Kentwood Historic Preservation Commission

Oral History Transcript Cover Sheet




Name of individual (s):  Bernard Terrell 


Name of Interviewer:     Mrs. Joyce Thompson


Date:   February 14, 2007


Brief summary of individual’s importance to Paris Township/Kentwood history:


Bernard Terrell’s father was born in Dutton and relocated to the Madison Square area where Bernard was born.  Bernard attended Godwin School and served in World War II.  He married Shirley Keyes and together they raised a family off Division Avenue on Adams St.


X-reference:  Keyes, Arlene  # 066-2007


(Note:  Bernard Terrell is the husband of Shirley (Keyes) Terrell, daughter of Earl Keyes who served as Justice of the Peace and Paris Township Treasurer.)















February 14, 2007













Transcribed by: Sandy de Ryke

de Ryke Transcriptions, LLC, July 2007





Subjects:  Bernard Terrell

Shirley (Keyes) Terrell, present but not speaking.

Interviewer:  Joyce A. Thompson

Date of Interview: February 14, 2007

Place: 865 Oakcrest, Jenison, Michigan


Transcribed by: Sandy de Ryke

de Ryke Transcriptions, LLC, July 2007


BT Bernard Terrell

JT Joyce Thompson




[i removed crutch words and false starts from this transcript]


JT: Today is February 14, 2007 and this is the taped oral history of Bernard Terrell and we are at his home at 865 Oakcrest in Jenison, Michigan in the living room area.  My name is Joyce Thompson and I will be recording this oral history for the Kentwood Historic Preservation Commission.  This tape will be transcribed, a copy given to Bernard so he can revise or make any corrections or deletions that he wishes.  When Bernard is satisfied that the oral history is completed he will be asked to sign a release so it can become part of Kentwood's archives.  Is this arrangement satisfactory to you Bernard?


BT: Oh, ya.


JT: What is your name and date of birth?  Tell me your name.


BT: Bernard Terrell and the date of birth was February 2, 1919. 


JT: And your age today, Bernard?


BT: Age is 88.


JT: Okay, 88.


BT: I was 88 last week. 


JT: That's right, I remember that.  And where were you born, Bernard?


BT: I was born in Madison Square, what they call Madison Square.  That's a little suburb, you might say, of Grand Rapids and the address was 461 Adams Street where I was born.


JT: Okay, Adams Street, all right, and your parents' names?


BT: My parents' names, my mother was Elana Booth, now that's her original name, Elana Booth.  And my dad's was ah, . . . .


JT: Leo?


BT: Ah . . .


JT: Leo Terrell?


BT: Leo Terrell, I believe that is, yup.


JT: Okay, and their birth place?


BT: Well, I don't know about my mother's but my dad's was, I think, Dutton, Michigan.


JT: What did your father do for a living?


BT: He was a mechanic, an auto mechanic.


JT: Where did he work?


BT: He had his own garage.  We lived on Adams Street there and we had a pretty good-sized piece of property there and he had a, I think, a seven-stall garage on the back part of the lot and that's where he run the business right there.  See, he was runnin' the business himself and then he hired my uncle, my uncle, Walt Prins, he hired him to come and work for him also.  He didn't work for a company or anything, he was doin' his own work. 


JT: You said he was a mechanic. 


BT: Ya.


JT: He repaired cars?


BT: Ya, ah, huh.


JT: What kind of cars?


BT: Back then it was all different kinds of cars so I couldn't name exactly all the cars that he repaired.


JT: You mean like those Model T Fords?


BT: He had Model T Fords and he worked on what they called a Duisenberg and different cars.  I couldn't name 'em all.  That goes back awful far.


JT: So, he had a one-stall garage?


BT: No, he had a seven-stall garage.


JT: Seven-stall garage.  This is a big business back then!


BT: That's right, that's right, ya.


JT: So, then he had to employ people?


BT: No, there was just the two mechanics.


JT: Oh, the two mechanics.


BT: Just my father and brother-in-law.


JT: Okay, got it, got it.  So, your mother, her occupation? 


BT: She was a home wife.


JT: Okay, so she was a housewife.


BT: Ya, right.


JT: Well, you had a lot of brothers and sisters.


BT: Ten of 'em.


JT: Ah, huh, so can you tell me their names?


BT: Well, there's two of 'em I can't name because one passed away after it was two months old from pneumonia then the other one passed away when my mother passed away because she had a hemorrhage and she lost the baby too.


