Ann Saneholtz and Carrie Valderas

Recorded September 9, 2005 Archived September 9, 2005 00:00 minutes
Audio not available

Interview ID: MBY000494


Daughter interviews mother about her adoption, raising children, and mother’s life and career as teacher

Subject Log / Time Code


  • Ann Saneholtz
  • Carrie Valderas


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00:04 My name is Carrie Valderas. I'm 28. Today is September 9th 2005. We're at the Seattle Center just by The Fountain and I'm going to be interviewing my mother.

00:18 My name is Ian Saint holds. I just turned 61 yesterday.

00:23 The date today is September 9th 2005. We're at Seattle Center, which is close to where we live for the last 25 years and I am the proud mother of Carrie Valderas warm fuzzies. What you remember the first time you saw me or what was your reaction rather since you weren't particularly expecting me.

00:53 You know Carrie I was I was scared. It was really funny.

00:59 When we went to the adoption agency, we had taken to your brother out of preschool, and he didn't really understand cuz he was only three and a half years old. So when we got to the adoption agency, we thought that we were just going to go to paperwork and we had no idea that we were going to see you we have left idea that we were going to take you home.

01:22 He took me home the same day. I took you home that we took you home the same day, and we did not know that we were going to do that.

01:28 And so will L prepared where you at? Well just a bit when we went into the agency. There was a woman there and again, I didn't know where I thought this is the worker would be there in the social worker. And so we were just talking casually and they said that that we can pay the money and you would be ours and we were we were really excited and then all the sudden this been the case Lee says your daughters in the Next Room and I just froze so your dad instead of me got up and went in the other room and I followed him. I was really afraid to pick you up all of a sudden the enormity of what we've done the adoption that you're going to be ours that you were going home with us was just absolutely over. What about the fact that I was a baby girl instead of a toddler boy. That's a whole nother issue are the whole thing is we had put in for hard-to-place older male child simply feeling that.

02:28 Would be easier for your brother to have a sibling that was a brother and close to his age. And so in actuality we got a call in the Thursday night.

02:38 Late that they have a job for us and they want us to to tell them the next Friday by 2 in the afternoon. And when your father explained to me that it was a girl when you were five weeks old I said you mean a boy in five years old because that was just our mindset, you know, so when we saw you I I was absolutely Overjoyed but I was also scared because I thought is this the right thing to do. Is this something can we provide the the type of life in the type of love that we could for you just like we had your brother and then I saw you and even though I was afraid to pick you up and then made your dad pick you up. It was great. And am I always look for signs and things so you had on a blue dress and I always thought that was really something because most babies most little girls clothes were blue.

03:38 Yeah, so I thought that was that was a good omen and the other thing I think that made it really really funny is when we took you home we lived in an adults-only condominium and with Nathan grandfathered in then yeah, they said they knew about him and I made sure that I was on the board.

04:03 I had to make sure that I was on the board of directors for the condo so they couldn't say anything but I do remember there were balconies in the second story of some of the condos and I can remember some very surprised faces when we walked in with the baby cuz the time there was one thing but walking in with the infant with another.

04:24 So that was that was pretty funny. And what date was that that was in February of 1978. You were 5 weeks old.

04:36 What did Nathan think listen? Listen didn't know what to think. I think that he was always kind of an accepting kid. So he just kind of went along with that. I don't think he was quite as accepting when he realize you were going to sleep in his room and when he had to give up the little cradle that he kept all his toys in and we were totally unprepared for an infant. We thought we were getting an only child. So within 24 hours we had to get diapers. We had to get close. We used a pillow case for a sheet on this little mattress in this little crib. That really was pretty much a doll crib. I mean, it was a good thing. You were tiny girl and Nathan was fine. When when he went back to Montessori school the next day the teachers all said, where did you go yesterday? Cuz they knew something was up, but we haven't said anything and he said, oh we we went to this place and we paid $500 and I got it.

05:36 Sister and they just thought that was great and they were so excited his teachers and the teachers that worked with me organize without your dad knowing it organized to shower for you and there were like Fifty people there. They not only gave you stuff. They gave us a TV because it is an rvt and blown up and we didn't have one and we had enough clothes for you that I honestly don't think that we bought anything unless we wanted to until we we moved to Seattle. They were that gracious. It was just amazing.

06:14 Pretty inspiring people did that for me Leo too.

06:24 So what was the most difficult thing then about raising me probably?

06:38 I think in in early Elementary I was so busy taking coursework and everything that you just I was just lucky you and your brother learned early defend for yourself.

