Hotel call Guyana in South America, but now you're very much in love and stars in your eyes and just thinking of getting started and thinking that you know life will simply go on forever.
02:30 My expectations were
02:33 What I thought were the affectations of my father that he married a beautiful woman then they said that they had their children a million happy. I expected that that would happen to me also and when I met your mom
02:46 Of course, I fell in love with her still in love with her and happily so far and we've had to two beautiful kids and I'll two beautiful grandchildren. I'm living the experience 38 years later. What did you want to be when you grew up or did you even think about that back then now I do recall that asked about age 17 something you wear their about. I really wanted to become a nurse. I have submitted an application to a nursing school in London, but they wrote back and said yes, it's okay you can come but we cannot guarantee you that you will be accepted into the program and since it was so iffy and it was difficult to contemplate undertaking that Journey without a knowledge of
03:46 The outcome would be but simply to be involved in something that I liked. I would be good at that would contribute to the general welfare of the family.
04:02 Well, I always
04:06 Thought that I would be an accountant. My dad was an accountant. Your grandfather was in the condom for a good one too, and he had a school where he told accountant and many of them.
04:17 Many of our relatives were taught by him. And so I thought that I would naturally follow his footsteps and be an accountant and
04:27 That's what I became. Mom who I'm not really an accountant to Financial Manager.
04:33 Now thinking today if you had to do it over again, or you know, you're still very young. What what would you or what do you want to be when you grow up?
04:47 Well, I'm on the road to becoming what I want to be when I grow up because having been in business for 30 some-odd years I had the opportunity to retire while the time has come quite frankly and the wonderful retirement. They're wonderful exit package that I got for my company enables me to do something that I wanted to do and I felt it was time for me to go back to that objective that I had as a seventeen-year-old and that is to become a healthcare practitioner. So
05:29 As you know, I'm back in school pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
05:36 I'm having a wonderful time.
05:39 I don't think it's the generous benefit package at your mom got I think your mom worked for everything she has so I got the generous benefits package and how what was the question? What do you want to be when you grow up?
05:54 Looking back we are we started in what we have accomplished. I think I've accomplished everything. I wanted to be I think I'm a happy man at this stage of the game and whatever happens to me from here on with this be gravy. So I'm having I'm having a ball what's next for you or specifically I like to think of places to go on stages of my life of places. I want to go. So is there a place that you want to go that represents future?
06:30 Well, your mom always wants to settle by a body of water. So hopefully we will find some place outside of where we live. Now, if we don't continue to live there close to the body of water, but it will be some place that's close to both you and Gary and kids and Susie and
06:56 But I don't know where that could be. That could be anywhere between New York and California. So we have a lot of options.
07:04 Boys like to think that we could be even more adventurous than that Dad might have always talked about the possibility of maybe living for. Of time somewhere in the Mediterranean. Our what we had said, maybe Europe to be able to learn a second language be fluent at it. So I haven't given up on that. I got quite a bit of Wanderlust in my blood is you know, I think you you have followed in my footsteps. So I'm not giving up on that. That's a possibility. I'd like us to pursue when the time comes in The Fairly near future.
07:44 Did you guys do some traveling as a family? We have some little trips any memorable?
07:53 Got a great trip to Bermuda that was kind of comical on a lot of levels. But I remember that as a fun trip. We also had a great trip to Barbados where we do have some roots and we were able to see some family some very old family and just to explore as it might my brother and I were in the mid-teens and you know, it was kind of weird cuz our parents were very young. So we all look very young and we were able to do a lot of fun physical things there. So that was kind of fun. Yes. I remember the trip to Florida actually where we drove the farthest. We have driven before going to Florida's probably Connecticut. And so we drove to Florida and such a long drive that
08:46 We overnighted in in South Carolina and then continue so it took us two days but it was most memorable trip for all the things that happened that was a time and they brought in the c b c B's and we had that what you call it the handle that was very interested. Disney World back. Then it was before they're all these parts back then it wasn't what admission you had tickets. And so when all our tickets were gone the day was kind of over but I just remain oh, yes, we didn't have tickets to go on. It's a small world, but we had a great time and I subsequently works for Disney. So I was able to take that trip and kind of expand it for as long as I work there, which was nice.
09:38 And I find that I'm 37 years old now and I feel like I might as well still be a teenager. I depend on you guys for a lot and I'm wondering is there a difference between our relationship and the relationship that you have or had with your parents? And and did you expect our relationship to continue in the way that it had what you know growing up the way we did.
