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Legacies Project Oral History: Ernest Holland

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 9:55am

When: 2020

Ernest Holland was born in 1934 and grew up in a mixed neighborhood in South Dayton, Ohio. After his mother’s death when he was 3, he was raised by his grandparents. His grandfather was a Baptist preacher, and his grandmother ran the household. Holland graduated from Miami University with a degree in biology. After serving in the U.S. Navy for a few years, he taught science at Western High School in Detroit for the rest of his career. Holland passed away on December 18, 2019.

Ernest Holland was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

Transcript

  • [00:00:09.53] SPEAKER 1: We can go into more detail later in the interview. Please say and spell your name.
  • [00:00:15.31] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK. My first name is Ernest-- E-R-N-E-S-T. My last name is Holland-- H-O-L-L-A-N-D.
  • [00:00:26.10] SPEAKER 1: OK, what is your birthday, including year?
  • [00:00:30.62] ERNEST HOLLAND: I was born September the 2nd, 1934.
  • [00:00:38.03] SPEAKER 1: How would you describe your ethnic background?
  • [00:00:41.69] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, at the time that I was born, they-- I was simply referred to as colored or Negro.
  • [00:00:48.70] SPEAKER 1: OK. What is your religion, if any?
  • [00:00:53.07] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, I am Baptist. We're called Missionary Baptist.
  • [00:00:59.20] SPEAKER 1: What is the highest level of formal education you have completed?
  • [00:01:04.35] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, master's degree.
  • [00:01:07.12] SPEAKER 1: Did you attend any additional school or formal career training beyond that?
  • [00:01:12.74] ERNEST HOLLAND: Several.
  • [00:01:14.01] SPEAKER 1: Several?
  • [00:01:14.79] ERNEST HOLLAND: Yes. I feel that life is a continued learning situation.
  • [00:01:19.33] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [00:01:20.69] SPEAKER 2: Pause, please. I'm sorry to interrupt you.
  • [00:01:23.10] SPEAKER 3: [INAUDIBLE] head sticking out of the pole. In the shot? See it? Probably don't want that.
  • [00:01:30.86] SPEAKER 1: OK, please say and spell your name.
  • [00:01:34.52] ERNEST HOLLAND: All right, first name Ernest-- E-R-N-E-S-T. Last name Holland-- H-O-L-L-A-N-D.
  • [00:01:41.86] SPEAKER 1: All right. What is your birthday, including the year?
  • [00:01:47.66] ERNEST HOLLAND: Born September the 2nd, 1934.
  • [00:01:52.61] SPEAKER 1: OK, how would you describe your ethnic background?
  • [00:01:57.15] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, when I was born, they had the classification of colored or Negro.
  • [00:02:03.79] SPEAKER 1: What is your religion, if any?
  • [00:02:06.44] ERNEST HOLLAND: Missionary Baptist.
  • [00:02:08.39] SPEAKER 1: OK. What is the highest level of formal education you have completed?
  • [00:02:14.01] ERNEST HOLLAND: A master's degree of science.
  • [00:02:17.43] SPEAKER 1: Did you attend any additional school or formal career training beyond that?
  • [00:02:23.31] ERNEST HOLLAND: Yes. The field required updates.
  • [00:02:31.96] SPEAKER 1: What is your marital status?
  • [00:02:36.13] ERNEST HOLLAND: Single.
  • [00:02:36.72] SPEAKER 1: You're single. How many children do you have?
  • [00:02:40.82] ERNEST HOLLAND: Zero.
  • [00:02:42.99] SPEAKER 1: How many siblings do you have?
  • [00:02:44.64] ERNEST HOLLAND: How many siblings?
  • [00:02:46.11] SPEAKER 1: Yeah.
  • [00:02:46.68] ERNEST HOLLAND: I have two.
  • [00:02:49.28] SPEAKER 1: What is--
  • [00:02:50.21] ERNEST HOLLAND: I'm sorry-- I only have one, because one died.
  • [00:02:52.65] SPEAKER 1: One died? OK. What is a primary-- what is your primary occupation?
  • [00:02:59.25] ERNEST HOLLAND: Now, I'm retired.
  • [00:03:03.70] SPEAKER 1: At what age did you retire?
  • [00:03:07.29] ERNEST HOLLAND: At age-- oh, mandatory retirement is 75. 65, I'm sorry, excuse me.
  • [00:03:15.53] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [00:03:16.43] ERNEST HOLLAND: I'm 76 now, so 65.
  • [00:03:19.73] SPEAKER 1: So I just go on to?
  • [00:03:20.70] SPEAKER 2: Yes.
  • [00:03:22.16] SPEAKER 1: All right. This is the beginning interview. All right, now we can begin with the first part of our interview. Beginning with some of the things you can recall about your family history, we will start with family naming history. By this, we mean any story about your last, or family name, or family traditions in choosing first or middle names. OK, my first question. Do you know any stories about your family name?
  • [00:03:55.38] ERNEST HOLLAND: You're speaking of the Hollands.
  • [00:03:57.22] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [00:03:58.06] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK. And I'll explain the reason I asked that later, because I was raised by the Harrises, on the different side. But anyway, Hollands, yes, I know the story of the Hollands. They were listed, or came from Virginia. Relocated to Michigan.
  • [00:04:21.43] SPEAKER 1: Are there any naming traditions in your family?
  • [00:04:25.70] ERNEST HOLLAND: I suppose you could say yes. The first boys are always named after the fathers, the girls are named after some other female within the family.
  • [00:04:38.25] SPEAKER 1: OK. Why did your ancestors leave to come to the United States?
  • [00:04:45.85] ERNEST HOLLAND: Why did my ancestors come to the United States? Well, I understand-- and I'm trying to prove it-- but I don't know yet, but supposedly they were sailors, and they were in the trade route, and they were quote unquote "came to the east coast for trading", and then some decided to stay.
  • [00:05:09.58] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [00:05:12.42] ERNEST HOLLAND: I have no proof, but that's what I'm looking for.
  • [00:05:16.91] SPEAKER 1: Do you know any stories about how your family first came to the United States, and where did they first settle?
  • [00:05:26.10] ERNEST HOLLAND: I only know about the first settlement, but nothing as to actually what happened. They settled in, like I say, in Virginia. They became farmers. And then something happened. They had to leave Virginia and they settled over into Indiana and Michigan. That's back to 1758.
  • [00:05:57.32] SPEAKER 1: How did they make living? How did they make a living, either in the old country or in the United States?
  • [00:06:05.70] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, the old country, I don't know, because I haven't quite figured that part out. But since they've been in the United States, on the Holland side, they were farmers. And they've always been farmers. They're listed in the United States census as being sod busters or farmers.
  • [00:06:34.56] SPEAKER 1: Describe any family migration once they arrived in the United States, and how they came to live in this area.
  • [00:06:41.83] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, well, they settled supposedly somewhere in Virginia. And according to land grants and documents, they sold the farm in Virginia, and they migrated over to Indiana, which is now around Terre Haute in that area, and they bought a farm that's there, in what's called Randolph County. And then from there, half of them split, went to Ohio, the other half came to Michigan. Now, why they split and what they were seeking, I don't know yet.
  • [00:07:22.56] SPEAKER 1: OK. What belongings did they bring with them, and why?
  • [00:07:28.68] ERNEST HOLLAND: Now, I don't know exactly what, but I would assume, being farmers, they would bring their customary clothing like a trunk-- grip they called it for the clothes-- and maybe some personal utensils. That's an assumption.
  • [00:07:48.90] SPEAKER 1: Which family members came along or stayed behind?
  • [00:07:54.25] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, well from the records that I've seen so far, all family members moved from Virginia to Indiana. This is on the Holland side of the family. None remained, according to the records.
  • [00:08:15.35] SPEAKER 1: OK. To your knowledge, did they try to preserve any traditions or customs from their country of origin?
  • [00:08:27.20] ERNEST HOLLAND: Not that I'm aware of, no.
  • [00:08:31.49] SPEAKER 1: Are there any tradition that your family has given up or changed? And do you know why?
  • [00:08:41.63] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, as far as the Hollands are concerned, see, I was not raised on that side of family. I was raised on the Harris side. And if you want to get into the Harris side of the family, that's my mother's side, then, again, yes, they had traditions. But also, their background was different. They came from-- they were from the South.
  • [00:09:08.28] SPEAKER 1: Well, you can talk about-- you can also talk about the other side of the family, too.