06:51 And I think that that want to build strength in you I think that is also in some way separated us. I think that I didn't perhaps pay as as much attention to you as I expect the parents of the kids in my classroom to pay to their children. I don't think I did. I mean I think that I was trying as hard as I could but I don't think that I did do you think the situation of being a single parent in the early eighties a little bit of both? I was it was not always easy.

07:27 But I think that you came as a very strong-willed person which was very funny because that fit right into the family, and I can remember at the shower everybody. Wanted to cuddle you. There were a lot of people there that hadn't had babies yet, and everybody went to cuddle you and you would Twist and Turn so that you could look at the people you always knew what you wanted to do. So if it's if it's most difficult time, I think your team years certain certainly challenged all my patients and more. I think that that I was terrified when you dropped out of school and in the things that I remember most about that, is it a friend of mine came over for dinner last night before winter break was over and she came out of your bedroom, and she said that she had said goodbye to you and that you had mentioned you weren't going back to school the next day.

08:27 And I just looked at her and see what is she talking about? So then I went into your bedroom you you and answer you were not going back to school. And so you did not so of course my response to Dad after I got over the shock was twofold one. I hope I got you a book on how to be an autodidact. I always thought you could tell me anything with the book. So I got your dad and then I remember you being in the year the kitchen one time and I was talking to my brother Jack and I said I called you a drop out and you got really really angry and you said pipe him not a dropout.

09:12 And I said, well, yeah. Yeah we were arguing and do you and I said, how can you say that you didn't hear now to drop out you do you quit school and you set a trap out as a person that doesn't care about education and I care about education deeply and I said we have a strange way of showing it really wasn't sure what I was going to do. I remember a family friend Carol to testing why when when you were cutting school and misbehaving why I just didn't I didn't I didn't make you go to school and I always laugh cuz I thought I knew early on that you had a mind of your own and certainly by the time you were 15.

09:52 I didn't feel that there were a lot of things that I could say Garfield was an open campus. It's not like, you know, are you going to be there you had to go to work and school, you know, it was either get on the bus or go to results. So

10:10 So you think we dropping out of school was a good idea or bad idea in the long run? I think it was a good idea in the end. I'm shocked to hear myself say that but I think that it gave you time to catch up with yourself. And I think that when you went back to school at does an alternative school, I think that you finally started to come into your own. I think you realize how smart you were I said before that you weren't particularly sure of yourself and I don't think that that was you as much as it was the age. I mean, I think that that goes with the territory and I kind of knew in the back of my mind because we have such a focus on education that that you'd be okay, but I was really really not happy with you. I I was really embarrassed for an educator to have to admit that their darling daughter hadn't had left school that was

11:05 That was not pretty.

11:07 Well, I think it worked out in the long run. I think you had excellent teachers and I think that like I said you learned how smart your word.

11:18 I think he gave you a focus. I think it's is what makes you partially the strong person you are today. What about had you not gotten information about Middle College? I think it was somebody at one of the schools.

11:33 Oh, no, you see that's what's supposed to be gracious of you to want to give me credit. But I only remember that either one and there was something for me in the mail from this great school and I came running in to show you and you were just kind of oh, yeah, that's nice. You should know if you're interested you should go and so I filled out the application when did the interview and after I got in you told me that you had had it sent to me that some may be a counselor or psychic at one of the schools. He worked at had heard of the school. Oh, I forgot know about that. But do you think it's going to college hadn't been around?

12:20 What do you think I would have done? I mean, I don't know what I would have done. I don't know, you know, it's easy in retrospect, but I think you would have been okay, I think that you knew that you were going to get serious attempt point.

12:35 What about me not going to college?

12:39 I think college is overrated took me 14 years at 5 different universities and

12:47 Am I kind of wish I would have thought about it harder and longer. I don't think that that

12:57 College is Panacea. I don't think it's meant for everybody and that's not to say that you would have had fun or you wouldn't have excelled or you wouldn't have focused.

13:09 But all in all I don't see this as being important that doesn't true as I don't see it as being the things that everybody needs to do.

13:22 And I think that that in many ways I consider you more well-rounded than a lot of people your age. I my boys testing. Yeah, maybe but I think you have a broad knowledge and I think that you have interest in things.

13:42 And in what I really wanted for you was for you to be you for you to do what you wanted to do for good or for bad. You always have but about career-wise did would you have thought you know, I mean when I was young I was wanted to kind of be a teacher.

14:04 Yeah, I I have to admit that when we work together that that short hair that short time at White Center. I fantasize a lot about you being a teacher because I thought that you had a natural proclivity towards it is I still do I still think about that in my everyday job whenever I see a tough set of kids. I keep wondering how you is a 23 24 year old person ran the study hall with it is difficult kids and just made it worse things than that. I'm not particularly good at you know, and and even now because I I care so much about education everything. Sometimes I still wish you'd be a teacher but that's selfish. That is it. That is it.

