Zak, Anne (interviewee)

Anne Zak oral history with Sharon Gensler and Aimee Brown (Bir), interview 1, January 23, 2000

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Recording index

(00:00:01) - Introductions

(00:00:25) - Childhood; circumstances around Zak’s birth; memories of World War II

(00:02:34) - Memories of looking for mushroom clouds from atomic tests

(00:03:19) - Reflects on what it means to be a child growing up during wartime

(00:04:15) - Remembers seeing images of death camps at the end of WWII

(00:04:48) - Reminisces about childhood on her family’s farm; discusses family traditions

(00:06:09) - Experiences growing up in Western Mass in a Polish-Russian family

(00:07:32) - Grandparents emigrated from Poland

(00:08:06) - Farms in Sunderland, MA, Zak’s hometown

(00:09:50) - Class structure amongst farmers in Sunderland

(00:11:39) - Displaced persons from the war at Zak’s family farm

(00:12:35) - Difficulty of farm labor

(00:14:30) - More discussion of class structure in Sunderland and experiencing it as a child in school

(00:17:19) - Using moments of discrimination as an inspiration to excel in school

(00:17:49) - More on the class structure in Sunderland

(00:18:00) - Religious differences amongst the class structure; how religious differences played out in school environment

(00:19:17) - Years later, healing those childhood tensions and divisions through cancer support group

(00:21:25) - Relationship with two brothers and bitterness over firstborn son inheriting the farm

(00:23:07) - Issue of trusting men after trauma of being molested by a male relative

(00:27:32) - Loving school and being a part of the popular clique

(00:29:40) - Early sense of sexuality and gender identity; wanting to be a boy as a child.

(00:32:23) - First time “touching tongues” with a girl friend

(00:33:50) - Childhood exploration of the human body

(00:34:48) - Dating during high school

(00:39:24) - Playing basketball in high school

(00:40:05) - Relationship with father

(00:46:50) - Clarifies transition from experiencing classism and racism in grammar school and junior high to being a popular kid at Deerfield High School

(00:49:42) - Talks about the clique of which she was a member and getting kicked out of school on St. Patrick’s Day one year

(00:51:02) - Talks about racial composition of high school athletes

(00:51:23) - Transitioning meanings of whiteness in the Pioneer Valley; discusses arrival of tobacco laborers, who were usually Puerto Rican or Jamaican, and how their arrival alleviated ethnic tensions for people of Slavic descent in the Pioneer Valley at the expense of nonwhite newcomers

(00:56:27) - Problems of communication and organizing

(00:57:12) - Interview concludes with plans for next interview

Place:
Wendell (Mass.)
Extent:
00:58:00; audiocassette
Related:
Related:
Language:
English
Subject(s):
interviewer:
Gensler, Sharon
interviewer:
Brown, Aimee "Bir"
Genre:
Location:
Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
MS 531
Rights:
Requests to publish, redistribute, or replicate this material should be addressed to the Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.
Identifier:
mums531-oh-i005
Cite as:
Zak, Anne. Anne Zak oral history with Sharon Gensler and Aimee Brown (Bir), interview 1, January 23, 2000. Valley Women's History Collaborative Records (MS 531). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
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