  • [00:09:13.00] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, well, let me explain first, and I think then maybe it'll make it a little more reasonable and more sense to it. At age 3 and 1/2 my mother died, so therefore my grandmother, my mother's mother, then took the family in. She did not want to split up the family, so I was raised by my mother's mother. And their name was Harris. And my grandmother, her name was Reba Harris, and she is from Tyron, South Carolina, where they had a business, so to speak, on a Cherokee reservation.
  • [00:09:58.93] SPEAKER 1: OK. What stories have come down to you about your parents and grandparents? More distant-- well, just your parents and grandparents.
  • [00:10:23.09] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, the distant ones, nothing, really. All I know are the more recent ones I live with. It was kind of, like, taboo. They didn't talk about the history.
  • [00:10:37.99] SPEAKER 1: Do you know any stories about your parents or grandparents side? It doesn't have to be the distant one.
  • [00:10:44.39] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, I know that my friend-- well, again, my grandfather-- that's who I'm named after-- I can say he's Ernest, my name is Ernest and what not. He was a preacher. And he was on quote unquote, what is called the "circuit". It started in Georgia and he went through Tennessee. That's where he met my grandmother. They married, then they moved to Atlanta, Georgia. And then from there, they moved up into Indiana.
  • [00:11:14.69] SPEAKER 1: OK. Do you know any courtship stories? Do you know any courtship stories? How did your parents, grandparents, and other relatives come to meet and marry?
  • [00:11:28.37] ERNEST HOLLAND: Hmm, well, I know that my mother and father, they-- I don't know the exact moment, or date, or whatever it was. But he was a basketball player, and he was in a league that played Ohio, Indiana, and it's called the Negro League. I don't know the official name of it.
  • [00:11:55.76] But anyway we had a center called a recreational center, Linden Center. And every Thursday and Friday there was a tournament going on. My mother would attend those tournaments, and that's how she met my father. He was a player.
  • [00:12:16.04] SPEAKER 1: OK. Do you know about your grandparents or anything?
  • [00:12:20.86] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, my grandparents-- all of them, they were very religious. So therefore, they all met through the church. And my grandmother, who, as I mentioned before, from South Carolina, and my grandfather from Georgia, they met at, quote unquote, used be referred to as old "revivals". And this was in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They used to attend. And grandpa and grandma met.
  • [00:12:48.80] SPEAKER 1: All right, well that completes the section of questions about your family history. Next, we're going to be talking about your earliest memories and childhood. OK? So this is, like, early, like, when you were younger. All right, this part of the interview is about your childhood up until you began attending school. Even if these questions jog memories about other times in your life, please only respond with the memories from the earliest part of your life. OK?
  • [00:13:21.29] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK.
  • [00:13:24.26] SPEAKER 1: Where did you grow up and what were your strongest memories of that place?
  • [00:13:32.53] ERNEST HOLLAND: I grew up in-- I was born and raised in what is Dayton, Ohio. And again, my early-- I do not remember my mother, because I was, understand I three. I only remember my grandmother. And so to me, grandma was really Ma. And that was the head of the household.
  • [00:13:54.85] And I remember playing in the yard. Couldn't go too far because if she called, had to be within the sound of her voice. If not, you caught the dickens when she caught up with you. Again, being a minister's wife, there was absolutely no card playing, no cursing. They was there.
  • [00:14:24.32] But I had a very happy. I was the baby and I was spoiled. And they saw what-- and my grandmother, I was-- I think I can truly say that I was like her favorite, maybe, being the baby boy, because there they-- the tradition was when they, on Sundays-- as an example, on Sundays, dinner was at 3:00. And everybody-- every family member had to be there. There was just no ifs, ands, or buts about it, they had to be there.
  • [00:15:01.73] And the serving of the food always started with-- from my grandfather, and it passed down from the elders to the youngest. So by time it got down to me, there was usually nothing left. I like chicken wings. And I know my grandmother, by the time they got to me they were gone. But then she was standing there and she would smile. And then on this stove, she would have wrapped up two wings or something, and she would always walk past and she would give them to me. That's how I knew I was her favorite. She would do things like that.
  • [00:15:44.65] SPEAKER 1: OK. How did your family come to live there?
  • [00:15:48.84] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK. I can only tell you speculation at this point. My father, I know came to Dayton seeking a job. My grandfather bought-- moved his family there because of the church. They were part of a-- his church was a Baptist leadership. I forget some title they had for it. And there were three ministers. I call them his buddies.
  • [00:16:26.31] One was Reverend Emory, who was in Richmond, Indiana. Reverend Mack was in Toledo, Ohio. And grandpa was in Dayton, Ohio. And they established churches in those areas. So he was there to establish this church for this league or whatever it was of the Baptist church.
  • [00:16:50.93] SPEAKER 1: OK. What was your house like?
  • [00:16:55.83] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, well I recall two. The earliest one was, we lived in what was called south Dayton, near, sort of like, the border. But it was an old Victorian house. It had the balcony, it had the stairs, it had-- the basement was spooky. I hate to go down there. Rats, spiders, and all those things were there.
  • [00:17:27.84] We lived in a mixed neighborhood. And the house was pretty good. Had to help with house chores. I remember the floors were wooden, and I used to hate to have to wax the floors because you had to do it all by hand. Spread the wax and then had rub it. Since I was the smallest of the group, then I had to help with the dusting and cleaning because I could hold things. And there was always something to do.
  • [00:18:11.34] SPEAKER 1: How many people lived in the house with you when you were growing up, and what was their relationship to you?
  • [00:18:18.85] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK. There were approximately-- I would put it somewhere around 11 or 12. two Let's see, there was-- my grandfather was the head, then there was Grandma. Of course, then my father. I had two brothers. Then my grandmother had other children. There was Uncle Richard, there was Uncle Junior, and then there was Aunt Addy.
  • [00:18:53.54] And then my grandmother also kept her brother, Oscar, who was in World War I. And he was suffering. Sort of like an extended family. But everybody was just-- you sort of had your space along the level, whatever it was within the family and the side function.
  • [00:19:26.48] SPEAKER 1: What languages when spoken in or around your household?
  • [00:19:30.56] ERNEST HOLLAND: English.
  • [00:19:31.26] SPEAKER 1: Just English?
  • [00:19:32.55] ERNEST HOLLAND: Mm-hmm. My grandmother knew-- when she would get angry-- I'm trying to think what they call it. It wasn't Geechi, but it is something of it, like the Gullah. OK, all right, I'm saying my grandmother. It was sort of, I guess, a mixture of what she's learned on the Cherokee reservation for working, and from how they talk in South Carolina.
  • [00:20:09.39] SPEAKER 1: Where different languages spoken in different settings, such as at the house, in the neighborhood, or local stores?
  • [00:20:16.46] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK. The neighborhood-- [COUGHS] excuse me-- yeah, our neighborhood was mixed. Again, the usual that there was an Italian bakery. I can remember that from the corner. The Gershaws ran the grocery store that were there, and they were naturally Jewish. Then, they call then Yiddish. And they had there. I guess those were about, really, the only ones. Plus, you know, English. But English only was spoken in the house.
  • [00:20:53.99] SPEAKER 1: OK. What was your family like when you were a child?
  • [00:21:01.06] ERNEST HOLLAND: What was my family like? I thought they were very pleasant, very thoughtful. They prevailed that you looked out for family members, that you tried to do whatever you can to help family members, and that everything was to make sure, then, that the family, and the house, the structure and everything like that functioned.
  • [00:21:26.10] An example would be like if we were going out, and-- then it was very easy to do work, helping other families around the house do odds and ends, a newspaper such as that. And they would pay you, give you a penny, a nickel, or dime. And you'd bring that back, put it into a central jar. And that was called the community or the family jar. If you wanted something, then you had to ask Grandma, and then Grandma would get it out of the jar. But you always had to put something in to get something out.
  • [00:22:01.09] [LAUGHING]
  • [00:22:02.51] SPEAKER 1: OK, what sort of work did your father and mother do?
  • [00:22:08.61] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, well my mother was deceased. So my grandmother, who, I guess, would be in her place, simply took care of the house most of the time making sure that the house was running, that everybody had clean clothes, that there was proper food on the table, the house and everything was clean that's there. My father was a leather worker. Somehow he learned to deal with leather. And so he ended up working at a shoe store where they made leather shoes.
  • [00:22:47.94] SPEAKER 1: OK, what is your earliest memory?
  • [00:22:54.02] ERNEST HOLLAND: The earliest memory? Like I say, living in South Dayton when they-- a possum got into the house. And we had a cat. And the cat was afraid of the possum. Well, we thought that the cat should go after the possum.