14:47 That's me knowing the great need that we have bread to Grinders and knowing that you're so natural, but I figure you're going to you're going to be good at anything because you've turned out in some ways to be more like me. You just make up your mind that you're going to do something and then you make it happen. And and I'm I like that acting more and more like you every day and feeling out the paperwork. I do my Visa like you I do my easily I even write like you now you're starting to sound pet me know when you're never going to be like my mom.

15:32 Any good kind of like being like my mom has good just so you pick and choose the right trade.

15:40 Wearing my popcorn for later. You know, what about our relationship our relationship now?

15:51 I think because she is me because we're too strong people. I think we're always going to butt heads, but I feel that that probably in the last year-and-a-half.

16:03 You've

16:05 Probably come to the same situation or the same place in our relationship that I did with my mom.

16:12 From that I always told people that from the time I was about 12 till I have a 26 my relationship with my mom was pretty much past the butter. I was polite I didn't she said I just didn't share very much my life with her. I was Private. I was always happy to go home and see my folks, but I didn't really like my mom. I didn't like her I never disliked you.

16:40 I mean, I'm not I'm not going to argue that point with you.

16:49 I always sent to the person became an adult when they started realizing that their parents were just people and I think that you started realizing that more and more that that I could have.

17:04 Differences from you that I could have very strong opinions were very different from you. But that was okay because in that sense, I was just I was just like anybody else you can separate. What was the and what was the the personality?

17:20 And I think kind of in some respects.

17:24 Not not to Discount dad in anyway, because you know, certainly there's you know, he's my parents just as much as you are but

17:35 Often times I think of you more as a friend than a parent, but Dad still just dad probably just because you and I can go out and do things and have a good time and chat about things and so on so forth and I did still very much of a parental relationship with Dad so that you know, it's not like I love you either of you any differently, but definitely the dynamic of a relationship. I think his you know, you're I mean, you're right just changed in the last couple of years, but I think probably me being a parent now.

18:12 I'm kind of understanding so

18:21 That you made me realize how much I wanted to daughter and how much I would have really missed not having one.

18:28 You know, I was raised with with brothers and boy cousin accident. I was always very boy oriented and I thought I wanted a boy and then I got you in realize that that wasn't the case at all.

18:42 What about having a boy grandchild and the potential of having another or having a grandchild? You know after I've all I've been through with babies. I just want somebody healthy and am I used to I used to be a real boy person but now it makes no difference. No difference whatsoever. I mean, I'm thrilled with Emilio being Emilio.

19:06 And then

19:08 Whoever Nathan and Shannon end up with I'll be so I'll be just as thrilled. How are you to find out that you're going to be a grandparent for the first time? I was not thrilled Cypress. I was probably more in shock than than I've ever been about anything. I'll never forget you're coming and telling me that you were going to have a baby. It never occurred to me never occurred to me and I can remember going into school the next day and every time somebody new came in my classroom. I'd burst into tears, but I wasn't telling them what was wrong and they were all tiptoeing around.

19:47 But you know what that's worked out too. It's made you who you are and

19:54 You know, I don't know how I could live without a million on my life. I just don't so.

20:00 Yeah, he's kind of One in a Million.

20:04 How similar or different Is He To Me?

20:10 In terms of me at 6 7 years old.

20:16 Well the step in this Factory is about the same. How different is he than you?

20:25 I think he's less verbal and I don't know whether I mean less verbal in the NFL expressive in some ways about about personal things. I think that you were always kind of out there and willing to to say more and I think he's he's a little bit more reluctant and I don't know whether that's his personality or that's the difference between young boys and girls or what it is, but I see him and you more and more every time I'm around him. I mean I do.

21:02 He's curious. He's stubborn mention that one twice well.

21:11 People would only have to meet you to understand that I think he's he's fun. I think he he has a great attitude toward life. I love the fact that he's always bounced right up in the morning and here I am world. What are we going to do now?

21:33 Yeah, we all have our days but I mean, I I think that there are a lot of similarities. I'm sorry. I can't think of more specific ones.

21:43 How do you think?

21:45 Education has changed.

21:48 From me and Nathan growing up to how Amelia is growing up in schools now.

21:56 I think the pressure's on I think that the stakes are higher specific Lake here in Washington because of the waffle or in general know I think I'm I'm talking generally Justin troops if I were to look at at I start teaching in 1966. I was thinking about that today and and somebody asked me yesterday and I said 30 years and I haven't talked for 30 years, but I thought 30 40 years ago.