JT: Okay, who was the first child?


BT: Floyd, he's the oldest one, and then there's Kenneth, now these are all two years apart, two years. 


JT: Okay.


BT: And then there was Wendell.


JT: Still two years apart?


BT: Two years, ya.  And then there was me --


JT: That's right.


BT: Two years later.


JT: You're the middle.


BT: Ya, and then there was Leo and then Betty came, a girl came.


JT: Oh, that must have been delightful.  Your parents finally got their girl.


BT: Well, as a matter of fact they got two girls.  Then there was Mary and then there was ah --


JT: Eleanor?


BT: Eleanor, you got it.  You got a lot of that information.


JT: Well, I’m trying to help you out here.


BT: She was the baby?


JT: Tell me how old your mother was when she died.


BT: She died at 39.


JT: Oh, 39!  This was very tragic for the family.  Who helped to take care of the kids with dad?


BT: She was a good mother.  She was doin' all the work.  He done all the garage work and that.


JT: Okay, but when she died you still were there.


BT: Oh, ya.


JT: So, then you all had to pitch in to help with the family?


BT: Well, until he got married again.


JT: Oh, then he remarried, okay, I get it.


BT: And she was an old -- hell of a monster.


JT: Okay, we won't go there, all right.  So, tell me what it was like with all of those children on Adams Street.  What do you remember when you think back with all your brothers and sisters, your mom and dad.  What comes to mind?


BT: Well, when you're young like that you do different things.  We'd do Eenie Inee Over where we'd throw a ball over the house, you know what I mean?  Then at night or so we would have hide-n-seek too.  Just things that you automatically had when you was that young.


JT: I'm going to help you focus a little bit more here.  The house on Adams Street, what kind of a building was it?


BT: Well, it was a home-built two-story.  We moved out of there eventually after my mother died -- or she died before.  No, she was living when we moved out there.  We moved out there on what was Keyes Avenue because she's a Keyes.  Then they changed the street to Horton.


JT: All right, the bedrooms were upstairs and you had the downstairs.  Tell me about the downstairs. 


BT: The downstairs bedroom also down there.  It was a big house.


JT: Oh, a big house.


BT: Like I say, they had a big lot and it was a big house.


JT: That was good for all of you.


BT: Ya, that's for real.


JT: Right.  Where was the best place to be there at the house?  Where did you like to be?


BT: Oh, I don't know.  We behaved ourself, I'll say that


JT: That was parents, okay.


BT: We wasn't the type to run out, you know what I mean, and drink or anything like that.


JT: Tell me about a sibling moment.  What do you remember when growing up -- a memory with Floyd. 


BT: Of Floyd?  Well, he was also a mechanic and he worked for -- well, he was a "main-tain-ance" mechanic.  He worked down to Keeler Brass is where he worked.  He did all of their things that had to be done.  You know what I mean.  Electrical problems or anything he had to take care of all of that stuff.


JT: I mean growing up when you both young.  What do you remember of Floyd, or was he so much older that you don't have that memory?


BT: Well, I know he chummed around with some good young people at Godwin School.  We had a fire in our home there on Horton that burnt the garage up.  They were overhauling a Model A my brother, Floyd and Buster Beasacker, it was Buster’s and they was overhaulin' it and they forgot to disconnect the battery and cleaning the motor there was a spark and that was it.


JT: Oh, my!


BT: My dad had seven-passenger Nash in the garage and we had a fire engine in the garage that he had made, he and his Model T truck and he made it into a fire truck.  They used it on the fires.  The fire station was in our garage actually, that's where it was, that's why that was in the garage there, see.  The fire station was there, so that got burnt too, but they got enough parts to rebuild that.


JT: What year was that fire?


BT: Oh, I was goin' to school yet.


JT: Okay, all right.  Do you remember a moment with Kenneth?


BT: With Kenneth?  Well, I don't know.  It's hard for me to say exactly.  We all got along good together and that helped.  Then, of course, he finally got a job.  He worked for the gas company, Michigan Consolidated Gas Company at that time.  Then, Wendell -- this was during The Depression too.


JT: Right, right.  It was very hard.


BT: And, ah, so we had run up quite a bill at Joppe's Dairy and the only way we could pay that off was Wendell going down there and workin'.  When they built the new building down on Division Avenue, why he helped.  He went down there and helped them on that and that helped pay the bill.


JT: I see, so he had to work off --


BT: Off the debt. 