10:09 I think that the model for parents taking care of kids with you know, they took good care of them back in where we are from in South America. You did not move out of your parents home unless you were getting married. That's just the way it was and then you were expected to be fairly independent and quite frankly. I'm not sure exactly what happened because we laughed we migrated but I always thought that I wanted to have a very close and Lasting relationship with my children and it is particularly pleasurable to to Dad and to me that we still have a very close relationship that we have with you. We saw we have a very good relationship with Gary and his family, but I think we have a special relationship with you because
11:09 Yuri speak with you every single day you give us a call if there's a major decision to be made and you you sound the South we go away at least once a year some place. We just have a wonderful time you really enjoy your company and it's evident to us that you enjoy ours and we would want it to stay that way forever.
11:38 That's a very good question and you have to take it in this context because when we were kids we lived in a small community Gana, you know, it's a large place in South America. It's a very small communities like Village and everybody's part of the village. Everybody knows you, you know everybody so, you know, we had a lot of extended family around us in America. It's totally different in Cinemark everybody lives in their own cocoon. And you know, even though you may visit people it's so sad people live so far away and so it is very very important for us that we maintain the closeness also the great equalizer. I think his education and you guys are both
12:28 Perfectly advance in your education and you know, it's a pleasure to do sit down have conversations in a vert and variance objects with you and Gary we have great relationship with both of you. And even now with Gary is it? Okay, then with Kerry's wife was beautiful person Susie and you have a great relationship and I would not want it to be any other way.
12:52 I'm wondering because you gave up so much to be able to give us that education and not necessarily everybody in the family felt that it was worth that sort the sacrifice for the kids. Why?
13:09 Play I see it. And I know this is the way your mom sees it is that you guys didn't ask to come we brought you here and we have an obligation to you. I think parenting is not so difficult parenting is just an outgrowth of love and you know, if we if we say we love each other and we care for each other. We just naturally do the things that those things would have us too. And so whatever we have we share with you. What if we have a share with your brother and his wife and his kids and so I think it's just a beautiful thing. I just hope that all families would have relationship like ours.
13:51 Also on a very practical level and I think I've said this to both so we've said this to both you and Gary before we would say to you. We we are not rich and we don't have friends in high places. We didn't at least we didn't at the time and therefore the only thing that we could provide to you to get you started on the road to being independent individual. It's a good education. And as you may recall from the time you probably could remember we kept repeating to the two of you that high school is not the end of the education that we expected that you would go on at the college and be very good at it and it was not your concern. You know how we got paid for that we felt it was our responsibility to provide that to you because having started in life as early as we did, we knew that we
14:51 Could give you the best we could possibly give you and still have loads of time for ourselves to do but then pursue would be wanted to do interest you. So you made a lot of sacrifices. Do you think that
15:07 Well, I don't want to say that they were worth it. But you don't have any regrets about the amount of sacrifice financial and otherwise, that's not cuz I think of all the other things one can pay for, you know, instead of say a brown education, maybe a Suny Albany education and a jaguar or you know, something like that no regrets. Those are things and you things can disappear things can become obsolete things can be damaged, but nobody can repossess a good education.
15:47 Urban you think of regrets and you have to think of all the columns and what has been the outcome and we know people who have food to a different route and we know of their outcomes to so I would not trade my old come from any other outcome.
16:05 Okay, I'm going to switch gears a little I want to find out about the day. I was born and how you chose my name.
16:15 That is that is an embarrassing questions because actually is your name.
16:23 If you recall around the time you were born who is president and I didn't have any political affiliation, but I like the name of his daughter. And so I think we chose the name based on that. We never highlighted the fact that we did not subscribe to the his political. I would you call it Sunday morning. I remember it was. I believe from 7 minutes to 11 that Sunday morning.
17:06 And it was not a long. Before between one thing and the next you were here. You said I'm ready and you were here and I recall it was a beautiful spring day. Cuz because you were born in April and boy. Yeah. I was wonderful. Did you know you're going to have a girl?
17:29 I don't recall back then. I'm not sure if they were big on telling you the the sex of the child. I really I don't think so. I don't think we knew but I do recall that the second time around I was fairly positive that I was having a boy and I did so what was did you have a name picked out for me if I wasn't a girl?
