Prepared by Hugh Keedy and Jessie Bennett
Co-directors: Bethesda Museum
Annie Lou McCord
The interviews contained in this book were made during the first half of 1996 by Jessie Bennett and Hugh Keedy, co-directors of the Bethesda Museum. Part of the motivation for the interviews was to put into written form some of the reflections of those who lived in Bethesda in years past, reflections that otherwise would be gone forever with the passing of those interviewed. Since we began this project we have had many people express their own regret at not having recorded--on tape or on paper--the recollections and stories of relatives and friends who have gone on. This collection of narratives is a small attempt to preserve some of the history and flavor of the Bethesda community, especially during the period from about 1910 to 1950.
The procedure for preparing the material found here began with taped interviews of selected persons in the community. Jessie has lived in the area all her life, is related to many of those interviewed, and had heard many of the stories before. She made the contacts and often jogged memories with "tell us about such and such that happened." Hugh is a retired college professor who felt comfortable with a tape recorder and computer. Both went to each interview.
The tapes were transcribed into a word processor on a computer. The exact words of the one being interviewed were retained as much as possible, with only minor changes or omissions when there was a repetition or a change in mid sentence. The one major deviation from that pattern was when Jessie or Hugh asked a question that was answered or responded to. In such cases, the beginning of some sentences that you read will reflect the essence of the question in words of Jessie or Hugh and then merge into the response in the words of the one being interviewed. This method was chosen with the hope that a reader would, rather than seeing a series of questions and answers, prefer to read a more continuous conversational style.
In some cases the one being interviewed would mention things that related to some topic previously discussed, or would return to that topic. During the transcription to the computer, there were times when all information about a specific topic was collected and combined into a single narrative, rather than leaving it scattered in several places. When this was done, there was still the effort to retain the exact words of the speaker as much as possible.
You will find words in italics placed within brackets [ ]. In some cases, they are words that were not those of the one being interviewed but are placed there for clarity. In other places where words appear in italics, they are words of or about one of the interviewers.
Hugh F. Keedy