JT: That was a hard time for everyone.


BT: It was a real hard time. 


JT: You weren't in the position of being on a farm and you were in the city.


BT: And then by the way Kenneth went to what they call CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp.  He went up north, he was in a camp up there, up at Fife Lake.  He was there for two to three years.  This is hard for me to take --


JT: You're doing fine, you're doing fine.  Were you closer to Wendell because of is age?


BT: Yes, yes, yes.  Ya, because when my dad remarried she (my stepmother) was a, oh, I don't know how to say it, but every day she was down there and picked up my dad's pay.  He worked for I. H. Ginrich & Sons.  And she picked up his pay.  He didn't even get to see it; she went down and got it.  Then, eventually, she kicked Wendell out.  So, when Wendell left Leo and I agreed to go with him, so Wendell being the age he was why he could buy a house trailer.  The house trailer was from Homestead.  That was down on Michigan Street -- I mean, not Michigan, but -- well anyway, the house trailer placement was a door or two from us and they said they had a good buy on one so they give us a good deal.


JT: So, you went with your brothers.


BT: Ya, I went to live with my brothers.


JT: How old were you then?


BT: I can't tell, exactly.


JT: Were you still in school?


BT: No.


JT: Okay, you were not in school.


BT: Ya.


JT: Well, you know, you make those decisions and that was the time too.


BT: Mother was gone, you know, and so --


JT: Right, exactly.  So, the girls, Betty, Mary, and Eleanor were much younger than you.


BT: Oh, ya, they stayed right at home.


JT: So, you really don't have a whole lot of memories with them.


BT: No.


JT: No, not at all.  It's with your older brothers --


BT: Ya, right.


JT: And then your younger brother.


BT: I know my sister, Betty, she was the oldest one she was out on the front porch of the house -- it had spindles like in that chair right there, ya know?


JT: Are you talkin' about the house?


BT: And how she got her knee through there and they tried and tried to get it off.  Finally, I guess they just yanked it out, I guess, so she had trouble with that knee all the time.  But, otherwise, we didn't have a whole lot to do with any of them because we --


JT: Were they living on Horton at that time?


BT: We were living on Horton at that time.


JT: When did you move to Horton or Keyes?


BT: That I can't say.  We lived down there at Adams Street, right out there.


JT: Was it during The Depression time that you lived on Horton?


BT: Ya, it was during The Depression time, ya.


JT: Well, you told me a little bit about your family.  It was hard to find jobs during The Depression.  Anything else?


BT: Well, I got a job down there at Gingrich & Sons.  My dad got me in down there.  He was workin' at I. H. Gingrich & Sons.


JT: Is that the car dealership?


BT: And that was a truck dealership.  He got me in down there.  Just a mediocre job you might say cleaning carts for the mechanics and so on.


JT: But at least it was something more than anybody else had.


BT: Oh, ya.  Yup,.


JT: It was, like you said, during The Depression.


BT: We had a neighbor on our street on Horton, his name was Schauw and he went to Flint about once a month.  We bought cars over there and I went with him because he wanted someone to drive another car back, so I went with him and then I went to work for him too.  I think that was before I got the job down to Gingrich.


JT: So, you're sayin' that you're a teenager at this time.


BT: Ya, ya.


JT: You're not even 20.


BT: But I had to get out and do somethin' you know.


JT: Well, yes!


BT: Oh, I can't go back to all that.  And, of course, she (Shirley Keyes )lived on the same street.


JT: Is that how you met Shirley?


BT: Ya, 60 -- let's see, 67 years.


JT: You've been married 67 years?


BT: We got married at 21.


JT: All right, you were married at 21.  You met your wife, Shirley Keyes, you lived -- I forgot to say that Shirley is in the room with us too.  She lived next door to you?


BT: No, she lived down the street on the other side of the street about, I'd say about eight houses down.  They was the first house on the street.  There was a vacant lot right in there because her grandpa was a farmer, actually, and he had a greenhouse and he had tomatoes, that was mainly tomatoes.  She couldn't live on the corner because the greenhouse was there and then their house was next.


JT: Well, you were not only neighbors.  Did you go to school together you and Shirley?


BT: Ah, huh.


JT: So, you were school mates?  So, you were married what year?


BT: Huh?


JT: What year were you married?


BT: Nineteen forty.


JT: Nineteen forty. What date?


BT: Huh?


JT: What date?


BT: Ah, November the ninth.


JT: So where did you first two live?


