Janis Bell , Laura Hill, Patti Bell, and Linda Bell

Recorded October 24, 2007 Archived October 24, 2007 36:33 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX003216


Janis Bell talks with her three daughters, Patti, Linda and Laura, about her childhood, attending seminary, and raising her daughters.

Subject Log / Time Code

Janis was an accountant and started dreaming about calculators, which convinced her to go back to seminary.
Janis on her young self: “I was a brat!”
Janis on marrying her husband, and the subsequent divorce.
Janis talks about being a little shy, like her daughters


  • Janis Bell
  • Laura Hill
  • Patti Bell
  • Linda Bell


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00:03 My name is Patti Bell. I'm 46 years old. Today is October 24th, 2007. We're in Louisville, Kentucky, and I'm helping to interview my mother. Janis Bell.

00:17 My name is Laura Hill. I'm 44 years old, today's date, 10 2407. We're in Louisville, Kentucky, and I'm helping to interview my mother. Janis Bell.

00:29 My name is Linda Bell. I'm 40 years old. Today's date is October, 24th, 2007. I'm helping interview my mother Janis Bell in Louisville, Kentucky, and mother. Can you also tell us the same information about yourself? Your name age? Today's date and where we are.

00:51 My name is Janice WBAL.

00:55 Today's date is October 24th, 2007.

01:02 What's your age?

01:05 72.

01:07 And your relationship to us? I'm Your Mother.

01:15 We have a lot of questions. So we'll start at the top and see how far we get.

01:23 One of the significant things that happen to you and and and to us as our daughters is dead. You have Parkinson's disease and can you tell us a little bit about that?

01:36 Well, it's a terminal disease. That doesn't have a cure yet. They claim they're close to appear, but it hasn't happened. They have some good medicines is kind of destroyed the real emphasis of the disease.

01:54 You gradually lose.

01:58 Brain cells.

02:02 That's what the life of a fox and some of the others have been fighting for.

02:11 Do you ever think about dying?

02:14 Yes, some I guess there's no point in worrying about it. We all have to come to a concerned about some of the details of my last days.

02:28 Because of the disease.

02:31 Yes, and leaving my family and so forth.

02:35 What kind of the deacon, what kind of details are you concerned about?

02:39 Well, I'm want to be cremated and that puts up with some problems of whether you keep the ashes or so. The answer is in the Ohio River. What you do with that?

02:52 What do you want done?

02:54 I want some scattered somewhere. It has to be on public property.

02:59 Can't be on private photography.

03:02 So maybe it's up to you all. Were you want to scare them? If you want to scare them? Three different places, that's fine to say there is my mom there and there's my mom there. And there's my mom there. If you have a favorite place that they replace you, like the the only reason, I only reason I mentioned the Ohio River was that I was born at Covington on Lehigh River and I've lived most of my life and live alone and lonely heart River and that's probably a

03:32 Good place.

03:37 How is your illness, changed your life? And have you have you learned anything from it?

03:44 Louisville Slugger, what is taught me to do one day at a time? Not to look too far ahead cuz I don't know how many years I live if I live two years or if I was live.

03:58 10 years. I've had a long Siege of good health with it. I was diagnosed probably 10 or 15 years ago.

04:10 And it hasn't progressed too much recently in and they had started a new patch this winter.

04:20 Translate experimenting with

04:25 Are there things that you?

04:28 Can't do anymore that you really miss.

04:33 Well, so far I haven't missed too many things. I don't ski and I don't swim and there's quite a few things that I can still do.

04:49 How about? Let's start talking about a little bit about your religious beliefs. Can you tell me what your spiritual religious beliefs are? I was born a Christian in the Disciples of Christ. First Christian Church in Covington.

05:05 And I've been in that same denomination. 72 years. I'm a no license.

05:12 Minister with a Kentucky Region of Kentucky,

05:18 And I've just stayed in that.

05:24 Realm of religion. I believe that Christ is the son of the Living God and to take him to be my master and

05:33 The Christian churches, you know.

05:36 Let's people believe what they want to believe and doesn't force him to believe something on the Bible or Creed or something else. It's a very liberal denomination.