  • [00:23:19.26] But the possum turned out to be quite a character because it was fighting back. And it bit my uncle. But we got it out. And that was at what we called the old house. That would be-- I remember I got frightened and ran to my grandmother. And my grandmother picked me up. And she held me while they chased the possum out.
  • [00:23:45.83] SPEAKER 1: OK, now these questions are about your routine and special activities. What was a typical day like for you in your preschool years?
  • [00:23:55.34] ERNEST HOLLAND: In the preschool? We'd wake up. You'd have to, naturally, brush your teeth, wash your face, go down. If Grandma had something special-- well, you had your chores. Everybody was assigned something special to do.
  • [00:24:13.93] An example would be we had the refrigerator. They had the ice. They didn't have the electric one. We had the old ice refrigerator. And then you had to make sure that the pan you pulled out that the water was empty. I could peep under the refrigerator to see. But sometimes if it was full, it was too heavy for me to pull out. So I'd tell either my eldest brother.
  • [00:24:40.24] Then after that we had breakfast, always had cornflakes no matter what. Then if there was sausage or bacon leftover or a biscuit, then it was divided between us. But then after that we were allowed to go out and play. But you had to be within calling distance.
  • [00:25:06.70] So [INAUDIBLE] then come in, wash up, lunchtime. And then if they had something-- Grandma, because she was the minister, always had to go and visit the sick and the shut-ins is what they called them. So then in the afternoons is when she would go. Somebody had to go with her. So it was me.
  • [00:25:28.39] And so I had to go with her then. And then I had to come in, wash up, and change clothes, whatever it was, and to do it. Then it was ready for dinner. So that was about a typical day.
  • [00:25:45.27] SPEAKER 1: What did you do for fun?
  • [00:25:49.43] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, around those early ages and that, I had an interest in insects. So I used to grab them and stuff them in my pocket. And I could tell you how much trouble I got into and how many spankings, you know, what have you, for doing it. But I always did it. So that was one.
  • [00:26:20.32] SPEAKER 1: Did you have a favorite toy or toys?
  • [00:26:25.28] ERNEST HOLLAND: No.
  • [00:26:28.29] SPEAKER 1: What about games?
  • [00:26:30.92] ERNEST HOLLAND: Yeah, games I did because with my, I say, you know, with my grandmother that was there in the evening after everything was cleaned up dinner was settled down in the living room there, we played checkers or Chinese checkers. And cards, nothing else was allowed in the house. But checkers would be, I guess, the one.
  • [00:26:56.22] SPEAKER 1: Did you have a favorite book or books?
  • [00:26:59.56] ERNEST HOLLAND: At that time, the only person allowed with books were my grandfather. He had his books being the minister. And we could not-- but later when I-- the classic comics we had. And then we were allowed-- when I later got into school-- he had some encyclopedias and things we were allowed to look at if Grandma was there. We couldn't touch them otherwise.
  • [00:27:30.40] SPEAKER 1: Did you have any other favorite entertainment, anything else?
  • [00:27:35.69] ERNEST HOLLAND: No, not really. No, by the time they worked you during the day you're tired so it was-- no.
  • [00:27:53.45] SPEAKER 1: Were there any special days, events, or family traditions you remember from your early childhood years?
  • [00:28:01.52] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, I guess, as far family was concerned, everybody gathered for Thanksgiving. And then my father was a hunter. And he would go out hunting on Thanksgiving. And we always waited for him to bring back the rabbits or pheasants. And I always wanted the feathers from the pheasants.
  • [00:28:27.98] Then my father showed me how to skin and gut a rabbit. And my older brothers-- Dad would take them. But I never got used to a gun. But it was there. So Thanksgiving was there.
  • [00:28:50.09] Then at Christmas time, everyone had to gather. They also had to gather for Easter that we had. And of course then every Sunday there were no ifs ands or buts about it, you had to be at that house at 3 o'clock for Sunday dinner. And then there were everybody's birthdays. Because whoever had a birthday, then Grandma would bake the cake. And then the family and everybody would together for that.
  • [00:29:22.86] SPEAKER 1: Christmas? Did you do anything for Christmas?
  • [00:29:24.76] ERNEST HOLLAND: At Christmas time?
  • [00:29:26.05] SPEAKER 1: Mm-hmm.
  • [00:29:27.36] ERNEST HOLLAND: Yeah, what age? Because as we grew up in stages and different things, they-- smaller, it was just all about Christmas. And it's whatever Grandma would tell you, wait for them pull out the decorations. We'd look at them. Then we would do it. We'd go downtown. There's a department store called Rike's. And they had a Christmas display.
  • [00:29:55.53] In the church through Sunday school, they always put on a play. And you had to-- at first it was just a stand in, non-speaking. And then as I got older and they learned to talk and to speak, then you got a speaking part. But so you always took part in whatever the activities of the church may be for that.
  • [00:30:21.30] SPEAKER 1: Well, that completes the section of questions about your earliest childhood.
  • [00:30:25.17] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK.
  • [00:30:34.15] SPEAKER 1: OK, so this time, we're going to talk about your youth. In this part of the interview, we'll talk about your time as a young person from about the age that kids usually start school in the United States up until you began your professional career or work life. All right, so we'll start with school experiences, OK? Did you go to preschool?
  • [00:31:06.47] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, when I was around, there was no preschool. They only had what was called elementary school. And then from there, you went to high school.
  • [00:31:20.45] SPEAKER 1: OK, so you didn't have a kindergarten, right?
  • [00:31:24.27] ERNEST HOLLAND: There was no such thing. And as matter of fact, when we went to first grade, if you knew your alphabet, which my parents already taught me, if you knew how to count, your first grade teacher-- I do recall this very vividly-- telling you forget it. I'm your teacher. You have to learn everything from me.
  • [00:31:49.67] SPEAKER 1: So you had an elementary school, right?
  • [00:31:54.71] ERNEST HOLLAND: Mm-hmm, yeah, grades 1 through 8.
  • [00:31:58.62] SPEAKER 1: Do you know where it was?
  • [00:31:59.86] ERNEST HOLLAND: Yeah, in Ludlow and--
  • [00:32:02.53] [SNEEZING]
  • [00:32:03.85] --and 2nd Street in downtown Dayton, Ohio called Central Elementary School.
  • [00:32:10.69] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [00:32:11.53] ERNEST HOLLAND: It's now a senior citizen building.
  • [00:32:15.00] SPEAKER 1: What do you remember about it?
  • [00:32:17.30] ERNEST HOLLAND: The school? It was square, dull gray looking building that's there. It did not have a gymnasium or anything like that. In lining up there, each teacher-- on the grounds in front of the school, it was concrete-- and each teacher for each grade had a certain marker that was there. And you learned which marker that you were associated with.
  • [00:32:54.70] So you had that line up. You could gather on the mall. But when you heard the bell ring, then everybody had to line up. And you'd stand there in line until your teacher came out of the building and would bring you in. If it was raining or in the wintertime, then you had to go into the basement.
  • [00:33:18.75] SPEAKER 1: Did you go to high school?
  • [00:33:20.51] ERNEST HOLLAND: I went to high school.
  • [00:33:22.66] SPEAKER 1: Do you know where it was?
  • [00:33:23.99] ERNEST HOLLAND: Yeah, I went to it was Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio. And that was the ninth grade through 12th grade.
  • [00:33:35.84] SPEAKER 1: What do you remember about it?
  • [00:33:37.77] ERNEST HOLLAND: Dunbar? Well, first of all you have to understand that about Dayton one, it was the only all what we would now call black high school. But there it was referred to as a Negro high school that was there. They stressed sports more than they did academics. But that they still had it.
  • [00:34:04.67] The nearest other school that was mixed that you could go to was Roosevelt. Roosevelt had a better curriculum. For instance, an example would be at Dunbar, French and Spanish were their only foreign language you could get. But if you went to Roosevelt, then there was German, Italian, plus the Spanish and the French that was there.
  • [00:34:42.95] SPEAKER 1: Did you go to school or career training beyond high school?
  • [00:34:49.51] ERNEST HOLLAND: I attended Miami University, Oxford, Ohio and received my degree.
  • [00:34:59.49] SPEAKER 1: What do you remember about it?
  • [00:35:01.30] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, it's nestled out into the woods. It's the most gorgeous school. I still think I don't care what they say about anything with the Big 10. It is still, to me, the school. It was a small, intimate school. They stressed academics. And I enjoyed it. It was hard work. And I almost flunked. But I knew if I did, my family would kill me. So I struggled through.