BT: Well, I lived down on Adams Street before I moved out on Horon there and, of course, she lived down in Burton Heights on Bayless what they call Bayless Street and then them moved out there on Horton.  But, they was there before we were.  She moved there before I did.


JT: Where did you live when you were first married?


BT: When we were first married?


JT: Ya.


BT: We lived upstairs of her grandmother.


JT: Really?  Still on Horton?


BT: Well, she was on 36th Street is where she was.  See, they had that big greenhouse.  Big, what do ya call it, growing tomatoes and then right on the same property they had a big barn and that's where she lived, that's where her grandmother lived and grandpa lived.


JT: I see, and you lived in a room upstairs.


BT: I lived down the street on the other side of the street.


JT: Right, so very close.


BT: We've been close all of our years.


JT: You've been married 67 years but you knew each other all along.  You people go back


BT: That's right. 


JT: I understand.  So, did you have dates?


BT: No, no, she's the only one.


JT: Where did you go if you wanted to be together?


BT: No, I had a car at that time and it was a '36 Desoto convertible and she wanted to ride in it.  She was with my younger brother and her sister had a date and she said she wanted to go for a ride in that car and then she was married, eventually.


JT: Well, those were big cars back then and if I recall it was fun to drive and fun to be in.


BT: I had a Model A Ford first, because I had a job workin' with Ray Schauw, he was a car dealer and he had a lot down on Division Avenue just past Wealthy Street and I worked for him.  He had a garage behind his house there on Horton and we worked there painting and that.  I done painting, quite a bit of painting and then we'd bump a fender out or something that had been dented, we'd bump it out and make it look good.


JT: That's a skill, a good skill. 


BT: So, I have some training all right.  Then I chummed with his son Fred too.


JT: How long did you live with grandma?


BT: How long did we live with grandma?  I really don't know.  What happened, her dad built a house on Horton there, he built a house there, and when it was vacant we bought it, my wife and I bought the house.


JT: So what year was this?


BT: Very reasonable. 


JT: Do you remember that year?


BT: Well, this goes back to about 19' -- I would say right around between _____.  We weren't married yet at the time.  I went in the service in 1944, see and so we moved in that house and that's where we had our first child on Horton there.  I'm maybe not gettin' this all straight, but I'll tell ya, it's hard for me to do it.


JT: Okay, that was Bob, you had Bob then, correct?


BT: Bob.  And then we didn't have Gary until I got back from the service.


JT: Tell me about the service.  Were you drafted?


BT: Yes. 


JT: What branch?


BT: What branch?  The regular Army.


JT: Okay, the regular Army.  And what did you do?


BT: I was what they called a -- they put me in heavy weapons, that's 50 caliber machine gun and I had to carry the tripod for that and what they call the second gunner behind me he called the receiver which is a machine gun itself, but I had to carry the tripod which was a three-legged thing.  A leg here and a leg here and a leg out in front and I had to carry that.  It was 55 pounds and I had to carry that.


JT: You were stronger back then.


BT: Absolutely!


JT: And much younger.


BT: That's what it weighed and, of course, I got out of the service.  Shirley was in the house on Horton already.


JT: Ah, huh, with Bob.  So, tell me, you were Private First Class.


BT: Ya, I had first and then I was a Buck Sergeant.


JT: Well, that's a little bit more money too.


BT: That's more money, ya.


JT: So, how long were you in the service?


BT: How long?  I was there from '44 to, I think it was '47 I got out of it.


JT: Forty-seven?


BT: Huh?


JT: Forty-seven?


BT: No, I mean -- I went in '44, see, in the service.


JT: Okay.


BT: When they drafted me.


JT: Okay.


BT: And then I was released and about three years is what it was, three years.


JT: Okay, so then it was after the War was declared over.


BT: Ya.


JT: Exactly, I got it.  So, did you see any action when you were there?


BT: Very little.  Just enough to duck a couple times.


JT: Where were you when you were in the service?  Where did they put you? 


BT: I landed over in Paris and then we went across over to Germany and then I was transferred to an outfit 106th Division is what it was.  When I joined, I joined 106th Division, Company D, heavy weapons and we lived in fox  holes quite a bit, out of the way.


JT: So, you had a lot of firing upon.  They fired upon you.


BT: We had what they called a little Cub Scout airplane and they used to fly over and when they'd fly over the Germans wouldn't fire because they could get their direction, they could find out where they was at, see what I mean?  So, we didn't get a whole lot fired at.