05:50 Our children grew up in the same vein.

05:58 What was the most profound spiritual moment of your life?

06:04 On the birth of a baby. You can't have a baby and not think it's a spiritual experience.

06:19 I'm assuming you believe in.

06:22 Heaven. I don't know if you called if you know it have any ideas of what kind of a place that is, but if you if you go to heaven and you meet God, is there anything you'd say to him or her?

06:33 That's interesting that you put the her on there and I don't know what heaven or hell. Look like. I assume.

06:50 The perhaps.

06:52 Heaven is a continuation of of your life.

06:59 Eternal life in hell is the absence. It's just nothing. You die, you die. And you have no other place to go.

07:08 Of course, that's just my opinion and not verified by the Bible or anybody else.

07:15 Visited there yet. Yeah.

07:25 How about thinking about happy moments in your life? Is there something you can pinpoint is a happiest moment or just specifically. I have some happy I could name several. I guess. What? Guess the day I got married.

07:38 From the 30s. And my children probably were, I was happy when I was ordained. This and licensed minister.

07:51 I can think later come up with some other ideas. I'm sure of happy moments.

07:57 You started in to go to cemetery in the 50s, but you didn't finish what made you go back when you were in your sixties.

08:05 Well, I didn't feel like I wanted to retire completely. I was tired of being an auditor and being a bookkeeper Figures were going around in my head and dreams about the calculator at 9.

08:20 Malasada and go back to Seminary and finish mower.

08:25 Degree.

08:31 Were you frightened in doing that seeing as how you were in your 60 to that point? It was a frightening. The only thing as well, I had gone back to the school at Sullivan before that and finish all of it wasn't but one course.

08:47 Swords of a bee doo ba degree in

08:52 Business administration.

08:55 And work just as an auditor after that, then I went to Seminary.

09:01 Taking classes at night from 6 until 10 driving to Lexington and back to take the class. So it was a struggle. Didn't to do the hours that I do.

09:16 Obviously the church has been a really big influence in your life. But who was the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?

09:25 Well, what important person was a Sunday school teacher that I had.

09:31 In youth group at first Christian in Covington, Eleanor light. She was a real inspiration.

09:40 What was inspirational batter?

09:43 Well, she just glowed all the time and she was.

09:48 Very good with words with teaching.

09:57 Teenagers are hard to teach. Is that what made you want to go into the ministry yourself or? No? I don't think so. I was born.

10:07 Weather flow.

10:10 Interesting things that I did and I do wish to put worship Services together. That's one of my favorite things.

10:23 Do you like to ask you, write the sermons or do you like the organizing the whole service?

10:29 I like to ride the sermons. I'm not especially good at grammar in the

10:36 Getting everything right on paper, but I enjoy riding the sermons. Who is time-consuming for me, because I didn't didn't know as much as most ministers. No stars Bibles concerns and put her in 7 to gather.

10:54 When you write a sermon, what are you usually trying to do an instructor help or provide provide education of why the scripture was written who wrote it?

11:15 I also try to bring it back to him and to the daily life of people.

11:21 Give them the opportunity to better themselves according to the scriptures that I've chosen.

11:35 Lessons in life. Is there some important lessons? You think you've learned in life.

11:42 Not to take anything for granted.

11:46 Take one day at a time.

11:51 That's mostly what I've learned.

11:55 What's your earliest memory?

11:59 Oh goodness. I remember my dad rocking me in a big rocking chair. That was huge. Sort of like Edith. Ann had on Laugh-In is a great, big rock to charity. Used to Rock Me.

12:16 Utah.

12:18 You talk to us before about your parents and you seem to be especially.

12:24 Fond of your daddy must have been a really great dad. Will he was and he taught me to dry and fortunately but is going to my mother.

12:38 And he played tennis and he played croquet and he taught me to ride a bike.

12:48 Janis. What was his name? His name is Zimmer, right?

12:53 C. E m, a r.

12:56 Is it all right? I g h t. How old were you when he passed away?

13:06 Well, Betty was here a year old. So we've been 1962 that he passed away.

13:14 LOL, what I've been 35 from 62, what's that?

13:20 Okay, I was 27 when he passed away.