  • [00:35:44.35] SPEAKER 1: Did you play any sports or join any other activities outside of school?
  • [00:35:51.51] ERNEST HOLLAND: No, I was not a sports person. I was sort of like the runt of the family. My brothers were into sports and all. But I did in college make the junior tennis team.
  • [00:36:06.86] SPEAKER 1: That's pretty good.
  • [00:36:09.15] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, well, I wasn't good for varsity. But I did make the that's there.
  • [00:36:18.84] SPEAKER 1: What about your school experience is different from school that you know today?
  • [00:36:25.97] ERNEST HOLLAND: My school? All right, which elementary, high school or are you talking about in college?
  • [00:36:32.65] SPEAKER 1: Your school-- when you were younger, what about your school experience is different from school, you know, today, so just school all together?
  • [00:36:43.81] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, the only schooling I would know about today really would be about high school because I was a high school teacher. And high school students and all it was pretty much really about the same they have except that I think there was more respect for teachers then. The community was more close knit because there were truant officers if you were absent from school that would track you down or things. But as far as learning, how you were learning, it's about the same.
  • [00:37:35.63] SPEAKER 1: Please describe the popular music during your school years.
  • [00:37:41.83] ERNEST HOLLAND: Bebop, that was the time. And the school used to have sock hops. We had a Valentine dance there. Halloween, there was a Halloween party. But yeah, bebop was the music, which then developed into doo-wop and so forth, but it was then.
  • [00:38:15.64] Now, far as other music was concerned, all this was outside because Grandma only allowed Christian music to be played in the house itself. But just like most major cities coming up, there was a white section and a black section. We called it White section, Negro section or whatever. But there was a strip there where you had entertainers that were there.
  • [00:38:49.23] And we used to had to sneak up there because we were under age. And unless you're were 21, you couldn't go into a lot of the nightclubs, a lot of places. After the sun went down, unless you were 21, the police would catch you. Because they had policemen everywhere.
  • [00:39:11.31] But we used to sneak around and go out to see it. That's when I first saw Big Maybelle, Roy Hamilton, all the rhythm and blues singers. They used to appear there. Sneak out on the weekends, but pay for it when I got caught.
  • [00:39:34.91] SPEAKER 1: Did the music have any special dances associated with it?
  • [00:39:41.34] ERNEST HOLLAND: Oh, OK, I was not very much of a dancer. I think they did. But I'm just there [INAUDIBLE]
  • [00:39:57.33] SPEAKER 1: What were the popular clothing or hairstyles of that time?
  • [00:40:02.53] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, I don't know I kept the style. But I know that earlier on, the old-- they called it zoot suits when they dressed up. I know when the elders and all came to church, you had to have the watch. And it had the little chain. And you always had to have on the tie and the jacket.
  • [00:40:37.02] My grandmother-- her dress was simply that she did a lot of crocheting. So therefore, to dress up a dress or to change or whatever, they used to crochet or make their collars. So they had a broad color, small collar or they'd change the cuffs on the dress itself. Or they'd make their handkerchiefs or something.
  • [00:41:01.23] I was not allowed to wear long pants until I reach age 12. Before that, you had what was called knickers. And I had to wear those. And so they could tell almost my age, you know, what not, by your clothing that you had.
  • [00:41:21.81] As far as hair was concerned, in my teens they went through, that's when the they refer to it as conking, conkaling. And you had to have a smooth hairstyle, not a strand sticking out. If it did, they teased you.
  • [00:41:43.91] SPEAKER 1: Can you describe any other fads or styles from this era?
  • [00:41:51.66] ERNEST HOLLAND: Not really, it was just a depending upon where you lived, who you were as to then what your habits were. We had what was called the socialites and the social people versus quote unquote the everyday life people.
  • [00:42:13.36] SPEAKER 1: Were there any slang terms, phrases, or words used then that aren't in common use today?
  • [00:42:22.18] ERNEST HOLLAND: Yeah, plant you now, dig you later.
  • [00:42:28.95] SPEAKER 1: What was a typical day like for you in this time period?
  • [00:42:35.21] ERNEST HOLLAND: I assume you talking about my teens?
  • [00:42:37.89] SPEAKER 1: Yes, your youth [INAUDIBLE]
  • [00:42:40.75] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, I was working for one. And I had-- go to school, get up morning, go to school. I worked at a place called the Dixie Barbecue. I was peeling potatoes, doing dishes-- they call them busting dishes-- getting things set up for that.
  • [00:43:04.69] Then after-- because I was not 21-- then, again, when it started getting dark, then I had to be out of the place because it was considered an adult place. Then home and then looked at my books or whatever they had for the school and then went on the bed and back to school.
  • [00:43:32.28] SPEAKER 1: What did you do for fun?
  • [00:43:35.32] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, when I could, I liked roller skating. And there was only one roller skating place. It was called [INAUDIBLE] Roller Skating. And I could only go there on Saturday nights. So that was my outlet was roller skating. During the rest of the time, I was working.
  • [00:43:59.81] SPEAKER 1: Were there any special days, events, or family traditions you remember from this time?
  • [00:44:06.43] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, Aunt Louise got married. Her marriage was at the house that was there. But other than that, none, nothing special.
  • [00:44:24.05] SPEAKER 1: Did your family have any special sayings or expressions during this time?
  • [00:44:29.59] ERNEST HOLLAND: No, there was nothing special.
  • [00:44:35.42] SPEAKER 1: Were there any changes in your family life during your school years?
  • [00:44:40.33] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, yes, after my ninth grade, my grandmother died. And then I had to move in with my aunt. And then I stayed with her for the rest of her life. So that was a major change that was there.
  • [00:45:06.80] And the family kind of broke up after that point. Because everybody is kind of scattered. My uncle-- one moved to Cleveland. My brother left, went into the army. My other brother went into the Air Force. Everybody scattered.
  • [00:45:30.89] SPEAKER 1: Were there any special days, or events, or family traditions that you remember from this time?
  • [00:45:38.19] ERNEST HOLLAND: Everybody still carried out the same as they did before. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter-- but again, since there was no central family so to speak, then again Sunday dinners were out. It was just very rare that everybody got together on that.
  • [00:46:07.29] SPEAKER 1: Which holidays did your family celebrate?
  • [00:46:16.08] ERNEST HOLLAND: Because I already mentioned Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter that was there. The other would be Memorial Day. They didn't really celebrate. But the idea was that you had to pay respect into the past. So Memorial Day, we always had to gather flowers and go out to the cemeteries and to decorate them. And then, of course, then the birthdays of the various members of the family.
  • [00:46:47.08] SPEAKER 1: How were the holidays traditionally celebrated in your family?
  • [00:46:53.26] ERNEST HOLLAND: How is what tradition?
  • [00:46:54.84] SPEAKER 1: How are holidays traditionally celebrated in your family.
  • [00:47:00.32] ERNEST HOLLAND: If we take let's say Thanksgiving then, again, we decorated, set up. We put cornstalks outside on the porch. Everybody, you know, anticipate the big feast. Then we were all reminded about the sacrifices-- then they would tell you the sacrifices that the pilgrims made in settling the country and what have you.
  • [00:47:34.87] At Christmastime, again, it was decorating the house, getting the gifts together, making sure that everybody was recognized. Of course, when the tree went up-- they didn't put the tree up until Christmas Eve. And that's when they gathered around. The adults could have a little bit of liquor. But we could not.
  • [00:48:03.94] But then again, they only could have the liquor if Grandpa-- after he went to bed. Because Grandpa wouldn't allow it. But you know, they celebrated that way. When I was younger, I always had to go to bed because I couldn't be there when Santa Claus arrived.
  • [00:48:25.00] Then when I got up in age, then my brothers told me, you're a fool. There is no Santa Claus. So my bubble was burst. But we always got up in the morning. And then after breakfast, then Grandma and Grandpa received their gifts first and would open them. And then the rest of us would.
  • [00:48:56.00] SPEAKER 1: Has your family created its own traditions and celebrations?
  • [00:49:00.78] ERNEST HOLLAND: No, as a matter of fact, very few of them are left.
  • [00:49:11.94] SPEAKER 1: What special food traditions did your family have?
  • [00:49:16.86] ERNEST HOLLAND: When it came to food, they had all kinds. Like I say, my grandmother was a cook. She loved to cook. And her whole thing was that no member of the family, as long as she was able, would ever go hungry. And so therefore, then she loved to cook.