17:54 I don't recall 1978. You know, many of the folks in the family. That was a thing of that time. They always guessed they didn't know and they were very sure that it would be a girl that you and your girl. So, I think we were looking at girls names.
18:23 I wasn't I don't recall that I was was nervous.
18:30 I was ready to be a parent's quite frankly. Although I was very young. It was like, oh, okay. This is time for me to get moving with my life. And I was just looking forward to it. That's a very interesting question to because Kyle was just turned into it was 20 and I was I just turned I was one week from 22.
18:52 So we were really young quite a few folks have told us that we started really to hear what we were ready. We were I thought we were very very mature for all ages at the time and history has proved this correct there were some who thought we were the least likely to succeed couple.
19:14 Pima Library
19:21 Some of the older heads felt too young. But as Dad said we're here. Well, that's kind of interesting because everybody seem to get married really young and start having kids really young. So why why single out your situation than everybody else's. I believe we were the youngest to be married at least up until then and actually ran I told my mom that I was going to get married. She was surprised that I wanted to get my running to do so to Carolyn told her she was my fiance and so she was surprised because she had a different future for me. She had intended for me to finish my school in first before becoming before taking on that aspect of my life. So it was interesting.
20:16 That's weird. I didn't know that Granny wanted you to finish school first. What did she want you to do where most of my skills seem to be? So why did you stop at just two kids? We both came from really big families.
20:38 Having count from big families you get to a point of realizing how very stressful and difficult it could be.
20:50 Maybe dad and I were just unusual in terms of our thinking having both come from a large family is your dad of course from a much larger family than mine. Personally. I always felt that one should have as many children as one could a financially support and be emotionally and psychologically and that number was to
21:19 That's exactly right. We thought that we could we knew what our obligations were. Are we knew what we wanted for you and for you and Gary and so we decided that she no way to be in a will be able to handle to any more than two would be difficult. What did you want for me? And Gary. You can get we wanted you to conquer the world. We wanted you to be whatever it is. You can be but you whatever made you happy also, and so I asked you if you may recall wanted both of you to be lawyers and
22:01 But then I that's was probably living vicariously through you. So what are you chose your your careers and both of your journalists, which is a terrific thing. I'm just glad that you're bitching lesson that you are being the best people that you can be.
22:21 The tools is that said to enable you to be the best that you could be as whatever you chose to be and that's exactly what we're saying. So we are deeply gratified. I'm going back to your question earlier. Do we have any regrets? Absolutely not because we look around in our in our extended families at some other points of view regarding sacrifice and the role of parents. And as you are very well aware. Some of those outcomes are not good.
22:57 So what was I like as a kid? What was Gary like as a kid in what knowing what we were then? What did you think we would be?
23:06 If you were both Delightful Children
23:11 You were always very sweet and Charming never had to get after you about homework. You knew exactly what you had to do. You got it done. If you needed help you came. I recall you being quite surprised when you were in high school and doing French that I managed to recall. Some of my eyes girlfriend to help you with that. I was a little bit different points are different the girls. He he you're both naturally talented yet with him. We will have to get after him and he would. Alon till the 11th hour, but somehow he would pull it off and get it done and get it done. Well.
23:59 Well, my recollection is that you're all you've always been consistent. You're always caring and everything. You're always attentive to detail at least, you know, you know how you kept your room and so but there was some there was one.
24:16 . In your life in high school when you started driving you became social directing in Elmont. And so you started the having fun partying and doing these things and you know, and so I thought it was very interesting time of your life. And that's when I got to see how outgoing you would become the Gary. I think it's interesting that you were my sign Taurus and Aries your mom's sign Scorpio. And so you guys are just as different as your mom and I are whatever that means. But Gary is has always been consistent to even though his skin is I his Focus was always on Sports and
25:14 And having fun.
25:17 Now I'm single and I have been single for a very very very very long time all of your life. How do you file would you feel if I never got married?
25:29 The way I see it. Whatever makes you happy. I am always fascinated at parents who try to live through their kids. They must do this. They must do that. No first. I want you to be happy. Whatever makes you happy your dad and I want you to be happy and if you can never get married
25:51 It means that the right person never came along because we've had this conversation before we are you sort of emone this in the past and I as I pointed out to you better to be single and happy and be able to come and go as you please enjoy life as you please then to be saddled with somebody who is not the right person for you. So
26:14 Does make a difference to us?