22:23 I understand the stakes being higher, but I think that that we've lost a lot in terms of of accepting personalities and accepting different behaviors in am I worried about that? I mean, I understand we have to be academically oriented, but I have a hard time keeping Pace with this extreme pressure and end all the competition. I think that we've made education competition.

22:54 And I'm terribly worried about the Haves and the Have Nots. It's very hard on me when I read the paper and see that that money districts seem to always do really well and then you have a porter porter district and and we don't I think that that I'm I'm happy that I have a lot of people close to me not just family but friends that understand a different perspective about it education because I talked about them a lot. I think that's important.

23:29 I wish more people would come in the classroom and really see what's going on instead of just talked about the way it used to be versus the way it is now more parents or more Community leaders.

23:43 More everyday people parents grandparents taxpayers. I just get really tickled about how everybody knows what it's like in school, but nobody's been there and it is just what you read in the paper. The results is what really is going on and all the good things that are going on. It's hard not to be resentful of all the bad press we get cuz I still think there's just amazing people out there. And I also think there's a lot of young people there to coming into the profession that are just fabulous and and I don't think anybody's keeping track of that or if they are not enough people are keeping track of it. Why do you think that is?

24:27 Because of her fast-paced Society, you know so much emphasis on education and the scores and you know, why doesn't why don't have people care to go.

24:40 Well, I don't I don't know. That's that's a good question maybe in part is because the schools don't do the same kind of job that they used to do or have the same expectations and quite frankly because there's been so much criticism and pressure. There are probably a lot of Educators and teachers and don't want people in even if they're doing a good job. They just don't want to be under the the spotlight anymore. What about accessibility? I mean when you were a kid pretty much anybody could walk in and help out if well, that's true. I mean when you have to go through background checks and you have to wait 3 weeks and when do turn down for the field trip, you know, yeah. Yeah that didn't make it easy for people to say it is changing. So, you know, I was explaining to grandparents yesterday that

25:33 But yes, they would have to to sign it for him and and go through a background check and we want to protect our kids and then apparently that's that's the way we're living these days.

25:46 Do you think an in kind of the lines of security in our culture these days do you think that

25:58 The area that I grew up in.

26:01 You know, I mean we grew up a Queen Anne Nathan knighted then now that I'm living there again, very happily. Do you think that it has changed?

26:10 Or do you think?

26:13 That areas of changed due to socio-economic reasons rather than

26:20 And I mean before we are living two blocks off of Pac Highway and I wouldn't have let him out the door probably even if we lived in the house, but we still live in apartment but I feel comfortable with him riding his bike on the back, you know patio area or in a walking around the neighborhood. Do you think that's my false sense of reality because I grew up there and it was safe when I grow up. You know, it's funny the minute you said that I thought I saw it in way. It is a false sense of reality because I was thinking that

26:50 Right now

26:53 I don't know that it's tied down as much as neighborhoods. Obviously, there are more dangerous places and I think I think it is a false sense of security in one way, but I share the same Bowl since it security.

27:06 Because when when it is an area that you know, you always say that your area is fine.

27:17 Well, I guess I want to know more about you now. Okay? Why did you become a teacher?

27:26 Well because there were two choices when I was growing up. You could be a teacher. You could be a nurse and I faint at the sight of blood so so that narrows it down. And also I think her family on both sides of my family. My grandfather was a teacher he taught in this mall rules School a prescription for but that was my brother was was Clerk of the School treasurer of the school board, but I think it came from both sides way before for my dad. I mean Papa and Lola and my father's sister was a teacher in the teens and like early twenties.

28:19 What was question are we talking about? You become a teacher, teacher has Stevie brillhart the superintendent of schools. When I was in the fourth grade at the board of ed. Picnic said, oh, you're so good with kid. You should be a teacher. I think it was just it was common knowledge and I fought it for a long time thinking that there were other things out there and then I realized that I actually did like it and it was okay, but but I'd I did a lot of things other than teaching also.

28:50 Which I was going to ask you about. So you taught in Utah in Kalamazoo Kalamazoo first cater for 3 years, and then I was on an emergency credential and actually had my own classroom. And then I quit and I went into a hospital setting and that's where I met your dad. I was referred to as a play therapist which led to a lot of jokes in the hospital and I Met Your Dad he was a conscientious objector and he was there during the Vietnam war.

29:30 And that was difficult for us because I had cousins that were in the military that were in Vietnam.