  • [00:49:40.45] If you start with pastries, then she was excellent with pies, cakes, cobblers. During the spring up through autumn, we always had cobblers every day because there was always somewhere in the neighborhood there were-- I knew of at least three different types of grapes that were growing. So we could go out and gather those.
  • [00:50:10.48] There were peach trees, pear trees, apple trees, cherry trees, all those around. And as they came in to being, we had those. And we could gather them and then go get them. And she was excellent at making fried pies. I still remember those.
  • [00:50:33.93] SPEAKER 1: Were any recipes preserved and passed down in your family from generation to generation?
  • [00:50:42.13] ERNEST HOLLAND: No, I would say if so, they only-- I have my grandmother's original cookbooks. I should say reference books, really. Because she had everything on there. She would put a pinch of this in and a dash of that. She never really measured by cup or the spoon. But other than that, my having the books, there's nothing else been preserved about that from that.
  • [00:51:14.06] SPEAKER 1: Are there any family stories connected to making special foods?
  • [00:51:18.83] ERNEST HOLLAND: No, there's nothing that-- none of that.
  • [00:51:26.70] SPEAKER 1: OK, when thinking back to your school years, what important social or historical events were taking place at the time? And how did they personally affect you and your family?
  • [00:51:43.29] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, first in the '40s, there was World War II was going on. And we were affected because of the rationing. I can remember standing in line for bread, milk, flour, sugar. There was no-- meat was scarce. As matter of fact with our daily diets, there is always meatless Tuesday. And that was a suggestion from President Roosevelt that was there.
  • [00:52:30.35] I remember when World War II ended and all the celebration. Everybody started hollering. And I was there. And instead of killing one chicken that we were raising in the backyard, they killed three and had just a big feast was going on. I remember when afterwards, Dewey defeated the other one Truman-- I'm sorry, Truman defeated Dewey. And there was a big celebration and event that part in life.
  • [00:53:14.90] SPEAKER 1: Well, that completes the section of questions about your school years. Now we'll be talking about adulthood, marriage, and family life.
  • [00:53:30.20] ERNEST HOLLAND: Marriage will be quick because I'm not married.
  • [00:53:32.20] [LAUGHING]
  • [00:53:34.93] SPEAKER 1: This set of questions covers a fairly long period of your life from the time you completed your education, entered the labor force, or started a family until all your children left home and/or your spouse retired from work. So we might be talking about a stretch of time span as much as four decades. OK, so these set of questions are about your residence, community. After you finished high school, where did you live?
  • [00:54:22.36] ERNEST HOLLAND: After high school, I guess my residence would have been down at college, Oxford, Ohio.
  • [00:54:39.33] SPEAKER 1: How did you come to live there?
  • [00:54:42.05] ERNEST HOLLAND: I was going to school. So then, it was a requirement that as a freshman/sophomore, you had to live on campus. So I had to. That was a requirement from the school.
  • [00:55:00.31] SPEAKER 1: Did you remain there? Or did you move around through your working adult life? And what was the reason for these moves if you moved?
  • [00:55:09.97] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, well, I don't know how-- but anyway, after college going through there, then I had all the expenses of college. And I had to pay somehow or another. I told you, I lived with my aunt after my grandmother died. So they had sacrificed and had given the money to pay. But I also owed the school some money.
  • [00:55:42.03] So I went into the US Navy. And the US Navy through their salary, I could pay everybody back. So in the Navy, well, I traveled to-- well, Maryland is where they took the basic training. Then I went to Pensacola, Florida from there to Bethesda, Maryland and then New York City.
  • [00:56:17.18] Then after that, I got a job offer. I wanted to go to Smithsonian. But they had a waiting list. So I had to wait for that. But in the meantime, Detroit were looking for teachers, black teachers.
  • [00:56:31.67] And I happened just to be at a recruiting station when they were there. And they recruited. And they were paying very well. So I had bills. So I ended up here in Detroit.
  • [00:56:51.47] SPEAKER 1: You've never been married, right?
  • [00:56:53.93] ERNEST HOLLAND: Nope.
  • [00:56:54.20] SPEAKER 1: And do have to have any children?
  • [00:56:56.39] ERNEST HOLLAND: No--
  • [00:56:57.93] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [00:56:58.53] ERNEST HOLLAND: --none I know of.
  • [00:56:59.70] [LAUGHING]
  • [00:57:04.18] SPEAKER 1: You were employed, right?
  • [00:57:06.05] ERNEST HOLLAND: I was employed. Yeah, I was employed by the Detroit public school system. Yeah, I was a teacher. I was at Western International School. But then, it was just called Western High School. And that's where I stayed.
  • [00:57:28.91] SPEAKER 1: What was a typical day like during your working years of your adult life?
  • [00:57:33.57] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, at school, it was pretty set and dry, really. Because, again, I had to be there by 8:00 o'clock, signed the payroll or whatever it was. I had to go-- I was a homeroom teacher. So I had a homeroom. I had to look and make sure that there were any announcements or whatever it was for the homeroom kids.
  • [00:57:58.45] Then I had my schedule for the classes that I had whether it was a biology class, a chemistry class, or physical science class and make sure that those things were set up. Then you have your other duties as you're a teacher. Then end of the day, if time permitted-- then if I had assignments that I've given, papers turned in, I could grade them or get ready for a test or get ready for the next day. The school was quite liberal because you could stay as long as you wanted to in preparation.
  • [00:58:39.91] [PAPERS RUSTLING]
  • [00:58:48.10] SPEAKER 1: OK, so these questions are about your adult years. Please describe the popular music of this time.
  • [00:58:56.83] ERNEST HOLLAND: The popular music of the time when?
  • [00:59:01.12] SPEAKER 1: Your adult-- so when you were working.
  • [00:59:08.07] ERNEST HOLLAND: The music then that I listened to was really quite a mixture of it would range from jazz all the way through opera. So it was nothing really special that it was there. If I heard a singer and I liked the singer, then fine. It's there. Now my three favorite singers of all times for me-- one was Maria Callas, an opera singer. Leontyne Price was one and Renata Tebaldi, another opera singer.
  • [00:59:59.26] SPEAKER 1: Did the music have any particular dances associated with it?
  • [01:00:06.48] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, I think I listened to Ella Fitzgerald. They were doing it. You know, it was enterprising, and it was teasing. I remember when they had ballroom dancing. That was in my senior years of high school, you know, that part of it.
  • [01:00:31.24] The other dancing was when, I guess, my senior year or I was there, disco dancing came in. And I enjoyed that. But dancing in general I didn't much do other than like.
  • [01:00:58.35] SPEAKER 1: That complete section of questions about your working period.
  • [01:01:04.80] SPEAKER 2: All right, we're done for today. But you will be back tomorrow.
  • [01:01:10.61] [AUDIO OUT]
  • [01:01:12.47] SPEAKER 1: When did you and/or your spouse retire from work? So we might be talking about a stretch of time spanning as much as four decades. And this is about adulthood, marriage, and family life, OK? What were the popular clothing or hairstyles of this time?
  • [01:01:31.70] ERNEST HOLLAND: What was the popular clothing or what?
  • [01:01:34.49] SPEAKER 1: Hairstyles, hairstyles.
  • [01:01:37.01] ERNEST HOLLAND: Hairstyles, OK. Well, the hairstyles-- let's start with that-- is I recall really for men, going out in the evening, it was simply the idea of what they referred to as the straight hair, the conkling. Hot combs were very, very popular.
  • [01:02:10.89] They used to wrap their hairs with the bandannas to make sure that all the strands and all of that all stayed in place. My aunts in the evening when they did their hair, they used to tear off strips of paper, brown paper, and used to roll up their hair. They didn't have actually rolling pins or curlers. They simply would roll them up and tie the edges and then bandanna.
  • [01:02:46.73] But again, just your regular, everybody had regular haircuts. In my particular case, when I was small-- even, yeah, through even my teens-- my father cut my hair. On Friday, we all had to-- it was sort of like bath night or what have you.
  • [01:03:08.75] Or later, they would go in in the kitchen, sit down in the kitchen, and then Dad would cut your hair. So they determined your style and how long it was. Because if left up to me, I like a pirate's tail. But I got in trouble doing that.
  • [01:03:30.87] SPEAKER 1: Can you describe any other fads or styles from this era?
  • [01:03:35.18] ERNEST HOLLAND: Any other fashion or style?
  • [01:03:37.87] SPEAKER 1: Fads, or styles, yeah.