26:17 I have to ask you a question about that.
26:20 I am I'm trying to get the gist of the question here. Why did you ask that question? Because
26:27 I don't know the more that I go along. I'm like, well, I'm kind of getting up there. I don't know if I'm going to have kids and I'm not going to have kids unless I'm in a relationship unless I adopt her in a become a foster parent and you know, it's been this long and you know, I'm a very strong person. So make a difference to you if it's your natural kids or if you adopt kids do you think it would make a difference to us? I don't think it would but you know, it's a very different thing to have your own kids and to raise somebody else's I think I think I'm a lot more equipped. I I wouldn't I wouldn't bring a child into this world by myself. I think a kid if you can need two parents if there's a kid who you know is doesn't have any parents one parents anybody to give him love is better than none. But so along those same lines.
27:28 If at some point it seems to you that this is not going to happen. You wouldn't be married. Would you want to adopt someone? I don't know. I think I think I said I think about it all the time, but I think one has to start with baby steps. I can you know, I am I'm not an expert at taking care of myself. So I'd have to become better at that and maybe I'd start out with a pet make my way from there.
28:01 Well, maybe that's a baby step. But let me tell you as I always say people are required to have licenses to drive cars then not required to have licenses to raise children and the outcome could be significantly worse one over the other and I do believe that if you have the the the welfare of the dependent in mind somehow you always manage to do the right thing. Are you perfect every single day nobody is but if your concern is doing the right thing having fun as well enjoying each other's company guiding directing whatever happens.
28:49 Do you think I'd make a good parent? I absolutely think you would you're a very very caring person you I'm amazed. I always say tell my friends. I want to be like my daughter when I grow up you are so wonderful at maintaining relationships. You're good at organizing things at following up on things arranging group vacations for your friends ferreting out the right things the right information. You are just wonderful. You're just on your mother, but you're a wonderful person.
29:26 I think you'll make a good mom. Do you see me with a girl or a boy or both? I haven't seen you yet with her Ingrid, but I seen you with little boys. I think a parent is a parent. And I think sex is irrelevant. Now, what what would you want Isabel and Ingrid the smoothies to know about you, but they don't know about you yet.
29:57 Well, I intend to have serious conversations with is about an ingrate. They will find out about everything we've been talking about only positive stuff and it must be some negative stuff. I like them to know everything. I like them to know who we are or whatever. Yeah, I just like them to know where they come from your part of their history. And so they must understand and it must be authentic not not revisionist.
30:34 Well, I think that you have rich rich cultural heritage. If you think of the smoothies as you call them Isabel and Ingrid my goodness on both our side your dad's for for parents on his mom's I came from India my for parents on my dad's side. I were either from the island of Madeira Portugal on her mother's side there from Russia. Did you talk about an international a Heritage my goodness? It is so rich that I would want to be sure that they are fully aware of their roots.
31:22 Horace can ask
31:24 I can tell what an incredible relationship you guys have and sometimes I tease my parents that they have such a great relationship that has made it difficult for me to have one and you're the kind of like I feel like that's what you're alluding. Yeah.
31:47 Wonderful examples. I think it's a blessing and kind of a curse because a lot of people go into a relationship with expectations and not necessarily knowledge. And I think I know a lot I know if I meet somebody and I talked to them. I know I know this would be fun for 2 weeks, but it's not going to be able to sustain. So it's I love that I had become Civil War as I've gotten older that I become aware of my surroundings of I can read people really. Well, we may be too well cuz I can see it right away. It's a good person or bad person. I can sometimes see what their secrets are right through their eyes.
32:35 But but when you have that sort of knowledge, it's it's kind of working against that gift to compromise it. So it's kind of hard, you know, you know what it should be and you can tell right away that it's it's not going to so I will stay hopeful that that I don't want to say that everybody has a true love and because I don't know if I believe in that I think there's some sort of those fairy tales in that too. But but I believe that everybody deserves love and it's not necessarily, you know, it takes different form. So, you know, some people may BMO know I never had one true love or I haven't met my one true love yet, but
33:20 Maybe they are loved in a different way and you just have to you just have to honor that curse that you talk about. You know, the thing about it I think is that you have to think in terms. I know this is cliche, but you have to think outside the box.
