Virginia Ann House Veren

“When I was growing up, you just voted, and that was it…  You might hear them on the radio, but not much.”

I met Ann in happenstance through a family member who caught wind of this project.  She was very polite with me, but only had a few minutes to talk since she was on her way to a luau party.

Virginia Ann House Veren was born February 11, 1931 in Birmingham, Alabama.  She has lived all over the South, as well as in Calgary, Canada.

Ann states that she had a wonderful childhood, that they were poor but that she didn’t know it.  She spent her time reading from the library.  She would keep up with the summer reading programs.  Her family didn’t have a car, then, so she would cart the books around with her.

When she was younger she enjoyed listening to the radio with her grandmother, who lived with them.  It wasn’t until High School that they got a television, in black and white.  She recalls that heating was by coal, that travel wasn’t as plentiful and simple, and the phone systems were different.

Something I have heard from others is the worry about cursive (Palmer) writing leaving our culture.  Particularly in reading old letters.  Ann puts it another way.

Most of all, she appreciates that medicine has changed in a large way.  Doctors made house calls when she was a girl.  She used to be told to stand against the wall when she was little, and the doctor could put his arm behind her back.  She didn’t know it was scoliosis – there wasn’t a word for it, then.  Here, she explains the strides medical has made in her life:

One of her final points in how technology has changed us is in politics.  I hadn’t considered it, before, but she’s absolutely right.  We have technology in voting stations, but also in interviewing politicians and getting to know their policies.  She explains it better in her own words.

Finally, Ann echoed something I’ve heard many times already during this project.  She notices that our youth are so involved in their iPhones and technology that they may not be able to effectively communicate.  She started by commenting on the crook of their necks, but expanded by saying, “You learn a lot from other people … You have to be able to communicate with the lowest of us, and the highest of us … and have compassion.”

Her wrap up was to say that she feels a lot of young people want just what she and her peers accomplished throughout their lives, but they want it now and without all the work.  This comment touched on a prevailing view I’ve noted on Facebook and other mediums about the perceived laziness of the new generations – that new hires don’t work as hard as the seasoned ones.  A friend stated just last week that a teen hire asked to go home after only two hours because he was ‘tired’, but the 56-year-old on staff came back over and over asking what he could do next.  It’s not my place to say whether this is an actual trend, but one worth noting in tandem with Ann’s comments.