  • [01:03:41.30] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, no, like I say, I up until age 12, I could not wear long pants. But after age 12 and I was allowed long pants, I still got the hand-me-downs from my older brothers and what have you. But when I was in high school, they came out with the gray flannel pants.
  • [01:04:11.21] And it was in style to have these gray flannel pants and have a cranberry v-neck sweater, which I knew that we could not really afford. So I never asked. But I wanted it. But I did get a surprise for Christmas. The family, they knew that I wanted it. And I got it.
  • [01:04:32.42] SPEAKER 1: Were there any slang terms, phrases, or words used then that aren't in common use today?
  • [01:04:42.18] ERNEST HOLLAND: It was full of them. I don't remember all of them. But they use it as speaking like you know what they call rhyme. Everybody would say something that had to rhyme one word with another. But I don't remember all of them now. Because I never particularly liked that style.
  • [01:05:03.58] SPEAKER 1: Can you hold--
  • [01:05:04.45] ERNEST HOLLAND: Sure-- we were not allowed to use it at home. I can tell you that. And they did literally wash your mouth out with soap if you did say something that someone found objectionable.
  • [01:05:20.22] SPEAKER 1: When thinking back on your work adult life, what important social or historical events were taking place at the time? And how did they personally affect you and your family?
  • [01:05:34.28] ERNEST HOLLAND: You just mean adult life?
  • [01:05:37.12] SPEAKER 1: Yeah.
  • [01:05:41.34] ERNEST HOLLAND: Ah, yes you mean when I started working. So I was in my early 20s and what have you. The first, I guess, great social event was when one day when we were teaching, and they came over our PA system that Dr. King had been shot. And we had to-- everybody broke out into tears-- and they had to close down. The school closed for that day.
  • [01:06:12.82] Another was when the United States was quote unquote having difficulty with Lebanon. And I-- Selective Service-- I thought I was going to go back into the Army. And I would go to war over there and didn't want to go.
  • [01:06:35.22] And the Six Days, I was still here in Detroit and got caught up in the riots. I remember the day that the riots began. I used to go fishing with some buddies of mine in Canada. And we were returning that Sunday evening and saw the smoke rising out and all this huge line over in Canada. And we were delayed and didn't know exactly what was going on.
  • [01:07:02.82] But finally, about two hours later when they came up to us, they saw that we were darks. And we had to get out of the car. And the car was completely searched. And then finally ask them, what's going on? And you knew something special. And then they said, well, they are having difficulties.
  • [01:07:23.94] And went across the Ambassador Bridge, got to the Detroit side, we had to go through the same thing with the Detroit police except they weren't as polite as the Canadian police. And then driving on the freeway, once we got on the freeway-- this was the John Lodge because I lived on Ewald Circle-- you could not get off. You had to stay on. There were policemen at every stop. And still, I had no idea what was going on.
  • [01:07:54.70] Finally when I got home, turned the TV on. Of course, that's what you had. And then I had my phone. And my family from Ohio, they were all calling to see if I was OK. After that then I remember the curfews during the time. I remember the Army coming in. And what is Central High School now was an army camp when that was going on.
  • [01:08:22.84] You had to go to Ferndale, Royal Oak, or someplace like that in order to get any groceries. And you had to do that during the daytime because once the sun went down, if you were caught out on the streets, you were likely to be shot. So I think that I remember that part.
  • [01:08:44.20] SPEAKER 1: Well, that completes the section of questions about your working years. Thank you. OK, this is going to be about your work and retirement. This set of questions covers a fairly long period of your life from the time you entered the labor force or started a family up to present time. So where you are right now. Employment-- what is your main field of employment?
  • [01:09:14.97] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, presently, I am retired.
  • [01:09:17.96] SPEAKER 1: Well, I mean, I meant-- oh, it says was. What was your main field?
  • [01:09:21.55] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, upon retirement that's there, I was with the Detroit public school system, a science teacher.
  • [01:09:32.63] SPEAKER 1: How did you first get started with this tradition, skill, or job?
  • [01:09:37.86] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, this particular job, because of economic conditions. When I was in college, my job was-- I was majoring as a zoologist. And I was going to work for Smithsonian. After seeing Tarzan movies all my life, I had visions of going out, capturing animals, classifying them, and working there. But the Smithsonian just took the application.
  • [01:10:09.77] But in the meantime, as you say, there had bills to be paid. I had to live. And the Detroit public school system had an interview on campus. I went to the interview. And the lady liked me. And so they invited me to come to Detroit. And once my family found out that I had been offered a job, there was no refusal.
  • [01:10:33.92] [LAUGHING]
  • [01:10:35.18] SPEAKER 1: What got you interested in science?
  • [01:10:41.57] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, with me, it has always been natural because even when I was small, I always enjoyed and did not mind working around animals, insects, or whatever. And being somewhat in a semi-country kind of a place, there were a lot of wild animals. And we had forest hills. And I was around them all my life. So it didn't bother me. Plus, I had a fascination for how things worked.
  • [01:11:14.20] SPEAKER 1: Describe the steps of the process involved in your job from start to finish.
  • [01:11:22.63] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, if I was teaching--
  • [01:11:29.83] SPEAKER 1: It says--
  • [01:11:30.81] ERNEST HOLLAND: --a regular day in the life? So it's a regular day in the life of a teacher. It could be anything. But usually what you would do is check in with the front desk to make sure that the front office knew that you were in. Check your mail box. Check the any other information that's there. Go and check the room that you were assigned to.
  • [01:11:56.53] Since they taught night school, then sometimes when you would come in, the boards would be messed up. People would leave stuff in the room. So we had to make sure that the room was ready for the kids, cleaned up. And there were any announcements, they had copies to announce to the kids.
  • [01:12:16.71] Then when the bell sounded and your class assembled, then you take roll call and then attendance, then announcements. Then you'd find out if they had other problems. At first, they weren't handing out supplies. Later on, you had to hand out supplies. So before your kids could leave, you had to make sure then they had paper, pens, pencils and things of that nature. So you always had to check with them on that one.
  • [01:12:47.92] Sometimes they had problems with other-- with their classes. And if I could answer it and help them out over a problem-- you never tell them the answer. But if you could lead them or guide them in the right direction, that's what you tried to do.
  • [01:13:05.54] SPEAKER 1: What raw materials are used?
  • [01:13:09.60] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, in my particular class, we used anything from rocks-- since I taught biology-- even if some of it's Biology I, Biology II-- you had to dissect frogs, earthworms. We kept in the classroom itself rabbits. We kept snakes. We had fish, hamsters. One time we had the lizards and turtles until they became illegal.
  • [01:13:45.83] [LAUGHING]
  • [01:13:48.11] So seriously, it was there. If you want to know one funny thing that happened was that we had a black snake. And turned out it was a female. Found that out later. But it was very ill temper and would hiss and carry on. Nobody wanted to sit over around the area.
  • [01:14:13.15] So then one time, the bell rang. They were changing classes. And then all of a sudden-- you had to stand in the hallway as a monitor. And then the kids would go in. And they would, you know, get seated. Well, everybody walked in. And then they all ran out.
  • [01:14:31.65] And wonder, what in the world? What had happened was that from the last class, someone opened the door where it was. The snake got out. And when the new class came in, they were screaming. And they all ran out.
  • [01:14:45.66] So I had to go in, capture the snake, put it back in the cage and get it down and then go out and tell the kids, OK. It's OK to come here. Nothing is going bother. And of course, some would say, are you sure it's [INAUDIBLE]. The snake won't bother me. I can't stand snakes. So half the class period was lost in getting them settled back down.
  • [01:15:10.96] SPEAKER 1: Where did you get your materials, supplies, or ingredients?
  • [01:15:17.39] ERNEST HOLLAND: Some of them, the school board supply. Sometimes the kids would bring them in. And then the others you had to supply yourself. You would get them.
  • [01:15:31.40] SPEAKER 1: How are they prepared?
  • [01:15:34.69] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, it depends upon which experiments we were going to do. Were you going to do a-- chemistry, you had to set them up and make sure your reagents were in their little jars and that your beakers and all that were set up before hand. Biology, when they had to do dissection with your frogs, I had to make sure then that quote unquote they knew how to handle the little scalpels and that somebody didn't go after somebody else with a scalpel and that to do it. So it was different.
  • [01:16:16.67] SPEAKER 1: Have they changed over time?
  • [01:16:22.04] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, what? The time that I was teaching? Well, I would say that it did change. Because again, with the laws with nature, there were things that we used to do before that we could not bring in. You could not have live animals in the classroom because the sanitary conditions. Whereas before, we could.