13:25 Your parents were older when they had you. Do. You know how old he was? When he felt that he know he I think he was around 78 or something like that. My mother was the 43 when I was before my dad was 45.

13:42 My grandfather had come from Holland.

13:46 I never could find a trace of the boat or anything that he came over on. I went through a lot of the genealogy to see if I can find that my grandmother on my mother's side.

13:59 Ramsay High Bridge, Kentucky.

14:03 She was born in there and she was eating next to the youngest of 10 children by dad was a step.

14:12 Daughter and stepson to his mother, who raised him a stepmother.

14:19 His mother died when he was 4.

14:23 And I never knew either. One of my grandparents on either side. They died before I was born.

14:33 Did you have other favorite relatives? Yeah, I had an aunt and uncle Uncle Al and Aunt Catherine who?

14:42 Took me every summer out to the farm and let me help plant tobacco and

14:50 Feed the chickens and all of the things that girl kids like to do on a farm.

14:57 And I caught cousins there to play with. They were I was when I was a teenager, they were.

15:05 What are two years old? They were just little kids but I rocked him and so forth.

15:14 You grew up as an only child him. How do you think that affected? You was like, it's terrible to grow up as an only child. I remember asking.

15:25 To have a sister or brother and I are they could have adopted one and I've never known the difference with my dad, never wanted to adopt a child. So I grew up and I think it's an only child is a real shame that that child.

15:40 That's why I had three. I guess I could have had two, but then I thought we would have happened soon, one of your children.

15:48 Does it make it as dies or something? Then the other ones left alone? So

16:01 It was supposed to be two years as well. I was going to make the four years between all of you knew you had to the four years and then you can only had the two years. Yeah.

16:15 Ever. That is

16:26 In trouble, or were you perfect.

16:29 It was a brat.

16:32 How are you? I forgot.

16:46 And that's why I was a brat.

16:55 It was a pretty good kid. Cuz this fight the facts. Then he cried a lot. So I cried a lot when I cried a lot to do not go. I know exactly what she's doing. And if I search for a run.

17:22 Do you have a favorite memory? Or is there a memory that you would like to hold on to for the rest of your life that you cherish?

17:36 Not really. I've had a lot of good memories, but I don't, I can't pick one outfit.

17:43 Santana.

17:48 What are you proud of stuff?

17:50 My children.

17:53 I'm proud of the fact that I went back to school twice.

18:01 That I had an article in today's transition magazine.

18:09 How's your life been different than what? You imagined? It might be?

18:13 Well, when I was a teenager when I was in college, I was going to marry a minister, and I was going to

18:21 Become up. Probably have an associate pastor or whatever.

18:26 Then I got married and forgot that dream and came back to it when it was 55 or however long it was.

18:37 We just sending it was hard to give up when you got married to Dad instead of a minister know cuz I was interested in having children to get pregnant.

18:49 I was married 3 years before I head batty.

19:00 Which is a good stick way.

19:07 How did how did you feel when you first found out you were pregnant?

19:11 Overjoyed.

19:14 I never was sick in my life when I was pregnant.

19:21 For the people.

19:22 First signs of a Dyson.

19:26 I guess it was.

19:29 My husband.

19:33 Probably Grandma, Shari dance step. No dance real mother.

19:40 And the my mother and dad.

19:45 The mother thought you should only have one child when I got pregnant. The second third time. She

19:52 Was unhappy.

19:54 Why did she think that?

19:58 I don't know. She didn't particularly like children. I don't think.

20:03 She never invited cousins for me to play with her. I had to go outside and play with him some kind of game or something outside, and she is a good housekeeper.

20:17 Very good housekeeper, but she never read me a book. Her play the game or anything with me.

20:25 So, how do you think you learn to be such a good mom? Cuz I remember you reading to all of us and playing and being affectionate.

20:35 Just come natural studied a lot of books.

20:43 Doctor Spock.

20:46 They've changed the loss of these a lot since then.

20:52 Used to be you couldn't feed her baby. We better baby. As soon as it was, we called ourselves cereal and so forth. And now they're making you wait six weeks before you feed baby. Solid food. Don't know why the difference to all seem to have survived visit free.