JT: Well, you retired with a good rank and then you came back home.  And you had to get a job.


BT: Ya.


JT: So, what was that?


BT: Then my job then was with the Auto Clinic.  I went with the Auto Clinic.  Before I went in the service, I used to run over to Auto Clinic and pick up a lot of parts for the men that worked at the Gingrich, see.


JT: Okay, where is this Auto Clinic located?


BT: The Auto Clinic was located down on Ottawa Avenue.  Ate you sure you want all this information?


JT: Oh, sure, but I think your son wanted an oral history taping. 


BT: Well, if you want to get a little more information --


JT: You want it for family purposes.


BT: Which might be all right.  Our daughter-in-law, or I mean our granddaughter who was the first born, she's always taken with Shirley and I and I brought a lot of pictures home from the service and pictures of me and some that I was in the service and --


JT: She was very interested in that, huh?


BT: And she's got that in the book that thick.  And she's got it.  I'll tell ya, she's got more information.


JT: So, you worked for the Auto Clinic a long time, correct?


BT: Ya, 41 years. 


JT: Right.  Do you remember the year you retired?


BT: I think I retired in 1980s.


JT: I think so too.  And while you were at the Auto Clinic, what was your job description?


BT: My job description there --


JT: What did you do?


BT: I took care of the boiler.  I seen that the bin had heat and everything.  I used to go down there every morning.  There wasn’t any heat in the building.  They shut it down at night, you know.  Then they put me in the shipping department and I done all of the shipping merchandise for if it was goin' out of town or anything I wrapped all that and so on and I took it over to the Post Office every day.


JT: That kept you busy.


BT: Ya.  Then they took me out of that job and put me on the counter, waitin' on the counter, waitin' on customers that come in.  Then they needed a salesman, a salesman was leaving and he picked me to take his job.  In other words I went out on the road selling and I sold to all different garages and so on.


JT: Was it just in town?


BT: That was in town, right.  Then a little later on I went out of town.  I went as far as Manistee.


JT: Oh, for the business?


BT: Shirley went with me most of the time.


JT: Oh, how cool. 


BT: She went with me.


JT: Little day trips or night trips.


BT: Ya, we was back, we was back at the end of the day and everything.  We made all the stops and sales, made sales.  I picked up a carburetors and starters and generators and brought them back to our company there and we had special men that overhauled all that stuff.  Then I took it back up the next week or whenever it was ready I took it back.  Because I went up there every week.  Oh, you know, you go back and think of all of this stuff that has gone by and all of the people that I worked with is gone.  The fellow that owns the business now, his dad has died.  His wife took the business over and the boy took it over and the daughter too.  All of them that worked there have passed away.  I said to Bob when I wanted to get ready and retire, I told him when I was 62 I was going to retire.  And he said he'd hire a man to go along with me for a couple of months.  You know, meet all the customers that I called on and so on.


JT: To learn your route.


BT: Right, to learn the route and everything, ya.  Then he eventually took over and I retired. 


JT: Right.


BT: I had two brothers that died already, see.  Floyd and Ken.


JT: Oh, really, so Floyd and Kenneth have passed away.  Okay.  You know, we didn't talk about your school experience.  Where did you go to school?


BT: I went to Godwin same as she did.  I never graduated, though.


JT: So, you started in kindergarten?


BT: Oh, no!  Down there on Adams Street.  I don’t remember much about that..


JT: So, tell me about grade school (Godwin School).  What was it like back then?  Was it a small building, a big building?


BT: Oh, no, a big building.  You could see the school right down at the end of our street, right down the end of Horton the school was, see.


JT: So, you didn't have to go very far.


BT: Shirley didn't go as far because she lived closer to the school, see.


JT: So, you walked to school?


BT: Ya.


JT: All kinds of weather, didn't matter.


BT: Ya, ya.


JT: Can you tell me your favorite subject in school?


BT: Oh, gosh.  As far as subjects, I don't know.  At that time I liked to draw.  You know what I mean, draw different things and so on.


JT: Were you a good student?


BT: I can't remember all the teachers.  I think she could remember the teachers.


JT: Were you a good student?


BT: Oh, ha, ha, I guess fair.


JT: Okay, fair.  Any particular teacher comes to mind?


BT: Blair, there's Cliff Jones.  They were both men, of course.  There was -- hell, I can't remember all that.


JT: It's a long time ago.