  • [01:16:48.78] Economic reasons-- the school could no longer afford to have quote unquote a frog dissection for everyone. So you only had to have a demonstration in front, which means that the kids sitting in the front could see what you were doing. But those sitting in the back had difficulty.
  • [01:17:09.10] SPEAKER 1: What was a typical day like during the working years of your adult life?
  • [01:17:15.22] ERNEST HOLLAND: The working years?
  • [01:17:16.68] SPEAKER 1: Mm-hmm.
  • [01:17:20.06] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, at work, it was a day for me would be then to get up in the morning, try to grab something quick to eat, make sure I was there on time. Because one of the worst things you could do was to arrive late. After telling your kids to be on time, then you had to be on time.
  • [01:17:40.80] Then after the class, all your classes, the end of the school day, then I had to either stop by the store on my way home, prepare something eat. Then I had to, again, if you had homework papers from the day before or night whatever it was, get those papers ready. And then you had to get your lesson plans ready for the next day. So you prepare that evening for the next following day.
  • [01:18:09.74] SPEAKER 1: What was the biggest difference in your main field of employment from the time you started until now?
  • [01:18:15.86] ERNEST HOLLAND: Oh, well, until I retired for the time was when I first started, 80% of the time was spent in teaching. You had to make sure that the materials were appropriate for them, for their level, for their understanding. And it was there. Very little was spent as far as disciplinary problems and those ranged from attendance, somebody without supplies or something like that.
  • [01:18:51.00] By the time that I retired, it had done a complete flop. 80% of the time really was spent in control in the classroom. Because you had to stop and tell people, would you mind. Please be quiet. Listen or whatever. You had to do that the first time they-- despite the fact that you had already laid out the rules to the classroom.
  • [01:19:19.53] And you do the homework and you just didn't get it back, some of them. There were those who were dedicated that did their homework. But most of them did not. And then absenteeism became a terrible problem.
  • [01:19:34.99] And you would get a concept over. And you would start talking. And you thought that everybody understood. Then all of a sudden, there's a person in the class who had not been there for three days and had no idea what previously had gone on, hadn't looked at a book and virtually couldn't care anymore. And then, I don't know what's going on. And then all of a sudden, you're back with that person trying to bring them up to the class.
  • [01:20:08.71] And it was a balancing act, really. Because you didn't want to bore the kids who already knew and were ready to move on. And then have those on the other hand who quote unquote because of absenteeism or whatever, you know, trying to find out. And they would not look out on their own. If you didn't get them and do it in the classroom, forget it. There was nothing extra.
  • [01:20:34.64] SPEAKER 1: What specific training skills were needed for your job?
  • [01:20:40.54] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, what I found was that patience, an awful lot patience-- you had to have the will and the fortitude that you liked children. If you looked upon the job for just as money making only not from helping out kids or liking education, then you ran into trouble. It's all a lot of teachers that were in trouble that way.
  • [01:21:16.34] But you had to like-- you were in education to educate children. You would find them at whatever level you would find them and then try and move them, if you could, to the next level. Sometimes you're successful. Sometimes you were not. But at least as long as you knew that you tried to do what you can.
  • [01:21:38.76] SPEAKER 1: What tools are involved?
  • [01:21:51.43] ERNEST HOLLAND: Physically the tools would be then they have, in our particular days, we had the textbook, whereas in the beginning, we could use specimens to pass out. Those were replaced by a workbook. And then they had pencil and paper. But as far as the emotional kind of background they give you that kind of support. You need parents and to be in with them.
  • [01:22:26.08] You had to have, I think, the respect for the kids. They had to know that it was not for play. We were in here to try to learn something. And that again, yes, I am friendly. But my whole attitude was simply that I am not your buddy because I'm not your age.
  • [01:22:52.00] You're in a different age group and everything than I am. I'm your teacher. So therefore then, we would try to keep it on that level there.
  • [01:23:05.96] SPEAKER 1: What technology changes occurred during your working years?
  • [01:23:10.41] ERNEST HOLLAND: Oh, a whole lot. Let's take for instance the space project and everything. The nation all of a sudden became very interested in space. The United States was in competition, I'd say, with Russia. And it was in space.
  • [01:23:28.35] And I remember that we started a new program called ESCP, the Earth Science Curriculum Project. And that was to get kids interested in the idea of the nation. And all the things that we thought about space, even erroneous ideas whatever it is, you would bring those out and then try to explain and get them ready for quote unquote they called it the Space Age.
  • [01:24:02.73] The other would be then in electronics and the technological that's there. Because again, we didn't have-- it was just-- I had chalk and the board, paper and pencil. And then later, you could come in with things like slides, projectors, which we could not afford.
  • [01:24:25.25] You had the overlay overhead machines. They had the loop, eight-tape machines. We couldn't have-- so those things. So the technology improved.
  • [01:24:41.54] SPEAKER 1: What is the biggest difference in your main field of employment from the time you started until now?
  • [01:24:48.69] ERNEST HOLLAND: The biggest difference was that the whole attitude towards education changed. In teaching or in the field when I went into it was you wanted to be a teacher. So therefore, you were teaching because you were helping.
  • [01:25:12.59] Then all of a sudden it became an idea that the salaries. That quote unquote it was there for the money. And as they say, being a teacher, you never get rich. You know, you're OK. But you know that it's there.
  • [01:25:27.02] And then I remember the unions came in. When I started, there were no unions. But you had the unions. Then there was the struggle of where they forced you as a teacher to be part of the union.
  • [01:25:43.52] I wasn't used to unions. And I figured that if I had a problem or whatever that I'd worked it out myself, but anyway. And the unions were there mainly just for quote unquote money, so I think.
  • [01:26:03.10] SPEAKER 1: How do you judge excellence within your field? What makes someone respected in that field?
  • [01:26:12.57] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, it's not necessarily knowledge, but it's how they simply portray that knowledge or issue it out into society. It's all how it's incorporated. I may know something. But I don't need to act like I'm the only person who knows it.
  • [01:26:39.96] I'm part of humanity. So therefore, then that has to be in some kind of way to help humanity. So what I do then is that part.
  • [01:26:59.14] SPEAKER 1: What makes someone respected in that field? What do you value most about what you did for a living?
  • [01:27:12.38] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, believe it or not a there is a certain amount of internal pride you get in knowing that you have raised the understanding or changed the attitude of someone that you have not before. Teaching-- the rewards are not immediate because you don't know-- they're long term. So therefore, those who expect immediate gratification, so to speak, it doesn't come.
  • [01:27:50.93] I remember that the second year of teaching when we took the attendance, we had what is called for homeroom a homeroom monitor. Her name was Lily. Now this is over 40 years ago. I still remember her. But and she was there.
  • [01:28:08.88] And she quote unquote knew exactly how to take the attendance. She knew all of the kids that were there. She knew the tricks they would play and tried to sneak into the room late. She knew all their excuses if they were viable or good excuses or poor excuses or what have you. And so again, after the classes assembled, we'd tell Lily to take over. And she took the attendance whatnot.
  • [01:28:40.21] About 20 years later, I was in a supermarket. And this is in Ferndale. And I was going across parking lot. And someone said, Mr. Holland. I stopped, looked around. And I said, yes? And she started laughing. There was this lady was there. And she had three little kids with her.
  • [01:29:01.88] And she says, you don't remember me, do you? And I said, well, offhand, I didn't. I was kind of embarrassed. And she says, Lily. And soon as she said Lily, I knew who she was. And then she had her daughter and her grandkids with her.
  • [01:29:23.82] And her daughter said, so you're the Mr. Holland. She talks about you all the time because she said she enjoyed going to the class. That was rewarding to me. And I felt that whatever I went through, that was worth it, that after 20 years, I was remembered by somebody, or they felt that I had helped them.
  • [01:29:47.91] You know, she was a teenager. And she said-- because her daughter told me-- she tells us about how you're in the classroom, what you allowed, and what was the rules and regulations. And I said, oh, thank you. I said, very good.
  • [01:30:17.70] SPEAKER 1: Tell me about any moves you made during your working years or retirement before your decision to move to your current residence.
  • [01:30:29.69] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, I started in teaching, I stayed. But as far as living, I've only been in Ohio or in Detroit as far as living. I started renting, saved the money. And then in that day and age, owning a house was supposedly very important as a good investment. So I bought a house and been here ever since. As the old saying goes, the rest is history. But there was not moving out and then moving back, I assume.
  • [01:31:15.62] SPEAKER 1: How did you come to live in your current residence?