33:39 The box is where your parents are and they have a history on a relationship and an experience that cannot be your experience in for that. You have to look for you have to look for someone who would embody some of the things that you would like to have and that I think it's where you have to move from l. I I think that you can rest assure that I'm not trying to replicate something. I know who I am and I'm not looking for somebody to complete me cuz I think I'm pretty complete. I'm looking for a Divine complement and sometimes you know why I look and I've got these amazing friends and I'm like, well, I'm so blessed to have these people in my life while they are complimenting me in one way, you know, maybe in love somebody will compliment me in another. I guess. I'll just have to find out.
34:36 During that Although. Our model is a model where we became married at a very young age in some instances people. Don't marry until their way Advanced it doesn't happen until then. So I agree with you ever remaining hopeful, but the thing that I am I'm happy about is the fact that you are a very sure of yourself. You are very successful you can you speak up. You're not a shrinking violet you say what's on your mind and nice way and you you're not waiting on anything or anyone to make you a whole person you are and you're a wonderful person.
35:24 I'd like the final question. What would you like your legacy to be?
35:32 My legacy to be that's a tough one. Well, but I'd like to think that when my time comes I can look back and say I have made a difference. I have made a difference through the children that we raised we've made a difference. I've helped to make a difference through the way grandchildren have have come up. I've made a difference in lives of people whom I've met along the way. Hey and it has some my my meeting them or my interacting with them has made a difference in their lives for the better.
36:22 My legacy should be that people should always say horse Nelson. He always tried to help.
36:35 Do a lot of time has passed since you told your mom that you were going to get married and just kind of thinking about that.
36:47 I don't even know if I'd say about love but in.
36:51 You know the good times and the bad times that you've shared over.
36:56 How many years is it now? 38 38 years. Did you have to be able to give and take?
37:07 You have to close your eyes to some things. You have to overlook something since he said when his mom found out she wasn't exactly happy about that and it didn't make for the the easiest mother-in-law daughter-in-law relationship in the early stages, but I can tell you that as time went by the other daughters-in-law seem to think that I was the favored one and looking back the way I was brought up was you regardless of what adults did or said they were adults and you you were respectful to them and somehow you had to find a way to work around whatever the difficulty was and so we did and you know, we've always apply.
38:09 No lessons as we go along sometimes things will turn out exactly the way you want them to and sometimes they don't and that's life. And even when they don't turn out the way you want them to I think we I think in our case we were really a lot more emotionally and psychologically mature than a lot of people around us and we learn because we had older siblings in some cases parents turning to us to get things done on their behalf. We didn't shirk that responsibility. We just kind of showed it in. Okay, this is a challenge. Let's see what how well we can live up to their expectations and how much we can help them learn something in the process and it's been an amazing learning experience it really has
39:09 I forgot the question. What was the question?
39:19 What do you feel like?
39:23 Okay. Okay. Yes. I remember now. Well, the first thing is that when we got married we were in love. I think I was kind and we have we have stayed that way throughout our relationship. We always respected each other and one of the things that I think has worked successfully for me is that I am normally if I am.
39:57 Concerned about the situation I would
40:03 Go for it in my head before voicing your opinions. And I think that has that's what his work as well for us.
40:18 I'm just Scorpio and a Taurus.
40:24 Or I can ask a question.
40:32 So Tricia what didn't happen having now told you all the things we know our whole history. What do you think?
40:44 I think that what I knew.
40:48 Please write your two very solid people and like I said, I have that gift of being able to read people and you're no different. You're very
41:00 Honest and genuine and good-hearted and I look to you as an example cuz sometimes I am not so honest and generous and you know, and I have to I have to set a standard I have to remember where I came from and then and it helps it helps to to think of where I came from and to try to uphold the standards of excellence. I'm surprised that you would say you don't think you're always honest and good-hearted. I don't think of you as a really evil sometimes, you know, I go through my phases. I went through that. I hate people phase where I would just be in the grocery store muttering under my breath because people just annoyed me because I hold people to a standard like you should be good and you should be a good citizen and you know, sometimes I get disappointed and then I realized sometimes my standards are a little too high, but you know you go through those phases.
42:00 Older I get I realize I'm human and that's what we do. That's what I do. I just wanted to thank you both for indulging me. I love you both and I hope you know that I look forward to next Thanksgiving wherever we are and
42:19 Well, I'm very glad that you said this out. This was a great opportunity for very candid exchange of information and we love you very much and I'm sure you know that and yes, we look forward to the continued close relationship and we look forward to vacationing with you at least once a year into future.