29:37 And

29:41 I quit that job after what you do there. I mean, you're a play therapist, but what will most of the children had cystic fibrosis and so I would I would read them and tried and it wasn't really educational. It was more reading to them and keeping them, and making them comfortable because they were going to be long-term patients. And then anybody that came in I mean there were kids it had been abused and I worked with him and there were kids it that and then put the kids slept in the afternoon. They made me go down to the Cancer Ward and it was really her done because the people were all terminal on

30:28 A lot lot less hospitable than it is to go through that whole litany after the hospital your father and I moved to San Diego and I worked in a private school. I taught for three years. I had 35 3 4 and 5 year olds and they were they were neurologically impaired. So I had autistic kids. I had Down syndrome. I had I had medical conditions. I was at 4 so was your credentialing for special ed particularly or did you just kind of fall into that one? Because it was Private into because of the cuz of the Special II didn't in Kalamazoo and then it was a natural to go into it and then I left it with into public school education.

31:27 And then you know, I thought that has two kids for for 7 years. She taught special ed in public as well. And then we moved up here and then when we moved up here, I originally went to get my Master's and infidels acacian and that didn't happen. I ended up not liking the programs. And so then I worked as a manager in the baker in a baked brie downtown. Yeah, that was a big deal because I never spend any time in the city and then after they actually before that I worked in logistics for a shipping day and went on a on a freighter just took a tour of the freighter. That wasn't for APL know this was for EAC Baki steamship company and then I did lot of temp jobs after you and your job. Yes. It was with the black and white TV.

32:27 How kind of for some reason that I see there's I remember something growing up. I got sick and went to work with you you always say I never remember if you think it's because you never remember all the places. We went to Marysville pie incident so temp jobs and that was working for well. I work for the city of Seattle. I worked with the city council. I worked with Asian counseling and referral service. I taught and probably one of the most most interesting things and in the most fun things I ever did was teach ESL adults and I taught in at Holly Park in a low-income housing project. But but the most fun thing I ever did is for 6 weeks in the summer or four to six weeks. I used to sub for a friend of mine and I actually taught 20

33:26 Over 60 Mainland Chinese adults wonderful wonderful time and I have fond memories of the group. Was there another group then that was Japanese cuz yeah, we got to carry park with them. I remember taking pictures at Cary Park. Those were high school kids that came over in the summer in that was for a private organization and am I taught high school kids Japanese kids and don't remember when we went to that to the woman's house that used to work for the queen in newspaper and the Japanese teacher and 104 year old woman and your brother and a 78 year old woman and you and I played Pictionary

34:18 Hey, I get them inside if I said you don't remember that because I remember print playing Pictionary, but I thought that was the house on cleaning at the red house. That was a different story. No, that's the same story. We play Pictionary there and the banana.

34:36 Yeah, but don't you remember how that what does that have to do with the Japanese people Japanese guy was there the teacher was was so the first time we played Pictionary there was you and your brother and Nathan do a tractor. He'd ruin.

34:54 ATV or what? What is a tractor and nobody got that and what was really funny is the Japanese guy didn't get it 204 year old woman didn't get it and I didn't get it and you were really making fun of me cuz I didn't know what it was it that at that point. Yeah, but how did we come to have a Japanese exchange student?

35:21 Oh that was kind of through this when I was doing my yellow studies at Seattle U.

35:34 Well, it was actually spu.

35:38 There was a office down there and we just I decided that it would be good for your kids to they have somebody from a different culture probably was.

35:52 Didn't work out as well. Now that that wasn't our fault as I recall. Nathan Shannon would have released only thing Nathan with an X in it secured your brother very different personalities. He might have done it if I divorced him to sit in a in a small room. Certainly he would have reported anything.

36:19 I'm glad you did with me more.

36:27 Not just as my mom, but my friend probably not like a personal friend like Kelly I wouldn't call you and

36:35 You know bounce things off of I certainly call you for other things besides seeing if you want to hang out with your grandson.

36:46 So happy birthday. Thank you. I'm I'm sorry. We didn't have time for all those stories. He always make fun of me about that. You're more excited not to have to maybe it's not archival Material listening laughing at you for leaving your children in the car while you went to get pie.

37:16 Well, that's just like this people. I think that's weird.

37:28 That's just you being you.

37:34 I love you too, sweetie. You don't you know like that birthday card. I didn't get a free movie that I didn't have to pay for it when I know I'm not talking about that app talk about the birthday card and write a card. That's what I'm sick of last night I seem to do well without

37:59 What's the card? Would you rather me send you a card or see me in person?

38:04 I'm not going to answer that. I answered it the best way I know.

38:12 Well, thank here. We ending on the argumentative.

38:23 I'll leave it at that then okay. I think this is really fun.