21:12 Lil Wayne got a lot of Old Navy for that later on the floor.

21:22 Can you describe the moment when you saw your child for the first time?

21:27 Yeah, I thought you look like me.

21:30 I thought you look like a little Janice.

21:34 It was just kind of surprised me because I don't know what what she was going to look like.

21:40 She still looks like it was. Okay, your dad said, Linda.

21:50 That's a great thing to hear when your female.

21:55 Do you remember when your last child, which would be me left home for good?

22:03 But it was right at the time that my mother died and I've had to spend that week. I think about when you left home. Back to college or first grade.

22:16 When you left, I guess we were in the first grade grandmother had died and I had to spend time up there moving furniture and selling the house and so forth.

22:28 College, when you left home, somebody else came in and it seems like it was shift. But he came back from college and say 2 years when I came back and staging.

22:41 Elsa, 2 years, I love the stage exposed to New Year's. Then they were all gone.

22:47 How'd you feel when?

22:49 Yeah, the house to yourself.

22:52 Too much different cuz I was used to have one of you being gone or both of you or all three of you.

23:00 It did. I spent 27 years practically by myself, so I didn't bother me. Like it does some people.

23:13 Do you have any favorite stories about your kids?

23:18 Well, do you all side Linda to the bedpost?

23:23 I'm good. The torture has been documented forever.

23:31 That's your favorite story. Well, there was a, there was a single, whenever I put two of you in a car. You were fine. When I put the third one in the car. And then she's looking at me, maybe that they're doing, was such a great idea was or what it was.

23:53 When you get out of the third one, it was murder.

23:59 How did, how did becoming a parent, change your life?

24:11 That's a good question.

24:13 Your life is not your own anymore. And I spent 17 years raising a family rather than working outside the home.

24:26 I got involved in a lot of things in my mother, never never to get involved in like PTA and scouting has got through for 13 years.

24:42 Totally School, most of the most of our children's early years.

24:51 I think everything kind of changes your routine changes cuz I didn't work right up until the time. I had my first child. I laid off about a year is working Church.

25:12 Sounds like whenever your, your life needed change, you kind of just said about going forth in that direction on your own, but do you have any regrets?

25:23 I regret that I didn't stay and Seminary the first time and finish that too.

25:30 The gray and pursue.

25:34 They administered more.

25:47 Talk about if you want, how you met the girl's, father.

25:52 Okay.

25:55 I was given a job as minister of,

26:00 You said music at Lebanon, Christian Church.

26:05 And there was a deacon there who was the first treasurer?

26:11 It's always good to know church treasurer.

26:16 And then we'd struck up a conversation. And some days. And it went on from there. I met him in September and we were married in April.

26:27 That's pretty fast.

26:29 Dad told me. He's all you. I guess sing in the choir. Something and said you were the prettiest woman. He'd ever seen.

26:37 Well, as its head and macular degeneration.

26:51 How to heat. He was working for Coca-Cola at the time and he works for Coca-Cola for 30 years.

27:00 How did you know he was the one? Do you remember knowing that right away or no? He gave me a ring for Christmas and I'll give it back to him and I said I wasn't going to marry you.

27:14 And he cried and carried on. So, I finally gave in.

27:25 Advanced Paving.

27:28 I guess. But how did he propose can go away?

27:37 All right. He's married again now and he has a very nice mom if you all three were in his wedding.

27:44 Which is unlocked for him more than I could do. You and dad are divorced. How did that affect you?

27:53 Not too bad. I had inherited some money from Uncle James, who nobody thought he had any money, and he ended up with about $400,000 and I got 16 of whatever was left after the taxes and everything else. I think it was about a hundred thousand. I got his head up.

28:16 Inheritance and that helped a lot to do the time that I was going through a divorce.

28:22 Patti was in college, when weren't you just started to call. I just wanted 23.

28:38 How about emotionally? I know. Dad was gone a lot, anyway.

28:43 Yeah, well it was they say I divorce is equal to a death.

28:49 As far as the stress level and everything's concerning.

28:54 You got it, true.

28:56 Yeah.