BT: If I had the what-do-ya-call-it that Sandy's got, if I had that I might, because I've taken a lot of pictures and she's got a lot of pictures in there and I always wrote something on the back of the picture and everything.  It's going to be a book, a nice book, a very nice book. 


JT: All right.  If you can't remember any favorite subject, was there a subject you did not like?


BT: Probably geography.


JT: You did not like the geography.  Okay.  In high school you did one year, correct?

BT: Ya, ah, huh.


JT: And this is Godwin High School?


BT: Ya, Godwin.


JT: How was that different from grade school, you  know, the lower?


BT: I don't know.  I tell ya, I can't remember all that stuff.  I'm 88 now you know and that goes back a good many years.


JT: Exactly, okay.  You had two children, Bob and Gary, correct?  You and Shirley.  And, you lived on Horton.


BT: Yup, on Horton.


JT: Tell me about a family memory that you'd like to share about the four of you.  What comes to mind with the kids and Shirley.  Is there a special holiday you remember, a special vacation?


BT: We used to go with her father out to the lake or something.  We used to do that, but who I had more relation with was that Larry Schauw because I worked for him part-time, you know, and like I say he had a son about the same age I was, see, so.  But he was a drunkard.  I don't know if you want that.  Oh, that's a shame.


JT: All right, with the kids.  Anything comes to mind with you and the kids growing up, any memory that you would like to share?


BT: No, we just done things that you done back in them years, you know.


JT: You raised your family.


BT: Right. 


JT: Nothing special about that, huh?


BT: I wish I could go back over a lot of that.


JT: Okay.


BT: And really know what it was all about and everything.  I never drank and I never smoked.  Shirley too.  Shirley's never drank and never smoked.


JT: So, you left, you retired in 1980.  That's a good 20-some years.  Okay, what has kept you busy?


BT: What has kept me busy?!  I wish you could follow my tracks.  Her sister lived right next door to us over here.  They built a house right after we did.


JT: All right, this is Arlene.


BT: Ya, right.  And, of course, Arlene never married and after her folks passed away, why she had so many different things that had to be done on the house.  The house was fairly new but even at that there was a certain amount that had to be done.  The yard work always had to be done, you know.


JT: So, are you saying you are the Mr. Fix-it? 


BT: I was Mr. Fix-it and I took care of all the lawn.  I cut the shrubs, I cut her shrubs, I cut our shrubs and I remodeled her basement, put a family room in the basement, put a ceiling in it next door, because I had done mine already.  And Gary helped me on that by the way.  Did he say anything about that?


JT: No.


BT: He didn't?  We worked on the basement, paneling and everything and put a ceiling in it.  I had a lot of work tools and everything, you know, for outdoors and indoors, you know.


JT: So, you like to putts.


BT: I built a cradle for Barb, a little cradle and give it to her on the Christmas Day.  Because, see we had a boy and he was born the 29th, see.  My wife made a mattress for it and everything, you know.


JT: This is one of the grandkids, right?


BT: Ya, ya, ya, ya.  That was Doug, that was for Doug.  And then, what-do-ya-call-it, Greg used that cradle also when he was born.


JT: Whose children are these?  Are these Gary or Bob's?


BT: Paul and Sandy is from Bob's, Bob and Lynn.  Then, of course, Bob and Greg, they're from Gary and Barb.


JT: Okay.  So, you kept busy with --


BT: Busy?!  I was busy all the time.


JT: All the time.


BT: All the time.  We did, Shirley and I -- Shirley worked at the bowling alley over there in Grandville, Fairlanes for about 15 or 16 years.  So, one day we were drivin' by there and Don, one of the owners of it, hollered at us to come in and he offered us a job workin' in the building there.  So, we went over there in the morning, we went over there about six o'clock in the morning and vacuumed it and everything and dusted and cleaned the pool tables and all that stuff.


JT: This was a little part-time job --


BT: A part-time job.


JT: That you had after you retired.


BT: Right, exactly, after we retired and so that bought us a car.  We bought another car with the money we made on it.  A Desoto, I think it was.  No, I bought a Chrysler, four cylinder because we went to Florida with that twice.  Down to Florida and back.  We visited her brother and sister-in-law.


JT: Okay.


BT: Ya, we stayed there at their place down there.


JT: I was just about to ask you, did you and Shirley travel after you retired?


BT: Traveled?  We did a lot of traveling, but we flew. 


JT: Okay.