  • [01:31:19.85] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, before the house, I lived in was, I thought, a quiet neighborhood. Then after about-- I think I lived there 12, 16 years-- the neighborhood slowly began to change. They had break-ins. There was loud cars. At nighttime, people were talking. Whereas before, it was kind of a laid back, very quiet sort of a professional neighborhood.
  • [01:31:57.21] And then as the neighbors changed-- some retired, some died, and others came in-- instead of buying houses, they started renting the houses. So I just told myself, well the neighborhood is changing. It's time to move on. So then I start looking for another house.
  • [01:32:17.00] And then I had a friend that was in the business. And then he brought to my attention my present location. And I talked to the people. We negotiated. So I sold my own house, used it as a down payment for the present house. And then I made the move.
  • [01:32:37.90] SPEAKER 1: Do you still live in Detroit?
  • [01:32:40.21] ERNEST HOLLAND: I still live in Detroit, yes ma'am.
  • [01:32:43.59] SPEAKER 1: How do you feel about your current living situation?
  • [01:32:48.66] ERNEST HOLLAND: Oh, I'm very comfortable. The only thing that I'm worried about is the economy. But as far as I have wonderful neighbors. The neighborhood is quite stable. And I've had the same neighbors since I first moved in. And that's been about what, 19 years. But the neighborhood is there. So I'm quite comfortable. And I like the neighborhood. It's very good.
  • [01:33:24.40] SPEAKER 1: OK, this set of questions covers your retirement years to present time.
  • [01:33:31.01] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK.
  • [01:33:35.17] SPEAKER 1: What is a typical day in your life currently?
  • [01:33:39.57] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, presently it would be getting up, fixing breakfast. Having a house, there is always some repair. Something to do. Depending upon the season it is about taking care of the yard, getting the yard stuff from there.
  • [01:34:05.59] I am with several groups. So they always have some activity or something going. And I would, you know, talk with them. The days are going by very quickly now, for some reason. It doesn't seem quite enough hours in the days to do things.
  • [01:34:24.32] It seems like when I get up and start to do something, then I have, oh, I forgot. I got to go run over here, go to the store, go to the cleaner. I have pick up something. There's a meeting somewhere or something of that nature. So the days go by very, very quickly.
  • [01:34:43.55] SPEAKER 1: What are your personal favorite things to for fun?
  • [01:34:48.35] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, I don't do nearly as much as I used to. But now reading--
  • [01:34:56.50] SPEAKER 1: Wait [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:34:59.45] SPEAKER 2: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:35:00.98] ERNEST HOLLAND: OK, now mainly, it's this idea of reading. I like historical docudramas and reading. I am still presently trying to do research to find out about our family history, where they come from. Found I can go back on my father's side. My great-great-great-grandfather was in the Civil War. I didn't know that before until just within the past couple of years and finding things out but that.
  • [01:35:43.99] The other portion I think is that when the family found that quote unquote I had retired, they thought that I had nothing to do but their business to run around and help them. So I have to tell family members sometime, well, I'll have to get with you later.
  • [01:36:02.81] SPEAKER 1: Are there any special days, events, or family traditions you especially enjoy at this time of your life?
  • [01:36:11.08] ERNEST HOLLAND: I think pretty much so I adhere to the old ways. My family now celebrates my birthday, which we celebrated birthdays within the family. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter Valentines those days are still, you know, recognized, very much so.
  • [01:36:39.22] SPEAKER 1: When thinking about your life after retirement, what important social or historical events were taking place? And how did they personally affect you and your family? Wait--
  • [01:36:58.95] ERNEST HOLLAND: That means what the events--
  • [01:37:02.94] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:37:04.90] SPEAKER 2: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:37:06.87] SPEAKER 1: Do you want to skip [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:37:09.33] SPEAKER 2: If he cut out certain [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:37:12.78] SPEAKER 1: You can't-- do you not-- you don't want to answer that question or--
  • [01:37:19.13] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, I think whatever they-- you know, the World War II was a big event that affected life. Then up to then the 50s, there was still, you know, I think recovering from World War II that had effect this is there. Then the Korean War, the Vietnam War-- those all had an effect. So whatever affected the nation, then they had an effect upon us.
  • [01:37:54.42] SPEAKER 1: When thinking back on your entire life, what important social historical events had the greatest impact on you or your family?
  • [01:38:05.33] ERNEST HOLLAND: No, that I really don't know. An event's an events. So whatever I never had to do. There's nothing special that I remember or recall. There would be nothing special.
  • [01:38:27.59] SPEAKER 1: What family heirlooms or keepsakes do you possess? What's their story? And why are they valuable to you?
  • [01:38:37.58] ERNEST HOLLAND: Oh, OK, well, from my mother actually which was my grandmother and the other, I have her dining room set. And that was because that was her first dining room set. And she liked it. So I have those. My grandmother-- she had a set of dishes that she used when she had to entertain. We had to get out special dishes for certain times. I still have those to keep. So I'm a pack rat.
  • [01:39:20.73] [LAUGHING]
  • [01:39:24.87] SPEAKER 1: Thinking back over your entire life, what are you most proud of?
  • [01:39:31.29] ERNEST HOLLAND: That I survived to this age. Because I never thought-- there were a whole lot of times that I never would have passed really up to this age. On my mother's side, the family members expired around the age of 58, 59 usually with cardiac heart problems, circulatory problems.
  • [01:40:00.92] My father's side and thank goodness-- evidently I must have genes from his side that's taking over-- his people did live into their 70s and 80s. So I think that I have more of my father's genes in me than I do my mother's as far as longevity is concerned.
  • [01:40:21.59] [LAUGHING]
  • [01:40:24.95] SPEAKER 1: What would you say has changed most from the time you were-- oh, what would you say has changed most from the time you were my age to now?
  • [01:40:40.37] ERNEST HOLLAND: Well, physically, quite a few changes. One I think the family structure has changed. If we look at our total social structure that the nation adheres to and by and again, just giving some examples, coming up when a boy and a girl-- they never touched out in public. You know, now it's like a wrestling match sometimes--
  • [01:41:20.62] [LAUGHING]
  • [01:41:22.57] --you know, in looking at. The idea was simply that the adults were first. And the adult then passed on to you what you were behavior should be rather than now, it's the child that it was there.
  • [01:41:49.77] Automobiles-- I remember the first automobile they had where you had to hand crank it. It didn't have a radio. There was no heater in it and I think all the luxurious items that you have in it. The same thing with the school because I can remember when the school-- they did not have air conditioning in the schools. You had to open up the windows, then get your kids quiet, get them working, and then you could open up your door and try to get a cross breeze, I think, through there.
  • [01:42:23.19] And thinking of that, that reminds me of a story because the second year, I think, teaching that I was there, I got the class all settled. And they were working. You gave them a problem to work on so that you know it was there and opened up the windows and all that. And all about five minutes later near the window, there was all this commotion. And this girl starts screaming. She start hollering and the hair.
  • [01:42:52.16] Naturally, you didn't back away from it. You had to go to see what the problem was and settle, make sure everybody was settled. Well, she had pressed her hair. And I don't know what she used to press her hair, but there were some bees outside. And when I opened up the window to get the air through, the bees came in. And they were settling down on her hair. And she was hysterical.
  • [01:43:21.32] [LAUGHING]
  • [01:43:24.13] SPEAKER 1: What advice would you give to my generation?
  • [01:43:30.35] ERNEST HOLLAND: Just to keep on living, do the best you can and not worry about whether or not you're living up to past generations or whatever. Because the pressures or whatever is upon you is based upon today. As they say, you know, we look at the past and the past gives us some idea about the future. But the past is the past.
  • [01:43:55.06] And again, you're living now in the present. So therefore then the pressures, all the things evolved about you here is not what was there in the past. When I was growing up, there was no TV. And so therefore, there was nothing that my parents had to worry about somebody trying to sell me, a small child, a pair of pants or tell me that I need to have a certain toy and plant that idea in my head. It's there. So that's different.
  • [01:44:34.10] SPEAKER 1: Is there anything you would like to add that I haven't asked about? Anything in stories--
  • [01:44:40.24] ERNEST HOLLAND: Stories, in general?
  • [01:44:42.04] SPEAKER 1: Anything?
  • [01:44:42.49] ERNEST HOLLAND: No, I have nothing. My life-- I don't think it's been extraordinary. I think I just lived the life that I guess unfolded. And I tried to unfold with it.
  • [01:44:58.00] SPEAKER 1: OK, well that completes the last section of questions. Thank you. And that will be all.