28:59 I've had two widowed. Women told me they thought divorce was worse. Well, there's no finality to it for one thing if you have, if you have small children.

29:11 It's just not.

29:14 Cut and dried. Do you still have to deal with those children and and the ex-husband for years?

29:20 It's a very difficult leave and never was, he's always been great.

29:28 I think I think there's do. You know that at least the Widow's benefit told me that both head.

29:34 Spouse has you love them to the end. So I guess part of their opinion was at least, you know, the ending of that relationship. They still knew the person loved them at the moment that it ended. So, you married to an alcoholic or something and you get married. Again, you'll marry another alcoholic. It seems like you repeat the pattern.

29:58 I never cared that much about dating or anything. I had too many other interest.

30:07 Did you ever think about previous love interest? Anyone you knew before Dad?

30:13 No, everybody. I've dated was married.

30:18 I don't go after married men.

30:23 Rubber glove for single men.

30:25 You're everything to me. What if question? Like, you know about those previous love Zord.

30:32 Just moved to head all the time.

30:45 I guess words of wisdom. There any words of wisdom? You'd like to past us?

30:52 No, I think you're doing a great job with your lives. You all three have good professions or

30:58 Comes.

31:01 Just keep it up and don't listen to Uncle Sam. Do you in?

31:07 May I work for a go Sam or else you have?

31:23 Just want to say what you do, just for the record.

31:27 Yeah, this is Patty. I'm a software developer. And Laura is a pharmacist and I'm Linda and I work in quality assurance.

31:41 How does that mean? It means that they specifically for my job. Anyway, it has to do with computer software and making sure it works appropriately does what the user wanted to do. That's what it's intended to do, that sort of thing. So I basically test it to see that it's performing is who I see you for that who comes to us for home health agencies, Home, Health agency. That goes into someone's home, takes a little handheld device with the men who performs a visit home health care. Visit like a weather is PT or an RN or occupational therapy, and then they think that visit by the home office. So we have software that captures all the information about that Home Health visit and then it comes back and they can bill appropriately and all that sort of thing from there. So,

32:41 I know and I understand, we know what pharmacist. Yeah, it's their pill pushers.

32:51 Patti. What is your job entail?

32:56 Mostly I develop software for for my company. We don't sell it to other companies. I work for an insurance company and I work for the division that takes care of our investments. So, I write a lot of web-based applications that help us keep track of our investments and that sort of thing.

33:23 Mom, how would you like to be remembered?

33:27 I've got some good pictures and some bad. I guess you have to remember the bad as well as the good.

33:37 Do pretty good?

33:40 I'm opinionated.

33:42 I say what I think.

33:50 Sometimes to the stick my foot in my mouth.

33:55 I could be a little more outgoing. I'm a little bit on the shy side, but I don't like to go into a group of people where I don't know anybody.

34:06 And I think my kids have sort of inherited that

34:13 What are some good traits? You all know him better than I do?

34:20 You're a good caretaker.

34:26 Strong Brave. Going back to school, two times in your late. Adulthood is not something a whole lot of people do or have the guts to do.

34:37 I think personally and and how I haven't gone through a divorce. Now myself I can get a good deal of strength from thinking about what you must have been going through and how difficult it must have been with three kids to have gone through that. Cuz and I went it was tough for me and I think you had even more going on and me and I just gained a whole lot more respect. You know, for you Frank for seeing how you handle that. I mean, you made it seem

35:08 So, seamless for us at the time, at least, I think so. I don't know how you all feel, but I mean, just seemed like, life just went on and, you know, his kids, we weren't affected nearly as detrimental as do. Many other children are, I think, and that's largely due to how you handled. I think so.

35:27 One of one of my one of those sayings that I remember you using a lot, but it's one of those things that has stuck with me and it reminds me of you and that you have always been generous and charitable and have always given people the benefit of the doubt and the saying that she used told just about every day of my childhood was, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Bambi was the one that said, you can't say something nice. Don't say nothing at all.

36:06 Anything we didn't talk about that. You'd like to add.

36:14 No, I think you pretty much covered my history.

36:20 Okay.

36:22 Thanks for letting me ask you all these hard questions and being a great mom. Thank you.