BT: See, the job I had there at Auto Clinic, I could earn a trip doing so much sales. I could earn a trip and so we went to Hawaii and the Canary Islands and we went to the Bahamas.


JT: I'm sorry for interrupting you.


BT: It must have run 11 times.


JT: I didn't think that the recorder would pick that up.  So, you went to the Canary Islands and we went to the Bahamas and there was four or five different places.


ST: Hawaii.


BT: And everything was paid, our meals and stuff.


JJT: How delightful!  You saw a little bit of the world.


BT: We saw quite a bit.


JT: And you were young enough to enjoy it.


BT: That's right.  We took a lot of pictures, an awful lot of pictures.


JT: I can understand, okay.  You kept busy doing all these things.  We're almost getting to the end here.  Anything I have forgotten that you'd like to add?


BT: That clock right there, I built that.


JT: Okay.


BT: Now, I didn't build all the parts.  I bought some parts from the factory and so on and I just got the parts and put it together.


JT: So, this must have been in a shop, not here.


BT: No, no, no, no, that's back at my Grandville home.


JT: Right, because you had to have space for that.


BT: Ya, ya.  I think I built about six of 'em or seven.  Just goin' over to this fellow's -- he had an in with the factory where he could get these parts and everything and I went over and bought 'em and put 'em together.  Gary had one of 'em, I built one for him just like this. 


JT: That looks like a great grandfather clock.


BT: So, I've been busy all my life, I mean it.


JT: You have been busy!


BT: I've been busy all my life.


JT: You have been in the Godwin/Kentwood area --


BT: In Kentwood.  We was just in Godwin there.


JT: Right, the Godwin, I meant the Godwin area, correct.


BT: Then we moved from there out to Horton.  We had the house built.


JT: So, you've seen a lot of houses go up around you. 


BT: Oh, yes.  As a matter of fact, we was sittin' down there all alone at one time on the street and they filled in pretty fast though, the houses filled in pretty fast.


JT: You've seen the road change.


BT: Ya, it's changed an awful lot.  I said all the time, actually we lived in the best part of the years.


JT: I think so too.


BT: You know we went through The Depression and everything and a loaf of bread, you know, a dime a loaf of bread.  Gas, we'd buy gas at 10 gallons for a dollar.


JT: And it changes so quickly now!


BT: I mean, we've seen an awful lot.


JT: You're right, a loaf of bread is almost five dollars.


BT: Potatoes were cheap, you know.


JT: Well, remember, wages were low back then too.


BT: Oh, listen, they were nothin'.  I think I went to work for I. H. Gingrich & Sons I went to work for them for 15 cents an hour, I think it was.


JT: Oh, my!  I imagine when you retired your salary you thought you were a wealthy man.


BT: Well, I got a salary and I got commission.


JT: Right, exactly.  I knew that.  But, we're almost done here.  Anything else you want to add?.


BT: Not really.


JT: All right, I would like my two questions.  The first one is, how would you describe yourself, Bernard Terrell?


BT: Myself?  Oh, honest and behave myself.  No drinkin' or nothing, you know, no smokin' or nothing.  I just figured that I married a wonderful wife.


JT: Hard worker comes to mind.


BT: Ya. 


JT: You were a hard worker.


BT: Ya, I was a hard worker.  They all got their money's worth.


JT: I think so. 


BT: They did, they all got their money's worth, all of 'em.


JT: And my very last question, Bernard, is what would be your advice to your family?


BT: What would be my advice to 'em?


JT: Ah, huh.


BT: Well, I haven't got a whole lot of family left, ya know.


JT: But, you've got your kids.


BT: I've got Gary and Bob and so on.


JT: Do you have anything you'd like to say to them?


BT: They are nice clean people too.


JT: Okay.


BT: You know, they're no smoking, no drinking and that.  I think that that is part of the reason that I've lived this long because I had it figured that I'd be dead about 60 because of my brothers and that.  One of 'em at 61 and a half and the other one at 67.  Then, of course, my mother with all those kids, you know, seven and 10 kids all together.  She had a hard life, real hard life too.


JT: Your mother?


BT: Ya.


JT: Oh, yeah!  It was hard -- the time was hard.


BT: Ya, right. 


JT: Not a whole lot of help.  I understand.  So, no advice.


BT: Huh?


JT: You don't have any advice for your kids?


BT: No, no.  I just led life as I could go through it.  I just led life as it come along.


JT: As it come along, okay. We are done now.